The National Labor Tribune, August 30, 1908


Put-in-Bay, Aug. 30.

The Convention of Bible Students, which opened here yesterday, is a pronounced success thus far. It opened yesterday with a program covering nine days' sessions and thirty-two addresses.

Those in attendance seemed not to be pleasure-seekers, but rather those who have found the pearl of price, of great value – if one can judge from the contentment and joy of their faces and their interested converse on religious themes. Hotel Victory, which claims to be the greatest summer hotel in the world has put in 1,000 extra cots and claims about 2,400 guests. Others are lodged in smaller hotels. We report the discourse of Pastor C. T. Russell of Pittsburg, delivered this afternoon from the text "And Jesus said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest a while." – Mark 6:31

This discourse was republished in Convention Report Sermons, pages 34-36, entitled, "Come Ye Apart."

National Labor Tribune, September 6, 1908


Put-in-Bay, Ohio, Sept. 6.

The Bible Students' Convention at this place is drawing to a close. The time has been very thoroughly filled up, four Bible studies a day being the average. Many of the speakers are of marked ability, and such earnest listeners are rarely seen at religious gatherings. The attendance of 3,000 with which the convention started has been more than maintained – while some have been obliged to go, more have come. It is by far the greatest gathering ever witnessed on this island. Satisfaction and inward joy seem to be written on every face.

Pastor C. T. Russell of Pittsburg, Pa., was listened to by fully 3,000 people. He took for his text Heb. 12:22, 23; "But ye are come unto Mt. Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly of the first-born, which are written in heaven."

This discourse was republished in Convention Report Sermons, pages 37-40, entitled, "The General Assembly."

The National Labor Tribune, September 13, 1908


Carbondale, Pa., Sept. 13. Pastor C. T. Russell of Pittsburg, Pa., preached this forenoon at Wilkesbarre, Pa., and this afternoon in this city, in both instances to large audiences of very attentive hearing. We report the latter discourse from the text, "Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men." Psa. 90:3.

The speaker said: Dear friends, I shall address you as Christians or as [NS582] those who respect Christianity and desire as close an affiliation with it as their reasoning faculties will permit. We must acknowledge that the number of the intelligent, saintly Christians is rapidly diminishing under the intense light of our day.

This is the reverse of what we ought to expect. Rather should we suppose that increasing knowledge would bring increasing faith in God and in the Bible and increasing devotion to righteousness. The cause of this phenomena is not difficult to find. The light of intelligent thought is disclosing to Christendom many inconsistencies and much false reasoning in the creeds and traditions which we have received from the dark ages. Many supposing these to be truthful interpretations of the Bible are being forced against their will to reject the Word of God. Thus they are left upon the high seas of human speculation and conjecture without chart or compass. And alas, so dense are the mists and fogs of superstition that not even the stars of heaven are discernable as guides!


Close to the foundation of all our errors and difficulties has been the misrepresentation of Almighty God, which represents him before our minds as diabolical to the last degree – as having planned, predestinated before the creation of our race the eternal torture of all except the "little flock" of "the elect" and as having prepared for that denouncement a great torture chamber, prepared before man's creation, sufficiently large to receive the millions of our race, with fireproof devils as tormentors.

This inconsistent teaching has served to frighten the weak-minded, to horrify the good, and to disgust the intellectual, and to hinder the approach of all to their Creator in response to the invitation of the Gospel. We shall endeavor this afternoon, to give you a glimpse of the error which as a chain has hindered us from proper progress towards the Lord in love and reverence.

We cannot hope to deal with every phase of the subject in the time allowed. There are a few of our Lord's "parables and dark sayings" and two verses in the Apocalypse which as translated are misunderstood and seem to favor the error; but after hearing an explanation of the error and seeing a general outline of the divine plan, some pamphlets will be supplied you free which will straighten all these out to the comfort of your hearts and to the satisfaction of your brains. As you come to see the reasonableness of what the Bible presents on this subject of hell we trust it will serve to re-establish your faith in God and in the Bible and to turn your footsteps afresh in or toward the narrow way which leads to immortality.


Our text declares the penalty imposed by the Almighty on our race to be destruction – not eternal torment. We will see shortly that to this agree the words of our Lord, the Apostle and Prophets.

We will see that the Scriptures teach that because of original sin Adam was condemned to death and not eternal torment and that his race shares his penalty. We will see that this death penalty was paid for us by our Lord Jesus and that he paid no eternal torment penalty for any.

