this is txt file this is txt file
MARCH 8th, 1912. This evening service had been widely advertised, and when we arrived in the Business Men's Club Hall, in which the service was to be held, we found it crowded-- every seat was taken and the aisles, doorways and windows were full of people. Brother Bosdoyannes of Crete served as interpreter. (Everything was Greek to us.) Brother Russell then spoke in part as follows:
I have great pleasure in being present with the citizens of Athens. I do not forget that this is a great seat of learning. Although I had not expected to speak on this occasion, I am very pleased with the subject which has been selected for me.
I esteem that the Divine Plan for human salvation is the most wonderful thing for the human mind to investigate. All the other sciences relate to matters that are comparatively temporal, but this one to things eternal. I hold that it is quite reasonable to expect that our great Creator would give us some knowledge of his own will. And yet, as we look out over the world, Christian people as well as others are considerably confused regarding God's Plan. Evidently God has been pleased to leave us in a measure of darkness, otherwise there would not be some 600 sects of Christian people, besides other sects of other religious people. My own thought is that all Christian people, and all other religious people are in the main honest, yet none of us are quite satisfied. I find in the Bible something to intimate that this would be just the very condition of things. And so God tells us, through the prophet, "Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the heathen." We see that this has been the case, and the same Bible tells us that in the end of this age there would come a great light into the world, and that this great light would cause a better understanding of God and all other matters. I remind you of the words of the Prophet David, "Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a lantern to my footsteps." This signifies that during all this time of the world's existence, the Bible has been the lamp or light to God's people. Even though we have not understood it perfectly, it has been the light which God gave us. But Peter tells us that in the closing time of this age, we are to expect a greater light. He says, "We have a more sure word of prophecy to which we do well that we take heed as unto a light which shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn." Now, I hold, my dear friends, that we are in the dawning of that new day. All around us we see wonderful inventions and wonderful blessings coming to us. These blessings, to my understanding, are all foretold in the Bible, and the Bible tells us that these blessings are to proclaim the new dispensation. To my understanding the Bible justifies us in saying that we are only at the very verge of wonderful things. We all recognize that ours is a wonderful day, but we have not all perhaps reached the same conclusion as to why these things come now.
There are two theories, the one that we are undergoing a process of evolution. They would have us believe that our forefathers were apes and monkeys, but that we have gotten away from that condition, and that all of these things are now coming as a result of evolutionary processes. We hold to the contrary of that. Although we have a great deal of general intelligence today, it is not superior to that of our forefathers. Here you are in the midst of antiquity, and these tell us of people of great brain power, living long before our day. We have reason to doubt the theory that those who produced these works of art were nearer monkeys than we.
I stood in Alexandria a few days ago, and there looked upon the great "Pillar of Pompey," and wondered how monkeys erected that great pillar. I do not believe there are any implements in the world today that would erect such a pillar in that position.
If we look back along the lines of history, we have Shakespeare of the past, and you have your Demosthenes, Plato and Socrates here. And in our Bibles we have Saint Paul, and we have the Prophet David, and we have the great Prophet Moses also. Those men were not monkeys. The work they left behind indicate that they were men of master minds. We wish we had today some statesmen like Moses. We would like to have more poets like David, and more wise men, like Solomon. We would like to have more like Demosthenes, Plato and Socrates. We would like to have more Shakespeares in the world, and more great artists and sculptors.
