Convention Report Sermons








THIS text was based upon that passage which says that, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom." He showed that instead of the word "fear," "reverence" was the proper thought, that from the divine standpoint, reverence is the beginning of wisdom. We must have reverence to begin with, and it must also be the middle and end of wisdom – it must be reverence all the time. Our reverence takes on greater heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths. He who does not find his reverence for the Lord increasing is not receiving the grace of the Lord in the proper manner.

The scriptures tell us that God is not choosing the great things, but rather the mean things of this world. From the scriptural standpoint, we have nothing of ourselves to be flattered over. So taking our wisdom from the Bible standpoint, the Lord's people are a pretty hard class to begin with, and we must, therefore, have a good deal of humility to begin with, ready to accept the Lord's way instead of our own way. For instance, and properly enough, we would like to think as well as possible of ourselves, but when men learn that God will have all men come to Him on the same level, they say, No, I am not a sinner in the same sense of the word that they are sinners. Many are therefore staying away from God and refusing to come to God as sinners, but they are willing to come on a little different plane. They say, These others need salvation, and I hope they will get it, but I was better born. They say, I don't ask any mercy from God, I want strict justice, and I will take the penalty. Such are not in the attitude of mind in which they will receive anything from the Lord. But the Lord knows how to deal with such people. They are not saintly people, but some are noble minded, honest, and good intentioned people. God will have a way of dealing with them. He will show them what they need, and the ONE way of getting that need supplied, and that His way is, through Christ, and every member of the race will need a share in the merit of the great Redeemer; because there is no other name given.

The Road by Which We Came to God.

First, we had this reverence for God; something within us told us that we were not perfect – we had a desire to have fellowship or communion with God, a desire to know God. Even when deceived as to His character, we were still feeling after Him. He was very near to them, but there was something before their eyes which blinded them. 2 Cor. 4:4. False doctrine, darkness for light, and light for darkness, so that the creature feeling after God did not find Him. The scriptures inform us that God will have all the blind eyes opened and all the deaf ears unstopped, and we say, How righteous, how just, how like our heavenly Father! But we have not yet come to the time when God will be pleased to open all the blind eyes; that time belongs to the future. God is now gathering out the Bride class, the Lamb's Wife, a special class. In another picture, they are spoken of as the members of His Body, members in particular.

Now the thought before our minds is, what is it that is leading and drawing us? How was it that His message had power over us and did not reach others? Applying to the scriptures, we find that "No man cometh to the Father except the Son draw him." and then we find another scripture which says that none can come to the Son except the Father draw him; he must be drawn first before he can come to Jesus, and then they must come to Jesus before they can have access to the Father. I am supposing that God implanted in father Adam a quality of heart and mind, as represented in phrenology, as the organ of veneration, that he should have reverence for his creator. But the fall, mentally, morally and physically, has disarranged us to such an extent, that no two of our heads are just alike. I am glad that I was born with an organ of reverence, and probably you all have some – very few who do not have it would want to come to the Father. These seek to reverence or know the true God, and wherever there are such, God is willing to lend them a helping hand, and to guide them to the acceptable one, Jesus Christ the Righteous, our Guide, Savior, Pattern, and Teacher, as well as Redeemer. When we first began to feel after God, we had some reverence, and we realized that He would direct us as to what we ought to do. That led us to feel after God, whether through reading a tract or sermon, or what, it led us to realize and understand that God had provided Christ as the way whereby we might have life, and then it was our reverence toward God that led us to come to Him, to see how we might please Him. And then, still further, it was our reverence for God that led us to present ourselves living sacrifices. Our reverence for the Lord increased every step of the way, and it continues all the while, otherwise we would fall from our position. If you lose your reverence, you will let go the whole thing. The proper lesson for you, and for me, and for all who are following the Lord, is to have more reverence for Him. Therefore we will want to develop the fruits of the Spirit, so as to be more pleasing to Him. If we have the proper reverence for God we will want to copy Him, and if we lose our appreciation of the copy we will not want to follow it. If we try to copy ourselves, we will lose our reverence for the Lord; also if you try to copy brother so and so, or sister so and so. What would be wrong about that? It would imply that you had lost your reverence for your copy and had found another copy. I do not want any to be followers of Brother Russell. We all want to be followers of the Lord, as dear children of God, and we want to walk in love, in harmony with His character. Whoever loses his reverence for God will go off in some side-issue, no matter how it comes about. The more you think over it, the more will you agree with me. The fear or reverence of man brings a snare.

We have come now, dear friends, to the end of the harvest time of special testing, etc., and the Lord thy God doth prove you. What is He trying to find out? Is He proving you to try to find out if your flesh is perfect? No, He knew that a long time ago; but He is proving you as a New Creature, and as we get nearer to the end of the harvest, we may expect these tests to be more numerous. The Lord [CR41] then proves you to see if you love Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength – that is what He is trying to find out. We can thank God that we have found out that we are not as good as we thought. I know who shall stand, and I want to tell you, but I will not give the names, because I can't. Those who will be able to stand are those who love the Lord their God supremely, with all their hearts, soul, mind, and strength, – those who have no other will. He wants those who can trust Him where they can and cannot trace Him.

Various Instruments.

He uses various instruments – the Apostles of old, and the teachers of today, but all the while the Lord is reckoning you as being down at the hundred per cent mark, in your mind and intention, even though by His grace He has made up to you sixty, fifty, forty, thirty, twenty or ten per cent. The Word becomes clearer and clearer to them, and they are able to develop more and more of the character likeness of the Lord. Their reverence for the Lord will determine the cut of the jewel, etc. I do not know what the tests will be, but whatever they are they will prove our loyalty to the Lord.

In the 12th of 1st Corinthians we have the relationship of the members of the body shown, and in the natural body if one member is injured or not as perfect as the others, it is covered up and cared for, rather than exposing the weakness that may be there. We ought to be glad to do for those who are weakest in the body of Christ. Therefore, let us "Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the Law of Christ."

The Times of the Gentiles

Text: "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24.)

HIS discourse was in substance as follows: As the city of Babylon represented the Empire of Babylon, so the city of Jerusalem represented the Jewish nation. The Scriptures refer to the fact that centuries before our Lord's day the Jewish Kingdom had been overthrown – had passed to the control of the Gentiles – and in our text our Lord declares that this subserviency would continue until certain times of the Gentiles, certain years or periods of their control, would pass away. When we read that certain times will be fulfilled, we are justified in thinking that these times have been foretold. And in looking for the statement of the matter in Holy Writ, we notice the facts of the case as follows:

God established the Jewish nation as His representative nation, or Kingdom, in the world, with the understanding that in some manner and at some time that nation would be the channel of divine blessings to all the families of the earth, in harmony with the original Oath-Bound Promise made to Abraham. After a precarious existence of nearly six hundred years, the star of Jewish Empire set, and it has not re-arisen since. The particular date at which the Typical Kingdom passed away is clearly marked in the Scriptures. The solidarity of the Empire in the hands of King David, and his son, King Solomon, was lost in its division in the days of Solomon's successor. Nevertheless, in harmony with the Divine prediction, the royal line continued in the tribe of Judah: as it is written, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law-giver from between his feet, until Shiloh come." (Genesis 49:10.)

Of the last king of Judah, Zedekiah, the Divine declaration was, "And thou, profane and wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord God, Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same...I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him." (Ezekiel 21:25-27.) That statement was made just prior to Israel's captivity to Babylon, B.C. 606. And the crown and sceptre have been overturned since then, and will continue so to be until Messiah himself, at his second advent, shall take the throne as the Antitypical Son of David.

The Interim of Time.

The interim of time between the overthrow of the crown in the days of Zedekiah and the establishment again of the crown in Messiah's Kingdom at his second advent is Scripturally termed the "Times of the Gentiles" – that is to say, the years of the Gentiles; the years in which the Gentiles would bear rule over Israel and all the earth; the period in which God would have no representative nation in the world, Some may inquire: Were not the Israelites restored from the Babylonian captivity? Yes, we answer, but they did not receive back the Kingdom; they were thereafter subject to the great dominant kingdoms of the world. First they were subject to the Medo-Persian Empire, whose Emperor, Cyrus, restored them to their own land as a subject-nation. Subsequently they were subject to the Grecian nation. And in the time of our Lord they were still a subject-nation to Rome. Pilate represented the Roman government, and so did Herod, the King of Galilee. Anyway, the Herods were not Israelites, but Edomites.

While it is true that an outward form of Jewish Kingdom was maintained subject to the Roman Emperors for a time, the last vestige of this authority passed away with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army in A.D. 70, and the Jews have never been able to re-establish themselves in their own land up to the present time. Now, in harmony with the Scriptures which foretell Israel's restoration to Palestine, and their re-establishment as the earthly representatives of God's Kingdom, the Zionist movement is coming forth with good hopes of soon effecting a Jewish sub-Kingdom. We may be sure, however, that the declaration of our text will come true to the very letter – "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" – or, filled full.

Let us look backward and note what the Scriptures declare respecting earthly empires and the period of their domination. If possible, let us ascertain when the Gentile times began, and when they will end, giving place to the Kingdom of Messiah, the spiritual Kingdom, the Church glorified, whose work will be the ruling of the earth, the blessing of all nations, and the uplifting of the human family out of sin and death conditions to all that was lost through Adam's disobedience, to all that was redeemed through the obedience of Christ Jesus.

The Scriptures very particularly draw to our attention King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Very carefully does the Prophet explain that Nebuchadnezzar had a vision of deep interest to him, but the particulars of which he could not recall. He demanded of the wise men of the Empire a statement of the dream, as well as an explanation, arguing that if they had any supernatural power by which they could explain a dream, the same power could rehearse it. Then it was that Daniel, the Prophet, was brought to the notice of the King, and by Divine power not only rehearsed the dream but explained it – a dream of much more interest to all Christians than it possibly could have been to Nebuchadnezzar himself.

Many of this audience doubtless recall the dream and its interpretation, yet we will briefly rehearse it. In his dream Nebuchadnezzar saw a great image of wonderful height and grandeur; its head was of gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of brass, its legs of iron, and its feet of iron mixed with clay. While it stood [CR42] erect, a stone was taken from the mountain and hurled at the image, striking it on the feet. Forthwith the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold were crushed to powder and became as the chaff of a summer's threshing floor, and the wind carried them away. By Divine illumination, Daniel, the Prophet, explained the vision thus: The head represented Nebuchadnezzar's own universal Empire, Babylon. The breast and arms of silver represented the kingdom which would succeed his as a universal empire; namely, the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. Upon the fall of Medo-Persia, the Grecian Empire would become universal, to be succeeded in turn by the Roman Empire, whose great strength was symbolized by the iron. This is the Empire which ruled the world in the days of our Lord. Thus we read that our Lord was born at Bethlehem, whither Joseph and Mary had gone at the command of Caesar-Augustus, the Roman Emperor, who sent forth a decree that all the world should be taxed. The civil Roman Empire lasted for several centuries after Christ, and was followed by the ecclesiastical Roman Empire, of which the popes at Rome were the representative heads. This Empire, partly civil and partly ecclesiastical, was represented by the mixture of the iron, representing civil power, and the clay, representing papal religious power; and this phase of Daniel's image still exists in the kingdoms of Europe as represented in the ten toes of the image which stand for the divisions of the territory of the old Roman Empire in Europe.

Daniel's View of the Matter.

When God subsequently gave his servant, the Prophet Daniel, a vision of these same Gentile governments that would bear universal sway over the earth from the time of the removal of the diadem from Zedekiah until the establishment of Messiah's Millennial Kingdom, the picture was a different one. Instead of a glorious image of towering height and splendor, Daniel saw four great, terrible wild beasts. The first, like a lion, corresponded to the head of gold of the image – representing Babylon. The second, like a bear, corresponded to the breast and arms of silver in the image, and represented Medo-Persia. The third, like a leopard, corresponded to the brass of the image, and represented Grecia. The fourth beast, great and terrible, found nothing in the animal kingdom to represent it. It corresponded to the legs of iron, which represented the Roman Empire; while the ten horns of the latter beast corresponded to the ten toes of the image, representing papal Rome and the present subdivisions of imperial Europe. The difference between these two visions represents how differently present institutions, the kingdoms of this world, are viewed from the human standpoint and from the divine standpoint. From the worldly standpoint and estimation, the kingdoms of the past have been majestic, grand; from the standpoint of God, and those who have His Spirit, they have been beastly.

The sequel to both of these dreams showed the overthrow of the earthly governments by the heavenly government. As it is written, "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom, and it shall break in pieces and consume all of these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." The Kingdom of God was pictured in the stone which smote the image on its feet. That stone prefigured Christ and the Church, and shows that it will be the power of God through the Church that will ultimately work the wreck of all earthly governments. Do not misunderstand me; nothing in the Word of God teaches anarchy, or authorizes God's people to fight with carnal weapons; rather they are exhorted to seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness, and to leave all else to the Lord, assured of His willingness to make all things work together for their good.

As Christ in the flesh lifted neither hand nor tongue to smite the earthly Empire, nor opposed Caesar and his representative, Pilate, so his followers are to raise no opposition to the powers that be, but are strictly enjoined to "be subject to them."

The Image.

What is going to happen to the Image? Oh, that is another part of the dream. You remember Daniel said, I had dreams and visions, and saw a stone cut out of the mountains without hands, and it smote the image on the feet, etc. It did not smite it on the head, for that would have been Babylon. But it struck it in the feet, down in the very last part. What was the result? The whole image was ground to powder and the wind carried it away, and the stone became great and filled the whole earth. The explanation is that that kingdom represented by the stone is God's kingdom, the very one we have waited for, and the very one that was taken away typically from Zedekiah – the real one is the one Christ will have.

Well, Brother Russell, does that mean that we are to knock the other governments to pieces? Oh, no. Our warfare is not with carnal weapons. Our Lord is the one that will knock them to pieces. We are glad the time is coming when God's favor shall return to the Jews, when He will bless all the world through the Jews, and you and I are glad that now, during this Gospel Age, God is taking us out of the world as representatives of that stone kingdom. (Lu. 12:32.) He called some who were Jews at the beginning of the Gospel Age, as we have the word through the Apostle John, "He came unto His own, but His own received Him not, but to as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God." They were not sons before, they were servants; but now privileged to become sons. You remember Moses was faithful as a servant, not as a son, but Christ was faithful as a Son, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence firm unto the end. It is this house of Sons that the Lord is gathering out. It is this kingdom of God that will be the power of God to overthrow the present institutions and establish righteousness and truth, and will cause the knowledge of God to fill the whole earth. So it is a great privilege that we enjoy to become members of this Kingdom of God.

This Class Foretold.

I remind you that God had foretold all about His people, that is, He foretold all about it in a certain sense. As an oak tree is in an acorn, so all God's purpose was in the brief statement to Abraham. After he had been a believer and manifested his consecration, the Lord said, "Abraham, come out of thine own country to a land that I will show you, and I will make a covenant with you." So when he did that, God did make the covenant with him, which was that, through him and his seed, God would bless all the families of the earth. God did not at that time wish to make it any clearer, for it was not His "due time," only to give a brief outline. God wished that that promise should be clearly understood, not only by Abraham and the children of Israel, but that you and I should understand it, so that you and I might have a great deal of confidence in it; because God knew that it would not be fulfilled back in Abraham's time, but hundreds of years afterwards. He not only promised it, but He also swore to it with an oath, as recorded in the 6th chapter of Hebrews. So the Apostle says that because of these two unchangeable, immutable things, we might have strong consolation. Not that Isaac or Jacob, or the Nation of Israel might have strong consolation, but that you and I might have strong consolation.

At the time of Isaac's birth it had a kind of fulfillment, but not in its full sense. At the time the promise was made, Abraham had no children, and it was not until twenty-five years afterwards that Abraham had a son, Isaac. God's promise was not fulfilled in Isaac, but God then said, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." So I suppose that as Abraham watched the boy grow up to manhood, he wondered how he was to bless all the families of the earth. No doubt the father and mother were somewhat disappointed, and so God confirmed the promise and said, that through Isaac, his seed should be called. Then Isaac has two sons, Jacob and Esau, and then again, God indicated that the promised Seed should come through Jacob, and so they waited and expected that the Nation of Israel would be the seed of Jacob, because as Jacob was dying he gave the Abrahamic blessing to all of his sons, who became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. Then God said, Your nation cannot exist of itself and I will send the Messiah; and now, be ready, for when He comes, He will come as a Refiner, etc. Who can abide His coming? They expected that when He would come that He would be a great general, [CR43] leader, prophet and teacher, and that He would smite all the nations, and that then Israel, as God's agent, under the leadership of Jesus, the Messiah, would extend the blessings to all the families of the earth. They did not expect anything so very different from what it will be. But when Jesus came, He was not the one they were expecting, and they were disappointed. So the scribes and Pharisees said, It is nonsense and foolishness to talk about that man which so few people recognize. Why, He does not claim to be as holy as we do. He eats with publicans and sinners. All He has is a little group of tax gatherers and fishermen – they are nobody – who would pay any attention to them? He is deceiving them, telling them that He will have a throne, and that they shall sit with Him in His throne, and they are leaving their business and marching around with Him; it is the worst kind of a delusion. We can sympathize with them, can't we, dear friends? We can almost realize that it was said to us. They said, If we could only get these people to see, but you know that you cannot reason with such common people; you know they are walking by faith. We will expose Him, so that these poor fishermen will not follow Him. We will get Him right here and ask Him some questions, and He will not be able to answer them, and it will expose the whole thing. We will ask Him first, When is your kingdom to come? Then we will say, Where are your soldiers? And He will not know what to say. We will ask Him how He will feed his soldiers, etc. We'll show Him up – it is all nonsense.

So they started to do this, and we read: "And when He was demanded of the Pharisees when the Kingdom would appear" (He took all the wind out of their sails, and they had nothing further to say), He answered and said, "The Kingdom of God cometh not with outward show, neither say, Lo here nor there, but it shall be everywhere in your midst." They asked Him no more questions. They could ask all the questions they pleased, and they could not hit His argument at all.

As a matter of fact, our Lord was indeed and truth the Messiah, and He did a very important work, the redemptive work, by dying the just for the unjust. Then His next step was to call a little flock to be His spiritual agents that they might share with Him, that they might be members of His Kingdom, and be exalted to be with Him through the power of the first resurrection. But they could not see it then. The poor Jews looked at it from the fleshly standpoint, so we should have much sympathy for them. I sometimes wonder if I would have received Him under those same circumstances. I am very glad that I am not under their temptations, but leave it all with the Lord. When Christ and the Church shall be glorified, then the Messiah will be composed of Jesus the Head and the Church His Body, and together they will be the great Priest, Prophet, King, Judge and Mediator, which Peter tells us in Acts 3:23 God is raising up during this Gospel age. It is all centered in the cross of Christ, and we are being transformed day by day by the renewing of our minds, ready for the first resurrection. So this is the great Messiah that is being raised up, and this is the great Mystery, which God all through the past ages has hidden, but which is now made known unto the Saints. It was not God's due time in the past. Are you sure of that, Brother Russell? Yes, I am sure of it, for Jesus said so, on one occasion, as you can read in Matt. 11:25. It was made known only to certain ones, as our Lord said to His disciples, "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of heaven, but to all those who are without, these things are spoken in parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not perceive," etc. If they had understood these things, as Peter said, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. God did not make their heart bad, but their ignorance co-operating with their evil heart caused them to do this. The world knows us not, even as it knew Him not, and therefore you and I are to have the same consideration that Jesus had, and are to be privileged to suffer with Him. So if you and I have any of either the literal or figurative stones, remember that the Lord suffered also, and we are not to be above our Master. But if they knew these things, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; and if they knew all these things, they would not have persecuted the members of His Body.