We will see that because God provided for our redemption by the death of his Son, therefore the promise of the Scriptures is that our race shall be recovered from destruction – recovered from the tomb, the hell of the Bible – sheol of the Old Testament Hebrew, Hades of the New Testament Greek. This recovery from destruction, from hell, the tomb, the state of death, is Scripturally termed the resurrection of the dead. This resurrection is provided for Adam and every member of his race through the merit of Christ's death as their redemption price; as it is written, "Who redeemeth thy soul from destruction." (Psa. 103:4)

After being awakened and being brought to a knowledge of the Lord, his goodness, justice, love and power, any who then refuse to make progress to perfection will die the Second Death, from which there will be no redemption and no resurrection. "Christ dieth no more." [Rom. 6:9]

We will show you, dear friends, that God's great work in the salvation of our race belongs to the next Age, the Millennium. Then will be fulfilled the many glorious promises respecting the blessing of all the families of the earth and the filling of the world with the knowledge of the Lord and the causing of every knee to bow and every tongue to confess. The only work first to be accomplished is the selection of the Church, "the elect."

These are "called, chosen, faithful" and will with Christ their Lord and Head be God's agents, missionaries, kings and priests to instruct and uplift humanity during that glorious Millennial Age, when Satan and sin will be bound, restrained. This Church class is now reckoned as "passed from death into life" figuratively, but the real passing into life will be at the close of this Age, at the Second Coming of Christ. Then their trials and testings and instruction in the school of Christ being passed, the graduates will constitute a special class in the resurrection, "the First Resurrection."

"Blessed and holy is he that hath 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) [NS583]


You are all aware that the Old Testament portion of the Bible was written in the Hebrew language and the New Testament in the Greek. We will commence with the Old Testament. We find that the word "hell" everywhere throughout the Old Testament is a translation of the Hebrew word "sheol," which occurs altogether 66 times, and is translated three different ways in our version; 32 times grave, 31 times hell and three times pit. It should have been translated grave or pit or tomb in every instance. Indeed, in two instances, where it is rendered hell in the common version, the marginal reading says, "Hebrew, the grave." One of these is Jonah 2:2.

Jonah is represented as telling how he prayed to God while he was in the belly of the great fish. He was buried alive, entombed. Our common version reads, "Out of the belly of hell cried I," the literal meaning is, "Out of the grave-belly I prayed."

Adding these two instances to the last we would have grave 34 times, pit three times and hell 29 times, or the word is erroneously rendered 29 times out of 66. I shall not weary you by giving you all of these 66 passages, nor is this necessary, for we have a free pamphlet to which you are all welcome on request. It takes up every text in which the word hell occurs, from Genesis to Revelation, and every passage which in any sense of the word appears to teach an eternity of torture.

It analyzes these with their context and shows what they do and what they do not mean. It will convince any fair-minded man who will give it careful reading. In passing I remark that much of the difficulty on this subject has arisen from careless handling of the word of God, adding to its statements in our minds if not in our words. For instance, when we read in the Bible, "All the wicked shall God destroy," (Psa. 145:20), we unwittingly said to ourselves, "Destroy must mean preserve, preserve in fire, preserve in torment, preserve with devils eternally."

Thus we distorted the word of God to our own injury as well as to the injury of others. Similarly the word "die," when we read in the Scriptures, "The soul that sinneth it shall die," (Eze. 18:20) we perverted the word of God as we would not think of perverting any other writings and said, "Die must here mean live, live in torment eternally with devils in suffering."

Similarly the word perish; on reading in the Scriptures that the "wicked shall perish" (Psa. 37:20), we turned the language upside down and said, "Perish means preserve."

Thus our confusion continued; we were blinded by the Adversary on the lines on which he has blinded the entire heathen world, hindering the glorious light of the goodness of God from shining more and more into the hearts of men. 2 Cor. 4:4


The first occurrence of the word sheol is in connection with the patriarch Jacob and his 12 sons. His two youngest sons, nobler than their brethren, were most beloved by Jacob. Joseph, his favorite, clothed in his handsome coat of many colors, was sent to his brethren, who were pasturing the sheep at a distance from home, to take them delicacies and bring back word of their welfare. The brethren, moved with envy, first thought to kill him, and subsequently sold him to the Ishmaelites, who in turn sold him to the Egyptians, in whose land under God's providential care he in after years became ruler next to the king. Meantime the brethren took the peculiar coat of many colors, bedraggled it in the blood of a goat and in the dust, and sent it home to Jacob, inquiring if he recognized it. He answered, Alas, it is Joseph's coat; wild beasts have devoured him. I will go down to sheol to my son mourning. (Gen. 37:35)

What did he mean? Did he mean by sheol a place of fire and torment? Did he believe that Joseph, his best son, had gone there, and that he Jacob, also expected to go to that place? No, we answer; he meant that evidently Joseph was dead, and that he would mourn for him the remainder of his life, until he also should go into the state of death, into sheol, into hell. The second occurrence of the word is a little further on in the same narrative.

