Convention Report Sermons








Clinton Convention – July 5.

Discourse by Pastor Russell. Subject: "HOLINESS"

IT affords me great pleasure, dear friends, to be at the Clinton convention. I have already been to the Asbury Park convention. We had a good time there, and they are still enjoying themselves, I am sure. We had a good time also at Columbus, Ohio, and they still have a good time there, too. And now I find that you are having a splendid time here. How wonderful that the Lord's people wherever they may gather may have the same blessings of Heavenly Father, the same consolation from the same promises on the same conditions, and the secret of the entire matter is as expressed in the Scriptures, that we were all baptized by one Spirit into the one Body, under one Head, in the one hope of our calling, in the one glorious prospect. Therefore, indeed, we are members in particular one of another and members of the body of Christ and children of the same Heavenly Father. No wonder we are happy.

"I'm happy, I'm happy, O wondrous account,
My joys are immortal, I stand on the mount."

This is Holiness Day, and my text in harmony with the day is: Be ye holy, even as your Father which is in Heaven is holy."

We will consider first of all what is signified by the word "holy." What does it mean, "Be ye holy"? To some extent, perhaps, we have all had misapprehensions of the meaning of the word holy at some time in our Christian experience. At one time we thought it meant the thought as represented by some Christian people who told us that they had never sinned, or that they never did sin, or that they did not sin now, or that they had not sinned for many years, and we thought that might be what the word meant, and we were perplexed because if we were honest with ourselves we knew we did not live up to that and we had reason to doubt if anybody ever did live up to it, and the more we knew of those people the more we were convinced that they did not themselves, and the more we were convinced that the Bible is entirely right when it says, "There is none righteous, no not one."

If, then, dear friends, there is none righteous, no not one, and if none of us could boast of righteousness, and the Apostle said of the Jews not one was able to keep God's law, then what does the Scripture signify that we have taken for our text, "Be ye holy, even as your Father in Heaven is holy." Is not God perfect? What is this that is meant by our text, Be ye thus holy?

We answer first of all that the word holy signifies that which is whole – that which is complete, that which lacks nothing. And this word holy, or complete, is the same, therefore, as perfection, so that it is equivalent to the statement, "Be ye perfect even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect."

Now you say, it is just as bad as ever, Brother Russell. I cannot be perfectly holy in every action, word and thought, and I ask why can we not be, and the answer we get from the Bible is that we were born imperfect. As the Psalmist expresses it for himself, and for all of us, "I was born in sin, I was misshapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." That is the reason, therefore, that you will find it impossible to be perfectly holy, because you were born a sinner, and you and I know that is not peculiar to yourself or to any other one person. We know the entire human family was born in the same manner, every one born unholy, born a sinner, and that, my dear friends, is the secret of our need of a Savior; for if you had been born holy and perfect you would not have needed a Savior, and if not, you may be sure no Savior would have been provided. If, then, we get the proper thought in connection with this matter of sin and holiness, right and wrong, it is thus that our entire race has been born into the world sinners, weak and imperfect physically and mentally.

Your reasoning is not sound. Nobody else has a sound head. Your body is not sound. Nobody else has a sound body either. Your morals are not perfect. Nobody's are. All have sinned. All are come short of the grand standard of divine holiness and perfection. From the crown of the head to the sole of your foot there is no perfection. You have the Bible for it. Where is the remedy then? For all of this, the only remedy for this matter so far as the human family is concerned, would be to be made over again. And that is God's proposition. He tells us that He intends to have a regeneration of our race.

We have all been generated from the life given to our Father Adam, and as generated children of Adam we are all sinners, imperfect, and not worthy of everlasting life. Therefore, the whole race, under God's decision, being unworthy of everlasting life, is under a sentence of death, and those shall die who are not worthy to live everlastingly and to enjoy the blessings that you otherwise would have been allowed to enjoy. The only hope is regeneration – generated over again with a fresh start of life. That is what the world needs, is it not?

That is a hard question, Brother Russell. How can mankind ever be regenerated? We see the race going down to the tomb, men and women, old and young, all classes going down. How can they ever be regenerated? Does the Bible tell us what is God's Plan in this respect? He has purposed from the beginning to have such a regeneration and He has sent a new Life Giver. Now what do you mean by a new Life Giver, Brother Russell? Adam was intended to be the life giver to his family, and instead of giving life, on account of the sin which he committed, he brought into the world a dying race. And now God's provision is that He will send a Savior and a great one.

I have heard of saviors, but what has that to do with Life Giver? Very much. The word Savior means life giver. And so when Jesus was among men He said, "I am come that they might have life." Did they need it? Yes, indeed. It was life that was forfeited, gone on account of sin. All of our weakness and suffering are on account of sin, and God has provided Jesus to be a life giver.

In what way does He need all of His life for himself? My dear brother, to go into that question is to go into the whole Plan of the Ages. The Bible tells us how God arranged that matter to send the Life Giver, the One who would regenerate our race. To be the regenerator of humanity he needed to be the Redeemer of men first, to give a ransom price for Father Adam and his race. Now then, according to the Bible, Jesus was in the form of God, a spirit form, a heavenly form or condition. He was at the right hand of the Father in the sense of being next to the Father in glory, honor, distinction and power. He was the Logos, the Word of God, the Messenger of God, the One through whom God had been operating in all the works of creation, as the Scriptures tell us, "Without Him was not anything made that was made." And to this great Logos, the Heavenly Father made the proposition – not the proposition that we once supposed, that the Heavenly Father compelled the Son to suffer for us and violated all principles of justice in so compelling the just to suffer for the unjust – no it was all done as the Bible explains, along the lines of harmony, justice and love. The Heavenly Father set before His Son the Logos, a great proposition and left it open to Him to either accept or reject it. If He would accept it it would be a great lesson to himself as well as a great blessing to humanity, so you remember the Apostle tells us – I will not go into details, I will assume that all present are very familiar with it. I am now merely drawing out your minds, stirring up your pure minds by way of remembrance, although you know these things, that you may be able to connect them up and see something of the great workings of the Heavenly Father's Plan. So the Apostle tells us that God set this matter before His Son, the Logos, and Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him, by the Father, was willing to endure all of that. He was willing to leave the heavenly Glory where He was rich in the highest station, and humble himself and become poor by becoming human nature. And He did more, because more was necessary. He was willing to sacrifice that nature and lay down His life, to give himself completely in death, to die "the Just for the unjust." What for? The joy that was set before him. What joy? I suppose one of the chiefest joys of our Savior was to do the Father's will. He put that first. "I delight to do Thy will, O God. Thy law is written within My heart." That was the first joy, something the Father would like to have done, [CR452] so it was something He would like to do.

A secondary joy would be the great privilege of blessing the human family, thousands of millions of human beings that needed the blessing to come into this divine arrangement. Incidentally also would be the great exaltation that would come to himself as a special mark of the Heavenly Father's approval and love, so the Apostle tells us. It was so that when He was obedient even unto death, the Father has highly exalted Him and given Him a name, title and honor that is above every name and title and honor, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, both of the heavenly hosts and also the human family, of those in heaven and on the earth. So much has been accomplished, dear friends, that Jesus has been exalted, and the heavenly hosts already bow the knee in the sense of honoring Him next to the Father. They all honor Him as such.

Then will come in due time the further part when every earthly knee must bow and every earthly tongue confess, also, that He is Lord, to the glory of the Father. We have not reached that time yet; but there is another work going on that Jesus had in mind no doubt, and it was a great pleasure to Him knowing that He would become the Captain of our salvation, that He should lead forth a company of the Sons of God, in a special sense being their Captain or Head, the Body of Christ, the Church, the Bride, the Lamb's wife. And we see, therefore, that we were a part of that great Plan that the Father set before Him, the Son, that He had this in His mind, that He not only would redeem the world from the death condition, but that some of us would have the privilege of being uplifted from the human nature to the Divine nature. So that is the conditions upon which He could be a man's Redeemer and upon which He might be the Great One who would be the Life Giver to the world.

Mark the point that we are making – that the world had lost life and He was the Life Giver and that He could not give the world life until the world could first be redeemed. A sacrifice for the sin of the world must first be provided, and Jesus in laying down His human life, was laying down sacrificially the ransom price sufficient for the sin of the whole world. Now we see from God's arrangement, nothing would stand in the way of God's allowing Jesus to be the Life Giver to the world. So He is ready, as the Life Giver, to appreciate the value of His death to mankind, and thus set them free from the sentence upon the world.

Our thought is that this soon will be accomplished. Very soon God's time will come when the great clock of the universe will strike the hour. I do not know that it will strike that hour this year, or next year, whatever faith or hope or desire you may have. We do not, nor have we ever, claimed to be infallible. But we do say we are absolutely sure of the nearness of the Father's Kingdom, and we do say that, "He (Christ) must reign until He has put down all enemies"; and we see the evidence that the time of that reign is drawing near.

At the time for Him to set up that Kingdom He will make the application for the sins of the whole world, and the whole world will be turned over to Him. Why turn the world over to Jesus? My dear brethren, the world has been under a sentence of sin and death conditions and so sin and death have reigned for 6,000 years; but in God's provision the time has come, or will be here very soon, when the Redeemer will take the power in His hand for giving the blessings to mankind that His death entitled Him to give them. He has the right to give them something because He bought them with his own precious blood. That is the term the Bible says and it is a mistake to say there is nothing in the nature of a commercial transaction; because in the Bible the term used signifies a commercial transaction. Not that God is dealing commercially. There was a price paid and a thing was bought. We were sold under sin by our Father Adam, and the consideration with the first transaction to go to the whole race was sold under sin, and they have been there ever since – the wages, or result of sin.

Now the One has appeared, who has been willing to give His life a ransom and purchase us by giving His human life on our behalf, so that we, as a race of mankind, might be set free from the sentence of sin and death. This would do us little good as a race. (I am not now speaking of the church. I am talking of the world. Will talk of the church by and by.) If we were set free from the power of sin and death now, how little progress would the world know how to make, even with the best of intentions. Even if they were delivered from death they would be unable to lift themselves out of their fallen condition.

So, under God's provision, we see that Jesus should not only be the Redeemer, the purchaser of the race, but after purchasing it He would take hold of it and do something with it. Therefore God arranged that He should be a great King to rule humanity, to rule His purchased possession. He is entitled to take 1,000 years in which He will uplift them out of sin and death, and bring all back again to the image and likeness of God, to all that was lost in Adam, to all that was redeemed at Calvary. He will be the King for that purpose. Does it need kingdom power? Yes. Will He have it? Yes. He is to be King of kings, and Lord of lords. Are we sure He will have the power? The Scriptures assure us, saying the Father has declared that all of the powers of the Divine Kingdom shall be behind Messiah's throne. Do we need more assurance? God said it. In the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians we read, "For He must reign till he hath put all enemies under His feet." He must reign as representative of His Kingdom and the Father's, until He hath put all enemies, all sin and all opposition to righteousness, under His feet.

In doing all of that, dear friends, He will be bringing mankind back again from sin and from death and from unholiness back to holiness. Do you see? Holiness is that condition of perfect Father Adam who was in God's holy image. When He made him, God declared He made man righteous, made him in the image and likeness of God, for man could not be better. How could he be better and be anything else than the image of God – an earthly image of the great Heavenly Creator. That image has been lost for 6,000 years, and for 1,000 years Jesus will be restoring it to mankind and with much power and authority to break the chains of ignorance and superstition and set the prisoners free. At the same time He will be the great King over the whole earth. He will be the great Priest.