Look at the matter from a different standpoint; you remember how the Lord came into the world, was made flesh and dwelt among men. Being born under the Law, He was subject to all the terms and conditions of that Law; He was bound to keep the whole Law, and if He failed in any part, He would have been a violator of the whole Law, and could not have been our Redeemer. He was perfect, however, as we read in Heb. 7:26 – different from the other members of the human family. He had a right to be the Redeemer and Messiah, because He kept the Law, which would give Him the right to perfect human life as a man – not as an angel – but merely the earthly life, the same as any other Jew if he could have kept the Law, but no other Jew ever did keep the Law, so our Lord secured only the earthly rights, but God had another arrangement for Him. Instead of His keeping those earthly rights, He laid them down, exchanged the earthly rights, and received instead the heavenly or spiritual. As the Apostle puts it, He was obedient unto death (on this account). God has also highly exalted Him, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow. It was by virtue of His sacrifice. What did He sacrifice? Did He sacrifice everything that He had? No. He had exchanged the heavenly things for the earthly. The Apostle says, He that was rich, for our sakes became poor, that He might sacrifice them. After He became a man, then He made the sin offering, or sin sacrifice. What did He have to offer? He had an earthly nature – all that father Adam had. Father Adam was king of the earth, and had a right to earthly life, as a perfect man before he sinned. So Jesus, you remember, was made a little lower than the angels, etc., corresponding exactly with Adam. Adam became a sinner and came under the condemnation of death, but Jesus came, kept the Law, and secured all that Adam lost. He had a right to Adam's place and a right to say Now I am king. He could have given the world a good deal of instructions, and they might have said, Let us get under that covenant, for it is the best thing in the world, and Jesus might have instituted a reign of great blessing, but still the world would have been under the curse of sin and death. However, He laid the foundation for a better Kingdom, and we want to see what that better Kingdom is. Jesus sacrificed all the human rights and privileges, such as Adam enjoyed; He presented Himself a living sacrifice to God, and when He rose the third day, He was no longer the Man Christ Jesus; He was a new creature. What would He now do with those things which He had laid down? You and I would naturally think that He would give the benefit of them to the Jews, the natural seed of Abraham. Did Jesus do that? No, Israel is still without God's favor. What did He do? He ascended upon Him, taking the merit or value of His sacrifice with Him, represented by the blood in the type, which in turn represented the life of the animal, which was slain, and taking the blood into the Most Holy, He as High Priest over us the under priests, sprinkled it on the Mercy Seat, for us, the members of His Body, the household of faith. Who are the "us"? They are the royal priests, and Levites, both of these represented by the Christ, all of which in a general way had the divine approval. Out of that tribe of Levi, God first selected Aaron and his sons, who typified Christ Jesus our Lord, the Head, and the Church His Body. He is the Head of our order of priests, which the Apostle Paul said was represented in Melchisedec. In Revelation we also read, "He hath made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign with Him on earth for a thousand years." God has been keeping up the two fold idea that these He has been selecting are to do both a reigning and a work of instruction; these two things were to be combined when Jesus is the Head and the Church His body complete. So when Jesus appeared in heaven He applied the merit of His sacrifice, not for the Jews, but for us, so that when we received Him, and accepted Him as our Saviour we became justified; but it will take the whole world all of the thousand years to be just, right or perfect. Now you and I get our justification through faith. Abraham also received his justification through faith, and the Apostle tells us that it was not merely for his sake that it was written. This merit comes to all who are of the household of faith, and then consecrate themselves. What did Jesus give them? Just what He laid down; namely, human rights [CR44] and perfections. They were not spiritual rights, and Adam did not lose spiritual rights. Jesus had human rights to give, for those were what He secured by keeping the Law, and they are what He laid down in sacrifice. So we get these earthly rights, with certain conditions attached to them – He gives us these earthly rights upon the condition that we will do with them just what He did; namely, lay them down in sacrifice. God is going to pass these rights on down through the Church. What do we get if we do this? Jesus said that if we would do that, then we would also share with Him in the higher nature. "If you suffer with Me you shall also reign with Me." Well, now, that is very plain, is it not? Then what is God going to do with this merit which Jesus gave to the Church and which they in turn lay down? He is going to give it to Israel, and then Israel is going to give it to all the nations of the earth. Our attention is called to the fact that their Law Covenant was only a typical Law, and none were made perfect. Our Lord Jesus was the antitypical Isaac, and ye brethren are children of promise, as Isaac was, because Jesus is the Head of this Isaac class, and the Church is the Body, and they are therefore the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, through whom all the families of the earth shall be blessed. DON'T FORGET WHAT THEY ARE TAKEN OUT FOR. I hope you and I will be the faithful in the laying down of these rights, and we should count these things as loss and dross if we might win Him. As soon as the Church enters in beyond the vail, then the blood or merit which has been passing through the Church, will be sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, and it will seal the New Covenant. So we read that, after those days, God would make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah. They could not keep the other covenant, because they were not perfect. The New Covenant will take away their stony hearts, etc., and they shall be His people. God made a promise to the Jews, and that promise must be fulfilled. The New Covenant will mean that all through the Millennial Age all the blessing of knowledge and instruction will go forth, first to the Jews. But more than this, He is going to mediate for the whole world, because the whole world is to have the blessing in sharing in that New Covenant; all the nations are to be invited to share, and they will say, Come, let us go up to the house of Jacob, and we will walk in his statutes. The Christ shall be the mediator between God and Men. By the end of the Millennial Age, all who will reach perfection will reach it as Israelites, as children of Abraham, and so that is in harmony with God's promise to Abraham, "I have made thee father of many nations." So, all who will come into harmony with the New Covenant will receive its blessings.

Now it is a mystery, one that the Jews do not understand, and it is a mystery that can be known only by the saints, and the more saintly you are, the more you will be able to understand. Dear friends, let us hold fast our confidence firm unto the end, for as the Apostle says, "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy."

Gentile Times 2,520 Years.

What we would like to know, if it has pleased the Lord to reveal it, is just how long a period is meant by the expression, "Times of the Gentiles" – or, years of the Gentiles – in which the Gentile nations will bear rule or sway over the land of Israel. If God has been pleased to reveal the matter, let us enjoy it; if He has not been pleased to give any clue to the matter, we cannot find it. We are to remember, however, that this, like other features of the Divine revelation, was intended to be kept secret from the world, and to be made known only to those who are in heart harmony with the Lord – interested – and very desirous of knowing the mind of the Lord on this and on every subject. Hence, we may not look for a plain statement to the effect that in so many years from such an event the Gentile lease of power will terminate and God's Kingdom be transferred to Israel again. Rather we should expect that the matter would be stated in a more or less obscure form, in which it might be read over and over again without attracting special attention except from those especially interested ones led by the Lord's holy Spirit.

We believe that the period is what the Scriptures term "seven times" – seven years. Not seven literal years, but seven symbolic years. A "time" or "year" in symbol represents 360 literal years. In other words, each day of a symbolic year is a year, and hence the seven times, or seven years, would represent seven times 360, or 2,520 years. I give it to you as my conviction, dear friends, based strictly upon the Scriptures, but corroborated, it seems to me, by the events of our day, that this 2,520 years, beginning in 606 B.C., will end in October, 1914 A.D.

That a "time" or "year" has been Scripturally used to represent 360 may be very easily and very quickly demonstrated. For instance, in Revelation a period of time is mentioned in three different ways; namely, 1,260 days, 42 months and 3-½ times. The 3-½ times of Revelation are exactly one-half of the "seven times" of the Gentiles. The 1,260 years of Revelation are exactly one-half of the 2,520 years of the Times of the Gentiles. And these 2,520 years we believe will expire with October, 1914; at that time we believe the Gentile lease of power will expire, and that the God of heaven will set up His Kingdom in Israel.

We do not expect universal peace to immediately ensue, because Christ is styled the Prince of Peace. On the contrary, to our understanding, the collapse of the nations will be through a fierce strife, "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation," in which "there shall be no peace to him that goeth out, nor to him that cometh in," because God will set every man's hand against his neighbor. Our belief is that the warfare between capital and labor, emperors and peoples, will be short, sharp, decisive, and bring untold calamity upon all concerned. If people could only discern it, they would avoid it, but their eyes are holden; they see not, neither do they understand.

The Seven Times.

These seven times were foreshadowed in the experiences of Nebuchadnezzar, who was irrational for seven years, and at the end of that time recovered his reason and acknowledged the Lord as the ruler of the Universe. So history seems to show that during this period of Gentile domination the poor world has been in a measure insane, putting light for darkness and darkness for light. Our trust is that at the close of the Gentile Times, and following the short, sharp, decisive time of great trouble in 1915, humanity will regain its sanity and praise the God of heaven and acknowledge that all authority comes from Him and pertains to Him.

GREAT truths are dearly bought. The common truth,
Such as men give and take from day to day,
Comes in the common walk of easy life,
Blown by the careless wind across our way.

Truth springs like harvest from the well-ploughed fields,
Rewarding patient toil, and faith, and zeal.
To those thus seeking her, she ever yields
Her richest treasures for their lasting weal.


The Mystery

BROTHER RUSSELL: The Scriptures speak to us of a "Mystery hid from past ages, but now made known unto the saints."

This mystery, dear friends, began quite a while ago. There was a time when all of God's creatures were in harmony, when every creature was holy, and all were happy. Then there came a time when our adversary, Satan, who previously had been a holy angel, Lucifer, the morning star, one of the bright ones, proved disloyal to the Lord, and instead of being a bright star, he became an adversary, as the word "Satan" signifies. With this came a great perplexity no doubt to all the angelic host, as they beheld the failure of one of their brightest brethren. I presume they began to wonder what God would do about it. God did nothing about it, simply allowed Satan to be rebellious, and more than this, He allowed him to progress, and he became a liar and misrepresented the Father. When Adam was told that the penalty for sin would be death, Satan came and slandered God, stating that He was trying to deceive them, and that if instead they would eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would become like God Himself, that evidently God did not want them to know as much as He did, and that He wished to keep them down, but that he, Satan, would be their real friend, adviser, and counsellor, and that they should eat of it and not be imposed upon by God, that they should become gods to know good and evil. Thus we see that this lying against the holy character of God deceived Mother Eve, and through her, Father Adam, and thus Satan's rebellion went so far as to involve this new human creation of God.

What did God do now? He let them alone. Sin progressed, and then came murder – Cain killed his brother Abel. We may imagine that the holy angels were shocked as they saw the riot that sin was permitted to have; they no doubt wondered why God permitted this, and whether or not God was able to cope with Satan, restrain Cain from killing Abel, to bring order out of this confusion; but God allowed sin to progress for century after century.

Then you remember that He permitted the other angels to have fellowship with man, to appear as men to lift them out of their degradation. God wished to demonstrate to the angels themselves that it was not in their power to lift mankind up, but that He would do it by and by, and in His own way and time. But you remember also that while ministering to mankind, the influences of sin dragged them down, so that some of those angels became transgressors against the law of God; and, as Peter and Jude tell us, they left their first estate on the higher plane, and preferred to be on the human plane. They took unto themselves the daughters of men, and brought forth giants, men of renown. It would seem that God had not the power to restrain this spirit of sin, and it looked as though the entire fabric was falling to pieces. We do not know how long this deflection of the angels continued, for at that period man was several hundred years old, and one a hundred years old was only a child then. It is safe, therefore, to suppose that this period of sin lasted for at least two hundred years. God's reason was to prove and test the holy angels, to see to what extent they were serving the principles of righteousness, their loyalty to Him. They were under trial and test just as much as our first parents in the Garden of Eden. All the holy angels are in harmony with God, loyal to the very core; they have all been subjected to the tests and have withstood them, and all are worthy of eternal life and will enjoy it all through eternity. How this matter must have perplexed the holy angels, for God made a confident of nobody. How do we know? Because the Scriptures distinctly tell us so.

You remember the picture in the 5th chapter of Revelation, of the scroll written on the inside and outside. Those who could read at all, those who were in favor with God might read the outside, but the inside was securely sealed, and were not intended for anyone to read. You remember when our first parents transgressed that God gave a little word which was just a clue; namely, when He said that, The seed of the woman should yet bruise the serpent's head. From our standpoint we can see that the serpent, Satan, is to be destroyed soon, because God has revealed it to us, but there are millions of mankind that do not know that the Devil is to be destroyed.

Matters went on for quite a while, until there was a man in the world whose name was Abraham, full of faith in God, and the Lord put certain tests upon him, to test and prove his faith. Abraham was called the friend of God, and God made a revelation to him, something that faith could hold on to, but could not be had from any other standpoint. Abraham was an obscure man, and there was a large nation round about him, and he had very little opportunity to see how his posterity would ever be able to grant a blessing to all the families of the earth. Nevertheless, Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. The thought that all the families of the earth were to be blessed, more than offset the powers of sin then prevailing, but he believed that in some way God would bring it to pass. Up to the time Jesus died and the scroll was handed to Him, none could understand any part of the mystery of God. That may seem strange to some and they may ask, Was nothing revealed in the Law? No, there was nothing revealed, they were typified. Many of those things in the Law are not yet revealed to mankind, very few know anything about them; they are still a mystery to them. Were they not revealed to the Prophets? No. Peter tells us that they did not understand what they were, but found out that they were not for themselves that they did minister, but that those things they foretold were for us of this Gospel Age. They spoke of the things that were to be, of the sufferings and death of Christ, and the glory that should follow, and the angels even desired to look into those things, but they were not permitted to know. It must remain a mystery until He should come, when it would be proper to turn over the whole Plan of God for its solution. So you remember in the picture who it is that is worthy to take the scroll, and to look therein, "And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying? Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever." There is no reference to our Lord Jesus Christ in His prehuman condition. Through this worthy one, this divine mystery is to be revealed. Well, you say, what is it? It is God's method of dealing with Satan, who was the original sinner, and God's dealing with the whole Christ. This mystery was revealed to John who wrote about it in signs, sign-i-fied it, and so the mystery as a scroll has been gradually unfolding.

From our standpoint, dear friends, the heavenly Father has committed the whole matter to our Lord Jesus Christ, and He is now making it known to us, not to the world – the world knows nothing about the divine Plan. Our Lord recognized this matter of keeping things secret, and so He thanked the Father on one occasion for hiding these things from the wise and prudent, but for revealing them to babes. The world could not even understand what was written on the outside.

We can see the wisdom of it all now, for, had the Jews known who Jesus was, then, as Peter tells us, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Then what? He never would have fulfilled that feature of the Law of God. Let us not think, however, that the Jews were sinners above all of us, for Peter said, "I wot not that in ignorance ye did it." That is part of the blindness that will be turned away when the work of this Gospel Age is finished. What then? Oh, we read, They shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, they will realize that they crucified the Son of Man. He will not pour upon them eternal torment, nor fire and brimstone. He will pour upon them prayer and supplication.

I trust, dear friends, that they will be cut to the heart. The arrows of truth shall smite them. Just as at the time of Peter's preaching at Pentecost, some of them there were cut to the heart. If you had not been cut to the heart, you would not have known how to find the Great Physician. We are glad that some time God's mercy will reach all mankind. Under the New Covenant He will take away the [CR46] stony-heart and give them a heart of flesh, and bring them back to all Father Adam had in the beginning, and they will then be ready, anxious for the blessings of the Kingdom.

Let us keep in thought that the Church being a part of this mystery is really the essence of it, and the finishing of the mystery would be the finishing of the mystery, and the Apostle says that we have fellowship in this mystery. Christian people in general do not know anything about this mystery. Look all through the church histories and you will not find this Church recorded anywhere – this is the Church which never had a history written. It is such a mystery that even as we get all the light on the subject, we cannot tell how many of the Church were at the various places where Paul and Luke wrote from. Whoever might receive the Lord, would have the privilege of coming in and of being considered a brother in the Lord. So today we have this privilege of helping one another along. It is the greatest secret society in the world. It is not possible to make the natural man understand the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned, but as they thoroughly consecrate themselves, then they learn of these things. Many have read the "Studies in the Scriptures," but do not understand the mystery, because they are not in the right attitude of heart. The mystery is proceeding, and the Lord is selecting the members of His Church from all kindreds, peoples and nations of the earth. By and by their testing will be ended, and they will be changed in the first resurrection, then the mystery will be ended, and then everything will be plain.

Why not now? For the same reason as in the days of our Lord, so that the Jews might do unto Him whatsoever they desired, and for the same reason that the adversary might oppose the Body Members of Christ, and so that we can walk by faith and not by sight.

Let us look at another side of this mystery. You remember how God mentioned to Abraham that He would bless all the families of the earth – that was an unconditional promise. Because it was an unconditional or one-sided promise, it needed no mediator. Wherever there are two sides, there must be a mediator. In matters of business the law courts act as mediator. God had all the power to bless, and He merely said to Abraham that He would bless them, and in order that we might have strong consolation, He swore to it, otherwise it might seem that God had forgotten His promise or covenant. You remember after the promise was made to Abraham he had no child, had none for twenty-five years, and then Isaac was born. We can imagine how Abraham and Sarah looked at that boy. By and by God confirmed the covenant with Isaac, and then He had two sons, and by and by God confirmed the promise with Jacob, and finally Jacob handed it on to his twelve sons, who became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. Then God gave them His Law Covenant and they thought it was a mark of His special favor. They found that they could not keep that Law, or get a blessing from it, so God sent them a further message through Moses that He would raise up a Great Prophet from among their brethren, line unto Moses, and this one was to be the Messiah, and when He should come He would do great things, but who should abide His coming, etc. And then God told them that later He would make a New Covenant with them, after a certain period, and that then He would take away their stony-hearts which had hindered them from coming up to the full standard. They had the law upon tables of stone, but God told them that He would write the Law upon the tables of their hearts, that they should be His people, and He would be their God. That was a good promise, and so, they were waiting for the Messiah to come. They had seen some great men amongst the Gentiles, and they thought that when Messiah should come He would be great like those great men. They thought that He would conquer all the nations, and set up a great empire, but they did not know that it would be with arrows of truth that would smite them down. So when Jesus came, they were disappointed and felt that this one was not the one they had been waiting for. The more I think of the matter, the more glad I am that I am living today than at any other time in the history of the world. He came to His own, but they received Him not, but to as many as did receive Him, to them gave He the power or authority to become the sons of God. He took all that were ready to receive Him, but the rest were blinded.

I would like to have you see another point right here, a part of the mystery. When Jesus came, we read that He was born under the Law, and therefore it was obligatory for Him to keep that Law or He could not have the Abrahamic Covenant fulfilled in Him, and the scriptures declare that He did keep the Law, that He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. That would entitle Him to the rights of a perfect man. Adam had these things, and any Jew who could have kept the Law would have had them also, but none were able to keep it.

When Jesus kept that perfect Law of God, He proved Himself as the one to whom the rights of a perfect man should go. What did He do with those rights?