The brethren had been to Egypt to buy corn, because of famine in Canaan. It was necessary that they should go for more, but they explained to Jacob that the Governor, whom they knew not was Joseph, had required of them that if they come again they must bring with them Benjamin, their brother, the one whom Jacob now specially loved. Jacob protested, but finding that there was no escape he finally told them to take Benjamin, but told them also that if they did not bring him back alive and safe they would bring down his gray hairs in sorrow to the grave, sheol. Jacob evidently meant not that he would go to a place of eternal torment if Benjamin did not return, but that a failure to bring Benjamin back would hasten his death through sorrow. Does any sane person have any doubt as to the meaning of sheol in these instances, the first two occurrences in the Bible? No ! you have no doubt, nor reason for any. And the word has the same meaning exactly in its every occurrence throughout the Scriptures, as you will see when you read carefully our free pamphlet.


Just a word in defense of the translators of our common version, English Bible. All living languages are [NS584] subject to variation in meaning, and this seems to have been particularly true of the English.

To illustrate, the word hell at one time meant the grave in the English language. But gradually this meaning had been dropped out of the word, until now it is never used in ordinary conversation. An illustration of its use in bygone times we find in ancient English literature references to the helling of a house, meaning not the burning of the house, nor the torturing of it, but the thatching of it. Similarly we read of the farmer helling his potatoes, the meaning of the expression being not the roasting of potatoes nor the torturing of them, but the putting of them into a pit for preservation from the frosts, etc., until needed for use.

As for the translators of the revised version they seem to have been too honest to use the word hell as a translation for sheol and hades, but not honest enough to tell the people the truth on the subject. Hence you will find that in the revised version no translation at all is given, but the Hebrew word sheol in the Old Testament and the Greek word hades in the New Testament are used instead of the word hell when grave is not used.

The translators evidently anticipated what occurred, namely, that the public, knowing nothing about Greek and Hebrew, would esteem this as an attempt to do away with hell, whereas the real animus of the translators was to perpetuate. The translators knew that the public would say that hell was just as hot and just as real although now called sheol and hades. They knew that the public would never suspect that the wool was being pulled over the eyes of their understanding to hinder them from seeing the plain teaching of God's Word, that sheol means the grave or tomb or death state – nothing more, nothing less.


Job, one of the most prominent characters of the Old Testament, one especially mentioned as a favorite with God, made a most eloquent prayer that he might go to hell, to sheol, to the tomb. And no wonder, poor man, for surely in his case was fulfilled the statement, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous." (Psa. 34:19)

Unwilling to suicide, he craved relief from the sorrows and troubles in death. Refresh your memory respecting his troubles. The Almighty, while approving him, permitted the Adversary to vex him sorely, to the extent of taking away earthly possession except the mere thread of life itself. His children, gathered for a birthday party, were killed by a cyclone; later his flocks and herds and property in general were destroyed.

Finally his health gave way, and he broke out in boils from head to foot. To add to his sorrow, friends and neighbors, instead of consoling him, turned against him and declared that he had been acting the part of a hypocrite, and that God was now exposing him – showing his disapproval. In vain did Job protest his innocence and appeal to the Lord, until subsequently the Lord gave His verdict in favor of Job against his friends. But as though all these trials and difficulties were not enough for the poor man, to cap the climax his wife exclaimed, "You are accursed of God and should die."

Then poor Job poured forth his prayer for death, saying, "O, that Thou wouldst hide me in sheol until Thy wrath be past." Job 14:13 Does anyone of sane mind think that poor Job, after passing through all these afflictions, was in these words praying to God to cast him into a place of eternal torment, to be the sport of devils? No; such a supposition would be irrational. Very evidently Job meant that, if God were willing, he would be glad to die, to go into sheol, the tomb, the state of death.


But Job had a hope for the future – he was not desirous of being annihilated; hence his prayer is, "O, that Thou wouldst hide me in sheol (hell, the tomb) until Thy wrath be past."

The "wrath" here mentioned is elsewhere called the "curse."

Back in Eden, when our first parents were perfect, by disobedience they brought upon themselves the divine sentence of "curse" or "wrath" – the death sentence, which includes all mental, moral and physical degeneracy known to our race, and which has been afflicting us as a whole for now 6,000 years. Job was looking beyond the period of the permission of this "curse" or "wrath" to a time future, when the "curse" would be removed, and instead of it a "blessing" would come to every member of the race, himself included. As a prophet he recorded his hope of a common Redeemer. "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand in the latter day upon the earth," through this Redeemer's work he realized that the "curse" would be abolished, and his prayer to be hid in sheol, the grave, the tomb, was merely until the "curse" the "wrath" would be over – until the great blessing time, the millennial reign, should begin. His prayer continuing shows his hope of a resurrection, "that Thou wouldst appoint me a set time and remember me." [Job 14:13]

Then particularly referring to the resurrection, he says, "Thou shalt call and I will answer Thee, for Thou wilt have regard unto the work of Thy hands." Job 14:15 We remember also the Prophet David's prayer for deliverance from death. He said, "O, save me for Thy mercies' sake. For in death there is no remembrance of Thee; in sheol (hell, the tomb) who shall give Thee [NS585] thanks?" (Psa. 6:4-5)