What is that? In order to get the Bible picture we must go back to the priesthood that God established, representative in Aaron and his sons. The intention, according to the divine law given them was that they should be the instructors of the people. They would rule, the priests would instruct. The priests would have to do with the healing of diseases during the Millennial Kingdom. These two offices are to be added to Christ – a King and a Priest. A priest upon His throne. "I have sworn, Thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchizadek." Paul points out the application of that prophecy that it was an application to Jesus. God has determined that Jesus, as the great Priest, shall have the double office of being King and Priest at the same time, and Melchizadek, king of Salem, was the type of this office of Jesus as the great Priest or King, and in all of that work and blessing of mankind the church is to be associated with him, because they are to be made kings and priests, or more particularly, reigning priests to have the order of royalty and the order of priesthood combined in us because we will be associated with our great Lord and King, and all of His works both as King and Ruler, and also as the Priest or Teacher of mankind. So then, the work will go on for a thousand years, and the standard before all of the world in that thousand years will be "Be ye holy even as the great Heavenly Father is holy." Get back to the image of God. It will be part of the work of the great Priest to show the people how they have fallen far from the image and likeness of God. It will be a part of the great Priest's work to help the people to overcome their weaknesses and to get back to the condition in which they will be pleasing God, and a certain period of time will be allowed. The entire thousand years will be set apart for that work to lift the world up to God-likeness – holy as God is holy – perfect as He is perfect. Man will be perfect on the human plane, as God is on the divine plane. The same spirit or disposition, only one is human and the other divine. The same holiness you see as God is holy according to His sphere, so man will be required to be holy according to his sphere – the human plane.

What if they do not? The Bible tells us it will behoove every member of the race in Adam to fall in line and perfect holiness. The blind eyes shall be opened and the deaf ears shall be unstopped and they shall come to hear of that arrangement and how much God loves us and how He has provided a Redeemer of the race and how Jesus died for our sins. They shall come to understand the Kingdom of God and the great King of the thousand years, and if they are not touched with the love of God and do not desire to come [CR453] back into harmony with God, and do not put forth the effort to come back to the image of God, they will be counted unworthy of eternal life and will be destroyed from among the people. So at last, all those of the human family who will not avail themselves of the blessed privilege of Messiah's Kingdom, when it shall be in the world for the uplift and the return to the image of God, and the regeneration to a new life of the human race, all who refuse God's arrangement through Jesus Christ will die the second death, and those who come wholly into His image and likeness may have everlasting life. Thus the angels, all those angels who are out of accord with the divine authority and the Spirit of God, will never be continued in lasting life, but will be destroyed in the second death, just as the Bible says Satan will be destroyed, and all who follow him. So humanity, when the opportunity is placed before them and the full knowledge and clear understanding is on earth, by taking their stand on the side of God and seeking as dear children to come into harmony with God and return to His likeness, will find this will be possible; or they will be following the course of Satan and failing to come to God's likeness and will share with Satan in the general destruction which awaits all those who will not have the Lord's ways in their hearts. So we see that the language of our text, "Be ye holy even as your Father which is in Heaven is holy," will be the rule of the whole world. Nobody is to have everlasting life except on those conditions.

What about the church? I am coming to that. That is the most important thing. It will help us to see our share. If we see the glorious law of God on the subject, how does it apply to you and to me? "Be ye holy." That means you and me. "Be ye holy, even as your Father which is in heaven is holy." What does that mean? It means, my dear brethren, that in the New Testament in all of these things that are said to you and to me are not addressed to us as human beings at all. The Heavenly Father is not saying, Be ye human beings now perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect. It would be impossible now. There is no process of restitution going on at the present time. Everything is unfavorable now so far as the perfection of the flesh is concerned. God has made no arrangement for restitution for it. He has left it exposed to the spirit of the world and the power of the devil to a large extent, and you must fight against the Prince of the Powers of the Air, the Prince of Darkness. You must war a good warfare against your flesh, and you must seek also to beware of the spirit of the world; but it is not the flesh that God is speaking to. God is speaking to the New Creature.

Now what do you mean by the New Creature, Brother Russell? Some probably understand just what I mean fully or in part and still others do not understand at all. Therefore, I must treat it from this standpoint and proceed to show what the New Creature is according to the Bible. It is the spirit-begotten ones. Who is that? Come back and see. Our Lord Jesus when He left His glory and appeared among men, He left the heavenly nature and became of the earthly nature – the man Christ Jesus. And so the man Christ Jesus as a baby was different from other babies in the way He was born. Whereas others were born in sin and misshapen in iniquity, in the case of Jesus we read that "He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners." He did not have any of the defileness common to humanity, so when He was a man He was different. His life came from above and a specially prepared body was given Him. "A body hast Thou prepared Me for the suffering of death." Those of you who are interested in looking this up will find it fully treated in the first chapter of the 5th volume, entitled "The Undefiled One." This one, undefiled, when He reached thirty years of age was the perfect man Jesus, holy, harmless and separate from sinners. He was God's Son on the earthly plane, in the same sense that Adam had been God's son on the earthly plane. The advantage He had over Adam was, as the Bible indicates, that He had a deeper knowledge of things. "By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many" – knowledge which Adam did not possess.

His work was a two-fold work. On His own behalf it was necessary that He cease to be a man if He would return to the heavenly conditions. In no way could Jesus have ever attained the heavenly condition if He had not died to the human nature. Therefore on His own account, in order to ascend up where He was before, it was necessary, as He himself pointed out, that the Son of Man must suffer and ascend to His glory. Furthermore, it was necessary for the great Plan of God that He should die for our sins. So you see there was a two-fold work of Jesus; He died for our sins, and His death was necessary as a proof of His own loyalty to the Father on account of which God has highly exalted Him to a nature far above principalities and powers and every name that is named.

When did that take place? The Bible shows us that that took place in the action of our Lord when He was thirty years of age. You remember He was anxious for that very moment. Under the law it was not a boy that was to sacrifice himself and be the Redeemer of men, not a man of twenty or twenty-five years; but according to the Jewish law it must be a man thirty years old. In harmony with the law He was fulfilling He must wait until He was thirty years of age. So we read, as though He were watching the very moment and hour, "When He began to be about thirty years of age, He cometh to John at Jordan." He did not wait until fully thirty, and then spend a day or two on the way. No. When He was about that age He cometh to John at Jordan. He wanted to make His consecration and be about His Father's business as soon as possible. As a lad He thought perhaps He might begin the Father's service. Then you remember how He questioned the Doctors of the Law as to the possibility of what a boy could do. You remember He came to the conclusion that a boy could not do anything, and He went home and was subject to His mother and Joseph until He was thirty years of age, and as soon as that time came He said, "Now is the time I must be about my Father's business." "Lo, I come. In the volume of the book it is written of Me. I have come to do Thy will, oh My God." Did He make a full surrender? Yes. "Not My will but Thine be done." It was the sacrifice of His will, of himself, because the sacrifice of His will meant all that He had.

Now, when Jesus made this sacrifice of himself at thirty years of age, what did God do? I answer, God accepted Him. In what way? He indicated His acceptance by sending upon Him the holy Spirit. You remember that John the baptizer was the one who bore witness. Apparently John was the only one that saw the holy Spirit in the form of the dove. He bore witness, saying, "This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me, for He was before me." That is the one who was appointed of the Father to do the great work and carry out the great Plan, to bless the world, to be the One before whom all things in Heaven and earth shall ultimately bow down. That is the One, and John bare record, that this holy Spirit came upon Jesus. What is that that is called the begetting of the holy Spirit? What does that mean?

As the body of Jesus was accepted there of the Father as fully consecrated to death, the Father said in effect. Now I am not wishing You to be dead, You must indeed give up this body that I have prepared for You, that is My will, but at the same time, I will start You into newness of being and that New Creature is what I will beget in You at the very moment of your consecration of the human nature. That New Creature given, that spirit-begotten One, continued for three and one-half years growing more and more strong as the body went down into death. The New Creature was triumphing day by day in the doing of the will of God, and at the conclusion, you remember, Jesus cried, "It is finished." He had finished the work of sacrificing the flesh, and on the third day God raised Him up in the great resurrection change – changed from the human to the spiritual nature.

"Sown in weakness, raised in power. Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body"--would be applicable to the Savior's change as it will be applicable to ours.

We shall pass through experiences similar to His. Do you see where our Lord became the New Creature? It is the New Creature that must be all the time holy, even as the Father in Heaven is holy. In Jesus' case it was possible for His flesh also to be holy, because His flesh was perfect. Therefore, He could maintain His perfection of the flesh as well as the spirit; but in the case of the Church, we who are so fallen, who are sinners even as others and are invited to walk in His steps and be His disciples and present our bodies living sacrifices, we are told when we are begotten of the holy Spirit, even as we make our consecration, and we become New Creatures in the same manner that He did, that we, as New Creatures, are heirs of glory, honor and immortality with our Lord on the other side the veil. And is it this New Creature in our case? Yes. It is this New Creature that God addresses saying, "Be ye holy even as your Father in Heaven is holy." [CR454]

You say, Brother Russell, that that is possible? I answer, yes.

Now, Brother Russell, what do you say is possible? It is possible for you as a New Creature, to be holy, to be perfect as a New Creature. The New Creature was not born in sin. The reason the old creature was born in sin was that we got our human life and all of our imperfections from a father that was a sinner; but this New Creature that we receive from God was an untainted life. Your Father is holy, and if you are His children then His Spirit in you, the life He will give you, is a holy life. Therefore, the Scriptures always speak of the Church as having the holy Spirit of God. The holy Spirit could not be unholy. So if your spirit, begotten of the Father, should ever turn to love sin, it would be a positive proof that you no longer had the holy Spirit, for you would be having an unholy spirit if you loved sin.

We have this treasure, this New Creature is a great treasure, this holy Spirit by which you have been begotten of God to the things unseen which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, this creature, dear friends, we have this treasure in an earthen vessel. You and you and you and you are all imperfect. Nobody knows how imperfect, you say, except yourself. So with each one. No one knows the imperfections really of another. We may know in part. It is possible we do not know all of our own imperfections. We may readily suppose that our Heavenly Father looking down on our flesh sees still more imperfections. It is not the flesh that our Heavenly Father speaks to or is judging at all. He is judging us according to the Spirit. It is the New Creature God deals with. The old creature was born in sin and misshapen in iniquity and is under the sentence of death, and so you let it go down and it is going down. Whatever there is left you consecrated to God's service, and say, I am going to strive for the new life. The old creature is counted dead and God looks at you that way. "You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God." You are a New Creature, and you have a new life, "For the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us." So when we are told that we are to be holy as our Father in Heaven is holy, that is so, for our heart, our mind, our will, everything is to be holy, loyal, complete without a flaw, without one item out of accord with the Heavenly Father. Is that right? Yes. You say, Brother Russell, that is just what I want to be. I know it. How do you know it? You could not be in the Father's family unless you were that way? He did not receive any others. You must turn your back on sin and strive for God's likeness, and do the will of the Father. "Not my will but Thine be done," before God will accept you at all as a child and beget you with the holy Spirit. I know very well, you need not tell me. I am striving to be that, Brother Russell. I know it. God is pleased with that. You are pleased yourself, and I am pleased with you. We are all pleased to find a great work of grace going on in our hearts.

