by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 49

My dear Brethren: Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patient endurance, I also will keep thee from that hour of trial which is about to come on the whole habitable, to try those who dwell on the earth.” (Rev. 3:10 Dia.) This text is a precious promise given for the special benefit of the Philadelphia epoch of the Gospel Age Fully Faithful; and they were also encouraged by the words of verse 11 – “I am coming speedily.” The Philadelphia epoch began with the ministry of John Wessel and ended when the “coming speedily” was actually a reality in 1874. The Lord foreknew that these and kindred promises would be essential to the Fully Faithful during the terrible persecutions instigated by the Papacy during this period – “because thou hast a little power, and hast kept my word.” (v. 8) As with all the Fully Faithful at all times during the reign of evil, those of the “Reformation” had the “patience and the faith of Saints,” and were blessed with “a little power” to withstand the vicious onslaughts of them who “declare themselves to be Jews, and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan.” Brother Johnson has well and majestically described their tribulations in E‑6‑378/379 in his proof that this was the period of “brotherly love” (Philadelphia means brotherly love). Also, the doctrine of the Sixth Principal Man, John Wessel supports the thought. “Faith actuated by love is sufficient unto salvation,” said he; and this preaching is so prevalent in the ministry of a number of the Star Members of the period. John Wesley’s stewardship doctrine was “divine love as the heart of sanctification is the Divine ideal for the Lord’s people” (E‑8‑405, top); and it will immediately be recognized that even his enemies could find no fault in his preaching of Divine love – it was necessary to concoct false charges against him, much as was done against Jesus.

Even with Martin Luther there was much of “fervent love” in his preaching; and his direct honesty, courage and native intelligence have won for him the praise of all unbiased commentators. Most of his life was spent in violent conflict – another David against a Goliath steeped in iniquity and entrenched in tremendous power. Yet he offers a specimen of the inner Luther by his statement, “We are all the Lord’s Onesimi” – Onesimi being the plural of Onesimus, the runaway slave of St. Paul’s beloved friend Philemon whom Paul had won into the Christ Company during his Roman imprisonment. Thus, Luther clearly recognized that “all ye are brethren,” and placed himself in the same group with the humblest and the strongest, ever aware that he along with all others were the “bond slaves” of the One Master.

What, then, is the “hour of trial” from which the Philadelphia brethren were spared? In E‑4‑41 Brother Johnson says this hour of trial began at Passover 1878 and ended in December 1919. It will be recalled that in our treatise of The Third Watch (Jan. 1, 1957) we designated the “hour of judgment” from the fall of 1874 to about Passover 1916; so it becomes readily apparent that the Hour of Trial and the Hour of Judgment are mainly concurrent; and this is as it should be. A trial always anticipates an eventual judgment, just as a judgment presupposes a previous trial. As the Hour of Trial did its “slaughter” work, the Hour of Judgment likewise progressed upon Babylon until the judgment came to the full in 1916, when the “voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee.”

It is our understanding that three outstanding evils appeared as the Hour of Judgment arrived: (1) ‑ The binding of the Strong Man; (2) ‑ the Evolution theory; (3) ‑ Christian Science. On surface, it may seem an oddity that the binding of the Strong Man should be regarded as an evil; but when we consider that the Angels that sinned are “reserved in everlasting chains unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6), the statement becomes consistent with itself. Note the Berean Comment: “The Millennial Day, when we may expect them to work lying wonders in the daylight.” As the Millennial Day arrived in 1874, the freeing of the “spirits in prison” immediately sparked subtle and death‑dealing errors, substantially all of which find root in the three evils enumerated above. Mary Baker Eddy’s first published work appeared in 1875, and the Evolution theory kept pace with it. It should be noted that both of these doctrines offer a direct denial of the Ransom. Christian Scientists do not observe the Lord’s Supper in any manner whatever, which in itself would be sufficient to label it for what it is. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you,” said Jesus; and ignoring this clear statement leaves nothing but an empty shell to their religious cult. Additionally, however, pain is simply a figment of the fallen human imagination, they contend, despite the clear statement in Romans that the “whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together.” Of course, their answer to this clear Scripture is that they do not accept the Pauline or other Epistles; although they have no answer whatever for John 5:28,29 that “all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man, and come forth.” Their denial of the thing called Death completely nullifies the words of Jesus here; and it self‑evidently also denies the Ransom. If there is no death, there is no need of a Ransom. And the same may be said for the Evolution Theory. If men are gradually extricating themselves from the quagmire of the past, then they shall eventually come to perfection of mind and body without the need of a Savior; they will provide their own Ransom.

