National Labor Tribune'March 31, 1912


The International Bible Student Association secured the Hippodrome in which to hear the Report of its Committee on Foreign Missions Investigation. The spacious auditorium was crowded. Pro. F H Robinson, as Secretary of the Committee, announced that the Report as a whole had been submitted to the Association and was in the printer's hands, to appear in pamphlet form illustrated. It will shortly be procurable at the small price of five cents per copy, postpaid to any address free to the poor. The conclusion of the Report is in the nature of a Summary, which he read. We note some of its more salient points, as follows: -


Oriental Christians are about as sincere, intelligent and earnest as the average of church attendants in Europe and America -few saintly.

Christianizing endeavors seem pretty generally to have ceased! Present missionary endeavors are a most exclusively along the line of secular education and medical aid. [HGL539] There is less need of Academic and Collegiate education, such as the missionaries forward, than for Common Schooling. The general Common School education could best be furnished by the government and along unsectarian lines, after the method followed under the United States' supervision in the Philippine Islands. The tendency of the times in the Orient, as in the Occident, is toward unbelief in any religion.

The Orientals are remarkable tolerant of all religions, and are often perplexed at the Missionary competition, and opposition between Christian denominations. They would accept Christianity if it could demonstrate its superiority.

Orientals are not heathen-savages, but their educated classes include splendid specimens of noble manhood, the moral and intellectual peers of Europeans and Americans. The masses of these people are less vicious, less rude, more kind and considerate than are the masses of Europe and America. Drunkenness and outward immodesty are almost unknown.

Many of the churches are self-sustaining and the Orientals prefer to have them so, as they desire native preachers, and to manage their own affairs.

The very suggestion of the world's conversion is ridiculous to the people of the East including the Missionaries. The interest on $30,000,000, or the principal multiplied a thousand times, would accomplish little except along the lines of secular education nothing as respects the world's conversion. Nothing short of "The Kingdom of God's dear Son" can meet the issue.

Pastor Russell's discourse follows:


"Ask of Me and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." Psa. 2:8. The prophetic words, addressed by Jehovah to his Son, the Messiah, continually recurred to my mind as I mingled with and observed the peoples of India, China, Japan and the Philippines during our recent World Tour. Then certain questions came before my mind, which with their answers I will place before you.

The first question was, Why do we call these people heathen? They are not barbarous, not savages, not lawless people. Indeed, long centuries ago, when our forefathers were barbarians, these had much of the civilization which they still retain. But, I said, we call them heathen because the Bible refers to them. Let us see how and why the Bible uses this term and what is its significance. In Bible usage the word rendered "heathen" is the same as is sometimes rendered nations and Gentiles. For centuries it applied to all peoples outside the little nation of Israel, because that one nation had entered into Covenant-relationship with God, and had become His people, His dominion.

All the other nations, not thus related to God by Covenant, were styled heathen; all the outside nations were aliens, strangers and foreigners from the Covenants and promises made to Israel. And this same term continued to be applicable after the coming of Jesus. Even though the Gospel favor, which was originally offered to the Jews, was later thrown open to Cornelius and all Gentiles, or heathens, only those who accepted its terms, and came into Covenant-relationship with God through the begetting of the Holy Spirit only these, Israelites indeed, are properly reckoned as members of spiritual Israel, of whom St. Peter tells us, "Ye are a Royal Priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." Consequently all others than Jews and Spiritual Israelites are heathens, whether they live in the Orient or the Occident.


Our second question was, On the whole, to what extent is our Western civilization which is often called Christian civilization, superior to that of the East?

Considerable could be said in favor of each. We who have been accustomed from childhood to Western methods, customs, dress, etc., prefer our own, but the Eastern peoples evidently prefer their own, and are loath to change to ours. They are, however, now passively admitting the superiority of ours in that they are gradually adopting our schooling system, military system, naval system and voting system.

But in our contrasting the two civilizations, are we not apt to forget that the very features of our civilization, which are now being accepted as superior in the East, are comparatively new to ourselves. Where were our public schools and compulsory education a century ago? It is only twenty years ago that Great Britain adopted the present method. Where were our railroads, which they are now adopting? Let us remember that there was not a rail in the world, nor a locomotive, nor a car, a hundred years ago.

The East is rapidly introducing telegraphy, the telephone, the wireless system, the electric railways; but how long have we had these in the West? Less than a century some of them for only ten years. Viewing the matter from this standpoint should help to keep us of the West quite humble when we think of and speak of the awakening in the East in China, Japan, etc.


That Christ's teachings have brought great blessings wherever they have been received is, we hold, beyond dispute. Individuals have been blessed by the precious truth of Christianity rich and poor, of every nation, kindred and tongue. To these the Gospel Message has brought peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation provided through Him. To these the instruction of the Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit have brought the fruitage of the Spirit. To these it has brought "the peace of God which passeth all understanding," ruling in their hearts at all times, and under all conditions whether "in sickness or health, in poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth."

But our question does not relate to these saintly followers of the teachings of Jesus, who walk in His footsteps. Our question is in respect to the civilization which identifies itself with Christianity, without accepting the terms of discipleship. Has this civilization brought to the masses of Europe and America great blessing, and, if it be extended to the far East, will it prove a blessing to the hundreds of millions there?

If larger houses, better streets and sewers, better water supplies, better clothing, better schools, etc., are bringing [HGL540] to the people of Europe and America more joy, more peace, more happiness, more contentment, more kindness, more usefulness in the present life and more preparation of the life to come, then our Western civilization is a blessing to us, and would doubtless prove a blessing to the far East.

