The National Labor Tribune, July 9, 1905


Niagara Falls, N.Y. July 9. The Bible Students' Convention is in session here at the Natural Food Auditorium. About a thousand are in attendance from various parts of the United States and Canada. It opened yesterday and will close on Tuesday. Amongst the addresses of to-day we report that of Pastor Russell. of Allegheny, Pa., from the text: "The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; ... to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Isa. 61:1-3

The Gospel of Christ addresses itself especially to those who labor and are heavy laden and seeking rest: it passes by those who are full and satisfied and merry: it appeals to those who mourn. They can appreciate God's message as others cannot. But why should this he so? Why should we not expect rather the reverse of this? Surely we cannot believe that heaven is a place of mourning, that the heavenly Father is sad, that the holy angels are weary and heavy laden and seeking rest. Why, then, is it that the Gospel of the Lord Jesus appeals to the mourners? If in the heavenly courts all are rich in health and joy and prosperity and if they all are rejoicing in the divine character and divine plan, why is it that the earthly class, rich and favored and rejoicing, should not be attracted by the Gospel of Christ?


We answer that the conditions are totally different. In heaven there is no sin, no sickness, no pain, no sorrow, no death, no weeping – nothing to cause mourning. On earth all these conditions prevail – if not in each individual, certainly in each family. While, there, it is proper that those who are sinless and free from the penalties of sin should rejoice in the Lord and be joyful, it is equally proper that those who are in sin and under its penalties should mourn, should realize their true condition, should feel weary with sin and the burdens mental, moral and physical, which it has brought upon us as a race, should feel heavy laden with life's trials and difficulties and should mourn and long for deliverance from these unfavorable conditions.

And it is so with all who are in the right attitude of mind. Only where selfishness has crowded it out is there no feeling of sympathy, sorrow and mourning amongst the favored few in the world on behalf of the less favored multitude. But it would not be fair to suppose that all the rich and well-to-do who seem to be filled with joy and pleasure are really so. Truth to tell, nearly every human being has his heart-aches, and not a few – while enjoying the fat of the land and much advantage over the majority in every way have a longing desire to help their fellows; but feeling the impossibility of accomplishing anything in the uplift of all, realizing that they must draw the line somewhere they have their special objects of sympathy and assistance.

Much surely is done for the benefit of the less favored of the human family in the provision of public instruction, public libraries, public hospitals, etc. – not to mention the many private benevolences. In any event it is not for us to attempt to judge the hearts of one another, to determine which are they that mourn. We are safe to assume that many mourn – the majority. Our text assures us that all the anointed body of the Christ are ordained to proclaim the Lord's message of comfort to all that mourn, to all who realize that the present condition of things is an unsatisfactory one, quite beyond the power of any human being to fully rectify – a condition which God's Kingdom alone can correct.


"There's a wideness in God's mercy like the wideness of the sea," as the poet has expressed it, and this is in marked contrast with the narrowness of human creeds and theories. According to the latter, God's provision for the majority of the human family is that they shall mourn and be weary and heavy laden, be a groaning creation throughout this present life and at its close be ushered into conditions awful to contemplate – an eternity of woe; mourning and sorrow, pain and anguish, will be their lot to all eternity. This was the [NS222] false Gospel which was concocted during the Dark Ages by those who verily thought they did God service in burning one another at the stake. How different is the true message of God referred to in our text, the message which he anointed the Christ, Head and body, to proclaim, the message of "good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people," (Luke 2:10), a message of comfort to all who mourn.

True, many of those who now mourn are unable to appreciate God's message: blinded and deafened by the Adversary, they know not neither do they understand the mercy and gracious provision of the divine plan of salvation which centered in the cross of Christ. Confused with the various religious creeds of the world, they cannot discern the voice of the true Shepherd, and hence the vast majority are without the comfort, are, doubtless, in despair. While, therefore, it is the privilege of the Spirit-annointed members of Christ to tell the good tidings which shall ultimately be unto all people, they are to understand that only such as have the ear to hear will be able to comprehend and appreciate their message until the new dispensation shall he ushered in, when the clouds of error and (darkness, confusion and falsehood, shall melt away

1) before the glorious rising Sun of Righteousness, whose healing beams are to bless the whole world during the Millennium. The comfort of the Scriptures respecting the blessings which are coming upon the world must, therefore, be understood for the household of faith only in this Gospel age, as the Master said, "Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear." (Matt. 13:16)

Those of sympathetic nature, in proportion as they receive the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of the anointing and grow in likeness to the Lord, would mourn more than ever for their dear ones in sin, still in darkness, were it not for this comfort of the Scriptures which the Lord provided for their sakes. As they come to understand the divine message, it means an ultimate blessing to each member of the human family – it means that as all of Adam's race were involved in his penalty without their consent, likewise all of them are provided for in the great redemption accomplished by the second Adam, likewise without their knowledge, before the majority of them were born. Thus the Lord prophetically declares that weeping endures for the night but joy cometh in the morning. (Psa. 30:5)


The whole creation is involved in the weeping and mourning and suffering and sorrowing incidental to the curse, the penalty of death; and the whole creation, redeemed by the precious blood, shall in the morning come forth to joyful opportunities for attaining life everlasting through obedience to the glorious Kingdom of God's dear Son, who bought them with his precious blood. To this the Scriptures agree. Pointing down to the Millennial age they declare that God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes not merely from the faces of the saints of this Gospel age. (Rev. 7:17)

Almost the same message was given thousands of years ago through the prophet Isaiah (25:8) saying, "The Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces."

These divine testimonies are in full accord with the others which declare that ultimately every knee must bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God. (Philip. 2:10,11)

These are all testimonies of general application to the whole world of mankind, all based upon the fact that God has undertaken to provide a full atonement for sins of the whole world, which means restoration to every member of the race. This, however, is not universalism. There is a wide difference between wiping away the curse, the penalty of Adam's fall, and the giving of every human being during the Millennial age an opportunity of rejoicing in the Lord's favor, in the knowledge of forgiveness of sins that were past, an opportunity for demonstrating their love for righteousness and their opposition to iniquity, and thereby proving their fitness under the divine terms for the possession of life everlasting, which God has provided for all such and such alone. All who after having been brought to a full and complete opportunity, with a clear knowledge of what they are doing, shall wilfully reject or oppose or neglect the opportunities then afforded them, will be properly deemed opponents of God and his righteousness and fit subjects for the second death, as it is written, "It shall come to pass that the soul that will not obey that Prophet, shall be destroyed from amongst the people." (Acts 3:23)


It should be carefully noticed that the Lord distinguishes between mourners in general, the "groaning creation," and "mourners in Zion," – the mourners amongst those who are truly his through faith and consecration. This distinction is everywhere made throughout the Scriptures. Take, for instance, Rom. 8:19-23, already referred to – the whole creation groaneth and travaileth, says the Apostle, waiting for the revealing of the sons of God – waiting for the Kingdom to be established. Then he tells us that we ourselves groan within ourselves, "mourn," but are waiting for a different thing. We, the Church, while groaning within ourselves more privately, less preceptible in an outward manner, are waiting for our [NS223] adoption, our deliverance as the body of the Anointed One, our share in the first resurrection. We constitute the sons of God whose manifestation the groaning creation awaits, although they know not of the fact. Those who mourn in Zion have the hearing ears and the eyes of their understanding opened, and hence the message of the Gospel means to them what it cannot mean to mourners in general.

The Lord through the prophet explains the joys and blessings which the mourners in Zion would have for their comfort, for their consolation, that they might not sorrow as others who have no hope, because believing that Jesus died and rose again they believe that all the human family, whose death sentence has been turned into a sleep through the redemptive work of Jesus, will God bring from the dead by him, in due time. (1 Thess. 4:14)

Seeing the coming blessings to be brought to the world, in which all their dear ones shall participate, they need not sorrow as others who have no hope. Nevertheless, as the Apostle says, these groan within themselves because the blessings are still future, and the trials and difficulties, weaknesses and frailties and pains are still present. Although the hope which they enjoy maketh not ashamed, but cheers and comforts their hearts and lightens their burdens, nevertheless they have burdens and sorrows. Our Lord speaks from the same standpoint, saying, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" – "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28, 29)

The Lord's yoke is easy and his burden light as compared with the yoke of sin and the burden of death. But while it is the teaching of Scripture that the burdens of God's people are thus lightened as their hearts are cheered through faith in the divine character and promises, they, nevertheless, are admitted to have some burdens, though lighter ones, as the Apostle again declares – "We who are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened." (2 Cor. 5:2)

But oh how different is the burden of those who are in Christ and the burden that is upon the world! and how this burden decreases as we become acquainted with our heavenly Father and with our Lord the Redeemer, and with the gracious plan of which he is the center.