The foregoing has been presented with varying twists by numerous and sundry cults throughout the Hour of Trial. In the early part of this century there came to the United States the noted French physician Emile Coue, who cured many of his patients by having them repeat and repeat and repeat the slogan, “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.” Nor do we dispute that a certain amount of logic may be found in this contention. Many of our readers well recall the teaching of That Servant that most men are living in the cellars of their brains, and that the influence of the mind over the body is much stronger than most people realize..(See Feb. 3 Manna) And with this Solomon, wisest of men, was in full accord: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones (Prov. 17:22). But a cheerful outlook has its limitations; it can by no means stay the eventual end of that broad road that leadeth to the grave.

It is a solid truism that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing; and this is acutely proven here “in the time of the end, when knowledge shall be increased.” Truly, “Knowledge is Power”; but we should take sure note that it is power for evil as well as for good. An evil man only increases his power for evil as he increases his store and scope of knowledge. Thus, the “messengers of wrath” (the four divisions of present society), using their increased knowledge for grossly selfish purposes, play upon the ignorance and limitations of their dupes to offer them many unsound theories. Who of us have not noticed the slogan, “You can if you will.” Nor was ever worse nonsense hung upon a wall! Consider a man in the last stages of cancer: Can he by any amount of willing effect his cure? Or could an emaciated man of seventy possibly become the world’s champion prize fighter by any amount of concentrated willing? And similar questions could be multiplied.

In our February paper, The Spirit of a Sound Mind, we gave quite some detail about so‑called “Mind Cures”; and we now augment that presentation with a further quotation from That Servant, as given on page 2629 of the Reprints:

“Question: – The world is full of aches and pains, diseases, and naturally we look about us for relief. You have already expressed your judgment that the cures effected by Christian Scientists and Spiritualists are probably produced by improper spiritual influences, although exercised to some extent at least in harmony with natural laws. I desire now to inquire respecting cures by hypnotism, and still other cures by so‑called magnetic healers. What shall we think of these, and will it be proper for the Lord’s consecrated people to avail themselves of such means for attaining health?

“Answer: – We feel suspicious of magnetic and mental healing. In our judgment they in many instances are allied with or related to hypnotism; yet it is particularly difficult to draw the line here, because we all know that there is such a thing as a legitimate mental influence which we all exercise upon one another, favorably or unfavorably. We know, for instance, that hope and faith, love and joy, are healing and helpful influences, and that doubt and despair, anger and malice, are injurious influences whether exercised by our own minds upon our own bodies, or upon others. In this proper sense of the word every child of God possessing the spirit of love, the spirit of a sound mind, is a mental healer, and a heart healer, a wound healer; wherever he or she may be, the influence will be uplifting, comforting, strengthening to good impulses. If therefore the Lord’s consecrated ones visit the sick, their presence should be a refreshment, comforting, cheering and helpful, and so much the more if they carry in their hearts and communicate with their lips the exceeding great and precious promises of our Father’s Word. With this much of mental healing we are most thoroughly in accord.

“But Christian Science, Mind Healing and Magnetic Healing, running upon this same line, seem to carry it to an extreme – in the case of Christian Science to the extreme of lying to oneself and believing the lie, and thus gradually becoming a liar, self deceived and deceiving others in respect to all of life’s affairs. We cannot believe that any course so opposed to that which the Scriptures mark out can be of God, nor can we believe that the cures, it at times effects, are either natural or of God; we can only suppose, therefore, that the Adversary favors this lying and deceiving process to the intent that he may beguile the mind through further lies and deceptions far from God and the truth.

“Magnetic Healing is more on the order of hypnotic healing; that is to say, the magnetic healer gains a control over the mind of his subject which is somewhat akin to the control gained by mesmerists and hypnotists, and akin to the spirit control of spiritualism over its mediums. We can have no sympathy with anything of this kind, for even if we were satisfied that the power of control was merely a human power and not a Satanic one (and we are not satisfied of this), we cannot feel that it is right for one human being to subject his mind, his will, to another, when the evidences prove that every such subjection decreases his will power and places the subject more and more in the position of a slave or machine, subject to the influence or control of others – breaking down his personality.

“The Lord’s people are admonished to make such a submission of their minds to the Lord, and no one else; and we are confident that the Lord will take no advantage of us under such conditions, to rob us of any good quality. On the whole, then, we urge of the Lord’s people to be on guard against mind healers, etc., especially where, as in the case of Christian Science the mind is to be given up to believe a lie, or in the case of hypnotism, it is to be given up or subjected entirely to another. Our minds are our greatest possession, and are to be given only to the Lord and to each other as directed by the Word of the Lord; and if we cannot have health without violating these principles, we can afford to be without the health for the few more days that remain under the present conditions, knowing that by and by, if faithful to the Lord, we shall have the perfect resurrection bodies promised.”