I might just break in here on the subject and say it is one of the greatest pleasures of my life, as I meet the dear friends in various parts of this broad land and in Europe, everywhere I do meet them, and also by correspondence, one of the greatest pleasures of my life is to find what a growth there is of the Lord's Spirit, the friends becoming more God-like and manifesting the holy Spirit more and more in word and deed and in every way. I am glad that is so. It is right. I am glad it is so.

If we were begotten of the holy Spirit to a newness of life, how could we make any improvement on that? The New Creature grows in grace, grows in knowledge, grows in the various fruits and characteristics of the holy Spirit. All you had in the beginning was a good will. Practically all you said was, "Now I want God's will to be done." Do you know what it is? Not very well. I am trying to find out. How? By studying the Bible, and the principles of God's government, trying to note His dealings with His creatures and trying to learn the lessons of righteousness whenever I can find them, whenever I can come in contact with the children of God. I am seeking to find out by them and to be guided by His holy Spirit and the Word of truth, that I may know the will of God. You are growing in grace, and by growing in knowledge you are getting to know what God's will is. Because you are thus growing you are able to look back on your experiences, and so I remember when first I gave my heart to the Lord, I was just as honest as I am today. Is there any change in you? Oh, yes, I thank God there has been a great change. What kind? The transforming of my mind, the renewing of my mind. How do you mean? This new mind is the product of your brain. Your mind and your will are not the same. You had a will to do God's will before you knew it. Then you used your mind. You used your brain. You received more or less of instruction from the Bible, from various sources, though it has all passed through the brain. The brain being imperfect, these thoughts could not get through very readily, there were obstacles there, and you had this difficulty and that prejudice and the other misapprehension of your mind. What do you mean? This: When you were living in the world, properly you lived the way the majority of your people lived, in the cellar of your house – the animal portions and appetites. Those were the organs you continually used. You hardly ever went up into the upper part of your head to live there, and see around. After you became a Christian and gave yourself to the Lord, you began to examine things. You said a great many of these organs down here are too much developed. I have been thinking too much about them. All of these are more or less animal requirements and I have been using these more than the higher ones of the spiritual nature – benevolence, kindness, etc. These organs of the higher part of the brain I do not use so much. You decide you will move into the upper part of your house, and you find a great deal of cleansing necessary. You had a great many things in your head that you did not want. You start to straighten up and order your brain. But it is not perfect yet. No, but the new will comes in and says, Now I am going to use my brain according to God's ways.

In the Bible we find more and more those very practical lessons that we need in all of our lives. It tells you how to eat and drink and what to wear and how to think. Think of it! It tells us how to think. We did not even know that. We thought quite narrowly. We are learning how to think. Who is teaching us? "They shall be all taught of God." God is teaching us through the words of the Book. God is teaching His people. Are you learning your lessons?

Not long ago I took dinner at the house of a brother, and after dinner he said, speaking of his family, "Those are my children; aren't they pretty nice?" You have a very fine family," I said. I could say it with a conscience. They seemed noble. "They are fine, I admit," he said. "But they are not what they should have been if I had known something of God's plan when they were little; but as you point out in the 6th Volume, it is impossible to train the tree after it is grown as you would if it were a twig. I cannot do with them now what I would like to have done, and I did not know enough when they were little tots to tell them about God's plan. I did not know how to live myself, and I did not know how to tell our children how to live." That is an evidence that that brother was growing – growing in knowledge; growing in grace and undoubtedly in obedience. The important thing is that the will must be given up. You must have a holy will first. God will not deal with you at all until you have a holy will. After that you can bring it to our Father and give it wholly, unreservedly to Him, for life. Your word, your conduct, everything to Him. "Thy will be done." Then the Lord says, "You are just the kind I wanted, I am pleased to have you in My family, I accept you through the merit of My Son Jesus. The wedding garment shall cover all your imperfections I know with a will like that you will overcome the imperfections of your body to the best of your ability, and as long as that is the case I have arrangements already made whereby you may abide in My love and be My son." But there are tests coming right along. Would we grow or get absorbed in business? The Lord points out the danger of that in the parable of the wheat and the tares, how the thorns sprung up and choked the wheat. It was too lightly received, in some cases the thorns sprung up and choked it. What is that? I have given my heart to the Lord and after saying, Thy will be done, God's will be done in me, the will of God was forgotten, and instead of remaining loyal to God, there was the delving into business after the manner of the world, the flesh and the devil as others and not seeking first chiefly the good things that God set before us. What is that? The Kingdom, that we might be joint-heirs with His Son, and so He expects us that if we receive this latter properly, this thought of the Kingdom will have such an influence upon [CR455] us that it will transform our words, thoughts and doings and make us more careful and loyal every day, and we will be able to think better and do better and govern our bodies better, and so we will be bringing our bodies into subjection.

You will say to yourself, "You used to do, that it is true. You cannot do it any longer." The flesh will cry out. You are not giving me my rights. You will say, You have none. Unless you set him down thoroughly, he will get up and answer back. Set him down thoroughly. Tell him he has no rights. You are going to do with him as you understand to be the will of God. You have before served the flesh, but now the spirit. As soon as you can come to understand God's will you want to do that in your mortal body. Sometimes your flesh will deceive you and get involved some way, as these organs of the mind and body are all weak. Therefore, you as a New Creature will have to be continually on guard against your own flesh. There are continually temptations to draw your flesh aside and pervert your mind. More than that, you have the great adversary, the devil, seeking to dislodge your mind and draw it away; but the Father giveth you strength as a New Creature. We are told that Satan is our great adversary, "Whom resist steadfast in the faith." It is a continual battle. The New Creature is continually having war on the world, the flesh and the adversary.

Remember the other side, "Greater is He that is on our part than all that be against us." Those who serve the flesh will have indeed the rewards of the flesh, and those who serve the Spirit of God will be heirs of the great promises to the faithful. What are they? The things you know about. The things that "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man what God hath prepared for them that love Him: but God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."

How much do we love Him? That is the question. You loved Him in the beginning? Yes. And you love Him still? Yes. How much do you love Him? Lay the emphasis on the much. How much does He require that you love Him? He says, "With all your heart, with all your mind, with all your being, with all your strength." Now how much? Everything. Love God supreme is the thought. That is holiness, my dear brother, is it not? Holiness – completely given over to God. Complete. No corner left open for the world, the flesh or the adversary. It is all the Lord's. No part for sin. It is all the Lord's. Whatever part sin gets, it is because you have been overtaken in a fault, unwise as it were. I presume every Christian has had such experiences. None have been without. They have been the best helps you have had if you have been rightly exercised. They have taught you where you were weak and not to trust yourself, and that consecration to God is only to be maintained by a close walk with God, by a continual relationship with Him, by having fellowship with Him in prayer. Here it is, then. "Be ye holy (be ye perfect), even as your Father in Heaven is perfect and holy." That means, then, brought down to the simple things of every day life, but as nearly up to the Divine standard as it is possible. Let your will be perfect. Let your endeavors be perfect. Holy, fully given up to the Lord. Do not recognize sin in any sense of the word, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the desires thereof. Don't be making your plans so as to entrap your feet bye and bye. Now I am the Lord's and this body is to be used in every way to His praise, and I believe, my dear brethren and sisters, in God's arrangement He has made it so that while our works are not what will justify us, our faith will. Nevertheless, He has provided the opportunity for His people to work and be co-laborers together with God, co-workers with God. And, dearly beloved, I believe in proportion as you will find yourself continually co-laboring with God and in fellowship with Him, thinking about Him and His ways and the things He has promised, the things of the world, the flesh and the devil will be that much further from you, so that the one who is fully consecrated to God will seek to do what Jesus said to do, and that just as much as possible you will say, "I delight to do Thy will, O God," and as soon as God had accepted him and the holy Spirit had come upon him, he got out into his ministry, doing with his might what his hands found to do. So with all of the followers of Jesus who walk in His steps. God has given us this privilege. "He that reapeth receiveth wages." I hope you are all so engaged, and I do not believe, dear friends, there are many other people in the world who are having as much opportunity for serving the Lord and are as effective in His service as Bible students. I am glad of that. I am not boasting. I am simply telling you what should encourage us.

It is not anything great that you can do that will connect you with God. He is able to take away all of the weaknesses of the flesh in a moment. Why, then, does He allow you to stay in this imperfect body and contend with its weaknesses? Because He intends you to war a good warfare. It will show the degree of your loyalty and submission to the will of God, your holiness of mind, the completeness of your submission to Him. He is looking for priests who will rule the world and give Him the glory through all eternity. He is looking for such workers as He can trust and He is giving them the opportunity to prove their loyalty of their hearts, the New Creature, and God in turn will be glad to recognize that New Creature, and in due time will give us the new bodies which will be in full harmony with His will.

As our Redeemer is perfect we will be perfect, and through all eternity will have no further conflict with opposing influences. But in holiness of mind and loyalty of heart and will, and in the love of all these, will be priests and kings, and will hear the "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. Enter thou into the joys of thy Lord."

Close of Clinton Convention

WE will consider the praise service that is just ended as the introduction for this meeting at the present time. My text for this occasion, dear friends, is found in the Apostle's words,

"The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Cor. 3:17.

We are arrived at the conclusion of our conference, dear friends, and I would like to give you this text, a text to carry home, one that will be helpful not only to each one of us here present, but one I trust helpful to others at home.

We have had a very enjoyable conference, I am sure you will all agree. I dare hardly to ask whether or not this is the best convention you ever attended, because it would seem to be begging the question, and it has been so suggested to me as the best we have ever had, but I was expecting that. So it is at each convention, the last is the best. The newness and freshness is in our memory; but I am sure you will all agree with me that it is not as good as we hope yet to have. We still hope for the Grand Convention, the "General Assembly of the Church of the First Born whose names are written in Heaven," and we are thinking to prepare for that convention; and we know that unless we make our calling and election sure in the present life we will never be of the great convention, and we are glad to think that at that time when the Lord's people are gathered together there will be no schisms, no divisions; all will be complete, perfect, and we shall know as we are known.

I believe a great deal of the divisions and difficulty among God's people at the present time and for the past [CR456] 1,800 years or more is because of misunderstanding. We do not know, do not fully see, do not comprehend each other. Therefore, the many different denominations of Christendom in all of which are many souls seeking to know and to do God's will; and all of which saintly ones are members of the church of the first born, and all of which, of course, will be found in the grand General Convention when we shall meet with our dear Redeemer and all of the members of the Body of Christ will have gone before and the whole church will be complete.

While speaking of this convention we think you all appreciate that we should bear in mind the welcome we have received from the citizens of this city. I am aware that we have passed such a resolution, but I am still recounting the sentiment that we have been kindly received. I trust in turn that we have been kind to them and have done our part to represent the Lord and wherever you go God would be represented in all you would do and all you would see would be impressed for good, and that some light and blessing has been shed abroad in this city, and that some other people have been refreshed also as well as we.

In addition to this welcome which we have received from the citizens here, we have in mind some of the Bible students who are residents of this place who have put forth heroic efforts on behalf of this convention and have done a great deal to bring it to a success – Brother Horth and others associated with him. It is not necessary that we ask a vote to thank each other for whatever we may do. We are all doing unto the Lord. How could we do less! All of our best talents and efforts are God's by contract and agreement. We expect to do our best, expected Brother Horth and his family to do their best and all of the rest of us, nothing less, how could we?