[A portion of the following paragraph was electronically 'garbled' and has been reconstructed using our 'best guess' at what was said. – site Editor]

A garland, a wreath, symbolically pictures hope and joy, as ashes symbolically picture the reverse. As children of wrath even as others, as sharers in the penalty of sin and death with its concomitants of trouble and pain and sorrow, we once, as the Apostle declares, were "without God and having no hope in the world," we knew not of the gracious redemption, knew not its lengths and breadths and how surely it covered us and all the race of Adam, knew not in any clear, definite manner at least, of the great divine plan for the resurrection of the dead, both the justified and the unjustified.

Earthly hopes indeed we had, earthly ambitions, earthly desires, earthly prospects, but as time passed on we found that these withered, failed, turned to ashes. We said to our souls, "Here is not rest." Every fresh earthly hope seemed to last but a time and was gone, leaving in our hearts an aching void; but now, as the poet has expressed it, those who find the Lord find rest and peace and a hope that maketh not ashamed, so they can sing, "Jesus has satisfied, Jesus is mine."

In their acceptance of Jesus with their whole hearts they obtain a satisfying portion, they lose old fears as well as old ambitions; they find new hopes, new joys, represented symbolically as a "garland." (R.V.) Not one joy, but many joys, not one blessing, but many blessings, come to those who are the Lord's – to them old things have passed away and all things become new Even death itself loses its sting when they realize to a certainty that Christ has bought every prisoner in the tomb, and that ultimately death shall be swallowed up in victory and there shall be no more death, no more crying, no more sighing, no more (lying, because the former things will have passed away.

How poetic the promise of the oil of joy instead of mourning. In ancient times the mourning and rejoicing were expressed more in an outward form than is customary to-day. The mourning and sorrowful would frequently go about clothed in sackcloth and with ashes upon the head, as indicative of their woe; and on the contrary, when the occasion for the mourning passed, it was the custom to display the spirit of rejoicing by washing and then specially anointing with a perfume.

Such a perfume oil of special preparation was used in the anointing of the kings of Israel and of their priests by the Lord's direction, and is very properly understood to signify the anointing of the holy Spirit. So in this symbolical statement of our text, the oil of joy, the oil of gladness, represents the anointing of the Lord's members with the holy Spirit, the spirit of joy and gladness and refreshment and comfort, as instead of the spirit of sadness. The poet has well expressed this matter, saying, "Why should the children of the King, go mourning all their days?" Throughout this Gospel age those who accept Jesus as their Redeemer and who seek to walk in his steps and who make full consecration to him and to [NS224] his service are accepted of the heavenly Father as his children and anointed with his holy Spirit, the spirit of gladness, the spirit of joy to all who receive it, and in proportion as they receive it, it drives away much of the spirit of mourning and brings instead much of the spirit of joy. As the Apostle declares, speaking of this class, "Rejoice, and again I say Rejoice." (Philip. 4:4)

He tells us, too, that we are not only to rejoice in the comforts, privileges and blessings that are ours, but we are to rejoice in tribulations also, knowing that all the experiences of the present life are working together for the development, the preparation of this class to be the kings and priests of the Lord, his associates and joint-heirs in his Kingdom that is soon to be established.

Continuing to speak to us poetically, the Lord declares of this same class that his appointment for them is the garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness. If any of the Lord's people after becoming participants of the holy Spirit are dejected, morose, unhappy, let them know assuredly from this text that they are not enjoying that which the Lord appointed for them. His own declaration is that he has appointed the garment of praise to supplant the spirit of heaviness. True, in our present imperfect conditions many things occur to make us heavy-hearted from time to time and some temperaments are more subject to this ailment then others: but each should seek to cast off the care, each should seek to take his burdens to the foot of the cross and leave them there, each should remember that the Lord careth for him, and has promised that all things shall work together for good to the called ones according to his purpose.

Many never get rid of the spirit of heaviness because they fail to put on the garment of praise – they fail to be sufficiently thankful, sufficiently appreciative of the good things received of the Lord. This is not only true of Christian people in general but it is sometimes true of those who have been specially favored of the Lord in the knowledge of Present Truth and the refreshment which it brings. A Brother who rather dejectedly said to us one day, "There are some points that I still do not see clearly."

We asked, "Are they many?" He replied, "Oh, yes; eight or ten."

We replied, "Dear brother, give thanks; remember that your points of difficulty and doubt and fear and misunderstanding used to be eight or ten hundred."

We fear that this is the case with others. We remind all that it is important that we should not only confess our sins to have them forgiven, but that we should notice and acknowledge and give thanks for the blessings if we would have them continued and multiplied to us. He who recounts over and over the mercies and blessings of the Lord will find their numbers to increase and their value to enhance day by (lay until before long, if he continue, his tears will give place to praise and thanksgiving, and so far from asking the Lord continually for fresh blessings his petitions will be in the nature of thank-offerings, and he will be saying to the Lord, "I ask no more, give what is best."

The National Labor Tribune, July 16, 1905


Pastor Russell preached at Bible House Chapel, Allegheny, Sunday at 3 p. m. from the text: "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matt. 26:41)

The discourse follows: Our text is in the nature of a prescription of two parts or ingredients, both essential. The desired results cannot be obtained through either one of these ingredients alone: watching and praying are both necessary to escape temptation. But first it is proper that we inquire who are addressed. Who are to watch? Who are to pray? Who are to escape the temptation? Who? We reply that this prescription is not given by the Great Physician to the world in general.

True, our dear Redeemer called sinners everywhere and at all times to repentance, but he has no dealings with them until they respond to that call, he has no instruction for them except they first repent of their sins, make restitution so far as possible, will to walk in the ways of righteousness, and then, accepting by faith his merit, they come under the conditions where he is willing to be their teacher, their instructor in righteousness. It were well if the entire world could realize our Lord's attitude toward them – that while not unsympathetic toward them in respect to their weaknesses and blemishes of the fall, he nevertheless, has closed off all methods of reconciliation, all avenues of approach to himself and his favor except one, namely, the one of repentance and faith. He refuses to hear others, he refuses any responsibility or care over their interests and affairs.

It is only to those who have become thoroughly his through repentance, justification by faith and consecration of self, that he makes the gracious promise that all things shall work together for their good – they [NS225] are the called ones according to his purpose. The masses of mankind not only in heathen lands but also in civilized lands, who reject the Lord's call to them as sinners to repent, to reform, to accept his mercy, are outside of his favors so far as the present age is concerned; they have neither part nor lot in the blessings he is now willing to dispense, which are only for his servants and his handmaidens. To the contrary, hear his words, "Unto the wicked, God saith, what hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldst take my covenant in thy mouth. Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee." Psa. 50:16, 17


Manifestly there is not only justice but wisdom in this divine arrangement. For the Lord to undertake to hear the prayers and to care for the unconsecrated would be to discount and to make void his own arrangement, which assures us that there is no other name given under heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved – whereby members of Adam's race, all sinners, may be reconciled to God and enjoy in any measure, here or hereafter, divine favors, mercies, etc. It is equally true, however, that there are certain blessings which the Lord dispenses upon the just and the unjust, the bad and good, without regard to their prayers; the rain and the sunshine are common blessings, all that can be made out of the present life and present unfavorable conditions the world is welcome to. The curse rests everywhere and upon everything, so that nothing in this present time is or could be perfectly satisfactory.