Thus, it is clear enough that the good that can and does come from a good cultivation of the mind has been badly sullied by the many perversions that have appeared in The Hour of Trial; and we may reasonably expect much more of the same yet before the New Day fully dawns. All of this has a definite purpose, we may be sure; the Epiphany is the time for making manifest the counsels of hearts, revealing persons, principles and things, separating the true from the false. In the great harvest parable, Matt. 13:30, Jesus said, “Gather ye first together the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; then bring together the wheat into my granary.” (Dia.) The binding of the tares was well accomplished by 1914, and we were all impressed with the truth that “Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest” (Josh. 3:15). The River Jordan being a type of the curse, we should logically expect all manner of evil to be rampant, as the released erstwhile “spirits in prison” carried on their deadly work. These are the same “four winds of heaven that strove upon the great sea” (Dan. 7:2) – just as they are the “four winds of the earth” in Rev. 7:1 that are “restrained by the four angels” (the messengers of wrath) until the due time to bring about the great war of 1914, Some have mistakenly thought that the “four angels” of this text are the demons; but it should be kept in mind that the fallen angels are nowhere in the Scriptures ever called angels after their antediluvian transgression. They are the “four winds’“ – “demons”’ “spirits in prison,” etc.’ but never referred to as angels after the great flood.

Reflecting upon things past, it may be well to contemplate things yet future. The Ecumenical Council scheduled for 1960 has already begun to woo the Protestants. How times have changed! Early in this century the Pope refused even to see ax‑President Theodore Roosevelt because he was a Protestant, because such courtesy to a heretic would be inconsistent with Catholic practice. Now they are inviting these very “heretics” into their Sanctum Sanctorum. “Won’t you come into my parlor,” said the spider to the fly. Consider in this connection Isa. 8:11‑22: “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy.” Then in the last verses we have the scathing denunciation of those who “seek unto familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter,” and the woes that shall come upon such – “they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness.” And note the Berean Comment for v. 14: “God has so arranged that only the truly consecrated will be kept from stumbling into error in this evil day.” It should be noticed that the “Confederacy” (Combinationism Slaughter Weapon) is in the same group of Scripture which so sharply castigates those who seek the “mind cures” of those who “go down to Egypt for help.” Nor need we be surprised if such fall more and more into the cesspools of error.

It has ever been the Adversary’s technique to trap the leaders of humanity first of all; the ledlings fall quickly into line after that. Thus, there is to be found at present a great surge in various magazines and other publications to give sanction to “Mind Cures” by means of hypnotism, psychiatry, and the like. Notable among these leaders is Norman Vincent Peale – “Minister to Millions.” Not too long since, he consulted an outstanding psychiatrist for help in his religious problems – after which he made the statement, “The two therapies go together, don’t you see? They complement each other.” In fact, he concluded they “complement each other” so much that he wrote another book, A Guide to Confident Living and The Power of Positive Thinking, which work remained on the New York Times best‑seller list for 186 weeks, breaking the all‑time record. And the crowning accomplishment (?) of this remarkable “scientific” inebriation is that “the emphasis was shifted slightly from religion to psychology.” The great preacher “had become increasingly impressed with the suggestibility of the human mind.

Of course, such reasoning is not at all new; the great Papal apostasy recognized its potency hundreds of years ago. “Give us a child until he is seven years old,” they say, “and you may have him after that.” For those of us who “experience and see that the Lord is good,” we accept without question His precious promise, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt. 11:28,29) And most of our readers know from personal experience that “He is faithful that promised” – that He has blessed us with that “wisdom from above, which is first pure” and which is sure to give to the fully faithful “the peace of God which passeth understanding.” But the fully faithful also know from close personal contact with the Measurably Faithful that the latter are “carried about with every wind of doctrine” and are “unstable as water” in their teachings. As example, the Executive Trustee of the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement presented a very capable commentary on “Doctor” Peale (he has had his divinity “doctored” in more ways than one); yet he demonstrated by his own personal conduct, when distress assailed him, that he is in full accord with the Reverend Peale in principle: He, too, gave psychiatry the priority over true religion in 1938 by imploring the help of a psychiatrist, instead of seeking that consolation that cometh from “true religion and undefiled.” At that time he demonstrated by his act – going “down to Egypt for help” – that he is in full agreement with Dr. Peale in which he, too, “shifted the emphasis from religion (the Truth) to psychiatry.”

