Despite the inclement weather, those who have attended C T Russell's "chart-talks," at Allegheny Carnegie hall, for the last four weeks, were eager to be present yesterday, at the fifth lecture, upon the subject, "Born of the Spirit." Next Sunday's talk will conclude these special meetings, after which the congregation will return to its usual place of worship, at the Bible House chapel, on Arch street, near Ohio, where Mr. Russell preaches regularly. The subject for the closing meeting, Carnegie hall, next Sunday, will be: "The Great Consummation."

The text for yesterday's talk was found in John 3:6-8: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth. So is everyone that is born of the spirit."

In the Lord's conversation with Nicodemus, in which these words were uttered, the declaration is made that only those born of the spirit could enter the kingdom of God; hence the importance of knowledge on the subject, in order to make sure of attaining that position. Much confusion, the speaker intimated, was to be noted in the treatment of this subject. Many people do not know what the experience is, and many others apply the expression "born of the spirit" to something entirely different to that which the Scriptures suggest.


Since the Lord contrasts the natural birth with the spirit birth it is evident that there is some relationship and so the speaker found in the former a picture or pattern of the latter. As no child is ever born of the flesh without having first been begotten, so no person is ever born of the spirit without first a begetting. A begetting of the flesh results in a birth, and a begetting of the spirit results in a birth. The speaker drew attention to the Greek word usually rendered "born" in the New Testament, genao, and remarked that the same word is translated both "begotten" and "born," and the proper significance of a passage containing this word can only be determined by the context.

Where the context uses the word "into" the significance of genao is begotten; and where the word is "out of" the proper translation of genao is "born." The latter form is used in the text quoted as the basis of the discourse. This is conformable to the natural law, where the father begets, but the mother brings to birth. So with the begetting of the spirit the individual must be begotten of the Father, God, else he will not in due time be born, or delivered. Many people misunderstanding this Scriptural manner of treating this subject speak of themselves [HGL89] as having been born of the spirit, when they do not realize what the expression means, and really intend to say that they have been begotten.


We are not, said the speaker, yet born of the spirit. We are only begotten when the Holy Spirit has commenced His work is us, as new creatures in Christ, and we shall be born again when the Holy Spirit shall have fully developed in us the conditions required by God, and we are given a place in the first resurrection.

There are three stages in the natural birth begetting, quickening, birth; and so there are three stages belonging to the spiritual birth. We are begotten of the spirit by receiving it from the Father into our hearts, and if we continue in harmony with Him, in due time we shall be quickened, and then if we continue faithful subsequently to that, in due time we shall be born in the resurrection. The begetting and quickening belong to the present life; and the birth appertains to the future the resurrection life. In harmony with this the Scriptural declaration is made, that Jesus Christ was "the first born from the dead." Again, "He is the first-born among many brethren." The brethren are the members of His body, the members of the church, and all of this class are to follow Jesus Christ in His experiences and to attain the same birth in their resurrection.


This throws a large responsibility on the members of the church of Christ if they have received the Holy Spirit, and are growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord as a result, and thus become meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, then they shall be granted a part in the "first resurrection" (the resurrection in which Christ had a part), born from the dead.

The speaker insisted that the Scriptures do not use meaningless or vain terms, and that many who use Scriptural phrases without care give hazy impressions of the Lord's word, and lose the benefit of the beautiful imagery of the Biblical presentations. There was a particular purpose in using the expressions concerning birth in connection with the Christian life, because God intended to make clear to his people in the present age that they were to attain ultimately to a new nature.

The world is not included in these expressions the church alone is begotten of the spirit, and is alone to receive the complete birth. For the world in general there have been promised conditions of restitution to the original human perfection lost through Adam, and to be given back to the obedient of mankind during the millennial age; but for the church, called, selected and made ready now, a peculiar people for God's name, a little flock to be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, there is to be a new creation. The Lord said, "I have chosen you out of the world; ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world," and the apostle declared, "Ye are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works."