When He ascended upon high He took the value of His sacrifice, which was sufficient for the whole world, and applied it for – who? Everybody? No, that is the strange thing. Did He seal the New Covenant then? No; because if He had Israel would not have been an outcast. Israel is blinded and must remain so until the blessing comes to them. When the mystery is finished, then will He make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. When He ascended upon high, we are not to understand that He sealed the New Covenant. No, my dear brethren. The Apostle says that He ascended upon high, there to appear in the presence of God for who? The Jews? No. For everybody? No. But for us. THAT IS THE MYSTERY. Who are "us"? The "us" class are those who come into a certain condition of relationship with God. Well, did you not say He had a sufficiency of merit for all? Yes, nothing less than the death of Christ would have released a single one, and nothing more was necessary. What did He do for this special class? He stands there as their representative or guarantor. I hope you are one of this class, and I hope that I am one. Now, what is He going to give us? All that He had; namely, earthly rights. He gives these to us upon condition that we will do with them just what He did, which was that He laid down His earthly rights as a sacrifice, and so you and I must have the same spirit as He had, and we are to be counted in with Him and are to walk the same narrow way, and to lay down our lives. He wants us to pass along these earthly blessings, and we are invited to fill up that which remains of the afflictions of Christ, in order that we might be counted worthy to share in the glories that are to come. These earthly rights are to be given to the Jews, and through them are to be passed on to the whole world, all the families of the earth are to receive a blessing. They will say, Come let us go up to the mountain of the house of the Lord, and we will walk in His way, for "the Law shall go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem," and then all the families of the earth will be Israelites indeed, and Abraham will become the "father of many nations."

In the meantime, we are invited by our Lord to share with Him, drink of His cup. Don't be surprised if all do not understand, for this is the mystery, but all the true church shall understand it. It is for each one of us to seek by the grace of the Lord to be so in line with the mind of the Lord day by day, and year by year, that we may as the Divine Plan unfolds, have the privilege of understanding it.

Are you tired of the mystery and ready to back out, or are you more and more enamored by it? You have already progressed in the matter to a considerable degree, and you are being tested. When the Church has finished her course here, then the blessings will go to all the world at the hands of the Great Mediator, and at the end of the Millennial age, the mediatorial work will be finished, and the kingdom will be turned over to the Father and the world will be tested just as Adam was. The scriptures, however, do not tell us just how it will be done, but they do tell us that it will not be until after they have had a full knowledge of the redemption, and they have been fully qualified and prepared to stand any kind of a test that God shall see fit to bring forth. Then there shall be no more crying, dying, sickness, or sorrow, and He that sat upon the throne said, I have made all things new. What will be new? O, it will be the perfection of the Holy Nation. Lower than they will be the Great Company, associated with her, and the angelic hosts also, and then the human family, and then God will [CR47] have a clean universe, and then shall be everywhere heard, in heaven and earth, and under the earth, praises to God and to Him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb forever.

Thus great lessons will have been brought forth, and His great character in Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power manifested in a way that could not have been manifested in any other way.

God seeks such to worship Him as worship Him in Spirit and truth.


THERE are two points, dear friends, in our Master's answer to the question. We have perhaps learned that it would not be just the proper thing to specify just where we would like to be, either on the right or left hand, but have learned that it will be glorious to be anywhere in that throne of the Millennial age. We are glad that in God's providence we have heard something respecting the great divine mystery; namely, that "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." We have learned that that was the mystery which the Apostle tells us was long kept hidden, kept secret in past ages and dispensations, but now made known unto the Saints. The secret is first mentioned where it says that, "the seed of woman shall bruise the serpent's head." Then made known a little more to Abraham when he was told that through him and his seed all families of the earth should be blessed. Then, that the nation of Israel should be the ones to bless all families of the earth, and then, further, that this nation of Israel should constitute the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. So, for centuries they were waiting for the Messiah that should come through them, as had been promised. But when He came to them, His own, they received Him not. However, to as many as did receive Him, to them gave He power, right, or privilege to become the sons of God. They got the promise of certain heavenly things, but the temporal blessings they did not receive. The remainder of the nation were blinded, turned aside. However, the calls of God are not things to be repented of, so in due time He will return to them to fulfill in and through them the promises He had made, as we read in Romans 11:25-27.

There was another feature also of God's Plan which had been kept hidden; a mystery. Abraham did not know of it, Isaac did not know it, Jacob did not know it, and the Jewish Nation did not know it. Had they known it, they would not have crucified the Son of glory. The mystery was that the Messiah should be one like unto Moses, but composed of many members, of whom Jesus was the Head, and the Church was to be His body, and they would compose the Kingdom of God. This was the kingdom that the prophets were inquiring about and searching the scriptures to know or understand what their prophecies meant, but finally learned that they were said not for themselves, but for us. The Jews had full confidence that there would be a kingdom, because of the prophecies, and it was this Kingdom that the mother of Zebedee's children wanted them to have a place in, one at the right hand and one at the left hand of Jesus. We are hoping to sit with Him in His throne, but we do not know that we will be very close, but we are fully satisfied that we are going to get the most wonderful honor, and the most wonderful blessing that God could confer upon anyone, for we are to be given the most wonderful blessing of IMMORTALITY.

What did Jesus say, in answer to the mother's question? He said there were conditions, and you and I are more interested in the kingdom than in the restitution blessings; because it is higher, and furthermore, the earthly blessings are not now offered to anyone. The restitution blessings will be offered in due time, but He has made known unto us that He is now taking out of the world a people for His name. Now, if we have ears to hear, how earnest we ought to be, and if we have the right answer, and do our part, we can rest assured that God will do His part. When we get the right thought in mind, we will see that we have a great proposition on our hands. If you were attempting some great business undertaking, how careful you would be, but nothing in the world ever compared with the great proposition that God has given us.

He then pointed out the meaning of the Lord's expression, "Are ye able to drink of the CUP that I shall drink of?" He showed that it was the same cup that our Lord drank of, no other that we must share; and that we must drink all of it, and that we must "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." He then pointed out that this is the same as the Lord meant by the sacramental cup – which we must share if we would share in the blessings of all the families of the earth. In other words, this cup of self-denial and self-sacrifice with Jesus signifies our participation in the Blood of the New Covenant – in providing the wherewithal for the sealing of the New Covenant. He made it very clear, however, that the value of the "cup" was in our Lord's merit, that it is "His cup," and that we are merely favored with the privilege of participating with Him in His sacrifice, which has all the merit, and all the blessing power.

He then considered the other feature or condition, and showed that it did not refer to water immersion, but to the real baptism into Christ's death. He then considered the difference between Adam's death and the death in which we are to share, and pointed out that Adam's death was a penalty for sin, but that Christ's death was a sacrifice for sin. He showed that on account of our being children of Adam, we were sharers in that penalty, death, not eternal torment, or anything else after death, and showed that we must be freed from that death penalty before we could accept the proposition to become dead with Christ. He then pointed out that when justified we were freed from the penalty of death which had been handed down to us from Adam, and it was all for the purpose of our then laying down those justified human lives with all their rights and privileges, as a living sacrifice, which was then holy, acceptable in the sight of God, and was our reasonable service, and proved conclusively that it is only, if we suffer with Him shall we also reign with Him.

Here we saw the wonderful Divine privilege granted to the Church in this Gospel Age, and to her alone; namely, a share in this "mystery," this hidden thing which the world knoweth not, and which only the Saints know. The appreciation of this mystery even the Saints will lose, unless their hearts are loyal and obedient to the Lord; for obedience is still better than sacrifice in the sight of the Lord.


Mercy Through Your Mercy

Text: "Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" – Romans 11:31-33.

I PRESUME, dear friends, that you have pretty well in mind the Apostle's argument in this chapter, the verses of which I read constituting a part. He is talking about the Jews and the calamity that came upon that nation of Israel when they rejected God, and when He correspondingly rejected them, cast them off. He is calling the attention of the Church to the fact that this rejection of Israel is not a permanent thing, not to last forever, that God is going to receive them back again to Himself; and although more than eighteen hundred years have passed since the Apostle wrote these words, you and I have full confidence in the wisdom, justice, love and power of God; full confidence that God will receive them back as His special people. How glad we are. As we look back at the experiences through which they have passed, our hearts are moved with sympathy as we remember, as the Apostle points out, they were heirs of God, of the promises of blessing which you and I are getting. All these things belonged to them and were upon their table, as represented by the rich man who fared sumptuously. Then to think that they have lost all those blessings, and the rich man, as a nation, has gone down into death, and as a people are in trouble, while you and I, represented by Lazarus, have been received into God's favor, and now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise, through faith in Christ. And so the Apostle tells us in Gal. 3:29 that if we are Christ's, then we are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. The Apostle tells us that the branches were the Israelites, that the root of the promise was the Abrahamic Covenant made with Abraham, and the nation of Israel grew up out of that promise, and they were His holy people, and the individuals were the branches of the kingdom of Israel, and were heirs of the promise, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." They prayed, and waited and longed for the good things to come to them. How sad it makes us feel when we find that when the good things did really come to them, so few were ready; merely a remnant were saved, only a few accepted God and came into Christ. All the rest of the nation were blinded. While it makes us sad when we see what they might have had, but lost, yet on the other hand, we are glad because of their casting off, we have been permitted to come in, and become fellow-sharers with those who did accept God, that thus the body of Christ might be completed in Him, Jesus the Head, and you and I and the other consecrated ones members of His Body. So this was the great privilege that came to them first. (John 1:11-13.) Born not of the will of the flesh, but of the holy Spirit. The Apostles and about five hundred more, then a few at Pentecost, and then a few more through the preaching of the Apostles. These were practically all of the Jews received into the Body of Christ. The end of their favor came and their table, which had been so richly spread, became a trap and snare. How could a spiritual Israelite be anything but sympathetic toward those who lost such a great blessing which we have received. The more we appreciate what we have the more we appreciate what they lost. We appreciate it a good deal more than they and we may be glad for them on that account. That is exactly what the Apostle is saying here, "As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the Father's sake." (Rom. 11:28.) Practically eighteen hundred years have passed, but they are still beloved because "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" – whenever He gives a gift He means it; He knows the end from the beginning; He would not have promised the Abrahamic Seed anything according to the flesh that He was not able to give to them in His own due time, and this is what the Apostle is writing about in this connection: "I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery," one which the Jew does not understand yet, and one which our Christian friends do not see or understand. They in general have the idea that God is now trying to save as many as He can, and as our Methodist friends say is doing the best He can. We are sorry, but they do not get the right view. That is a mystery which they do not understand, that God is not now trying to save the world. What is He doing? He is finding the seed of Abraham, through whom all the families of the earth will be blessed; first, Israel, and then the other nations. The Apostle is leaving out the other nations in this chapter, merely showing how the favor went to Israel according to the flesh, how they lost it, and how they are to get it back; He is leaving them out because they are to be blessed through Israel in God's due time.

Perhaps I had best refresh your memory about the history of the promise of God in the past. Abraham, you remember, was faithful, and because he was faithful God said to him, "You are My friend; I will tell you that I am going to bless the world." Abraham did not know how and God did not explain. I will choose that the blessing shall come through your posterity and thou shalt have a son of promise in twenty-five years. He believed God that the promise would come to all the world and through his posterity. Then God confirmed the promise to Isaac. Isaac had two children, Jacob and Esau, and God confirmed the promise to Jacob, and when it came Jacob's turn to die, instead of committing it to one son God transferred it to his twelve sons, and the twelve tribes they would represent; all their children were to be the heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant, and that is what the Apostle said, "Under which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come." (Acts 26:7.) The Apostle further says in Hebrews, that God was so willing to impress the matter of the promise that He not only made the statement that He would bless all the families of the earth through Abraham's seed, but He confirmed that statement by an oath, and as God could not swear by any greater, so He swears by himself. Now the Apostle tells us that this Covenant was stated in this form and the oath added for our benefit, not for Abraham, or Isaac, or Jacob, or the children of Israel: "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil." (Heb. 6:18,19.)

What hope? The hope of being members of the Body of Christ, of being sharers with Him of the great blessings coming upon Him and through Him upon all families of the earth. It is an anchor to our soul. Is it to you, dear brother or sister? It is sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil. Now, dear friends, the more you understand that Covenant, and the more you realize how that hope is the anchor of your faith and trust, the more will be your blessing as children of the Lord's family. This hope is the basis of all your hope of being sharers with Christ in the honor, immortality, and the great work of the Millennial age; it is centered in the Abrahamic promise. You see, this was given to natural Israel in the natural way; the Lord added the Law to the Abrahamic Covenant – added for a purpose. Added to show the children of Israel that they were not worthy of such a high position; also to show that our Lord was the worthy one and when He kept the Law it showed that He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. (Heb. 7:26.)

What was gained by keeping the Law? He became the heir of Adam and all of Adam's estate, who was king of the earth before he sinned. God had said that the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and all flesh were in his [CR49] hands or power. He lost that relationship through sin and became a dying creature; so everything passed from him in death, and since then none of his children were able to inherit his estate. The offer to the Jew was that if he could take the place of father Adam he could become the heir of the world. They tried it for sixteen hundred years and more and not one succeeded. Then what? In due time God sent forth His Son, born under the Law, so that He would come under all those terms and conditions, so that if He would keep it then He would inherit everything. Did He keep the Law? Yes, the Scriptures say so. As a Jew He kept the Law and inherited all of Adam's rights and privileges. Well, now, dear friends, He might have kept those rights and dominion and tried to patch up the old condition of things, and have thought that He might have brought a great deal of prosperity into the world, and He might have done considerable, not only for Israel but for other nations, and could have run the world much better than it is at present. But if He had done that He never could have suggested that they would have eternal life, because they were dying creatures and under the sentence of death, which would still have remained. Instead of keeping those earthly rights He laid them down in sacrifice, the Just for the unjust, that He might have in His hands a price or merit equal to the restitution of all. He merely made a preparation to give something. Then the Father raised Him from the dead the third day and He appeared in the presence of God. What had He when He appeared in the presence of God? He had the Blood, which represented the sacrifice of Christ, the value of His earthly rights which He had secured by keeping the Law; He laid down His earthly rights for spiritual rights and had the earthly rights in His possession that He might give them away.

What did He do with these earthly rights? He had enough for every member of Adam's race, enough to satisfy for the sin of the whole world. We read that He presented it to God. For whom? Was it for Israel? No. However, we would have expected Him to have done that because they were His own people, according to the flesh. They fell when they could not keep the Law, and they prayed about it, and God sent them word, saying that He would send them a Redeemer, Prophet, Priest, and King. How could He do more for them than Moses did? Surely, Moses was faithful to the nation of Israel. Well, said the Lord, I will make a better Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; I will make a New Covenant; I will take away their stony heart and replace it with a heart of flesh, and I will write My Law upon their heart. Israel thought: Well, that is good; now we will wait for that blessing of God. In Malachi 3:1 we read, "Behold I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts." Israel said, We are hoping for this new Covenant, and of course there will be a Blesser, a Mediator; we will wait for Him; when He comes then we will have a glorious time. But the Lord speaks further in the second verse, saying, "But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap." When He ascended on high, instead of presenting His earthly rights for Jews, what did He do? He brought in some more mystery. What mystery is this? It was the mystery of the Church. When He ascended on high He presented that merit of His earthly rights for us, the household of faith. He did not have any spiritual rights to give; only earthly blessings. As a man, Christ kept the Law, and as a man He had the right to human life; it was Adam's rights that He laid down. He had the new life himself, but He did not have the new life to give away. What He gave away was that which He had before He consecrated, and He presented it on our behalf, which only gives us earthly blessings – there was nothing more. He gives us those earthly rights under certain stipulations or agreement. He gave them only with the consideration that we should lay them down. If you don't lay them down you can't have them; you must take up your cross and follow Him. If you do not you cannot be His disciple. "If we would reign with him we must suffer with him." Those are the considerations; we must sacrifice these earthly rights as He did. When He appeared in the presence of God He appeared for the Church, for those who would present their all in sacrifice. None of this merit is going to be lost, because if any goes to you it must pass through you; you cannot hold on to any of it; you must agree to lay down that earthly life. This promise came to the members of the Church; all benefited, and all the Church are called upon to sacrifice, – "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." You cannot be members of the Body unless you do sacrifice, – "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sin." Any man who does not offer is not a priest. Offer up yourself; present your body a living sacrifice.

The whole work of the Gospel Age has been the finding of these disciples, priests, who have the same spirit as Christ; and you and I are to lay down our lives for the brethren. The agreement is that if we suffer with Him, not differently, or something else, but if we do so we shall reign with Him. All down the Gospel Age the Church has been suffering, "filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." (Col. 1:24.) So the time is going on until the last member of the Body of Christ has laid down these earthly rights in death as a sacrifice. Then what? Then we will be able to do the greater work of the Seed. We are not the Seed of Abraham now, except in this figurative sense. It is only if we make our calling and election sure. "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29.) If you finish your course faithfully then beyond the veil you are the Seed of Abraham. Very shortly we will all be glorified and then the whole Seed of Abraham on the spiritual plane will be complete. Then what? We have a lot of blessings and mercies to give away. Now you and I individually have no right to give anything away; our Lord has all the right. Then these rights will be passed on to Israel, as we read, "Through your mercy they also may obtain mercy." (Rom. 11:31.) They needed this mercy long before the Gospel Age, and are still hoping, and I am glad of the hope. Well, what kind of mercy will they get from us? Why, it will be God's mercy. Does it say so? "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out!" (Rom. 11:32,33.) It is the Father that will have mercy upon them, through the Church, which is the Body of Christ – Jesus, the Head, and the Church His Body. They constitute the great Mediator between God and men – the world. We came into Covenant relationship with the Father through faith; no Mediator was necessary, even as no Mediator was necessary with Abraham, but his faith was counted unto him for righteousness. Jesus Christ, the Righteous, is the Advocate for the Church. All things are now working together for our good, so that He may fit us for the Bride to share His own glory. The work for us to do with our Lord will be the blessing of the world. Are we the Mediator? Not yet. You are in the world, but not of the world, but the Mediator is between God and the world. Every member of this great Mediator must have the spirit of Jesus, the Head, "For whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Rom. 8:29.) What are we to do? Well, there is that Covenant God made with Abraham, and it must have a fulfilment. God told Israel that He would make a New Covenant with them; that He would put His Law in their inward parts; that He would be their God and that they should be His people. Does the Apostle say that? Yes, read Hebrews, the eighth chapter. Under this New Covenant He says that He will take away their sins. He did not take away their sins under the Law Covenant. The only way to get rid of the things under the Law was to die to it. Whatever Jew does not accept Christ and die to the Law Covenant will never be accepted of God. But "blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of [CR50] the Gentiles be come in." (Rom. 11:25.) Then the great Deliverer will be complete who will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. This Deliverer is born out of Zion; the Head is the Lord Jesus, the Body is the Church; and this finding of the Head and Body has been the work of the Gospel Age. The Head of the Church is distinctly separate from the Body in some respects, and our Lord Jesus was the firstborn eighteen hundred years ago, and it will be a long time before the Body will be born, so the Prophet states, "Shall I bring to the birth, shall I cause the head to come forth and not deliver the body?" No, thank God! It will be the same resurrection Jesus had that you and I are invited to share. You remember how the Apostle Paul puts it, "if by any means I might have part in his resurrection." We are to share in that.

Then will be the time when we will apply our earthly rights to Israel; then will be the time that they will obtain mercy through our mercy, the New Covenant being made with them. If any one wants to come to God during the Millennial Age they must come through this New Covenant, just as the Israelites do, by becoming members of Israel; so that eventually the whole world will be Israelites, and then will be fulfilled God's promise to Abraham where He said, "I will make thee father of many nations."