It is said that one of the great admirals of the British navy on the eve of a great battle addressed the sailors and said he confidently expected every sailor to do his duty, and that meant a great deal in view of his enlistment and contract, and so when I say, I trust he and all of us have been doing our duty, we are merely doing what we agreed to do, giving everything we have, our strength, energy and everything to the Lord. If you are doing it, we are glad; if not, we are sorry. We will assume that all have been seeking to glorify God in your spirits and your bodies. We trust that all of our hearts are bubbling over with joy in the Lord, and I desire to more and more glorify God and show forth the Truth He has given us.

I trust as we go to our homes a blessing may go with every one of us, and that every one far and near may get a share in the blessing that has come to your soul; and I sincerely believe that as you attempt to pour out that blessing when you reach your home you will get a double portion yourself, and the more you give out the more you will have. It is so generally, and I believe it will be so with you and me. "Freely ye have received, freely give." Therefore, God's blessing will go from this convention far beyond this to every place you and I shall go the remainder of our lives. We are to have a life feast.

I am digressing from my text. It is one which we all realize is very appropriate to us. "The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

Both St. Paul and St. Peter are our authority for saying that the church which is the body of Christ is the Temple of God, and that His Temple is holy. God, who condemned the whole world in Adam, and who has declared that He will have no fellowship with sinners, has provided a way by which these sinners can come back into harmony with Him. Only through the arrangement which He has made in respect to this great Temple can mankind come back into harmony with their Creator. St. Paul points out the foundation of this great antitypical Temple, saying, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." St. Peter declares to the church, "Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy Priesthood, to offer up sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

Solomon's temple was a type, or figure, of this greater Temple which God is erecting. Solomon's temple had several peculiarities connected with its construction. One very special peculiarity was that the great stones were taken out from underneath the side of the Temple. Another peculiarity was that each stone was made to fit exactly the place in which it was to be located, and then numbered and marked with signs which the builders understood. This method is followed by modern builders also; and when a building is constructed, every part is put in place quietly and orderly – no confusion whatever. So it was in Solomon's Temple! The stones were made ready before they were brought thither, so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was being built.


Having described the Temple of Solomon as a type, we will proceed to discuss the antitype – the Church of the living God. The Builder and Maker is God. The quarry is the world in general. The living stones are taken out of the world, separated from the world, but are chiseled and polished in this antitypical quarry, made ready for their positions, and then taken to their proper place. For more than eighteen hundred years this work of preparation has been going on. Jesus was the Foundation Stone. Before He came there were no stones prepared; none could be accepted until He had come and died, "the Just for the unjust."

Then the process of cutting, chiseling and polishing the "living stones" of the Temple was explained. Each consecrated Christian has had experiences of such a nature as to separate him from the world. It was a difficult matter to block out character and to bring each to the place where he would be separated from his surroundings. Still more difficult in some respects have been the chiselings, blow after blow, experience after experience, trial after trial, in order that each living stone might be shaped, fitted and prepared for a place in that glorious Temple which is yet to be constructed. The polishing process has also been going on. As the Scriptures express it, the Bride makes herself ready. Each living stone polishes others.

Here is a lesson for those who are following in the steps of Jesus. While various severe experiences, trials and tests may come from the world, yet the very finest polishing is produced by contact with the brethren. Therefore, whoever learns to love the brethren and to endure all their various weaknesses and imperfections, and is rightly exercised by these experiences, will receive a fine polish – that which our Lord through His Word describes as the fruitage of the holy Spirit. "The fruits of the Spirit are manifest, which are these: Meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love." If these things be in us in abundance, we shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord. And so it is that an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior.


Next the construction of the antitypical Temple was discussed. Eighteen hundred years ago the foundation was laid – in Heaven – the Top Stone, as the Apostle says. All the other stones must be fitted up into Him, according to St. Paul. In describing the antitypical Temple the Apostle here uses the figure of the pyramid, the top stone of which is a miniature pyramid, all remaining stones being fitted to come into line with it. So the Scriptures declare that Jesus is the Chief Corner Stone, the Top Stone, into which the Church, as living stones, are being built up, instead of being shaped to a foundation below them. This will be accomplished in the First Resurrection, when the Church, changed into spirit beings like the Lord, will be built up and completed with Him on the Heavenly plane, far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named.

To our understanding of the Scriptures, the building of the antitypical Temple will be done at the close of this Gospel Age. Just as in the construction of Solomon's Temple, all the materials were first prepared, and then the building began, so it will be with the antitypical Temple. Our great Master Workman has been getting ready the "living stones," supervising their preparation under strict rules as to shape, size, quality, etc. This work has been going on through this Gospel Age, and not until the full number of stones shall have been made ready will the construction of that glorious Temple begin. This construction will be the Resurrection change – "Changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye;" for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God."

Since we are now living in the close of this Age, the stones for the antitypical Temple must practically all be finished. Therefore, our thought is that the work of construction of the Temple has already begun. This does not imply, however, that the final polish has been given to all [CR457] of the stones. Those long since prepared could be put in place while the last stones were receiving the finishing touches. He declared that the Scriptures so intimate when they say that "the dead in Christ shall rise first" – beforehand – and that "then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord." The fact that some are not yet "caught up to meet the Lord," but are still in the place of polishing and preparation, indicates that the Temple is not yet completed.

After every living stone has been placed in the great antitypical Temple, the glorification of the Temple will follow. In the type, King Solomon, type of our Lord Jesus, offered the sacrifice, and God accepted it; then the glory of the Lord filled the Temple. So in the antitype, the Church in glory will not be the Temple of God until the Heavenly Father Himself shall have recognized it. It is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Master Workman, to shape and polish these living stones, to remove them to glorious conditions by the resurrection change, and to build the Temple. Then when all is finished, not a stone lacking, He will await the Father's acceptance. The glory of the Lord God will fill this living Temple.


The purpose for which this glorious temple of God is being constructed: Back in the law dispensation the required information was pictorially set forth in types and shadows. The Prophet Isaiah had foretold that God's house was to be called a house of prayer for all nations. This was what the temple at Jerusalem was in particular. It was arranged in different sections, representing various classes, as it were. First in importance was the Most Holy, then came the Holy, then the Court into which Jews might come, next the women's Court, last the Court of the Gentiles. Thus was depicted the millennial age, after the glorification of the antitypical temple.

God will be in that temple – the entire church of Christ glorified. The Divine power will operate through it and all nations will begin to draw near to God. But in order to do so they must draw near to this temple, for the glory of God will be therein displayed. All nations, both Jew and Gentile, will come to the Heavenly Father through this temple.

Another Old Testament picture was that of the typical priesthood. The priests of this new temple will be Jesus, the great High Priest, and His church, the underpriests. Jesus will be both King and Priest, "a priest upon His throne," after the order of Melchizedek. Our Lord is not yet upon His throne, but remains waiting at the right hand of the Majesty on High, until the antitypical temple is completed. The Father's right hand signifies the place of chief favor, next to the Father Himself. As it is written, "Sit at My right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool."

During this period of waiting the "living stones" of the temple have been prepared; those who will constitute the royal priests have been in training for the duties of their office. As yet there is no royal priesthood, for only those who shall be declared worthy to sit with our Lord in His throne will constitute with Him that royal priesthood. Again it is written, "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and shall reign with Christ a thousand years."

These priests are also knights of the temple. While at present they do not wear white plumes, yet by and by they shall wear not only white plumes, but white raiment. Our Lord has said, "They shall walk with Me in white; for they are worthy."


There are various New Testament references to the church of Christ as a temple. One of these was St. Paul's question addressed to the Corinthian church, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you?" It was shown that this question does not apply to the world, for by nature the world knows not God. They are still under condemnation, "children of wrath," according to the Scripture. God has not yet begun to deal with them nor to give them the blessings which He has purposed for them. During this Gospel age He is dispensing blessings only to the church class to those who have received the holy Spirit.

Beyond the veil the church class will receive the holy Spirit without measure, when all the "living stones" constituting the temple of God shall have been glorified. But on this side of the veil those who give up their will to the Lord and who are accepted and begotten of the holy Spirit as new creatures in Christ, receive that spirit in measure; and so the bodies of these may be said to be the temples of the holy Spirit. Wherever God's Spirit is there is a temple, as St. Paul's question sets forth. Again the Apostle declares that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the glory may be of God. God's holy Spirit constitutes its recipient a temple of God.

Elsewhere the Apostle calls the bodies of those begotten of the holy Spirit tabernacles. The difference between a tabernacle and a temple is that the former is a temporary structure, while the latter is permanent. So St. Paul calls the present condition of the church, in which the holy Spirit dwells merely in our hearts, a tabernacle condition. It is not to last forever; it is only for the present trial time. If we are rightly exercised by the power of God within us, then we shall be made ready for the temple condition. These are blended pictures of the Apostle's thought, which is this: If the holy Spirit dwells within us, we should regard our bodies very sacredly.

In that same connection the Apostle goes on to say, "What communion hath light with darkness?" And again, "What harmony is there between the temple of God and the temple of idols?" – between the purity that belongs to the temple of God and the impurities of the world, the flesh and the devil? Those who have been made the recipients of the holy Spirit of God should be clean and pure, as befitting a temple of God. They should see to it that this sanctifying power of God extends to all their faculties and operates through them – in their minds, their tongues, their hands, their feet, their words, thoughts and doings.


Bro. Russell concluded his address with an exhortation to those who realized themselves to be living stones in the antitypical temple of God. He urged these to appreciate the privilege of present discipline. Much chiseling and polishing are necessary to prepare these stones for their future position. Therefore each should thankfully welcome whatever experience of this kind the Master Workman shall see fit to permit him to have. The present discipline of the church is for the purpose of developing the character necessary for the great service for which God is building His temple.

While each faithful follower of the Lord looks forward longingly to the glories of the future, when the glory of the Lord shall fill the temple, yet each should remember that unless he is submissive to the chiselings and polishings of the present he will be set aside as a living stone and his place given to another. The cultivation of pride along any line, the development of an unsanctified ambition, are amongst the greatest dangers to these living stones now in course of preparation. Such flaws developed would render any unfit for a position in the temple.

The Scriptures declare that the great Master Workman will present each of His faithful ones blameless and irreprovable before the Father with exceeding joy. After having received the Redeemer's "well done," the church will then receive the Father's approval and be honored in the presence of all the holy angels. Surely this experience will fill the church with glory. Then will follow the blessed privilege of taking hold upon the world's affairs, rescuing mankind from bondage to sin and death, and blessing all mankind with the knowledge of the glory of God, whom to know aright is everlasting life.

I tell you, he said, the man or woman who becomes a true child of God and who becomes well saturated, well filled with the holy Spirit, will be a fine character whatever they may have been to begin with or whatever their stage of development. Whether they reach it speedily or slowly will depend upon themselves. If they are indeed fervent in spirit serving the Lord, looking to His Word, desirous of seeing what God's will is, desirous of putting into practice everything they learn they may grow very rapidly. I have known most fair, saintly characters to be developed very shortly. I have been amazed to see a party being taken out of a very fallen condition, and the grace of God come into the heart and work miracles; old things passing away, and all things becoming new. Their new desires and new hopes all help them to do those things pleasing to God so that to cultivate in their hearts, words, lives, mind and thoughts those things pleasing to God and everything not pleasing to Him put away all of those.

It is a constant work, my brother, but mark you, if you are merely laboring for an earthly education and some position [CR458] in society you know it would require years of study in a school or college, and now God has put us in the school of Christ, preparing us as members of this Royal Priesthood to take the control of this earth for a thousand years. Do you not think you need preparation? I am sure you do. Do you not think you need to show God He has safely chosen you that He may have patience with you? Do you not need to show Him your earnestness of heart and desire that you may be what is pleasing to Him? Yes, I am sure you do.