But has it brought these blessings Alas, no! As far as our observations in China and Japan go, we are led to believe that their people are far happier, far more contented, than the people of Europe and America. We are not blaming this upon Christianity, mark you we have not yet said why it is so. We are merely noting facts, which must be manifest to everyone who has seen the two in contact.


Our fourth question was. Why is it so? What peculiarities are connected with Christian civilization or the Christian teachings which produce such diverse results bringing one class, the saintly followers of Jesus, into the utmost peace and joy, and bringing others, the masses who are merely nominal Christians, into this most unsatisfactory and unhappy condition of any people in the world, even when they are enjoying greater blessings and luxuries than the majority?

There is but one answer to this question: It is because the teachings of Christ carry with them a broadening of mind, and emancipation from superstition, a spirit of liberty. True, there were Dark Ages, during which many so-called Christian superstitions prospered. But such superstitions were not the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, but the misrepresentations of their teachings. Those superstitions did indeed for a time make the people of Europe drowsy, and it was the custom of such religious teachers to restrain human thought and to fetter and becloud the intellects over which they had influence.

We are not discussing such conditions, but merely the general influence of the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles and the Prophets of old. The discontent which we are noting began to come to Europe at the very time when the Bible was brought out from obscurity. It is the teachings of the Bible that have had the enlightening effect upon all the nations which have been in contact with them. It is the Bible teachings that have brought the special rest to some hearts, and the special discontent to others the masses.

This is the answer. The Bible alone, of all religious books, sets forth prominently the equality of all men before the Almighty God. This thought once grasped breaks all fetters of the mind. But all are not prepared for such liberty some evidently would enjoy great peace and would be more quiet, more reverential and more submissive if they continued bound with a measure of superstition, than if the truth should make them free.

The only persons who can rightly appreciate and properly enjoy full liberty are those who have made a full consecration of themselves to the Lord those who have given over all earthly ambitions and favor to the one great ambition of the Gospel of Christ to become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord. Those only can be fully entrusted with liberty who have realized the imperfection of all human judgment, and who have accepted instead of their own the Divine will. This is the class of whom St. Paul spoke, saying, "We have the mind of Christ," and this he declares is the only "spirit of a sound mind" in the world at the present time.

Nevertheless, some of the saintly people are disesteemed by many of the worldly-minded who are moving heaven and earth at home and abroad to amass wealth, power and fame for themselves, their families, their friends, their names, none of whom are content, none of whom are satisfied, none of whom are at peace, either with God or with themselves. Who can doubt that the carrying of our western civilization to the people of the east will carry to them similar discontent, unrest, unhappiness, anger, malice, envy, hatred and strife which is peculiar to the Occident? But most likely the effect of the Western civilization of the Chinese will be to wake up her hundreds of millions to discontent and strife, and possibly bring anarchy to her doors sooner than it will come to Europe and America.


But our text declares that if Messiah will ask of the Father, He will be given the heathen for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. Will He ask for them? Why has He not already asked for them, and what would He do with them, and would not His dealing with them have much the same influence that the Gospel Message now produces to make them dissatisfied?

Our Lord intimates most distinctly His reason for not asking for the heathen at the first advent. In His prayer the same night in which He was betrayed to death He said, "I pray not for the world (the heathen), but for those whom thou hast given Me" the household of faith, His footstep followers, "the Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven."

The Redeemer knew the Father's will and prayed only in harmony therewith. He knew that the first work of the Divine Plan was to be the calling and testing of an elect "little flock," to be His associates in the Kingdom, His Bride, to share with Him His glory, honor and immortality. He asked not then for the world, knowing that the Father's time had not then come, Hence we read that He ascended up on high and sat down at the right hand of the Divine Majesty, hereforth awaiting for the time when His enemies would be made His footstool, and the Gentiles be given to Him for an inheritance; and He knew that this time would not come until first His Church had been developed.

At and shortly after Pentecost all the faithful of the nation of Israel, Israelites indeed, were begotten of the Holy Spirit that they might become members of spiritual Israel, the Bride class. As there was not a sufficiency of such Jews, the Divine Plan, as previously arranged, proceeded to call and test such of the heathen as were feeling after God and seeking after His righteousness. The entire work has required the intervening time, and now at the close of the six great days of human labor and sweat of face and sorrow and dying, the great seventh thousand-year day is about to be ushered in. It is the period already appointed of the Father of Messiah's reign of righteousness, in which the Bride of Christ will reign with him. [HGL541]


My next question was, What will be the end of this long reign of ignorance, superstition, sin and death?

The Bible's answer came quickly to my mind: The Divine promise is that Messiah's Kingdom will be successful, that it will bring in an abundance of peace, that "to Him every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess." Moreover, we are assured that this will be a bowing of sincere loyalty and obedience, because the context says that it shall be to the glory of God, and no other kind of bowing and confessing would glorify God. Then came the further assurance of the Bible to my mind: St. Peter's declaration, that "Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heavens must retain until the times of restitution of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets." Acts 3:19-21.

I also remember the promise that the Redeemer would yet see the fruition of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. I remembered that assurance which He also gave, saying, "Every creature in heaven and in earth and under the earth heard I saying, Praise, glory, honor, dominion and might to Him that sitteth on the Throne, and to the Lamb, forever." I remember also His final testimony, that eventually, There shall be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, because all "the former things" of sin and death will have passed away.

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