The Heathen For An Inheritance

Text: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possessions." (Psalm 2:8.)

OUR text is from one of the Messianic Psalms. It represents our Lord as making known to His people the Heavenly Father's decree rewarding Him for His faithfulness as our Redeemer, assuring Him of His exaltation to the Kingdom, and that with this will come the inheritance of all the earth, with power to fully subject all things to the Heavenly Father's will. He was to have it for the mere request – "Ask of me." As a matter of fact, this world-wide dominion has not yet come to Messiah; the heathen are not yet His inheritance; the uttermost parts of the earth are not yet His possession. Indeed, as the Prophet declares, "Darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the heathen."

When we remember our Redeemer's love for the race, the love which led Him to lay down His life "to seek and to recover that which was lost," we are inclined to amazement that He has not yet asked the Father for His inheritance of the heathen – we are astonished that He has permitted "the prince of darkness" and the "reign of sin and death" for more than eighteen centuries since He suffered, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. Our perplexity in the matter might well be answered by our Lord's words to the Sadducees, "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God." As we come to understand the Scriptures more fully, and to appreciate how the power of God will be exercised in bringing the heathen under the domination of the Redeemer, the eyes of our understanding open and we are enabled to rejoice accordingly.

Why He Did Not Ask.

Our Lord did not ask for His great power to reign at an earlier date because He knew the Father's plan, and was well contented with the Divine times and seasons; He had no wish of change in this. He did not ask to receive the heathen for an inheritance at the beginning of this Gospel Age, but has been content to wait and place that request in its due time in harmony with another feature of the Divine program which must first be fulfilled. That other feature is the selection of the Church, the Bride of Christ, the members of His Body. It pleased the Father to make our Lord not only the world's Redeemer, and the world's King, but also to make Him the High Priest of an Under-priesthood, the Bridegroom of the Church, His Bride; the Elder Brother of the saints of glory whom the Father is pleased to have developed during this Gospel Age as "New Creatures in Christ Jesus" – sharers of His sufferings, and of His glory to follow.

Meantime the heathen have been suffering no damage. Born in sin, shapen in iniquity, condemned to death, they were having experiences with sin and death, and going down to the great prison-house for periods of unconsciousness – until the Redeemer at His second advent shall call them and all mankind from the great prison-house, the tomb. This He foretold, saying, "All that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth." This will include not only the Church of the First-Born ones, who have been approved of God, and who, passing trial now, will come forth unto life eternal, but it will include also all the remainder of mankind, those who have not had God's approval, all of whom, because redeemed, shall come forth unto judgment – trial. A fair trial will be theirs, to determine their worthiness or unworthiness of life eternal by the manner in which they will receive or reject The Christ of God when, during the Millennium, the same shall be made fully known to them.

It was part of the Divine purpose also that the whole earth should be filled with people, and hence the bringing forth of a progeny is a part of the Divine will. The few short years of the present life, with experience of sin and death conditions, will in due time be supplemented by the glorious period of the Millennium, with its grand opportunities for lessons of righteousness and obedience and rewards. Its corrective "stripes," or punishments, to the careless will be to the intent that so many as possible may ultimately be entirely recovered from death conditions and brought into full accord with God in Christ. And others, demonstrating their unwillingness to come into heart sympathy with righteousness, will be utterly destroyed from amongst the people. (Acts 3:23.)

The More Excellent Way.

So, then, our Lord's reason for not asking sooner for the heathen as His inheritance, and the remotest parts of the earth for His possession, was because He knew the Father's plan to be a different plan, and that it was the more excellent way, and He delighted to do the Father's will. And so with all the followers of Christ: So soon as they ascertain the Father's glorious plan of salvation, they find it to be soul-satisfying, and greatly prefer it to any plan of their own. It is the undeveloped Christians, whom the Apostle designates "babes in Christ," who are continually praying to the Heavenly Father for a change of the Divine program, imagining that their wisdom and their love in respect to the heathen are superior to those of the infinite Creator. Nearly all Christian people have had their experience with such ignorance, and we are glad to suppose that the Heavenly Father laid not the sin of such presumption to our charge, but rather sympathetically appreciated our interest in the heathen, although He must have deprecated our lack of reverence, our headiness, our high-minded assumptions of more than infinite wisdom.

We are not saying a word against missions – home and foreign. Quite to the contrary, we believe that every Christian should labor with heart and hand to do all in his power to glorify the Father and the Redeemer, and to enlighten his fellowmen respecting the cross of Christ, and the blessings and privileges which it secures. But while gladly, willingly, serving the Divine cause, "instant in season and out of season," we should learn to labor and to wait. We should learn that the laboring under present conditions is chiefly arranged for our benefit – for the development in the minds of the Royal Priesthood of the sacrificing qualities, and the [CR51] graces of the Holy Spirit – meekness, gentleness, patience, faith, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love.

Co-Workers Together with God.

Let us be sure, dear friends, that any theory of ours respecting the heathen, or any other feature of the Divine program, which in any degree implies superior wisdom, or superior energy, or superior love, on our part, as compared with that of our Heavenly Father and our Redeemer, must be wrong. The sooner we learn to pray from the heart, "Thy will be done," the better it will be for us, the more will we be able to get into harmony with our Lord, and the more will we be used as His ambassadors and representatives. The wisdom of man is foolishness with God, and the wisdom of God is foolishness with man, hence we must not take the human standpoint in investigating or reasoning upon the Divine purposes and program. Rather, we must go direct to the Word of God, that we may be taught of God, that we may discern the beauty, the harmony of His plans.

It is written that obedience is better than sacrifice, and this being recognized, how careful it should make us to inquire what the will of the Lord is; to search the Scriptures, that we may there ascertain the Divine program, and be found in harmony therewith. There we find that the Lord's present work is the completing of the Royal Priesthood, the Royal Judge, the Royal Prophet, the Royal Mediator, the Great King, for the world of mankind – for the world's deliverance from the bondage of sin and death, and their assistance back to harmony with God. Thus seeing, we will have patience in respect to the heathen, and strive now to make our own calling and election sure, and lay down our lives for the brethren in assisting to build them up in the most holy faith, "until we all come to the measure of the stature of a man in Christ" – the great Mediator of the New Covenant, of which Jesus is the Head.

Converting the World.

When will the world be converted? When will Christ ask for the heathen? When will the Father give them to Him? How long, O Lord? The scriptural answer, dear friends, is, that it has pleased the Father to select the "jewel" class during the Gospel Age by means which the world would think foolish – by means of the preaching of the good tidings. But His program for the future age is different. There are millions who have no ear to hear the preaching of the cross of Christ. There are millions who have no eye of faith to see the glorious things of God. In fact, according to the Scriptures, only a "little flock," comparatively, can be brought into accord with the Lord under the conditions of the present time, because sin abounds, because death reigns, because Satan, the prince of this world, now works antagonistically in the hearts of the children of disobedience.

Hence it has pleased God to have a different method of dealing with the world of mankind in general from that which He adopted for dealing with the Church in this Age. In the next age force will be used, and not merely moral suasion. Force will be employed in putting down the reign of evil. Satan will not merely be requested to desist from deceiving the world, but will be bound for a thousand years, and be unable to deceive the nations. Likewise, mankind will no longer be invited to accept Christ, and to give their hearts in obedience to Him, but, on the contrary, they will be compelled to be obedient. As it is written, "Unto him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God." Offers of grace will no longer be held out, with reward for faith attached; instead, knowledge shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep. (Philippians 2:10,11; Isaiah 11:9.) As a result, no one shall then say to his neighbor, or to his brother, Know thou the Lord! for they all shall know him, from the least unto the greatest of them. (Jeremiah 31:34.)

Heathen Fall under Him.

Another Psalm describes Messiah's triumph in the Millennial Age, saying, "Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously in the cause of Truth and Meekness and Righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee." (Psalm 45:3-5.) Instead of the word "people" here, read the word "heathen" as in the original, and we have a picture of the conversion of the heathen as it will shortly be accomplished. We are not to suppose the Lord will ride upon a horse, nor that literal arrows will literally pierce the hearts of His enemies. We are to understand this picture to signify our Lord's triumphal conquering of the world, and that the arrows of truth which will go forth unto the whole world will reach the hearts of men, and smite them down. Even so we read that when St. Peter preached at Pentecost that the Jews had taken and crucified the Son of God, the hearers were cut to the heart with the lance of truth. Thank God for such arrows from the quiver of Divine wisdom, justice, love. We rejoice that the heathen will thus be conquered for the Lord, and thus eventually every knee bow and every tongue confess.

This work of dealing with the heathen, with the world, with all except the Church, will begin with the generation living at the time of the establishment of the Lord's Kingdom. In due time it will proceed and ultimately include all that are in their graves, in the reverse order from that which they entered, and the last shall be the first to come forth – "every man in his own order" or class.

Too frequently do Bible students neglect to see whether or not their interpretations are in harmony with the context of the passages under discussion. Let us not make this mistake. Turning to the second Psalm, we find that, following our text and a part with it, is the declaration, "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." (Verse 9.) The application of this evidently is to the time for our Lord's second advent, when the selection of the Church shall be completed, and she shall have entered into His glory as the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, symbolically pictured in the New Jerusalem from God out of heaven. From that New Jerusalem we are told that the river of the water of life shall flow freely, and that whosoever will may partake of it freely – all that are athirst. On either bank will grow the trees of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations. And the Spirit and the Bride will say Come, and whosoever will may come and take of the water of life freely. But meantime, before the nations, the world, will be ready for that blessing from the New Jerusalem, they must needs pass through a period of very deep humiliation – "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation."

As for the nations of that time, the extent to which they will suffer destruction will depend largely on their own attitude, as is intimated by the verses following our text. Those of the nations who freely and heartily accept of Messiah's rule will be correspondingly saved from the breaking process. Hence it is urged, "Kiss the Son, O ye kings of the earth; kiss the Son lest he be angry with you and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little." But while this seems to offer leniency, mercy, these favors are conditional on the manner in which the Messianic Kingdom shall be received. Other Scriptures seem to intimate that all the nations, not only heathen but civilized, will be found in violent opposition to the heavenly Kingdom, and hence that all together they will be crushed as the vessels of a potter.

The Glorious Outcome.

The Lord tells us that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than man's ways, and his plans higher than man's plans. And this we find true as we come to better understand the Scriptures. Who ever dreamed of such lengths and breadths and heights and depths of love divine, all love excelling, as are implied and included in God's great plan of selecting, first the Christ – Jesus the Head and the Church, His Body – and then through these blessing all the families of the earth with a knowledge of Himself and the glorious opportunities for life eternal! We make no claims of universal salvation, because the Scriptures do not authorize this, but distinctly speak of some who will die the Second Death, proving themselves not sufficiently in harmony with righteousness to be worthy of eternal life – even after being brought to a [CR52] knowledge of the Truth. But the Scriptures do show us that when all the unwilling and disobedient shall have been cut off in the Second Death, then the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God, and every creature in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth, shall be heard acclaiming praise, honor, glory, dominion, and might, to him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever. And he upon the throne declares, Behold, I make all things new. And there shall be no more sighing, and no more crying, and no more dying, for the former things shall have passed away. (Revelation 21:1-5.)

The Lord's Secret Society

BROTHER RUSSELL: Dear Friends, we have heard from Brother Acheson a welcome on behalf of the City of Seattle and the Church of Seattle. We have heard from Brother Baker the welcome you have received on behalf of the friends of the Northwest territory. And I am sure we all feel very grateful, and as I look about and it becomes my part to represent the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (in one sense of the word I am speaking for you all and for those who are not present) – a large contract in few words.

I want to say I appreciate very highly the effort put forth by the friends of Seattle and nearby places. I feel God has greatly blessed us as we have come to your city and we want to think about the precious things of the glorious plan of our Lord.

Some eighty-nine in number were in the same Special Train coming up from Portland where we had a blessed occasion. Preceding that we were at Oakland, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans, Memphis, Piedmont, Washington. And before that we bade good-bye to the friends at Brooklyn, and they sent their greetings to all of you on the way.

What a brotherhood there is amongst those who love the Lord! And how different from any other kind of union or bondage. We all know how the world has appreciated the fact of unions, what endeavor is made to get people into unions and societies. We all know what grips and passwords and obligations are taken, the one to the other. We are privileged to be members of the most wonderful society the world has ever known anything about. It has its grip indeed, and I get a great many of them and appreciate them very much. I know the grip right away. I only have to be on guard that I do not get too much of it. I am learning to take first catch, near the fingers. Occasionally some brother says, I can't get a proper hold on your hand, Brother Russell, and I answer, I try to keep you from getting it. If I should get the proper grip on about a thousand and they should press and express all they mean, there would not be much hand left. I presume we all know the grip.

We all know something about the passwords of our society; we have some very precious passwords and some that cannot be counterfeited. All other societies, in trying to get up a society, try to do so without letting others know the password and secrets of the society. But we have a society respecting which nobody can give away its secrets – the Mystery of God, and we can't give it away. It can be understood by those on the inside and they can try to tell it, but only those who have an ear to hear can hear in the appreciative sense. The Apostle gives us this secret when he says, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God....But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:9,10,14.) I tell you the Lord was able to get up the best secret society when He sought to do so, and He has done so. I am surprised sometimes that some of the friends are taken in by some people who try to make believe they are brothers of the Lord. No one familiar with the Truth need be deceived. Have that in mind, dear friends.

Well, it will not be long, dear friends, until our secret society will be dissolved, and then it will be no more. The others are hoping that theirs will never be dissolved, but we are just waiting for the time when our society will be dissolved, because the Lord has written it in advance, "The Mystery of God has been finished which he kept secret from the foundation of the world." After that, what do you think? Everybody will know about it. Some one asks, Will everybody know who are of the glorified Church? Surely they will. We know about the Lord Jesus, that He is of the Church, and just so surely all in the Millennial Age will know who are the members of the Church, who have won the great prize, whom the Lord will declare and reveal to be His joint heirs in the kingdom. There is one Scripture that seems to bear upon this subject. It says, "And in Zion it shall be said, this and that man was born in her." (Psalm 87:5.) I think that refers to the way it will be ultimately. The roll call will be there, a very honorable roll call, the Lamb's Book of Life, and I hope our names will be there. I hope they are there now, for you remember the Lord's way of doing is that He writes these names in the Lamb's Book of Life at the time we make our consecration, and he lets them stay there so long as you and I abide in His love and in the condition of disciples. This love we want to abide in us and if it is abiding in us and we in Him then we are His and we will continue to be His. But if not, what then? He says He will blot out their names from the Book of Life. He does not say, however, that all those blotted out of that honorable roll will be blotted out of existence. No, indeed. But you and I desire, and desire earnestly that our names shall not be blotted out at all, but that by the grace of God having been called to this high place of glory, honor and immortality, that we may ultimately be counted worthy to share those things to which we were invited.

I sometimes think how much easier it will be to share those things than to lose them. I sometimes think that the position of the Little Flock will be an easier one in many respects than that of the Great Company. Both will suffer tribulation, "through much tribulation shall ye enter the kingdom," but there is a difference in the tribulation that will come upon the Little Flock and that of the tribulation class. Not that the tribulation class will have any more severe experiences than that of the Little Flock. How could they? Notice some of the things our Lord Jesus experienced. Will any of the Great Company have any harder experience? Some of the Apostles were beheaded, and John was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. Will any have more severe experiences? What is the difference, then, between the Little Flock and the Great Company who make their robes white in the time of trouble? We have a tribulation in which we are enabled to glory, as the Apostle says, "But we glory in tribulations also." You remember how the Apostle Paul and Silas, his companion, were able to sing praises to God in the prison with their backs bleeding. Yes, indeed, and so may you and I learn to glory in tribulation, "knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts," bringing love, joy, peace and fellowship with the Father, with which there is nothing to be compared. We have the better part. So then all of those who have joined the Lord and undertaken to go the narrow way have counted the cost in advance, that there is to be a narrow way and they are therefore able to rejoice. What is [CR53] the secret? How could Paul and Silas rejoice? Because the love of God was shed abroad in their hearts. So you and I need to get more love. What next? More love. What after that? More love. You can't get too much. Get it shed abroad. We may have some love at the start. There was nothing but love for God that led us to make our consecration. After that there was a further work to do. We received the Holy Spirit permeating our hearts, influencing every action of our lives, and the words of our lips, and finally influencing all the thoughts of our minds, transforming, renewing, changing from glory to glory. But I must not continue in this strain.

I want, then, to say, finally, that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society greet all of the Lord's dear people at this Convention and in the name of the Lord Jesus we wish you God-speed in your journey toward the heavenly city. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is pleased with every opportunity of rendering you service in any manner whatsoever, and unto the least of the Lord's people; realizing that it is done as unto the great Master himself.

The Society is pleased to consider all of your interests so far as it is able to do so, and to supply as best the Lord gives the necessary means and opportunities for your refreshment by sending the Pilgrims and Watch Tower and making every arrangement for your comfort and welfare that we may all feast together at the Heavenly Father's table and rejoice together in the experiences at this present time, and all be built up together in the most holy faith and individually reach the glorious kingdom.

Dear friends, I do not know how to give you a more hearty greeting. My heart says, I love you all. We wish to send the good wishes of Brother Russell and the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society to all who are at home, and as you overflow here may it overflow upon all the dear ones of the household of faith with whom you have to do.

If anything occurs that is not just to your pleasement and it does not go down the right way, just forget to tell them about it, as they will have plenty of troubles of their own, enough of bitterness and sadness in the world apart from other quarters, and it will not need to be from you. Let us see that we have sweetness for all with whom we come in contact.

I will just mention that the chairman of the Convention, as representing this Society, will be our dear Brother Rutherford, who is with us on the platform.

Obedience The Test

Text: "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?" (Rom. 11:34.)

Roll or Book (Closed).

"And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back side, sealed with seven seals.

"And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

"And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon."

Roll or Book (Opened).

"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

"And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."

BROTHER RUSSELL spoke to the interested from the above text and we briefly report his discourse, as follows:

The statement of the case is that no one ever knew God's mind or character or plan, or that God had made a confident of anybody. No one had counselled Him or directed Him or given Him the wisdom to make the great plan which He is carrying out. We have called your attention to the fact that in Revelation the Lord pictures the matter symbolically, representing Jehovah God upon the throne and in His hand the scroll, written on the inside and on the outside, sealed with seven seals. Next there is a proclamation by a strong angel with a loud voice, saying, "Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof?" We do not know for how long a time that inquiry was made, "Who is worthy?" For some time the message went forth and it was understood that God had a great and wonderful plan, but who would be worthy to execute it? You remember that John was represented in symbol as weeping much because there was none found worthy, and then an angel came to him and said, "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof," – to execute the Divine Plan. So then, dear friends, the next feature in the picture was that John looked in the direction indicated, "and I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and of the four elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints." The lesson taught is that the heavenly Father kept to Himself His great plan and purpose. You remember on one occasion when our Lord Jesus was discussing some matters pertaining to the setting up of the kingdom and said that the Father alone knew His own plans, and told the disciples that it was not for them to know the times and seasons which the Father had kept in His own power. But there were certain things which had been revealed and they were to be brought about through a kingdom. Our Lord said that when he would ascend up on high He would receive the Holy Spirit, which [CR54] He would pour out upon them, and then the disciples should speak as the oracles of God. So then, we draw a lesson from our great Teacher waiting for the Father to make known and unfold the various steps in His plan.

