The Cincinnati Weekly Inquirer, July 26, 1912


Reports from more than one hundred cities indicate great public appreciation of "The Photo Drama of Creation." This noble effort to turn attention back to the word of God is having the desired effect wherever it is exhibited. No one can see it without having his heart irresistibly drawn toward the giver of every good and perfect gift, who so loved the world as to give "His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life."

Today Pastor Russell preached from the text, "So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God." Luke 12:21.

The pastor began his discourse with the declaration that ours is the day of wealth. Nothing to compare with it has [HGL552] ever been known in the world's history. Not merely have we discovered rich deposits of gold, silver and precious stones; not merely are these being mined in a provident and successful manner, with which nothing in the past could compare; but additionally the world is growing richer in every conceivable way.

This statement was illustrated by reference to the growth of our cities in size and beauty, in sanitary conveniences, in spacious parks, in good, paved streets and boulevards; and to our industries, which are multiplying machinery perfected within the last fifty years and turning our products of convenience and value. These add greatly to the world's comfort and material wealth, and are not merely perishable articles such as clothing and bric-a-brac, but substantial edifices, etc. Vast libraries, both public and private, are being acquired. Many former luxuries are becoming almost necessities, because of the facility with which they are produced. All these things, and many other, constitute riches, one glance at which would amaze our ancestors.

The speaker then asked a series of questions such as appeal to all thoughtful persons. Are we as a race, he inquired, growing rich toward God? Is not the very reverse true? Are not faith and godliness on the decline? Is it not true that within the last fifty years the love of money, which the apostle declares is "the root of all evil," has intensified? Is it not true that financial greed has become so strong as to make necessary pure-food laws for the protection of the lives of the people because life and health were in jeopardy?

Attention was then called to the fact that, although we are better housed, better fed and better clothed than were our forefathers, yet there is a general condition of unrest, due to trust in riches. Despite all our modern safeguards of police and detective systems, despite our telegraph, telephone, etc., human lives and property are still in peril because of the hunger for wealth everywhere prevalent.


The pastor next discussed the parable from which his text is taken. In it our Lord pictures a man whose lines were fallen in pleasant places. The smiling sun and the genial showers prospered his undertakings, and his wealth grew apace. To him came opportunities for helping friends, neighbors and relatives less favored opportunities for turning this material wealth to good account in the cultivation of the generous traits of his nature and thus for developing more and more the divine character; for God scatters His blessings of sunshine and shower upon both the evil and the good.

But instead of growing richer in character through the cultivation of noble qualities, this rich man permitted selfishness to dominate him. He pulled down his barns in order to build greater ones. Instead of dispensing the wealth which divine providence permitted to flow into his lap, he accumulated more. Many, alas! today are following his example. These say to themselves, "I will accumulate wealth, and then will say to my soul, You have plenty; eat, drink and be merry. Think not particularly of your less favored brethren and neighbors, nor of the hopelessly poor; live for yourself." Thus in the parable the master has drawn a picture of practically every man in the world, some of whom are really doing these things, and others of whom are longing for the opportunity to do so.


Commenting upon the master's estimation of the foolish rich man, the pastor asked: If the Lord declared that the rich man of the parable was a fool, what may we suppose is His estimate of the masses of humanity today blessed as men never before were blessed, privileged, and therefore responsible for the use of money? "Alas!" he declared; "we fear that the Lord is not well pleased with the world in its scramble for wealth, witnessed today on every hand. In our text the people of God of today have a reminder that all have the opportunity to cultivate the Christ-like spirit of generosity, helpfulness and brotherly kindness."

The speaker then demonstrated that the Lord does not address His reproof and admonition to the world, but merely to His church the consecrated few. The world, he declared, is about to learn a great lesson along this very line of selfishness. Having sown to the wind the seed of selfishness, it is about to reap a whirlwind of trouble, the fruitage of selfishness, in which the interests of rich and poor will clash in the conflict between capital and labor, between those who have secured wealth and those who will strive to take the wealth from them- "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." Are any so blinded as not to see the awful growth of anarchy, he asked, which is gradually settling down upon the highest type of civilization to which the world has ever attained? Are there any so blinded as to be unable to perceive that the conflict will be along the lines of selfishness desire to hold on the one part and desire to acquire on the other?

The pastor explained that, according to the Scriptures, God is not now appealing to the world; for well He knows that so intense is the spirit of avarice that such an appeal would be useless. God is therefore permitting the world as a whole to learn its great lesson, that selfishness is an integral part of sin, even as love and benevolence are integral parts of righteousness. There is no doubt, he declared, that by the time the poor world shall have fully learned its lesson of the terrible results of selfishness it will be ready to cry out for divine assistance.

When that time comes the speaker claimed, God's means of assistance will also be ready. The Messianic kingdom will be inaugurated, and a reign of love will be established, which will contrast sharply with present conditions, and which will bring blessed results of peace, love and good will amongst men. Since God is both loving and wise we may reasonable assume, be believes, that there is no better way than this whirlwind of trouble for teaching the world its needed lesson on this subject.