Everything is blemished, marred, imperfect; as the wise man expressed it, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity" – nothing is satisfactory. Eccl. 1:2 And not only has the Lord made gracious provisions for the unjust as well as the justified during this Gospel age, for the evil as well as for the good, but he has made general provision for all in his great plan, in that he has provided "a ransom for all," the great atonement for the sins of the world and has assured us that in due time every member of the race shall enjoy a full privilege and opportunity of benefiting by that redemption, and, if they will, to come fully back to all that was lost in Eden, fully back to what is meant in the words, "In the image and likeness of God created he him."

We see, then, that God's refusal in the present time to hear the prayers of the world in general is not through any evil sentiment or grudge that he bears against them, not through any narrowness or animosity, but because in his great and glorious plan of salvation there are two parts: The first of these, belonging to the present time, the Gospel age, is for the special class who can and will and do exercise faith in him and seek to walk not after the flesh but after the spirit; and second, a place for the world in general in the next age, in the Millennial age, in which age, however degraded, however lacking in faith, however prone to sin, shall have the fullest of assistances for their uplift and restoration to all that was lost, and more – greater knowledge. And, to those obedient under test, eternal perfection.

On the other hand how appropriate it is that the Lord should mark us, the particular class whom he is now calling, the peculiar class which now responds to his call, the particular class which now has the ear to hear and the heart to obey – the desire to obey the divine directions. How appropriate that the Lord should grant us access to the throne of heavenly grace, which he denies to others. Indeed how necessary is such communion, such privileges of prayer, to those who are striving against great odds and opposition in this present time to walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.

True, there is in the unregenerate at times a desire to pray to God – usually in times of distress or fear. This is a natural trait, the result of certain mental qualities in combination: first, veneration, and second, fear. But it is not the divine purpose to encourage such a combination, but rather a combination of veneration, faith and conscience. Original traits of character which belong to our race, as represented in Eden when it was in the image and likeness of God, have not been entirely obliterated, even during the six thousand years of our fallen condition. But it is the regenerated being who approaches the throne of grace with faith and love and a conscious desire to know and to do the divine will, and to be guided and assisted therein according to the heavenly wisdom.

For the natural man to approach the Lord in prayer, with the selfish motives and instincts of the old will, would mean that his prayers would be of a wrong kind, from the selfish standpoint. The Apostle intimates that even children of God, who have been accepted in Christ and are reckoned as new creatures with new aims and hopes, may become so overcharged with the cares of this life and so imbued with the spirit of the world that they might approach the throne of grace, which indeed is open to them, but approach it in such a manner and with such requests as would not be pleasing to the Lord and that would be refused. The Apostle says, "Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss," for things to be used or consumed to your own desires. (Jas. 4:3)

All the natural man's petitions would be along this line and would be rejected, and the Lord's people require continually to be on watch, on the lookout to guard against the spirit of the world, which would entrap them in selfishness and [NS226] worldly ambition and prayers for these things. Our Lord clearly marks out the kind of petition which his people will offer. The kind of petition which he will be pleased to entertain and answer at some time. Describing this proper prayer he says, "If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you." (John 15:7)

Ah yes! If the Lord's words abide in us it will imply our love for them, and diligent study to know the words of the Lord and the will of the Lord expressed in these words; and if we abide in him it will mean that we abide loyal to his will, and are desirous of having his will done in us and not our own will. This will signify in turn that not only will the Lord's disciples abiding in him be searching to know his will through his word, but that they will be striving to apply that will and Word according to his guidance and direction – according to his will and not according to their own wills, according to the spirit of the Truth and not according to the spirit of the world, according to the spirit of love and not according to the spirit of selfishness.

Thus those who are truly the Lord's will petition him in their prayers, "Not my will but thine be done" in everything, in matters temporal, in matters spiritual. Faith in their hearts and the spirit of humility will convince them that they are not wise enough to judge of the various experiences, trials, testings that should come to them in this present life as fitting, polishing preparations for the life to come and a share in the Kingdom. Gradually, as they grow in grace, as the Lord's Word dwells in them more and more richly, and as they abide in him more and more continually and fully, their prayers will become the more simple, and as our Lord suggests, will not be vain repetitions as with others. They will know that the Father knoweth in advance what things they have need of, what things will be best for them, and their petitions in substance will be that the Lord God for Christ's sake would do for them according to divine wisdom respecting their highest interests and welfare.


Some, then, may perhaps ask, Did not the publican pray and was he not heard? We answer, Yes; but he prayed as a sinner and merely asked for forgiveness which implied his desire to escape from sin, his resolution to do so, and his desire for the Lord's assistance in this matter. Moreover, the publican belonged to the nation that God had accepted through faith, belonged to his adopted nation, Israel after the flesh, and to this publican, therefore, pertained the promises and blessings which up to that time had been extended by the Almighty to that one nation alone – "You only have I known (recognized) of all the families of the earth." (Amos 3:2)

For the publican to return to God was represented in the return of the prodigal son in the parable; the relationship was already there and he had merely disregarded it for a time. In the case of the remainder of the world, the Gentile nations of which Christendom is a part, the matter is entirely different: we were strangers, aliens, foreigners, without God and having no hope in the world, but now we have heard that the middle wall of partition has been broken down and that it is our privilege to come to the Lord through Christ. The manifestation of divine favor in God's willingness to receive us, if we renounce our sins and accept the divine provision in Jesus, will surely be glad to do so, and they as the Apostle intimates, may come boldly, courageously "to the throne of heavenly grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need." Heb. 4:16

All children of God then, are exhorted of their need to come frequently to the throne of grace to express in their petitions their faith and confidence in the divine promises, thus assuring their own hearts and receiving the blessings of the Lord, but they are assured also that neglect so to do will mean the starving and withering of their new nature. As a company of the Lord's brethren, as his Ecclesia or body, they need to pray for one another, for the interests of the Lord's work, for wisdom and grace and the guidance of the holy Spirit, that their association in the work of the Lord may be profitable to each other and let a bright light shine before the world.

Those of the Lord's people who are heads of families are to remember that in their family circles they are the Lord's representatives or priests, and that daily they are privileged to offer incense at the family altar, and to realize its acceptance and to have the sweet odor of the same not only ascend before the Lord in the merit of Jesus, but thus to bear witness also before the members of their families that they are the natural heads of their families; the Lord in turn is their Head, whose wisdom and supervision is sought in all the affairs of life, temporal, as well as spiritual.

Not merely does the blessing come upon the parent in thus using his privileges and opportunities, but a reflex blessing extends to the members of the household if the divine rulership is acknowledged and bowed to. In such homes there is apt to be less and less the spirit of anarchy than in other families where divine headship and rule are not thus recognized. But aside from the privileges of prayer in the Church and in the family circle, superior to either of these, is the great privilege of individual, private prayer granted by the Lord to every one who has renounced [NS227] sin, has accepted justification and has made consecration of himself to him, and is seeking to walk in his steps. The poet has well expressed the meaning of prayer by the words, "Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed."

If opportunity favors it is preferable to utter the prayer semi-audibly at least, preferable, too, to take the attitude of prayer upon one's knees, but nothing in divine Word limits God's people to any form or expression. Where it is not appropriate to bow the knee to lift the eyes or clasp the hands, to utter the words, the heart can be lifted to the Lord in silent prayer which none but he can hear.

And thus we can enter into our closets in an instant and have communication with the heavenly Lord by wireless telegraphy, and having the blessing of wisdom and guidance in life's affairs and of succor in the moment of sending, when most needed. How precious a privilege! How few there are who really appreciate it! and yet we believe that all who are the Lord's consecrated people must have considerable appreciation of this, and could not long continue in the narrow way unless they avail themselves of the privilege.