We remember the good King Hezekiah also, whose life was spared 15 years in answer to prayer. In thanking the Lord for this he said, "Death cannot celebrate Thee; sheol (the tomb) cannot praise Thee." Isa. 38:18


One of Solomon's inspired proverbs much quoted is, "Do with thy might what thy hand findeth to do," but very rarely do we ever hear the remainder of the quotation, namely, "because there is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device in sheol (the grave) whither thou goest." (Eccl. 9:10)

How reasonable is the statement rightly understood – there is no wisdom nor knowledge nor work in the hell to which the good and the bad, all mankind, have been going for the past six thousand years.

The dead are really dead, extinct, except as God has provided for them a resurrection from the dead, a reawakening to sentient being. The very moment of their awakening will seem to each to be the next moment to the one in which he died, because there is no wisdom or knowledge in the tomb, in sheol, in hell.

How wonderful the goodness and mercy of God will appear to the great mass of our race, when they are awakened from the sleep of death and learn for the first time of the goodness of God, that instead of having provided devils and torture he has provided through His Son an opening of the prison doors of the tomb and a setting at liberty of the captives of death, providing also for their future uplift out of sin and degradation under the favorable conditions of the millennial kingdom of God's dear Son.


We now call your attention to the fact that the word sheol in the Old Testament, which we have shown means merely tomb, the death state, is the exact equivalent of the word hades in the New Testament Greek, which likewise means the tomb, the state of death. For instance, in Psalm 16:10 we read, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in sheol" (hell, the tomb), and we find St. Peter quoting this on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:27-3 1)

"Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades," hell, the grave. St. Peter proceeds to explain that David spoke this not respecting his own soul, but the soul of Jesus, and thus foretold our Lord's resurrection from the dead on the third day. How simple, how plain the entire matter is from this the Scriptural standpoint. Take another illustration: the prophet Hosea declares, "I will ransom them from the power of sheol (the grave, hell), I will redeem them from death: O death, where is thy sting? O sheol (grave, hell), I will be thy destruction." [Hos. 13:14]

The Apostle Paul quotes this passage in his great discourse on the resurrection, saying. "O death where is thy sting? O hades (grave) where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. 15:55)

What could be simpler, plainer? All that we need is to get the smoke of the dark ages out of the eyes of our understanding, and to allow the true light from the inspired Word of God to speak to us plainly and be its own interpreter.


Our topic inquires who are in hell. The Scriptures answer that all go to hell, the tomb, the death-state, as Solomon says, "There is no wisdom no knowledge, nor device in the grave (sheol), whither thou goest."

In this vast prison-house it has been estimated that something like 20,000,000,000 of Adam's children are prisoners. But the very word prison implies that they are not extinct, that it is in the divine power and purpose to bring them forth, as Job expressed it, "Thou shalt call and I will answer thee."

Our Lord Jesus was the first of these prisoners to come back from sheol, from hades, as the Apostle Peter and the Prophet David have just told us. He went to hell, to sheol, to hades, to the tomb, to the death-state and came back by a resurrection. As the Apostle declares, "God raised him from the dead by his own power. The Apostle tells us that in the resurrection of Jesus we have God's assurance of his ability and willingness to deliver all from sheol, hades, the tomb, to raise all the dead through him. Acts 17:31 This figure of death as a prison house, holding captive until the glorious morning of the resurrection the whole world of mankind, is frequently set forth in the Bible. There the dead are spoken of as "prisoners of hope."

In his last message to the Church our Lord declares, "I am He that was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, and have the keys of death and hades" – the grave, hell, the tomb. Zech. 9:12; Rev. 1:18 How glad we are to know that the keys of the great prison are in the hands of one who "so loved the world as to give his life a ransom price for theirs," that God "might be just and yet the justifier of those who believe in Jesus." [Rom. 3:26]

How we who now believe do rejoice exceedingly in this great Savior, able to save unto the uttermost. How glad we are to know that, although the number of believers now is small, the day is coming when all shall know of the Redeemer and the provisions and conditions of the eternal salvation. As it is written, "The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep;" then, as the prophet declares, "None shall need to say to his neighbor or brother, know thou the Lord, because all shall know him from the least to the greatest." Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34 [NS586]


The keys of death and the grave, which the Lord holds and is ready to use, merely waiting the Father's due time – symbolize his rightful authority to control the dead and the dying. If the Lord had said, I have a crow-bar or a sledge-hammer, it would have signified His violent opposition to the dying and death-conditions and that He would rescue the people by force; but the choice of a key as a symbol represents right and authority, and the Scriptures everywhere coincide with this thought, declaring that it was God himself who condemned our race to death and that our Lord Jesus in no sense of the word designed to oppose the Father's power and authority.

