The Evening News, January 11, 1908


Providence, R. I., Jan. 11. Pastor Russell preached here today. The text for the occasion was, "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Cor. 3:17

The Pastor declared that this Scripture could not be applied indiscriminately to all men. While the body might be described as the temple or tabernacle of the soul, and therefore worthy of care, and neglect of the body worthy of punishment, nevertheless the text is restricted to the church. Only the church is the temple of God in the sense the apostle here mentions; for only such as have been regenerated, begotten again of the holy Spirit as the sons of God. These, the pastor declared, have received a new life, and are Scripturally described as "New Creatures in Christ." [2 Cor. 5:17]

These, he claimed, have entered into a covenant with God through the merit of Jesus, who serves them as advocate, imputing His righteousness to them, justifying them freely from their unintentional imperfections and weaknesses. Because they are thus justified by faith, God has accepted their sacrifice of earthly [NS517] hopes and interests, and has made them New Creatures by begetting them with the holy Spirit. The speaker then pointed out the distinction between these spirit-begotten New Creatures and the remainder of mankind, however just and well-intentioned. He showed that ordinarily we do not speak of humanity apart from their bodies, for cut off from the body, they would be dead. We speak of such separation as dissolution. As the union of life (vitality) with organism (body) forms the soul, or sentient being, so the separation of these two components causes the soul to cease. Death would be the end of humanity, had not God provided for the redemption of the race, in its restitution by resurrection. Its restitution will be merely a bringing back of that which death is now destroying; namely, human, or earthly being. Next the Pastor showed that anything done, either deliberately or carelessly, to injure God's workmanship would be sin.

There is a Divine Law to the effect that whoever sins shall suffer. Whoever defiles his body, either by impure thoughts, angry thoughts, malicious thoughts or by misusing it contrary to Divine arrangement by drinking or by gluttony, is defiling himself, the temple of his own soul, or being – the work of God. Every vile thought or act, every pandering to appetite, is sure to bring depravity on body or mind or both; and depravity, he claimed, is the death process at work. Unless such depravity be overcome through Christ, the end will be everlasting death, in harmony with the Scripture, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." [Eze. 18:4,20]

The same Principle, said the Pastor, applies to all who would do evil to others, either by poisoning their minds or their morals, or by injuring their physical systems. Such do violence to God's work and degrade their own manhood. The operation of divine law will surely bring punishments, which unheeded would ultimately bring death – "everlasting destruction."

We may warn every man along the broad Biblical line, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap," continued the speaker. He that sows to the flesh – to sin, selfishness, meanness – to the fallen propensities – anger, malice, envy, hatred, strife, evil speaking, etc – will be sure to reap correspondingly bitter experiences. This way, persisted in, will finally bring him to the Second Death. God has no gift of eternal life or other eternal favors for those who love sin.


The Pastor then briefly reviewed Israel's experience in drawing near to God. When God entered into covenant relationship with the Israelites in the wilderness, He manifested Himself in the Most Holy of their Tabernacle. The Divine presence was indicated by the Shekinah Glory, which shone out from between the Cherubim covering the Mercy Seat. The Israelites drew near to God through his appointed servants. Aaron and his sons, who had access to God's presence. The Tabernacle was therefore the temple of God, because God was represented by His Spirit, of Power, there. But it was called the Tabernacle because it was merely a tent, in contrast with the permanent building erected by King Solomon. After the dedication of that temple, God appeared there instead of in the Tabernacle, and manifested His presence in the same manner.

Then the Pastor showed that the church is God's antitypical Temple; but as St. Peter points out, it is not yet constructed as a Temple. Each consecrated child of God, begotten of the holy Spirit, is a living stone in preparation for a place in the glorious Temple of God, soon to be constructed. These living stones are God's workmanship. He works in them by the Spirit of Truth; and by His providences He shapes them, polishes them, develops their characters, and makes them ready for the coming building. Nevertheless, said the Pastor, this Master-workman always recognizes the free will of His people.

He works in them only as much as they are willing to let Him work, only in harmony with their prayers to be filled with His Spirit and to have His will done in them. Some indeed draw back, he continued. These are at liberty to "draw back into perdition," or to draw back from the full preparation for the Temple. Many hold back from the full preparation for the Temple. Many hold back from the chiselings and polishings, and so are unfit for a place in the Temple of God. But so long as they do not draw back in heart, however, but remain loyal to the Lord, they will get a blessing, even though they miss the chief blessing. This the Apostle shows in the preceding context.


According to St. Peter's picture, the living stones for the Temple are merely chiseled and polished during the earthly life; and not until the resurrection will these living stones come together as the Temple of God, to be fully indwelt by His holy Spirit. Hence St. Paul was merely speaking of our earthly bodies as temples of the holy Spirit. In other words, he was calling our tabernacles temples. The Pastor then declared that St. Paul's thought seems to be that wherever God may dwell is necessarily holy – His Temple or His Tabernacle; and that any wilful or intentional deliberateness is sin, depraving that temple or tabernacle, would be an offence against God. If Christians who have received the begetting of the holy Spirit could but comprehend this lesson, it would have a powerful influence upon their lives.


The Pittsburgh Dispatch, January 13, 1908


St. Johns, N. B., Jan. 12. Pastor C. T. Russell delivered two discourses here today to splendid audiences. We report one of those from the text, "God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." (Heb. 11:40)

He said: From childhood we have been taught, as Protestants, that if we would be good we would go to heaven, if bad to eternal torment. Those of us who were reared Catholics had a little different version, namely, if you are a heretic you will go to eternal torment, if a Catholic to Purgatory, from which you will be liberated into heaven after scores or hundreds of years – the time depending upon your sinfulness and in the generosity of your friends in paying masses on your behalf.

These perversions of the Gospel word came probably to everyone of us here present, and we are very fortunate if by now we have escaped from them to a more Scriptural and more rational conception of the divine plan. All fairly balanced minds recognized their own imperfection, and the best of us, with the Apostle, must declare that some of the good we would do we do not, and some of the evil that we would not do we cannot avoid, because of the blemishes we have inherited, mentally, morally and physically. (Rom. 7:15)

Hence even those who claim to believe that they are especially elected and predestinated of God unto salvation are inclined to feel and to say with the poet, "This a point I long to know."

As we begin to use our God-given reasoning faculties, and note that the word Gospel signifies good tidings, some of us, at least, begin to wonder how that term would be applicable to the divine plan, which, as we were taught it, included the torture for years if not for eternity of nearly every member of our race. When we asked the question, learned theologians explained that the good tidings consisted in the fact that the torture would not be eternal for those who accept Christ. With full desire to be thankful and appreciative, we found it difficult to enjoy the prospect of so great a risk of eternal torment or so sure a matter as Purgatory.


Evidently our eyes the while were blinded. We were looking at the picture of a demon, and no wonder we found it difficult to honor, love and worship before him, and were only constrained by fear. But as the eyes of our understanding became opened we began to see our Creator in His true light, and correspondingly the horrible nightmare began to dissolve. We began to see more and more in the Word of God, declarations of His love, His grace, His mercy; and even though our early misconceptions and imperfect translations still distorted some of the parables and symbols of the Word of God, we gradually began to overlook those and to consider the many statements which our judgments told us corresponded to a God and not to a demon.

We cannot read, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that reverence Him," and draw from it the horrible thought of a bad father who had brought forth hundreds of millions of humanity, foreordaining and forearranging the eternal torture of the vast majority of them; for, if we felt that, we would conclude, as earthly parents, we are already far greater and far better than he, and upon consideration, these thoughts would dissolve gradually and give place, as we forget the cruel features of the false teachings and begin to get the spirit of the Word, which shows us God as more pitiful, more merciful, more loving and kind than earthly parents. And when we remember that we are taught to pray, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," we perceived that our God was far greater and more forgiving and generous than ourselves.