From this standpoint, looking back over the past, we can see a great deal of God's purpose that could not have been known then. Everything was going smoothly up to the time man was created; then came a great deflection when Satan fell. He in turn brought a great temptation to bear upon our first parents and they fell. This continued over centuries of time. Then came the fall of the angels in trying to lift up man. It must have been an astonishment to all, for none in heaven or earth was found able to execute God's plan. Yea, we may say, dear friends, that from that time to the present time God could have wiped that condition out, but He did not and Satan has made himself a friend of this world and we see the whole creation groaning under the sentence. God permitted it all. God has patiently endured all this time. His word has been traduced, they evilly treated His Son, and finally killed Him, even though the message which He brought was that of love. God has permitted the reign of sin and death in order to manifest the various features of His character, and to test the various orders of His creation. All will have an opportunity of showing the real character of their hearts. If you and I harbor selfish, mean, and improper thoughts in our minds the Lord will let us work them out. Keep thine heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life. Satan was an angel of high order and respect, but God knew the traitorous condition of his heart long before he found opportunity of exercising it. OBEDIENCE TO GOD WILL BE THE TEST UPON ALL OF HIS CREATURES. The whole plan of God is a manifestation of His character. We have seen an exhibition of God's justice in dealing with our race. When He said, "The soul that sinneth it shall surely die," He meant it, and all down through the ages we have seen the fulfillment of the penalty. Sin and death have been apparent on all sides.

Then God manifested His love when He sent His only begotten Son to die for the world. It was never manifested before. He was the Lamb that was slain. Only those who can view the matter from the divine standpoint can appreciate it – only the Little Flock, no one on the outside. God is dealing only with this class of sons, and we have received the love of God which passeth all understanding, and we have had a further manifestation of His love to the Church. The world has a very different idea; they think God is anything but love, and many have died thinking they were surely going to hell, and they will wake up in a very frightened condition and ask, Where are the devils? where are the devils? Never mind, they will be told; be quiet, there are no devils. The world feels that the heavenly Father has some scheme ready to torment them all.

Then God's power will be manifested in connection with His love in the resurrection, but there is not the one-thousandth part of His power manifested in the work of resurrection. God is not only love, but just and powerful.

Next will be manifest the wisdom of God. The world will learn what you and I are understanding now, that by and by all will come forth from their graves.

In permitting the angels to have a trial God was working out a part of His plan and the fall of man furnished the opportunity for their trial, and ever since God has been permitting evil and sinful conditions to continue in order that man may have a thorough experience with sin. So then, dear friends, God will show the wisdom of His plan eventually, the justice first, the love next, the power next, and finally wisdom. That will be the last thing the people, or world, will see. During this Gospel Age He leads all who are desirous of righteousness and of doing the divine will to the great Redeemer and Life-giver, that they may be justified, sanctified, and then delivered through Him. This is our privilege and during this time the Lord is dealing especially with us. Let us therefore rejoice in the things that our God hath revealed to us. And so the Apostle Peter says, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

What have we done that we should be made joint-heirs with Jesus Christ? Nothing. You cannot do anything. It is of His grace, mercy, love and compassion. We should be more and more conformed to the image of His Son, our great Redeemer. Now, then, the Apostle says, you see your calling, you are all called in the one hope of your calling. Do you suppose He will not test you and me? Verily. Just as surely as we have become His disciples we will have to undergo certain tests. What is the test? Loyalty to Him. Obedience. How was Adam tested? Not by the apple, not by how much fruit he ate, but it was his obedience, or loyalty, that was tested. On what ground will He test you and me? – loyalty. This matter of obedience comes to us in various forms, in a hundred different ways. He permits things to come that cross your will. How are you receiving it? and are you being exercised by it? Are you submissive? Are you resigned, saying, The Lord's will be done? We should be. God's will should come into our hearts more and more each day, for the test will always be one of love. I hope I will always have that fear or reverence that will fear to transgress God's holy will, the fear born of love, not the fear that He is going to eternally punish me. If anything comes as a spot upon our robe, let us go at once to the great Cleanser.

"Son of my soul, I let not earth born cloud arise
To hide Thee from Thy servant's eyes."

Any spot that you do not get rid of is an earth-born cloud, and if any do not get rid of these spots, they must go through the great time of trouble.

We are in the testing time, and we want to be faithful, for He is faithful who called us, and He has promised to do everything that we have asked Him for.

The Lord thus proves you to know to what extent you love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Therefore,

"Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."

Keep Thy Heart

Text: "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." HE SAID: If the Divine Plan of the Ages does not satisfy our hearts' longings, there is something wrong with our hearts.

I do not think there is anything wrong with the truth, for the more I learn of the truth, the more I say, Indeed, O my soul, you have found the satisfying portion which the Lord shall supply. If you were to look for anything more, what would you find? The TRUTH says to us, "Jesus is mine, this has satisfied every longing of my nature." I believe you have all had that longing, or else you would not be here. God has a way of allowing us to get very hungry before He gives us the truth.

My own experience was that, as a boy of sixteen, I got very hungry for the truth, but could find nothing satisfactory to me. I used to say, This that I have is not the great God that I want, full of Justice, Love, Power and Wisdom. These must be infinite qualities pertaining to Jehovah, and that is the God I am looking for.

I did not think to look into the Bible, and so looked into the various denominations. After looking into their views, and finding them all short – not a little bit short, but a good deal short, the aching void in my heart, and the growing desire for the truth became stronger and stronger, [CR55] but the Lord let me alone in the desert place to find out what it was to get real hungry.

I wandered about for more than a year, and during that time I hunted around in the heathen mythologies to see who the heathen were, they or us.

I finally said, There must be something somewhere connected with our Heavenly Father; it cannot be that God has placed us here as His creatures and not given us some knowledge of His purpose. I was hunting for God's Bible all around the Bible, and finally said, Christianity comes nearer to the true conception of God, but none of the creeds could be seen to be the Word of God. You and I would not deal with the heathen the way the creeds say God is dealing with them, and I said, I will never worship a God who is smaller than myself, but I want one who is worthy of my heart's worship and adoration. God brought me back to the Bible, and I got the conviction that what I wanted was in that book somewhere. Then I read a little further and said, Is it not strange that all these systems get their views out of the Bible! The Methodists say it is free grace and that they get it out of the Bible. The Presbyterians say that it is election and that they get it out of the Bible, and that the Methodists are mistaken. Then the Roman Catholics say, You are both wrong, we are the true Church. Then the Lutheran Church say they are the true Church. Then the Baptists say that if you are not baptized you will go to hell.

I thought, if all get their views from the Bible, what a queer book the Bible must be. So after considering the matter, I realized that in all my wanderings for over a year the Lord was showing me what I did not know and what the others did not know, and further that His plan was a hidden plan.

Coming back to the Bible I found, as the poet has expressed it, "Wonderful things in the Bible I see, Jesus loves me," and more than that I found that Jesus loves the other man also. God's love proceeded to all mankind, and Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man; and "He was the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world."

Now, dear friends, we are beginning to find the real Bible and the real God, and our eyes begin to be opened, not because of any superior might, but because the morning time had come, the Day Star was rising, its light was shining upon the past, and we were awake.

Now then, are you awake, and are you hungering? If you have not been hungering, then you have not the truth – you need to get hungry first. "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." If you are not hungering and thirsting, while you may get a little, you will not be filled. After He gives us some food, we must chew it. Some people say, O well, there are six volumes; I have my children, my business, etc., and I have not the time to chew it. If they get hungry enough, they cannot be stopped by anything; everything else will seem insipid. We therefore see that hunger for righteousness, the truth, is the proper thing.

It was right for Mother Eve to want light and knowledge, but she should have said, I will have full confidence in the servant God sends, and I will believe Him who loves me so. I will be satisfied that He will do the best thing for me. While I would like the knowledge, perhaps it would not be the best thing for me, and I will let God, in His own due time, give me the blessings of knowledge, for I want it to come in the line of obedience to Him, and not from disobedience to Him. Then she would have been right.

So it is with us, after getting the Truth the Devil comes as an angel of light, trying to make us think we will get wise if we follow him, and not be obedient to God. He transforms himself, and therefore we must be on our guard to be sure that we receive nothing but what our heavenly Father shall provide. Let us say, I want only the light and knowledge that the Lord shall give in His own appointed way and I will be pleased to have it thus.

"Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life."

How about the issues of life in the case of Mother Eve? If she had kept her heart, she would have had the right to the tree of life, but failing, she came under the sentence of death. Why, Brother Russell, do you mean to say that we are on trial for life? Yes, that is just it, and your trial and my trial are much more important than was that of Mother Eve; because, with you and me, this is the final test, because this is our individual trial, after receiving light on the truth, and if we fail in this trial there will be no further opportunity for us. WE ARE BEING TRIED FOR LIFE OR FOR DEATH.

The Apostle tells us that those now who believe in the sacrifice of Christ, are justified by faith, and come out from under the condemnation which is in Adam; their sins of the past are forgiven, and they step upon the plane of justification.

If now you wish to make use of this justification, present your bodies a living sacrifice. Why? That is a "mystery," but we will explain it: God purposes gathering out of the world a "Little Flock" to be the joint-heirs with Christ, His Bride, the Lamb's Wife, to be associated with Him in the kingdom work. The question is, Can I be one of that elect class? Yes – "Now is the acceptable time." Now is the time that God will accept us, as the Apostle tells us in Romans 12:1. It will not always be an acceptable time, for it will cease when the last member of the Bride Class has been gathered, and there will be no more sacrifice. Will not the world have an opportunity to get into this Bride Class? No, for this Gospel Age is the acceptable time, for those who will be joint-sacrificers with Christ, and who will fill up the afflictions which remain, for His body's sake. We have the privilege of suffering with Him now, and of reigning with Him later.

Is the call still open? No, for we understand that in 1881 the full number had been consecrated. How then is there room for any now? We understand the Scriptures to teach that since the general call ceased in 1881 and the full number had consecrated, had made a covenant with Him by sacrifice, that many of them did not willingly carry out their covenant of sacrifice, and have therefore dropped out of that class, not however into eternal torment, and that others have been admitted to take the place of those who have not proved themselves to be willing sacrificers, who have not been obedient. There are three signs of acceptance:

(1) They must manifest the Holy Spirit, and develop the fruits and graces of the Spirit.

(2) They must grow in the knowledge of the truth, and be able to see that God is opening up to their understanding these great things.

(3) They must find some opportunity for service in the harvest field.

Then, dear friends, we have the evidence that they are the ones whom the Father has accepted, and they are counted in as members of the Body of Christ. It is a fact that some of those more recently coming into the truth are the more zealous amongst the brethren, and they are making rapid progress.

But suppose the last one had been selected, then what would be your duty? It would be to give your whole life to the Lord; because it is a reasonable service, it is the proper thing to do. Will I get any reward? Do it any way, for you belong to the Lord, and you should be glad to lay down your life in His service. You know that if you were to serve some earthly great one you would get a reward, and do you not think that the Great King would give you a suitable recompense.

We have a great advantage now, for the Lord Jesus, when He accepted us, promised to cover all our blemishes, and weaknesses, and imperfections, and He will not suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able. We have much advantage over Mother Eve, for we have not only a knowledge of her experience, but we also have a knowledge of God's purpose through His Word, and of all the faithful ones since, of our Lord, and of the Apostles, and others. It is a test of loyalty with us, and while we have temptations come to us, as they did to Mother Eve, yet we do not have to yield to them, any more than we are obliged to allow the crows to build nests in our hair just because they fly over us. Our safety lies in keeping our hearts with all diligence. The Apostle Peter tells us that if we [CR56] should fall away, after having the blessings of the Lord, it will be impossible to renew us again unto repentance. I hope I will never know anything about it experimentally. Won't the Lord keep our hearts for us? No; because He wishes to test us. He has all power, and could make a mere machine of us, but God is not pleased to have us in that condition. "God seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in Spirit and in Truth." However, He will allow temptations to come to see what your heart is, how you will do under temptation. We must be loyal, obedient now, and the world of mankind must be loyal in the Millennial Age, otherwise they can never attain to eternal life. The Father will test and prove them also, and He will allow Satan to tempt them as perfect human beings, just as He allowed the serpent to tempt Mother Eve. If, at the end of the Millennial Age, they are not willing to do God's will, they will not be fit to live. God intends to test every creature. He is testing us, the Little Flock, now, and also the Great Company, for there will be none in the Great Company who are not loyal and who have not been proved as such. The difference is that the Little Flock go ahead with a vigorous determination and come off more than conquerors, while the Great Company hold back and do not willingly make the sacrifice which they agreed to do when they consecrated. We should have such a love for righteousness and truth that we will gladly lay down our lives rather than wait to have our lives taken from us, as will be the case with the Great Company. IT IS A QUESTION OF OBEDIENCE OR DISOBEDIENCE.

How is it with us? We have put ourselves in God's hands and agreed to be obedient to Him; will we now draw back from Him and be disobedient? I hope not. We trust we are not of those who draw back into perdition, the second death, but that we are of those who believe unto the saving of the soul. That includes both the Little Flock and the Great Company. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."

Obedience enters into all the little affairs of life. In Mother Eve's case, it was just a question of whether she would or would not eat of the forbidden fruit. Whether we eat, or drink, or whatever we do, we are to do all to the glory of the Lord. We should be obedient children, not fashioning ourselves according to our former desires, before we came to a knowledge of the Lord, and before we made a consecration to Him. We should submit ourselves unto the Lord and ask Him what He would have us to do. If we do that we will not be afraid to take the next step. I hope our spirit is, "I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is written in my heart."

Now, if your heart is your garden, then what you plant will grow there if you keep the weeds away; but if you let the weeds grow, you will not be what the Lord would have. Keep your heart then, keep this garden, and make it more and more the Lord's. Then we will have the comfort of the truth and of the Lord's blessing.

"Keep thy heart with all diligence."

Why with so much diligence? Why, dear brothers and sisters, the Adversary is going around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and if we do not keep our hearts, some ambitious desire will creep in. If you and I are to be victors, it must be by constant vigilance, which the Lord will be pleased to bless. What good company we all have, for the Saints, from God's standpoint, have nothing to be ashamed of.

Let us be faithful, for the Lord is not choosing many great, not many rich, not many learned, not many noble, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, and He is working in us by His power and assistance. The heart that will not be influenced by God's rich promises will not be, as the Apostle says of the faithful, "changed from glory to glory," and transformed by the renewing of their minds.

Let us have the grace of God abounding in our hearts more and more, that we may be children like unto our heavenly Father, and copies of our Lord. Amen.

You Hath He Quickened

SPEAKING on behalf of those coming from different parts of the United States I know that we are GLAD in the Lord's providence that we are permitted to stop here a few hours. We are all members of the same Body. What a UNION this is! As for the insurance companies, Odd Fellows, etc., all of these unions have an organization with their own secrets, grips, etc. The Body of Christ has its own grips and secrets, yet none can know their secrets or mystery. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him and He will show them His covenant.

What is the fellowship of the mystery? The Apostle explains that it is Christ in you the Hope of Glory. Christ in you and you in Christ – it works both ways. We are in the wonderful mystical Body of Christ which is not yet complete. It will be complete when we experience our resurrection change. Then it will no longer be a mystery. All the world will know these whom God selected – gathered out of every nation, people, kindred and tongue. "They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels." The Jewels are not made up yet; it is a matter to be determined. We are called to be jewels. In the meantime we must be required to go through certain tests to shape and polish us that we may be able to reflect His glory.

We have our mystery, secrets, grips, etc. I have to be on my guard against the grip occasionally (holding his hand); they imagine this is like a pump handle – the more they work it the more it will give out. Some say, "Brother Russell, I can't get a proper grip" – I tell them I have enough of it.

Our secret is such as eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man – but God has revealed it unto us by His spirit. We talk about the things in reservation for those who love the Lord and our friends do not understand. The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned. We need not be bashful or ashamed to talk our secret before the whole world. It is the Power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. (Romans 1:16.) What a transforming influence our secret has upon our lives. In our three carloads of friends – 89 in number, we have not noticed one unkind word and no one getting in another's way. We see that these dear ones are being transformed by the renewing of their minds.

You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. Quickened or made alive. Were we all dead? Yes! Who were we? The Apostle says we were children of wrath even as others. Was God mad with them? They were children of wrath on account of Adam's sins. God cannot commend sin; He hath to condemn it. He said, I won't give eternal life to an imperfect one. The whole race is under sentence of death. We have seen that God's provision for them is still future. All are dead in condemnation. God's provision is that He will give opportunity for life to every member of the race.

If we did not know anything about the High Calling and knew about Perfection to be restored and a right to everlasting life would not that be a message of gladness itself? We would want to tell everyone about it just as we do now. We would tell about the Ransom and tell all to wait awhile for Restitution. We would have a reward to KNOW about Restitution even without the JOY of telling it. We wonder how it ever got along before without our heavenly aspirations. [CR57]

The world does not know what we do. They work and fuss all the week and when Sunday comes they change their clothes, etc., and do not know what they are living for – all according to what they have been told.

We can commit all of life's affairs to the Father every morning and throughout the day we can render our thanks for our meals and for all things and we can commit ourselves to Him again at night. What a wonderful change! You hath He quickened. Why, it's wonderful! With us it is not as though we were going to get a new cat or chickens or have a new house, etc. The poor world, they need our sympathy. They have no idea of a God and know nothing of His Plan, why they are here – and they know nothing about Restitution. What a HOPE to live for if they knew about restitution. It would take all the starch out of life if they knew it. The world is happy in their ambition which takes their thought and time. It is well for the world that they have the ambition, for if it were not for that they could have nothing. None have what we have. If they had Restitution Hopes, would that compare with ours? No! God has given us EXCEEDING great and precious promises that by these we might be made partakers of the divine nature. He is giving us intelligence and right and proper understanding of life. He has put a new song in our mouth. O wonderful MYSTERY of God. The Creator of all things heavenly and earthly, has He such a Plan as that? He who created cherubim and seraphim, angels, archangels, etc. – the Great God now proposes to gather out a handful of this fallen race to exalt them to the high position of joint-heirs with Jesus. It is too stupendous for us to grasp. It is only through faith and the assistance of God that we can lay hold of these exceeding great and precious promises and make them ours.

You hath He quickened. What was the process? You were in a condemned condition. You heard a voice. ("Blessed are your ears.") You heard the Lord say, "You are a sinner but there is mercy in God – seek his face." We said, "Thy face, Lord, will I seek." How did we seek His face? Some of us through a tract or a Tower, etc. – we must come through His Son.

"Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,
I've lost sight of all beside –
So enchained my spirit's vision,
Looking at the crucified."

