July 29, 1906 Republished from The National Labor Tribune, August 1, 1918


ASBURY PARK, N. J., July 29, 1906 – A convention of Bible students, believers in the "Atonement through the Precious Blood," has been in session here during the past week. Able Scriptural presentations have been made by various speakers on topics doctrinal and practical. About 1,200 were in attendance. The teachings of the Scriptures are reverenced by these people as the Word of God, and for the time these teachings seem to fill their hearts, their lips and their faces – references are frequently made to the 'joys of their salvation."

Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny, Pa., spoke twice. We here report extracts from his discourse on Baptism. His text was from Jesus' words, "Are ye able to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" (Matt. 20:22)

He said: This discourse has been republished in Harvest Gleanings, Volume 1, pages 598-603, (Bible Student's Monthly, Volume 5, Number 9) entitled, "What is Baptism?"

The National Labor Tribune, August 5, 1906


Pastor C. T. Russell preached Sunday in Bible' House Chapel, Allegheny, which was uncomfortably crowded, Carnegie Hall being unobtainable on account of renovations. The closest of attention was given to a discourse from the text, "The general assembly, the Church of the First-born, who are enrolled in heaven." (Heb. 12:23)

The speaker said: Some of us have just returned from our Asbury Park Convention of Bible students. Others are hoping to attend a similar convention at St. Paul in another week. Wonderful spiritual blessing, comfort and uplift attend these conventions, and although in the aggregate they cost a considerable sum of money, we are more and more convinced that it is well spent – that the highest use to which money can be applied is that of serving the New Creature, ministering to the spiritual hunger and thirst, and providing more and more the rest of soul – the peace of God which passeth all understanding. We do well, therefore, that according to our circumstances we remember the admonition of the Apostle to "forget not the assembling of ourselves – and so much the more as we see the Day drawing near." (Heb. 10:25)

These conventions, we might remark, are not only a blessing to those in attendance, but through them blessings to the dear ones not privileged to be in attendance, and thus the spiritual refreshment is widespread. Our Asbury Park convention, you will be glad to know, was well attended – our regular attendance of about one thousand was augmented by interested Christian people from the Park, Ocean Grove and adjoining towns, so that some of our public services quite crowded the commodious auditoriums provided for our use.


Pleasurable and profitable as these conventions are, they beget more and more a longing for the general assembly of the Church of the First-born ones mentioned m our text. If it is pleasurable to assemble with one or two thousand of the Lord's true children, how much more will be our joy when under the new conditions there shall be a general assembly which will include all of the faithful in Christ Jesus, and the Master himself and the apostles. What a gala time that will be! The Apostle assures us that at the same time there will be an innumerable host of angels. Ah, yes! Elsewhere we read [NS388] of the interest of the angels in the affairs of the Lord's plan, that they desire to look into the divine revelation respecting man's salvation. With an unselfish love they witnessed the dear Redeemer's voluntary humiliation when he took a bondsman's form and was found in fashion as a man.

They wondered at his humility, and so surely as they possessed the same spirit they must have loved him the more because of his faithfulness even unto death, even the death of the cross. With growing interest they watched the development of the divine plan, under which on the third day he was raised from the dead, no longer man but a spirit being, the express image of the Father's person, highly exalted far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named – next to the Father and partaker of the divine nature.

And if interested in the beginning of the divine plan, in Jesus, we may be sure that they are still interested in the part assigned to the Lord's followers, called out from the world to lift up the banner of Jesus as the standard of the people, to walk in the Master's footsteps, to be misunderstood, to be slandered, defamed, to endure hardness as good soldiers of the Lord Jesus, and by these various experiences to be so shaped and polished as the Lord's jewels as to be fit ultimately for the glorious setting which the Lord has prepared for his faithful – with Jesus in his Kingdom, glory, honor and immortality. No wonder, then, that the Apostle tells us that at the general assembly or general convention of the Church of Christ there will be present an innumerable company of angels. One translator renders this passage "myriads of messengers in high festival."

When we remember the Apostle's declaration that the angels are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, we can well understand that when the elect Church of this Gospel age shall have been completed and gathered in general assembly beyond the vail, these ministering spirits, who have had so much to do with the pilgrimage of the little flock, will indeed exult with them in the blessings then attained to. Is it any wonder that all of the Lord's faithful people look forward to that day of general convention with the longing unspeakable?

It will mean the end of the journey at the Father's house. It will mean the entrance into the place prepared for the elect of God, the Bride, the Lamb's wife – his faithful little flock who, during the present ages have followed the Great Shepherd through evil report and through good report, as deceivers and yet true, as poor yet making many rich, as having little that the world esteems valuable yet possessing all things, in that all things are ours, for we are Christ's and Christ is God's. [1 Cor. 3:23]


Our word Church, sometimes used in referring to a denomination and sometimes in referring to a meeting place, gives to the average reader a very imperfect conception of the significance of the Greek word Ecclesia which it translates. The word ecclesia signifies – "the called-out assembly."

As it is applied only to believers in the Lord Jesus, it signifies those believers in Christ called out of the world – separated from the world, its spirit, its aims, its ambition, etc. It is for each of us to apply this called-out feature as carefully as his knowledge and judgment will permit, to look well to his own heart and life, to see to what extent he has obeyed the call and become separated from the world. Ye are not of the world even as I am not of the world. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own, but now because ye are not of the world (because ye are the called-out ones and have obeyed the call) therefore the world hateth you (does not fellowship with you), are the Lord's words. John 15:19

We look about us in the world to inquire where is this ecclesia of which the apostles spoke and wrote – where is it now? The Scriptures answer us that the Adversary sowed tare seed amongst the wheat, which almost choked it, swamped it. And thus we see that nominal Christendom of our day is not so much a wheat field as a tare field, and the majority – the tares – are themselves deceived, and think of the heads of wheat in their midst as freaks, oddities, a "peculiar people," [Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:9] because they have not the spirit of the world, the spirit of the tares – because they have the spirit of Christ, the spirit of sacrifice and self-denial, the spirit of service for God and all the interests of his cause; because while not free from selfishness they are not controlled by it, but by the contrary spirit of love. Looking around over this wheat field, which is really a tare field, we find according to census reports 400,000,000, including nearly all the great, the noble, the wise, the learned, the rich. That there is a mistake in calling this great mass Christendom (Christ's Kingdom) is evident from the Lord's own testimony that his called-out ones are a little flock. He said, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

Moreover he admonishes us that not many great, not many wise, not many noble, not many learned, not many rich hath God chosen, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, to be the heirs of the Kingdom. (1 Cor. 1:26, 27; Jas. 2:5)

With this Scriptural description of the Lord's called-out ones we need make no mistake – the Lord knoweth them that are his, even though they be but a small minority and very insignificant in the world's affairs. Their time for glory, honor and immortality is [NS389] not now, but will come with the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven, for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come," at the second advent of Jesus, their Lord, who will exalt them, glorify them, make them his Bride and joint-heirs.