Then our trust in Him and our love for Him begin to develop and progress proportionately with our study of the Word and our renouncement of the horrible nightmare of the "dark ages" and the creeds formulated therein. As we get back to the Word of God, ignoring human traditions and hymn-book theology – as we take the words of Jesus and his apostles and the prophets of old – we find in their teachings a beautiful harmony respecting the glorious plan of God, which proffers salvation through Christ to Adam and every member of his race. Not the same salvation to all, as we shall show, but a great salvation, nevertheless, from sin, from degradation, from death, to life and everlasting blessedness, in harmony with God and His gracious arrangements.

We are not advocating Universalism, dear friends, because we do not find that taught in the Bible. We are advocating what is abundantly taught, namely, that every member of Adam's race shall have a full, fair, complete opportunity for accepting or rejecting divine mercy and forgiveness in Christ. We are teaching that none of the human family is now being tortured by demons anywhere; that the greatest sufferings in the universe are being experienced in this world, where "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn."

As for the dead, we hold with the Scriptures, as we have heretofore shown, that those who have passed into the tomb are neither in pleasure [NS519] nor in pain, neither in joy nor in sorrow. They are dead, and await the Lord's time for the "resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust." Acts 24:15 The moment of their awakening will be their next moment of consciousness following their decease. The interim of time will be as nothing, for, as the Scriptures declare, "The dead know not anything."

"Their sons come to honor, they know it not, to dishonor and they perceive it not of them." (Eccl. 9:5; Job 14:21)

Why? Because "there is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device in the grave [in sheol, in hades, in the state of death] whither all go." (Eccl. 9:10)

The sufferings of this present time from the cradle to the tomb and the deprivation of life are the great penalties which God has laid upon our race because of sin – under the decree, "Dying thou shalt die."

"Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return." (Gen. 2:17; 3:19)

This penalty is terrible enough – thank God it is no worse! Thank God it is not torture either for years or for eternity! Thanks be unto God that lie has provided a redemption in the sacrifice of His Son, who paid the death penalty for us, and that on this account our death will not be eternal destruction, but merely a temporary one, spoken of in the Scriptures as a sleep. Thank God for the promised awakening of the resurrection morning, when the Church, now being selected, will be awakened, changed to glory instantly, and when the world will come forth to gracious opportunities of divine direction and correction, to the intent that they may learn righteousness and be recovered from their fallen conditions and secure through the great Life Giver, their Redeemer and King, eternal life.


As children, when our minds were filled with the erroneous thought respecting eternal torment, we used to wonder how there could be any gradations of torture in hell as it was described to us, and why those who fell short of pleasing God only a little, would receive the same torture and for the same length of time as those who were vilest and most intelligibly wicked.

Similarly we wondered about heaven, if some like the apostles would not have a glorious place in the presence of God, while others of us, insignificant, would creep into some little corner. But so far as theologians were concerned, they did not deign to offer any explanation to such questions, but discouraged them, for the very simple reason that they could not answer them, their entire proposition being built on the creeds of the "dark ages" and not on the Word of God, which, alas, has been so greatly and so long neglected. We may well compassionate those who lived during the long centuries before printing was invented, before education was generals and while the Bible was published only in dead languages. But what shall we say of ourselves and others who in the twentieth century, with Bibles in every home, neglect the Word of God, and are content with the creeds handed down to us by the well-intentioned, but deluded ones of the past, who showed their lack of grace and their ignorance of the will of God by their persecution of one another, even to the stake. We blush for our own backwardness and for that of our fellow-Christians of today. But not content with blushing, let us resolve that by the grace of God we will know the teachings of that blessed book, which we have ignorantly reverenced in the past; the Bible.

The Bible teaches that there are various grades of suffering and rejoicing in this present time, and that there will be various grades of suffering and rejoicing during the Millennial Age, but that eventually, by the close of the Millennium, when the full testing of the race shall have been accomplished, and when all who intelligently and wilfully love unrighteousness will have been destroyed in the Second Death – then "every tongue in heaven and in earth shall be heard praising God, who sitteth upon the throne, and the Lamb."

By that time, through Christ and the glorified Church, God will have wiped away all tears from off all faces, and this will signify what is elsewhere explained in the Scriptures, namely, that there shall be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, because all the former things shall have passed away – the things of sin and of its sentence, death. Rev. 5:13; 21:4


We might multiply the Scriptural proofs that when a man is dead he is not alive anywhere – that death is the absence or negation of life. We might point out various Scriptures in support of this, among them those that speak of the resurrection of the dead. We might show in detail that there could be no resurrection of the dead if there were no dead – if the dead were really more alive than they ever were. We cannot discuss all phases of the subject at this time; we content ourselves with reminding you of the Master's words, "No man hath ascended up to heaven save he who had come down from heaven, even the Son of Man." (John 3:13)

We remind you also of the Apostle Peter's words on the day of Pentecost, when, proving the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, he quoted from the Psalms of David, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades, neither suffer thine holy one to see corruption." (Acts 2:27-31)

Saint Peter declares that these words were not true of the Prophet David – that he did see corruption, that his soul was left in sheol, in hades, in the grave. The Apostle says, "David is not ascended to the heavens; his sepulcher is with us until this day."

But he, being a prophet, [NS520] spoke beforehand of Christ, that His soul was not left in hades. We remind you also of our Lord's general statement respecting all the dead, "Marvel not, the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man and shall come forth. Those who have done good [who have the divine approval] unto the resurrection of life; those who have done evil [who have not had the divine sanction] unto a resurrection of judgment" – discipline, trial – during the great Millennial day of judgment or trial, a thousand years long. We must ask you to accept these general statements tentatively and to search your Bibles further along these lines, accepting meantime our assurances that not one solitary statement from Genesis to Revelation contradicts the Scriptural declaration we have set forth.

With this promise we proceed to note the various rewards promised in the Scriptures to various classes. First of all, remember the list of ancient worthies enumerated by Saint Peter in the chapter which concludes with the words of our text. He begins with Abel, and notes the more prominent of the race who had been faithful to God according to their light down to the time of Christ. He says that some attested their faith in one way and some in another; some for faithfulness were persecuted and had to flee from their homes and to dwell in caves and dens of the earth, some were stoned, some sawn asunder, etc.

After commenting on these as noble heroes and telling us that they had this testimony that they pleased God he adds in the words of our text that, nevertheless, God has a still greater blessing for us of this Gospel Church than that which He provided for them and that they cannot get the blessings promised them until first we get our reward, because, "they without us shall not be made perfect" – the greatest blessing will be given first to the Church of this Gospel age, under Christ their Head, and then through them divine blessing will be extended to the Ancient Worthies, and then through both God's blessings will continue and especially reach fleshly Israel, recovering them from their blindness and taking away the stony heart out of their flesh and through all of these agencies it will ultimately extend to all the families on the earth. Thus eventually the promise of God made to Abraham may have its fulfillment. "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." [Gen. 22:18]

The principal "seed" is Christ, as the Apostle points out, and secondarily as members of Christ, or the Church, otherwise called His body, His Bride. These belong to the Spiritual Seed, with their Lord and Head and Bridegroom. It is to these that the Apostle refers when he says, "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29)

After this Spiritual Seed shall have been developed and glorified in the First Resurrection, then the blessing of the Lord will begin to extend to the earthly seed. First in order among the earthly class will be the Ancient Worthies who attested their faith, manifested their loyalty to God and to righteousness and gained the divine approval. These will come forth perfect men – not spirit beings like the Church, for they never were begotten of the Spirit and hence could not be perfected thus. But as perfect men they, like Adam in his perfection before he sinned, will be in the image and likeness of God, and crowned with glory and honor be a little lower than the angels. These will be the first to experience the restitution blessing, which the Apostle Peter tells us was "spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began, and which is to begin at the second coming of our Lord." (Acts 3:19-21)

What grand, noble personages they will be! How great will be their reward! As the Apostle says of some of them, they endured their trying experiences that they might obtain a "better resurrection," and they will attain it in that they will come forth perfect in the flesh, while the remainder of mankind will come forth in all the weaknesses and imperfections of mind and character with which they died – come forth to a restitution by judgments, by disciplines, and to be gradually attained during the Millennial age by the willing and obedient, who will then be privileged to go up on the highway of holiness.