Then we began to see that God was in Christ reconciling Himself to the world. When we saw this we said, "Lord, I see all of this, how can I get my share – I believe it all." The Lord answered, "Are you striving to turn away from sin? Do you love righteousness and hate iniquity? I count you justified by faith." We answered, "Now may I count myself related to Thee and Thy dear Son. Dear Lord, I give myself to Thee, 'tis all that I can do. What wouldst Thou have me to do?" The Lord says, "Put a new robe on him!" To these the Apostle says, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, and your reasonable service." Not to give it up now in a word, but present it daily and hourly. Present it on the altar. This is the class that the Lord quickens. Then He calls us New Creatures in Christ. We find that we are not our old selves – old ambitions, desires, etc., have passed away. We sing, "Less of self and more of THEE." "What wouldst thou have me do?" The Lord answers, "Ye are dead; walk as New Creatures, according to the Spirit of the Lord. Having the promises before your mind's eye, set your affections on things above. If affections ever slip be quick to set them where they belong; promptly. Ask the Lord for forgiveness for anything which drew you away from the heavenly things." Then you realize that you are in the school of Christ, under trial, bearing tests. Every battle in which you overcome will make you stronger. You will receive a blessing even when you stumble.

You hath He quickened. Let us stay quickened. We COULD lose this light. The Apostle spoke of himself that there was a possibility of his becoming a castaway – a possibility of not being born at all. Let us reckon the trials of this present time as not worthy to be compared with the glory to follow. Put all of the earthly things in one side of the scale, all of the trials, etc., and the heavenly things on the other side, and the joys, the sense of the Father's love and watch care, the precious promises, etc., will go down with a bang. How could we swap again? The worldly have only an earthly glamor.

Faithful is He who hath called us. You hath He quickened.

God's Abounding Grace

Text: "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich; and he addeth no sorrow." (Prov. 10:22.)

ON ACCOUNT of the arrangement of the program for the St. Joseph convention, Brother Russell was obliged to leave the Denver convention and precede the special train party.

When he stepped upon the platform at St. Joseph, the dear friends were singing that precious hymn, "Blest Be the Tie that Binds Our Hearts in Christian Love." The scene was very affecting. Many eyes were moist and the entire audience of about eight hundred were deeply impressed by the occasion, and with the appropriate words which they were singing. Brother Russell joined in with them in the song and greetings, and then addressed them on the above text, in substance, as follows:

HE SHOWED that the blessing of the Lord had not made rich the world, but would do so in God's due time. He pointed out that the blessing of the Lord had made Father Adam rich, but that the sin of disobedience had spoiled his blessing and brought upon him instead the sentence of the curse of death. Next he showed the promise of new blessings in the Divine Covenant with Abraham and that the knowledge of this coming blessing means the refreshment and joy to all who can see it and hear it with the eyes and ears of faith. He traced the fulfillment of the promise in Christ and the Church and noted how rich the divine blessing is to all who will receive even the present foretaste. He concentrated attention upon the thought of the fulfillment of the divine promises in God's due time – how the blessing of the Lord in the end would make the Church rich indeed, to the extent of the divine nature and glory and honor and immortality promised to those who will be then joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus in His Millennial Kingdom and His work of blessing to the world.

He pointed out the truth of the statement of our text, "He addeth no sorrow therewith." He showed that the sorrows are not of the Lord's providing or adding, but come as a result of sin and imperfection and that in proportion as we reverence the Lord and seek to walk through life close to Him, in that same proportion we shall avoid the sorrows which come from outside sources. He noted also the fact that it is the divine intention that those who would live godly should suffer persecution, but that such persecution is not of the Lord, though permitted by him, and that with His grace in sufficient supply we may be enabled to "glory in tribulation also."

He pointed out the divine order for all these blessings: That our Lord Jesus, born under the Law Covenant as well as under the Abrahamic Covenant, was thus obligated to [CR58] keep the Law, and did so perfectly; and that thus He was declared to be the one perfect Man through whom accrued all blessings to us from the Lord, including the opportunity of becoming members of "Abraham's Seed." (Gal. 3:29.) By fulfilling the Law Jesus was entitled to everything that Father Adam had originally possessed as a perfect man, everything he had lost through disobedience. Thus Jesus was entitled to everlasting human life and fellowship with the Father – entitled also to be the Ruler or King of earth and to all the earthly dignity and honor from God which this implied – having dominion over the beasts of the field, the fowls of the air and the fish of the sea, as well as over the fallen race. Had our Lord chosen to exercise those earthly rights He might indeed have blessed the world to a considerable degree through wise laws and regulations respecting diet, etc., etc. But His empire would still have been subject to death, because the death sentence would still be hanging over Adam and his posterity.

Such a blessing was just about what the Jews had expected as a result of the Abrahamic promise. They awaited the Messiah, who, as their Instructor and great King, would rule and guide and bless them and ultimately extend that rule and blessing to all the families of the earth with generally favorable and uplifting influences. God, however, had higher plans for mankind. For "as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God's plans higher than man's plans and His methods higher than man's methods." (Isa. 55:9.)

In harmony with the divine plan our Lord Jesus, instead of keeping the earthly life and empire to which He had a right as the obedient heir of the Law Covenant, sacrificed it – laid it down in death. This was the Father's proposition – that if He would show His faith and obedience to the extent of fully sacrificing the earthly life and rights, the Father would raise Him up by power divine from the dead, not to earthly conditions again, but to heavenly conditions – "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named." (Eph. 1:21.) It is the Father's proposition that being thus exalted He might still possess the earthly rights which He had sacrificed – possess them as an asset or valuable possession which He might give away for the blessing of Adam and His race, whose lives and earthly rights were forfeited by sin. He showed that our risen, glorified Lord had in His possession when He ascended up on high, enough of blessing to mean the restoration of Adam and every member of His race, or as many of these as He might choose to apply this benefit to. Christ's one sacrifice was sufficient for all if so applied. He requested all to notice that the blessings which Jesus had to give away were earthly blessings, earthly life, earthly power, earthly paradise, etc., and not heavenly things.

The New Covenant.

He reminded the friends that the Israelites, under the Law Covenant had been hoping for these great earthly blessings from Messiah. At first they thought that Moses should be the great Deliverer, through whom they would get the wonderful blessings. But as they perceived that Moses and all of their race were dying, they to some extent realized that their (Law) Covenant was not bringing them the great blessings they had anticipated. Then the Lord sent to them through the prophets assurances that he would make a New (Law) Covenant with them after certain days, thus implying that the (Law) Covenant in which they had trusted was not wholly satisfactory and could not accomplish for them what they needed. They, of course, knew that if they would have a New Covenant, it must also have a mediator. And the Lord, through the prophets, indicated that the great Messiah would be that Mediator. The Lord spoke of those things yet future as though they already were. He spoke of them prophetically. Thus also our Lord was referred to as the Lamb of God slain (in the Divine purpose) from the foundation of the world. Similarly Jesus, before his birth, was mentioned prophetically as the Mediator of the New Covenant – neither the Covenant itself, nor its mediator, being in existence, except in the promise of God. God said to Israel – "Behold, I will send my Messenger,...even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in [the servant or Mediator of the New Law Covenant for whose coming you are so desirous]. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap." (Mal. 3:1,2.)

He pointed out that even though Israel slew the Redeemer it was done ignorantly and that our reasonable expectation might have been that after our Lord had finished His sacrifice at Calvary and had ascended up on high and appeared in the Father's presence, His appearance would have been for Israel, as the Mediator of the Promised New Covenant – to make application of His blood as the sealing of that New Law Covenant. Thus He would have given to Israel the right of earthly life, earthly honor, earthly dominion, which He had a right to through keeping the Law, but had sacrificed so that He might give it to Israel, and through Israel to all the families of the earth. But to our surprise He did nothing of this kind. Instead of showering the blessing of restitution upon natural Israel He did the very reverse. He said to them, "Your house is left unto you desolate. Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" – at His second coming as the King of glory, the great anti-typical King, Priest and Mediator between God and men – between God and the world. (Matt. 23:38,39.) The Apostle declares that Israel was blinded, but he equally assures us that their blindness will not last forever, and that Divine favor will return to them under their New Covenant.

What did our Lord do with those earthly rights, earthly honors, earthly life privileges, etc., which were His to bestow? We remember that it is written, that "He ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us" – for the "household of faith," the anti-typical Levites, including the anti-typical priests. He called attention to the apparent incongruity of this, namely, that the Church is hoping for spiritual blessings, glory, honor and immortality on the spiritual plane, and not hoping to get earthly rights, earthly life, etc., such as Jesus had to bestow. He pointed out, however, that the offer made to the Church is from the Father, who, co-operating with our Lord Jesus, has given us who are now called a similar invitation to that which was given to our Lord Jesus. Our Lord Jesus tenders to us first the earthly rights and blessings which He acquired through obedience to the Law and which, by virtue of His sacrifice, He has now to give away. He offered them all to us – to the "household of faith" of this Gospel Age, but conditionally and not otherwise. The conditions are that we shall, as He did, agree to sacrifice these earthly rights, to abrogate them, to lay them down, to die to those earthly restitution rights and privileges and honors. In so doing we shall be following the example of our Lord, walking in His footsteps, and be obeying His Word, and shall be accounted worthy of a share with Him in the heavenly glory, honor and immortality, and in His Millennial reign.

Explaining the proposition to us the Master says that we may first of all count ourselves justified by faith – justified freely from all sin, as though we were actually perfect. But this justification by faith is merely granted to us for a purpose and for a time – to furnish us the opportunity for sacrificing those earthly rights. And whosoever does not use the opportunity and make the consecration, his justification will lapse – will amount to nothing. If, however, any desire to be His disciple and to follow His leading, to share in His death, to share in His sacrifice, to be dead with Him, that disciple may have the assurance of participation with Him in the heavenly state, condition and glory. "If any man will be my disciple, let him take up his cross and follow me," "and where I am there shall my servant be." In line with this the Apostle exhorts all believers, all members of the household of faith, to present their bodies living sacrifices, counted as "holy," justified freely from sin through the merit of the blood of Jesus, which makes them "acceptable" sacrificers and enables them to become joint-heirs with Christ in the heavenly glory on the same terms and conditions that the Father granted to their Redeemer. (Rom. 12:1.) [CR59]

He thus saw that by this Divine program the merit of Christ's death, earthly rights, restitution privileges and honors will pass through the Church without the slightest diminution; for all that the Church receives by faith through Christ must be laid down again in sacrifice. So, then, at the close of this Gospel Age, the merit of Christ will be neither more nor less than at the time He died; but, in God's providence, that merit will meantime have been used as the basis or condition upon which the "elect" Church shall have been lifted, not only out of sin and death conditions, but out of earthly conditions altogether – to heavenly conditions, to the Divine nature. He paused a moment to consider with the Apostle the wonderful wisdom of God and to say with him, Who knew the mind of God in advance or who was His adviser in this wonderful, economical, judicial, loving and generous arrangement by which we, the "elect" of this Gospel Age, receive grace upon grace or favor upon favor and are permitted to share with our Lord in His great work of blessing the world of mankind with an uplift, social, mental, moral and physical?

"Mercy Through Your Mercy"

What next will Christ do with this merit of His own sacrifice? We hearkened to the Apostle, who explains this entire matter in Romans 11:25-33. He assures us that Israel was not cast off for ever, but merely until we Spiritual Israelites shall first have been sought and found, polished and fitted and brought to perfection. Then "all Israel shall be saved" from the blindness which God sent upon them at the beginning of this age. By that time the Deliverer shall have come out of Zion. The Head, our Lord Jesus, was brought to the birth more than eighteen centuries ago. His Body, the Church, is now being born in the end of this Gospel Age by having share in "his resurrection." (Phil. 3:10,11.)

Israel and the world have been waiting for the development of this great Deliverer – Jesus the Head and the Church His Body. This is the great anti-typical Mediator like unto Moses, of whom Moses said, "A prophet, the Lord our God, shall raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me." (Acts 3:22.) The Head was raised up nearly eighteen centuries ago. The Body is now being raised up and, with the "change" of the feet members, the anti-type, Mediator, Priest and King of the world will stand forth. We are not left to doubt as to how and when and where the blessing will begin. The Divine blessing is to reach the world of mankind through Israel and under their New Covenant. They have been blinded and turned aside, waiting for the Deliverer – waiting for the Mediator. Shortly He will be completed. His first work will be to pass to the credit of the New Covenant that same "precious blood" which, during this Gospel Age, has blessed and comforted the Church and opened for us the way to joint-heirship with the Redeemer through sacrifice.

The blood of Christ represents His sacrificed life and all the earthly rights represented therein. His right to the earthly life, by His obedience to the Law, is still His asset or merit, passed through the Church, which is His Body. It now becomes the blood of the New (Law) Covenant, the basis of reconciliation between God and Israel. It seals that Covenant, which, through Israel, shall extend the privilege of eternal life to every nation, people, kindred and tribe. This blood of the New Covenant our Lord invites His Church to share in, saying, "Drink ye all of it." And again, "Are ye able to drink of the cup, that I shall drink of?" Except we partake of the merit of His flesh and are thus justified by the merit of His sacrifice, and unless additionally we share in "His cup" as partakers of His blood, "His death," His sacrifice, we have no life in us. Sharing with Him in His cup, partaking of His sufferings of this present time, buried with Him by immersion into His death, we shall be associated with Him as members of the Mediator in the work of dispensing the blessings of that New Covenant, under its terms, to whosoever wills to accept them.

"Oh glorious hope of heavenly love!
It lifts us up to things above;
It bears on eagle-wings.
It gives our joyful souls a taste
And makes us even here to feast
With Jesus, priests and kings."

Note the Apostle's comments further. In verse 27, still speaking of Israel, he says, "This is my [New] Covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins." He pointed out that the apostle could have referred only to the New Covenant promised to that nation, and the fact that their sin should be taken away at the time when that Covenant is sealed – made operative. St. Paul continues, declaring that natural Israel was treated as God's enemy and turned aside during all this Gospel Age – that we might have the privilege of becoming members of the Spiritual Seed of Abraham under the original, primary Covenant. St. Paul points out that as soon as the Church, the Deliverer, shall have come out of Zion and their New Covenant has begun to operate, the effect will be not only to "save" them from their blindness, but also to "turn away their ungodliness."

Note especially that St. Paul declares of natural Israel, blessed under its Covenant, that "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy." He pointed out that this does not signify that the mercy to Israel, the earthly seed under the New Covenant, will not be Divine mercy, nor does it signify that it is not the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. On the contrary, it will be of the Father and by the Son and through the Church. "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy." He reminded the friends that every good and perfect gift cometh down from the Father of Lights and that every blessing comes to us by His representative, our Lord Jesus Christ, and that we, the Church, are by and through Him. Hence, the expression, "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy," is merely bringing to our attention the fact that the Divine purpose is to honor the Church by passing through her the Divine blessing, which from of old had been promised to the natural seed of Abraham.

A Father of Many Nations.

In Ezekiel 16:45-60 the Lord clearly indicates that His dealing with the outside nations will be through natural Israel. Referring to the Sodomites and to the Samaritans the Lord used these two nations as illustrations of the other nations of the world and how they are received to Divine blessing, saying, "I will give them unto thee for daughters [to be instructed], but not by thy Covenant." Their Covenant of that time was the Law Covenant of Sinai. But the Covenant under which these are to be given to them will be their New (Law) Covenant – instituted by the better Mediator – the Christ, Head and Body.

He showed that thus all the nations of the world will be privileged to come back into harmony with God under Israel's New Covenant. This would imply that to have the benefit of the New Covenant they must become Israelites indeed, with true circumcision of the heart. Thus Abraham will become gradually "a father of many nations." The prophecy declares that after the time of trouble and after the Ancient Worthies shall have been established as the rulers of natural Israel, and after God's blessing and the New Covenant shall have begun to operate toward them, the other nations of the world will begin to take notice. Sin and death will still be reigning amongst them, but they will behold in Israel the beginning of the reign of righteousness unto life eternal. Then they will say to each other, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord's house" – let us come into line with the Divine government established in Israel; Israel's great Law-giver then will be our Teacher also and we will walk in the paths which He directs; for the Law shall go forth from Mount Zion [the glorified spiritual Church] and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem, the earthly representative of the heavenly dominion. (Micah 4:2.)


Address of Welcome

AT 11 o'clock Brother Russell came on the platform and was greeted with the Chautauqua salute, which he returned, while all joined in singing, "Blest Be the Tie That Binds." He then spoke in part as follows:

Dear Friends: It affords me great pleasure to be with you this morning. I deferred my little address on this occasion, learning that some were late, hoping thereby to see the larger number of smiling faces.

I trust, dear friends, that we have all come here, not merely to have a season of outing and refreshment physically, but largely, and specially, that we may have a season of fellowship with the Lord, and with each other, that our hearts may be comforted in the Truth, and that they may be more closely knit together in love for the Lord, and for all who are His. We are glad that by the Divine providence, knowledge of Him and His Plan has reached our ears, and our hearts, which enables us to love, not only those of a certain sect, party or class who believe just alike, but all who believe in the great Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; that Gospel which, emanating from the cross of Christ, began at Pentecost to gather a people for the Lord's name, out of all nations, kindreds and tongues, to be His associates in His kingdom, the kingdom of His Son. We are glad to know that when the due time shall have come when in God's providence the election of the Church shall have been accomplished, it will not mean that all the remainder of mankind shall be consigned to an eternity of torment, but it will mean that from that kingdom of the elect, the Glorified Christ will go forth blessing to all the families of the earth, opening all the blind eyes, and unstopping all the deaf ears, and causing all to know the Lord from the least to the greatest.

How wonderful, dear friends, is that Gospel. What wonder is it that after our mind had been blinded for so long with false doctrine, misunderstanding our Heavenly Father and His wonderful character, what wonder it is that as we come to see something of the richness of His loving kindness, and the lengths, and breadths, and heights, and depths of His love, what wonder, I say, that this should prove an attraction that our hearts should be drawn to the truth, as the needle of the compass is drawn to the pole, and how all the compasses in the world, so to speak, point to the one hope, and how our hearts, whether in this land or in Europe, Africa or Asia, all the hearts of God's people are pointing toward the truth, and every one of us, I am sure, are desirous of being more and more filled with the Spirit, and have it abounding in us richly, so that it will make us neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord, so that through that knowledge of Him we may be transformed in heart and life, and be changed from glory to glory, as in the image of the Lord.

Dear friends, I congratulate you that there is such a large number of you present this morning under these happy circumstances and conditions, with our hearts full of praise to the Great King, and with a desire to study to more and more appreciate His Word, and to come into the fellowship of His Spirit, one with another, and with our Lord and our Heavenly Father. It is not often I am sure that this City of Conventions has a convention of this kind. It is not often that mankind comes together at their own expense, over broad distances, to commune respecting God and the precious things contained in His Word. There is usually something of political interest to draw them together, or financial matters, and usually their expenses are paid, but we have come at our own expense.

