National Labor Tribune, February 25, 1912


Bombay -The Committee of the International Bible Students Association for the investigation of Foreign Missions have spent three weeks in India and traveled over three thousand miles. The seven members divided the work amongst themselves at the

various stopping points and will co-labor in the report. We report today's discourse in the Y M C A Auditorium by Pastor Russell, the Chairman of the Committee, as follows: -

I had a great interest in your land and its people before coming to your shores, but my interest has been greatly increased by what I have witnessed during the past three weeks in India not only in your largest cities, but also in your towns, villages and agricultural districts. As there are no [HGL534] other extremes in the world so great as between the caps of your Himalaya mountains and the wash of your coral strands, 29,000 feet below them, so likewise there can be found no greater contrast socially and financially then between your wealthy princes and your poverty stricken lower castes. Although such contrasts are deplorable we have no remedy to suggest, except the Divine one the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom.


Meantime, if poverty be favorable to saintship, there should be excellent material in abundance here. Indeed one of the things which has impressed me is the religious sentiment of India. The religious fervor of the thousands who bathe in the Ganges, and the numerous temples and shrines in every city, remind me of Saint Paul's words respecting some of his day: "feeling after God, if haply they might find Him." The two thousand temples and shrines of the one city of Benares speak volumes for the religious sentiment of the people and, although I have remarked of your hundreds of millions of hopelessly poor, I have not overlooked the fact that some of your wealthy have shown that they are not without generous instincts. Many of your merchant princes have evidently given largely to the charitable institutions, notable in Bombay; and I would not overlook the fact that in one of your great cities large animal hospitals have been provided for decrepit chickens, donkeys, horses, etc. However we may consider such sympathy misapplied in view of human need and suffering, we cannot overlook the fact that sympathy is there only waiting for the proper direction which Messiah's Kingdom will shortly give.

In your own grand Bombay I noted with astonishment the Towers of Silence, where the Parsee element of your population gives the flesh of its dead to feed the vultures. Alas! my soul cries out. Is not such heroism worthy of a better cause would not these Parsees make wonderfully faithful Christians, if they but had the blessing of the true Light? How I rejoice in the Divine promise that the true Light of the world shall yet lighten every man that cometh into the world! (John 1:9.) How glad I am that now I see the Divine provision for the hundreds of millions of India and of the whole world to come to a knowledge of the glory of God, under the uplifting of the Kingdom of Messiah! And how I rejoice to believe it is near, even at the doors just behind a terrible time of trouble and anarchy, which India will not escape!


But I must not dwell too much on the dark side of India's picture; you know it too well already. I will allow the wonderful heights of the Himalayas from your sea shore to draw our attention to the Apostles's words respecting "the heights and depths, the lengths and breadths of the Love of God, which passeth all understanding." That is the text of my parting words to India. In the past our forefathers studied God's word with the light of a tallow candle, or of a pine knot, or of a smoking lamp; now we may search the Scriptures in the clear, steady light of the electric lamp, which brings us almost noon day brightness.

Correspondingly, we find beauties in the Divine Word and Plan which our forefathers of the day of the tallow dip could not discern. Once we believed with our forefathers that God's love was merely for the "elect," saintly few, and that the non-elect, in His displeasure. He had doomed to eternal suffering. Now we see the same blessings as ever for the "elect," but other blessings for the non-elect, the world earthly blessings of restitution to human perfection and to an earthly Eden, world-wide.

Our forefathers saw the height of God's love for the holy angels and its condescension to the saintly of men, but they did not see its depths. They did not see that the Redemption accomplished by Jesus is ultimately to reach down to and embrace the very humblest and most degraded of humankind. How the precious Scriptures which tell of Jesus as the Savior of the world, as well as of the Church, escaped our notice, who can explain? But surely glad are we that now we can see clearly that the Redeemer is a Propitiation for our sins, the Church's sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

This fuller appreciation of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of love Divine is coming to Christian people as a benediction from heaven, just at the time when many are Higher-Critically repudiating the Bible and its God as unworthy of belief. The true view of God's Word we have intimated, namely, that all the families of the earth are to be blessed by Messiah's Kingdom, and that the Church, in process of election for the past eighteen centuries, is to be sharer with her Lord in that Kingdom.