But grand and kingly as they will be in their resurrection perfection and with the mental ability to speedily grasp the inventions of our day and others, and however highly qualified they will be to act as God's representatives among men and as examples of what the whole human family may attain to if they will during the Millennial age, they will not equal the Bride class of this Gospel age. But does someone ask, "How could anyone be greater or more glorious than these?" We answer that such is God's promise to the faithful little flock of this Gospel age, the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. The reward promised them is still higher – spiritual, heavenly, and their exaltation will be still higher than that of the angels – like their Lord, "far above angels, principalities and powers." (Eph. 1:21)

As the Apostle Peter declares, the divine provision for these is not the human nature, restored, perfected, but a change of nature to the highest of all natures – the divine. Hearken to the Apostle's very words, God hath "given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these (the operation of those promises in our hearts, sanctifying us to His service) we might become partakers of the divine nature." 2 Pet. 1:4 So then, dear brethren, in the words of the Apostle I [NS521] exhort you, "Ye know your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called" – not many of this class have hearing appreciative ears, but happy are ye if you are of the humble, poor in spirit, who have heard the message of God's great grace, and if you realize to some extent your privilege of making your calling and election sure to a share with the Redeemer in the glorious Kingdom of God, which so soon will banish sin and sorrow, pain and trouble, and usher in correspondingly the glorious light of the goodness of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Fort Wayne Daily News, January 27, 1908


ALLIANCE, Ohio, Jan. 26 – Pastor C. T. Russell, of Allegheny, Pa., preached twice here today to large and earnest audiences. The opera house was packed to overflowing to hear his anti-infidel discourse, "To Hell and Back. Who Are There? Hope For the Recovery of Many of Them."

We report his evening discourse from the text, "The Peace of God Which Passeth All Understanding Shall Guard Your Hearts and Your Thoughts in Christ Jesus." (Philip. 4:7)

The speaker said: The increase of learning, the increase of wealth, the increase of the conveniences of life, the increase of medical skill and dietetic knowledge, which the world has experienced within the last few years have not been in-creasing its peace. Quite to the contrary; its restlessness has been increasing. This is shown in the increase of nervous diseases of which all physicians tell us, it is shown also in the great increase of insane patients in asylums. It is reflected in the divorce courts and in the increasing number of suicides. Why are these things so?

Why do not the blessings of our day bring an increase of peace, joy, rest, contentment, happiness, as we should all naturally be inclined to expect? Why is the man who works nine hours a day overburdened and more dissatisfied than his grandfather, who was accustomed to work from fourteen to sixteen hours a day? Why is the family which is possessed of a comfortable home with every convenience and an abundance of life's necessities, often wretchedly unhappy, discontented, enviously so, while their forefathers in humble cottages with few advantages and conveniences, were comparatively contented and happy. Why is it that with everybody able to read, with everybody fairly well educated, with free libraries accessible and apparently everything to contribute to their rest and well being – why is it, that they are less contented than their forefathers, whose libraries consisted of a bible and an almanac? The reason is briefly summed up by our Master's words to the adversary: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matt. 4:4

There is a soul-hunger which cannot be satisfied by the luxuries of life, nor by all the education of the schools, nor by the most artistic surrounding and conveniences. Created in the image of his Maker, man still possesses some faint outlines of that character whose center of happiness was intended to consist in his harmonious relationship with his God. True, the six thousand years of the fall have very largely erased and eroded this image of God from the human mind, the human heart, but enough of it still persists to occasionally lead the most worldly to longings infinite and anyway, man, having been so created, finds an aching void in all of his pleasures to the extent that this divinely arranged center of his being is ignored, undiscerned – not satisfied.

Some may perhaps say that our premise is disproved by the facts and circumstances of the case. They may point us to the fact that Bibles are in every home throughout the civilized world; that chapels and cathedrals are multiplied in number; that the message of God is carried to the people – even pressed upon them; that if it were true that there is a natural longing for fellowship with God, this fact would assert itself, would be quickly manifested by the numbers who would come to the Lord, and that the Scriptures declare that the majority of those who draw nigh to the Lord do so with their lips only and not with their hearts. Is not this a refutation of our premise that man, by virtue of his very constitution, inclines to feel after, to reverence, to worship, to adore his Creator?

We answer, No! and the Scriptures support our contention. The apostle points to the fact that the heathen in their ignorance of the true God and His true worship set up idolatrous worship and images and, as the apostle declares, manifest that they are feeling after God, if happily they might find Him. (Acts 17:27)

Why, then, is He not found in our land of enlightenment and preaching and Bibles? Why are they seemingly repelled? We answer that this is because of a deceptive work accomplished by the great adversary for this very purpose. The apostle declares this, saying, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not." (2 Cor. 4:4)

He tells us how and why Satan would alienate the hearts of men and hinder them from a proper approach to their [NS522] true Sovereign. Hence we read that he puts darkness for light and light for darkness; he makes the good appear to be bad and the bad appear to be desirable. Thus we read in the Scriptures that Satan is the great deceiver, who is deceiving the whole world. Thank God for the glorious promise that during the Millennial Age, which we trust is very near at hand, Satan shall be bound a thousand years and shall deceive the nations no more until the thousand years are finished. Rev. 20:3

Our great Adversary is too wise, too cunning to attempt to deceive the majority of men into atheism, into disbelief in their Creator and hence he has adopted the more feasible plan of deceiving them by introducing a false theology which, while ascribing to the Almighty power and wisdom and justice and love, neutralizes the whole by telling us that this great God or Creator, before He made us, prepared for our eternal torment unless we would become members of His Elect class by walking in the narrow way of self-denial, self-sacrifice. To the theologians in the "dark ages" he painted the flames and tortures of the millions of humanity – all except the "Little Flock," the "saints."

The Adversary entrapped for his service and for the publication of these monstrous misrepresentations of the divine character some of the noblest members of the human family – men who would have scorned to injure their enemies, men who were ready to pray for those who despitefully used and persecuted them and who were ready to lay down their lives for the help of their fellow-creatures. Such men, bound hand and foot by the shackles of these awful, blasphemous errors, were led to serve the Adversary's purpose and to proclaim a gospel of which they certainly were ashamed and to picture a God most devilish in comparison with themselves. No wonder that under such circumstances the world in general has come to fear God, and in some instances to hate Him!

No wonder, too, that their reverence for the Bible is largely a reverence of fear and not of true appreciation of it as the message of God's love and gracious plan for His creatures! It is by this means, it is for these reasons, that we find the world today possessed of millions of bibles, but a very little interest therein, drawing nigh to God with their lips and in gorgeous temples, but without heart-reverence which alone is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. Hence it is that with all our religious profession the world is so hungry for the true God and for the nourishment which He has provided for in the exceeding great and precious promise of His Word. In the midst of plenty they are starving; as the scriptures declare it is not a famine for bread, nor for water, but a famine for the hearing of the word of the Lord. (Amos 8:11)

The true word of the Lord is not heard, is not preached. Refined and educated preachers to esthetic congregations do not urge the eternal torment of nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand of their fellow-creatures because their congregations are unwilling longer to hear along those objectionable lines. Hence they urge vain formalities, which no more can satisfy the heart of man than chaff could satisfy the cravings of the stomach. Consequently, we find that Christendom today is worried, nervous, dissatisfied, discontented; it is longing it knows not for what. We know its needs because our own hearts had a similar experience with this soul hunger. Similarly we thirsted for the water-brooks of divine truth; as the prophet David declares, "As the heart panteth for the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, 0, God." Psa. 42:1