The other is a better explanation of our times, which is that God's time has come to give us these blessings. The Bible all along has been telling us about the "Golden Age" to come. All mankind for centuries have been looking forward for the Golden Age, and the blessings that would then be in the world. Six thousand years ago God intimated that He would bring in some great change. We remember what He said to Father Adam and Mother Eve when they had sinned, and when He has put the curse or condemnation of death upon them, the seed of the woman would ultimately bruise the serpent's head. We all recognize that as symbolic language, and that it signifies, by and by some one would rise through humanity who would crush evil. By common consent all Jews and all Christians understand the seed of the woman to be Messiah. For six thousand years, therefore, the world has been waiting for Messiah. God told through Abraham what he would do through Messiah. I remind you that Abraham was a special friend of God, and He therefore communicated to him something regarding His plans. He said, Abraham, I intend to bless all the families of the earth. Abraham, more than this, I intend to bless them through your seed--through your posterity. That "seed" we know in a [CR268] general way applied to the Jews, yet the Jews never succeeded in getting to the place where they could bless all the families of the earth, but in God's own time He brought forth one, His own son, born a Jew, the seed of Abraham, to bring these very blessings. The Jews expected the wrong thing, they thought He would be a great conqueror, a great soldier, and that he would conquer the Romans and deliver them. Then, too, we Christians have made some mistakes in interpreting that prophecy. We said, Jesus did set up His Kingdom eighteen hundred years ago; we said, This spiritual kingdom which Jesus set up, and which began at Pentecost, is to spread and convert the whole world; we said. This is the way in which God's promise to Abraham is to be fulfilled; we said. Jesus is the seed of Abraham, Jesus will work through His Church and then set up God's Kingdom. We made some great mistakes, for that is not what the Bible teaches. We were honest in believing it, but that was not the Apostle's thought; we got away from the teachings of the Apostles. The whole Church fell into a period of darkness, as we all confess. For hundreds of years the Church was in great darkness, and all the Protestant reformations and Protestant denominations are so many attempts to get out of darkness. We have been making some progress, but not much. The difficulty is that we did not go far enough back. You and I want, therefore, tonight as Christian people to rid our minds of everything except that which the Bible teaches. Where the Word of God speaks, we are to speak, and where the Word of God is silent, we are to be silent. Jesus himself is the one who had the great teaching, and he expounded the prophecies, then came the Apostles of his special appointment, twelve of them. We made a great mistake when we said there was to be a succession of Apostles, and through that great mistake all these errors came in and brought the dark ages.
Let us elaborate this point a little, for it is an important point. Jesus appointed twelve Apostles only. There never were to be any more than twelve Apostles. Various times in the Bible Jesus refers to the "twelve Apostles of the Lamb," and I remind you, in His last message to the Church, He pictured the twelve Apostles in the glorified condition of the New Jerusalem, and represented them as the "twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem," and on its twelve foundation stones were the names of the twelve Apostles. There never were to be more than twelve. Hence, our doctrine of apostolic succession is all wrong. The early church supposed that when one of the Apostles died another should take his place, and thus they say the apostleship has been continued. By and by when all the Apostles were dead, and all these bishops were like the Apostles, they were considered apostles also. Bibles were not needed then. And so they said, Whenever we want information of God's will, we will invite a council of these bishops, or successors to the Apostles. That is where we got all of our old creeds. These bishops who were supposed to have the same authority as the Apostles met together and decided what we should believe. But God never authorized them to be Apostles. Good men many of them were, but they were not authorized to speak for God. Thus, gradually, century after century, the church got away from the Word of God. Now we have come to a time when we are anxious to get back to the Word of God. All Christian people agree that there is only one church. All Christians, therefore, agreed that sectarianism is wrong, but they are all wanting to know what is right. According to my study, my dear friends, there is something right in nearly all of them. Nearly every denomination in Christendom has something in harmony with the Bible, but God never authorized any of them. We all have one creed that we acknowledge--that is the Bible, as we have it, containing the words of Moses and the Prophets, Jesus and the Apostles.
Now we must come back in our minds and see just what the Bible teaches. Bible students all over the world are finding this to be true, and when we get the Bible view it is beautiful. Now I propose this evening, in harmony with the announcement, to give you the Bible view in as few words as I can place it.