Let us now look at the other ingredient in this prescription which the Lord gave for our benefit and which so many of us have proven to be beyond price. If we pray why should we watch? For what should we watch? On another occasion our Lord intimated that the reason, the necessity for watching as well as praying, lies in the fact that we have an adversary, an invisible foe, who seeks to seduce us, turn us aside from our vows of consecration to the Lord and his way of righteousness. Our Lord says that this adversary is the devil, and we understand that the devil is not only a personal being but that he has many minions or associates, the fallen angels who kept not their first estate when on trial before the flood. (Jude 6)

Not only so, but Satan has millions of representatives and agents in the world – millions who are his agents without really being aware of the fact. According to our Lords testimony on one occasion, we may understand that the whole world of mankind is divided into two hostile camps, the one a little flock under the guidance and control of Jesus their invisible Lord and Head, whose will they seek to do, the other the remainder of the world, who unwittingly are in the service of Satan because they are in the service of sin, and because, as the Apostle expressed it, "His servants you are to whom you render service." Rom. 6:16

From this standpoint, with this view before our minds, how many agents our great adversary has who unconsciously are working for him, working for sin, working against the Lord, and hence are the opponents of the few who have tasted of the grace of God, who have accepted the divine conditions and who have consecrated themselves to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. No wonder we are urged to watch as well as to pray, to watch against these various seductive influences of the adversary through the world and its spirit operating through social, financial and Churchianity channels to draw us away from that full consecration to the Lord and to the Truth to which we have already pledged our lives. From every standpoint of opposition there will be more or less seductive allurements on the part of the flesh seeking gratification.

Our safety is in watching and praying, not that we can hope that by watching and praying we can escape temptations but that holding fast to the Lord and being covered with the mantle of his love and mercy these temptations will all be overruled for our good, developing us in heart and character in the likeness of our Lord. Well has the poet expressed this sentiment, saying:

"O! watch, and fight, and pray; The battle ne'er give o'er; Renew it boldly every day, And help divine implore."

"Ne'er think the vic'try won, Nor once at ease sit down; Thine arduous work will not be done, Till thou hast gained thy crown."

True, the Lord could answer our prayers by defending us from every adverse influence, by shielding us from every temptation, by making us immune to all manner of temptations. But for him to do this would be to change his own plans, and hence he will not do it. And when we come to understand what the divine plans are, and how the watching and resistance of sin are necessary to our proper development as the Lord's people, we will no longer be expected to be "carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, while others fought to win the prize, and sailed through bloody seas."

Our Lord's object in the special call of the Church during this Gospel age is the development of a class of people into the character-likeness of his dear Son, our Redeemer. That means a condition of heart that will be in opposition to sin, that will have its special delight in opposing sin, that would die rather than yield to sin. We must remember, however, that we have this treasure of a new mind in an earthen vessel, our mortal bodies (2 Cor. 4:7); we must remember that to will is present with us but that the performance is another matter. To will right is of absolute necessity from the very beginning of our Christian course. He who wills adverse to righteousness and truth and goodness and [NS228] the Lord, is not begotten of the holy Spirit. Every one that is begotten again wills to do right, wills to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. But with all our willingness we have difficulty in performing, because of the adverse conditions of our own flesh and because also of the adverse conditions of the world about us. So, then, the present life, with its praying and watching, is the Lord's time; in it he tests us respecting our faith and our obedience to him and his principles. If we realize the temptations about us and have faith we will sorely appeal to the Lord for his promised assistance. We will surely not neglect the throne of grace. If we do neglect it, it is a sign that we are lacking in faith, that we are in that respect not fit for the Kingdom, because all who are inheritors of the Kingdom must have faith – "Without faith it is impossible to please God." "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith." Heb. 11:6; 1 John 5:4


Our obedience while it can not be perfect because we are still in the flesh, and because we have only the imperfect mortal bodies through which to act, nevertheless our efforts toward obedience must fully demonstrate the positiveness of our will for righteousness, must fully demonstrate that if we had perfect bodies there would be no question whatever respecting the perfection of our every word, thought and deed.

We then, realizing our weaknesses and imperfections, realizing that the whole world and its spirit are adverse to the Lord and his spirit and his message, will lead the Lord's faithful people not only to appeal to him but also to watch against the snares of the adversary. They watch themselves not only by taking heed to the admonitions of the Lord's Word for the resistance of these temptations, but also they watch their own weaknesses, failures, shortcomings, that they may protect themselves along the lines of their weaknesses – that, as the Apostle says, they may make straight paths for their feet, lest that which is weak, lame, be turned out of the way. They may be overtaken in a fault because attacked from some new quarter: they may discover a weakness in their own natural make-up of which they had not previously been aware; but with these to discover their weakness would mean not only an appeal to the Lord for assistance at that point, but also energetic endeavors for defense against the inroads, the seductions, the snares of the adversary.

The point known to be a weak one should be doubly picketed by the new mind, lest it should be overtaken unawares and should again meet defeat. To this class of true disciples, watching and praying, a temporary defeat at some point does not spell disaster, but rather renewed energy and a stronger character because of the setting up of defenses at the point found to be weak. Thus, throughout life, those who watch and pray are gradually making stronger their characters along every line of defense, and in thus building up character they are demonstrating to the Lord the transformation of their hearts, their minds, the sincerity of their vows, and their loyalty to the principles of righteousness set before them in his Word and in the glorious example of their Redeemer and leader.


These eventually will constitute the Lord's jewels. At the beginning of their course their hearts were honest and loyal for righteousness, but character had not been developed. The trials, the difficulties, the contacts with the world, the flesh and the adversary, developed character by leading them to exercise faith, which manifests itself in prayer, and the loyalty to righteousness, which manifests itself in watching against the various temptations and besetments to which they are exposed. The latter part of our text is in full accord with the foregoing: "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

This is not true of the world, but only of those who have accepted the Lord and turned their backs on sin. Their spirits, minds, are anxious to serve the Lord to do his will, to walk in his ways. But as for the world – their spirit is to please themselves, to walk in their own ways, to serve their own ambitions, to walk after the flesh.

Only when we start to walk contrary to the desires of the flesh, only when the new mind seeks to use the mortal body, tainted with sin, born to sin as the sparks to fly upward, only then do we realize how weak the flesh is, how impossible it would be for us in any measure or degree to carry out the good resolutions which we make when we accept Christ, enlist under his banner and undertake to be his followers through evil report and good report to the end of life, laying down our lives in his service. It is because of this weakness of the flesh and because of the loyalty of the spirit or mind that the Lord declares that we need to both watch and pray lest we get into temptation. Temptations we surely will have, because we have chosen the course which is contrary to the spirit of the world and contrary to the natural traits of our fallen flesh. We must surely expect this from our glorious Master, who will thus fit and prepare us for participation in the first resurrection, "his resurrection." (Rom. 6:5; Philip. 3:10)

By that glorious change all these who constitute the very elect will be made absolutely perfect, for they will there receive their perfect or spirit bodies, which will be in full harmony with the changed characters already attained by the Lord's [NS229] grace through obedience to the Word and the watching and praying which he directs. For that glorious attainment we are to strive, and the method is to be through the watching and praying – the watching of the Word, the watching of our hearts, the watching against temptations, the prayer of faith and the exercise of faith in him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.

The National Labor Tribune, July 23, 1905


Cincinnati, O July 23. Pastor Russell of Allegheny, Pa., preached twice here to-day. We report one of the discourses in full as follows:

A full, clear, comprehension of our text shows it to be one of the most remarkable utterances of Holy Writ. It tells us of eternal life, with which none of us have had the slightest experience – an incomprehensible matter, we might say. All of our experiences have been more or less in connection with death and its concomitants of pain and sorrow. The very thought of eternal life, a life which will never cease year after year, century after century, millions upon millions of years, being but as its beginning – the very suggestion inspires in us both hope and fear.

How grand it would be to continue our existence eternally under favorable conditions, in happiness and joy, in perfection, in harmony with God, in harmony with everything that is pure and good and right and true, with all evil, all sin, abolished. No other proposition could interest us as much. No other suggestion would he worthy of as much consideration. If by any means we might attain to such a glorious eternity, such unspeakable happiness without end, we should certainly avail ourselves of it. We should esteem that the experiences of this present time, whether more or less severe – even if they were the most uncomfortable in the world would be desirable if thereby we could secure that eternal bliss implied in the thought of eternal life under perfect conditions.