Is it any wonder that this glorious view of our Creator and His plan for human salvation is inspiring sanctifying to the hearts of all who have the hearing ear to receive it! Is it not in full accord with the earliest statement of the Gospel, "Through thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed?" Is it not the claim of the Church and of the Bible that the saintly believers of the Gospel Age constitute the spiritual Seed of Abraham, the Bride of Messiah, "the Body of Christ which is the Church?" And have we not also the assurance, "if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the promise?" Gal. 3:16, 29.


Another view of the heights and depths of God's love is that which recognizes us as a race fallen from human perfection into the mire of sin whose quick-sands are swallowing up mankind at the rate of 90,000 every day. The Divine Program shows two salvations for the groaning creation. The first of these is the most wonderful; it is now in progress, and we urge all who have the hearing ear to lay aside every weight and every besetting sin that they may attain this special salvation offered to the Church. By faith, through the medium of exceeding great and precious promises, God is now lifting the obedient "elect" from the original pit of sin and death, from the mental degradation in which we all were as Adam's race; and to some extent they are being lifted also physically from this degradation.

The transforming work begins with each believer in Jesus who presents himself a living sacrifice to walk in the Master's footsteps. Even though these may not generally be of the wealthy and educated and higher social classes, the power of the Holy Spirit operating through the Divine [HGL535] promises gradually beautifies not only the characters but to some extent the features of those who rejoice to take up their cross and follow the Savior.

However uncouth and rude or careless or savage they may have been before, the transforming influence of the Holy Spirit develops in them the fruits of the spirit meekness, gentleness, patience, longsuffering, brotherly-kindness, love; and these things continuing in them and abounding more and more, and attesting their faithfulness unto death, make these neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of God and in the character-likeness of Jesus; and hence the Resurrection change will usher them into the everlasting Kingdom of their Savior to be sharers in His glory, honor and immortality far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named. Do we not here see wonderful depths from which these are rescued and wonderful heights to which they are yet to be lifted by Divine grace and its arrangements on their behalf! Surely all mankind who see this glorious arrangement of our God can glorify Him on this account.


For the world a somewhat similar and yet very different blessing is outlined in the Divine Plan of the Ages. Our poor race in some quarters of the world, fallen from the image of God almost to the level of the brute, sadly needs the uplifting, restricting, restitutionary influences which Messiah's glorious Kingdom will bring to them. Oh, not so high as the Church, the elect Bride of the Lamb not so high as cherubim or even as angels, but very high, nevertheless back to all that was lost in Eden.

How our hearts glow with gratitude toward God as we perceive that His original design for His human creatures is yet to be carried out to the letter! "His Word that is gone forth out of His mouth shall not return unto Him void, but it shall prosper in the thing whereunto He sent it." (Isa. 55:11.) He said, "Let Us make man in Our image;" and when he was made the Divine judgment expressed was that he was "very good," only "a little lower than the angels." (Heb. 2:7.) Moreover, he was crowned with glory and with honor in a sense that the angels were not crowned, for man was made the king, the ruler, the Divine representative of all the lower creatures of the earth. As we read "Thou didst set him over the works of Thy hands . . . all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beast of the field, the foul of the air and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas." Psa. 8:6-8.

This Godlikeness in the flesh and this Divine authority associated with it has been marred and much of it has been lost. The six thousand years of the reign of sin and death have not changed the Divine intention. On the contrary, the human family has been multiplying; it has been given valuable lessons on the exceeding sinfulness of sin; it has learned to know evil first. Next it must be brought to a knowledge of good and to an appreciation of Divine mercy. This will come to mankind during the thousand years of Messiah's reign, in which not only the living will be blessed with knowledge and with recovery from the power of death, but gradually all that have gone down to the tomb shall come forth, that they may be raised up, up, up again to the perfection of life, and fully live again at the end of the thousand years. Rev. 20:5.


