The Pittsburgh Dispatch, July 1, 1907


CHICAGO, June 30 – Pastor Russell of Allegheny, Pa., preached here today at 3 p.m. from the text: "Gather My saints together unto Me; those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5)

The speaker said: As is generally known, the word saint signifies a sanctified or holy person – one whose will is entirely converted to the Lord, to the extent of his ability to do things which would be pleasing to the Lord. The term saints is freely used throughout the Scriptures, and in the days of the apostles had a general significance, much more so than today.

With many in our time the term is applied only to certain persons long passed away, supposed to have been particularly devout. These in the Roman Catholic Church are assumed to have gone to heaven direct, without being obliged to pass through purgatory or preparation, purification. They are even supposed to have a fund of merit, through good works and sacrifices, laid up to their credit in heaven, from which they are permitted to give portions to the devout who may request these favors in prayer. Like all Protestants we repudiate the thought that there is any merit, any worthiness in any member of our race that could be possibly made applicable to another. We hold, on the contrary, that there is none righteous, no not one, and that if God should be strict to mark iniquity against us none would stand the inspection.

We hold that it is only by the imputation of the merit of our Lord Jesus to us that any of us are enabled to stand muster at all in the presence of the Lord our God. We recognize His merit as a robe of righteousness granted to us through the exercise of our faith and obedience to the best of our ability, and that we are complete in Him and very incomplete without Him. There are people today who style themselves "holiness people" who seem to totally misapprehend the Scriptural teaching on the subject of holiness. These boast that for so many years they have lived perfectly, without sin.

In our estimation these poor creatures are horribly mistaken. Their difficulty seems to be that they have not recognized the divine standard of holiness, which is absolute perfection. The human being who considers himself absolutely perfect in thought, word and deed is sadly deceived; his neighbors can see his imperfections if he cannot see them himself. The Scriptures declare this to be a mistaken view, saying, "If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8-9)

Nevertheless the Scriptures do recognize saints. The apostles addressed the Christians of their day as saints – not exceptional ones of them, but all the consecrated; as, for instance, St. Paul's introduction of his epistle to the Romans declares that it is "to all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints." [Rom. 1:7]

To the Corinthians he writes, "To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints." [1 Cor. 1:2]

In his two epistles to the Corinthians he writes, "Unto the Church which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in Achaia." [2 Cor. 1:1]

His epistle to the Ephesians he addressed "to the saints which are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus." [Eph. 1:1]

Writing to the Colossians he addresses "the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse." [Col. 1:2]


According to the Scriptures the saints of the apostolic time were not perfect men and women as respects the flesh; they were such as were by nature imperfect, fallen, but who by grace had been redeemed and who by faith had accepted that redemption and fled away from sin, and additionally have responded to the Lord's invitation to present their bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, their reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1)

These were reckoned saints because of their changed attitude of mind, of heart, of will, of purpose, because fully surrendered to the Lord without any reservation. They were wholly His, holy ones, sanctified or set apart, separate from sin and selfishness and the world, to the Lord and to holy things. Nevertheless, the apostle, speaking for himself and others, declares: "We have this treasure (of a new mind, new nature, new heart and new will) in earthen vessels." [2 Cor. 4:7]

In other words, the will was holy and perfect, though the flesh was still imperfect and warred against it. The imperfections of the old nature, covered by the merits of Christ's sacrifice, were no longer imputed, but the righteousness of Christ was imputed instead as a robe to cover every blemish and to constitute the sacrificers holy and acceptable to God. According to this divine standard or pattern there ought to be holiness people everywhere throughout the world now as well as then. Surely there are such, and surely they are not confined to any one denomination or credal profession. Today as in the apostle's day the Church of Christ should be recognized as one, and it should be further recognized as being composed exclusively of these sanctified ones – that others who have not yet reached the station here taken, the stand of a [NS470] full consecration of themselves to the Lord, have not become members of the Church in the true, real, scriptural sense, but at very most have believed in Christ as their Redeemer, and having turned from sin, but not having yet made a full surrender of their wills to the Lord, could be counted only as prospective members of the Church, in a waiting attitude, to see whether or not they would take the proper step which would transfer them from the justified plane to the plane of new creatures in Christ, begotten by the holy Spirit.

But while we may hope that such a class is to be found in various quarters and in various denominations of Christendom throughout the world, we have no reason whatever to suppose that there are many of them. Our own experiences teach us that not many even profess to be living a sanctified or set-apart life, whose chief ambition is to know and to do the will of our Father in heaven, to let their light shine and to render all the assistance in their power to the household of faith, even to the extent of laying down their lives on their behalf. Furthermore, the Scriptures quite agree with our observations, and assure us that not many wise, not many great, learned, rich, has God called and chosen, but that His call appeals chiefly to the poor of this world, rich in faith, who may thus become heirs of the Kingdom. (1 Cor. 1:26-28; Jas. 2:5)

Our Lord called these saints a "little flock," saying, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom" – the millennial kingdom – joint-heirs with Christ in the work of blessing and uplifting mankind.


There is a peculiar adage that "Birds of a feather flock together," and so it is with these saints of the Lord. They love to meet one another and enjoy each other's fellowship next to that of the Lord. All saints who are in the right attitude of heart delight to respond to the Apostle's exhortation that they forget not the assembling of themselves, as the manner of some is, but to do it so much the more as they see the day (the Millennial day) draw nigh. (Heb. 10:25)

But our Lord purposes a still grander gathering together of His saints, the members of the Bride class, the members of His Body, the Church. In many Scriptures He tells us that in the end of this age He will send forth His messengers and gather together His elect from every quarter. In the parable of the net cast into the sea, which gathered fish of every kind and finally was drawn to the shore the good or suitable fish being gathered into baskets and the others cast away, this matter is illustrated. The good fish will ultimately be gathered together and completely separated from all others.

The same thought is presented to us in the parable of the wheat and tares, where our Lord foretold the bringing in of much corruption into the Church through the sowing of the tare seed, and tells us that the tares should not be uprooted until the end of the age, and that then He would direct the harvest work, so that all the tares would be gathered into bundles and all the wheat be gathered into the barn together and separated. There is no intimation anywhere in the Scriptures in accord with what so many Christian people believe, namely, that at death the Lord's holy ones are gathered.

No, the Scriptures are plain upon this point, that all the race of Adam came under the sentence of death, "Dying, thou shalt die," and that the hope of their return to life is in the Lord's promise of a resurrection, and He has promised that in the resurrection every man shall come forth in his own order, in his own class, in his own rank, and that the saints, the Bride class, shall constitute the first rank, or first resurrection, which shall be composed exclusively of the blessed and the holy, on whom the second death hath no power, but who shall be kings and priests unto God and reign on the earth.


As already intimated, the nominal Church systems contain remarkably few saints – according to their own confession – remarkably few who claim to be fully, completely set apart to know and to do the will of the Lord. If you doubt this, ask them. The saints are scattered here and there apparently in all denominations, and to our understanding the harvest time has come – the time for the gathering of the saints – the time referred to in the various Scriptures and parables already quoted, and in our text, "Gather together my saints unto me, saith the Lord, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." [Psa. 50:5]

Those who have not sacrificed themselves are not saints from the Lord's standpoint, however moral and well-intentioned they may be. To our understanding also it will soon be too late for any to make the sacrifice and to hope to be counted in among the saints. We do not mean by this that a time is nearing when there will be no hope of forgiveness of sins and harmony with God.

