ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN--WINNING SOME
WE ARE well aware how our foes seek to put an evil construction upon everything the Editor says and does. The Adversary is continually on the alert to take advantage of human weaknesses, prejudices, etc., and to slander, malign and suggest evil in respect to everything. Our Lord called attention to this in his own case. He says that when John the Baptist came living an abstemious life the people said, "He hath a devil and is mad." And when the Son of Man came eating and drinking, they said, "Behold a gluttonous person, a wine-bibber." In a word, there is nothing that either God or his people can do that the Adversary, "the accuser of the Brethren," and those who have his fault-finding spirit, cannot use as an occasion for fault-finding. "As he was, so are we in the world."
Those out of harmony with the Gospel we preach, and those of a jealous spirit are grieved to note the blessing of the Lord connected with the Harvest work. The very blessing for which we have been striving for forty years, and the very blessing which we know from the Scriptures can last but a brief time, excites our foes to envy, anger, hatred, slander. They convince themselves that everything we may do to co-operate with the Lord in the attainment of the wide publicity of the Truth must be evil. Thus we are charged with pride and ambition, etc., because we are making use of business methods to promulgate the "good tidings."
We quote St. Paul's words, "It is a light thing that I should be judged of you or of any man; yea, I judge not mine own self. There is one that judgeth me, even God." We think it not worth while to give explanations to our foes respecting our reasons for permitting our portrait in the newspapers, on the bill-boards, etc.; nor need we explain to them why we wear a silk hat. It is none of their business. And if they were as decent as worldly people in the matter of minding their own business, it would be to their advantage, both for the present and for the future life. They should remember St. Paul's advice, "Study to be quiet and to mind your own business."--I Thess. 4:11.
To our friends we say, We have changed in no particular. Our decided preference would be for a very quiet life. It is painfully annoying to us to be so prominently in the public eye. We could easily end it all and drop back again into obscurity. Why do we not do so? Because, to our understanding, that would not be God's arrangement. We believe that it is of him that the Truth has a flare-up of popularity at this time--to be followed very shortly, we believe, with an apparently disastrous climax, which will be all the more hard to bear because of the wide-spread publicity. As it was only five days between the time when the people cried, "Hosanna," before our Lord, until they crucified him, so we expect no real popularity from the world, nor from the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees of our day, without its reaction.
Although thus expecting we are using the present opportunity for all that it is worth and are not shunning to declare the whole counsel of God as wisely and as lovingly, yet as faithfully, as we know how. We leave our case and that of our traducers in the hands of the Lord and will be satisfied with his decision.
When God's time shall come to say, "It is enough!" we will be glad to experience the promised "change." But meantime we will count our afflictions as light as possible and rejoice in them and in all of our experiences. Neither the slander nor other oppositions of our enemies shall swerve us from the path which we believe is marked out for us by our Lord.--Matthew 5:11,12; 11:18,19.