God has begun this work in taking those who have an ear to hear His truth, and who are willing to obey Him in all things, and is preparing out of them a people for Himself to perform a particular work in His kingdom in the future. Since this chosen class is to be of a different nature from the remainder of the world, it must be born again it must go through the process of birth analogous to that of the natural birth. The original nature of every member of our race is the human we were all children of Adam, and all fell in him from the plane of perfection before God.

And out of this general mass God will take those who have a desire to know him and please him, and transform them from their present earthly human condition to a new condition what? Not angels, for there is no statement in the Scriptures anywhere that God purposes to raise anybody to an angelic condition, although the hymns which we used to sing expressed a thought like this, as "I want to be an angel, and with the angels stand, A crown upon my forehead, a harp within my hand." That would be a glorious condition, but it is not the one the Scriptures suggest for the church, the members of the body of Christ.


Something higher than angels the stupendous honor of being partakers of the divine nature that to which the church is reserved, as declared by the apostle Peter, "There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be made partakers of the divine nature." Since this is the Bible declaration we are not over-ambitious in following its leading and claiming its promises. It is not a question of what we would be satisfied with in God's purpose, for we would be satisfied with the humblest position in God's favor, but it is a matter of accepting the Lord at His word, and following His directions to have that word fulfilled in us.

This purpose of God to place the church, the joint heirs of Jesus Christ, in the divine condition, the highest nature it was possible to give them, was fixed before the plan ever began to be worked out. For the class which would attain such high honors the very narrow way discussed the previous Sunday has been mapped out, and only those who walk in it faithfully are to be made partakers of the ultimate blessing of a change into the glorious new condition. It is because of the narrowness of the way that few find it, and that of those having found it, they fail to walk in it. The scriptures declare that those who accept the conditions and enter the way are called to partake of "the fullness of Christ."


The speaker considered the exaltation which had been given to the Redeemer upon His faithfulness to the Father's plan, as expressed by Paul. "Him hath God highly exalted, and given a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess, to the glory of God the Father" - "far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named." If the church is to partake of Christ's fullness similar honor awaits them, as again expressed. "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne." And further, "We know that we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." [HGL90] This is to be the end, the completion, of the begetting of the spirit when the begetting work has fulfilled in the present time its work in developing the new creature, the birth in the resurrection shall bring to all the faithful called ones these glorious conditions which are promised in the word of God. Only those who have attained such a condition can possibly share in God's kingdom, joint heirs with Christ, because the apostle declares that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."


Humanity cannot be the kingdom, since it has been reserved for the new creation, which shall make its calling and election sure through the begetting of the spirit and development through experience of the present time. So the apostle again declares that the church is called through patient perseverance to seek for glory, honor and immortality in other words, the divine nature, because immortality is the essential quality of the divine nature. According to the word, God alone has this quality- "who only hath immortality, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto." But He gave the same quality to His Son, upon His faithfulness, as He declares, "as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself," and further, glorious privilege, the Son has power to "give it unto whomsoever He would."

In explaining how the individual is to reach the condition termed "begotten of the spirit," the speaker illustrated upon the chart the fall of man from his original condition of perfection and righteousness to the plane of sin and death, and how, while in this latter condition, none is able to help himself or raise himself again to the original perfect condition. All are undone, and declared through the scriptures to be wholly unrighteous.


God's mercy, through the Redeemer, has devised that those who believe in Christ shall, by reason of their faith, be reckoned as restored to that original condition not actually, because the present is not the time of restitution but on account of faith reckonedly given the standing of perfect human beings, and able, because of being covered by the robe of Christ's righteousness, to be called "holy" by God. In this condition the individual is in a fit state to offer himself a consecrated offering to the Lord and for His service. He could not do so before, because God could not accept an imperfect sacrifice upon His altar of service, and man was not fit to present himself as he was, but needed the reckoned perfection given him through faith in Christ, to make him eligible to present himself.