Oh, no, thank God! We read in His precious Word that there will be grand opportunities for forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with the Father during the millennial age, but we read there also that there is an acceptable time – a time when God will accept our little sacrifices and count them in with the great sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, that thus we may be sharers in the sufferings of Christ, to the intent that by and by we may be sharers in His glory – in His millennial kingdom. We do not intend on this occasion to refresh your memories respecting what we have already presented from the Scriptures, proving that we have been in this [NS471] harvest time, this time of the gathering the saints, since 1878, and it will continue yet a few years more until the last member of the. elect number has been found and tested and proven faithful. In our view the first resurrection gathering of the saints is already in progress, and these may be considered as referred to in our text as part of the gathering to the Lord. However, we understand our text to have still wider signification – that it especially refers to a gathering together of all the Lord's people from all denominations and creeds and systems of men.

We are aware that this will seem to be impossible from the human standpoint, that many will be inclined to say that it would require a miracle to bring into heart harmony the Lord's faithful ones in all denominations, seeing that they are separated by such formidable creeds and by prejudices of such long standing. We reply that with God all things are possible, and that when He declares that in this harvest time He will gather together His elect we prefer to believe that He will do so, and our faith is being rewarded by sight continually, for day by day, month by month, year by year, the work of gathering the saints together is progressing more and more rapidly.


Is it suggested that each sect as it was formed attempted to gather the saints? We answer, No! Each sect as it is formed attempts to gather the worldly wise, the great, the rich, and but little attention is paid to the saints. Indeed, scriptural saintship has never been made a very prominent topic in any denomination. Our Lord says, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free;" and again He prayed for His people, "Father sanctify them through thy truth, thy Word is truth." (John 8:32; John 17:17)

But where have we found any sect or party which has given special attention to Scriptural study, to an understanding of the Word of God, to an application of it to the heart and life, with the desire for sanctification! On the contrary, do we not find, not only among Roman Catholics but also among Protestants, a desire to keep the people from studying the Scriptures – from asking questions about them – from growing in knowledge respecting the Word of God as a whole?

True, a certain kind of scriptural teaching is maintained, the Bible is still recognized to be the keystone in the Christian arch, but is there not a form of teaching and a form of study rather than the real thing, just as there is a form of godliness rather than the power and sanctification thereof? The chief endeavor among all sects and parties seems thus far to have been to rally around a name, a sect, a party, a theory; and while good people have been drawn to every such standard the saintly class have never found satisfaction. Now, however, we see a movement in progress among Christian people in every nation, on every continent, that is in harmony with what we should expect in this harvest time, in harmony with the call of our text, "Gather together my saints unto me" – not into a new sect or party, not under a new name, not under new doctrines.

Evidently it is one thing to be gathered to the Lord Himself and another thing to be gathered to a human system and organization. We have the great pleasure, dear friends, of standing today upon an impregnable rock of truth, that is high enough, wide enough, broad enough, to accommodate all who are of the class designated – the saints who have made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice. It is not broad enough for others, and the Lord does not intend it to be – He desires a separate, a peculiar people, whom He elsewhere designates as His jewels, whom He is now gathering. We by the grace of God have realized the mistakes of sectarianism and want no more of it; we have realized the mistakes of credal chains and wish to be no longer bound. We find that the true liberty is in Christ, and that to maintain it, as the Apostle says, we must no longer be under any yoke of bondage.

While, therefore, we welcome and gladly fellowship all who love the Lord in truth and sincerity, all who are trusting in the precious blood for the forgiveness of their sins, and who are seeking to walk no longer after the flesh, but after the Spirit, all whose lives are devoted or sacrificed to the Lord, we do not wish them to put any bondage upon us, nor do we wish to put bondage upon them; it is ours to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and to be joined to Him. We need no credal chains to bind us together, for he that is joined to the Lord is one in spirit with Him, and whoever is in spiritual relationship with the Lord must of necessity be in spiritual relationship with all who are the Lord's everywhere. These have the best of bonds, the bonds of love, the bonds of fellowship, the bonds of truth. These bonds the Apostle refers to, saying, that as the various members of the human body are joined together by ligaments and cords, so also is the Body of Christ joined by the Spirit of the Master, His precepts, His injunctions, His love.

How thankful we are and should be that we live in this blessed day when the great Shepherd is gathering His sheep. He designates it as a cloudy day and refers to the true sheep as being scattered and greatly hindered from hearing His voice and assembling themselves by the words and conduct of the false shepherds. In harmony with our text and other quotations respecting this gathering of the Lord's people in the harvest time of this age we read, "Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, [NS472] I Myself, even I, will search for My sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out My sheep, and I will deliver them out of all places whither they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day." Eze. 34:11,12


Natural Israel and spiritual Israel are closely interwoven in the divine plan and Word; hence it does not surprise us to find that this gathering of spiritual Israel, the saints, the very elect, will be simultaneous with the gathering of natural Israel. The gathering of the former means ultimately their exaltation and glorification as spirit beings in the kingdom; the gathering of the latter means their restoration to divine favor, and that they will be the first to be blessed on the earthly plane under the favors of the millennial kingdom. How glad we are to note the evidence of the fulfillment of the Lord's Word in both directions! Do we not see the greatest movement among fleshly Israel that has ever been known, the Zionist movement?

And some of you well remember that we foretold this movement from the Scriptures 15 years before any of the Jews seemed to think of it. Yes! We are glad to see evidences of the fulfillment of the apostle's words that God concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon them all, and that very shortly they shall obtain mercy through your mercy. Rom. 11:25-32

If we believe that we are in the day of the presence of the Son of Man; that He is now gathering His elect; that He is now making up His jewels; that He is now collecting His sheep; that He is now, in the language of our text, gathering together unto Himself those who have made a covenant with Him by sacrifice – if we believe these things, what influence should they have upon our general course in life?

Such a faith should make us calm, zealous, patient, faithful to the Lord and to our covenant of sacrifice. And indeed all of this is necessary, for, as the Apostle points out, this gathering time is to be a time of special trial and testing and severity upon the Church – not upon the world. This is the day mentioned by the Apostle, in which the fiery trials shall try every man's work – in which some will be approved and some disapproved – in which the approved ones will be gathered to the Lord and the disapproved ones suffer loss.