How I long for a trumpet-voice, clear and sweet, to sound out above the din of Babel confusion the message of the truth, the message of the love of God, the message of the word of God – the true message, not the false one, which has drawn us away from our God, the true sound for which the souls of men are so longing; that will tell them of the Father's love and of His gracious provision, and that this provision is not merely for the Elect, but, as the scriptures declare, for all mankind! Oh, for the power to snatch away from before the eyes of the bewildered world the vail of ignorance, superstition, priestcraft, blasphemous error by which the great Adversary has for centuries beclouded our vision of the Lord! As the Apostle says, the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not lest the glorious light of God's goodness as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord should shine into their hearts. (2 Cor. 4:6)

How we long for the ability to remove this blinding influence and to let the glorious sunlight of divine love shine into the hearts of the world of mankind! How we long for the opportunity, the ability of showing to mankind that the word of God, instead of being a message of eternal torture for the race, is a message of love and benevolence! How we long to show them what the real message of God is and where in their ignorance under the Adversary's deceptions they have in the past added to the word of God the hobgoblins and wretched delusions which now alarm them and drive them from the throne of grace! In this afternoon's discourse, which many of you have in print form, we endeavored to show that the real penalty for sin is not eternal torment, but a death penalty. We showed also how that death penalty had been paid by our dear Redeemer, who died, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us back to God. We showed [NS523] that while a few of us now, despite the Adversary's misrepresentation, get the eyes of our understanding open to see the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, nevertheless the time is near at hand when the great Adversary shall be bound and when the glorified Jesus and His glorified Elect Church shall assume the government of the world and banish its darkness and sin and flood the world with the glorious light of the true message of the knowledge of God and that then every eye shall see and every ear shall hear and our God shall be gloriously vindicated from all the blasphemies which we and others unwittingly, at the Adversary's instigation, have committed against His holy name.


Undoubtedly in the end we shall see that God was not unwise in permitting the Adversary to misrepresent His character and His plan for time. Undoubtedly the great lesson of the goodness of God, the justice of God, the wisdom of God, and the power of God on behalf of His creatures will be all the more effective toward the hearts of men because of their misapprehension of His character and plan in the present time under the delusions of Satan. What a burst of joyful praise to God will go up from the world of mankind when during the millennial age they will find what the Lord has already told us through His words – that their fear toward Him is not of Him, but taught by the precepts of men, and that as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God's ways higher than man's ways and God's plans than man's plans. (Isa. 29:13; 55:9)

No wonder that the Lord prophetically portrays the fact that the whole world shall come to recognize His justice and His righteous dealings in every particular, saying, "Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and sure are thy ways, Thou King of Saints. Who shall not fear Thee, O, Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou art holy; for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy dealings are made manifest." (Rev. 15:3,4)

Ah! that will be a happy day for the poor world as their hearts will again come into accord with the Lord, as they shall begin to feel the centering of their minds, their affections, their obligations in Him who created them and in His appointed representative our Lord Jesus, who then shall be prophet, priest and king over all the earth for the ruling, instruction and uplifting out of sin and death conditions of all the poor human race of Adam. No wonder the apostle, pointing forward to that time, exultingly declared that "times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:19-21)

It will be a thousand years of restitution, bringing back, uplifting from the fallen condition; thousand years reign of righteousness unto life, offsetting and antidoting the reign of sin and death which has made miserable the entire race of Adam for now six thousand years. Surely that one thousand year reign of Messiah and its multitudinous blessings of divine provision will abundantly undo all the disaster of the fall and bring to the hearts of men the peace that passeth understanding. It will come to them gradually, as they return to their former estate. (Eze. 16:55)

It will come to them gradually, as they hear that great teacher and obey Him, until finally every voice in heaven and in earth and under the earth shall be heard saying, "Blessing and honor and glory and power and dominion, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the lamb for ever and ever. (Rev. 5:13)

Will this be universal? Nay! verily; because again it is written as explaining why all voices will be in accord, that all those who will not obey that great teacher shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people. (Acts 3:23)

Any who by reason of wilful opposition to the divine arrangement of justice and love shall have no further consideration at the hands of the Almighty nor in the hearts of those who are in sympathy with Him and His righteousness. But they shall not be tormented; on the contrary they shall die the second death, they "shall be as though they had not been," they shall be treated as brute beasts, utterly destroyed. (Obad. 16; 2 Thess. 1:9)

And then what? There shall be no more crying, no more sighing, no more dying, because all the former things shall have passed away. (Rev. 21:4)

There shall be no more discontent, no more unhappiness and God's will shall be done in the paradise of earth even as it is done in heaven itself.


Everywhere the scriptures declare that God's great plan is to the world a hidden mystery; that only those who draw near to God through faith and consecration may know now respecting the divine solution, the divine plan; that these only may now read the word of God so as to discern its real sentiments, its real teachings. Of these the scriptures say, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant." (Psa. 25:14)

And to such the apostle urges patience, patience while Satan is the prince of this world and while he still keeps the masses of mankind under the gross darkness of superstition; patience while our God is still blasphemed, patience while His glorious character is still under the cloud of misrepresentation, patience while the word of God is still seriously misrepresented [NS524] and while the majority are unable to understand it even when its true interpretation is clearly presented. "Have patience, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord." [Jas. 5:7]

He shall bring to light the hidden things, He shall make manifest the darkness, He shall make manifest the true light and that true light shall lighten every man who has come into the world. Oh, thank God, for so abundant provision in the divine plan; that we were not left as a race completely to the power of the Adversary, and that deliverance has been found through God's abounding grace, deliverance through Him who bought us with His precious blood at Calvary and through Him who at his second advent is to banish the powers of darkness and sin and to unfurl the banner of truth and right!

Meantime it is only the class which the scriptures continually address as the "Little Flock," the "faithful," the "saints," who can have this patience, because they have the inside information, the true understanding of the divine word, which is hidden from others because they are not in the right attitude of heart to properly profit by the knowledge. As our Lord said to His faithful at His first advent, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand." Luke 8:10

This is the class addressed by our text, these may have peace, whereas others cannot have peace, "There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked," "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." (Isa. 48:22; 57:20)

Neither can those who are ignorant have the peace of God, they must wait if they have not the hearing ear now, they must wait until God's great time shall come, when the hearing ear shall be granted to all. But oh, what a blessing those enjoy who have any measure of the hearing ear, who have any sight with the eyes of understanding, any appreciation, any desire or feeling after God!

When these commit their way unto the Lord instead of unto man and to creeds and parties, when they join the Lord instead of joining Churchianity, then they are taught of God instead of being taught of Churchianity and then they obtain the heavenly wisdom that cometh from above, and it is to such that the peace of God comes as a result. There is a peace which comes from an acquaintance with God. As our Master declared, "This is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent," and only these, therefore, who are rightly acquainted with God could thoroughly trust Him. John 17:3

The mail who believes that God premeditated from the foundation of the world the creation of a race in Adam with the foreknowledge and intention that he would torture the vast majority of those at the hands of fire-proof devils, the man who believes that his escape from such an eternity of torture is the result of some good luck by which he was elected while the majority were passed by – that man cannot trust such a God, he must feel a fear of Him, he must dread lest sometime his lucky favor should pass from him to another.

He cannot have peace, he must always watch, must always fear; he is in the hands of an all-powerful being, one who according to his theory is at heart most atrociously bad. But when we come to really know the God of the Bible we find Him the very personification of love itself, that his anger against us was not assuaged by our dear Redeemer's sufferings, but that on the contrary God so loved mankind before Jesus came into the world that He sent His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

From this standpoint we begin to have peace, for we discern as the Master declared, "The Father himself loveth you," the Father himself is love. (John 16:27; 1 John 4:8)

And while he has been just to punish the sins of mankind it has been a reasonable punishment, though severe, and he has made provision for recovery from it eventually for all the members of our race who may if they will come back to his Father's favor and mercy and to life everlasting. Those who thus see have the foundation for love to God and appreciation of his true character and thus have the foundation for the peace of God, the peace which He gives, the peace which a true knowledge of God affords and which cannot be secured from any other quarter.