The tare class, which bears the name of Christ, is much more numerous, great, influential, rich and learned than the wheat class, and has had a general control for some time, and has divided the wheat fields with various creed-fences, naming one department Presbyterian, another United Presbyterian, another Roman Catholic, another Lutheran, another Episcopalian, another Reformed Presbyterian, another Methodist, another Baptist, etc., etc. These divisions are possible because of the minority of the true wheat – because of the majority of the tare element, the carnal element.

There was a disposition in the same direction in the days of the Apostles, and they called attention to it, saying, Why saith ye I am of Paul, another I am of Apollos, another I am of Peter, are ye not carnal? Is Christ divided? Did Paul or Peter die for you? or is there any reason which would lead you to ignore the name of Christ and to take another name? 1 Cor. 1:12, 13

Thus did the Apostle head off this spirit of denominationalism in his day. Roman Catholicism took still another way of hindering divisions, and during her reign persecuted everything tending toward schism, division. This however, so far from producing the real unity of the Church, was merely a unity of the tares – a destroying of the true wheat and in opposition to the spirit of the liberty wherewith Christ makes free all who are his. So soon as the Reformation woke up the people, the desire for the truth led to the formation of various sects and parties, each one striving for more truth, and more truth than the other would permit.

This seeking for truth and willingness to separate from error has continued for four centuries, but is now giving way to a spirit of federation, a desire for outward union – a relinquishment of truths which led to present divisions. Thus seen the present movement toward union or federation is in many respects a bad omen – of carelessness, indifference, as respects the truth, those who desire to make a fair show in the world – a drive for power, ecclesiastical and political, which can be secured through union and not otherwise.


While holding that the Church and Christ are one, that it should never have been divided, that divisions are evidences of error, carnality, we will surprise some, perhaps, when we declare that the coming federation of Protestant denominations is a step backward instead of a step forward. As the Reformation movement was a step forward in the right direction – the direction of seeking for and finding the truth and following Christianity, so surely the present movement in an opposite direction is another terrible omen.

It means an abuse of the truth and carelessness as to what is and what is not truth – a ceasing to go forward in the quest of truth. The proper course, The Scriptural course, lies in the opposite direction from federation. As the Lord called out his people during the Reformation period, as the truth kept calling the truth-hungry step by step, nearer and nearer to the light and to the Word, so these processes should go on until all denominationalism would be broken up – until each individual would stand committed to a faith of his own, called out of all sectarian bondage to stand related to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith and obedience and the spirit of adoption, and through him related to all true Christians.

Do I make myself clear? Let me state it again: Each individual Christian should step out of all denominational bondage and be rid of all credal fences; should recognize his allegiance to the Lord Jesus and him alone; should hearken to the Word of God through Jesus, the apostles and the prophets, and should give heed to other teachers only in proportion as they would call attention to and prove their suggestions by the inspired Word. All such Christians, united to the Lord by an intelligent faith and by a covenant of sacrifice, should be a member in the body of Christ – one of the called out ones.

And these, having the Lord's Spirit and the direction of his Word, would be glad to meet with each other, to fellowship each other, to build one another up in the most holy faith and in the fruits and graces of the Spirit. These would speedily find themselves isolated from the world and from the tares by reason of their faithfulness to the Lord and to his Word, by their adherence to the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, and by their ignoring of the bondage of human creeds and sects.


There is such a movement in the world. The truths of the Scriptures which we are presenting orally and through the printed page, are having this very effect: they are inducing individual liberty amongst Christian people, which enables them to rise above all sectarian limitations and bondage to a clearer knowledge of God and of his Word, and to a fuller degree of separation from the world, its spirit, its methods. These are coming to know the meaning of our Lord's words, "If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed," and will appreciate the Apostle's words, "Stand fast therefore [NS390] in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, and be not again entangled in the yoke of bondage." (Gal. 5:1)

As these attain a clearer knowledge of the divine plan, and sacrifice their standing with sectarianism and popularity, with the tares and immature wheat in bondage with them, they find a closer fellowship with the Lord and with all who have his Spirit and are being guided by his Word.

These are growing in numbers in all parts of "Christendom," and each one who attains to this liberty himself realizes it to be his special privilege as a brother and an ambassador for Christ to seek others of the true wheat class and to lead them also into this true liberty, true union. For be it known that as each individual reaches a point of individual liberty in Christ through a knowledge of the truth he becomes joined to others who have the same Spirit of the Master – joined not by creeds nor laws nor regulations of men, but by the Spirit of the Lord, as the apostle suggests, "We are members in particular of the body of Christ," to such an extent that if one member suffer all the members suffer with it, if one be honored, all rejoice.

The poet has well expressed the same correct thought respecting the heart-unity of these who are individually free from all human yokes of denominational bondage, saying, "Blest be the tie that binds, Our hearts in Christian love. The fellowship of kindred minds, Is like to that above."

While therefore the federated work will still progress, as the Scriptures clearly indicate, gathering more and more tightly into their bundles tares of various denominations, the Lord of the harvest is seeing to it that all of the true wheat is being otherwise gathered, separated from these bundles, separated from these tares – in spirit, not necessarily in person. Respecting this harvest work now in progress the Master advises, "Gather together my saints unto me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice."

"They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I come to make up my jewels." (Psa. 50:5; Mal. 3:17)

We rejoice, therefore, dearly beloved brethren, in all the polishing experiences that come to us as the Lord's jewels, and hope soon to be gathered to him and to all the faithful beyond the vail in the glories of his kingdom. But meantime, while we are on this side of the vail, it is our privilege to be laborers, co-laborers with Christ, to seek out the true wheat and to assist them to the truth, which will ripen them and gather them to the Lord as separate and distinct from human institutions.


The part of our text which reads the "Church of the First-born," according to the Greek text, would be more properly translated, "The called-out assembly of the first-born ones."

We have seen what is signified by the expression called-out assembly, that it ignores all sects and parties and includes all true Christians who have left the world behind and are traveling the pilgrim path toward the heavenly Kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him. We have seen, too, that the Apostle is calling attention to the general assembly of all such in the future, in the Kingdom, that any little group of the Lord's true people is an ecclesia or assembly of the called-out ones, but that the general assembly in the end of this age beyond the vail will include every member of the elect Church from Christ the Head down to the smallest member, the least in the Kingdom, the elect number being then complete. Now we wish to inquire what is signified by these words, "first-born ones."