The magazine reports proceed to tell us that the failures of psychiatrists with many adults is due to their patients being too far out of hand when first brought to them, so they are now suggesting the Roman Church technique: Bring the children to us. Parents who “spare the rod” until their children become unmanageable should then bring the product of their unwise neglect to the psychiatrist for “brain washing”; a little hypnotism or some such will “cure” the evils that parental failures have created. If the ‘doctor’ should now succeed where the parents had failed, it could only mean, of course, that the child no longer has a will or mind of its own – it would be under the mesmeric spell of psychiatry. In which case, just how much room would there be for religion in such a Juvenile? Surely, the only access God has to any human being is through the mind; that is, if persuasive appeal is to have sway. Admittedly, the Lord can destroy human beings, or can force them to His will; but that would make of them merely an automaton, which is contrary to all Biblical rule. “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways,” is the gentle parental persuasion to be found throughout the Inspired Writ for this Faith Dispensation. But what room is there for such appeal in a mind already dominated by a superior outside force?

Of course, such procedure has much the same result as any opiate – once the habit is formed, the victim is usually too much under the influence of his tormentor ever again to determine a voluntary course for himself unless some extreme and impressive cure is administered. Seldom do we find dope addicts reform by their own voluntary effort, and it should be noted that many hypnotist victims are in much the same position; therefore, the prescription to bring the little children unto such performers may be easily rated for what it is – a substitute for the sound Bible philosophy for parental obligation. A kindred situation was to be found shortly after the great deluge in Nimrod, who was “a mighty hunter before the Lord” – that is, one “in place of the Lord,” one who gained for himself from his fellows that admiration and adoration that should properly have gone to Jehovah alone.

The premise should not arouse much argument that the child who has been accustomed to psychiatric soothing – instead of proper parental corrective – at every tantrum brought on by frustration will have the habit well ingrained by the time it reaches the adult stage. Nor need we confine this malady to worldlings alone; we know personally of some who claim spiritual begettal to a new life who have rushed to the psychiatrist when the truth first struck them that they had lost their crowns and were no longer of the Christ Company. In fact, we know of one prominent crown‑lost leader who thus “went down to Egypt for help,” because the solace that should come to God’s true children by seeking His face in prayer and meditation no longer appealed to him – or was effective for him – as the best means for securing “peace of mind.” The promise specially provided for the “us” class had lost its saving grace with him: “We should approach with confidence to the Throne of Favor, that we may receive mercy and favor for seasonable help.” (Heb. 4:16 – Dia.) It is well‑nigh impossible for some of us to understand such a course – nor is it required that we do understand it so long as the proper lesson is impressed upon us. But it should be self‑evident, too, that such a person would certainly not be one to whom the Lord would reveal any advancing Truth whatever; rather, we should expect him to be a ready puppet in the hands of Azazel for advancing error. “Because they admitted not the love of the Truth. God will send them an energy of delusion, to their believing the falsehood.” – (2 Thes. 2:10, 11–Dia.)

Companion to the Peale experience is the case of Father Devlin, with “degrees in psychology, theology,, philosophy and social work” – a Jesuit priest who “uses all the words.” In the magazine eulogizing this “advanced thinker” there is this statement: “To Freud religion was an antiquated illness that had fettered man for centuries and, in the light of modern needs and knowledge, could no longer be tolerated... In less than a lifetime, the coming together of new science  and old faith has become one of religion’s most significant modern trends.” Jesuit Devlin is the first priest in history to attempt the study of psychiatry, and he secured a special dispensation from the Pope to do it – “just to forestall any funny business”; but, despite Vatican approval, many Americans openly voiced their disapproval of his course. In attempting to Justify the “Father’s” position, much reference is made to Protestants, and we quote Just one small part of this:

“Impressed with the emotional problems it feels result when religious standards are placed beyond what it considers the reach of human capacities, one advanced Protestant group openly asks what right religion had to set these standards in the first place.”

As our readers will surely realize, some pages could be devoted to the above; but we believe enough will be said when we observe that “these standards” were “set” by the Beloved Master Himself, “leaving us an example that we should follow in His steps.” If the Christian religion placed before us an ideal that the majority could achieve, then self‑evidently there would surely be some who could arise above that ideal – just as we find some individuals in the medical, the legal and other respected professions rising above their fellows as a meticulously white vessel may be carried on the bosom of a filthy and repulsive river or lake. And, if such should prove true, what would then become of the ideal? A prominent individual once said to our beloved Pastor, “Pastor Russell, you have put the standard entirely too high.” Said Brother Russell, “I didn’t put it there, Brother; the Lord did.”