As a reckonedly perfect human being he is considered a "human son" of God, just as Adam, in his perfection, is said in the scripture to have been God's son, and it is from this point that the receiving of the Holy Spirit by the individual offering himself to the Lord will begin the begetting work which is to ultimately transform such a person to that condition which will make him ready for the first resurrection and full "birth of the spirit." The exhortation of the scriptures, "My son, give Me thine heart," is to this class of justified reckonedly perfect human sons, upon whom God calls for a devotion of their affections, their interests, their all, to this service, as a reward for which the divine nature, and joint heirship with Christ, is promised to them.


The world is not spoken of as sons of God, and the apostles never speak of them as brethren, but the apostle does address the justified with this term, when he exhorts them: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, and your reasonable service."

Again the apostle refers to these two steps to be taken in the Christian way, when he says, "Being therefore justified by faith we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." This represents the first step, and the consequent harmony with God by reason of having believed on Jesus Christ and received forgiveness of sins through him. But the apostle proceeds, "and have access," a going further on in the Lord's favor, "into this grace wherein we stand," the grace of the Holy Spirit, received by consecration to God's service, "and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

No one can rejoice in the hope of the glorious condition of the kingdom of God unless he has taken both these steps and thus placed himself in the position where he may be fully born into the new creation, to which is reserved the special features of the glory of God. The apostle's declaration, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for those that love him," does not apply to those who merely do not hate him. To love God is to love him with all the heart, soul, mind and strength, and to act in daily life in accord with these sentiments, and only this class is promised the special favors of the church.


These alone appreciate the privilege of offering themselves to the Lord, and consider that the most they can do is an offering far too small and mean for his service, were it not that he had graciously arranged to make up, through Christ's righteousness, the imperfections and lack manifested in it.

The speaker referred to the experiences of the Lord Jesus, the head of the church, in this connection. His humility in becoming poor, for our sakes, was commented upon, and attention was drawn to the fact that the Redeemer actually took this position of poverty he did not assume a humble place not possessed in reality; he did not pretend to become poor, while really retaining all his rank and titles, as the grand spirit being which he was with the Father. Becoming poor, in the speaker's mind, signified entirely divesting himself of his former glory, and actually taking the position of a man.

This was pointed out as an absolute necessity in order to redeem the race. The Scriptures declared, "By a man came death; by a man came also the resurrection of the dead." As neither blood of bulls nor of goats could take away sin, so neither could the death of an angel accomplish deliverance. A man's life must pay the penalty against the race, that man might go free, and hence the Lord Jesus actually became a man, "He took upon him a bondsman's form, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in [HGL91] fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death."


He was not a "mere man," certainly, because he possessed all the perfections of a human being uncontaminated with the race's sin and penalty of death, else he could not have been a proper substitute and sacrifice. He was actually perfect, and at the age of 30 years he had attained the full maturity of manhood under the law. When 30 years of age he promptly began to carry out the divine will regarding the sacrifice which should redeem the race from death.

This was in accord with the typical priesthood's requirements. No man could be a priest until 30, and so the Lord Jesus, when coming as the great antitypical priest, to offer the great sacrifice for sins, fulfilled the law to the letter by waiting until his maturity before offering himself. At once at the fruition of the time he presented himself to John in Jordan, to symbolize his consecration to God's will by baptism in the water, and John bore record that upon such presentation the Holy Spirit was represented as coming upon him, in the visible likeness of a dove.

This represented his begetting of the spirit begotten to a new nature. Jesus was a perfect man, having taken the human nature in order to die for the race, and now from the moment of his consecration, to do the Father's will, and accomplish the race's redemption, his mortal body and all his earthly powers were sacrificed to God, the new creature acting as the priest to offer up constantly the human offerings until it should be completed at Calvary.