The Apostle declares that while the fiery trials will try all, they will consume the wood, hay and stubble of human tradition and false living and false faith, and will only purify and refine the precious characters, true faith, etc., as gold and silver and precious stones. What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness? asks the Apostle Peter. Surely we all reply that in view of the tests now going on we should be saints indeed, patient, careful, zealous, that in our testing we may be found of the Master in peace – that each one of us may receive His blessing and hear His welcome voice saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things." [Matt. 25:23]

The National Labor Tribune, July 14, 1907


Our text refers not to the sins of the world, in the plural; but to the sin of the world, in the singular. From the divine standpoint sin had its beginning in one act of disobedience on the part of our first parents; but the sentence, has gradually affected and undermined their powers, mental, moral and physical, until as a result imperfection, weakness, depravity, sin, is somehow associated with almost every word and deed of the children of men. In some measure the world is responsible for this general depravity, but in the general sense it is not responsible, because these tendencies toward sin were inherited. Mark the Apostle's words on the subject – "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world, and death as the result of sin; and thus death has passed upon all men, because all are sinners." (Rom. 5:12)

Note again the statement of Scripture that we are "born in sin and shapen in iniquity; and in sin did our mothers conceive us." (Psa. 51:5)

We are not responsible, therefore, for the general fact that we have inherited these blemishes, but we are responsible to the extent we may have co-operated with sin, and intensified its blight in our own persons and in our children. Looking over the world we see that the mental, moral and physical degeneracy has not been equal in all parts. If we would imagine a map of the world shaded from white to black, the white representing purity and the black representing grossness of degeneracy, we would find no community on earth that could be represented by white. The very best city or country or state would be a drab color, while some sections of the world would be nearly jet black, representing almost a total depravity. Thank God that the light of divine truth, [NS473] which came into the world with the presence of our Saviour, and which set up a standard amongst the people, has had the effect of blessing in proportion as its influence has been accepted, and these lighter portions of the earth we call civilization. But, alas, how unsatisfactory our civilization is! How far from purity our types of Christianization! How few there are today who could say with the Apostle, Brethren, be ye followers of us, even as we are followers of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor. 11:1)

How few there are even reckonedly, in the spirit of their minds, in their daily life, in their daily course, walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit!


Thus we discern that there is a general sin in the world, that it is in our blood, in our organization from birth, and the child of but a day is a participant in this sin, in this sinful condition that God disapproves and has declared to be unworthy of eternal life – worthy of death. In other words, our race is not worthy of perpetuation, is the divine decree. The general penalty against this universal condition of sin is the one originally pronounced against father Adam, and is still resting upon the world of mankind in general – "Dying thou shalt die." [Gen. 2:17]

Death is upon all, because all are sinners under this general sentence pronounced in Eden. As already intimated, it is possible for the individuals of the race to either strive against this downward tendency in which they were born or to fall in line with it, and hurry down the broad road of destruction more rapidly. For such as run in the way of sin, practicing iniquity, the Lord declares there is additional responsibility – they are worthy of stripes. Some evil doers get these stripes, chastisement, in the present life through the natural course of affairs. Sowing to the flesh they reap the rewards of their wrong course under what we sometimes term natural laws.

As, for instance, the libertine in many instances brings upon himself temporal and distressing sickness, which hasten his death and increase his sorrows and troubles. In many other instances, however, the innocent suffer through laws of heredity as much as do the wilful transgressors, and hence there could be no evening up of matters to an exact point on justice were there no provision for a future life, a future probation. The infant of a day suffering from some loathsome disease unjustly shares with its parents the penalty upon wrong doing.

The divine law might have left us in this position as a race and have done nothing for us. Justice could offer no plea on behalf of the suffering infant or other innocents, because the decree of Justice against Adam and all of his posterity is that by disobedience and by inherited blemishes they are found unworthy of everlasting life – worthy of death. Hence Justice decrees that any and everything which tends to hasten death amongst mankind is working out the sentence of Justice – "Dying thou shalt die."


We will notice presently in what way the Lord takes away the sin of the Church – the sins of believers in Jesus; but now we call attention to the fact that our text does not discuss this matter, but, on the contrary, deals with sin as a whole and the world of sinners as a whole. It points us to the fact that our Lord's mission is to take away the sin of the world – to take away the general blight and curse of death which came upon all mankind through father Adam's disobedience. To accomplish this work two steps were necessary:

(1) Justice must be satisfied; a legal redemption must be effected. When we look out over the world and note the 1,600,000,000 living today, and reckon up the thousands of million who have died, our hearts would fail us as we attempted to think of how a recompense could be made to Justice which would offset the obligation, the sins of all these. But man's extremity is God's opportunity! As we look into the Word of God we find that divine wisdom had foreseen the entire matter and had arranged for it in advance.

If each individual of our race had been personally sentenced for his own misdeeds, his own shortcomings, then indeed it would have required as a corresponding price that some one should die for each individual – in order to release that one from death. This would be an awful proposition that twenty thousand millions of perfect men must die as redeemers for 20,000,000,000 of sinners. Where would such redeemers be found? Nowhere. Not a man on earth was found perfect, or capable of being his brother's redeemer. As we read, "There is none righteous, no, not one;" and again, "All have sinned and come short;" "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him." (Rom. 3:10, 23; Psa. 49:7)

Where, we ask, is the remedy, the hope? Ah, we must look to God! Divine wisdom only could solve such a problem. Hearkening to the divine message we hear its statement that all mankind were tried and condemned with father Adam, and not individually; and hence the assurance that the redemption of father Adam, the payment of his death sentence, would redeem not only him from the curse, but likewise redeem all who were in him when he came under that death sentence. How amazing the divine wisdom! These very facts that once in our blindness we suppose were an injustice toward us, are really evidences of divine foreknowledge and divine mercy. God condemned the race as a whole that he might have mercy [NS474] upon the race as a whole. This, then, is the meaning of the Scriptural declaration, "As by man came death, so also by man came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor. 15:21, 22

The meaning is very plain, very simple. We know how we all inherit sin and death conditions through father Adam. We see the imperfections all about us; we feel many of them in us; and now we learn that as we have thus inherited blemishes and sins and imperfection and death, another one has acted on our behalf, has paid the penalty; and that by coming into relationship with him, by being regenerated, begotten again, born again, we may inherit eternal life through him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.


From the foregoing we perceive that there are two steps necessary to the release of humanity from its present thralldom to sin and death:

(1) It was necessary that the penalty against father Adam should be paid to Justice.

(2) It is necessary that Adam and all of his posterity in order to be blessed must come into relationship to the Redeemer – must be regenerated, obtain a new life. The first father or lifegiver, Adam, failed not only to keep the life bestowed upon him in his creation, but failed to hand it down to his posterity. His children have been produced under sin-and-death conditions, suffering and dying. Thank God for the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine plan of salvation, under which we were loved while we were yet sinners, and a full, complete preparation made for our individual release from our sin-and-death conditions. The Scriptures tell us that this satisfaction of Justice for the sin of the world was somehow connected with the death of our Lord Jesus Christ – that "he died the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God." (1 Pet. 3:18)

He has died, yet the world has not yet been brought to God. Indeed, amazing as the proposition may seem, the world as a whole gets farther away from God day by day. Counting all the population of civilized lands as though they were Christians – though many of them are really as much without God as the poor, ignorant ones whom we designate heathen – we find that those who are put down in statistics as the heathen people of the world are twice as many as they were a century ago, although the past century has been the most remarkable of all the world's history in the endeavor to carry the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth. How shall we understand this matter?