Nor will the lengths and the breadths of Divine love toward the elect Church, the Bride of Christ, be fully exhibited to angels and to men, even during the glorious period of Messiah's reign. Saint Paul explicitly declares, "that in the Ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Is it asked what opportunity there will be for further favors to be bestowed upon the Church at the conclusion of the Millennial reign? We answer that as the Scriptures declare that God formed the earth not in vain but made it to be inhabited, and will make it glorious as His footstool in due time, so we may reason with respect to the other planets of our solar system. Gradually through coming Ages Divine power will be exercised in bringing into being millions of intelligent creatures on every planet of our system.

And still more than this, if our astronomical concepts are correct, all the fixed stars are suns, and around each sun are planets. Are there, then, a thousand blazing suns? Yes, more. Are there ten thousand? Yes, more. Are there ten times a ten thousand? Yes, more! Are there ten times a hundred, thousand, a million? Yes, more! Are there ten times ten millions, a hundred millions? Yes and more! And if we allow an average of ten planets to each sun this would make more than a thousand million planets, all made not in vain, but eventually to be inhabited. And astronomers assure us that we have every reason to believe that if we could stand upon the very furthermost sun of our knowledge we would see as many millions more beyond.

Alas! our poor minds are bewildered with such immensity, with such manifestations of the lengths and breadths of Divine Power and Wisdom, even as we have already been bewildered in our attempt to appreciate the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of Divine Love! Will there not indeed, then, be quite a sufficiency of the Divine Program to be outworked through Christ and the Church to justify the Apostle's statement that in the Ages to come God will manifest the exceeding riches of His grace in His loving kindness toward us in Christ Jesus?


India's hundreds of millions have not gone to a hell of hopeless despair and endless torture! Thank God, no! They have gone to the same hell to which Jesus went, the same to which the Apostles and Prophets went, the same to which all mankind, both good and bad go the Bible hell, the tomb, the state of death sheol, in the Old Testament Hebrew, and hades, in the New Testament Greek. They are all asleep, unconscious, until the morning of the resurrection. Thus "Abraham slept with his fathers," as did Kings David and Solomon, and all, both good and bad. Thus Jesus' friend, Lazarus, fell asleep and was awakened by the Savior on the fourth day, called forth from the tomb. Thus also Saint Stephen, stoned to death, fell asleep; and Saint Paul speaks of mankind in the tomb as sleeping in Jesus, and of the Church as being asleep in Christ. [HGL536] In the glorious morning of the New Dispensation, inaugurated by Messiah's Kingdom, the awakening of mankind will gradually proceed. Our Savior informs us that His Church, the elect Bride, will constitute the First Resurrection, and that subsequently all that sleep in the dust of the earth shall come forth, "every man in his own order," in his own rank. Eventually all shall be brought forth and thus Sheol will be no more, Hades shall be destroyed as the Scriptures say, "Oh, Sheol, I will be thy destruction!" (Hos. 13:14.) Our Lord declares that He has the keys of Hades the rightful authority to open the tomb and ultimately release all the prisoners of sin and death and to grant them restitution privileges under His Messianic Kingdom, which first of all will bind Satan and overthrow his Kingdom of darkness and sin, ignorance and superstition.

As for those who will ultimately reject Divine favor, the message is that they shall die the Second Death. From it there will be no redemption, no resurrection, no recovery. As Saint Peter declares, they shall perish like natural brute beasts.

It is time that we should begin to magnify God's Love, the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of which are beyond all human appreciation. As we do this our hearts are enlarged; our lives are ennobled; the grace of God i shed abroad in our hearts; the light of Divine Truth shines out from our words and conduct more and more. Thus we become copies of God's dear Son, little by little, in the spirit of our minds; and thus we are fitted and prepared for a share with Him in His glorious Kingdom which shall bring in Restitution uplift from sin and death for Adam and his race. Acts 3:19-21

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