The Bible declares that our Lord redeemed us by paying our penalty for us, and thus "bought us with His precious blood," and that thus justly He has the authority to do with the race of mankind as He wills. And, thank God, He wills their blessing and uplifting in accordance with the Father's promise to Abraham. "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." [Gen. 22:18]


It was to this great prison that our Lord referred in His sermon on Isaiah 61 and His application to Himself of the prophecy that He would open the prison doors and set at liberty the captives. Our Lord made no effort to rescue prisoners from the literal prisons of Palestine or other parts of the world at His first advent – He had a higher and grander mission. He even allowed John the Baptist to be beheaded in prison without so much as uttering a word of protest or giving one particle of assistance for his liberty.

Our Lord was in the process of redeeming the world, purchasing all the prisoners and the prison house with a view to eventually set all free during the Millennial age by a resurrection from the dead. Did time permit we would like to point out how the testimony of the Scriptures respecting the resurrection of the dead is in full accordance with the setting of captives free. We would like to show that the "life resurrection" (John 5:28-29) R. V., will be an instantaneous one to perfection, embracing only those who, during the present life, have made their peace with God through faith and have demonstrated their loyalty to Him and whose trial therefore is ended and their full reward to be granted them in the moment of their resurrection.

We would like to show how the remainder of the world will be awakened from the state of death during the millennial age, in practically the condition in which they died, but surrounded by the new conditions of the millennial kingdom – Satan and every evil influence "bound," restrained, and truth and righteousness and every good influence surrounding them, and with the Church of this Gospel Age, the Bride of Christ, the Royal Priesthood, their assistants, governors, guides, to help the willing and obedient up, up, up, out of sin and degradation and death conditions back to the full perfection of perfect humanity, the image and likeness of God – back to all that was lost in Adam and Eden, with added blessings of increased knowledge through experience.


We find nothing in the Scriptures implying that all men will eventually attain to eternal life, but quite to the contrary, a provision of Second Death for all who will refuse the divine favors and blessings and privileges that through Christ shall ultimately come to every member of the race. We do claim that the Scriptures teach a universal opportunity through which every member of the race may come to a knowledge of the only name and to obedience to the King of kings and Lord of lords. Thus each, if he will, may ultimately attain to everlasting life through the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

We urge all who feel a deeper interest in the Word of God through this presentation of its teachings, and who consequently would feel a deeper reverence and love for the Almighty and for the Savior, that such shall not content themselves with what they have heard, but shall avail themselves of the helps for Bible study, which God is now granting to his people, that they may come to "Full assurance of faith" and to that full rest of heart which is the privilege of the "sanctified in Christ Jesus." [Heb. 10:22; 1 Cor. 1:2]

The National Labor Tribune, September 22, 1908


Pastor C. T. Russell preached Sunday at Carnegie Hall, Pittsburg (Northside), to a large audience on the Golden Rule, taking for his text the words of Jesus, "Whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matt. 7:12)

He said: The poet has well said, "How wise are God's commands How just his precepts are!" [NS587] Our conception of a God measures our highest ideals and principles. Whoever, therefore, has a mean or slipshod conception of the Almighty is bound to be more or less mean and slipshod in his conduct of life, for every man or woman to some extent worships his own highest ideal. And this is authorized by our Redeemer's words, "Do ye like unto your Father which is in heaven." [Matt. 5:48]

Our forefathers during the Dark Ages burned one another at the stake and otherwise tortured one another, because of their misconception of the Divine Character; because their ideals were too low. They truly believed what they formulated in their creeds and handed down to us, namely, that God in the present time is gathering from amongst men a handful of saints for the heavenly condition and that he will turn over the remainder – all who walk not after the spirit, but after the flesh – to eternal torment at the hands of demons. Having before their minds this misconception of the Bible teachings, they merely copy that misconception.

That civilized men have gotten beyond these standards of the Dark Ages is a matter for congratulations. We regret, nevertheless, that their freedom from an error has not brought them all the blessings that it should. They have attained the higher ideal mostly by ignoring the Bible, by denying its infallibility, by accepting their own judgment and reasoning in supposed contradiction of the Bible teachings.