On the other hand come the suggestions of fear. How terrible it would be, what an awful curse it would be, if we were doomed to spend an eternity of existence under unfavorable conditions, even as unfavorable as our present environments. We realize instinctively that it is the hope of a future life under more favorable conditions which buoys us up at the present time and makes each trial blessed. If all hope were eliminated, the present life to the majority of humanity would be barely worth having for its period of three score years and ten and certainly would be undesirable to any one for more than a century.


While we ponder this question, whether we should fear the eternity proposed or whether we should rejoice in it, we note the fact that the declaration is that the eternal life is the gift of God. We query, What kind of gifts would the Almighty bestow, good or bad? And while weighing the Master's words, "Which father of you, if his son ask for bread, would give him a stone? if he ask for a fish, would give him a serpent?" (Matt. 7:9,10)

The Master's lesson impresses us. He would have us understand that the heavenly Father is more generous, more kind, than earthly parents. He will not deceive us and answer our petitions by giving us that which would be injurious to us. If he gives us a gift at all we may be sure it will be a blessing. The very arrangement of our text implies that the eternal life which God would give would be a blessing, because it is put in antithesis, in opposition to a wage of sin. It reads, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life." [Rom. 6:23]

Here then, we have it: death is the opposite of life. We are already under the sentence of death, because all are sinners. We hearken to the Apostle's words, "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world and death as a result of sin and so death passed upon all men, for all are sinners." Rom. 5:12

Here is the explanation: We are suffering, we are in pain, in sorrow, in trouble because we are dying. We are dying because that is the curse or penalty of God against us. It is his penalty against us because we are imperfect, because life under present conditions would be neither to our advantage or to God's glory; therefore his decree that sinners shall not live. What a comfort there is in the thought that there shall be a termination of evil that, as the Apostle has declared, "All the wicked will God destroy;" and again, they shall "be destroyed with an everlasting destruction." Psa. 145:20; 2 Thess. 1:9


No one in the universe has any knowledge of the [NS230] divine purpose except as he receives it from the great Creator, who is working all things according to the counsel of his own will. It becomes us as his creatures to hearken for any message he may send us. Attention, faith and obedience to the divine Word are specially appropriate, indeed absolutely necessary to all those who would continue in relationship with the Lord as his children, sons of God. Let us, then, hearken further to the message from on high which informs us respecting the eternal destinies of the world which the Lord will ultimately divide into two great classes, however many other such divisions there may be in the interim.

Now, because of more or less knowledge and because of more or less weakness through heredity, mankind occupies various degrees of harmony with God and various degrees of alienation from him; but ultimately, when the Lord's great plan shall be revealed and all shall know him, from the least to the greatest, and all shall be fully released from the weaknesses and blemishes of heredity – then, according to the Word of the Lord, the matter will resolve itself into two great divisions, the sheep and the goats. Not that the sheep will all be of one plane or nature, but that all ultimately will be in full accord with the Almighty, the great Shepherd, and with the Lord Jesus. the Chief Shepherd of the flock, as we read, God will gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth – that is, under the headship of Christ. (Eph. 1:10)

All who will not eventually come under this headship will have arrayed themselves under the other headship, under the lead of Satan, as enemies of God and of righteousness the wicked of whom it is declared, "All the wicked will God destroy," with an "everlasting destruction," utterly "destroy them from amongst the people."

The penalty of utter destruction against these will be eternal; they will never have a resurrection, never will be permitted to have everlasting life. They are not God's friends, they are his opponents. Why should he provide for them? Why should he maintain their existence, which would profit neither himself nor any in harmony with him? It is a great mistake, therefore, to suppose that the divine arrangement has so proposed – the entire testimony of Scripture is to the contrary. When rightly understood, the symbols of Scripture are all in agreement with the thought that death, not life in torment, is the penalty of sin. The symbolical pictures thus represent destruction as, for instance, "the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

This highly symbolical figure used in the highly symbolical book of Revelation, explains itself. Fire is always destructive; with brimstone added there is nothing more sure to cause death to every living thing, large or small, and the explanation is attached to it, "the lake of fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

It symbolizes destruction of life, of everything, in a most positive, most absolute sense. It is repugnant in every sense and degree to every thought of eternal existence. On the contrary, God's proffer to those who are in harmony with him is that they may live – everlasting life is their reward; none shall get it except as they are obedient to him who "speaketh from heaven." Heb. 12:25

We remember our Lord's words on this subject – "He that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God (the curse, the sentence of death) abideth on him" – will continue to abide on him because of his refusal to accept and obey the message of mercy, speaking peace, forgiveness, restitution and eternal life through Jesus. Let it be remembered that our Lord did not limit the time or place or manner whereby sinners might come into relationship with himself and with the Father through him. His words are applicable not only to all those who heard him, but applicable also to those who had lived and died throughout the preceding four thousand years, and equally applicable to all who have lived from his day until the present time. Yea, they are applicable to every creature great and small, "He that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son shall not see life." [John 3:36]

It is in accord with this that we see that the majority of mankind at the present time have not life because they have not the Son; they have not come into heart-union with him that he could own them as his disciples, his friends. The great mass of mankind, not only in heathendom but also in Christendom, have not the Son – the great mass of mankind know him not and consequently the masses have not eternal life. His words at the time he uttered them were applicable, as he intimated, only to the little flock; and to a similar class they have applied ever since.

The twenty thousand millions of our race who have gone down into the prison-house of death without having come to a knowledge of the only name given whereby we must be saved, have not the Son and have not the eternal life. And since, as the prophet declares, "In death there is no remembrance of thee," and again, "The dead know not anything," "there is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device in the grave whither thou goest" – therefore it follows that none of these millions who have thus far failed to hear of the only name can have received any blessing since their [NS231] death. Either God must have a provision for them in the future, whereby they may learn about the only name and have opportunity for yielding obedient response, or they are hopelessly dead. What is the fact? What do the Scriptures teach? We answer that they assure us that all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man and shall come forth both the just and the unjust. They assure us that at that time, when they shall be called forth, the Lord's Kingdom will have been established.

They inform us respecting the object and equitable character of his reign of righteousness. They tell us further that the very object of that reign is that all the families of the earth may be blessed through the seed of Abraham. They assure us that in that day the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep, and that none shall need say to his neighbor, Know thou the Lord, Know thou the Lord, for all shall know him from the least unto the greatest. (Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34)

These assurances coming from the Creator show us most distinctly that while none can have the life except they have relationship with the Son, yet the great time for the majority of the race to secure a relationship to him will be in the future age, the resurrection time, with its glorious opportunity of knowledge and assistance from the Kingdom, when Satan shall be bound and all evil shall be under restraint. We are not to be understood as encouraging any one to wait for the Millennial age and its opportunities.

Quite to the contrary; we urge all that the sooner they make an alliance with the Son of God, the world's Redeemer, the better it will be for themselves, for their own joy and peace and blessing both now and everlastingly. We merely point out the consistency of the Scriptures, which, while declaring God's love for the world and his provision for the future, also tell us that in the present time only a little flock see, hear and obey, and walk in the narrow way and gain that relationship to the Son which insures the life everlasting.

These not only have the peace and joy and hope and blessing now, but in the future are to have the high honor and distinction of being the special associates of the Redeemer, the Bride class, who, clothed with the divine nature, glory, honor and immortality, shall co-operate with their Lord in the blessing of all the world of mankind – in giving the whole world an opportunity to become related to the Son through the opening of the eyes of their understanding, and making the crooked paths straight, and by delivering them from their own undesired weaknesses, to the intent that under most favorable conditions many more than now may obtain that relationship to the Son, the Life-Giver, and thus obtain the eternal life which is the gift of God, and so escape death, the second death, which is the curse, the sentence of God against all who refuse obedience to the Son and to the laws of his Kingdom. God's gift of eternal life is an indirect one: his direct gift was his Son, our Lord, who died as man's Redeemer. The gift itself is great, and everything connected with it is on the same stupendous scale – riches of grace and of loving kindness in Christ Jesus.