The answer is that from the Lord's standpoint the elect Church of this Gospel age is by no means all that are to be saved, but they do constitute an assembly of the first-born ones. The same thought is brought to our attention by the Apostle James (1:18), where he remarks that we are begotten by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first-fruits unto God of his creatures. The Apostle Paul also speaks of "Christ the first-fruits," referring not to our Lord Jesus, the Head of the Church, only, but to all the members of his body, all of whom by the grace of God through Christ are members of this first-fruits class, this first-born class. This thought is in accord with all the other teachings of Scripture to the effect that through this glorified Church through the Kingdom of God, all the families of the earth will be blessed with an opportunity to be born again to be regenerated. Adam attempted to generate a race, and to a certain extent succeeded, but he bestowed only transitory existence because he had incurred the divine sentence of death, "Dying thou shalt die." [Gen. 2:17]

Our Lord Jesus by the grace of God purchased Adam and all his race with the sacrifice of himself, paying the death penalty on our behalf. In the divine plan we who are now favored with a knowledge of God's grace have an opportunity of coming to life through Jesus – yea, to a life more abundant – to glory, honor, immortality, association with him in the Kingdom. But the divine plan does not cease with this development of the first-born, but during the Millennial age will progress, extending to all the families of the earth. Christ, Head and body, is the great Life-giver, through whom all who will may be begotten again, may be regenerated may return to their former estate, to the full perfection of human nature, in the image and likeness of God, and to the full possession of the earth, which will then be constituted the Paradise of God – all of which privileges and blessings and opportunities were [NS391] bought with the blood of Christ. [1 Pet. 1:18, 19]

The Lord, the apostles, the faithful all the way down, have had their names cast out as evil by the nominally righteous people of their time. The Prophet referring to this matter says, "Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out, said, 'The Lord be glorified;' but he shall appear to your joy and they shall be ashamed." (Isa. 66:5)

It is fortunate for the Lord's true people that the divine arrangement recognizes not the earthly rosters of honor amongst men, but that God keeps a special roll of his own, on which the names of his faithful are recorded. Oh that all who are truly the Lord's might speedily discern that nothing in the Word of God either suggests or hints the writing of their names on earthly sectarian Church rolls, and that to have them there written counts nothing to their advantage but frequently much to their disadvantage, for to be highly esteemed amongst men makes it all the more difficult to be faithful to God – to have a high station in the lists of some denomination will make it all the more a difficult trial or test to those who now must hear the voice of the Lord, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen; Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues (punishments)." Rev. 18:2,4

Not all who say, Lord, Lord, have their names written in heaven as members of the Lord's first-born, but only those who after repentance, renunciation of sin and the acceptance of Christ as their Redeemer make a full consecration of themselves to the Lord, to know and to do his will – to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. True, it is not sufficient that we have our names thus written, it is necessary that we should abide in the Lord's love by obedience to our vows of consecration. If we draw back our names will be blotted out of that heavenly record. But we have the assurance that if we go on faithfully to the extent of our ability and trustingly hold on to the Lord Jesus we shall be granted an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom.

Our Lord's assurance to such is that he will not blot out his name in the book of life. Beloved in the Lord, seeing how clearly the divine Word outlines this matter of the Church of the firstborn and their relationship to the Lord and to each other, let us strive more and more to attain to this glorious condition, counting it all joy if it shall cause something of self-denial, if it cause us to be misunderstood by brethren of the wheat class or by neighbors and friends of the tare class. Faithful is he who has called us, he also will do exceedingly and abundantly more than we could ask or think.

He requires that we shall be tested, that we may prove our loyalty to him under all conditions, and that thus we may be fitted and prepared for the great work of his Millennial Kingdom, that we may be prepared to be his agents and assistants and co-laborers in the great uplift of the world which will then be inaugurated, an uplift which will be eternal to all who will accept it, only the wilful evil doers being condemned to the Second Death. Having such confidence let us go on our way rejoicing, meantime thinking of and by faith enjoying that general assembly of the first-born ones whose names are written in heaven.

August 12, 1906
Republished from The National Labor Tribune, August 15, 1918


CHATHAM, Ont., August 12, 1906 – Pastor Russell of Allegheny, Pa., spoke twice here today to large audiences. In the afternoon his topic was "The Bible Defended – Eternal Torture Unscriptural."

The evening discourse, which we report, was on the Three Salvations provided in Christ, from the text, "I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation." Jude 3

Common sense views are much nearer to the Scriptural presentations than people generally realize. The smoke and fog and superstition of the "dark ages," as a veil, cover the minds of the people when they approach the Bible, so that they may fail to grasp the breadth and beauty of its teachings. So long have civilized peoples been under the spell of false doctrines that the very sight of a Bible arouses the errors which they imbibed in childhood – to the effect that when the saints shall all have been glorified in the kingdom all the remainder of mankind will be relegated to eternal torment.

No wonder so many of the intelligent people of the world repudiate such teachings; no wonder that the masses, bound by superstition, fear and dread the Book, and no wonder that even the saintly class handle God's Word with reverence rather than appreciation and love. As a consequence, many of the more intelligent minds are infidel, and those who reverence the Scriptures do so of constraint and not in that spirit of love for the Father which would bring to them the largest [NS392] advantage from the time spent studying its lessons. Let us note how common sense is in better agreement with the Bible than are the various creeds of Christendom. We do not admit that common sense is sufficient to give us a knowledge of the divine arrangements for the future of mankind. But neither can we admit that the creeds of the dark ages are sufficient authority. If we were obliged to choose as between a common sense view of our day and the creeds handed down to us, we would choose the former – every reasonable person would do so if freed from fear and superstition. But holding that neither the common sense views of our day nor the erroneous views of the "dark ages" are authorities on the subject of man's future, we hold that the Bible as God's revelation is the only authority on this subject. And this being true it behooves us to give special care, as the Apostle suggests, to the "faith once delivered to the saints." [Jude 3]

Having convinced ourselves that the Bible is a divine revelation, the proper course is to trust it implicity and not to be turned aside either by the highest critical views of our day nor by the monstrous views of the past. Let God be true, though it make every man a liar. Rom. 3:4


With the understanding, then, that we are not referring to common sense as proof – with the understanding that we will refer to the Bible as proof, we now contrast common sense with the nonsense of the past. Common sense recognizes what the Scriptures plainly teach, that all men are imperfect physically, mentally and morally, and that while "to will is present with us," to perform all that we will we sometimes find impossible. [Rom. 7:18]

Common sense agrees with the Scriptures again that it would not be reasonable to judge all men by their actual obedience to one general standard, some being weaker and some stronger, some more and some less able to recognize right from wrong and to obey the right. Common sense would agree with the Scriptures again in declaring that there might reasonably be a varying in the degrees of reward granted to those who at heart prove loyal to the divine arrangements and who would strive to be obedient thereto.