The apostle, addressing the "brethren," the "saints," those who know their God and recognize Him as a God of love, urges upon them the course they should pursue in order to have the largest amount of the divine blessing of peace. They should rejoice, they should let their moderation be made known unto all men, they should recognize the soon coming of their Lord to right all the wrongs of the present time, they should not be anxious or worried about anything, they should realize God's goodness and the sufficiency of His plan as exceedingly abundantly more than they could have asked or wished, they should take all their trials and difficulties to the Lord in prayer and see that all of their desires and requests are such as would be in harmony with His will.

It is to such as take this course that the apostle gives the assurance that they may have the peace of God which passeth understanding. It not only passeth all description but it passeth all understanding. We cannot ourselves understand how we can have such a peace of God under trials, under difficulties which at [NS525] other times and under other conditions would have perplexed and worried and harassed us beyond measure; but now, because we are His and He is ours and because He has shown us His covenant and because we see that the outworking of the divine plan will be glorious beyond compare, therefore peace reigns in our hearts. We leave all to the Master, we leave all to the outworkings of divine providence, not being careless ourselves we will do with our might what our hands find to do; but we will trust results with our glorious Lord, who is able always to do for us abundantly, exceedingly more than we could think.

The apostle suggests that this peace will rule in our hearts, it will not be merely transitory; it will not be merely a guest; it will become the ruler of our hearts, it will be our normal condition to be in peace; not that we will be oblivious of the surroundings of the world, not that we will have less sympathy with the groaning creation, which is groaning and travailing in pain together and waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God. (Rom. 8:1, 22)

No, we will have the more sympathy and the more appreciation of their conditions as our hearts expand and as the eyes of our understanding open wider. But we will have peace because we will have the Lord's explanation of how the blessing of the Lord shall ultimately rest upon the whole human family and how we will uplift the poor, dying, the sinful and the depraved and the weak from their fallen condition and how if they will be bringing them back again into the glorious likeness of their Creator, from which they fell through Adam's disobedience. Oh, the blessedness of those who have this peace of God in their hearts! And they must needs cultivate it.

If they have little they may have more; if some knowledge of God has brought some measure of peace and rest and trust, more knowledge rightly appreciated and applied will bring more peace. And if the peace has already come and is not yet ruling in our hearts, it is a matter for prayer and for faith that it may take its proper place and be the guide and the ruler of all of our thoughts in Christ Jesus. And what shall we say to the poor, restless world who have not this peace? We can only assure them that there is such a peace, and that it can be had in the one way; that Jesus is the way, that He is the one who invites all the burdened ones to come to Him, all that labor and are heavy ladened and He will give them rest: "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." [Matt. 11:29]

All those who can hear this voice and who will follow on may have this blessing. Others cannot have it now, they must wait until the millennial day shall dawn and the blessing of the Lord shall fill the whole earth. But we are glad that that glorious day is coming; yea, that it is near at hand, and even though it shall be introduced by the most awful trouble that the world has ever known, we rejoice that that trouble will be but the plowshare which the Lord will use to break up the fallow ground of the hearts of men and to prepare them for the great blessing which He is so willing to give and which He has provided for every creature in Christ the Lord. "He that hath an ear let him hear," and let him have a measure of this blessing in proportion to his obedience in the present time.

The Pittsburg Dispatch, February 3, 1908


Pastor C. T. Russell preached yesterday to a large audience in Allegheny Carnegie Hall from the text: "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death; neither shall there be sorrow nor crying nor pain any more; for the former things are passed away. And He who sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21:4, 5)

The speaker said: Used as we are to sights of wretchedness and woe, experiences of sorrow, pain and death, the promise of our text seems to many a vain one and those who believe it and trust it implicitly are esteemed visionary, illogical, credulous. The wise men of the world tell us that what has been and is shall be, and that while we might hope for some prolongation of human life and some assuagement of human miseries, to expect that death and pain and sorrow will be abolished is absurd and indicates an illogical mind. Our reply is in the words of the Apostle, "Let God be true and every man a liar." Rom. 3:4

Custom, indeed, is a forceful precedent and difficult to set aside. For more than six thousand years our race has been dying, and, as the Apostle declares, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together." (Rom. 8:22)

It requires faith to believe that this order of things, which has prevailed so long, is to be set aside and a new order introduced. It requires not only faith to believe this, but we must needs have a foundation for our faith. It is not sufficient for us that someone might speculate that an evolutionary process would bring the race out of degradation and sin and sorrow, pain and death, to perfection, because we perceive from history that so far from such evolution being [NS526] in progress the aches and pains with which our race has been afflicted have been increasing for centuries, so that today we are weaker than our forefathers and the average of human life is but 35 years, with all the advantages of science combating the encroachments of disease and death.

According to Bible records, which many of us accept fully, the time was when our forefathers lived for centuries. We need, therefore, just the kind of testimony which our text affords as foundation for our faith in such a wonderful change. It declares that He that sat upon the throne arranged a great change of dispensation to be accompanied by the release of mankind from sorrow, pain and death. All who have faith in the authority may well rejoice and give glory to God in anticipation of this wonderful blessing which He has in store for our race.


This promise is in full accord with the prayer which our Lord taught us as His followers – "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth even as in heaven." [Matt. 6:10]

Surely none will dispute that God's will done in heaven means the perfect happiness of all of His faithful. Surely none will doubt that there is no death in heaven, no cemeteries, no funerals. Surely none will doubt that there is no sickness there, no tears or plasters or physicians. Surely none will doubt that there is no sorrow in heaven nor cause for any. Why, then, should it seem to us incredible that the same Heavenly Father, who thus arranged for His sons on the spirit plane, should similarly arrange for His human sons?

Why should we doubt that the love which has provided for the eternal happiness of the angelic hosts would be equally willing to provide for the eternal happiness of humanity? Why, then should we hesitate for a moment to accept the explicit declaration of the Scriptures that a great change of dispensation is coming, when, instead of the world being subject to the prince of this world who now worketh in the Children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2)

it shall, instead, be under the dominion, the rulership of the Prince of Glory, who redeemed Adam and his race from the curse of death by the sacrifice of Himself? Instead of doubting the plain statement of our text we should have been inclined to surmise it, even without a statement, had it not been that our minds have been poisoned by the great adversary's substitution of darkness for light, misrepresenting the love of God and His glorious plan of salvation, substituting therefore what the Apostle designates "doctrines of devils" – devilish doctrines. It is by these false doctrines that the adversary has, as the Apostle declares, "blinded the minds of them that believe not, so that the glorious light of God's goodness does not shine into their hearts." (2 Cor. 4:4)

It is time that we should awaken from the horrible nightmare which has afflicted us during the night time of the "dark ages."

It is time that we should recognize the great Scriptural truth that God is love, that He created us with a glorious purpose in view and that our affliction as a race through Father Adam's disobedience has not changed the divine character nor the divine sentiment toward us.