It was then shown that God's lessons are now for the church'not the church nominal, which is merely a more civilized section of the world, but the church real, the saintly people of God in and out of the various sects and parties, and of every nation, kindred and tongue. Anxious to know and to do the will of God, these receive special [HGL553] instruction such as the world is not prepared to receive. To these saintly footstep followers of Jesus the Lord says: Let not your treasures be of an earthly kind. Rather, go to the opposite extreme, and spend and be spent in the interest of others, in the service of God, in the service of His message of love; and thus, along the lines of the divine promises, seek for a share with the great Redeemer, not only in the sufferings and self-denials of the present life but also in the glory, honor and immortality of the life to come.

In support of his argument, the pastor quoted many familiar passages of Scripture, such as "Therefore take no thought of your life, what ye shall eat; neither for your body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body than raiment." "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of." Therefore, "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."


A new light was thrown upon a familiar Scripture commonly applied to the worldly rich, but mistakenly so, if the pastor, who is a most able Bible scholar, is correct in his opinion. He declared that when St. Paul wrote to Timothy, "Charge them that are rich in this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy," the apostle very evidently referred to some of the consecrated people of God who had wealth. This wealth these were to consider merely as a stewardship, not to be disposed of according to their own worldly caprices, and surely not according to the dictum of friends, neighbors and relatives. Whoever has given himself to the Lord must have consecrated all he has; else he is not accepted as Christ's disciple.

The pastor showed that the apostle's charge to the brethren who possessed wealth is stated in the verses following the one under discussion- "that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." This he interprets to mean that those possessing wealth should be willing to share with others of the brethren as members of a community, somewhat along the lines of Christian communism. The word foundation, he declared, is here used in the same sense as when we say that a wealthy man gave a foundation of a million dollars for a college. His gift constitutes the basis for the carrying out of the college plans.

Thus, the speaker explained, a Christian who generously uses in the Lord's service his financial stewardship is laying a foundation for spiritual wealth; and the more of time influence and wealth anyone can lay up thus in doing good, in forwarding the interests of the brethren and of the Lord's work, the more is that one piling up treasure in heaven. The advantage of this procedure, he asserted, is that it helps to center the heart's affections on the things above, and to wean them from the things of earth; for where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also. And thus, says the apostle, we shall be able to "lay hold on eternal life," now proffered to us.

At first many are inclined to say, What difference does it make to the Lord what I do with my time, money influence, talents? He is able to supply the needy without in the least impoverishing himself. Why, then, should He desire His children, who are far from rich in the world's estimation, to sacrifice their little all of talent, money, time, influence? And why should He make this a test to determine whether or not they shall attain the kingdom? What is the philosophy of it?

The philosophy was declared to be this: As originally created in the divine likeness man was tender-hearted, sympathetic. But after sin had entered the world and the strife for a living began, selfishness gradually became the predominant influence, producing hard-heartedness carelessness of the interests of others self-love.


The speaker pointed out that during the thousand years of Messiah's reign Satan will be bound, his allurements ended and the curse lifted. Then this being removed, it will be easier for mankind to learn the lessons of love and brotherly kindness, and to rise out of their present condition of meanness, hard-heartedness and selfishness back to the glorious image of God. All who then refuse to return to harmony with God will be destroyed in the second death, as set forth in Acts 3:19-23.

It was pointed out, however, that while such a restitution under the favorable conditions of the Messianic kingdom is God's provision for the world, He has a different provision for the Church, now being called and proven. By nature their hearts were hard and selfish, and, as the apostle says, they "were children of wrath, even as others." But the fact that God has called these to joint heirship with His Son in the glorious kingdom that is shortly to bless the world does not signify that He will accept them in their natural condition of hard-heartedness and selfishness.

On the contrary, if the church are to be the kings, priests and judges of the world, in association with the Lord and head, the great King, it is readily seen that they must be rid of this condition themselves before they can properly be capable of helping the world up out of its hard-heartedness.


Several differences were pointed out between the Lord's dealings with the church at the present time and His dealings with the world by and by. These differences are due to the fact that the church are called to so high an honor; and correspondingly it is appropriate that they should manifest more love and zeal than will be expected of the world.

To illustrate: The church must walk by faith and not by sight; they must voluntarily accept the Lord's providences and voluntarily co-operate with Him in putting away the stony heart, accepting instead the spirit of the Lord'a spirit of love, kindness, gentleness, meekness, patience and long suffering toward all. Moreover, during the thousand years of the world's recovery from sin, selfishness and hard-heartedness, doubtless each individual will have [HGL554] several centuries for his gradual development. But the Father seeks in the church class those who will give such earnestness in copying His character that they will succeed in attaining a heart condition of tenderness, sympathy and love like unto that of the heavenly Father, in the present years of their Christian experience.

The discourse closed with an earnest exhortation that all who are the Lord's gird up the loins of their minds, determining that with His help they will be rich toward God; that each think less and less of earthly riches and more and more prize the kingdom which the Lord has promised to His faithful ones. All who attain this kingdom will be rich toward God in the highest sense. Not only will they be rich in the possession of the highest prize that God has to give His very best but rich in His character-likeness, rich in experience, rich in faith, rich in benevolence, rich in all that is good and great, however poor they may have been in earthly goods at the end of their course.

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