The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society began its second series of chart-talks at Allegheny Carnegie hall yesterday afternoon, with Pastor C T Russell again as the speaker. This series is to last for three weeks (Sunday afternoons), and is announced to deal with features of Scriptural truth which will prove interesting to all Bible students, the lower portions of the "chart of the ages," which is kept in constant use, being given particular attention. The subject for next Sunday afternoon will be, "Born of the Spirit," a rather mysterious title, which is likely to arouse much curiosity and induce a large attendance.

The subject yesterday afternoon was, "The Narrow Way and Other Ways." The speaker's texts were: "Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat; because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matt. 7:13, 14) "An highway shall be there, and a way; it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon; it shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there; and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come with singing unto Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." (Isa. 35:8-10)


Attention was directed to the wide difference between the two ways expressed in these Scriptural statements one a narrow, difficult, stony way, with opposition at every step; the other a highway a traveled, well-kept roadway; distinguished from the former by the entire absence of evil influences to interfere with progress. In leading up to his explanation of the two diversely described ways the speaker noted the past findings regarding different epochs of man's history, pointing especially to the three great periods called "worlds," the first of which, extending from creation to the flood, the second, from the flood to the second advent, and the third into illimitable future.

In this second period all Scriptures were to be applied which speak of the domination of Satan, the "god of this world." "the prince of this world," and the world itself as an "evil world." In bringing an end to this period, and ushering in the next period of time, the third world, the first work to be accomplished is to bind Satan, the instigator of evil, that he may deceive the nations no more for 1,000 years. During a portion of the period of time encompassed in the "second world," the narrow way is said to be in existence a way so difficult of access that it is said "few there be that find it," and this because in this period Satan is still unbound, and still fulfilling the apostle's word. "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not."


While Satan is exercising his power, and endeavoring to oppose the way of righteousness. God is calling out His elect class. His "little flock," the church of Jesus Christ, which finds its experiences exceedingly trying and difficult because of the circumstances under which they are thus called. Many who would desire to live soberly, righteously, godly, are hindered from doing so because they note the opposition given to all of that class, and they therefore draw back from a full devotion of themselves to the Lord's service, doubtless wondering in their own hearts why God made the way so narrow and difficult, instead of plain and easy of following. Not merely these, but Christians in general, it was suggested, must have frequently queried the reasonableness of the narrowness of the way to life, so that [HGL107] in the present time it is true, "Whosoever will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution."

The explanation for this was declared to be that God desired a class of specially selected ones to be the church of Christ a class so thoroughly tried and tested that they would be worthy to be accounted "joint-heirs" with Him in His kingdom. Because Christ is to bear such a relationship to the faithful ones who walk in the narrow way, and is called in the Scriptures, "The head of the church, which is His body," there was no opportunity for walking in the narrow way previous to the beginning of the gospel age. Jesus is "the captain of our salvation," and if such, He is the chief One the One who first walked in the way. So He says, "He that would be my disciple, let him take up his cross and come after Me" not precede Him, as those would have done prior to the gospel age, had they been called to walk in this way. The thought is that none could be the Lord's disciples, in this special sense, and go before Him.


When the present world is at an end, when the gospel age shall have been completed, the church made up, and glorified, and Satan bound, there will be no longer necessity for any man to suffer persecution for Christ's sake no one to cause him to suffer. Since Christ is to be the king, and the government of that time will be righteousness, everything will be favorable to righteousness, and only those who would do evil shall receive punishment.

Then will be fulfilled the prophetic declaration regarding the highway a way of public travel, easy of access and far from difficult to walk upon. This is provided by the context of the verse referring to the matter: "The wilderness and the solitary place shall rejoice even with joy and singing; . . . they shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God." This has not yet come to pass, for no matter how we may regard this as a symbolical picture we see no correspondency yet to the grand glorious blessings from the presence of God here depicted.

The world is to see the glory of God, in a way that it cannot see it now, on account of the blinding influences being exerted by Satan. Remarkably few of mankind are in such an attitude of mind and heart to appreciate the Lord's excellency and glory. "Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees; say to them of a fearful heart, fear not. . . Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf be unstopped; then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing."