It is time that we should learn afresh that our loving Creator changes not; that all of His glorious purposes shall be accomplished and that the word that has gone forth out of his mouth shall not return unto Him void, but shall prosper in the thing whereto He sent it. It is time for us to learn that His permission of sin and sorrow, pain and dying has been but temporary, with a view to our instruction as respects the exceeding sinfulness of sin and with a view to the ultimate blessing of all those who will be taught of God and ultimately learn the lessons He will give through His representative, our Redeemer, who shortly will be the great Prophet, Priest and King to the world of mankind for their instruction and uplifting out of sin and death conditions back to perfection. How glorious it will be when He shall have accomplished His work, for as the Apostle declares, "He must reign until He has put all enemies under his feet – the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." (1 Cor. 15:25-26)

We may well long for His second coming in power and great glory to bind Satan and to accomplish these glorious results. Should it not be wonderful to us that the Apostle, who saw clearly and explained definitely these things to be accomplished in the new dispensation, held out that the glorious Messiah is the hope of the world. Most beautifully does the Apostle picture the present condition of the world with its longing for something better, which it does not clearly appreciate, but which we who are guided by the Word of God do understand. He says, "The whole creation groans and travails in pain together;" and again he tells us that they are "waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Rom. 8:22, 19)

The groaning, the travailing, the pain, the death are literal enough, sure enough, manifest enough. The difficulty with the majority who attempt to study the Bible is that they fail to get this proper standpoint of view; they think of the Bible as addressed to the world, they think of God as dealing with the world, whereas the Scriptures clearly teach that the time for divine dealing with the world is not yet come; that in the interim God is merely dealing with special classes; as, for instance, in the past he dealt with the patriarchs and not with the world in general; from Sinai to Calvary he dealt with the Jewish nation only but not with [NS527] the world; and since Calvary to the second advent of our Lord and the completion of the church, he deals not with the world but with the special class who he calls out of the world – the household of faiths from amongst whom he selects the "very elect" to be the bride and joint-heir with their Redeemer, and to be associated with Him in His millennial kingdom glory. The Apostle declares this to be the mystery, the secret of the divine plan which obscures the same from the minds of men in general. Our Lord Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, the King of Israel, of whom it had been written that he should bless all the families of the earth through His glorious kingdom reign. But, instead of beginning that reign, that kingdom, that blessing of the world, that scattering of darkness and binding of Satan as soon as he had paid the ransom price, He instead began another feature of the divine plan, namely, the selection of the kingdom class and company of joint-heirs, a "little flock" to be the bride of Christ, otherwise styled "members of His body." [Eph. 5:30]

This has been the work of the entire Gospel age, anything else being merely incidental thereto, and as soon as this selection of the church and the polishing and preparation of the individuals thereof is completed, the next work will be in order – the pouring out of a blessing through these upon humanity in general. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is." (1 John 3:2)

The Lord's faithful, consecrated ones are His sons even now, though hampered with unfavorable surroundings and imperfect conditions. They are waiting for their "change," which shall be accomplished in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and which will constitute their resurrection from human to spirit conditions. This is the same epoch, this is the same glorious refreshment coming to the world at our Lord's second advent and the glorification of the Church which the Apostle Peter so graphically portrays, saying, "Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, who before was preached unto you: whom the heavens must retain until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:19-21


The Scriptures fully account to us for the present terrible condition in which, as a race, we find ourselves – imperfect mentally, morally and physically. They explain that man was not created thus, but perfect, upright, in God's likeness. They explain that while death is a curse or blight upon our race, and while it came from God Himself, nevertheless, there was a justifiable reason for it. Sin had entered into the world, and it was not God's purpose to perpetuate sin eternally; hence He had already decreed that the wilful sinner must die, and so the Scriptures declare: "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world, and death as a result of sin; and thus death passed upon all men, because all are sinners." Rom. 5:12

We see then, that our sorrows, pain and dying are all the legitimate wages of sin – of our own fallen condition. We see that God is not to be blamed in any sense of the word, that His work is perfect and His dealings just. Moreover, we have no claim upon Him as respects a restitution or a millennial favor or blessing – all that is a free gift. His provision has included, first, a satisfaction of His own justice, the sentence against us, "Dying, thou shalt die." [Gen. 2:17]

This redemptive work costs us nothing so far as we are concerned; everything that God provides for us is a gift full and free. But as for His own government and laws, He maintains them – will not permit them to be violated. He persists. in regarding sin as criminal and worthy of death; He continues to maintain a separation between sinners and Himself. But He has made abundant provision for mankind, as though He had no such law and was bound by no such justice. More than this, His giving us His Son as our redemption price attests to us His sympathy, His love, His willingness to assist us.

Nor does this signify a carelessness as respects the interests of His Son, our Lord Jesus, for we are assured that for the joy that was set before Him He gladly endured the cross and despised the shame and has now been abundantly rewarded by His high exaltation to the divine nature and heavenly throne. But even yet, notwithstanding the death of Christ, the Creator does not propose to infract His law nor to permit a sinner to have eternal life. Hence, instead of granting eternal life to sinners, He has turned them over to their Redeemer to be instructed and assisted and chastened, uplifted and rewarded during the Millennial Age – so many as will, to the intent that by the close of that age all the willing and obedient shall have reached full perfection and be fully able thereafter to thoroughly obey every divine requirement; because no longer sinners, no longer weak, no longer degraded or impaired, they shall be absolutely perfect through the uplifting influences of their Redeemer.

All who will not avail themselves of this privilege will still abide under divine wrath and be destroyed in the Second Death; but all the willing and obedient will be granted the gift of God, eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. In harmony with this there is to be a great testing time after the Millennial Age closes. The world of mankind, except the incorrigible, will be then transferred [NS528] from the Mediatorial Kingdom, the Millennial Kingdom, to the Father's jurisdiction. The first work of the Father in dealing with the world will be to apply a test, even as He did to Father Adam when he was perfect.

The conditions, however, will be different: in the judgment or test in the end of the Millennial Age each individual will be on trial for himself alone and no race will be involved with him. Again, there will be the difference that Father Adam was entirely without experience, whereas all that wonderful race of perfect, restored human beings at the close of the Millennium will have had a large experience: first in the present life an experience with sin and death conditions, sighing, and crying and dying; and secondarily during the Millennium they will have had an experience of restitution, uplifting from the fallen conditions, and incidentally they will have had full instruction at the hands of the great Teacher respecting the love of God, the wisdom of God, the justice of God and the power of God, and they will be without excuse as respects obedience.

The record shows that the test which will come upon all that will dwell upon the face of the whole earth at that time will be a subtle one, which will try or tempt all mankind whose total number will be as the sand of the seashore. What proportion of these will succumb to the temptation we are not informed, but we are given distinctly to understand that there will be a considerable number found not fully loyal at heart, to the principles of righteousness. These will be esteemed messengers and tools of Satan and, with him, they will be destroyed in the Second Death, from which there will be no redemption, no recovery of any kind.


The Scriptures represent that when the glorious epoch will have come, every voice in heaven and in earth and under the earth shall be heard praising God, giving thanks to Him that sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb forever. (Rev. 5:13)

How glorious this picture! How much more God-like than the one so long presented to us from the "dark ages" to the effect that, to all eternity there would be howlings and blasphemings; poor creatures suffering in terrible torment, anguish, pain and sorrow, but without the privilege of dying! Thank God that the eyes of our understanding are opening more widely and that now His wonderful book, the Bible, is indeed a new book to us, telling of His wisdom, love and power!

It is appropriate that those of us who have been blessed with the opening of the eyes of our understanding should begin our rejoicing and praising God at once. He has brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light and put a new song into our mouths, even the loving kindness of our God. Let us praise Him not only with our lips but with our entire beings, let us show forth His praises that, perchance, others, too, may be granted the privilege of hearing and rejoicing.

Let us remember not only that our own sins have been forgiven through faith in the precious blood, and that we have been brought into fellowship with the Lord Father, but let us remember also that the very purpose, the very object of these favors to us was to prepare us for our high calling – the invitation of our Creator that we should become heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, our Lord, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together. Rom. 8:17

Let us be more attentive to this great calling, this wonderful privilege, the like of which never was before and never will be again. It will be one thing to be blessed during the Millennial Age by restitution processes and uplifting to human perfection; it is quite another thing that now we should be begotten again, new creatures in Christ, partakers of the Divine nature and have a share with our Master in the glorious work during the Millennium. No wonder the call has attached to its conditions that those who would reign with Christ must suffer with Him in this present time.

The Lord seeks a peculiar people. Those who love sin, or those who do not so love righteousness that they are willing to sacrifice on its behalf, are not of the kind whom He is now seeking, now calling, now preparing for the glories to follow. Let us who have received this grace and who appreciate it so run that we may obtain the glorious prize, not trusting in our own strength and righteousness, but looking unto Jesus, the author of our faith, until He shall become the finisher of it.

The National Labor Tribune, March 1, 1908


Cincinnati, O., March 1. The Bible students closed their eight-days convention at Music Hall tonight with a "Love Feast."

Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny, Pa., delivered the closing sermon this afternoon to an immense audience in our finest auditorium which seats 3,600. He had profound attention for nearly two hours. The speaker's text was Heb. 6:17-19.

"God willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the [NS529] immutability of his counsel confirmed it with an oath: that ... we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us ... which hope we have as an anchor to our souls both sure and steadfast."

He said: Only those who have strong living faith in the Almighty God and in his Son Jesus could have much interest in the words of our text. To the evolutionist these words have little meaning, as he is looking to a natural development rather than to any supervising power of God to bring the blessing which the world so greatly needs. To the higher critic, the apostle's reference to God's dealings with Abraham are nonsensical, believing as he does that the statements of Genesis are without authority and were written many hundreds of years after the death of Moses.

However, some of God's true children whose eyes of understanding have not yet been opened to a clear apprehension of the divine plan of the ages, may be inclined to question what interest we could possibly have in God's oath to Abraham – given more than 3,000 years ago. Such are inclined to say to themselves, That event was helpful to Abraham, but has nothing whatever to do with us or our day. It is our hope that an examination of this covenant, which God attested with His oath, as stated in our text, may be helpful to many of the Lord's people present, enabling them to see that God had a plan in Abraham's day; that he is still working according to that plan and that its completion will be glorious, a blessing to His creatures and an honor to Himself.

The context shows distinctly that the apostles and the early church drew comfort from the oathbound covenant, and clearly implies that this same comfort belongs to every true Christian down to the end of this age – to every member of the body of Christ. The apostle's words imply that God's promise and oath were intended more for us than for Abraham – more for our comfort than for his. Note the apostle's words: "That by two immutable things (two unalterable things) in which it was impossible for God to lie, we (the gospel church) might have a strong consolation; (we) who have fled for refuge (to Christ) to lay hold upon the hope set before us."


Doubtless Abraham and all of his family, Israel after the flesh, drew a certain amount of blessing and encouragement from this covenant or promise, and the oath of the Almighty – which doubly sealed it – gave double assurance of its certainty of accomplishment, but the apostle intimates in the words quoted that God's special design in giving that covenant, and in the binding it solemnly with an oath, was to encourage spiritual Israel – to give us a firm foundation for faith. God well knew that, although 3,000 years from His own standpoint would be but a brief space, "as a watch in the night," nevertheless to us the time would appear long, and the strain upon faith would be severe; hence the positive statement, and the still more deliberate oath that bound it.

We cannot but wonder at such descension upon the part of the great Creator – that he would stoop to His fallen creatures, and above all, that He should condescend to give His oath on the subject. An upright man feels that his word should be sufficient in any matter, and, therefore, would hesitate under special conditions to confirm his word with an oath. How much more might the Heavenly Father have so regarded the matter. But our text explains the reason for such condescension. He was willing more abundantly to show the unchangeableness of His plan, to the "heirs of the promise" – not to the world.


Our Lord Jesus was the great heir of the Abrahamic promise, and the faithful of His consecrated people of this gospel age are declared to be His joint-heirs in that promise, which is not yet fulfilled. For its fulfillment not only the church is waiting, as the bride or fellow members of the body of Christ, to be participants with the Lord in the glories implied in the promise, but additionally the whole creation (the entire human family) is groaning and travailing in pain together waiting for the great fulfillment of that oathbound promise or covenant. (Rom. 8:22)

Those who follow the apostle's argument and realize that we as Christians are still waiting for the fulfillment of this promise, will be anxious to know what are the terms of this covenant which is the hope of the world, the hope of the church, and the object of so much solicitude and care on the part of God, in that He could promise and then back His word with His oath. We answer that every Christian should know what this promise is, since it lies at the very foundation of every Christian hope. How can this hope be an anchor to our souls in all the storms and trials and difficulties of life, in all the opposition of the world, the flesh and the adversary, if we do not know what the hope is, if we have not even recognized the promise upon which this hope is based?


This is the pitiable condition of many of God's true children; for they are merely babes in Christ, using the milk of the word. They have need of the strong meat of God's promise, as the apostle speaks of it, that they may be "strong in the Lord and in the power of His might;" [NS530] that they might have on the whole armor of God, helmet, breast plate, sandals, sword and shield, and be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked one – able also to help the weaker ones in this the truth, with various infidel arguments in the hands and mouths of those who profess to be ministers of the word. Need I quote the promise – the one so repeatedly referred to in the apostolic writings – the one which is the basis or anchorage of our souls? It was made to Abraham and reads thus: "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." [Gen. 22:18]

It was a promise for the future and not for Abraham's own time. The world was not blessed in Abraham's day, nor did he even have a child at the time this promise was given. Isaac did not fulfill the promise! he was merely a type of the greater seed of Abraham who in due time would fulfill it. Jacob and his twelve tribes, fleshly Israel, did not fulfill the promise, but still looked for a greater Messiah to fulfill it, to bless them and through them all the families of the earth. The Apostle Paul referred to this very promise, declaring that the seed of Abraham mentioned therein is Christ.

All Christians agree to this, even though they have not distinctively and properly associated it with the declarations of the promise. But the apostle makes clear to us that, in saying that Christ is the seed of Abraham he had in mind not only the Lord Jesus as the head of the body, the head of the Christ, but also the overcoming saints of this gospel age as the body of Christ. This he distinctly states in many places, for instance, Gal. 3:16-29. Here he declares the matter expressly, saying: "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise."


The "seed of Abraham" is the Gospel church, with her head the Lord Jesus, as the apostle states, again saying: "We brethren, as Isaac was (typified by Isaac), are the children of promise" (Gal. 4:28)

It follows that the seed of Abraham mentioned in the promise is not complete and will not be until the full close of this Gospel Age, the harvest time of which we believe we are now in. But what a wonderful thought is involved in this plain interpretation of the Divine Word. It is big with hope for spiritual Israel, the spiritual seed, and no less it means a blessing to the natural seed, fleshly Israel, and ultimately the Millennial blessings to all the families of the earth. Let us examine these three hopes: The hopes for these three classes center in this great oathbound covenant.

Let us thus obtain what the apostle tells us was the Lord's intention for us, namely, strong consolation – strong encouragement. All through the prophecies the Lord foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow; nevertheless the glories to follow have been granted much more space in the Divine revelation than the sufferings of the present time. The implication suggested by the apostle is, that when the glories of the future shall be realized, the trials and sufferings and difficulties of the present time will be found not worthy to be compared, but those glories and blessings have been veiled from our mental vision, and instead a great pall hangs over the future in the minds of many of the Lord's people.

With some it is merely a mist of doubt and of uncertainty, with others it is the smoke of confusion, blackness and despair as they think of their own friends in connection with an eternity of torture, and the probability that a large majority of those they love will spend an eternity of horror in torment. We know that these clouds and dark forebodings come to us from the dark ages, and through theological twistings handed down from time to time. Many of us have learned to distort the simple language of God's word in such a manner as to cause us anguish and distress. For instance, "destroy," "perish," "die," "second death," "everlasting destructions," etc., terms used by the Lord to represent the ultimate complete annihilation of those who will not come into harmony with him after a full opportunity is granted them, are interpreted to mean the reverse of what they say – life, preservation in torture, etc.

It is high time, dear friends, that we should learn that God's book is not the foundation of these horrible nightmares which have afflicted us, and which in the past hindered many of us from a proper love and reverence for our Creator. It is high time that we should take the explanation which the apostle gives us of this matter and of all the errors which assail poor humanity respecting the future. He says: "The God of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not – lest the glorious light of the goodness of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, should shine into their hearts." 2 Cor. 4:4

We cannot here and now discuss this subject, but have provided, in the hands of the ushers, some free pamphlets on "What say the Scriptures about Hell?" Should the supply prove insufficient drop me a postal card and I will cheerfully send from Allegheny what will satisfy both your head and your heart. Now, what hope and interest has the church of Christ in this promise made to Abraham? To us belongs the very cream of the promise, "the riches of God's grace." [Eph. 2:7]

The promise implies the greatness of the seed of Abraham – which seed is Christ and the overcoming church. This greatness is so wonderful as to be almost beyond human comprehension. The overcomers [NS531] of this gospel age, who "make their calling and election sure" in Christ, are to be joint-heirs with Him in the glorious Millennial Kingdom which is to be God's agency or channel for bringing about the promised blessings of all the families of the earth.