Common sense would further agree with the Scriptures that the responsibility of each individual is in proportion to his knowledge of the truth, in proportion as the eyes of his understanding are opened, so that he discerns with clearness and distinctness the right and the wrong paths. Common sense would again agree with the Scriptures that ignorance would be no ground upon which to grant a reward of life eternal, neither would it be a ground on which to impose the sentence of eternal death. Common sense would again agree with the Scriptures that in order that all mankind may have a trial, a testing as respects their loyalty of heart to the Lord, all must be brought to acknowledge the truth, that they may be saved from their sins and the penalty of those sins. Common sense agrees with the Scriptures that it would never do to usher into heaven those who at heart and in all their experiences are utterly opposed to the divine arrangement and in harmony with sin.

Common sense again agrees that very few of mankind, even at heart, are in accord with the Almighty and his laws of justice and love. Common sense thus agrees with the Bible that at the time death comes upon the majority of the race they are not fitted for heaven. And common sense again agrees with the Bible that the great mass of mankind thus unfitted for heaven could not justly be tormented to all eternity for their alienation from God, which, in part at least, was due to their having been born in sin and shapen in iniquity when in sin their mothers conceived them. (Psa. 51:5)

Common sense, then, in harmony with the Scriptures, would expect that the masses of mankind unfit for heaven would not be utterly destroyed in the Second Death, but that in God's providence the time would come somewhere when they would be brought to a knowledge of right and wrong and supplied with the necessary help to rise out of the present conditions of sin and death.


Let us now look into the Scriptures: we find them clearly teaching as in our text a "common salvation – a general salvation, and also a special salvation. The common salvation, which in God's providence is for the race as a whole, is frequently referred to in the Scriptures, as, for instance, when we read that God so loved the world that while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly; and again when we read that Jesus in his sacrifice was a propitiation, a satisfaction, for our sins (the Church's sins), and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world; and again, we read that Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man; and again that as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive. (Rom. 5:6; 1 Jno. 2:2; Heb. 2:9; 1 Cor. 15:22)

This common salvation – this general salvation – is he work of God, and will ultimately be accomplished. Of it as a whole the Apostle says, "There is one God and one Mediator between God and man (not between God and the Church, but between God and man, the world), the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all (not merely for the Church), to be testified in due time (not merely during this Gospel age, when some hear the testimony, but ultimately to be testified to all, the due time for some to hear being the coming age, the Millennial age)." 1 Tim. 2:4-6. [NS393] Having determined upon this general, this common salvation of Adam and his race, God laid the foundation for it in the death of Christ, who redeemed the whole world, bought the whole world with his own precious blood, with the sacrifice of himself as the ransom, the substitute for Adam – thus redeeming Adam and all who were in his loins when he sinned – the entire race. But God has not been in haste to put the common salvation into effect. Over 4000 years elapsed from the time Adam sinned and was condemned to death before God sent his Son – to redeem the world, nearly 2000 years have elapsed since, and yet the world in general knows nothing of this common salvation, this general salvation, which God has purposed and is preparing for. "A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday" is the prophetic word, and the Apostle adds, "A day with the Lord is as a thousand years." (Psa. 90:4; 2 Pet. 3:8)

From man's standpoint of brevity of life the six thousand years which have elapsed since sin entered the world seem a long time, but from God's standpoint it is different. Nor have these six thousand years or six great days been wasted. They have served various purposes: for instance,

(1) In this time a race has been begotten just about sufficient to populate the whole earth;

(2) During this six thousand years man has been learning to exercise his will, and the competition of selfishness has served to develop his mind and additionally he is experiencing the evils of selfishness and that the wages of sin is death. As the Apostle explains it, all mankind is having a lesson on the "exceeding sinfulness of sin." [Rom. 7:13]

(3) A grand object lesson is being given to all the heavenly hosts of what sin is, of what its downward tendencies are, and of what its sure end is – destruction; and in addition to this lesson on divine reparation and justice they are learning of the love of God, which has provided in Christ a salvation for the entire race of Adam – so many of them as will avail themselves of it when the opportunity shall have been granted them.


While the common salvation of the race delays and thus furnishes good opportunities for the learning of great lessons, God has not been idle, but, as the Scriptures point out to us, he calls from amongst the redeemed race a special class – an elect class. The Lord Jesus himself, the Redeemer, is the Captain, the Forerunner, the Leader of this elect class of called-out ones, all of whom pledge themselves to walk in his steps to the best of their ability – in justice and in love doing good unto all men as they have opportunity, especially to the household of faith. (Gal. 6:10)

The Apostle tells us that these were called according to a purpose. (2 Tim. 1:9)

It does not surprise us to note that a God of wisdom has a great and wonderful plan, and that his purposes may permit him to use and to bless various classes of his creatures. But, we inquire, for what purpose were these called? and the Scriptures answer us that he called us according to his purpose that in the ages to come we might show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (Eph. 2:7; 1 Pet. 2:9)

This shows us that the purpose of our call does not end with our own salvation in this age, but that God's purpose in connection with our calling and election reaches into the future. Other Scriptures show us that in the coming age this elect class of the present time will be associated with their Lord and Redeemer, and they are figuratively called the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, because they are specially beloved and will be specially honored in their association with him and in their co-operation with him in his work of the coming age. What will be the work of Christ and the Church in the coming age? The Scriptures assures us that it will be a work of judging the world. Hark to the Apostle, "God hath appointed a day (an epoch, a period – the Day of Christ, the Millennial day) in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained." (Acts 17:31)

Hearken to the Apostle again, speaking of the Church, and how she, glorified as the Bride of Christ, will be his associate in this work of judging the world: he says, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" 1 Cor. 6:2


This coming day of the world's judgment is referred to frequently throughout the Scriptures and uniformly in terms of joy, as signifying a great blessing. Notice, for instance, the language of the Prophet David: "He shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord; for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with his truth." Psa. 96:10-13

The Church is on judgment now – on trial. Do not the Lord's people rejoice that through the knowledge of Christ they are now having a trial for life everlasting? All mankind were judged once in Adam, and all were condemned as unworthy of eternal life under the sentence, "Dying thou shalt die."