This "then" makes the application of the passage clear when God has come with vengeance upon those who are in deliberate and willful opposition to Him, and with a recompense for those who are His people, seeking to walk in His footsteps at the end of the present evil world when the Lord shall come in all His glory, for the blessing not merely of the church, to be glorified with Him, but for all the families of the earth. It is "then" that those blinded with ignorance and superstition and various false representations of the divine character and plan shall have their eyes opened.

It is difficult today to get the eyes of the blinded ones opened, but "then" He who shall have come for the fulfillment of the promised blessings of the world, which He redeemed with His own blood, shall quickly enlighten those who are to be blessed. And so, the lameness that belongs to the fallen condition of humanity shall be healed such lameness as has hindered many from following in the footsteps of the Lord and "making straight paths for His feet."

The speaker claimed a fulfillment along physical lines of the whole statement, but pointed out that it must be applied to the mental and moral conditions, as well, to be fully carried out. "In the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert; the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water. And an highway shall be there."


There is no difficulty then, as in this age. The gospel age has to contend with all the difficulties and stones of stumbling and ravenous beasts, which may be found represented in the lion of intemperance, the beast of passion, pride, temper, hindering from walking in the narrow way, and which would devour the spiritual life of those who had not sufficient confidence in the Lord to seek His grace in walking in the narrow way. Some people who have said that this highway, wherein a wayfaring man, though a fool, should not err, is appropriate to the present age, have grievously misunderstood, or else many persons today are a great deal worse than fools.

For, according to the speaker, diverse creeds and theories of men are set up as the standards by which the Lord's word is to be understood, and each overthrowing the other in some form of view, it is evident that one or all must be wrong and, therefore, that the scriptures are out of the way entirely. They do err, and thus argue against the existence of a highway in the present time, in which they might walk with ease. When the highway is in existence the scripture will be fulfilled; "The whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord." "None shall need say to his neighbor, Know thou the Lord? for all shall know Him, from the least unto the greatest."


To say that these conditions exist today would be to deny the scriptures and the evidence of one's own senses, which recognize that the very coming together of the Lord's people in assembly is to build one another up in a knowledge of the Lord, because they do not know His way fully.

The speaker urged honesty in dealing with the Lord's word along this line and a readiness to accept the scriptural presentations, no matter how they might overthrow preconceived opinions based upon imperfect instruction. Since the Lord had distinctly declared the proposed existence at different times of two different ways in which He should be served, it is for His people to accept His word with candor, and conform their views to the facts. Nor should one hastily conclude that the Lord was dealing [HGL108] partially with any class in making a difference in the terms upon which each should worship before Him. The Lord had a distinct purpose in His arrangement.

He wanted a "peculiar people," tested by evil experiences, for a special work in His kingdom, and hence, instead of delaying the opening of any way until the second advent of the Lord, at the time when evil conditions would be removed, He began in advance, while evil still existed, to call the church to polish, fit and prepare each member of it for a place He would have for them by and by, as stones in the temple of the living God. This process is not necessary for the world, because in the case of the latter their preparation would be to fit them to occupy an earthly position of blessing, attained through experience, instructions and assistance, gained throughout the Millennial age, and the work of the elect class would be to give this teaching and instruction to mankind.


The speaker drew attention to the lines upon his chart which illustrated the different positions occupied by the classes referred to in the texts. At the bottom was represented the plane of human degradation the condition in which all the world of mankind exists today as a result of sin. To this plane Adam fell, from a plane of human perfection, the next line above. As a perfect human being, perfectly able to keep the divine law, he transgressed God's command, and fell from his high estate into degradation and sin death. This is the "broad road to destruction," which the Lord spoke of in contrast to the narrow way.

It is not a broad road to eternal torment, because the scriptures do not say that that is the end of the wicked but rather that those willfully disobedient to God are to be "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power." In this condition of death all mankind has been included ever sin the fall of Adam. The only ones who have escaped from his plane, and been restored to the plane of perfection formerly occupied by Adam are those who have exercised faith in God. Abraham was of this class- "He believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."