Any king or prince is expected to give gifts in proportion to his greatness, his wealth, his power. Other people may give trifling gifts of little value, but for a king to give a trifling gift would be a discredit. And so when we think of the stupendous gift of eternal life under favorable and blessed conditions, and then think who it is that proffers the gift, we are constrained to say that the Almighty God has rendered us the most wonderful gift imaginable, and that it is in full comportment with his own greatness and majesty. The liberal deviseth liberal things, says the prophet (Isa. 32:8), and so a good God, a liberal God, a gracious Creator, has devised for his creatures this most wonderful gift.

If it were the offer of any one of less dignity and power we might properly feel a doubt respecting the fulfillment of the promise. But when we remember that the one who proffers this gift is none less than the great Creator who formed the mighty worlds, who in harmony with his own plan created man in the world in his own image and likeness, and who, foreknowing his sin, foreknew and prepared also the great redemption price before the foundation of the world – when we think of such a giver we are less astounded at the gift, while we wonder and adore.

It was told of a prince of olden times that he desired to give to his betrothed a very precious jewel, but determined that she should realize the value of his gift gradually. The jewel was fitted into an elegant casket, this in turn was fitted into a silver case, and this into a brass case, and it in turn into an iron one. The fittings were so arranged as to be almost indiscernible. When the lady received the present, undid the wrappings and found the iron case, she was considerably disappointed – she had expected more.

Presently the secret spring of the case opened and she discovered the brass case, but still she was disappointed. Later it opened and disclosed the silver case, much more beautiful and desirable; and when that opened, too, and disclosed the jewel casket she was astounded at its beauty; but when that opened and disclosed the jewel itself she was overwhelmed. So with God's gift of eternal life – it is the precious jewel, and it is hidden in the casket, which is Christ. Not until first we have found Christ can we find the [NS232] jewel. He that has the casket has the jewel, he that has Christ has the gift of God. But before we can find Christ in the true sense we must find God's Word, and outside of it the Lord has permitted various matters to cover and hide the jewel. For instance, Churchianity is one of these outside cases, and the one who would find the casket and get the jewel must be sufficiently interested to search for the hidden treasure. "He that seeketh, findeth."

Only a few, however, of the present time have a knowledge of what to seek for and where to seek for it. To the great mass the beauties of the casket and the jewel will not be revealed until this present time of darkness and Satan and sin shall have passed away and given place to the new dispensation, in which everything that is covered shall be revealed.


The giver of a gift has the right to determine how it is to be proffered, and our Creator has determined that his gift of eternal life shall be proffered to mankind in one manner only – "through Jesus Christ our Lord."

He who will not have it through Christ shall not have it at all, but it is a part of the divine program that all shall come eventually to know that there is such a gift provided, and to know also of the channel through which it may be obtained. It might at first be considered that this was merely an arbitrary arrangement on God's part. We answer that even if that contention could be substantiated it would in no wise detract from the propriety of the course. The Lord has every right to bestow his gifts to please him. We, the recipients, have every cause for gratitude that we should be offered eternal life at all, but we have every reason also to believe that the terms of the offer are reasonable, just, loving, merciful, and that back of the Almighty's restrictions lies a good reason for every requirement. When we remember that the word Christ in the Hebrew is Messiah, and signifies "God's Anointed King," it associates the giving of this life everlasting to the world through the Kingdom which is to be established at our Lord's second advent.

The little flock, who gain relationship to Christ in advance of the Kingdom's establishment, are those who by faith willingly accept him as their King before he establishes his authority with power and great glory. The thought of the Millennium carries with it all the blessed arrangements of that time, and the divine plan by which the glorified Messiah shall cause every creature, including those who have died, to come to a knowledge of the divine will, to discern between righteousness and unrighteousness, between truth and error. This will be their testing or judgment.

All who will learn obedience to that kingdom shall be uplifted mentally, morally and physically to perfection; while all who are disobedient, who wilfully oppose the divine arrangement, will be esteemed workers of iniquity and will be destroyed as such from amongst the people. Thus the heavenly Father has arranged to give his gift only to the willing and obedient of the fallen race, and this gift will be bestowed through him who redeemed the world, and who ultimately shall grant to each member of Adam's family a full, fair opportunity for knowing the way of the Lord, and of coming into full harmony therewith, and of attaining thereby all that was lost by the first Adam, with increase of blessing through increase of knowledge. Blessed are our eyes for they see now. Blessed are we who at the present time discern the beauty and value of the gift, and have already accepted Christ as our Redeemer and the Captain of our Salvation.

We already reckon ourselves as having passed from death unto life; we already reckon that we have the eternal life because of our faith in the precious promises. And this which we have now through faith will be fully realized by us when we awake in his likeness in the first resurrection, as it is written, "I shall be satisfied when I awake in his likeness." Psa. 17:15

"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."

The National Labor Tribune, August 13, 1905


Connellsville, Pa., August 13 – Pastor Russell of Allegheny, Pa., addressed a good audience here today in the Colonial theater. His theme was salvation, from the text, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation." (Heb. 2:3)

The discourse follows: The keynote of the Gospel message to mankind is Salvation. It implies that mankind is in an undesirable condition, or about to come into such a condition, and that a rescue is desirable. It is proper that we should know, that the Scriptures should tell us distinctly, what [NS233] we are to be saved from and what we are to be saved to. Nor are we disappointed when we approach God's Word in a proper, reverent and teachable attitude of mind and heart. Nevertheless this question is rarely ever asked – the Scriptures are very rarely appealed to for their answer. An answer is generally inferred and understood without the query and without the Scriptural reply.

We are told by all the "orthodox" creeds of Christendom that the world was lost 6,000 years ago, that because of father Adam's disobedience God sentenced the entire race of mankind to an eternity of torture, that many are already enduring this; that, after millions had gone down to that awful condition during four thousand years, Christ appeared as the representative of God to offer salvation. This offer of salvation as claimed is, that those fortunate enough to hear about Christ and able to exercise faith in him, and who as a result of this faith become saints, will be saved from the eternal torture, and instead will be carried up to heaven, there to enjoy bliss eternal. That, briefly stated, is the general view in Christendom respecting salvation.


That theory, slightly modified in unimportant features, satisfied the minds of many during the period we call the dark ages, but it no longer satisfies anybody; everybody agrees that such a view of the divine plan, purpose, arrangement, would be very discreditable to a wise, just, loving God. All are agreed that no good man or woman would make such a plan, and the better the man or the woman the farther such a plan would be from his or her design.

As a consequence of this view of matters, as a consequence of the greater enlightenment of our minds, many today are rejecting the Bible in toto as a book suited to the dark ages only and totally unworthy of credence in the light of our day. Others, while still holding to the Bible, are perplexed and perturbed in mind, ill at ease – their confidence in the old book is shaken. We want this afternoon, dear friends, to call your attention to the fact that the view of salvation we have just portrayed is not only contrary to reason and justice and love, but equally contrary to the teachings of God's Word.

We want that every person in this large assembly today shall leave this house not only with a higher respect for his Creator, but also with a higher esteem for the Bible as the divine revelation of God, his character and his plan. We shall endeavor to have all catch a glimpse at least of the divine wisdom, justice, love and power, which, working all things according to the counsel of divine will, has formed a plan of salvation which is as superior to the theories of the dark ages as the heavens are higher than the earth. Indeed the Scriptures, after calling attention to man s misapprehension of the divine character, declare, "As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my plans higher than your plans." Isa. 55:9


The Scriptures tell us distinctly that "the wages of sin is death," "the soul that sinneth it shall die."

They explain to us that by one man's disobedience sin entered into the world and death by sin, and thus death passed upon all men for all are sinners. (Eze. 18:4; Rom. 6:23; 5:12, 19)

From this standpoint everything is clear and simple and plain. God's dealings with mankind have been just, and his provision for our salvation is a loving and generous one. Death is the extreme of the penalty: the journey from the cradle to the tomb is all a dying process. Indeed the Scriptures inform us that as a race we are all born in sin, shapen in iniquity, in sin did our mothers conceive us. (Psa. 51:5)

Only the one man and woman, therefore, had life in its full perfection. All of their children born under the sentence of death have been a dying race. Let us look about us and see the evidences of the truthfulness of this Scriptural proposition, let us note the mental decay or dying, the physical decay or dying, the moral decay or dying, as it has spread throughout all the earth, so that as the Scriptures again declare, "There is none righteous, no not one; all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:10, 23


The image of God possessed by our first parents has been lost. The mental image, the moral image and the perfection of the human frame are gone through the operation of sin working through disease unto death. We shall see that this is a reasonable and just penalty: our first parents while in the image of God, knowing right from wrong, sinned wilfully, the Scriptures explain to us, and therefore got the penalty that rests upon all their offspring through heredity.