For three and one-half years this sacrifice was being consumed, and when, following the crucifixion and the burial in the tomb for three days and nights, the resurrection took place, it was the new creature, perfect and glorious, which God's power brought forth- "the first-born from the dead."

Everyone who aims to attain a place in the kingdom with Jesus Christ must follow in the footsteps of Jesus as thus marked out. He must have the perfect human standing (reckonedly) as Jesus Christ had it actually when he offered himself at 30 years. He must offer himself to God, completely, as an underpriest of the Lord, the great high priest. The new nature, to which he is begotten, must see that the human nature is made a complete sacrifice, and that the experiences which will be met by the individual while he is dying as a human being, in the service of God, are to be constantly developing in him fruits of the Holy Spirit, by which he is begotten, until the work shall have been fully accomplished until the character-likeness conforms to that of Jesus Christ, the great pattern, and finally, when the covenant or consecration shall have been completed in death. The faithful overcomer is to look forward with joy to the glorious entrance into the kingdom, representing the birth of the spirit, when no imperfection shall surround him, and when he shall be able to fully appreciate the joys of the Lord to which he has been called to partake.


The resurrection must be the same as that experienced by the Lord, because the Scriptures say that the Redeemer is the "first-born among many brethren." Again they declare "Blessed and holy are all they that have part in the first resurrection; upon such the second death shall have no power; and they shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years." Christ is their head, and his honor is their honor, his glory their glory, in every particular.

The apostle declares, "I count all things but loss and dross, that I might win Christ. . . that I might know Him, and the power of His resurrection, being made conformable unto His death, if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead the special resurrection which is to come to that special class which consecrates unto death, in the footsteps of Christ their Redeemer." Special reference was made to the apostle's explanation of the relationship of the church to the resurrection of Christ, in Philippians 3 and 1 Corinthians 15. In conclusion, the speaker made brief reference to the make-up of the "nominal" church, as it has existed throughout the ages. It is composed of four classes:


First A class unjustified, which attaches itself to the church for reasons of pride or vain-glory, without having tasted of the Lord's grace in any special degree hypocrites, whether consciously or otherwise, and referred to in the scriptures as "tares."

Second The "household of faith," the justified class, a large class, many of whom have become satisfied with their present condition, and have failed to make use of their justification for the real purpose for which it was intended viz., consecration.

Third and fourth The two classes which constitute the only ones ever recognized by the Lord as members of the church proper those only who have made a full consecration of themselves to God "even unto death."

One of these classes is that which joyfully fulfills its covenant, seeks to make its calling and election sure, and depending upon the Lord's grace, goes forward in offering its sacrifice, as filling up that which is behind the afflictions of Christ. These, the speaker said, are those "whose names are written in heaven," whether written on denominational rolls or not, for he recognized no denominational lines in the true church of God, deeming that all people, everywhere, who had made an intelligent devotion of themselves to God were members of one true church, outside of which there could be no special blessing in connection with the favors of the gospel age.


The remaining class is the one referred to in Revelation 7 as having "come up out of great tribulation, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb." These were represented to be those who having made their covenant had neglected it, allowed the spirit of worldly things to hinder them, and had permitted their white robes of reckoned righteousness, through faith in [HGL92] Christ, to become soiled and bedraggled by contact with the world.

These must experience severe tribulations to teach them needed lessons, and instead of reaching the high honor which is reserved for the willing sacrificers, are to be given a place "before the throne," where they "serve God in his temple day and night forever." The faithful ones, on the contrary, quick to note the manifestations of imperfection, apply for cleansing of their robes with alacrity at any time temporary weakness should overcome them, and thus remain constantly in full harmony with the Lord, and receive the reward of a place "in the throne," as kings and priests unto God.

The speaker referred to the necessarily fragmentary way of treating the elaborate subject, and invited his hearers to make application for the free reading matter which was cheerfully supplied through the tract society arranging the meetings the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, Arch Street, Allegheny

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