He is, therefore, represented as occupying the plane of human perfection but not in an actual sense yet, because the scriptures say this condition is now merely reckoned to those who have the faith, and Abraham is to receive his actually perfect human condition, as a result of his faith, when his blessing shall come with the remainder of the world in the future. All who accept Jesus Christ as their redeemer today have faith in Him and desire to escape from the plane of condemnation, are likewise accounted as possessing life in this reckoned way, and are, therefore, said to be upon the plane of justification human perfection; it is "counted" to us, as it was to Abraham by reason of faith.

The speaker impressed upon his hearers that this justification was not an entering upon the narrow way. It was merely the beginning of the steps which would lead to that way; it signifies a return to God's favor, as Adam was in God's favor before he sinned against His law. So the apostle says, "Being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." This is a precious step to take, and we could never get along without it, but it is only preliminary. It does indeed require some self-denial to believe and acknowledge Christ there is some incline and uphill work to it, but it is not the narrow way.


The next step must be taken before that can be entered upon, viz., consecration. After we have been justified by faith, and after God has accepted us, and we are considered God's children in a general sense, members of the household of faith represented, in the Jewish type by the Levites, who served in the tabernacle the step of consecration brings us to the position of the priesthood the royal priesthood, which God is selecting in the present time. To all the Levite or justified class come the apostle's words, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren (mark, he does not say sinners, for they could not obey this injunction at all), by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, and your reasonable service."

There is something, then, beyond being brethren, Levites; sacrificing does not belong to this class, but it belongs to the priest, as the apostle declared, no man could be an offerer without something to offer, and the offering we are to make is our justified selves in the Lord's service, as again we have the apostle's words, "We thus judge that if one died for all, then were all dead, and that we which live should live henceforth not unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us."

This signifies sanctification, holiness far more than that doctrine frequently means amongst so-called holy people, said the speaker, because they frequently think of holiness as simply abstaining from sin; but we are to not only abstain from sin and to seek to walk righteously before God, but we are to devote our lives to God's service completely, with all that we are and possess, seeking to use these things to His praise and to our own progress along the lines of His will, expressed in His word.


This was what the Lord Jesus did He offered Himself as a living sacrifice, and for three and a half years carried out that covenant of consecration. So each individual who wishes to be of His church must follow in His steps, taking up his cross of self-denial, and sacrificing earthly interests for the Lord and the interests of the higher condition to which we are called.

The new condition to which we enter when we make such a consecration, according to the speaker, is called in the Scriptures "a new creature" new aspirations, desires and hopes, of a spiritual, heavenly kind, the feeding of which becomes a prominent part in the individual's life, and for the advantage of which the temporal sacrifices will continually minister. This new creature receives the trials and testings of the narrow way; it develops according to its faithfulness, and its aspirations and hopes are toward the great blessing of a place in the heavenly kingdom of the Lord a clothing with spiritual powers, and endowing with such abilities as will enable it to execute the great blessing work purposed to be poured upon the world, in its time of [HGL109] opportunity, when the highway of holiness shall have been opened up.


To this the apostle referred when he said, "God's spirit witnesseth with our spirits that we are children of God; and if children then heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." The suffering is linked with the special reward, because without walking in the narrow way of sacrifice the glory will never be attained. The kind of glory to which such a consecrated individual will ultimately attain was referred to in the words of Peter: "There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we may be made partakers of the divine nature."

The stupendous proposition, therefore, is that he who accepts the opportunity of walking in the narrow way, and is faithful to the end, shall ultimately be raised to a nature such as that possessed by God Himself, as further promised by the Lord Jesus in His message to the church, through John: "He 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."


The speaker closed with an earnest exhortation to those present to consider the wonderful privileges thus expressed in the Lord's word, and to accept the terms as well as the blessings which such acceptance carried. He deprecated excitement and undue haste in making so portentous decisions, and the generally wild efforts exhibited at revival services, urging that the Lord Jesus took a different course, and so instructed His people, representing that the counting of the cost of such an undertaking required deep meditation and prayerful consideration.

But to all influenced by the right spirit, and having a desire of heart to do the Lord's will, the conclusion could only be one a determination to show the Lord the full appreciation of heart experienced for all His mercies, and a consequent complete consecration of life to Him who had redeemed that life from death.

Although the way is declared to be narrow, the promises were represented as complete to sustain every individual who would completely surrender himself to the direction of his Redeemer, who had said, "My grace is sufficient for thee; My strength shall be made perfect in weakness."

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