The St. Paul Enterprise, August 13, 1915


"The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." '1 Cor. 3:19

Syracuse, N Y, August 8 Pastor Russell preached here today on the text, "Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth." (John 17:17) He spoke as follows:

Today we find that the great majority of people think very little about the Word of God, so that as a matter of fact our great colleges teach nothing pertaining to the Bible. Years ago it was quite customary that the Bible should have a prominent place in the schools, and the pupils were all under religious influences; for nearly every college was under the control of some denomination. This gave them a sectarian bias, however; and to whatever extent they were sectarian they were not free to study Truth.

But the world in its wisdom has been leaving everything pertaining to the Bible. Today our college-bred men are the greatest opponents of the Word of God. The great majority of those graduated from our colleges within the past thirty years are total unbelievers in the Bible as God's Inspired Word. Many of them are ministers, who select their texts from the Bible and who retain a certain respect for it. Their parents venerated it, and so the sons still cherish it as they would an old friend. They regard it as they would a pair of old shoes that their great-grandfather had used not that the shoes would have any intrinsic value, but they were great-grandfather's shoes. Then the Bible is a convenient place from which to get texts. They know, too, that a great many people are not college-bred and still reverence the Old Book. They like to condescend to the extent of showing that they do not altogether ignore the sentiments of the common people.

If cross-examined carefully, probable ninety-five hundred of these would say, "I do not believe the Bible is the Word of God." Although many ministers do not so express themselves in the pulpit, they do so in private. As an instance of clerical unbelief in the teachings of Scripture, take the case of Rev. Dr. Aked. This well-known clergyman moved some years ago to the Pacific Coast, and became president of the Church Federation in San Francisco. Both orally and in print this gentleman expressed his utter unbelief in the pre-human existence of our Lord Jesus his belief being that our Lord was merely an ordinary man, a fine man. This view was published broadcast.

The next day somebody came out in the San Francisco papers and said that with such sentiments Dr. Aked should resign his position as president of the Church Federation, that certainly nobody would be desirable in that position who did not believe that Jesus had more than human nature who thus discarded the Bible. The day following, Dr. Aked resigned, saying that he did not wish to offend anybody, etc. The Church Federation of ministers met, and re-elected him on the basis of his profession that he did not believe that Jesus Christ had either a pre-human existence or a superior birth! As far as I know, Dr. Aked is still president of the Church Federation; and those ministers that re-elected him, seventy-eight out of a hundred, were willing to come out in public and say so.


The point to which I am calling attention is this: The colleges and the ministers have abandoned the Word of God. The preachers like to select a text from it, just as they might on other occasions quote from Shakespeare. So far as we may judge, this is the general sentiment amongst them. Are they then sanctified by the Truth, the Word of God? If they declare that God has given a message to the world or to the Church, where do they find it, if not in the Bible?

The majority of the preachers do not believe in personal inspiration, except in the sense in which some people may be said to have a sort of intuition for music, etc., and so might be called inspired that artist was inspired when painting that picture or composing that tune. But as for any belief in such inspiration as the Bible teaches that "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the holy Spirit," not knowing what they were saying I doubt that five percent of the ministers thus believe the Bible to be the Word of God. (2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:10-12) With the religious teachers and preachers in this condition of unbelief, is it any wonder that true religion is at a discount with the people? It would be strange if matters were different. Jesus said, "When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith upon the earth?" You are witnesses with me that He has come and has found very little faith. 2 Pet. 3:3-9


Away back in the time of the Prophet Daniel, God declared that in the Time of the End He would grant a special blessing upon Bible students. (Dan. 12:1-10) And here we are, down in the Time of the End! Many are running to and fro in automobiles, electric trams, steam railroads, etc. Knowledge is increasing everywhere. But the worldly-wise do not understand; for these things of God's Word are hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes those not too wise in matters pertaining to this world. (Matt. 11:25) These accept the Word of God and are guided by it. To these, therefore, has come a great blessing.

Our Lord also spoke about the end of the Gospel Age. His parable of The Ten Virgins refers not to the world, but to the Church the wise and the foolish in the Church of Christ. (Matt. 25:1-13) In the end of the Age all the virgins, all justified believers, were ready to meet Him. But the Bridegroom tarried, and for a while all the virgins slumbered and slept. Then came the Message, "Behold the Bridegroom" He is here! All the virgins awakened. The wise virgins had oil in their vessels. They trimmed their lamps (Psa. 119:105); they saw the Truth, and were prepared to follow the Bridegroom in to the Marriage of the Lamb. [HGL739] But the foolish virgins did not have the light. When they asked the wise virgins for oil, the wise virgins declared that they could not spare it. The oil represents the holy Spirit and the enlightenment which it brings. The foolish virgins go to buy when they give time for study and investigation time taken from business, pleasure and worldly affairs, that they may obtain the oil which God is pleased that His people should have. Those who do not find time for investigation do not wish to have the oil, the light. Although they are true Christians, yet they are not willing to pay the price and get the oil. Whoever is now rejoicing in the light of Present Truth will testify that it cost him something something of worldly influence, time, attention, thought to have the oil and the light, to make ready to go into the Marriage.

How well the Master understood the present situation! God wished the light to cost something. To some of olden time our Lord said, "Sit down and count the cost" how much the light will cost you what discipleship will cost. After having put your hand to the plow, do not look longingly back to the things of the world. God is not pleased with such service. Whoever prefers the world, the flesh and the Devil may stay with them. During the Millennial Age the Lord will deal with that class, and will give them mercy, blessings. But now He is calling for a special class that delight to do the Father's will, and do not need to be urged, pushed and whipped. They must have the spirit of the Master, of whom it is written: "I delight to do Thy will, O My God. Thy Law is written in My heart."