This is what the Bible tells us He is doing. He is working in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. It is much a matter of will at first. You say, I would like to be. You are unable to do much. You are handicapped by the weaknesses of your natural body and brain. You do not know how to bring them into control. You say "I have my hand under control. I never hit anybody now." I am glad you don't. Do you hit them with your tongue? Some control the hand and do not control the tongue. It is the most powerful member of the body and you can do more harm with it than any other organ you possess. And the influence of your tongue may go for miles and miles and miles and may reach millions of people. There is no other power that will compare with it. Have we given our tongues to God, and are we seeking that they may glorify Him to speak forth His truth?

"Let my tongue speak forth His praise,
Let my hands perform His bidding,
Let my feet run in His ways."

All of our powers are to be engaged in the Lord's work, but it takes a little time, and the important thing of all is that we first have the will right and it must through the brain, and until you find out intelligently what God does want, you are working to disadvantage.

We have learned something about our Heavenly Father's plans and character, His work, His wishes to us, His intention respecting us, and because of this knowledge, we are better able to cope with the situation, not only in dealing with others, but with ourselves. We know better how to bring our thoughts into subjection to the will of Christ. Think of that. Bringing your thoughts into subjection to God's will. This is the holiness, then, that belongs to the temple class, and I hope you will be a member of that class. "The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

This is the matter to which you have been called. We have all been called in the one hope of our calling. We have all been called. That will not be the end of us. We remember the scriptures which tells us that in the "ages to come," away beyond the millennial age, away after God shall use the church in the blessing of the world, God will show the exceeding riches of His grace and His loving kindness toward us who are in Christ Jesus. Let us then seek more and more to cultivate this holiness without which we cannot be pleasing to Him, or can see Him or be members of this temple class or share His glory. In proportion as we shall be faithful in thus following the instructions of the Lord's Word we will be making our calling and election sure as members of that glorious temple class, as members of that royal priesthood class, as members of the body, the Lamb's wife, as members of the children of the highest.


Now the time has come, dear friends, when this convention closes and we will have to look forward to the general assembly, not knowing whether in God's providence we may ever be called upon to meet together again as an earthly assembly, we will be looking for the General Assembly of the Church of the first born. We shall now have a Love Feast, and all of those who desire may have the opportunity of saying good-by one to another. We cannot all say good-by and shake the hand of each other one personally. That would take quite a while, but we can do it by proxy. This is the way we will do it: All of those who have served on the platform as speakers at this convention will be asked to come to the front and arrange in a line, and all of the remainder of the congregation, if they desire, will be privileged to come forward and shake hands and bid them good-by, thus closing the convention. On the first day of the week the early Church had the breaking of bread – a common meal. We cannot have a common meal here, but we can have a common love and that represents not only the people here, but all the saints of God, every place. The Lord knoweth them that are His.

The Great Anointed One

OUR text today is found in the 61st chapter of Isaiah's prophecy, 1st verse: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted."...

From our text, dear friends, we recognize that the Prophet is speaking of the Christ – Jesus the Head, and the Church His Body. I need not remind you that the word "Christ" signifies "The Anointed," and that God's arrangement from the very beginning was that He would have a great Anointed One who would accomplish the Divine purpose.

From the beginning God had foreseen that sin would come into the world. He had foreknown that our first parents would fall. And He had provided, the Scriptures assure us, for a salvation from the sentence that came upon the world as the result of sin. It was not a sentence, we find, such as our forefathers told us about, not a sentence of eternal torment, as though the Great Creator was evil-inclined toward His children, bringing into existence thousands of millions of people with the express purpose of tormenting them through all eternity. Not so; but it is as the Bible represents, that God had pronounced the sentence of death upon the human family. He declared that our first parents, because of sin, were not worthy to continue to live forever. He made them and started them under conditions favorable to everlasting life in Eden; and when they were disobedient, when they became sinners, the sentence applied to them, "Dying, thou shalt die," not, living, thou shalt live in torture.

We misread our Bibles, dear friends. Thank God, our eyes of understanding are getting more widely open, and we are seeing more and more that the difficulties with the Bible are not really in the Bible itself, but in these misinterpretations of the Bible which came in during the dark ages, and which became so indelibly impressed upon our minds from childhood that we thought of our God as being the most powerful enemy of the human family that could possibly be imagined. Now, the eyes of our understanding opening – as the Apostle prayed they would – we are beginning to see what he said we would see. He said, you remember: "I pray God that you (the Church), that your eyes of understanding opening, ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the length, and breadth, and height, and depth, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge" – the love of God which passeth all understanding.

We are just getting our eyes open, dear friends. We are seeing greater lengths and greater breadths, we are seeing more of the heights and more of the depths, of God's love every day; and we are coming, I believe, as a result of this, to a better appreciation of Him and His love. The light is coming, I trust, into all hearts and minds and more and more. And because we love God, therefore we delight to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. It is no longer, Will you do this, or go to hell? No, my dear brethren, the thought is the very reverse. Our Father, who loves us, and who hath done great things for us, and who hath promised still greater things in the future for His people, we delight to serve. We delight to be His [CR459] children; we delight to be under His care. We would feel strangely if cut off from our Master.

It may be that things have come in between our God and our hearts. The poet has so beautifully expressed our desire to keep close to the Lord, saying:

"O let no earth-born cloud arise,
To hide Thee from Thy servant's eyes."

We are glad because we have seen Him, seen Him with the eyes of our understanding, because our eyes have been opened. The difficulty in the past was that we did not see God: we saw the misrepresentation of God. And that is exactly what St. Paul told us was in his day the trouble with many, that Satan, "the god of this world, hath blinded the minds of them which believe not."

Why would Satan do that? Why would Satan misrepresent "the God of all comfort and the Father of mercies?" I believe, my dear brethren, it is because the world, if they know about our God and His real character, would, the great majority of them, delight to do His will. But the world knows Him not; and Satan is trying to keep the world blinded to God's real character, His real purpose and plan. Why? Because as he has become His enemy and delights to thus misrepresent God, and misrepresent the Bible, mankind are drawn away from the good, they are drawn away from God. There are various allurements of the world, the flesh and the devil to attract their attention; and having no God to worship, to give their hearts to, they give their hearts to the world, the flesh and the devil.

I have had the personal testimony of many, and some of these very clearly intimate that it was because they did not know God that they did not love Him. Therefore, they did not come into relationship with Him. That is what St. Paul says: "Lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" – shine into their hearts. It is this reason that the "god of this world blinds their minds," misrepresenting the facts, misrepresenting the teachings of the Bible, misrepresenting the character of the One who gave us the Message of the Bible. But as the love of our heart unfolds, and we come to understand God's character better, what a great change comes in! As the Apostle says, "Be ye transformed, by the renewing of your minds, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." What a change! Why are there not more in this way? Because, as we have said, not every man sees. Only a few have had their eyes of their understanding opened. Only a few really see God's true character.

The great majority are under the dispensation of the adversary, thinking of God as being the great devil. How could we properly worship a devil? And how could we properly worship our God, when we attributed to Him the qualities of a devil? I am speaking with all candor and deliberation when I say this, because I cannot imagine how it could be done. It is not in the power of my brain to imagine any devil that could possibly be worse than you and I were told our Heavenly Father is, was and always would be. Think of it! A God with all power to do anything and everything – almighty power – engaged in bringing thousands of millions of human beings into the world with the foreknowledge, with the predestination, with the fore-intention, that they should suffer an eternity of torture at the hands of devils! I do not believe that Satan himself is anything like as bad as that; and do you think I would worship Satan? Not a bit of it, my dear friends! Do you think I could possibly worship my God when I had that misapprehension of His character? It is impossible. I tried to, and I was considered a good Christian, under the circumstances. I was striving to live according to the right, brethren, yet my heart had not been touched as it was afterwards touched, when I beheld the love of God which passeth all understanding. I cannot fully understand this love yet. I am getting to understand it a little better. I hope, but "it passeth all understanding!"

I care not how rich you are in Christian experience, or how many years you have been in the Lord's family, if you have been making proper progress, this love passes all your understanding. And if you are growing, you will find more to appreciate and to follow of God's goodness and love and power. These things will be more and more amazing to you as the days go on.

Well, this great God of ours purposed from the beginning that when sin should enter the world, He would not allow it to continue forever, and He said so. He plainly told our first parents after their disobedience that the time would come when the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. That was a figurative expression, prophetically representing that righteousness, in some way identified with the human family, would ultimately overpower sin as represented in Satan, and in the serpent, who was the instrument of Satan, who was the cause of the fall. God did not tell Father Adam and Mother Eve how He would do this, how the Seed of the woman would bruise or crush the serpent's head, and it was a matter of faith with them that it would ever take place. It was a matter of trusting that God would do what He said. And, my dear friends, it is a matter of faith yet. God has not yet bruised Satan. Satan is not bruised today, is he? He is very much alive.

If the head of the serpent was bruised, or crushed, the sin would be crushed, and this is the meaning of it, you see. Sin is to be crushed, and that has not yet been accomplished; but we still have firm faith and trust in God that this will be accomplished. The time for the accomplishment of it you and I are seeing more clearly today is the time when Christ's Kingdom is established in the world; and that Kingdom of God's dear Son will be the power of God amongst men for their deliverance from the power of Satan. And Satan shall be crushed – bound for a thousand years. All the evil influences represented by the serpent will be brought under the power of the heel of the Great Deliverer of our race.

He will put down all sin and insubordination, and bring all things into accord with the Divine requirements of justice, wisdom, love and power; and those that will not come in harmony with these He will destroy. O, the Bible is so beautiful and plain, and we did not know it! – so grandly simple, telling us all the time about that great Kingdom; not merely telling us about the Kingdom, but telling us how it would be instituted, who would institute it, and giving us types to foreshow the antitypes. The prophets told about the Kingdom, Israel's kingdom, and that their kings typified the coming Kingdom. God gave the Jews a high priest, and that high priest in his office as healer and physician and instructor, educator of the people, and the under priests assisting him, were all typical.

In due time the Great High Priest, Christ Jesus, and the under priests, the Church in glory, will be the world's priesthood instructing the people, healing their diseases, and helping them out of their difficulties. The Aaronic priesthood were only types pointing forward to that glorious consummation. And the Bible goes on to show that in the future these two offices – the kingly and the priestly offices – will be united in one person. There will not be one king and one priest, but there will be a King-Priest. So God said through the Prophet David, speaking of Jesus, as the Apostle Paul tells us, David said that Messiah would be a Priest forever, after the Order of Melchizedek.

And who was Melchizedek? He was that great personage who lived in Abraham's day, in whom the two offices of king and priest were united. And St. Paul says that Melchizedek was a type of Christ in His Millennial Kingdom, uniting both offices. He would be a king to rule, and a priest to instruct, bless, uplift and heal – combining the whole.

And then God, you will remember, instructed Israel as to the particular way in which their kings were to be anointed, and in which their priests were to be anointed. You remember He had them make a special kind of ointment, or oil, an anointing oil. No king was properly anointed unless that oil was put upon him, and no priest was properly anointed unless he received of that same holy anointing oil. According to the Scriptures, that holy anointing oil represented the holy Spirit, that which was understood to be something very special and very different from anything else.