How sad is the fact that a majority of the noble minds of Christendom today deny that the Bible is a Divinely inspired revelation of God and consider it merely the work of well-intentioned, but ignorant men, in comparison to whom the theologians of today are pastmasters every way, quite competent to write out of their own wits matter much superior to that of the Bible, the Divine inspiration of which they deny. But what a sad condition the true believer would be in if he lost this, the anchor of his soul, and were cast adrift to his own speculations or those of others, which continually contradict one another. To those who have never known the value of the Word of God as the Divine counsel and who are totally ignorant of its "exceeding great and precious promises" – to such the loss would be less, but to us "who have tasted of the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come and been made partakers of the holy Spirit" – for us to lose all these would be to lose almost life itself, for truly, as the Prophet declares, the knowledge of God's loving kindness is better than life, the best life, so that to lose it would mean to take away that which makes life most precious to us. [Heb. 6:4-6]


The Bible declaration that Justice is the foundation of the Divine Kingdom or Throne gives the mind pictorially an appreciation of the value of Justice in its relationship to every element of the Divine Character. "Be just before you are generous," is a proverb amongst men, which evidently is in full accord with what the Scriptures declare of God's Character. He is first just – never anything less than Justice. His wisdom, his power, his love must all co-ordinate with and rest upon this quality of Justice. And so it is with all those who would copy this character. They must be first just.

Any quality built upon any foundation to any extent ignoring this one is faulty, improper, sinful. The first man, made in God's image and moral likeness must have had justice as the foundation of his character. And all of his descendants still possess this quality, though in varying degree. We call it also conscientiousness, righteousness. Some, indeed, have this quality in so weak and slight a degree that it is easily overbalanced by their other stronger qualities of mind, such as acquisitiveness, approbativeness, etc.

It is for this reason that prisons are necessary to restrain all the stronger organs of man's minds and to encourage their conscientiousness, their sense of justice, righteousness. These standards of righteousness heretofore have, from the first, been considered and esteemed the Divine standards, and are still so esteemed, except by atheists. During the Dark Ages reasoning minds tried the various expedients whereby to harmonize the Justice of God with the "Doctrines of Demons," which misrepresented the Divine program for mankind. (1 Tim. 4:1)

But in our day the dawning light from every quarter reveals to the awakened conscience the fact that the old creeds require of humanity far higher standards than they accredit to our Maker. We are to be just, generous, kind, loving; but the Divine pattern held up to us in the misleading creeds portray our Almighty Creator as claiming all of these qualities, but by his course of dealing with humanity violating them all, every one.

Who with an enlightened mind can any longer claim that it was ever just or kind or loving for God to bring into being a race of intelligent creatures, for the great mass of whom he had no better provision than an eternity of torture, and knew all this before he created them? Who can deny that it would have been more just, more kind, more wise, and more loving, to have left the entire race uncreated than to have made provision for the eternal torture of 999 out of every 1,000 of them, or a worse proportion, for surely the saints do not number one in a thousand of the world's population? [NS588]


The Bible freely tells us that many features of the Divine Plan are now hidden in mystery, but the last book of the Bible, which prophetically pictures the future, assures us that in God's due time "The mystery shall be finished, which he hath declared to his servants the prophets" (Rev. 10:7)

The same book assures us that in God's due time, when the mystery is cleared, "All nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy righteous acts have been made manifest." (Rev. 15:4)

We are now living in the time when the "mystery" is ending and the righteous dealings of God, from the Scriptural standpoint, may be clearly seen. But these revelations are not meant for the world in general now, but merely for "the elect," the "sanctified in Christ Jesus."

"To you it is given to know the mysteries, to outsiders these things are spoken in parables and dark sayings." (Matt. 13:11, 13)

But not until the elect shall be glorified and the Millennial Kingdom be established with the "Mystery" be made fully known to the world and every knee bow and confess. Hence, only those of a contrite heart may now see, now understand, the real character of God, his real purpose towards man, etc. Thus our Lord declares, "This is life eternal that they should know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." John 17:3

To the class addressed by our Lord, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see," and for these alone, is the message that the hell of the Bible is the tomb, the state of death. They were all condemned to death through Adam's sin and not one, according to the Scriptures, was condemned to eternal torment.

It is for these to see and appreciate the love of God, which has made provision for the salvation of all from the present state of degradation and sin and death. These alone may see that Jesus was "The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world," and not merely the sins of the Church. These may see that the blessings of salvation are for two classes of mankind – now for the saintly class, "The called according to God's purpose," and who are promised a share in the First Resurrection and then during the Millennial Age salvation for all of the race – an opportunity for Restitution to man's original estate in the image and likeness of God. These may see that this original state will not be forced upon any, but made possible to all on terms of full and hearty obedience to the Great Prophet, Priest and King during his Millennial reign. And these may see also that the end of the wilfully wicked is to be destruction and not to be preserved in torment; but the Second Death will signify the second destruction, but this time without hope of redemption or resurrection or recovery. These, then, see the Justice of God manifested toward man for now six thousand years, under the infliction of the original penalty, "Dying thou shalt die."

These see how Divine love met the requirements of Divine Justice, when our Lord Jesus "gave himself a Ransom for all."

"He died, the Just for the unjust" – redeemed the first Adam and all his family and all his estate with his own precious blood, his sacrifice. These may see how wisdom bids love to wait throughout this Gospel Age, while the elect class is being called out from the redeemed world to constitute the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, and joint-heirs with him in his Millennial Kingdom. These can see how in due time Divine power will cooperate with love, and justice be silent while Satan is restrained and the human family granted the opportunity for uplift – resurrection to all that was lost plus valuable lessons of knowledge through experience.