Should any of this class come under a measure of difficulty, and temporarily become weak in the doing of the Lord's will, He will give them the necessary experiences, if their hearts are right. He will awaken them from their lethargy, just as in the parable all the foolish virgins were awakened.

God is not seeking to deceive people or to force them into the Kingdom. During this Gospel Age He has merely sent forth His Message to gather out those who wished to respond. God has been taking out a people for His name using no force, no compulsion, merely His Word. We heard the call speaking peace through Jesus Christ. Our hearts responded, and we came back into harmony with God. The Word informed us that through the death of His Son God had made all arrangements for covering our sins; and that He was willing to receive us just as if we had not been sinners willing to take us into His family and make us His heirs, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord.

But all this was merely the voice, the promise of God. There was nothing to insist upon our becoming children of God; and if we were received into His family it was because we willingly, intentionally, gave ourselves to Him. All through the Gospel Age the Word of God has gone forth. If He had sent force, He could quickly have gathered all that He desired. After a few miracles people would have waked up and said, "What will happen to us if we do not get right with God?" That class will be dealt with by and by. Messiah's Kingdom will manifest the Power and the Wisdom of God.


Coming back to our text, we see that the Lord sent forth His Word, to accomplish a certain mission. His Word is Truth not truth on every subject, but on the most important ones. Of these important subjects the principal one is that which God purposes to teach all His intelligent creatures obedience to Himself. All other education will prove to be valueless, perhaps injurious, unless associated with obedience to God.

The world is becoming very much discontented. People are unhappy; they crave more money and less work. Nobody is satisfied except true Christians. The majority of professed Christians are under the delusions of the present time. But the true Christian has that which is satisfactory. Having given his all to the Lord, he has received the blessed assurance that all things shall work together for good to them that love God, to the called according to His purposes. Therefore he is content to let the Heavenly Father shape his affairs. Should he get out of work, God knows how to provide employment. He could feed Elijah by the brook, the ravens bringing the Prophet the necessary food. 1KI 17:5, 6

One cannot fellowship with the world, and at the same time be great in the Lord. We prefer to be amongst those to whom the Master will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." The knowledge that God is for us and loves us is a satisfying portion to heart and mind. Having left the world to follow Jesus and daily seeking to walk in His steps, the Church class are loved of the Father. They are the ones whom He has called.


In the beginning God created the Lord Jesus, the Logos. (Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14) Then the Logos, as His active Agent, made the different orders of spirit beings, and finally man. (John 1:1-3) After man had fallen into sin, God said, "We will let him have his experience with death and its concomitants. In due time I will send a great Redeemer, to ransom Adam and all his posterity. During the Seventh Thousand-Year Day of man's existence this Redeemer will take charge of humanity. Meantime I will have nothing to do with them until they are restored to perfection."

But while God was thus resting from His earthly creation, He considered it a good time to bring in a New Creation. The first of this New Creation was the One who redeemed mankind. He passed through His experiences and testings eighteen hundred and more years ago. But this was not all of the Divine Plan. As the Apostle says, there was a secret which God had kept hidden from before the foundation of the world His Purpose to have not merely a great Redeemer for mankind, but a people taken out from amongst humanity to be the Church of the First-borns. These were to constitute the New Creation, of which the Redeemer would become the Head.

This work of gathering the Church class has been progressing for nearly nineteen centuries. All who have been begotten of the holy Spirit are members of the New Creation, to whom old things have passed away, and all [HGL740] things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17) From the very moment of their spirit-begetting, the light of the Truth begins to enlighten the minds of these New Creatures. They begin to see something of the lengths and breadths, the heights and depths, of God's character. It is a revelation. The Word of God is illuminating; the holy Spirit has great illuminating power, and gradually fills more and more with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God.


Of this class God says, "Gather My saints together unto Me, those who have made a Covenant with Me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5) He does not say, Those who have made a covenant to enter some church system, although some may have made a covenant with God and ignorantly with some church system also. Many people like to count themselves in amongst God's people, yet they have never entered into a covenant with Him. Apparently they think that they will receive the same reward as will those who have entered into such a covenant; but they are mistaken. No one will receive the Prize of the High Calling except those who have entered the race in the proper way and have run according to the prescribed rules.

Whoever makes this Covenant of Sacrifice is walking in the Master's footsteps. Our Lord made it at the age of thirty years. At Jordan He gave Himself, a perfect man, His time, His will everything to do the Father's will, whatever that might be. The Father indicated His acceptance by begetting our Lord with the holy Spirit and by giving Him the enlightenment that goes with it. Whoever would be His footstep follower must also covenant to give his time, his influence, his money everything to the Lord. Then the Lord says, "I will place in your care those things which you have given Me. If you demonstrate your faithfulness as a steward of these little things, I will know that you can be trusted with the greater things of the Kingdom. If you try to withhold what you have consecrated, you have not the spirit for which I am looking, I am seeking those who love Me and desire to serve Me."

From first to last the Bible is in harmony with itself. This is God's Message. This is His way of reaching His Elect, whom He desires to take out of the world. For nineteen centuries the Church has been engaged in calling man apart from the world that they might gain Divine favor and joint-heirship with Jesus in His Kingdom.

"Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth." The world does not have this Message; therefore its truth cannot sanctify. Mankind are seeking otherwise, and are getting more or less confused and further away from God through their studies. It is a remarkable fact that we seldom find any one well versed in the sciences who has any faith in God or in the Bible. Men have only the truth that the Prophet Moses discounted. (Heb. 11:26) This is the world's portion today. But the Science which will sanctify toward God, the Science in which we are in harmony with God, in which we are now happy and will be during the Time of Trouble, is ours. Faithful is He who has called us, who will also sanctify us, according to the riches of His grace in Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 Thess. 5:23, 24

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