God arranged that that oil in the type – composed of those particular ingredients – should be something that nobody might ever have excepting the high priest and the king. It was a special composition; no Jew was allowed to make that ointment, except those who had the right to make it for that particular purpose. So God represented, you see, in the type, that in due time He would anoint certain ones with the holy Spirit, and that anointing would be for a special purpose.

Now our text is discussing that very matter, discussing [CR460] the anointing of this Royal Priesthood. So we read: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach the good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted ..." etc. – continuing to tell the things the Great King and Priest will do.

The special points here are these: the anointing, first of all, and afterwards, why the anointing. The anointing, brethren and sisters, began at a certain time and place, and with a certain person; He was the first One that was ever so anointed. Who was that person? Oh, you all know; it was the Lord Jesus Christ. And who anointed Him? You remember very well. It was at Jordan, when the Savior had reached the full perfection of manhood, thirty years of age under the law, and where He made a consecration of himself to do the will of God even to death. There He was anointed of the Father. There He was accepted of the Father; and by this acceptance the Father said, "Ah! you have agreed to do the important thing, and in view of your engagement to do this, I will give you an anointing to this high office. You will be anointed to be the Great Deliverer of the world, because you have made this consecration of yourself."

And so, you remember, the record is that Jesus was baptized, symbolizing His death; and as He arose from the water, the holy Spirit descended upon Him in a bodily form, like a dove, and it rested and abode upon Him. It didn't disappear, sink right into Him, but was merely an outward representation of God's power coming on Jesus, authorizing Him and anointing Him, designating Him as the One who would be the Christ – the Anointed – the King, the Priest, the One in whom would center all the promises that God had made from the days of Adam and Eve. All of them referred to and rested upon this Great One who as the Seed of the woman would ultimately bruise the serpent's head.

Well, did the man Jesus bruise the serpent's head? Oh, no. No, He did not. He did not bruise the serpent's head. The serpent's head is not bruised yet. Why the delay, then? Ah, there is another feature of the plan here! The serpent was to bruise His heel, first. Is the serpent to bruise the heel of this Seed after the serpent's head is crushed? Oh, no! The bruising of the heel must precede. No serpent with its head crushed will hurt your heel, or any other part of you. So the serpent was to have his time first for bruising the heel. What does the heel signify? Why, the heel is not a vital part. You might have your heel crushed, you might have it injured, and it would not prove a vital matter; but if the head be crushed, it is a vital proposition. And so God, in the picture, you see, showed that some slight and temporary injury would come to the Anointed One, but that the result to the serpent would be utter destruction, as represented by the crushing of the head.

But we say that this crushing has not yet been accomplished. We are witnesses of the fact; and yet nineteen hundred years have passed. Why the delay? The Apostle Paul explains; he says: "This is a matter of mystery to the world, but it is now made known to the saints." What mystery? Ah, the mystery that, in God's mind, in God's plan, the Great Anointed One was to be not merely Jesus, but also a Church, which would be His Body. And so the Apostle says that this is the mystery – that Christ would include a company, the elect class – Jesus the Head, and the Church His Body; for "God gave Him to be the Head over the Church, which is His Body." "We are members in particular of the Body of Christ." How beautiful it is dovetailed together, you see; no doubt about it, no room to doubt; the Scriptures make it very plain!

Now then, my dear friends, the fact is, as the Apostle explains the matter, that as this holy anointing oil which represented the holy Spirit, was "poured out on the head of the high priest, even Aaron's head, and ran down his beard, even to the skirts of his garments," so God intended that this anointing of the Royal Priesthood should begin with the head, Jesus – He was the Anointed One – and then should come down over all the members of the Body, all these nineteen hundred years, clear down to the end, to the completion of the whole Body of Christ. And so if you and I get into Christ, we are getting into the anointed Company, the Body which was so anointed.

It was not that God changed His plan, that He first said, I will anoint My Son, My only begotten Son, and I will let Him do this work; and then after taking a second thought said, I believe I had better have a Church, a Bride class, for Him. No, no. The Apostles Paul and Peter explain to us that the entire matter was known of God and in God's plan from before the foundation of the world – no second thought about it at all. It was God's purpose from the beginning. He had merely kept it a secret; and therefore it was a mystery, says the Apostle, "hidden from past ages and dispensations, but now made known unto the saints" – that we should be fellow-heirs with Jesus, members together of the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. So then, dear friends, the work that has been continued these eighteen hundred and more years, is the work of anointing this Body. The one anointing which came eighteen hundred years ago upon our Head, the Lord, was at Pentecost extended to the Body. From the Head it passed down to the members and has been coming down, and coming down; and if you and I are received into the Body of Christ, we come under this anointing. All those whom God thus receives becomes members of this anointed class; that is to say, members of the Christ. "The Anointed" are the Christ. The meaning of the word "Christ" is the "Anointed One," as we noted at the beginning. So the whole Church, Head and Body, is God's Anointed.

Now for what are they anointed? We answer, they are anointed to carry out the great work of God. What great work of God? God's great work planned from the beginning, as portrayed in the Bible; for instance, in the first definite promise made to Abraham, when God said, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Who is that Seed? The Seed is Christ, said the Apostle. (Galatians 3:16,29.) And does he mean Jesus only? Oh, no. He particularly says in Galations 3:29, speaking of the Church: "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." So you see, brethren, God's intention is this elect class of which Jesus is the Head – this Anointed class – is to be God's agency in blessing the world.

Ah, you say, now I see! I see why the world has not been blessed! I always wondered why God did not bless the world. I always wondered why the heathen were allowed to go down by the thousands of millions into death. I wondered why. I did, too, my dear friends. I used to say, even as a child, "It seems so strange that I love the heathen more than God loves them." I tried to get together my pennies, nickels and dimes to forward the cause of missions in heathen lands. I said to myself, "God has all the power, and He is letting these creatures go down in death" – I thought then that He was letting them go down to eternal torment, while He sat up in Heaven and looked on calmly and said, "Raise the money. If you do not raise the money, I will send them to hell." My dear friends, we did not know our Heavenly Father then. You see, it was a misapprehension. That is not His spirit; that is not the mind of God. We misunderstood. We see now in God's great plan that He purposes first to gather out the seed of Abraham, the anointed class; and that is all He has been doing thus far. He has only gotten that far – and not that far even, because this class is not yet complete. You and I are hoping that by the grace of God, and with His assistance, we may make our calling and election sure, so that we may be members in this Body of Christ; that we may make our calling and election sure to membership in the Church in Glory, because there are those now in the Church, during the present life, who have received the holy Spirit, but who will not be in the Body of Christ beyond the veil. Oh, that is made very plain! that is the reason we are urged to "make our calling and election sure." That is the very reason we are told we must "so run as to obtain." That is the reason we are enjoined to see to it that no man takes our crown. A crown was apportioned to each of us as soon as we made our covenant with God. As soon as we received this anointing of the holy Spirit, we were counted in as members of the Body of Christ. Those who prove wholly faithful, when they pass beyond the veil, will each have his crown – those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life as "more than conquerors."

Now you and I having had our names recorded in the Lamb's Book of Life, it is for us to see that we do not do anything to let the Lord see that we are unfaithful, so that He would blot out our name from the Book of Life. It is for us to see that we do nothing that will forfeit our interest in that crown, so that it will go to another. There is not to be one short in that elect company; [CR461] every crown will have a crown-wearer. Whether you will be one, or I will be one, depends on our faithfulness – not upon the amount of money we have saved and will give to some missionary cause; not by the amount of singing or preaching we are doing. Some among us cannot preach at all. God has made the matter so simple and plain that the result will be according to the condition of heart. Heart loyalty is the requirement.

If you have the right spirit, full determination to do God's will, you will abide in His love, because you have accepted His terms, have given Him your heart, have turned your back on sin, He has accepted you; and "the Father himself loveth you," Jesus said. I tell you, my friends, God loves you! It is so wonderful that the great God would love little human beings, anyway, with all our imperfections – for all had a share in the fall. It is wonderful that we should have His attention at all. But we have Jesus' word for it – "The Father himself loveth you" – all those who have accepted His terms in Christ, who have consecrated their lives to Him, and are seeking to walk in the Master's footsteps.

And the Apostle says, "God is for us." He is on our side. He is going to help us. He says that God has such power that He can help us; and He will make "all things work together for good to them that love Him, who are the called according to His purpose." All things to work for their good! My dear friends, that is an insurance better than anything else in the whole world! No other insurance will come up to that – God's insurance, that He loves us, and will make everything work out for our good as New Creatures! This promise is sure to all those who are His children according to the Spirit.

The Apostle says that God is working in us. Does he say that? Yes. "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." He is now working in you. God working in me? Yes. How? By His providence and by His Word.

I have known some very wonderful cases. I was telling of some at the luncheon table today. A certain poor bar-keeper in Wisconsin got the Truth, and it made a great transformation of his life – made him a different man altogether. In four years from that time he was one of the elders of the church. Wonderful transformation! So the Apostle says, "He worketh in us both to will and to do" – what? – "of His good pleasure." How? Why, He makes certain promises to you. What is He leading you to lay aside? Every weight, and every besetting sin, while you run with patience the race set before you. Why? If you did not know about God's plan, you would not know about running for anything. What are you running for? Trying to run into Heaven? Trying to keep out of hell? Ah, no! When we come to understand what the Bible sets before us, the church of Christ – this "crown of glory" that the Apostle spoke of that God is holding out, that He is going to give to a certain number – when we hear of it, and understand about it, we wish to know the terms and conditions. And the Lord will be glad to give us the prize, if we continue faithful.

All these wonderful things? you ask. No earthly crown can be like that. No worldly prospect would compare with that. The political outlook would not offer any such thing. Nothing to compare with that crown. So you say with Jesus, this is "the pearl of great price," of great value. I will sell everything I have – my time, my talents, my money, my property, my influence, everything that I can give or use, anything to glorify God and be pleasing to Him – that I may obtain His good favor, and that He may accept me as one of His saints in glory, and give me a joint heirship with the Savior in that wonderful Kingdom.

But some may say, Brother Russell, that is merely an ambition to get a high position. My brother, what if it were merely ambition. Anything wrong about it? Why yes, you say; it is selfish. Well, will it be any more selfish to wish for a Heavenly crown than an earthly crown? Any more selfish to wish for immortality, and to dwell with the God who made us, than to be mayor of this city? No. Besides, the real essentials of God's arrangement to give these crowns, to give these blessings, to this church, is this: that all the families of the earth may be blessed. Ah, what an aspect that gives it! Nothing selfish about that – the desire to bless everybody. Every good man and every good woman has that desire even now. If you have not the desire to bless somebody else, something is wrong with you.

Therefore, just as surely as you have the mind of God, you will be wanting to do good to all men as you have opportunity, and especially and particularly to the household of faith. That is the Scriptural position, and it ought to be your position and mine. Now, if I would like to do some good today to one, two, a dozen, a hundred or a thousand, and if you would, if you could, like to do good to one, two, a dozen, a hundred or a thousand – if we have that desire, would not God do good to millions of our race, in His own time and way? Wouldn't it be grand to turn this earth of ours into a Garden of Eden, from the north to the south, and from the east to the west? Wouldn't that be a grand thing to have a share in? I think it would; you think it would. Every sane person would think so. God's plan is so wonderful and so thorough that there is no sanity that will contradict it. It is insanity that contradicts. Everything in God's plan is beautiful and harmonious.