They make a great mistake who suppose that the Golden Rule, or indeed any of the messages of the Scriptures, were intended for the world of mankind. No, they are for the Church only and this is shown not only by the fact that our Lord's words were addressed to his disciples, but also by the fact that the Apostolic epistles similarly are addressed to the saints and the household of faith. Others cannot see, understand, appreciate, in the proper degree. The worldly mind can and does appreciate the maxim, "Honesty is the best policy" in the long run, but it cannot appreciate the sentiment of our text, in the sense of being willing to adopt this as a principle and as a rule of life. In harmony with this thought, we seek to impress the import of our text only upon those blessed of the Father, who have been drawn, called, sanctified in Christ Jesus, and whose eyes to some extent have seen Justice to be the foundation of the Divine Character. The Golden Rule does not express all of the Christian duty; he is expected to make progress in conduct and character development much beyond this. But this further progress marks his development in love. The Golden Rule marks the very lowest standard which must measure our dealings with others in the Church and in the world – Justice. In a word our text, although far above the ordinary course of humanity, should be in use every day and every hour by every follower of Christ. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." [Matt. 7:12]

That our Lord was not giving this as a Gospel standard and love standard, we note the fact that he added the words, "This is the Law and the Prophets," this is the teaching or demand of the Law and the Prophets upon all who would seek to do righteousness – Justice. The measure of our development as New Creatures in Christ is whatever we attain to in love above the [NS589] standard of the Golden Rule. Justice demands us to render to others as we would have them render to us. Love says, "I demand nothing, but show you the length and breadth and height and depth of Love Divine and wait expectantly to note your appreciation of this and how you will seek to be copies of God's dear Son, who laid down his life on our behalf."

Addressing those who had made a consecration of discipleship, to walk in the Lord's footsteps, St. Paul says, "We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren" – after the example of Jesus. [1 John 3:16]

All of the Lord's people are to love him and the brethren; yea, even their enemies. However, let us now stop short of love and merely consider what the simple justice of the Golden Rule would imply in our conduct. How do our daily lives square with this Golden Rule of absolute justice, omitting love entirely? If you are an employer, do you treat your employees in harmony with this Rule and do unto them as you would have them do unto you, if your position were reversed? If you are an employee, inquire of yourself, "Do I treat my employer and his business as I would have him treat me and my business, if our relationship were reversed?"

Do you treat your butcher, your baker, your grocer, etc., as you would like to have them treat you, if your position were reversed? Are you polite to them and not inclined to give them unnecessary trouble? Do you pay them promptly? Or, if you are the tradesman, do you treat your customers as you would wish to have them treat you, if conditions were reversed? Do you charge them a reasonable price only? Do you give them proper weight and measure?

Do you properly represent your goods to them, as you would have them represent to you? Are you a good neighbor? Do you see to it that your children are not a nuisance to others; that your chickens are not permitted to damage your neighbor's garden; that your dog is not a ferocious one, and that his bark does not keep the neighborhood awake? In a word, do you treat your neighbor justly, along the lines of the Golden Rule, doing unto him only as you would wish him to do to you? Do you allow any member of your family to be a nuisance to the neighborhood, while trying to learn how to sing or play the clarinet or violin, the harmonica, or a tin horn?

Let us now step into your house and measure things there by the Golden Rule. As husbands, how do you treat your wives? And wives, how do you treat your husbands? Can you apply the Golden Rule to your words, to your conduct, to your demands of each other? Or do you act meanly, selfishly, in taking advantage of each other, to the limit that the other will forbear? Do you deal with your children according to the lines of the Golden Rule?

Are you an ideal parent, according to your own advanced standard of what a parent's duty would be to his children? Do you remember that you have a responsibility for their training, a responsibility so far as your circumstances will permit, for their environment and happiness and education and general preparation for usefulness in life? Or are you indifferent to their interests, neglectful of your responsibilities? Do you recognize that your children have certain rights and that these increase as they near maturity, or are you forgetful of these, disposed to keep the children under the restraints of childhood, souring their dispositions and making them unhappy, until they resent the injustice and a family quarrel results? As children, are you thoughtful of your parents, their welfare, and their wishes, their happiness, as you would like your children to be thoughtful of yours? Do you remember the hours and weeks of feebleness and sickness and toil which you cost them in your infancy, and are you seeking to repay those kindnesses, and seeking to make their last days the happiest of their lives?

Are you observing the Golden Rule toward your parents? How is it in your relationship to your brothers and sisters? When they borrow your things without leave, do you retaliate by borrowing theirs without leave, and thus keep up a continual fret and vexation of spirit in the family? Or do you practice the Golden Rule of justice and do nothing to your brother and sister, or their things, or theirs, that you would not wish them to do to you or your things?