The execution of this sentence of death has brought the mental, moral and physical troubles which today constitute mankind a "groaning creation," as the Apostle explains. (Rom. 8:22)

In God's providence, as [NS394] we have seen, the entire race of Adam has been redeemed from the death sentence which is still on it – the price has been paid, but mankind has not yet been delivered either actually or reckonedly. The Church has been delivered reckonedly from the death sentence; as the Apostle explains, we who believe are reckoned as having passed from death unto life, from condemnation under sin to justification of life in Christ. We who have thus passed are on trial now, because, as the Apostle again declares, "Judgment begins at the house of God." 1 Pet. 4:17

As soon as this judgment or trial of the Church, the called-out ones, shall have been completed, then the world's trial will be due as the next thing in order. Then the judgment of the world will begin. As the judgment of the Church did not mean the condemnation of the Church, neither does the judgment of the world signify the condemnation of the world. The whole world has been under damnation or condemnation from God for 6000 years, and now shortly, in the opening of the seventh thousand or the great jubilee Sabbath, the sins of the whole world are to be remitted just as during this Gospel age the sins of believers have been remitted.

Do the Scriptures teach that those who accept Christ in sincerity are forgiven all their past sins? Assuredly they do, as all Christians agree. On what score, on what condition? Because turning away their hearts from sin, they accept of Christ as their Redeemer. So it will be with the world when they turn away from sin and accept of Christ as their Redeemer; they also will be forgiven as freely as we who now believe have been forgiven. We who believe now have already enjoyed special favor in that the ears and eyes of our understanding were graciously opened by the Lord, whereas the world, as we are told, is blind and deaf at the present time. We should indeed rejoice that in God's due time all the blind eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears unstopped, so that the knowledge of the Lord shall then fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep. Isa. 11:9


Look again at God's treatment of believers specially called, separated from the world during this Gospel age. Note that while their condemnation is lifted, the blemishes mental, moral and physical are not miraculously and instantly removed. Through a lifetime we struggle with the weaknesses of the flesh, some of which we inherited and some of which perhaps we aggravated before coming to a knowledge of the Lord, before hearing his call.

Our obliquities, physical, mental and moral – marks of our wrong doing and inheritance – continue with us to be battled against. As New Creatures we are polished and shaped while we are striving to war a good warfare against the downward tendencies which we inherited. We are glad that the Lord judges us not according to the flesh, but according to the mind, the spirit, the will, the intention. Similarly he will judge the world during the Millennial age, forgiving the obliquity of the past.

They will be obliged to contend with their mental, moral and physical infirmities and blemishes. The Lord and the saints, the glorified Church with him, will during the world's day of judgment, during the Millennial age, judge the world in righteousness and with mercy, not punishing them for past sins, but allowing the degradations and weakness which those sins brought upon them to be their punishment. Could all see this point, viz., that every transgression of conscience indelibly marks character and degrades it, and that in proportion as each person thus degrades himself his station in the future life will be that much lower and his difficulties and obstacles in his day of judgment in the future life will be that much harder to overcome – could all realize this it would lead the world in general to a much more careful use of time, opportunities and talents for their mental, moral and physical development and surely not for their impairment and degradation.

The wrong thought, inconsistent, unreasonable, has had a bad effect upon mankind. The wrong thought, as taught by Protestants has been that all sinners share alike an eternity of torture. Fortunately the majority of Christendom do not take this seriously, otherwise, no doubt, there would be many more in the insane asylum than are there now, or there might be more who would take the course of one man who said to me, "I knew that I was a sinner; I believed that God had a great place called hell, where he intended to torture myself and multitudes of others; I believed that I was going there, and determined that I would merit all that I would get. The result was that I was a very bad man – I did everything that was evil. Now that I see God's Word and plan in the true light I am ashamed of myself, have turned over a new leaf, and have consecrated my heart and every talent I possess to his service."


The salvation which the Scriptures declare God has provided for mankind in general is restitution – restoration to all that was lost – to the full perfection of human nature as Adam possessed it when God created him in his own image and likeness, which image and likeness were lost through the fall. As mankind has been in this condition, falling for 6000 years, the divine provision is that in the seventh thousand he may be uplifted and restored, brought [NS395] back – gradually, during the thousand years – to all that was lost. This salvation of the world through knowledge, through the judgments of the Lord's Kingdom, through the assistance that then will be given to every man – rewarding those who strive against their own weaknesses and punishing with stripes every transgression against the diving law – this progress of judgment will gradually bring the world during the thousand years, the Millennium, up out of this sinful and fallen condition to full perfection.

This will be the world's resurrections and will require a thousand years for its accomplishment – to fully raise them out of the sin-and-death conditions into which they have fallen. We might reason that if the delusions and misunderstandings of the present time were upon mankind, the results of the Millennial age would be doubtful. But the Lord distinctly tells us that during that Millennial Kingdom Satan shall be bound for a thousand years and shall deceive the nations no more. With Satan bound, and all the influences making for righteousness let loose, how great will be the mental, moral and physical uplift of that thousand-year reign of Christ and his Bride – judging the world in righteousness, helping them out of their difficulties and trials by a system of rewards and punishments, that they may learn the way of the Lord perfectly. Meantime, too, the earth itself is to be brought to perfection, so that at the end of the Millennial age it will indeed be Paradise restored, and the restored race will be granted the full dominion of the earthly paradise as Adam had it originally, with the advantage that their fall into sin and their recovery by the grace of God in Christ will have worked out in them lessons of experience that will be profitable to them. What about those who resist and love sin rather than righteousness?

The Scriptures distinctly tell us respecting this class, without saying whether it will be a small or numerous one, that the punishment, the penalty of their course – will be the Second Death – utter destruction.


This common salvation, which will operate toward the world along the lines of restitution, the Apostle tells us will come to them at the second coming of Christ. Hearken to his words. "Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he will send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heavens must retain until the times of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:19-21

We see, then, that the time of the world's blessing, the world's salvation by restitution, comes after the salvation of the Church, because the special teaching of the Scripture is that our Lord at his second coming will gather his saints unto him as his jewels, and that then this jewel class, called also the espoused virgins of the Lord, will become eternally united to him in his power and great glory as the "Bride," the "Lamb's wife." [Rev. 21:9]

Thus it may be distinctly seen that from the standpoint of Scripture the salvation of the Church, which belongs to this age, is wholly distinct and apart from the salvation of the Lord, which belongs to the next age, except that the one sacrifice given at Calvary is the basis not only for our salvation but also for the world's salvation – "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man." Heb. 2:9


Those called out of the world during this Gospel age are promised a "heavenly calling."