Is the divine plan miscarrying? No, we answer. Other Scriptures must be allowed to assist in clarifying our views of how the great plan of God is outworking. Other Scriptures assure us that before the times of Restitution of all things, before the time of the blotting out of the curse, when "there shall be no more curse," no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying – before that time shall come, God proposes the election or selection of a Little Flock, a Kingly Class, a Royal Priesthood, to be associated with the Redeemer in his work of glory during the Millennial Age. These Scriptures assure us that the Gospel now being proclaimed is not intended for all the ears of mankind, but merely for a certain class – "He that hath an ear, let him hear." [Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22]

Amongst those who hear and are thus called, only a few will be chosen, namely, those who will be found so loyal to the Lord and to righteousness that they will take pleasure in walking in the footsteps of Jesus – in suffering with him, in being despised and rejected of men for his sake, in being separated from the company of the world for his sake, in having all manner of evil spoken against them falsely for his sake, in taking up their cross to follow him. These very properly in the Scriptures are called both a "peculiar people" and a "Little Flock." (Titus 2:14; Luke 12:32)

The work of their selection began with our Lord's ministry, and especially at Pentecost.


The selecting work has since progressed, and we have reason for believing that the number of the Elect is almost complete, that the time of the permission of evil for their testing in faith and obedience is nearly at an end. When completed the Church as the Bride of Christ will be glorified with him, to sit upon his throne, to be associated as the Royal Priesthood under him who is the great High Priest in communicating the blessing of God to all the families of the earth, in introducing the reign of righteousness under the Kingdom of God's dear Son, and in judging the world in righteousness, rewarding well doing and correcting and punishing misdeeds; so that thus in due time all the families of the earth will have the glorious opportunity of being uplifted out of present sin-and-death conditions to the grand perfection that was lost in Eden, plus an increased knowledge and profitable experiences relating to the exceeding sinfulness of sin and blessedness and rewards of righteousness. We see, then, that it is the divine purpose that this Elect class, now being selected from amongst the world, shall have the spirit of Christ – the spirit of self-sacrifice, the spirit of love for righteousness, the spirit of hatred for sin – to such an extent that they will rejoice to lay down their lives with their Master, in his cause, in co-operating with him, under his direction and guidance.

Thus we see that while the merit was in our Lord and in his sacrifice for sins, nevertheless the world is waiting for the finding of the Elect and for their glorification [NS475] as the sons of God. Before they can be glorified they must be proven, they must be tested, they must be sacrificers. In harmony with this is the Scriptural exhortation, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God (in providing the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, including your sins, and in giving you a knowledge of his grace in advance of the world), that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God and your reasonable service."

Thus also the Apostle declares that the faithful of the Lord's people "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." (Col 1:24)

From this standpoint the entire Gospel Age, from the time of our Lord's baptism to the present moment, has been the period of sacrificing. Our Lord sacrificed his life, and we who believe – specially blessed and informed in advance respecting the matter – have cast in our lot with him, to be with him, to suffer with him, to live with him, to reign with him. The work for the world – the taking away of the sin of the world, the opening up of the new dispensation in which all things will be made new – necessarily waits until the last member of the Church shall have finished his share in the sacrificing.


While the sin of the world will be legally cancelled as soon as the great Redeemer shall make the application of his sacrifice to that end, and while this will be an instantaneous work, nevertheless the applying of the benefits of that work to mankind will be gradual, and will require all of the thousand years of the Millennial reign of Christ and his Church. Some grasp the one part of this work, some grasp the other feature, but few seem to see the absolute necessity of both features – the redemption of the world by the payment of the price, the death of Jesus, and the restoration of the world, its uplifting. Respecting the first of these many Scriptures could be cited, but we merely quote you one: The Apostle says, speaking of our Lord and his sacrifice, "Now once in the end of this age hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Heb. 9:26)

This appearance, this sacrificing, was done in the end of the Jewish Age, and it was done with a view to the putting away of sin. The sin of the world is not yet put away, but we are nearing the time for its cancellation and elimination, under the New Covenant, during the Millennium. The Apostle tells us that in the end of this age our Lord will appear a second time, not as a sin-offering, but unto salvation – first for the salvation of the Church, the Bride, to glorify her with himself, and secondly for the salvation of the world.

As the sacrifice for sins was made at the first advent, it will be at the second advent that the putting away as we have already seen, is first a judicial putting away, or a divine acceptance of Christ's sacrifice and the approval of the introduction of the Millennial reign of Christ for the world's uplift out of sin and death. Notice that the Apostle describes this and tells of the time when sins will be blotted out – that it will be at the second coming of Christ – that it will be during the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began – that it will be a time of refreshing from God's presence. (Acts 3:19-23)

Not even the Church's sins are blotted out now; as the Apostle declares, the sins of believers are merely covered. The merit of Christ's righteousness imputed to them, as a robe of righteousness, a wedding garment, covers the blemishes of their flesh, their hearts being true and loyal to the Lord. But when that which is perfect is come there will be no need of such a covering; and the perfection will come at the second coming of our Lord, when, in the First Resurrection, the Father shall by his power raise us to glory, honor, immortality, in association with our Redeemer. Then, being actually perfect, we shall see as we are seen, know as we are known, and have no need to be covered by our dear Saviour's robe, so essential now to our joy and peace and standing with the Father.


But the instantaneous work of the First Resurrection, by which the Church will be made like her Lord in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, does not appertain to the world in general nor to the sins of the world. The sins of the world are not now covered by Christ's robe, for to those whom he accepts as his faithful he declares, "Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world," "for I have chosen you out of the world." (John 17:16; 15:19)

The world is still in its sins, but as soon as the Church shall have been glorified the great Redeemer will make general application of the merit of his sacrifice for the whole world, and the sins of the world will be judicially cancelled in that moment, in that instant. Thereafter there will be nothing to hinder the restitution of any who will to all the perfections and blessings which God shall be pleased to bestow upon those who are in his favor. Then will begin the work of Christ with humanity; for although the sentence of death shall have been lifted from them, they will still be in their blemished, depraved, fallen condition, and will need then to be lifted up out of it; and the divine provision of a thousand years for this restitution work must evidently be exactly the proper length of time in which fully to accomplish it for all the willing and obedient. What beautiful pictures are used to represent the [NS476] Millennial work of Christ and the Church in taking away from the world their sinful conditions! First of all we have the binding of Satan; second, the shining forth of the Sun of Righteousness, to fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of God; third, the water of life then freely flowing, with the invitation to all from the Spirit and the glorified Bride to take of the water of life freely; then, too, the leaves of the trees for the healing of the nations. The marks of sin which now are everywhere in evidence throughout the world, not only in the deeds of mankind but in the very facial expression of all, will then be wiped out – not instantaneously but gradually. Wiping represents a gradual process, and sins and sorrows, pains and tears, are incidentals and concomitants of the death sentence. It is in perfect accord with this that we read that the Lord will wipe away all tears from off all faces in that day, and that there shall be no more sorrow and crying and dying, because all the former things have passed away. Rev. 21:4


A few moments ago we noticed that had not the divine plan made provision for a resurrection of the dead, there would be no evening up of accounts as between those who in the present life have sought to live justly and honorably and those who, on the contrary, have deliberately violated right principles. But in the arrangement which we find Scripturally set forth there is a provision whereby those who now seek to walk in the ways of righteousness will then find their blessing for having so done, while those who have wilfully transgressed will then find a retribution. Not merely believers in Christ and consecrated followers in his footsteps have sought to stem the downward tendencies of the fallen flesh and to rise to higher and nobler conditions of mind and deed; yet only the Church, the sanctified believers, get the blessing for which the Lord is now calling the "Little Flock," the "peculiar people." [Luke 12:32; 1 Pet. 2:9]

Even amongst the heathen there have been some wonderfully noble characters – Confucius, for instance, as an illustration, an example. Likewise in civilized lands today many noble people have never seen with clearness the reasonableness of a full faith in and a full consecration to the service of the Lord Jesus. Such, having sought to live justly and honorably in the world, will be advantaged in the coming age; they will come forth on a proportionately higher plane mentally, morally, every way; they will be superior to what they would have been had they not put forth efforts for righteousness.