All are thus going down to the tomb, the death state, called in the Hebrew language of the Old Testament sheol and in the Greek language of the New Testament, hades. Sheol, hades, the grave, therefore, is the great prison house of death to which the entire human family has been consigned on account of sin. Be it noted that these words sheol and hades are mistranslated in our common version of the Bible, being rendered hell when there is no such thought as torment connected with them. As an illustration Jacob, mourning for his son, whom he supposed to be dead, said, "I will go down to sheol mourning for Joseph" – meaning he would continue [NS234] to mourn for Joseph until death. Note again Job's expression on the subject when, under the hand of affliction, he prayed the Lord, "O, that thou wouldst hide me in sheol until thy wrath be past. Thou shalt call and I will answer thee, thou wilt have respect to the work of thy hands." Job 14:13, 15

What did he mean? He meant that, if God were willing, he would rather die. He had had happy experiences in life, but now, under the severe hand of affliction, having lost all of his children, having lost all his property, having lost his health, being accursed by his wife, he prayed the Lord that, if it were his will, he might go into sheol, go into the tomb, there to await the resurrection – the time when the Lord would call and when Job could respond, even as Lazarus responded to the voice of Jesus when he said, "Lazarus come forth."

Job was a prophet, and had some advanced information respecting the divine plan, that there would be a resurrection of the dead. He addressed God as the Redeemer, Savior, and expressed his confidence that God would have respect to the work of his hands, to the human family, himself included. Job's faith was securely grounded, and we are glad of the assurances of the New Testament that his prophetic hopes will be fully realized – that not only Job but all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man and come forth.


If, now, we keep in mind the inspired declaration of what the calamity is that is upon our race, we will be prepared for the Scriptural explanation of the remedy which God has provided, but in whatever proportion we lose sight of the Scriptural declaration respecting the trouble, in the same proportion our minds will be confused when we attempt to think of salvation.

This is the trouble with the great majority of Christian people: they are holding fast the traditions of the ancients received from the dark ages, theories concocted at the time when the professed children of God racked one another, beheaded one another, burned one another at the stake, because of differences of opinion, thus manifesting that they were considerably under the power of the great Adversary Satan.

Let us thank God for whatever of clearer light and better knowledge of faith and proper conduct we enjoy. Let us remember that the increasing light has come from the Word of God, and, as the Lord through the prophet has exhorted, let us seek again for the old paths, for the teachings of the Word of God, in contradistinction to the words of man. Let us not be satisfied either to go ten or twelve centuries back – let us go clear back to the words of the Son of God and his inspired apostles – let us anchor our faith to these, nor be moved from them by the threats or cajolery of men. So surely as it is true that the wages of sin is death, it must also be true that salvation would be a rescue from sin and from death.

There can be no rescue from death without a rescue from sin, and there can be no rescue from sin without a rescue from death. Under the divine arrangement they stand as cause and effect; hence, it was that our dear Redeemer said, "He that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son shall not see life." (1 John 5:12)

To have the Son, to abide in the Son, means not to abide wilfully and willingly in sin, to have the Lord's deliverance from sin and his deliverance unto life-everlasting life. Thus it is that throughout the Scriptures the whole theme of salvation is "Jesus and the resurrection," (Acts 17:18) – Jesus, the Redeemer, who gave his life a ransom for father Adam, and thus indirectly paid the ransom price for the sins of the whole world – Jesus, as the power of God, legally authorized through his redemptive sacrifice to release mankind from the power of sin and death.

The foundation for this salvation of mankind is deeply and broadly laid. The Scriptures assure us that it was because of one man's disobedience that the sentence of death now rests upon the whole world. That one man was father Adam, and the Scriptures also tell us that it was "the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:5, 6)

This provision has been made not only for father Adam's forgiveness but also for the forgiveness of the sins of the whole world. But the Lord proposes to give his blessing of forgiveness and salvation only upon certain conditions. The conditions for the present age are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior, and obedience to him. Those who can not hear can not exercise faith, and not exercising the faith now can not exercise the obedience, nor can they in any sense of the word have this salvation now. What their future prospects for salvation may be we will consider later. We are now considering our Lord's offer of this present time.

It is confined exclusively to believers, and its terms are discipleship, and our Lord says distinctly, "If any man will be my disciple he must take up his cross and follow me." Matt. 16:24 The remainder of the world, then, is still unsaved, and this, dear friends, we all recognize to mean that the vast majority here in this city are unsaved. Worse than that, it means that the vast majority of church members are unsaved. We are laying the matter before you as given in the Scriptures. Be not deceived; think not that you are saved when you are not saved; let us not deceive ourselves.


From the time that we accepted Christ and consecrated [NS235] our all to him and began to walk in his steps, we are Scripturally reckoned as having passed from death unto life, as having mentally experienced a resurrection. To such, "Old things have passed away, all things have become new." [2 Cor. 5:17]

Addressing such the Apostle says, "If then ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." (Col 3:1)

These, by seeking to follow the example and precepts of their Lord, are seeking what he promised them, glory, honor and immortality, the divine nature, association with himself in the Kingdom to come – in the Millennial Kingdom for which we pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." [Matt. 6:10]

This does not mean that the Lord's faithful ones experience their resurrection in full at the present time. Quite to the contrary. The Scriptures explain that in this transition of mind we experience but a foretaste of our blessing, our resurrection – as but one of hope and faith and newness of spirit in the Lord. We are still instructed to wait for, to hope for, to expect, a participation in the actual resurrection, in which present earthly imperfections shall all be lost, and we shall receive perfect spirit bodies in every way adapted to our new minds and new conditions as joint-heirs with our Lord.

This resurrection of the Church, the Scriptures explain, will come at the close of this Gospel age, at the dawning of the Millennial age, and by that "change" all the members of the body of Christ, the Church, will be glorified, and thus be ushered into the condition and honors and experiences of the Kingdom which will qualify them to bless all the families of the earth. This the Scriptures term the first or chief resurrection, because its rewards will be so far superior to the resurrection which will be granted to the remainder of the world. Of this first resurrection the Apostle says, "Blessed and holy are they that have part in the first (chief) resurrection; on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Rev. 20:6)

It is this resurrection, that the Apostle describes in 1 Cor. 15:42, 44: It is sown in corruption; raised in incorruption; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown an animal body, raised a spiritual body.


We have already shown by the Scriptures that Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man, that he was a propitiation for our sins (the Church's sins), and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. We have also shown that only faithful believers get the benefit and blessing of this salvation during this Gospel age, and that these alone have part in the first resurrection. We now call attention to the fact that God's plan is wider and deeper than we had once supposed.

The Scriptures already quoted, as well as many others we can cite, prove conclusively that God's plan for salvation extends beyond the salvation of the present time, which is effective only to the Church. All have been redeemed, all are to have an opportunity for salvation. The opportunity offered in this Gospel age is a special opportunity, and the reward as we have seen is to be wonderfully, sublimely grand above all that we could ask or think.

The salvation and the reward intended for the world in general will be grand, beyond anything that we are able to present or to comprehend, but far less grand than the salvation provided for the special class, the little flock, saved now during this Gospel age and of which the Scriptures speak as the first fruits unto God of his creatures. The first fruits are about to be gathered in this harvest of the Gospel age, and then the plowshare of trouble will be run deeply throughout the world. The hearts of all mankind will be broken, humbled to the dust, to the intent that the great seed-sowing of truth and grace may take place during the Millennial age, the result of which will be another harvest in the end of the age, in which all the worthy ones will get everlasting life on the human plane instead of the spiritual plane, and those found unworthy of eternal life will be destroyed from amongst the people, utterly destroyed in the second death. Well has the poet expressed, probably much better than he knew, the riches of God's grace and provision for salvation for our race, saying: "Salvation! O the joyful sound! What tidings for our race! Deliv'rance for the world is found, Through God's abounding grace.