They are promised a change from earthly to spiritual nature – they shall be like Christ, see him as he is and share his glory – "far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named." (1 Jno. 3:2; Eph. 1:21)

These alone are to go to heaven – be changed to heavenly or spiritual nature. For the world in general we have seen that God's Kingdom or rule shall come down to earth, come down to their conditions, so that earth after the restitution work of the Millennial age will be a paradise of God though it will still be earthly, not in the sense of spiritual. It will, however, be spiritual in the sense that it will be in accord with the Father of spirits and with all the spiritual realm of the universe. The Church, those called out and approved during this Gospel age, are promised a share in the First Resurrection, in which none shall have part except the "blessed and holy," – "Blessed and holy are they who have part in the First Resurrection; on such the Second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Rev. 20:6)

It is to this high, heavenly calling that the Lord has invited the faithful ones, and we praise his name for the hearing ear and the discerning eye of faith whereby we may behold things which are invisible as yet, the glory, honor and immortality which God has in reservation for them that love him – supremely. Amongst these called-out ones the Scriptures show us two classes. One a "great company," the other a "little flock."

Both classes will be spiritual, both will be overcomers of the world, both will enter into the Lord's favor. And yet there will be a great difference in the glory and station of these two classes: the glory, the victory of the"great company" is represented by the palm branches; the glory, the victory of the "little flock" is represented by the crown. The honor and [NS396] dignity of the "great company" will be to serve God in his Temple and before the throne; the honor and dignity of the little flock" will be to sit with Christ in his throne, and to constitute the Temple of the living God, from which will flow the river of the water of life pictured in Revelation 22, to which water of life during the Millennial age the Spirit and the glorified Bride will say Come, to all the families of the earth, and whoever will desire to come will be permitted to take of the water of life freely and to attain life eternal. As we look about us amongst the Lord's consecrated ones we may to some extent discern the two classes, and yet it is not for us to determine either for ourselves or others whether we shall be amongst the overcomers, the "great company," or amongst the "more than conquerors," the 'little flock."

It is for us, however, to realize two things: First, that the very humblest position in the service of our Lord in glory will be more than we have deserved and such as we may heartily rejoice in; and secondly, that since the Lord has specially invited us to be of the "little flock," and since obedience to the reasonable requirements will give us a place therein, loving loyalty to him urges us to lay aside every weight and every besetting sin and to run with patience the race set before us; looking unto Jesus, the Author of our faith, until he shall become the finisher of it. (Heb. 12:2)

Let us therefore, dearly beloved, strive to be overcomers in the highest sense, that we may have more of the Lord's favor, not only in the present time but also in the age to come, that we may not only be closer to him then but now, for it is those who suffer with him who have the promise that they shall reign with him.

The National Labor Tribune, August 19, 1906


St. Paul, Minn., August 19, Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny is one of the speakers at the Bible Student's Convention, held here this entire week and has a large attendance from all over the United States and Canada with four from Scotland. Pastor Russell discoursed this morning from Psa. 25:14: "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear (reverence) him, and he will show them his Covenant."

He considered first the proper and improper kinds of fear, and then delved into the "secret."

He said: The emphasis of our text is upon the word "him: ""The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him."

Many other Scriptures agree with this, and assure us that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Prov. 1:7)

Other fears, however, are discountenanced amongst the Lord's people, who are exhorted to be of good courage and to fear not the fear of others, but to let the fear of the Lord be their only one. (Isa. 8:12, 13)

The Scriptures not only declare that all other fears are tormenting but assure us that the fear or reverence of the Lord is comforting and helpful and safe for us. And to these testimonies our experiences fully agree. We are repeatedly cautioned against the "fear of man, which bringeth a snare" (Prov. 29:25); and our Lord, emphasizing this matter, declared the reason for this to be that man could do no more at worst than take from us our present life, while on the other hand our hopes respecting eternal life are with God. (Matt. 10:26-28)

The world, by reason of sin and its blinding effects, is more or less under the control of "the prince of this world," Satan, and more or less committed to principles of unrighteousness, iniquity, in thought and word and deed. On the other hand is the divine covenant and law, and those who recognize these are to seek to think, speak and act so far as possible in accord with their spirit and intent. These, however, are the few addressed by our Savior, saying, "Fear not, little flock; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the dominion." Luke 12:32

It is this little company of the Lord's consecrated ones that is addressed in our text as those who fear him. Under present circumstances it is a question of whether we will fear the world or fear "Him."

The Lord is, in a general way, believed in by all civilized people, but he is realized by but fewer – only a few recognize his real power and authority and their responsibility to him. Consequently these few are, as respects the world in general, "peculiar people," zealous of good works – zealous both for righteousness and for all the ways of the Lord as they see them. The majority of mankind, on the contrary, recognize the Lord but vaguely, and pay little heed to the spirit of his instruction, being governed more by the god of this world, by self-interest, by the ideas of the majority, by Mammon.


Remarking on this condition of things, our Lord forewarned us: "Ye can not serve God and Mammon." (Matt. 6:24)

And since the majority are serving Mammon, fearing to displease Mammon, seeking to have the approval of Mammon and the emoluments paid by Mammon to his servants, it follows that only a few are properly fearing and serving the Lord and looking to [NS397] him for the honors and emoluments which he has promised to his faithful ones – not in the present life, but in the life to come. Mammon controls in business, leads in every social function, and manages all the finest churches and religious functions. Mammon is Confucian where Confucianism is in the ascendancy; it is Mohammedan where the followers of Mohammed are most numerous; it is Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc., according to the locality and the influence.

Mammon is too crafty, too wise, to be irreligious. It is well known that there is a religious element in human nature which must be satisfied with something, else the present order of things would collapse forthwith. Thus seen, Mammon's empire is the world – mankind in general, and from this standpoint we can readily see the force of the statement that the fear of man bringeth a snare, for the fear of man is the fear of Mammon. To go contrary to Mammon's laws in any part of the world is like rowing against a strong tide – it is very wearisome to the flesh, and the progress is so small that were it not for the encouragements that lie beyond the present life none could endure the strain. Our text tells us of the "secret" of the Lord being with those faithful ones who hearken to his Word and have respect thereto, with reverence, fearing to such an extent to displease him that they dare brave the opposition of the world. This secret is to this class the power of God working in them to will and to do his good pleasure, regardless of the sneers and disapproval of Mammon and his more or less blinded devotees.

They must resolve first to be true to the Lord, to reverence him rather than man and human institutions, and to trust to him for the strength, the courage, to follow in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus, the great Leader whom he has appointed. After they have thus manifested their loyalty of will, of purpose, of intention, and after he has to some extent tried them – not suffering them to be tempted above that they are able, but with the temptation also providing ways of escape – he gradually makes known to them his "secret," which so illumines and transforms and strengthens them, and develops in them his spirit of perfect love, that his word is fulfilled in respect to them, namely, that "perfect love casteth out fear."