Now, then, dear friends, in order that our time and energy and money shall not be spent in vain, what is necessarily the proper thing? I suggest that the proper thing is that at the very beginning of this Convention we shall turn our hearts within, for the purpose of being drawn toward the Lord and His Word, and with the prayer to Him that we may seek to know His will, and to do it, and as the Apostle expressed it, to have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. We have all ascertained that it is one thing to have a knowledge of the truth, but another thing to have its Spirit. Still another thing to have it dwell in our hearts. Still further to have it shed abroad in our hearts, filling all the avenues of our lives and thoughts, and constituting the very mainspring of life. I trust that is the thought and intention of every one present. We love to think that each one of these Conventions is a little better than the one that went before. I like to think that it is so, and think it ought to be so, because as you and I get a deeper appreciation of the truth and have its spirit more and more shed abroad in our hearts, we ought to expect that we ought to have that much better fellowship with each other. Let us seek to put away, during the days of this Convention, all worldly thoughts, speculations, ambitions, purposes and arrangements, and let us have our hearts full of thoughts pertaining to the Lord and the Kingdom and the things which He will be pleased to have us blessed with, that our coming together will be for our mutual upbuilding in the most holy faith; because we are living in the harvest time of this Gospel Age, the most glorious epoch that the world has ever known, in that little period of time, which the Scriptures term, "The Day of Jehovah's Preparation," preparing for the Millennium, the time when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth. The preparations are going on. We have the electric light and all the advantages of our day, such as were never possible or enjoyed before. Many of us have come much longer distances than the Apostle Paul when he went on his journey to Rome, and we have come in a few hours. What a wonderful time in which we are living, and how happy we are to know that God is getting the forces of nature ready for the blessing of all the nations of the earth, with an opportunity of being uplifted through His truth more and more day by day during that blessed period of a thousand years – what blessing that will mean to the world. This glorious prospect is just before us, and it is now due time that we, as members of the Body of Christ, should have a foreview of these blessings.

I was thinking, dear friends, that it might be well if I should suggest a "keynote" for the Convention, in the form of a special text that might be in all our minds, and that might identify this occasion throughout all the coming days, and that we might carry this text in our thoughts when we go home, that it might be a blessing to others. The text I have to suggest is found in Paul's words, 1 Timothy 1:3-4, beginning with the latter part of verse three: "Teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers."

This entire passage, dear friends, would be very profitable to us, but the central thought I would like to impress is found in the words: "THE END OF THE COMMANDMENT IS LOVE OUT OF A PURE HEART, AND OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE, AND OF FAITH UNFEIGNED."

What does the Apostle mean by "the end of the commandment?" He means that the purpose, the object of God's law, of all the law that God has given at any time or that He ever will give is to produce this condition of heart and mind, namely, LOVE. Not selfish love, but the highest type of love, that of a good conscience, of a pure heart, and of faith unfeigned. This is the substance of the whole teaching of God, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself." Love will be ready and glad to lay down its life in God's service, and it will gain more and more control of every thought, word and act. While in the flesh we cannot do everything perfectly, but if love is in our hearts, it will influence us to do the best we can. Thus the Lord has given all His consecrated ones a law, one still more searching than the Golden Rule, and this rule the Lord calls, "A New Commandment." "A new commandment I give unto you, that you shall love one another as I have loved you."


Address to Harvest Workers

Text: "The fields are white already to harvest, and he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal. I send you forth to reap that upon which you have bestowed no labor. Others have labored and ye have entered into their labors."

THIS will not be, dear friends, a regular discourse, but rather a family talk to the harvest workers, and on the harvest work. Nevertheless, I will take a text; our Lord's words, "He that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."

When we think of a harvest time, it implies that there has been a sowing time and various processes for the development of a crop, that these various processes have accomplished a work, that a crop has been ripened and is ready for the sickle. This is our understanding of the Bible and the great Divine Plan and arrangement – not that God is reaping all the time, that there has been a reaping time all the way down from the creation of the world. But, rather, when we speak of the "harvest" we have in mind the work that began at the day of Pentecost has continued now for more than eighteen hundred years, and now, to our understanding, it has reached a climax, and the reaping time has come.

We remember that there was a Jewish age, and that during that time a certain work was done with that people, and after several centuries of divine dealing with the Jews under the Law Covenant, under the leadership of Moses and those who sat in Moses' seat, then came the harvest of that age. At that time our Lord Himself came and gathered His disciples and sent them forth as reapers in the harvest of the Jewish age.

In several of His parables He intimated that a new age would begin with Pentecost, in which there would be a time for further sowing for a different crop, that this age would have its end in a harvest also, and that again there would be a reaping work done. We have seen that the Jewish age was a parallel of this age, both in time, each being 1,845 years long, and also in the work done. What they had in a typical manner, we have actually or antitypically. We have also seen that when this age shall end, another age shall begin, and so in the Millennial Age there is to be a sowing time, and then in the end of that age there is also to be a harvest, yet the world goes on just the same totally unaware of what is going on.

But you and I, dear friends, are specially interested in the harvest of this Gospel Age, because all our hopes and interests are centered here. Of course, we study concerning the Jewish Age, and find things there of profit, because they were shadows of things which reached their real substance in this age, and so we can learn many valuable lessons from their experiences. For instance, we are told not to be murmurers as they were, many of them falling in the wilderness, and so lessons are drawn which show that while we are not under the Law Covenant, yet God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and His will and mind expressed to the Jews can teach us certain lessons today, even though we are not under the Law Covenant, but are under the Covenant of Grace, the Abrahamic Covenant, which was before the Covenant of Law, and of which the Apostle said the Law was 430 years after. The Covenant of Grace bore or brought forth no children until and during this Gospel Age.

Now, however, since Pentecost, you and I and all of God's true children, spiritual Israelites, are the children of that Covenant of grace, the Abrahamic Covenant, and we have the High Priest that belongs to that Covenant. The Apostle Paul, you remember, in the 3rd chapter of Galatians, tells us that "If ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs of the promise." Under another picture, we are spoken of as "Members of His Body," while in still another picture, as members of the Bride, the "Lamb's Wife." We are heirs of an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God unto salvation, ready to be revealed at the last day, the end of this age.

God does not intend to reveal the glories of His great Plan until the end of this age; He is allowing clouds and darkness to mystify the world, while He is taking out of the world "a people for His name," and He calls this people the "Mystery" of God, the Members of the Body of Christ.

So, then, we have before our minds what the Lord's purpose is respecting His great Plan during this Gospel Age. When did this work of selecting this Bride class begin? It began as soon as our Lord Jesus ascended upon high and appeared in the presence of God for us. As soon as He applied the merit of His sacrifice for us, the household of faith. Forthwith the divine blessing came upon the disciples at Pentecost. In one sense, the Lord's work began three and a half years before Pentecost; in the sense that He gathered during that time the twelve apostles and five hundred brethren, by His teaching, preaching, miracles and signs, and they were drawn of the Father to Him. You remember in His prayer He thanked the Father for giving them to Him. While they were in one sense received before Pentecost, they were not in the full sense until after Pentecost.

In describing the work of this age, our Lord describes it in the parable of the "Wheat and Tares," how that the good seed was first sown by Himself and the disciples, but at their death the enemy, Satan, came in and sowed the false seed. But the Lord told the disciples not to pull up the tares, for in so doing they would pull up the wheat also and spoil the field, in other words they would create anarchy. All during this age the good seed has also been sown in good and honest hearts, otherwise it would not bring forth fruit, just as if we were to sow good wheat seed upon the rocks and sands of earth. Many of our friends in the various denominations think that God will continue sowing the seed all through eternity, and think that the reaping goes on whenever any one dies, expecting that this work will go on for all eternity and that this is God's plan. But they do not consider the matter properly, and fail to reason it out, and to realize that there must of a necessity come an end to the present order of things. If any one will figure out the matter he can see that the present order of things could not possibly go on for five hundred years. One Methodist brother told me that he thought it would go on for fifty thousand years, and gave as his reason from science, not from the Bible, that all the coal and iron in the earth would first have to be used up. But he failed to get even the thought of scientists who state that at the present rate of consumption the coal beds will not last two hundred years. But, he is a doctor of divinity, and so we must excuse him; he has studied too much, – much learning has made him mad. I am not judging his heart, but he was opposed to the Bible thought that the end of the age is at hand, and that a new age is about to be ushered in, the dawn of the Millennium. In his endeavor to fight the truth he made those wild and blundering statements which you would think an infant would be able to correct. So, then, dear friends, from our standpoint, instead of God's continuing sowing and reaping for thousands of years and all eternity, the very reverse is true. God has been shaping all the past ages, and dispensations, and at the time of our Lord's first advent, it was just the due time, not too soon, nor too late, so that we read, In due time God sent forth His son to be the Redeemer. It was our Lord that began the sowing of that seed that will bring forth the crop of this Gospel Age. He has not been trying to gather in all the earth, but simply planting the truth here and there and gathering the crop from that which He planted – not from the heathen, which He never planted. God could have hindered Satan from sowing the tares, but it was in His purpose to permit it, and the parable shows that God foreknew the course of this Gospel Age. The whole field, Christendom, has been oversown with the tares. We are told that there are four hundred million Christians. We wish there were, but we are all witness of the fact that the number of real Christians, according to the divine standard [CR62] is a very little flock; the number of those who have the character likeness of Jesus is a very small number compared to the whole number called Christendom. This is not an uncharitable view to take, because we do not believe that all the rest have gone to an eternity of torture. Some of those people were noble men and women, but we are standing upon the Scripture statement as to the requirements of a Christian. He is one that does not believe in evolution, that his father was a monkey or some protoplasm; he is one who believes the Word of God, who accepts the facts as stated therein that Adam was created in the image of God, fell to a condition of sin and death, and needed a Redeemer, that God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh (not the likeness of a monkey), that He might redeem them from what they had lost. The Christian thought, then, is that there has been a loss, and that that loss is to be recovered, and the Scriptures tell us that that recovery is called restitution. A Christian is one who not only believes God's testimony respecting sin and the punishment of sin, but he also believes that the penalty for sin has been met by our Lord Jesus, that He died for our sin. He is one that walks in the way of righteousness, and that goes still further and presents his body a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1.) When we get the scriptural measure therefore of a Christian, it compels us to recognize the fact that there are not many in the world. And so the Apostle said that amongst those there were not many wise, great, rich or noble, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, and that these by and by shall be heirs to the Kingdom, and this Kingdom is to have the dominion under the whole heavens, and bless all the families of the earth.

There was a time for the planting, and a time for the developing of the wheat class, and now we have come to the time of the harvest, which He said was the end of the age, in which He would send forth His reapers to gather the tares into bundles for the burning, but the wheat was to be gathered into His garner, into the spiritual condition beyond the vail, glorified with the Lord Himself. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of your Father. We are not now shining as the sun, but as candles. We can't shine very much, but the Lord said for us not to put our lights under a bushel, but that it should give its light as far as possible, but we are not to expect that it will give light to the whole world – only those who are in the house, the household of faith. Our Lord let His light shine, and each one of us is to be a burning and shining light, but you and I are only little tallow dips, so to speak, but it will not always be so, thank God. These little dips are to shine now to the glory of God, and the Lord is going to take cognizance of these, and said they should be His jewels. Those jewels and candles are those who in the other parable are called the wheat. I trust you are not of those diamonds, and I trust I will be one, and all these diamonds will sparkle and produce the glorious light and knowledge of God and shine upon the whole world. Thank God! Hallelujah for such a Plan!

Now, dear friends, God could have done all this work; He could have picked out all these members of the Bride class, in fact He is doing it, but He is doing it according to a certain plan, according to an election, God is working it according to certain rules of grace, rather than in an arbitrary manner. He is not saying, I have chosen you, struggle as hard as you please I will yet land you in heaven. But the truth, as a great magnet, will draw all whom He is seeking. As you would pass a magnet around in a box of sawdust, it would bring forth all the pieces of steel that might be in the box, but you would also have some pieces of sawdust sticking to it also, which you would blow off. So in this harvest work, some with a sawdust character also appear, and so the Lord uses certain means by which He separates those who would attach themselves to the work of the truth but who are not of the right kind whom He wishes at this time to separate from the rest of the world. It does not follow, however, because you do not want the sawdust now that it has no value whatever. No, you may make use of it some time – now you are seeking to get the particles of steel. God is not saying that there is nothing that can be done with humanity after the selection of the Church. No, God is now selecting this special class that through them He may bless all the remainder. This is also brought out in another parable where we read, Those who would not have me rule over them, bring them hither, and slay them before me. So, after the gathering of the Church He will say, Bring all those opposers and slay them before me. That sounds like a hard statement, and it seems as though God was going to be very cruel, but not so when we get the thought of Peter on Pentecost. They said, men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved, and they were cut to the heart. How? By the words which Peter spoke. Just as we also see that when the Lord shall smite them with the sword of His mouth that they will be cut to the heart, and we are glad that all of His enemies shall thus fall under Him, so that during the Millennium they will have a taste of righteousness and of His righteous kingdom. After they shall have had their opportunity, then at the end of the Millennial Age they will be finally tested, to see whether they are in harmony with God's law, and whosoever will not come into harmony with God, the same shall be cut off in the second death, because God seeks such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth. Now, dear friends, since the Father could have done this through the holy angels, or in a thousand different ways, it has pleased God to permit you and me, and others to be co-workers with Him, ambassadors, representatives in telling the message, and in sending out the truth that it may accomplish His purpose. So the Lord sent forth the disciples and ordained that the message of the gospel should be preached, not to convert, but to witness, and to gather out the Little Flock. As He has used human instrumentalities in the past, so now, in this harvest time, He is using His people to be co-workers with Him, just as at the end of the Jewish age he sent forth those to be reapers of that upon which they had bestowed no labor. He says in one of the parables that they shall be gathered from the four winds of heaven, and this blessed privilege comes to you and to me, and it is true here that "he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal." It is a special privilege to labor in the harvest field, and I trust we all appreciate this great privilege of being co-workers with God.

To our understanding the harvest time has been in progress since 1874, and now we are in 1909, 35 years having passed, and only five left, forty in all, and to our understanding the Lord has been supervising the work and carrying it on all the way down, and we are glad to think that it is so, for we would be fearful to trust each other; because there is no human judgment that is sufficient for such a matter as this. If there is a harvest work at the end of this age, and if it is in progress now, and if there is any truth in the matter that we are in the harvest time now, then it follows that it is the most important work that has ever been accomplished – next in importance to the death of our Redeemer. If you or I thought that we had manufactured something of ourselves, how disconcerted we would be; we would feel that if we made it, it must be wrong; we would not trust our own brains with anything of the kind. Our confidence is that He who began the good work will finish it, and He it is that is the Chief Reaper Himself, and is thrusting in the sickle and gathering His elect from the one end of the earth to the other. If this has been true for thirty-five years, are we now to have a different Reaper, or will the same Reaper change His plans, or shall we expect that our great Chief Reaper will continue His work just as He began, and that we may expect an orderly procedure to its full culmination? The latter is my expectation, that He who began the work, the Lord Jesus, will continue to do so and carry it on, and that as He has used you and me and others of His people all over the world, as His agents or channels to do this or that, so He will continue to do during the remainder of the five years of the harvest time, and the whole work will be grandly accomplished, and the reapers will have their harvest home song, and the great nuptial feast will be held beyond the vail, when all the Church has passed beyond, when the time of trouble shall have passed, and the Great Company shall also be gathered upon the other side. Then the Great Redeemer Himself, according to the 45th Psalm, shall present the Bride glorified to the Heavenly Father, and also the Great Company, her virgin companions, shall follow her into the presence of the King. That will be [CR63] glorious, and the Apostle tells us that we will be presented faultless. What does that mean? Not that we will be faultless so far as this flesh as children of Adam is concerned, but so far as your heart and intentions are concerned, you will be absolutely faultless.

Now, as to how you and I will engage in the harvest work. The Lord seems to give us a great deal of liberty and privilege. But in proportion as your heart, and my heart, and the hearts of all of God's people are right with Him, and your intention to serve Him is that of a single eye, etc., in proportion as you are loyal to the Lord and are not minding the things of the earth, but setting your affections upon the things that are above, in that proportion He will grant you and me and any others the opportunity of such service, and He tells us not to wait on great opportunities for great service. If I were to tell you that you had the opportunity of doing some great service, I presume nearly every one of you would get up immediately. Everybody is ready to do great things, but you will notice that very few people do great things, because great things are not so done. The Lord wants you to look at the little things, and to look for the little opportunities, and to use these and your time, and He tells us in so many words that, "He that is faithful in that which is least would be faithful also in the things which are great." Also that he who would be unfaithful in the things which are least would likewise be unfaithful in the things which are great. But the Lord is taking the matter in the reverse order, and is testing us in the little things of our lives.

Now, then, dear friends, coming right down to the matter, how faithful does the Lord see you to be?

Oh, Brother Russell, I live out, and I have no opportunity in our part of the country.

No, I do not know anything of the kind.

There are some people, of course, but they have better opportunities than I have.

I don't know anything of the kind. I believe that just so surely as you are a child of God, there is a privilege in connection with you in the harvest work, and if you are not appreciating that privilege, you are not getting the blessing. You can't afford it. God can afford it, but you can't. God does not need your help nor mine. Let us get rid of the thought that the Heavenly Father needs us. We have been told in the nominal churches for a long time that God is doing the best He can, but can't do all He would like because He cannot get dollars enough with which to send the missionaries. God is going to do His work, but He is giving us the opportunity of doing some of it, so that we may receive some of the blessings. So it is written, "If we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him." Not that He needs our suffering, but that is the condition. He would prove our loyalty, even to the extent of laying down our lives in His service. Whoever will lay down his life for the truth and the brethren is the one that is doing the Lord's will, and that person can be trusted. We want to get the full force of that, just as the Lord gives it to us. If you are not sacrificing with the Lord, then you are not a priest, for the Apostle said that, "Every priest is ordained to offer both gifts and sacrifices." You must have both. What can you give? The Apostle said that Jesus is our example, our Head. What did He give? He gave Himself, laid down His life. You can lay down your life, and that is what He asks, for all who would be copies of His Son must follow in His footsteps, as He has set us the example. Of course, Jesus had to be crucified, and the Apostles suffered some, but there is no suffering now. I remember how that came to me when first I consecrated myself. I thought my duty was to join the congregational church.

After I joined I asked, Now, what must I do?

Well, Brother Russell, there is nothing that you should do.

I thought that when I joined the church I must do different than I did.

You will have to do just about as we do.

The trouble was, they had not been living up to the standard; they had no proper measure, but were measuring by one another, instead of God's standard in His Word. In the Lord's providences, I by and by came to see what the Lord's standard is – full consecration to the Lord, and to lay down our lives in His service, and to serve the truth and the brethren at any cost. If our Lord Jesus was proven, what should we expect of us as His followers?

Now, then, dear friends, as we are all Christian people, with a knowledge of the truth, who believe it thoroughly, who are pledged to the Lord, and our lives given in His service, there is just one thing for us to do; and that is, to give our lives, just as we have covenanted or agreed. But there are many ways of giving our lives. But we should first inquire, Lord, what hast thou for me to do? If we believe that there is a Chief Reaper, we ought to recognize Him and ought to be looking for His guidance – looking over the harvest field, we seeing different things going on, and so far as we can see, all under the supervision of the Great Reaper. We see that the Lord has led to this step and to that step, and some of us were reaped by this or by that work, but all reaped by Present Truth, as it passed through some of these channels or mains. For instance, the Lord was pleased to use the Watch Tower to bring the knowledge of the Truth to a great many.

Then the Lord was pleased to use the tract, "Food for Thinking Christians," to reach a great many. Then, some of you got the Divine Plan of the Ages, and other volumes of the Scripture Studies. Then some of you got tracts and papers. Whichever way was used to bring you to the light of Present Truth, do you give the credit to the Lord for bringing it to you, or to some human being? I prefer, so far as I am concerned in my own case, to give the credit to the Lord, and I believe that if the Lord had not brought it in one way, He would have in another way. If the brother or sister who handed you the book or tract had not done so, some other brother might have. If you had not carried it to your neighbor, some one else might have. If not by hand, it might have gone by mail. Dear friends, to my understanding, all of the credit for present truth, which has reached you and me, and everyone else, should be given to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Chief Reaper, who is directing all of the channels and features of the harvest work.