Surely in the church you should remember the Golden Rule laid down by the head of the church. Nevertheless I am sure that if you are unjust in your own family, and to your business associates, you will be unjust also in your dealing with the "church, which is the body of Christ." [Col. 1:24]

He that is unjust in little things would be unjust in greater ones. He who is faithful in little things will be faithful in the greater ones. He who practices the Golden Rule during the six days of his contact with business will surely be faithful on the seventh also; but faithfulness to the Golden Rule on one day in seven only will never win divine approval. In applying this Golden Rule to the consecrated people of God, we are following the symbols of Rev. 11:1. In symbol St. John was commanded to take the Golden Rule and measure the "Temple of God and the altar and them that worship therein."

Let us each ask himself, not only the foregoing questions pertaining to earthly relationships, but questions also respecting [NS590] the higher relationship in Christ. Am I making an honest confession before the people of God, with whom I am in association? Or am I deceiving them? If I have taken upon me a denominational name which stands for denominational creed, do I really believe that creed and endorse it and uphold it? Or am I in a measure out of accord with it?

Does it misrepresent me, or do I misrepresent it? Am I doing to my associates and to the Lord, the Head of the Church, as I would have them do to me? If not, I should square my conduct by the Golden Rule. I should be honest with my Lord, with my brethren and with myself, and make no false professions. Do I treat all the brethren as such as the Apostle says, "Without partiality and without hypocrisy?" Or do I pick out some of special class or caliber or style, and measurably ignore some of the poorer or less literate, who, perhaps, need my assistance more? Am I doing to all these a brother's part, as I would that they should do to me, if our positions were transposed? As the pastor, am I thoughtful of the interests of the brethren? Do I watch out for their liberties?

Do I seek to impart to them freely whatever knowledge I possess, or am 1 trying to hoodwink them and to keep them in ignorance, and to hold them down? In a word, am I doing for the Lord's sheep, as an under-shepherd, what I would wish to be done to me by an under-shepherd, if I were one of the Lord's sheep under his care? Or as one of the Lord's sheep under a pastoral head, am I seeking by word and act to encourage and assist the pastor, as I would like to have the Lord's people do for me, if I were in pastoral service? Finally, do I apply the Golden Rule in the exercise of my tongue and my brains as these have to do with neighbors and friends and brethren in the Church? Do I think generously or meanly of others?

Am I continually surmising dishonesty, meanness or impurity on their part? And would I like to have them similarly imagine those things toward me? Whoever has this disposition should know that he is harboring what the Scriptures designate "iniquity in his heart."

Such thoughts should be resisted as unworthy of noble minds, and in their place we should foster kindness and generosity and nobility of sentiment respecting others. How about the tongue? Do we always follow the Scriptural rule, "Speak evil of no man?" Or do we find ourselves possessed of a mean disposition, which takes pleasure in gossiping to others respecting what we know, or what we have heard derogatory to others?

Would we like to have others do this to us, or is such a course contrary to the Golden Rule? Do we find ourselves seeking a justification for speaking something that is unkind or ungenerous, whether truthful or not? If so, do we recognize that this is an element quite contrary to the Golden Rule, and in our endeavor to find justification for doing that which we recognize as contrary to the Golden Rule do we see that it is merely an attempt to deceive ourselves, in a manner which will not deceive our Lord? "Be not deceived. God is not mocked." [Gal. 6:7]

He that doeth righteousness is righteous. He that keeps the Golden Rule is just. He who under any pretext violates the Golden Rule thus displays the injustice of his heart whatever may be his outward professions of righteousness. In this connection let us not forget the Scripture which declares, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh." [Matt. 12:34]

If, then, we find ourselves disposed to slander, or in any manner to injure or seek a pretext to slander or injure another, whoever he may be, it should be to us a signal of distress, indicating corruption of mind, injustice, inequality. To find such a condition of injustice in any measure associated with our thoughts or words or deeds under any of the heads already examined should mean chagrin to us, who have undertaken to follow in the footsteps of the Master. It should mean alarm!

For if such condition were not altered it would lead toward a worse one, to more ungodliness, so that whatever we have by nature or by grace would become vitiated, perverted, valueless, and we would be certain to be of those who would fail to "make their calling and election sure," to a position of joint-heirship with Christ in his Kingdom. For is it not predestinated that that "elect" company must all be copies of God's dear Son in character likeness? And is it not equally certain that our Master is not only just toward all, but loving and self-sacrificing as well? Let us, then, remember the words of the Golden Rule, "And be ye like unto your Father which is in heaven."

If we be not able to fully live up to this grand standard, let us at least approve it in our hearts and keep as close to it as possible in thought and word and deed! They do the most Whose lives possess The sterling stamp Of righteousness; For deeds are true.

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