The true Christian realizes that the standard is indeed high because it is a “High Calling”; and those of us who have a clear understanding of that High Calling just as readily understand why a Jesuit would embrace any degree that would offer him surcease from the rigors and high ideals of that Calling. The Jesuit is the depth of religious odium to all Protestants familiar with the order. Perhaps the lowest, vilest and most insulting opprobrium a Protestant could hurl at another is to label him as a Jesuit. Brother Johnson was a master in wielding incisive epithets; and, when he referred to the Jesuitical tactics of That Evil Servant on various occasions, it was because it was the most disgraceful term he knew that could be sent through the United States mails and still keep within the postal laws and the “freedom of speech.” The Jesuit motto has always been, “The end justifies the means”; and the addition of psychiatry to their satchel of deceit would simply give added impetus to the evils of which they have shown themselves capable. As we stated previously in this article, the more of knowledge and education a rogue may acquire, the worse rogue he will become – in the same ratio as learning will elevate a good man and increase his power for good. Psychiatrists are already boasting they will eventually take over the rulership of the human race, with religion somewhere in the background; and, with both Protestants and Catholics embracing it, there will then be found that common meeting of the minds which will build “the universal church.” All of which is well in keeping with the evils that have appeared since the Hour of Temptation arrived. It now becomes much clearer why the Lord gave the loving and faithful brethren of the Philadelphia epoch of the Gospel‑Age Church the gracious and heart‑warming promise, “I will keep thee from the Hour of Temptation.” But, as Brother Russell so well stated, The Lord has given His faithful people today the blessed Harvest Truth as a “shield and buckler” against this “Assyrian who treads in our palaces.”

“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Psa. 25:10); and “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.” (Eph. 6:24)

Sincerely your brother,

John J. Hoefle Pilgrim


Question of General Interest

QUESTION: – You repeatedly accuse Brother Jolly of wrong conduct and “whispering campaigns” against you – and I wonder if your judgment may not be warped in matters which concern you personally. Have you ever had any clear proof of these things other than ‘hearsay’ that has come to you?

ANSWER: – We find no fault with the question, because it is only too much a part of human frailty to make very honest miscalculations in matters which are so very close to us; but we believe this has not been true in our case. In fact, it is our calm considered opinion that we have not been nearly as severe in a number of things concerning R. G. Jolly as the facts merit. Just this last February a sister received a letter from the Bible House, in which there is this sentence:

“We understand that John Hoefle has had much contact with lawyers and their methods, and so he is able to present a very crafty mixture of truth and error, just as a lawyer can sometimes make truth appear wrong and error appear to be right.”

This letter carries no personal signature – just a rubber stamp “Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement.” We have this letter in our file. Such a course is identical with the policy of a cheap swindle house, which makes studied effort to make every one in general – but no one in particular – responsible for its shifty practices. This is exactly the technique of That Evil Servant against Brother Johnson when he decided, even as R. G. Jolly has, not to call names in his publications, but pursue the cheap ‘whispering campaign’ program he did against our beloved Brother Johnson; and his persistence in that course eventually brought him the “wages of sin”; he went “to his own place.” (Acts 1:25) And we state now that if R. G. Jolly persists in his present evil course, he will eventually join That Evil Servant – also going “to his own place.” And we observe, too, that those who encourage him in his evils will have a portion of his blood visited upon their own heads, and the Lord will require a severe accounting of them, just as was true of the henchmen of JFR. This underhand knifing by “whispering campaign” is in keeping with his policy not to mention names in the Present Truth when attempting to besmirch us and our teachings, but readily and willingly clearly stating our name in his “whispering” – which technique was also a studied procedure of JFR. But it was just the opposite of Brother Johnson’s method, who accused JFR openly by name in the Present Truth of his unscrupulous lawyer’s tricks and double‑dealing – just as we have done with R. G. Jolly. The incident related herein is just one of the many written proofs we have in our files – this being the most recent one.


Letter of General Interest

Dear Brother:

I enjoyed your May writing very much. Thank you for sending it to me. I have read it through twice. Your writings are a Godsend to me! May the dear Lord bless you both is my prayer for you. You may publish any part of my letters that you wish. My -----‑‑‑‑ seem to be coming to a better understanding regarding this matter. ----‑‑‑‑‑ still avoids me, nor gives me a chance to talk to her.

Yours by His Grace ---------