Now, dear friends, if you think on this subject as I have suggested, as I do, then it will be for your pleasure and profit to co-operate with us, and I know that nearly all of you are. I am not wishing to make any reflection, but merely that, that is what we ought to do. Many here are colporteurs making it the main business of their lives to preach the gospel through the Divine Plan of the Ages, by taking fifty or one hundred sermons to their neighbors, thus permitting them to mark and digest the truth in future years. I do not know how many colporteurs are present, possibly 150 right in this audience, and I congratulate those dear friends; they are doing a wonderful work. To my understanding, this is part of what is referred to by our Lord when He said He would cause the angel to fly through the midst of the heavens with the gospel. The Lord uses various ones for His angels or messengers. They are not always on the spirit plane, and they are not always males or females, old or young, but of all classes. They are His, and He is pleased to use them, and whoever He uses is a messenger of the Lord, or a servant of the truth. I thank God, then, for these colporteur angels.

Then the Lord is using other means. We rejoice with the pilgrims, and for those who are sharpshooters, who have family duties and cannot go out into the work altogether.

Some say, Here is a little town, I will take a holiday and canvass that.

Why, Brother Russell, do any spend their holidays that way?

Yes, indeed. They are doing a great work. They cannot fly as far through the heavens, so to speak; they have shorter wings and can only go close by, but God is pleased with them, for they are doing a great work. Just as the Lord said, "He that reapeth receiveth wages," every day; and every colporteur and everyone else who is doing any service ought to look for his wages every day and see that he gets them before he goes to bed – the blessing and joy of the Lord in His heart. Let us go down on our knees and tell over the whole matter of the day, and realize that the Lord loves and cares for us, and receive into our hearts some of the wages which He is pleased to give – the wages of His favor, and an appreciation of the fact that they [CR64] are near to Him, that the Father Himself loveth them, and realizing that they have been manifesting some of the spirit of the Redeemer who left the heavenly glory and became a bond servant and died for them. As the Father was pleased with His Son, so He is pleased with all who are trying to walk in His footsteps.

Then we have another way – the Volunteer work, in which free literature, tons of it, is given away every year.

Some might say, Well, I have no means with which to purchase literature, and I cannot print it myself, and I cannot afford to purchase it.

The Lord said you could have it, dear friends. When we give our accounting at the end, the Lord will ask about the two and the five talents.

And if you should say, I had no talent, He would say, Yes, you did, for I gave to every servant some talent.

The Lord has put it in such a way that no one of us can say, O Lord, my heart was just burning to tell the truth, but, Lord, I did not have an opportunity, Oh, I am so sorry. You can't say that.

You might say, I was not gifted with speech, and whenever I tried it I got so mixed that I stopped.

Well, I guess that is true, but I gave you some printed matter that you could have given out anyway. Any one who wishes to serve the truth has an opportunity.

People from all walks of life, professional people, high officials, bankers, merchants, mechanics, clerks behind the counters, in the factory, in the kitchen and on the farm are all engaged in the work.

So, then, dear friends, no matter what other people may think of the gospel and the harvest work and the ultimate blessing of all the families of the earth, we ought to feel that we have a good gospel, one of which we are not ashamed. But I would be ashamed of everything else under the sun that goes by the name of gospel; there is no other presentation upon the face of the earth but that I would be ashamed to hand out. We have the one message of which we do not need to be ashamed. For it shall be to the whole world during the Millennial Age, and they will all come to a full knowledge of the truth and an opportunity to believe therein. It is the only gospel in the world that is logical and reasonable from first to last, the only one that can draw opposition and that cannot be put to flight within an hour. I dare say that I can describe any creed and with the truth show the inconsistency of it, so that any one subscribing to it would be ashamed of it within half an hour. With the truth we can show the glorious character of our Heavenly Father and His Plan for all men that is admirable and reasonable in the sight of all people. If we are ashamed of it, we are ashamed of our Lord, the Great Chief Reaper and the whole work. Our Lord said, He that is ashamed of Me and My Word, of him will I be ashamed, and I will not confess his name before the Heavenly Father and the angels, etc.

Dear friends, we wish to be of those whom He will confess to be His followers and disciples, who have walked in His footsteps, and whom He will make His joint heirs. Let us, one and all, in the various ways, engage in the harvest work.

One more thought: While the text relates to the harvest work in a general way, "He that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad," there are some dear friends who say, Must we work in some of these ways that you have outlined? Must we do it through the Dawn Studies or through the Volunteer matter?

No, my dear brother, there is no must about it, and you cannot find it in the Bible. You don't have to do anything – you don't have to be of the Little Flock at all, or in the harvest work. IT IS A PRIVILEGE.

Do you mean to say that you denounce us?

No, I do not.

I remember how, when our Lord sent out the disciples and when they returned they said, Lord, while we were out doing the things according to your arrangement, we found a man who would not follow us, and we forbade him. But Jesus said, Don't forbid him, let him do all the good he can; just go on and attend to your own business. You know I sent you out, and YOU got a blessing. As for these others, the Lord's Word tells us that they who gathereth not with Him scattereth abroad, doing more harm than good. A man might go into a flower garden with a spade and turn over the whole garden. He might say, I am working. Instead of picking out a weed here and there, he is trying to upset the gardener's work. So far as the Lord is concerned, nobody can upset the work, but you can do that which is the work of the adversary in the way of interrupting the work, and the Lord's Word shows that He will permit such for a time, but the lesson for you and me is that we have the privilege of being related to the Chief Reaper, and if we think this is in harmony with the harvest work, and that He has been doing it now for thirty-five years, the lesson for me would be to continue as we have under the guidance of the Chief Reaper, doing what our hands find to do as we see it being carried out. But don't find fault with anybody else. If they want to work outside and scratch around, let them do so. Let the Chief Reaper do the interrupting if it is necessary.

I hope we all feel the importance and the privilege and the necessity of being engaged in the work of our Redeemer in gathering in the precious jewels of the Lord at this time.

Into the work that calls for you,
Into the promises grand and true:
Into the joy of faith that waits:
Why stand idly without the gates,
When the fields are ripe?

You sadly say you cannot know
What God has here for you to do,
Or the way wherein your feet should go;
But if you enter in today,
He'll show you, in His own sweet way,
Your privileged place.

And when the sheaves are gathered in,
We may be sure, in that blissful day,
To sowers and reapers Christ will say, –
"You who well toiled and labored and bore,
And zealously sought for more and more
Of God's blessed work, –

"Come in, beloved, come in, come in –
Into the rest prepared for you,
Into the glory now brought to view."
Our heavenly Bridegroom will await
Our triumphant entrance within the gate
Of Immortality.


The Value of Toil

TEXT: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." (Genesis 3:19.)

HE SAID: As tomorrow is Labor Day (so-called), we thought something along the line of "Labor" might not be inappropriate on this occasion.

We have all felt, dear friends, at times, no doubt, that the conditions in which we find ourselves as a race are very peculiar.

The Great Teacher said of the lilies of the plain, "They toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." (Matthew 6:28,29.) Similarly we believe that in heaven the angels are free from toil. Divine power exercised in their interest makes toil unnecessary. He who created the angels and made the lilies is the same God by whose omnipotent power we human beings came into existence. We are surrounded by conditions which call for labor, toil and sweat of face, as indicated in our text. Why are these things so? Why is man less favored by his Creator than the angels and the lilies? The answer to this query is found in God's great Book, the Bible. As Bible Students the majority of us know, of course, the answer to this query. And yet it may prove beneficial to us to examine the question afresh.

I remind you that the words of our text are God's comment upon the conditions which now obtain and which were made necessary by man's disobedience and the terms of his sentence. As originally created the conditions of sweat of face and battling with thorns and insects too numerous to mention were not necessary and were not imposed upon mankind. On the contrary, Adam was placed in Paradise, in the Garden of Eden, whose every prospect was beautiful. Its trees were fruitful, yielding a variety and an abundance of life-giving fruit for the maintenance of the king of earth and his queen, Mother Eve. The responsibilities of the situation was merely to dress, or keep, the garden – to pluck its fruits and to prune the waste foliage to Adam's pleasement. Every necessity was provided as surely as in the case of the angels and the lilies. The great change which thrust our first parents from Paradise is the result of "Original Sin" – disobedience to God.

The basis of the fall may be said to have been the temptation of the serpent, but otherwise, too, we may say that it was the loss of faith in God on the part of Mother Eve. Had she properly continued in faith and trust, the Tempter's suggestion of disobedience would have been promptly rejected. His suggestion that the great Creator has been prompted by selfish motives in forbidding the fruit of one particular kind of tree should have been promptly recognized as slander. And the further suggestion that the God of all Grace and Truth lied to them and distorted the facts when he warned that disobedience would result in death – this misrepresentation should have been indignantly resented. But, alas! Mother Eve had not yet reached that degree of character development; she succumbed to the temptation, crude as it was. Her desire for knowledge ensnared her. A lesson to us in this connection is that any knowledge which may come to us as Bible Students, or come to others along any lines out of accord with the Divine testimony, would be costly knowledge indeed.

The Wage of Sin Is Death."

The result of the disobedience might have been the smiting of our first parents by a thunderbolt, but, with gracious purposes, God permitted them to have what they undoubtedly preferred – death by a dying process of centuries. This gave Adam and his posterity contact with sin and its penalty. The divine object in so doing is scripturally declared to be that all mankind might learn of the "exceeding sinfulness of sin," its undesirability and the sureness of its penalty – death. Had it not been for God's intention by and by to send the Redeemer and to pay man's death penalty, and thus to make possible his reclamation from death conditions by re-creation processes, our race might better have been instantly smitten to oblivion in our first parents; and the Twenty Thousand Millions of Adam's children might better have remained unborn. However, the Bible clearly reveals that "as by man (Adam) came death, even so by a man also (Jesus) comes the resurrection of the dead. For as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive, every man in his own order." (1 Corinthians 15:21-23.)

The purpose of the Lord, clearly expressed, is that mankind in general shall have the blessed opportunity of sharing in the blessings of the Millennial Kingdom – the uplifting blessings, the restitution blessings, the resurrection blessings. St. Peter speaks of those Millennial years of blessing as "times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21.) Very clearly we discern God's wise purpose to be that as mankind through Adam are being made acquainted with sin, calamities, death, so in due time all shall be made acquainted with righteousness, Truth and the boon of life eternal in harmony with their Creator. In that "restitution time," by the contrast of the rewards of righteousness with the rewards of sin, the whole world shall be brought to a knowledge of the Truth and shall discern, not only the Justice of God, but also His Wisdom, Love and Power.

The Tree of Knowledge.

Thus, sure enough, the forbidden fruit was of the tree of knowledge. The eating of that fruit did indeed bring with it to Mother Eve and to all her children knowledge. It has required Six Thousand years of experience under the reign of Sin and Death to learn one side, and it will require another One Thousand Years, the Millennium of [CR66] Christ's reign, to teach Mother Eve and her family the other part of the great lesson, namely, the knowledge of Good. By the conclusion of the Millennium the entire race of Adam will know both Good and Evil experimentally and, we trust, the majority of them will have learned the lesson so thoroughly that they will be fully out of accord with sin in its every phase. But while acknowledging that the eating of that fruit has become the channel of these lessons in evil, as in good, we can see that these same lessons might have been much more readily inculcated otherwise, had our first parents rejected the temptation and proven loyal to their Creator.

Many misunderstood these words, "Cursed is the earth," to signify that our Creator put a special blight upon the fruitful and beautiful earth. On the contrary, while He could have brought the entire earth to full perfection before man's creation, He did not do so, but left the greater part of it in a condition accursed or unfit for human use and habitation even while man was in harmony with God. God merely "Prepared the Garden Eastward in Eden" for the trial, the testing, the proving of our first parents, because He knew what would be the result of that trial. He knew the end from the beginning. Divine foreknowledge is the basis of the statement, "Cursed is the earth for thy sake;" it is thus unfit for you, in your own interest, because I foreknew your transgression and what condition would be most favorable for you, that your death sentence might bring you the largest degree of knowledge and the largest degree of experience in the most helpful manner.

Is it asked how the unfitness of the earth could insure to man's advantage as a sinner and why the Lord placed the cherub with flaming sword to keep the way to the Tree of Life? We reply that all of the experiences of the wisest of mankind corroborate the divine decision that it was wisest and for the best interests of Adam and his children that the curse, the sentence, should affect him in all of his relationships of life and particularly in respect to his earthly home. "Cursed is the earth for thy sake. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee."

Greed – Selfishness – Meanness.

The battle for bread which started when our first parents were thrust out of the Garden of Eden and obliged to labor for their sustenance is a battle which has kept up ever since. It has had the effect of developing more and more in the human mind that evil quality called greed and selfishness. It has had the effect of making our race ignoble, mean. Father Adam, as the breadwinner of the family, surely had noble and generous qualities of heart and a great love for Mother Eve; yet, one could imagine that, as age advanced upon him and he became six or seven hundred years old, the toil connected with his battle with the thorns and thistles was the more severe and that this would, of necessity, make him the more careful, the more frugal, even, perhaps, to the extent of parsimony and meanness. Similar experiences cultivated the same quality in all of his children, and the habit so grows upon us that, not merely are those who have the barest of necessities impelled to be stingy and close, but even those who come into possession of fabulous wealth have this parsimony ingrained in their very being.

We may, indeed, see a blessing in the divine provision of this condition of things. Were it not for selfish ambition and pride what would become of the race, under the reign of "the Prince of this world?" If every man, upon obtaining a competence, were to sit down and be satisfied, where would be the world's progress? How could it carry on the great projects of life – the public utilities, the public charities? Some motive is necessary to keep in operation the great human machine we call civilization. Our Socialist friends may tell us that Love and Benevolence should actuate the human mind to all these things for the public benefit. We are ready to admit that such would be a very ideal condition, so far as the rich are concerned. But why should we expect more of the rich than of the poor, as respects love and willingness to lay down life and pleasure and wealth and comfort for their fellowmen? Our Lord put the matter the other way, saying, He that is faithful in that which is least would be faithful also in the greater things. The poor man or woman who is found to be very generous and very helpful to his friends and neighbors is thus attesting that if he were wealthy he would probably use his wealth for the public benefit. But, alas! we find comparatively little of unselfish love, either in the poor or the rich. And this being true, love could not be the motive power of the world under present conditions.

Paradise to be Restored.

We have already seen that it is necessary, in viewing the Divine dealings with humanity, to keep in memory the future outcome of God's Plan. Otherwise the permission of Six Thousand Years of the reign of Sin and Death would be entirely unreasonable to us, inconsistent with Divine Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power. But keeping in memory the fact that it is the Divine Purpose to reclaim man from his fallen condition of imperfection of mind and physique, and that it is the divine intention to make the entire earth a Garden of Eden – Paradise – from this standpoint, the permission of evil may be clearly understood and appreciated as a master-stroke of Divine Wisdom.

As one illustration of this, suppose that Sin had not entered into the world and the birth of humanity had been as slow as in the case of Adam's immediate children (whose birth rate was probably about one a century), how long would it have required to people the earth? But in Adam's fallen condition, as a part of the result of the fall, the sorrows and conception of motherhood were greatly multiplied (Genesis 3:16), so that during the period of Seven Thousand Years a sufficiency of the human family will have been born to properly fill it. Moreover, the subduing of the earth has under divine forearrangement been accomplished by convict labor; for are not all mankind convicts serving out a death sentence? And is not our Creator permitting man, for his own good, to battle strenuously with the unfavorable conditions prevailing in the earth? And does not this battling serve to quicken man in his mental qualities, even though this quickening be chiefly along selfish lines?

Furthermore, as we have heretofore seen, the reign of Sin and Death amongst mankind made it possible for God, on the one hand, to show the severity of His Justice in permitting us to die thus, as a "groaning creation, travailing in pain," and it made possible the exhibition of His Love in the providing of the Redeemer, who bought us with His precious blood. Further, be it remembered it served as the occasion for the testing of Lucifer, the proving of his disloyalty, when he became Satan, the Adversary of God. Additionally it furnished the opportune test of the loyalty or disloyalty of all the angels of heaven as recorded in Genesis 6, Jude 6 and 2 Pet. 2:4, as we have previously seen.

"The Mystery of God."

And now we come, dear friends, to that feature of the great Divine Plan which is so peculiarly interesting to us – to us who are Bible Students; to us who are disciples of Jesus; to us who have given our all to Him; to us who are trusting that He has accepted us as "members of the Body of Christ," as members of the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, and His Joint Heir in the Kingdom. Without the permission of sin there would have been no such opportunity as we now enjoy of experiencing a "change" of nature from earthly to heavenly – human to divine. As our Lord could not have left the heavenly glory to become a man and to suffer and to die, the Just for the unjust, unless there had been sin in the world; unless sinners had needed redemption; so likewise we would have had no opportunity or privilege of joining with our Lord in His sacrifice of Himself! We would have had no opportunity of joint heirship with Him in His kingdom.

Indeed, had there been no sin to conquer, to down, to overthrow, there would have been no need for Christ's Mediatorial Kingdom – for Christ's reign of righteousness. Had there been no fallen condition of humanity in sin, in degradation, there would have been no work for the Royal Priesthood to accomplish during the "times of restitution," during the existence of the Millennial Kingdom. So, then, while appreciating the terrible devastation of sin in the world, its terrible consequences upon the human family, we see behind the glorious Advent of our Lord in Kingdom power a full recovery of the race from All that was Lost in Adam and Redeemed on Calvary. From this standpoint we [CR67] have a glimpse of the length and breadth and height and depth of the Love and Justice, the Wisdom and the Power of our God. From this standpoint we worship and adore our Almighty Creator and our precious Redeemer! From this standpoint we may have full confidence in the outcome that ultimately all shall have the fullest opportunity of eternal life and that all wilful evil-doers shall be ultimately destroyed in the Second Death, from which there shall be no redemption, no resurrection.

From this standpoint we may rejoice to suffer with our Redeemer, that we may be glorified with Him in His Kingdom and participate with Him in its glorious work of uplifting the poor, fallen race to Paradise, and to all the perfections of Adam. Yea, we may rejoice even in the Second Death of the unwilling and disobedient, realizing that true and righteous is the Divine edict under which they will perish. (2 Pet. 2:12.)

Steadfast, Immovable

To play through life a perfect part,
Unnoticed and unknown;
To seek no rest in any heart
Save only God's alone;
In little things to own no will,
To have no share in great,
To find the labor ready still,
And for the crown to wait;

Upon the brow to bear no trace
Of more than common care;
To write no secret in the face
For men to read it there;
The daily cross to clasp and bless
With such familiar zeal
As hides from all that not the less
It's daily weight you feel;

In toils that praise will never pay
To see your life go past;
To meet in every coming day
Twin sister of the last;
To hear of high, heroic things,
And yield them reverence due,
But feel life's daily offerings
Are far more fit for you;

To woo no secret, soft disguise,
To which self-love is prone;
Unnoticed by all other eyes,
Unworthy in your own;
To yield with such a happy art
That no one thinks you care,
Yet say to your poor bleeding heart,
How little you can bear;

Oh! 'tis a pathway rough to choose,
A struggle hard to share.
For human pride would still refuse
The nameless trials there;
But since we know the gate is low
That leads to heavenly bliss,
What higher grace could God bestow
Than such a life as this.

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