The great blessing of forgiveness of sins which are past, and even the blessing of being awakened from the sleep of death, would profit mankind but little if the arrangements of that future time – the Millennial Age – were not on such a scale as to permit a thorough recovery from present mental, moral and physical weakness. Hence we are rejoiced to learn that in that time Satan will be bound, every evil influence and every unfavorable condition will be brought under restraint, and the favor of God through the knowledge of God will be let loose among the people – "the knowledge of our Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep." [Isa. 11:9; Hab. 2:14]

Blessing! Aye, favor upon favor, blessing upon blessing, is the Lord's arrangement and provision. All shall know him, from the least unto the greatest, and none shall need to say to his neighbor or brother, "know thou the Lord." Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34

The prophets spoke repeatedly of these blessings due to the world in the future. Mark how Joel tells that, as during this gospel age, the Lord pours out his spirit upon His servants and handmaidens, so after these days, in the Millennial Age, He will pour out His spirit upon all flesh. There will be world-wide blessing through the knowledge of the truth.

Mark how Moses, the prophet, spoke of these coming blessings, and told how God would raise up a greater law giver than himself, a greater teacher, a better mediator, and under the better covenant of the Lord would bring blessings world-wide. Mark how again he represents the atonement for the sins of the whole world in Atonement Day sacrificial arrangements. Mark how again He typically foretold the blessings of the Millennial Age, representing it in Israel's "Year of Jubilee," in which every man went free and every possession was returned to its original ownership – thus representing the blessings of the future, man's release from servitude to sin, to Satan, and the return to Him of all that was lost through Adam. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Micah, have spoken of these coming times, so that the Apostle Peter, pointing to the future, could truthfully declare that the coming times of restitution of all things have been spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:10-21


The second class to be blessed under this Abrahamic covenant is fleshly Israel. We are not forgetting that the Jews were a rebellious and stiff-necked people; that they slew the prophets and stoned the Lord's ministers and caused the crucifixion of our Redeemer. Nevertheless, the Scriptures clearly hold forth that after they have had a period of chastisement, which they have been undergoing as a nation since the Lord's crucifixion, and after spiritual Israel shall have been glorified in the Kingdom, then a blessing from the Lord will come upon natural Israel; they shall be saved or recovered from their blindness and, as the prophet declares, they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and mourn for Him, because the eyes of their understanding shall be opened. We rejoice, too, that the promise is clear and distinct that the Lord will pour upon them the "spirit of prayer and of supplication." (Zech. 12:10) See also Rom. 11:25-33.

But if God is to have mercy upon the natural Israelite, whom He declares to have been stiff-necked and hard-hearted and rebellious, would it surprise us that the divine, benevolent intention should be to bless others than the Jews – others who had not in the past the favors and privileges of this favored nation and whose course, therefore, was less in opposition to the light? It should not surprise us, and so we find in this great oath-bound covenant a blessing for all nations – all peoples.

Let us look at the promise again – remembering that our Heavenly Father made it deliberately and subsequently bound Himself to its provisions by an oath, so that we might not only be sure that He could not break His word, but doubly sure that He could not break His oath, and that therefore without peradventure this promise shall be fulfilled. It reads: "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." What is the blessing so greatly needed by all mankind? We answer, it is the very blessing that Jesus declared He came to give, saying: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." [John 10:10]

Ah, yes. Life! Life! It is life that the whole world needs, and our Lord Jesus declares Himself to be the great life-giver. Indeed, in the Syrian language, in which probably our Lord discoursed, the word life-giver is the equivalent to our word saviour. Jesus came to save man – from sin, and from the penalty of sin – namely death. It is a human invention of the dark ages to attach eternal torment as the penalty of sin; it is the divine arrangement to attach to sin a reasonable and just, but an awful penalty – Death. It is because we are sinners that we are all dying creatures and for the Lord to give life implies that He will take away the sin and all necessity for its penalty.


We make God's love too narrow By false standards of our own. [NS532] It is time for us to wake up to the fact that we are no better than our God, but that we are poor, imperfect creatures of the dust, fallen by nature, and that it is time for us to stop misconstruing the divine character and plan as against His creatures, and to hearken to the Lord's own word when He declares: "Their fear toward Me is not of Me, but is taught by the precepts of men." [Isa. 29:13]

It is time for us to be praying for ourselves and for each other as the apostle prayed for some, saying, "I pray God for you that the eyes of your understanding may be able to comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths – to know the love of God which surpasseth all understanding." Eph. 1:18; 3:18, 19

Do not misapprehend us; we are not teaching that heathen and imbeciles and the unregenerate in general shall be taken to heaven, where they would be utterly out of harmony with their surroundings and require to be converted and to be taught. Such an inconsistent view we leave to those who are now claiming that the heathen will be saved in their ignorance.

We stand by the Word of God, that there is no present salvation without faith in Christ Jesus, and hence that the heathen and the imbeciles have neither part nor lot in the salvation in the present time. We stand by the Scriptures which declare that any who are saved in the present time must walk in the narrow way, of which the dear Redeemer says, they be few that find it. We stand by the Scriptures, which say that salvation at the present time is only for the little flock who, through much tribulation, shall enter the kingdom. We stand by the Scriptures, which say that this kingdom class now being developed is the seed of Abraham under the Lord their Head, their Elder Brother, the Bridegroom. We stand by the Scriptures, which say that through this Christ, when complete, a blessing shall extend to every member of Adam's race – the blessing of opportunity to know the Lord, to understand the advantages of righteousness, the opportunity of choosing obedience and by obedience obtaining everlasting life.


The blessings of the future will be of such a kind that every individual who does not have his full opportunity in this present life will have it then; not an opportunity to become members of the "little flock," not an opportunity of becoming members of the "seed of Abraham," not an opportunity to have part in the great "change" from human nature to divine nature; not an opportunity to sit with the Lord in His throne. But an opportunity to obtain that which was lost – human perfection, everlasting life under human, earthly, paradisiacal conditions; an opportunity of coming again into divine likeness, almost obliterated in the human family through the 6,000 years of the fall.

This period, in which this opportunity will be granted to man, is in the Scriptures termed the day of judgment – a thousand year day – the Millennial day. It will be a day of trial, a day of testing, a day of proving the world to see whether, with a full knowledge of God and of righteousness, which He requires, they will choose it in preference to sin, choose life in preference to the second death. Thank God for that wonderful judgment, the trial day for the world secured for all through the precious blood of Christ. "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." Isa. 26:9

Following a public debate with Elder L. S. White of the Disciple denomination, on Baptism, Pastor Russell on Friday baptized 37 adults, 18 men, 19 women, some of whom had been Elder White's adherents. The debate was printed in full in a Cincinnati paper, and a few copies can be secured at Pastor Russell's office, Allegheny, at cost of 5 cents each.

The National Labor Tribune, March 27, 1908


[The following two paragraphs are too 'jumbled' to correctly put in order. – site Editor]

Pastor Russell preached at Allegheny Carnegie Hall ready effected by his friends. In the interim the Bible yesterday to his home congregation, and at the close of House Congregation will meet regularly at the Arch his address bid them an affectionate good-bye until Street Chapel and be served by various brethren of May 10. In the meantime he will make a tour of En- 'ability.

Pastor Russell's text yesterday was from 1 Peter gland, Ireland and Scotland, speaking in 13 of the 4:18, "If the righteous scarcely be saved where shall the principal cities, in accordance with arrangements all ungodly and the sinner appear?"

This discourse has been republished in Pastor Russell's Sermons, pages 303-315, entitled, "Who, then, Shall Be Saved?"

Prev   Next