The Apostle having in mind this glorious plan of God, which we have sought to present, breaks out at various times in his writings in ecstasies of joy. On one occasion his words were, "That ye might be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth all understanding." (Eph. 3:18)

To appreciate God's plan we must see that only a comparatively few are being dealt with at the present time, that the great work of salvation belongs to a future time; that the Lord in the present time is preparing fruits of the salvation, a first fruits of God's mercy; that it is to constitute a Royal Priesthood, to be associated with the great Redeemer when he shall by and by stand forth in authority and power as the great Prophet, Priest and King of the whole world, as the [NS236] Lord's representative to establish justice and righteousness, order and truth in the world. No longer will matters be left as they are now – the great mass of the world in gross darkness, and even the enlightened parts of the earth much blinded by the god of this world through his various snares and sophistries, among them, money, honor of men, etc.

No longer will the truth-seeker be confronted with hundreds of contradictory creeds, whose advocates will not claim that they are true, though they will endeavor to shackle him with them and to stop his search for the truth. No longer will he be left to bewilderment and uncertainty, exposed to the snares of higher criticism, theosophy, Christian science, orthodoxy. On the contrary, the Sun of Righteousness shall then arise and all the darkness will be scattered, the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as a mighty flood, as the waters cover the great deep. No longer will it be necessary to explain and teach, for all shall know the Lord from the least to the greatest. This is the assurance of the Scriptures, however unlikely it may appear from the present standpoint of unbelief.

Let those who can exercise faith in the Lord and in his Word, trust fully to its presentations and be of good courage, assured that all the blessed promises of the Lord will very soon have fulfilment, that the Kingdom for which the Lord taught us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven," will shortly be established, and that all the blessings of that Kingdom will more than offset the darkness of the past six thousand years, and its gracious privilege and opportunity for life everlasting to the world will be appreciated by the many all the more because of the experiences of the present life of sin and its bitter wages of death.


We answer that God's Word reveals four separate and distinct salvations to those who will give careful study to it, that they may learn "to rightly divide the word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15)

Of course the vast majority, not being thoroughly consecrated believers, will not do this, and hence will remain in darkness; but all who are truly consecrated to the Lord should be glad to give heed to his Word and to come to a clearer understanding of it, that they may appreciate more and more the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of love divine and of the plan that is higher than man's.

We will briefly review these four salvations, not with a thought that our statement of the matter will be convincing, but rather that we might through this brief statement attract to a thorough study of the subject those who are hungering and thirsting for the truth, those for whom the Lord intends his message during this Gospel age, from the time of the Lord's crucifixion to its end, to accomplish the salvation of two classes called the "little flock" and the class described in the Scriptures as the Great Company.

Both of these classes are true believers in the ransom and the efficacy of his sacrifice and have entered into covenant relationship with the Lord, consecrating their all to him; but the little flock consists of those who have joyfully, gladly, willingly gone forward in the line of duty, privilege, sacrifice, and throughout life have delighted to lay down their lives for the brethren and for the Truth. Lay down their lives, I say – not instantly, not in one moment or hour or day or year, but daily, hourly, throughout life, they seek to spend and be spent in the Lord's service, in the service of his cause, in the service of the Truth, in the service of his brethren, the Church. These the Scriptures denominate "living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God," "followers of the Lamb," a "little flock." (Rom. 12:1; Rev. 14:4; Luke 12:32)

The "great company" is not great as compared with the population of the world, but as compared with the little flock. They come off conquerors by the Lord's assistance in that they demonstrate that they would die rather than deny the Lord or turn wilfully into the ways of sin, but they are not of the class denominated "more than conquerors," not of the little flock. They will not, therefore, share with the little flock in the throne, in the glories and honor of the Kingdom, although they will receive spirit nature in their resurrection, not the human or fleshly nature.

Another class of the saved ones is described by the Apostle in Heb. 11:39, 40 – the worthy ones of ancient times, who lived and died before the great redemption price was paid and before the Gospel call went forth. The Scriptures clearly show that this little flock of ancient worthies will have a very honorable position in the future, under the Millennial reign, but they will not be spirit beings, because not begotten of the Spirit. Their experiences and victories were before Pentecost. The Scriptures assign to them a very honorable place as representatives of Christ and the Church amongst men.

The Lord and the Church, the Kingdom class, will be invisible to men, and their communications will be made through the ancient worthies, who will be perfected as Adam was perfect. With added knowledge, they will be examples to the remainder of mankind as well as representatives of the Lord's Word, authority and power amongst men. Glory they will have, honor they will have, perfection will be their portion in the resurrection. The remainder of the world under their tuition may gradually attain to their perfection, Adamic perfection, earthly perfection, and come to inherit the whole earth. And thus, saved from sin and death, they [NS237] will enjoy the salvation God has provided for them – salvation even unto the ends of the earth – and those who will not accept that salvation the Scriptures distinctly teach us will be remanded to death, to destruction, as we read, "It shall come to pass that the soul that will not hear (obey) that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people." Acts 3:23


Our text intimates that there is no escape for those who neglect so great salvation. The Apostle is speaking of himself and others when using these words, "How shall we escape."

He does not say, "How could the world escape," nor would such words have been appropriate. It is the "we" class, the Church class, the believers only, who have the light and the knowledge at the present time, and upon them properly rests now the responsibility of choosing life or death. If after testing God's goodness, if after coming to a knowledge of God's plan, we sin wilfully and repudiate the Lord's offer of salvation, it demonstrates that we are not worthy to enjoy its everlasting provisions. And thus the Scriptures speak of some who now draw back unto perdition, some who will die the second death during this Gospel age, a possibility of committing the sin unto death of which the Apostle says, "I do not say that you shall pray for it."

But only believers are at the present time in any danger of committing this sin. Others have not the knowledge, have not the light that they could despise it. By and by, however, when all the blind eyes shall be opened, when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, it will then be true of the remainder of the world that they will be offered the great salvation which God has prepared for them in their times and seasons, and then it will be proper to apply to them the words of our text, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation" as will then be within their reach.

We hope, dear friends, that something in this discourse has helped you to discern clearly what God proposes to save men from and what he proposes to save them to. It is a reasonable salvation, a grand, a glorious one. You will thank God in proportion as you are able to grasp and appreciate this message from his Word. I hope to hear from the interested ones, and will be glad to send you literature freely. Make no mistake about the matter: if you understand and appreciate the great salvation now offered, this is your chance, and but one chance or trial for eternal life is offered to any in the Scriptures. Let us who have seen and heard of the great salvation seek to make our calling and election sure to a place in the little flock of overcomers.

The National Labor Tribune, August 27, 1905


Pastor C. T. Russell addressed the Bible House congregation in Carnegie Hall, Allegheny, at 3 p.m. Sunday. He endeavored to make plain from the Scriptures the subject of divine predestination, which has vexed and perplexed theologians for centuries. His text was, "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate." (Rom. 8:29)

His discourse follows: The public press informs us that our Lutheran brethren throughout the U. S. are being greatly stirred over the subject of divine foreordination or predestination. They have recently held a synodical conference in Indiana, at which the subject has been warmly debated pro and con, the Ohio synod by its representatives denouncing the doctrine and desiring its expurgation from the Lutheran Confession of Faith, the other synods supporting and endeavoring to uphold the Confession.

The dispute is an old one, and nearly every denomination of Christendom has been more or less exercised respecting it. Of recent years, however, doctrines have been relegated to the rear by nearly all except the Lutherans, simply because with the advancing light of our day theologians realize that the creeds formulated in and shortly after the Dark Ages would best be hidden as much as possible from the public scrutiny, as they would not stand the light of present-day investigation and intelligent reasoning.

This discourse was republished in the old Theology Quarterly, No. 70, 1905 Now republished in Harvest Gleanings, Vol. I, pages 375-79, Part 2; under same title. God shall wipe thy tears away, Turn thy darkness into day.

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