It will, however, be still required of them to go on to perfection; but they will have fewer rungs of the ladder to climb than if they had misused their opportunities and privileges. Similarly those in the present life who have misused their opportunities, and thus degraded themselves and brought degradation upon others, in proportion as they knew better will undoubtedly, as the Master declared, receive stripes or punishments.

That is to say, they will find themselves that much nearer the foot of the ladder, and with that many more efforts necessary to be put forth to gain its topmost round, eternal life, perfection. In this way the Lord has arranged that each one, according to his honesty of heart, degree of knowledge and obedience or disobedience to the knowledge, shall have proportionate rewards or punishments. How much more reasonable is this Scriptural view than would be any of the usual thoughts on this subject amongst Christians!

Roman Catholics, with their view of Purgatory and varying terms of incarceration and varying degrees of suffering, have gone outside of anything that is set forth as a basis of faith in God's Word. Besides, their thought that the saying of prayers will bring relief from these stripes and cancel years of suffering is inconsistent with anything found in the Scriptures. Protestant views, that only those fit for heaven go to heaven and that all others go to an eternity of woe, is thoroughly inconsistent, especially when they claim that there is no hope of relief, no hope of mitigation. If only those who are fit for heaven are received there, how few will enter in!

It will be a little flock indeed. Contrast such unreasonable propositions with the simplicity of the divine plan: the Church, the sacrificers, the Bride of Christ, glorified with him in his Kingdom, rewarded for all their sufferings and self-denials exceedingly and abundantly more than they could have asked or thought. The world, coming forth to a fair and equitable trial, in which the conduct of the present life will have its weight and bearing on the advantages of the future life, and all with the prospect, if they will, of reaching life eternal through the merit of him who, as the Lamb of God, died for the cancellation of their guilt, and at his second coming shall, under the blessed influences of his Kingdom, lift them out of sin and degradation and death conditions up to full human perfection, restoring to them the Edenic home and utterly destroying in the Second Death such as will not hear and obey the laws of his Kingdom.


It is not the sacrificing of the Church that takes away the sin of the world. We have nothing to sacrifice that would be acceptable at the bar of Justice except those blessings which are counted ours through faith in Christ. Our sacrificing, therefore, is merely a test of our loyalty and devotion; the merit of the sacrifice for sins is all in the Lamb of God – all in our Lord Jesus. And so [NS477] the Scriptures everywhere differentiate between the Lord and his perfection and the Church, which comes into divine favor through Christ's robe of righteousness, under his merit. The highest honor declared respecting the Church is that she shall occupy a position which, figuratively, is described as that of a Bride and joint-heir. She is to be "the Bride, the Lamb's wife." [Rev. 21:9]

Having attested her loyalty to principles of righteousness by suffering with her Master in the present time, she shall be counted worthy to share with him the honors of his throne; as he declared, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne." Rev. 3:21

The expression, "Lamb of God," is a very forceful one. Man would not choose such a symbol as divine inspiration has chosen. Look at all the emblems of heraldry and note how various ferocious beasts and birds are used as symbols of the earthly great: Some have the lion, some the unicorn, some have dragons, others eagles, others foxes, others wolves, tigers' heads, etc., emblems indicating the ferocity and rapacity of the character behind, when they did not even intend to tell of their ungainly qualities, but sought rather to glorify themselves. But look at our Lord's emblem – a meek, innocent, gentle lamb.

At another time we hope to discuss this matter from the standpoint of the Passover, and to consider how our Lord Jesus was the Passover Lamb, and the general bearing of that type of Christ and his work of blessing upon the interests of the whole world. Today we content ourselves with noticing the general fact that the lamb was used in the Jewish symbolism and sacrifices as representing our redeemer, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, tells us that he was specially commissioned of God to bear this witness at the beginning of Jesus' ministry – that Jesus was the "Lamb of God;" that he was the gentle, patient, unmurmuring one who would die on our behalf, that we by his stripes might be healed, that through his paying for us the death penalty, ultimately the whole world of mankind should be released from death, and so many of them as would might be brought up out of sin-and-death conditions to the full perfection of life everlasting.


John cried, "Behold the Lamb of God!" Let us behold him – not as the Pharisees and Scribes did, with eyes of malice and envy and hatred. Let us look at him in the light of the divine revelation, and perceive that he was without spot or blemish – that "in him was no sin" – that "he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." [1 John 3:5; Heb. 7:26]

We wonder how he could be of the Seed of Abraham and of the Seed of David according to the flesh, and yet not be a partaker or a sharer in the sin of the world – not be, therefore, under condemnation of death with the remainder, but contrariwise be holy, harmless, undefiled, able to give to God a ransom price for the world, able to pay the penalty of the perfect man Adam at the sacrifice of himself!

How came it that all this perfection should be found in Jesus? The Scriptures answer our query, assuring us that he was not born like others of the race – that while he received his human organization from his mother, the life principle therein was from above, and that by the selective processes of perfection even in his embryo condition he perfectly maintained himself in mind and in every attribute. The Scriptures further tell us that he was thus born of a woman, separate from sinners, was previously with the Father; yea, from before the foundation of the world – indeed, that he had been the Father's special representative in the creative work, as it is written, "All things were made by him, and without him was not one thing made that was made." [John 1:3]

July 28, 1907 Republished from The St. Paul Enterprise, May 1, 1917


Easton, Pa., July 28 – One of our largest theaters was unable to accommodate the crowds that sought to hear Pastor Russell's discourse on "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire and the Inauguration of the Kingdom of God's Dear Son."

His afternoon discourse was from the text, "Thou wilt show me the path of life. In Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore." Psa. 16:11.

The speaker said: These words of prophecy primarily related to our Lord Jesus, and in a secondary sense apply to all those who through faith and consecration to death become accepted members of His church – the Body of Christ. Of their applicability to our Lord Jesus we have evidence in the context which reads, "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also shall rest in hope. For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell (sheol); neither wilt Thou [NS478] suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption."

It will be remembered that the Apostle Peter by inspiration applied these words to our Lord Jesus, assuring us that they were not applicable to David himself, whose flesh did see corruption, and whose soul was left in sheol, and who did not pass into the heavens, but "he being a prophet spoke beforehand of Christ." Acts 2:25-31 We inquire then the meaning of this expression, "Thou wilt show me the path of life."