We have societies organized to overcome the white plague, to combat liquor and other things that are doing harm. Wouldn't you like to be on the side of the Great King, who has all the power and wisdom necessary to treat this whole subject, and every other subject, thoroughly, and to bring about the blessing of every member of our race, that the poor, fallen ones who are slaves of sin and weakness and imperfection and death may be loosed from the bondage of Satan, for that is what it is; that is what the Bible calls it – the bondage of Satan – that they may be set free from pain, sickness, sorrow, degradation, and may come up, up, up, out of all this misery and death back to the full image of God, as it was in Eden? Wouldn't that be a grand work to do?

Wouldn't you be the happiest man or woman you could imagine yourself to be, to think you would have a share in such a work? You would, surely. And that is exactly what God has invited us to do. We are to be, if faithful, heirs of God and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ in the great Kingdom, for which Jesus taught us to pray, and for which we have prayed, "Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, even as it is done in Heaven." You could not ask anything better. If you get God's will done on this earth even as it is done in Heaven, you have got all you can ask. Our Lord Jesus knew exactly how to pray, and He was very thorough in His statement. So we are "waiting for the Kingdom of God's dear Son," waiting for the putting down of sin and the uplifting of righteousness, which will bring just such a blessing. Then what? When we shall get our share in the Kingdom, dear friends, then will come the time when that first recorded prophecy will be fulfilled, and "the Seed of the woman shall crush the serpent's head."

Now, this Seed of the woman, as we see, was the Christ – Jesus the Head, and the church His body. "Now, Brother Russell," some one may say, "You have no Scripture for that. You have no Scripture for saying that the church is a part of the Seed of the woman." Oh, yes, I have, dear brother. I would not talk about it if I did not. The Apostle Paul is my authority – the very best authority, just alongside of the Master Himself; and the Apostle Paul says – speaking of the church, the body of Christ, of which you, dear friends, will be members, and I trust I will be a member, with God's saintly people everywhere – "The God of peace will bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Satan is going to have his head crushed. That is to be the end of him.

We are not speaking anything in malice about the devil, either. We believe we will be doing him a good turn. He has had a reign of six thousand years, reigning in sin and in terrible conditions; and he has had enough, and when he is blotted out of existence, it will be the very best possible thing for everybody, and we think for him. Yes, his head is to be crushed, and he is to be crushed "under your feet." That is what the Apostle says, Romans 16:20: "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." That was uttered eighteen hundred years ago. It is pretty close now, isn't it. I think we are getting right to the spot. Eighteen hundred years ago! It is near now. I am safe in saying that, am I not?

Yet, it will take a good while to get the serpent thoroughly crushed. This serpent represents more than Satan alone; not the person of Satan, merely. A serpent figuratively represented sin as in the type, you remember, when the Israelites were in the wilderness, bitten by the fiery [CR462] serpents. These serpents represented sin of all kinds, causing pain and death. You remember Moses then lifted up a brazen serpent on a pole, and the Israelites were saved by looking at it. So, then, this serpent that is now to be crushed is not merely Satan, but it is all sin, in every shape and form. It is to be crushed, utterly blotted out. And how long will it take to do that? I know exactly how long. It will take just a thousand years. How do I know? Because the Bible says so – that wonderful Book, my friends, that we once thought was such a silly old Book, in which all our professors pictured a real hell. But these ideas deceived them, getting them in confusion, ignorance and superstition.

It was the creeds of the dark ages that got us all into superstition, that befuddled our minds and made us all groan. Revelation gives us a symbolical picture, that "all nations were made drunk." And I tell you, as I look back and think over the matter, our experience with error has been more like drunkenness than anything I can think of. We were bewildered. I never was drunk, but I have been bewildered and befuddled. I think that is the way it is. Now that we are getting sober, have got able to think more soberly, to reason more carefully, to understand God's Word better, what a blessing is coming into our hearts and lives. We had nothing to compare with it when we were filled with that false doctrine that was poured out into the "golden cup." The cup was all right. A golden cup is a splendid kind of cup; but we got some bad wine into the golden cup. And we are told that this wine was poured out from the Word of God – which was very misleading.

Now all this sin, and all this error, and all these misunderstandings, are part of the serpent, and his head is going to be crushed. It will take the thousand years' reign of Christ to crush out all sin and evil, and to lift up humanity out of the mire and out of the weakness and bring them back into the image and likeness of God.

Look at all the creeds, all the propositions that have been handed down to us as being what God was to do. One says this and the other says that. Look at them all, and ask the people if they believe these creeds, and you will find they begin to squirm at once. They will say, No, that is not what we believe; we do not hold that now. Well, I am glad they don't. It is better for us all. It wouldn't be very safe here if they held the creeds the way they used to hold them. You remember that when they took a prejudice against anybody they built a fire outside and they put him on; and they thought they did God service. We say they were sadly blinded, and we are glad that the people, the intelligent people, are getting their eyes more widely open, to see that that is not God's program or God's spirit, or anything like it. We are glad to know this, dear friends. All the creeds of the past were held by our good forefathers, and they were just as good as we were when we believed them, just as well-intentioned. We did not mean anything wrong, but we were deluded; but we are surely the better for having lost these things, these creeds, which so hindered us. The teacher says, "Every prophet is assured of his own vision." Every teacher is assured of that. But you would not find a single minister in this age who would think for a minute of defending the creed of his own denomination. And no wonder. He would be a very foolish man if he attempted it. He would show up his folly before he would be through.

There was one dear Methodist brother who thought that he would try this. His name was Dr. E.L. Eaton. Some of you have heard of him. Dr. Eaton invited us to discuss the Word of God. If he had asked us to discuss Methodism, it would have been a different proposition; but he said, Let us discuss God's Word. And we discussed the Word of God, and we treated Brother Eaton with perfect kindness, whether he treated us so, or not. But Brother Eaton made such a poor show that his congregation would not have him back again at all; and no other congregation had Dr. Eaton, or would call him, for about five years. Then he got a small congregation in the West. He made such a poor fizzle of what he wanted to show – and yet, he is a very able man. But, my dear friends, nobody can defend the creeds of the dark ages, and especially in the light of the Divine plan of the ages, as it is now shining forth from God's Word. It is absolutely impossible for any of them to do that – to compare the creeds with God's plan. But, my brethren, if you ever find anything better than what we have will you be sure, please, to tell me. I want the best there is. But we are sure there is nothing better.

Now, we have before our minds the Anointed, God's Anointed, who is to bless the world. It is to be an anointed class. They are to be associated, and Jesus is to be the head. They are all to be received of God; He has been getting ready this anointed Seed of Abraham that He promised was to bless the world. And the world has been waiting for six thousand years to get that blessing for which God has been selecting the church.

What is the next thing in order? The kingdom, and the wisdom and knowledge of God, which will fill the whole earth, and the power of God, which is to wrestle and grapple with all the questions that are now perplexing humanity. And all this wisdom of God, this power of God, this love of God, this Justice of God – all are centered in the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the grace of God we are accounted in with Him, we are to be full sharers with Him in the sufferings of this present time, sufferings for righteousness sake, and are to be sharers in His coming glory. Then what? What more? Nothing more. That is all there is of it. That is the whole plan. But it will be a glory that will last through all eternity. Will His plan include the dead? Yes, indeed. They are members of the families of the earth. Your sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, and mine, are dead, many of them, and the blessing covers all. God's mercy is broad, blessing all and then we will have the joy of perfection and of being with Him.

Now, in this present tabernacle, we do groan, being burdened by weaknesses, burdened by consciousness of wrong in ourselves, burdened by the wrong doings of others. We have to battle against these odds. The Lord says it is good for us to have to battle, until we develop and become like our Lord Jesus. Although His body was perfect, He suffered persecutions in the flesh; they said all manner of evil against Him. He was to endure these things – that was the prophecy of the Scriptures. And what did Jesus say? He said: "The cup which My Father hath poured for Me, shall I not drink it?" and He did drink it. And great was the reward received for such holiness – holiness in the sense of complete submission to the will of God. He said: "I come not to do Mine own will." That was holiness, loyalty, a complete giving up of himself to do the Father's will, whatever it might be.

St. Paul, you remember, tells us about it. He tells us how Jesus left the glory that He had with the Father before the world was, and humbled himself and took upon Him the form of a servant. He became a man, and humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross. "Wherefore (on this account), God hath highly exalted Him; He hath given Him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, both of things in Heaven and things on earth." That was the great glory that came to Jesus because of His loyalty. Yes, it was a great blessing; and this same blessing, my dear brethren and sisters, the Lord tells us He has in reservation for you and for me, and as many as have the mind of Christ, the Spirit of Christ, the disposition of Christ. We are to walk in His steps, and also to lay aside every weight and every besetting sin, "and to run with patience the race set before us." We are to look to Jesus, the Author of our faith, until He shall become the Finisher of it. He will finish our faith by giving us a share in that glorious resurrection, a share in His Kingdom glory, honor and immortality. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne."

Will that be sufficient reward for you, my dear brother, my dear sister? Will that be sufficient, or is that not yet enough? "I shall be satisfied when I awake in His likeness." And you will be satisfied; it will more than compensate for all the little things you suffer and endure now, my dear brethren. If you are making good Christian progress, no doubt by the present time you are counting that the affairs and trials of this world are not to be compared with the glories that shall be revealed in you, counting as the Apostle Paul did, that all things suffered or sacrificed are only loss and dross when compared with the exceeding great and precious things that the Lord has proposed to give. If this is your sentiment, then you are satisfied that God has begun a good work in you. You are satisfied that He is carrying it on in your heart. You are satisfied to let Him who began this good work complete it. Thy will, not mine, be done, is your prayer. And you are more and more trusting that the Lord is wise, the Lord [CR463] is good, and that the various experiences which He permits to come to you and me, to all His people, will be such as will be for our welfare. So we will continue to trust Him even where we cannot trace Him.

Concluding Remarks Asbury Park

I AM glad to be with you again, dear friends. Since I was with you last I visited two other conventions, the one at Columbus, O., and the other at Clinton, Ia. They were very blessed occasions. The Lord's spirit was very markedly manifest amongst the brothers and sisters there, you will be glad to know. I brought them a similar message from you here; that the Lord was blessing you, and that you were greatly enjoying yourselves. I am sure that was the truth.

Now we have come to the close of our meetings, and our hearts and minds, no doubt, are filled with the thought as to whether there will ever be another such convention; such a general gathering of the Lord's people in this particular way. We have before our minds, I am sure, the Apostle's statement respecting the general assembly of the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in Heaven. This is a general assembly in one sense of the word, dear friends, yet it is not very general either, because we are not able to gather from all parts of the world. Neither are the Lord's people sufficiently well acquainted with each other, though they have much in common. We have no doubt whatever that the general assembly of the first-born will include the true saints of every nation and denomination. We have no doubt that many will be included in that company who are not well acquainted in the present life, because, as the Scriptures declare, "The Lord knoweth His own."

We are not able to know each other at the present time. The great adversary has sought to separate the people of God by misrepresentation. And not only to separate them from the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, and from the Bible, but also to misrepresent them to each other. For this reason the Lord's people have not understood each other; they are not well acquainted with one another. But when the glorious change shall come; that resurrection change which will give us the new body, the Apostle says, "We will know, even as we are known." There will be no barriers between, no misunderstandings, no false doctrines to separate into sectarian divisions. All will be one in Christ Jesus.