Thus it is that those who have the fear of the Lord, and who are granted an understanding and appreciation of his secret, gradually lose all fear of man and become more and more courageous, strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, so that they are able to say in the words of inspiration, "I will not fear what man may do unto me."


We can not hope to explain the "secret of the Lord" to any others than the class for whom it is intended; but since there is a measure of fear of the Lord in many hearts that have a still greater fear for Mammon and the opinion of the world, we may hope to be able to make clear the Lord's "secret" just in the same proportion that each of our hearers possesses the "fear of the Lord."

Those who have a little fear of the Lord, a little of the proper reverence for him, may understand a little about this secret; but they will be hindered from understanding much respecting it by their fear of Mammon – of sectarianism – the fear of man that bringeth a snare. These ensnaring fears will be continually suggesting to them that the way of the Lord is not agreeable to the flesh, that it is not popular with the world, that it would constitute them a peculiar people, that it would hinder them from sins and follies in which they are fond of indulging, that it would break their influence with many of their friends in Churchianity, that it would make them practical nonentities in the world, because according to the worldly proverb they "might as well be out of the world as out of fashion."

Hearts thus ensnared can not hope to see, understand and appreciate the secret of the Lord in any considerable measure; but in proportion as the fear or reverence of the Lord stands out boldly beyond all fear or reverence for man or human institutions, in that same proportion it is the privilege of each of us to appreciate and enjoy the "Secret of the Lord."


The latter part of our text is not the best translation of the original. The whole text should read, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he has covenanted to show it unto them."

However, the translation makes no real difference in the matter, because the Lord's "Oathbound Covenant," which we discussed this afternoon, is really the kernel or pith of this "Secret of the Lord."

To some it may seem peculiar that the Scriptures should intimate that God has secrets, that some are privileged to understand the divine plan while others are not so privileged. Such will perh4s say, Where is the revelation of God's secrets? Surely it is not in the Bible, for if it were in the Bible it would not be a secret, since the Bible is open, accessible to all the civilized world today. We answer that the Bible is accessible to all civilized men, but it is not open to all. To the majority even of professed Christians it is a sealed book, and to none more so than to the ministry. The Scriptures themselves so portray the matter, saying, "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book [NS398] that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I can not for it is sealed. And the book is delivered to one that is not learned, saying, Read this I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore, saith the Lord, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid." Isa. 29:11-14

Our Lord spoke in the same strain at his first advent, saying respecting the humble ones whom he chose for his apostles, "I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent (scribes, Pharisees, Doctors of the Law) and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for thus it seemed good in thy sight." (Matt. 11:25, 26)

At the first advent the Pharisees were too self-satisfied, pleased with their own theories, proud of their attainments, and boastful of their progress and of the divine favors enjoyed; the scribes were too learned to be associated with such as constituted the Lord's companions, and, besides, they were becoming more and more filled with the "higher criticism" views of the Greek philosophers; the Doctors of the Law were too proud and too pretentious. All of these were hindered from becoming the Lord's disciples and learning from him the "Secret of the Lord," because they were all under the influence of Mammon – the great institution of their time which would condemn and ostracize all who would not support it. In an earthly way they had everything to lose and nothing to gain by becoming followers of the lowly one.

On the contrary, those who did come to Jesus and become his disciples had very generally less to lose of an earthly kind, and hence were the more attracted by the future prospects which our Lord held out to them. From the worldly standpoint they were foolish babes to place so much reliance upon things unseen as yet and to measurably ignore the prospects and opportunities held out to them by Mammon in the present life.


That which is spoken of in our text as "the Secret of the Lord" is in the New Testament called the "mystery of God."

The thought is the same, namely, that God – while revealing his plan through the Law and the prophets in the Old Testament, and through the words of our Lord and the apostles in the New Testament – has so expressed the matter that it can be understood only by those who come properly into accord with the Lord – that fear him. The worldly man in reading the Scriptures fails to understand his secret, and only those that fear and reverence him to the extent of making a full consecration of their all to him can comprehend it. The Apostle clearly sets this forth in his letter to the Corinthians, saying, "Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.., but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our honor, which none of the rulers of this world knoweth

As it is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit." 1 Cor. 2:5-15 St. Paul, speaking of this mystery or secret of the Lord, intended for his people, but not for the world nor for the merely nominal Christian, declares, "I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the Word of God; even the mystery which hath been hidden from ages and generations, but now is made manifest to his saints." (Col 1:25-29)

Speaking of the Church in the same strain, he continues, "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love and in all riches and full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, even Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden." (Col 2:2, 3)

Continuing along the same lines, he exhorts, "Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ." (Col 4:3)

In his epistle to the Ephesians the Apostle also speaks of this mystery, saying, that God's grace in Christ "that abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure which he had purposed in himself; that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ."

Again in the same epistle he writes of God's favor to himself, "That by revelation he made known unto me the mystery in which other ages was not made known to the sons of men as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.., to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God." Eph. 1:9, 10; 3:5, 9


St. John the Revelator, speaking as the mouthpiece of the glorified Lord, tells us of this mystery also (Rev. 10:7), saying, "In the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God shall be finished, as he hath declared to his servants [NS399] the prophets."

Thus we see that the mystery has been in operation from the beginning of the world and is still a mystery so far as the world is concerned, and will continue to be a mystery until the end of the present dispensation and the opening of the Millennial age, the only exception being the revelation of the mystery granted to the saints – to those who are fully consecrated to the Lord, the class mentioned in our text, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; he has covenanted to show it unto them."


It was for this reason that our Lord spake in parables and in dark sayings that are not yet understood by the world, neither appreciated by any except the few, his "little flock," the consecrated. Thus it is written, "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitudes in parables, and without a parable spake he not unto them; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." (Matt. 13:34, 35)

The apostles came unto Jesus privately saying, Lord, declare unto us this parable; and Jesus said unto them, "To you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (outsiders ensnared by the fear of men) all these things are done in parables: that seeing they might see and not perceive, and hearing they might hear and not understand." Mark 4:11, 12

Now, dear friends, we will do our best to make plain this secret, this Mystery, hidden from ages and dispensations; remembering, however, that only in proportion as the fear of God predominates over the fear of man: only in proportion as perfect love casts out the fear of man and makes us truly freemen in Christ Jesus – only in that proportion can we hope that our message on this subject will be understood and appreciated. From our Lord's words, and from the Apostle Paul's words already quoted, the mystery is uncovered to those who have the eyes of their understanding opened and the ears of their hearts unstopped.