What path of life was Jesus seeking? What path of life did the Heavenly Father show Him? Did He not have life? Is it not assuredly stated that He was exempt from the power of death which was the wage of sin, for in Him was no sin neither was guile found in His mouth. (1 Pet. 2:22)

Yes, we reply, holy, harmless, separate from sinners, He had an unimpaired life originally received from the Father, and subsequently transferred from the spirit condition to His mother's womb, so that He was born, not as other men, of the will of the flesh, nor subject to their weakness and frailties and imperfections resulting from their share in the Adamic condemnation. But then if He had life and unimpaired life, a life transferred from the higher plane of existence to the human, why should He seek life and seek the path of life? Had the Lord lost the path of life? What is the meaning of our text?


Ah! Here we have connected with our text the key to the entire plan of salvation. Our Lord's unimpaired life, transferred from the higher spirit plane to the human when he was born of a virgin – that life He laid down; He sacrificed; He surrendered. But Why? Did He commit sin that His life was forfeited? No, verily, in Him was no sin, for He suffered on our behalf, "He tasted death for every man, ""He poured out His soul unto death."

"He made His soul an offering for sin." [Isa. 53:10]

As the prophet declares, "He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him." (Heb. 2:9; Isa. 53:12,13)

The price of our release from the divine sentence of death, the price of our resurrection hope, was what He paid when He laid down His life and "died the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God." (1 Pet. 3:18)

So then our Lord's earthly ministry, beginning when He was 30 years old, was one of self-sacrifice – the laying down of His life on behalf of sinners. His baptism itself was a picture of all this. His immersion in water symbolized His passing into the state of death, His raising from the water symbolized His resurrection from the dead. From that moment of His consecration, the three and a half years of His earthly ministry were years of self-sacrifice – the laying down of His life on behalf of His followers and indirectly on behalf of all the families of the earth, and this sacrifice was finished at Calvary when with His dying breath He cried, "It is finished." [John 19:30]

The sacrifice was finished, the life was gone. The Scriptures point out that having humbled Himself in obedience to the Father's will in the taking of the human nature, in being "made flesh" (John 1:14), and then sacrificing that flesh, He gave His all on our behalf. Our Lord illustrated this matter in one of His parables, when He told of treasures hid in the field and how the finder went and sold all that he had and bought that field with its treasure. The field was the world; and the treasure consisted of those who have accepted Him and those who will yet accept Him under all the favorable conditions which shall yet be brought to bear upon them for their enlightenment and assistance out of the conditions of sin and death and back into harmony with God. But the point we are here noting is that "He gave all He had" for the purchase of that field. Nothing was held back in reserve. He did not appear to die – appear to resign His life; He actually "gave Himself a ransom for all." (1 Tim. 2:6)

And this word ransom has a peculiar force, for it signifies a price to correspond. In other words, as father Adam's life was forfeited because of sin, and our Lord Jesus' life was not forfeited because He was not a sinner, this unforfeited life in the divine arrangement was exchanged for the forfeited one and thus Adam was purchased, redeemed, bought, ransomed from the power of sin and death – and with Him all who were sharers of His life, all of His posterity. Thus to each and to all is guaranteed by this arrangement a full opportunity of our return to the life and perfection lost, and to this agree the Lord's words – "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10

But let us not lose the point of our argument. It is this, that our Lord's life given for Adam was given forever. He could no more purchase Adam and his race and yet keep his life than we could purchase a loaf of bread and yet keep the money. If the money were not put down the bread would not be ours – there would be no purchase. Similarly, unless Christ's life were given up completely, totally, forever, there would not be any purchase of Adam and his race. But Jesus lives, the Father raised Him from the dead. What life is this which he now has? We answer, not the life which he had then and which He surrendered as our ransom price. Thank God, no!

Otherwise our redemption would be entirely undone. He has a new life, a special gift, a reward of the Father to him – a reward for his obedience even unto death, even the death of the cross. The Scriptures tell us that the life which our Lord now has is not only higher than the human life which He laid down, but still [NS479] higher than the life which He had before He became a man. They declare of His resurrection: "Him hath God highly exalted and given a name above every name." (Philip. 2:9)

He has been exalted far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named. He is now, by virtue of His resurrection to this highest plane of life, a partaker of the divine nature. Eph. 1:21; 2 Pet. 1:4


We have seen that the life granted to our Lord Jesus in His resurrection was a gift from the Father, and now we inquire: Were there conditions connected with this gift? and did our Lord Jesus know of these conditions while He was fulfilling them? We answer, Yes! – in harmony with the prophecy of our text, "Thou wilt show me the path of life." [Psa. 16:11]

The Father made known to His Son His will respecting the redemption of mankind, and without compulsion gave Him the opportunity of becoming the agency or channel through whom this redemptive work would be accomplished. The Son, full of loyalty to the Father, replied: "I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy law is written in my heart." (Psa. 40:8)

We are informed also that the Father set before the Son certain joys, and that this included not only the redemption of the world and the blessed privilege of by and by, during the Millennial age, making that redemption effective to mankind by bringing all to a knowledge of the truth and to opportunities for everlasting salvation by restitution, but that additionally it included our Lord's own resurrection to life, if obedient, on the highest of all planes of being.

Our Lord, adverting to this matter in one of His recorded prayers, requested not the additional glory and honor, but merely that He be reinstated in His former position after He should have finished His course of obedience. He said: "Father, glorify Thou me with the glory I had with Thee before the world was" – I ask not greater honor than to be privileged thus to serve You and to be the channel of your blessings to others, but I am trusting and hoping for my own restoration to the glorious plane of being which for so long I enjoyed. The Father in His love and wisdom saw fit to test His Son's loyalty and devotion even unto death, even the death of the cross, that He might be demonstrated to be worthy of the exceeding glory He had designed for Him.

Hence there were terms and conditions attaching to the entire arrangement – a certain path or course of life must be pursued by the Redeemer in order to permit Him to accomplish the redemptive work, and accomplishing that, to have the reward of the high exaltation. It is this path of life which is referred to in our text. Let us examine it.

Our Lord's trying experiences immediately followed His consecration and baptism. We read that He was led of the Spirit into the wilderness, there to be tempted of the adversary. It was His own Spirit that led Him into the wilderness, the Holy Spirit with which He had just been anointed – the holy mind or will. He turned aside from the busy course of life to fast and pray and study in the wilderness for 40 days.

He desired to know the Father's will and to do it promptly and efficiently and this was His opportunity for determining the path of life – the path which would mean His own resurrection from death, and which would mean also life for the world through Him. Is it asked why the Lord had not thought out this matter before His consecration? We answer that He did consider the subject faithfully and carefully. As a boy of 12 we find Him eagerly asking questions of the doctors of the law, and striving to know, to understand, the deep meaning of the types as well as of the prophecies, that He might know the will of the Father and be as soon as possible about His Father's business. [Luke 2:49]

He had learned, evidently there, that, according to the law and its types He could not enter upon His sacrificial duties, the laying down of His life, until He had reached the appointed age of 30 years. We remember the promptness with which, as soon as He began to be about 30, He repaired to John at Jordan, there to make and symbolize His full devotion, His sacrifice of His self to do the Father's will. We may reasonably suppose that He made use of every opportunity in all the intervening years for the study of the Word of God, the law and the prophets, and we may judge that His abilities in connection with the understanding of the prophecies were far greater than those of others, because He was perfect, while other men were imperfect. But as the Apostle points out, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14)

So our Lord Jesus, although perfect, could not understand the things of the Spirit of God – the deep undermeaning of these prophecies and symbols until He received His anointing of the holy Spirit at Jordan. Then came to Him the liberty, the power to understand, to comprehend, the deep things of God, the things not disclosed upon the surface of the types and prophecies. It was as soon as He received this anointing that our Lord desired to go at once into seclusion for the proper study and assimilation of all that He had learned in the law and the prophets in the light of the illumination of the holy Spirit which had now come upon Him. That anointing of the holy Spirit is also styled the begetting of the holy Spirit. The new life had then begun; the [NS480] spiritual life, the new nature there had its start. During the three and a half years of His ministry He, as a new creature, was growing, learning, being tested and proven. As the man Christ Jesus He was laying down His life so that when the moment of the end was reached, He, as a New Creature, had stood all the tests and proofs which the Father saw expedient to bring to Him. And as the new Spirit Begotten Creature He was raised from the dead on the third day and given a spiritual body, a life-giving spirit, and became a partaker of the divine nature.