The particular thought I would like to have you take with you as you go to your homes is that expressed by the Apostle when he says, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." There is only the one body of Christ. It is true we have the Presbyterian Christian body; we have the Methodist Christian body; we have the Lutheran Christian body; we have the Disciple Christian body, and the Roman Catholic Christian body, but all of these various divisions of God's people, according to the Bible, are the result of ignorance, superstition and false doctrines which have divided the Lord's sheep into different parties and companies, more or less in opposition to one another, in doctrine if not otherwise. In proportion as we have overcome these errors, as the eyes of our understanding have been opened; or as suggested by the Apostle, in proportion as we are able to see the lengths and breadths and heights and depths, and come to know the love of God, in that proportion all of these errors which now blind and confuse, begin to pass away, so that the true people of the past. (Some text is missing in the original here.) The darkness of the past which so befogged us, and gave us so much trouble in every way, is gradually passing away. The new dispensation is at hand; the light of the new order of things, the light of the Lord's presence is scattering the darkness. We all rejoice in the fact that all darkness will flee away; that the great sunlight of Divine truth will flood the whole earth, as the Bible foretells. These things have been written thousands of years, yet never fulfilled, but now they are on the eve of fulfillment. The sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his beams, with restitution in his beams, blessing all the families of the earth. That will be glorious, my brothers and sisters, when God's power is exercised to heal and bless the world of mankind.

But you say, "Brother Russell, they will not all see these conditions." Yes, they will. We have the positive assurance. It is written, "All the blind eyes shall be opened and the deaf ears shall be unstopped." But, you say, if the blindness came once it may come again; there is no assurance. Yes, there is, my dear brethren. I remind you, again the Bible tells us who has been causing this blindness; who has been blinding our eyes and stopping our ears to the true message of God's Word? It was Satan. As Saint Paul says, "The god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not." Everybody who does not believe God's wonderful, beautiful truth is blinded by Satan. It is not Brother Russell who says this. It is Brother Paul, a better authority by far; an inspired authority. The god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the glorious light of God's goodness as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ, should shine into your hearts. Satan has not wanted the goodness of God to shine into our hearts. He did not want us to see how the love of the Heavenly Father was exercised toward His human creatures, and that He had such a good plan for us. Why not? Because love begets love. If we once come to see how much God loved the world, and His people especially, it begets love in return. As the Apostle says, "Not that we first loved God, but He first loved us." It was a responsive love that came into your heart and mine. You cannot have responsive love except in proportion as you come to understand the love of God in its lengths and breadths and heights and depths.

We are thankful to God that our eyes have been opened, and some others are seeing more than they once did of God's love for the children of men. We are seeing more than we have before what wonderful blessing He has for the church; that we shall be His associates in blessing all the families of the earth during the reign of Christ.

Will not this great one who deceived us, and blinded us, and divided us into sects and parties; the great prince of this world; the god of this world, Satan – will he not do this again? No, my dear friends, for the Bible assures us. Jesus assures us himself in His last great message to the church that Satan shall be bound; that the old serpent shall be bound for a thousand years that he may deceive the nations no more. He has been leading us astray through his deceptions. The Apostle Paul says, "We are not ignorant of his devices." We are finding out more and more that the great difficulty with the world has been the delusions of Satan. Not only has he deceived the heathen, but also those in civilized lands. He has misinterpreted the Bible, and got us estranged from God and His precious promises, seeking thus to drive us from God and more and more into ways of sin. Thank God for the blessings that are now coming to us. These blessings have come in proportion as we have received the Spirit of God, the holy Spirit, the spirit of Truth, the spirit of a sound mind, as the Apostle calls it.

Stop there just a moment, my dear brother. What special blessings have you had since coming to an understanding of God and a better understanding of the Bible. Can you not recognize in yourself growth in grace and knowledge, and in various fruits of the Spirit? Whatever you had to begin with you have more of it; more meekness, more gentleness, more patience in suffering, more of brotherly kindness and love. All of these are the fruitage of the holy Spirit. The Apostle Peter says, "If these things be in you and abound they make you that [CR464] you shall neither be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, but so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." That is it. That is the one spirit into which you are baptized, for we were all baptized by the one Spirit into one Body.

As we have already seen, this baptism into the one spirit began when we responded to God's call; when we gave up our own will to God's will and consecrated to Him our all. That was the beginning of the baptism which the Apostle there speaks of. We are baptized into this one spirit; God is the great Spirit; all things are of God, all of the meekness, all of the gentleness is from Him. The high standard of the Church is from Him. All that you and I can hope to do is to cultivate again that glorious character of Love which was lost when Father Adam sinned, and the image and likeness of God which he possessed in the flesh began to go from him. When he came under condemnation, gradually sin grew in its dominion over him. As the Apostle informs us, by the one man sin entered the world, and its dominion passed upon all men. We have had a reign of sin and death. Now we are coming back to the Heavenly Father. He has made provision whereby we can return to His favor. A door has been opened through the work which Christ accomplished for us. By faith we accept the conditions and present ourselves to the Father through the merit of Jesus. By faith we accept God's assurance that we are no longer aliens and strangers, but children brought nigh by the blood of Christ. By faith we realized that if children we are heirs, heirs of God to the great inheritance which He wishes to give us; the great inheritance of the Millennial Kingdom, with all of the associated blessings. Heirs of God and joint in heirship with Jesus Christ, our Lord, if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

So when we were baptized into the one spirit it was the spirit of devotion to God, of coming back to God, instead of being the spirit of rebellion and alienation from God as evinced by Father Adam. It was a turning back again, as accepted in Christ, His Son. "Not my own but saved by Jesus." We give up our own will entirely, saying, "Not my will but Thine be done." This is the spirit we have received from Him. We are to be filled more and more with the holy Spirit, filled with the Spirit of God, with God-likeness. We become thus filled by giving heed to the instruction of God's Word; by giving heed to our Head, as pupils in the school of Christ, learning of Him who is our pattern, our exemplar; by seeking to walk in His footsteps. This baptism is still going on, as we seek to learn and do His will more fully each day, and it will continue unto death. It will take the entire course of our lives, we may say, to complete this baptism into His death. It was as the dear Redeemer neared the hour of His death that He said, "It is finished," and so it will be with you and me. If we are faithful unto death we shall receive a crown of life.

As we go to our homes let us carry this particular thought with us, that we are all immersed by one Spirit into the one body. There are not a number of bodies; there is not a variety of churches (we are not saying that there are not saints in various denominations, but) God has but one church. We were merely mistaken when we thought He had a number of Churches. Nowhere in the Bible is there any other church recognized than this one church, the Body of Christ, of which He is the Head. The Apostle says, "God gave Him to be the Head over the Church which is His Body," and we are members in particular of the body of Christ, which is the Church. So, then, whether saintly, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Lutherans, or Disciples, they are all one in Christ Jesus. That is to say, all saintly ones are one, and all unsaintly ones have neither part nor lot in the matter. The unconsecrated, no matter by what name they are called, are not included. Only those who have been baptized by the one Spirit into Christ have any share in this matter. That does not mean that there is any desire on our part, or on the part of the Almighty, to hinder anybody who is in the right attitude of mind. There is but one way, and "straight is the gate and narrow is the way." Any who wish to be His disciples and walk in His footsteps can have no other way, no other path, no other name is given amongst men whereby we can be saved. If we have entered this way let us rejoice in it; and if we have not, let us seek for it. There is no other way to attain the glorious things God has in reservation for the church.

If we found this way and entered it, we knew in advance that it would be a narrow way. We knew this in advance, because Jesus did not leave us in darkness on the subject. He said that it would be a way in which we would be misunderstood, and men would speak evil of us. If you entered without this knowledge it was because you did not give heed to His Word. He tells us that He considers it a sign of God's favor to us if we are accounted worthy to suffer something for loyalty to the Lord and His Word, His Truth.

So, dearly beloved friends, as we go to our homes let us carry our hearts and bodies as full of the holy Spirit as possible. Let us go to the cities and villages from which we came with the message of God upon our lips. Tell them of the blessings here enjoyed, and so far as possible pour out the blessing received yourself. Thus may the Lord's blessing be shed abroad, far and near, upon His people. Thus may others be brought near to the Lord, and our own hearts be refreshed. If you have noticed it, and I am sure you have, every time you tell the story to others, not for self or vain glory, but with a desire to do good and forward His cause, you get a blessing; a warming of your own heart. This testimony is not merely to go out through our lips, but by our conduct, by our words; by all that we do we are to show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. I am sure you are feeling more and more that it is a marvelous light. We should get the thought also, that in proportion as we are enjoying it more and more, in that proportion we have increased responsibility, because where much is given, much will be required. The secret of the Lord is with them that reverence Him; and He will show them His covenant. He has been showing us His covenant; His secret is with us; we have been granted understanding. As the poet says,

Now I see and hear and know,
More than I hoped for here below;
And every power finds sweet employ
In telling the glad tidings of great joy.

What more can I say than I have said? Seek to be filled with this holy Spirit, and seek to manifest it to others, and remember that is the condition upon which you will grow in grace. And while you are growing in grace inwardly it will influence your outward body. God is not judging us according to the flesh, yet He is expecting to see some evidences in the outward life, in our words and doings. As the Apostle suggests, we are to bring every thought into subjection to the will of Christ. He is looking to see our faithfulness; our loyalty. There is none righteous, no, not one. All come short of the glorious standard. But the Lord is expecting you and me to develop holiness of heart, purity as to our intentions, and loyalty of conduct to the extent of our ability, under all circumstances at any cost. May this holy Spirit of the Lord be in our hearts, and may we be sanctified by it. May all the truth we are receiving have a more sanctifying influence in our lives day by day, is my prayer for you and for myself.

After prayer the Pilgrims all formed a line in front of the platform, and the Lord's people all passed the line and shook hands with each one. There seemed to be a holy awe thrown over the assembly, doubtless occasioned specially by the realization that there might never be another assembly of this kind in the flesh. The tie that binds seemed more tightly drawn than ever before. Tears of joy and hope were seen on many faces. The determination seemed to be deep and general that, by His grace, we would meet in the Great Convention. [CR465]

1 PETER 5:7


WHAT can it mean? Is it aught to Him,
That the nights are long, and the days are dim?
Can He be touched by the griefs I bear,
Which sadden the heart and whiten the hair?
Around His throne are eternal calms,
And strong, glad music of happy psalms,
And bliss unruffled by any strife.
How can He care for my poor life?

And yet I want Him to care for me,
While I live in this world where the sorrows be;
When the lights die down on the path I take;
When strength is feeble, and friends forsake;
When love and music, that once did bless,
Have left me to silence and loneliness;
And life-song changes to sobbing prayers –
Then my heart cries out for a God who cares.

When shadows hang o'er me the whole day long,
And my spirit is bowed with shame and wrong;
When I am not good, and the deeper shade
Of conscious sin makes my heart afraid;
And the busy world has too much to do
To stay in its course to help me through,
And I long for a Savior – can it be
That the God of the universe cares for me?

Oh, wonderful story of deathless love!
Each child is dear to that Heart above;
He fights for me when I cannot fight;
He comforts me in the gloom of night;
He lifts the burden, for He is strong;
He stills the sigh and awakens the song;
The sorrow that bore me down He bears,
And loves and pardons, because He cares.

Let all who are sad take heart again:
We are not alone in our hours of pain;
Our Father stoops from His throne above,
To soothe and quiet us with His love.
He leaves us not when the storm is high,
And we have safety, for He is nigh.
Can that be trouble, which He doth share?
Oh, rest in peace, for the Lord doth care.

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