It is the message of the coming Kingdom, – the message of the "Oath-bound Covenant" discussed this afternoon. This message explains all the difficulties and perplexities which have hitherto confused us. It shows how sin entered into the world through Adam's disobedience, how death has been the penalty of that sin, resting upon the whole race of Adam, degrading us mentally, morally and physically to the tomb. It tells us of God's love for us while we were yet sinners, which led to his sending of his Son to be our redemption price, "that we might live through him" – that we might be recovered from death through him.

It shows us that Christ Jesus by the grace of God tasted death not merely for a few, but for every man; and that not merely a few but every man shall have a resultant blessing from that great sacrifice for sins, and a full and fair opportunity for returning in heart to the Lord and for receiving back again all that was lost through Adam's disobedience, with superadded blessings and everlasting life if obedient. It shows us that this one purpose of God to eradicate sin from the world, and to utterly destroy all who will not come into accord with his righteous arrangements has never been changed; and although the time for the accomplishment of these promises seems long to us, it is not really long from the standpoint of him with whom a "thousand years are as one day."

It shows us that in the dawning of the seventh day of the Lord, the Millennial day – at the close of man's six thousand years – these blessings are to be realized by the world through the establishing of a glorious Kingdom of God under the whole heavens, which will enforce righteousness and shower blessings upon every creature.


The unfolding of the mystery shows further that during the Jewish age God dealt with the house of Israel as a typical people, giving them a typical Law, a typical "Day of Atonement," typical sacrifices, shadowy promises; and during that period selected a few faithful souls from that nation to be his special servants in the earth during the Millennial age. These are particularly described by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, all of whom "having obtained a good report through faith, received not the (blessings) promise. "(Verse 39)

It reveals to us further the Lord's object in respect to the promulgation of the Gospel during the period since our Lord's death, namely, that the preaching of this mystery to the Lord's consecrated people who fear him has been with a view to selecting a little flock from amongst all kindreds, people and tongues, to be Christ's Bride and joint-heir in the Kingdom, to be associated with him as members of the seed of Abraham for the blessing of all the families of the earth. The Apostle's words, we recall, are very explicit on this subject; he declares, "If ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Gal. 3:29

Not only is the message itself called a mystery, but the Church class, the "little flock," now being selected from the world, is Scripturally designated "the Mystery of God," and the false systems "the Mystery of Iniquity."

"The Mystery of God" is the class associated in the divine plan, and therefore a part of that which is mysterious to the world. As the Apostle declares, "The world knoweth us not, even as it knew him not." [1 John 3:1]

The secret of the Lord is with this class. It is their [NS400] joy, their strength; it is the power of God working in them to will and do his good pleasure. The more they comprehend this mystery the more of this power of God do they possess, and progress in the mystery implies progress in obedience and reverence and service. These in turn mean progress in the graces of God, as the Apostle, explaining and speaking of our advancement as Christians, says, "I pray God for you that the eyes of your understanding being opened (gradually as we lose the fear of man and increase in our reverence for God) you may be able to comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths (of the mystery), and to know the love of God which passeth all understanding." Eph. 3:18, 19


From the foregoing it will be discerned that the Lord's saints constitute the most secret society on earth. No one can be fully inducted into this society and its mysteries except as the reverence of the Lord abounds in his heart, and as he becomes free from human bondage, sectarian bondage – free in the liberty wherewith Christ makes free indeed those who are truly his. This secret society needs not to hide its books, neither to withhold its secrets, neither to speak quietly, for while telling the good tidings of great joy to all people, the limitations are upon those who hear – for none can hear the secret of the Lord, none can understand this mystery, except in proportion as he has reverenced the Lord and his word and made a consecration of himself thereto.

I wonder how many of my audience this evening are members of this society? How many are able to comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine plan, I am sure that all such have love for the brethren in their participation in the fellowship of this mystery. I am sure that all such realize that the blessings and favors thus conferred upon us no man can take from us, and that they shall continue to be ours so long as we shall continue to have fellowship in this mystery, which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Col 1:27

I wonder further how many of you are still blinded in greater or lesser degree by the god of this world and the creeds of the dark ages which he assisted in formulating, and has since fostered, so that you are unable to appreciate what we have just been saying respecting the mystery of God. I wonder how many such are desiring to have the eyesalve of truth, which our Lord specially commended to this Laodicean stage of the Church, saying, "I counsel thee to buy of me an eye-salve to anoint thine eyes that thou mayest see." (Rev. 3:17, 18)

The eyesalve must be bought by the individual who desires to use it: it can not be bought by one for another, even as we can not have experiences one for another. The cost of this eyesalve is the spirit of self-sacrifice – the willingness to make a full consecration of ourselves to the Lord. Our Lord expresses the matter thus, saying, "He that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven, he shall know of my doctrine."

Whosoever will resolve that he will no longer fear man neither be in subjection to the creeds of the dark ages, but that he will accept the Lord as his Shepherd and be a true sheep, and listen only for the voice of his Word, and walk only in accordance to the directions of that Word, fearing God and not fearing man, he shall be blessed. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; he hath covenanted to show it unto them." [Psa. 25:14]

I trust, dear friends, that some who have heretofore felt indifferent respecting the divine plan – the mystery of God kept secret from the world intended only for them that fear him – may become so deeply interested, so desirous of cooperating with the Lord in their hearts, in their thoughts, in their words, in their actions, that they will make a full consecration of themselves to him. Just now is the moment to make this resolve, accepting the grace of God and the forgiveness of sins through faith in the blood of Jesus, and at once starting on the way to a clearer comprehension of the mystery, and ultimately to our participation in some part of the glorious work which the Lord is preparing us for.

From this standpoint we realize that the great work of God is future; and our special work in the present time is to be the Lord's witnesses before men; to endure hardness as good soldiers, to crystallize character, to learn obedience by the things which we experience, and to be squared and fitted and polished, and thus made meet for participation in the glories of the Kingdom, and for usefulness as members of it in the blessing of all the earth in the Millennial age, and for the enjoyment of our heavenly Father's favor to all eternity.

"The Lord knoweth them that are His." 2 Tim. 2:19.

"He is looking for those who humble themselves, and who are glad to have His truth at any cost, and whose hearts, long famished, hunger and thirst for the truth, and who know the Shepherd's voice, and who find in His message that which 'satisfies their longings as nothing else could do.' These will gladly accept the armament and by becoming faithful students will make it their own – will put it on. These will be kept while others will fall at their side." R4439, c.1, p.1.

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