But now coming back we notice the procedure of the New Creature just as soon as begotten of the holy Spirit. Jesus the New Creature was led of the Spirit, led by this New Mind, apart into the wilderness – there to be tempted. Did He go for temptation? Surely not! None should pray "Lead us not into temptation" and yet go into temptation. What then? How was He led into the wilderness to be tempted? We answer that He was led into the wilderness by His spirit of devotion to the Lord and His desire to do the Father's will. He was led there in the spirit of our text, inquiring of the Father for the path of life and full assurance that the Father would show it to Him. "Thou wilt show Me the path of life." [Psa. 16:11]

During those 40 days our Lord's studies brought clearly before Him the various steps of the divine plan and showed Him that these would lead Him, if faithful, to be misunderstood and despised of men; showed Him the meaning of the prophecies, which told of the ignominy and suffering and that this was the death which the Father had marked out, by obedience to which He would gain the new life on the higher plane in His resurrection.

The temptations came in conjunction with it, after He had the full view of the cost of obedience – the trials and difficulties and narrowness of the way of life. The adversary came at the moment of greatest weakness, after He had fasted, and when the full cost of His consecration was before His mind's eye in all its magnitude. Then came the temptation of the adversary – the suggestion that He take another way; that He take an easier way; that the Father's way was not only difficult but impracticable. The first temptation was a suggestion of the adversary's sympathy and his appreciation of the fact that Jesus in His baptism of the holy Spirit had received a great power. He was urged to use this power for Himself, to turn stones to bread to satisfy His hunger.

How subtle a temptation! How the adversary posed as His real friend, only to seek to ensnare Him, however. Our Lord answered that this holy power was not given Him to use in any selfish way; He had other means of providing bread, and hence was not to call upon this holy power for the relief of His hunger. He silenced the adversary by quoting from the Word of God that men should not seek to live by bread alone, but by every word of God. He would continue faithful to the Word of God, and thus be assured of the life which God has promised to His faithful. Another of these temptations was the suggestion to use His miraculous power in a boastful and foolhardy manner by going to the highest point of the temple and hurling Himself from thence in the sight of all the people, and then arising and demonstrating to them He was uninjured, thus bringing Himself quickly to the notice of all.

But our Lord saw that this was not the Father's will; that this would be contrary to the path of life; that the holy power was not to be used in foolish ways, but that instead He was to preach, proclaim, to all, the good tidings, so that those who have an ear might hear, and that He was not to make mountebank displays to entice the curious – rather, that He was to expect only the Israelites indeed, having no guile, to have any ear for His message, and was to expect that the multitudes who would appreciate such a sensational demonstration were not intended to be aroused and drawn to Him, but rather were ultimately to crucify Him. Besides, such an unwarranted use of the divine power would have made Him a sinner and would have forfeited His claim upon divine protection, such a leap might have meant to Him everlasting destruction.

The path of life which the Father showed led not in that direction – such an unauthorized course would have led in the direction of death. Again the tempter assailed Him with the offer of partnership, expressing sympathy with His program and a desire to co-operate; he assured Him that he had the control of the world, and that he would willingly take Him as a partner, and have this control turned from an evil rule to a rule of righteousness and life and blessing. He assured Him that this could be accomplished speedily, quickly, without ignominy and shame and the self-sacrifice which He was purposing, and he urged Him to accept the proposition: Merely acknowledge me, and I will turn over to you all the kingdoms, and the rule and dominion of the world, and then with my co-operation the conquest of the world would be an easy matter.

Our Lord properly resented this, and declared that His loyalty must be to the Father alone, that He was not at liberty to compromise with sin nor to become co-worker in any degree with sin and the opponents of God. If Satan had really desired to turn over a new leaf, and to see the world blessed and uplifted from the ignorance and superstition which he had helped to bring upon it, he should have gladly entered into the plan of the [NS481] Redeemer, to do the Father's will and to have His results. But, no! there is no sympathy between the divine plan and that of the adversary, whose end will be first to be bound for a thousand years, and then ultimately to be completely destroyed in the Second Death. Our Lord was right in rejecting all counsel of evil-doers and foregoing all assistance that they would be ready or able or willing to render.


Our Lord's heart was so fully loyal to the Father that none of these temptations moved Him. He preferred to walk the narrow path of self-denial, self-sacrifice even unto death in the favor of God, than to enjoy all that others could give or that could be imagined under other conditions. And this decision being fully and thoroughly reached His temptation along these lines was ended – the adversary left Him for good, never again to return with temptations, but merely to seek to thwart Him and all the divine purposes being accomplished through Him. Thus the Lord chose the path of life even though He saw it to be the way of the cross, the narrow way, the way of self-sacrifice, of humiliation, of suffering, of sorrow, of death.

The Master's test thus having been accomplished, another feature of the divine plan immediately began. While the Redeemer went on in His chosen course of self-renouncement unto death, He began the selection of the Church, the little flock, the bride class, the members of His body. The calling of these was due now to begin: First would be the twelve Apostles, and secondarily as many of the Jewish nation, God's covenant people, as were faithful, "Israelites indeed," and subsequently enough out of all other nations to make up the predetermined, foreordained number who should constitute the "very elect." [Matt. 24:24]

These called ones, unlike Himself, were members of the Adamic race, and hence, sharers of the Adamic curse or sentence of death, but in harmony with the Father's plan their faith in God, as expressed in their acceptance of Jesus as their Redeemer, was counted to them for righteousness – justification. In the divine arrangement the merit of Christ's sacrifice was counted or imputed to these, so that reckonedly they would be esteemed and might be dealt with along the same lines exactly as their Lord; so that they might be invited to walk in His footsteps in the same path of life, in the narrow way, toward the same goal of glory, honor and immortality and the divine nature. (1 Pet. 2:21; 2 Pet. 1:4)

However, their acceptance to this narrow way could not take place until after our Lord had finished His work and come off conqueror by His faithfulness, and then ascending up on high, have made atonement for their sins – for the sins of all those who believe in Him and who desire to follow in His steps in the narrow way. In a word, it was not until Pentecost that even the Apostles were able. to come under the anointing of the Spirit – the begetting of the holy Spirit – and thus as new creatures, to start in the narrow way of self-sacrificing their justified flesh, earthly interests, etc., in the service of the Lord. It is therefore by the holy Spirit given unto us, the Church, as he did to the Lord, the Head of the Church, the promise of our text, "Thou wilt show me the path of life."

Day by day, step by step, victory by victory, trial after trial, the Lord is guiding the steps of His faithful, and showing them a step at a time in this narrow way, the path of life. How the Apostle Peter emphasizes this saying, "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts. (2 Pet. 1:19)

Thank God that after more than eighteen centuries the Church of Christ, under the guidance of the Father through the holy Spirit, has been walking in this path of the Just (Prov. 4:18), this narrow way, this path of life, and has had the light necessary at every step of the journey, until now the glorious morning of the new dispensation is breaking and for all those in the right attitude of heart the day star is manifested, and soon all the members shall have passed "beyond the wall" of death, and the Master's words, "It is finished," will be fulfilled on a larger scale as respects those whom he has accepted and adopted as members of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

O, what confidence it gives to this class when they realize that known unto the Lord are all his ways and works from the foundation of the world, when they realize that all the steps of an anointed one are ordered by the Lord, and that He directs his paths; and that as He directed the Lord Jesus through His Word and Spirit so He still directs the church, the Body of Christ, through the same Word and through the same spirit, and that He will thus continue to lead until He shall have brought us to the glorious kingdom and to all the blessings promised. The question for us to consider is the temptation, the trials. We are not so strong as the Master was, and it is well for us that the adversary is not allowed to bring against us all of his powers at the very beginning of our Christian way, but we have our testings, and in many respects they are like those of our Lord, who was tempted in all points like as we are.

Our temptations, however, are spread out over the days and weeks and years of our pilgrimage of the narrow way, while our Lord's were condensed. Additionally, of the people, there were none with Him; it was a personal struggle with the adversary. But it is different with us – He considereth our frame, He remembereth we are [NS482] dust, and He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but with every temptation provide a way of escape; and He assures us that all things, all our experiences, shall work together for good to those who love God, to the called ones according to His purpose. Psa. 103:14; 1 Cor. 10:13; Rom. 8:28


The present narrow way will soon close, and the opportunities for membership in the Body of Christ will soon be at an end. Hence the called ones should be zealous in making their calling and election sure; as our Lord says, "Take heed that no man take thy crown." (Rev. 3:11)

The crowns are limited, and if we are unappreciative of those assigned to us they will be reassigned to others who will appreciate them, that the elect number may be complete and its work of blessing the world progress. While we thank God for the narrow way and the special life to which it leads, we thank Him also that it is not the only way He has provided; and that it will terminate with the class of this age. For we see most clearly that only a very few of humanity are of the condition of heart to appreciate so great a privilege as that of sacrificing themselves in the service of God and His cause. We are glad then to find the clear record in the word of God that following this age will come the new dispensation of the Millennial Kingdom, in which there will be opened up a grand, broad highway of holiness, large enough for all the world of mankind, with opportunities for all to go up thereon to full perfection of human nature, through processes of restitution which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)

We are glad that the world will have such a glorious opportunity, and glad, too, that in the divine program it will be the work of Christ, the Lord, and His church, His body, to help the world on this grand highway and to assist them in faithfully walking thereon to the further end and the earthly life, restitution life in the glorious Eden Paradise of God restored, which He has promised. We are glad, too, that the Lord has declared most positively that any who refuse to walk on that highway of holiness when it is opened up, when everything shall be made so plain that the wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot err therein – whoever then refuses and loves sin shall be ultimately destroyed from amongst the people in the second death, and shall not remain to be an injury and menace to the glorious order of things then established.


The right hand of God signifies divine favor or esteem. We are told that our Lord Jesus, by reason of His faithfulness unto death, has been exalted to the right hand of the majesty of God – in other words, He occupies the highest, the chiefest, most glorious position in relationship to the Heavenly Father; His loyalty and faithfulness have received their reward. The Apostle says that our Lord has forever set down at God's right hand – that is to say, that His position of glory and honor is an unalterable one. Even when at His second advent He shall come to earth a second time and establish His Kingdom under the whole heavens, He will still be in one sense of the word at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Matt. 24:30 In His parable of the sheep and the goats our Lord points out (Matt. 25:31) that when at His second advent He shall sit upon the throne of His glory He will judge, try, test, prove all the families of the earth during that Millennial Age, and as a result will gather to His right hand, or to His favor, all who are truly sheep class, while to His left hand of disfavor He will gather the goats, the wayward, those unfit for eternal life, who will be destroyed in the second death. But those at His right hand at the close of the Millennial Age will be invited to receive the earthly kingdom under the whole heavens. Eden restored, the kingdom which was prepared for man from the foundation of the race – not the kingdom prepared for Christ and the church, the Heavenly Kingdom, but the earthly kingdom of which Adam was the first king, whose dominion was lost through disobedience, but redeemed by the Savior, and to be restored to Adam and his children, so many as will receive it on God's terms and after sufficient testings.


Our text tells that at the end of the way of life, at the end of the narrow way that leads to life, will be the glory, honor and immortality which God has promised. As our text expresses it, "At thy right hand are pleasures (honors) forevermore." [Psa. 16:11]

Surely indeed the honors, the blessings of God promised us in His Word are to be everlasting – they will not only be the honors of the Millennial Kingdom, which we shall share with our dear Redeemer for a thousand years, but throughout eternity He is to be at the Father's right hand, and we as His Bride with Him, like Him, seeing Him as He is and sharing His glory. Such thoughts are too wonderful for us; eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things God hath in reservation for them that love Him, but God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:10)

And in proportion as we are able to receive of this spiritual blessing and instruction we are able to gain some [NS483] faint comprehension of the glory that shall be revealed in us. Still, as the apostle declares, we know in part, but when that which is perfect is come everything that is in part imperfect shall have passed away. We are hoping, waiting, praying for the glorious change, and meantime let us strive to be ready for it, that the Lord may be able to say to us: "Well done, good and faithful servant. . . . Enter thou into the joys of thy Lord." [Matt. 25:21,23]

This pronouncement of worthiness can only come under the covenant of this gospel age to those who, like our dear Redeemer, see and gladly walk in the path of life, having respect to the pleasures, the honors forevermore at God's right hand.


These words from our text remind us of the apostle's statement that our Lord will present His Church blameless, irreprovable, in His presence. (Eph. 5:2 7)

O what joy! O what pleasure! "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God;" and again, as respects our dear Redeemer, we shall be like Him and see Him as He is and share His glory. (1 John 3:2)

Unquestionably there we will have a fulness of joy beyond everything that it is not possible for us to conceive. But there is another thought connected with this, and one that in some respects is still more important; namely, that the Lord's people in the present life are to have His presence with them continually and to have a fulness of joy which no man can take away, which earthly trials and difficulties and disappointments cannot drown. This joy is to come as a result of the Lord's presence, with His people – not a personal presence, but His spiritual presence, elsewhere described as the "light of His countenance," the smile of His face. Let us not forget this presence of the Lord and the fulness of joy; it may bring us even now a foretaste of that which is to come. This thought is beautifully expressed by the poet in the words:

"Son of my soul, my Father dear,
I know no night when Thou art near,
O! may no earth-born cloud arise
To hide Thee from Thy servant's eyes."

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