He then proceeded to point out that Christ's Kingdom is not yet set up and that it is still in order for us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come." This fact, he said, is illustrated in that all the governments are armed and ready to fly at each other's throats. He then showed that the delay was for the purpose of selecting a Bride for Christ, that "When He shall appear, we shall appear, with Him in glory." First, however, it will be necessary for the Church to be selected. He showed that it was not the church of England, or Germany, or Russia, or Greece, or of Rome, nor any of the Protestant sects-- that it was not any of man's churches, but the Church which Christ founded. He was not called a Baptist. St. Paul was not called a Baptist, neither was he a Methodist, neither was he a Greek, neither was he a Roman Catholic. What then? This, "The Lord knoweth them that are His," and those that are His in the Roman Catholic church belong to the true Church. All that are His in the Greek Church are His in the true Church. All the saintly Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and all the other saintly ones in Christ belong to His Church. This is the one Church that is mentioned in the Bible, "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." One Church of the living God whose names are written in heaven. Now I hope I am addressing some who belong to the true church of Christ. [CR269]
He began with the Jews, but they were the natural seed of Abraham, and that was implied in the promise to Abraham. Every saintly Jew was selected and then that nation was set aside; they have been blinded so far as Christ is concerned ever since. The gospel message went on and came here to Greece. Saint Paul, you know, preached not very far from this very place, but he did not find very many. There have not been very many in the true Church, so the Bible says-- "Fear not little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." There was a little flock found-- some Jews, some Christians, some Romans--and so the gospel has been going on, selecting here and there the saintly ones the world over, from every nation, kindred, people and tongue. What will He do with them? Ah, there is a definite fixed number, and as soon as this definitely fixed number is completed, then this age will end, but that will not mean the end of the world. It is true that the Bible does speak of the end of the world, but that word world is from the Greek word aion, or age. One world or age ends and a new world or age begins. To my understanding we are right at such a change now, one aion is ending and another aion is beginning. The aion appointed for the selection of the Church is coming to an end now. When it ends the Church will be glorified with Him in glory," and the purpose of that glorious appearing, and that Kingdom will be not for the injury of mankind, but for the blessing of the whole world. That is one of the great mistakes that we have made. We said, We find something in the Bible about God's election, and the Bible tells over and over about the elect, and the very elect, and the making of our calling and election sure. Yes, God is electing the saintly ones, picking them out--all those who walk in the footsteps of Jesus. But the mistake was made of supposing that all of the non-elect were to be damned to eternal torture. That is unscriptural --no Bible for that. On the contrary, the non-elect are about to be blessed, and the elect ones are to be God's agents for blessing the non-elect. We who live to-day ought to be able to understand this. Do we not in all of our great civilized nations have elections. In America we have our Congress; in Great Britain they have their Parliament; in France they have their Chamber of Deputies, and here you have your own. These men are elected or selected for the blessing of the peoples of those nations. When they meet at the capital, it is a meeting of the elect ones. All the remainder of those people are the non-elect. Do they torture the non-elect? No. They bless the non-elect; they pass laws for the benefit of the non-elect. That is exactly what God's Word tells us He is doing for us. He is gathering an elect Church of all saintly ones, and when they are gathered He will use them to bless all the non-elect. But, how will these bless the world? Will Christ have another Bride? Will the world have the same chance to go to heaven, and to spiritual beings like angels? No, no. Those special blessings are only for the elect, only the elect will enter heaven, only the elect will sit with Christ on His throne, only the elect will be like unto the angels spirit beings. The blessing for the non-elect is a different kind of a blessing altogether--it will be restitution. Restitution a restoration means the restoring to that which once was.
Now since man once was in the image and likeness of His Creator, a perfect man, he was not an angel, and so he never fell from the condition of an angel, and never fell from heaven. The Prophet David tells us about man when he said, What is man that thou art mindful of him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels, thou crownest him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Thy hands, and gave him dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, etc. Here we find man described, and from this glorious condition he fell through disobedience. He fell into the imperfect condition in which you and I and the whole world are today. We are not a living world, we are a dying world. As God created Adam, He never would have died had he remained obedient. It was when he disobeyed God and was disloyal as the son of God that he came under the penalty or curse of death. The penalty that came upon man was not the curse of eternal torment, neither was it the curse of purgatory, it was the curse of death. You remember God said very distinctly, "Dying thou shalt die." It is plainly written there in Genesis. (Gen. 2:17.) It does not say, Because you have sinned, therefore thou shalt live for ever in torment. And then when they were cast out of the Garden of Eden, so that they might die, you remember the words there, "Cursed (unfit) is the earth for your sake. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth, and in the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread until thou returnest to the earth from whence thou wert taken, for dust thou art and unto dust shall thou return." How plain God made it for us! And we note that Father Adam, under that sentence of death, under those unfavorable conditions, lived 930 years, or rather, let me say, he was 930 years in dying. But today very few live to be more than 100 years old--the average of human life today is 35 years; or rather, I should say, the average of human dying is 35 years, and all of our weaknesses, physical, mental and moral, are associated with this dying. The Bible says that we were born in this dying condition. That is the reason that it is found necessary to put some of these depraved ones in prison. That is the reason that some of us are born with such weak minds that it is necessary to put them in the insane asylums. That is the reason that some of us have such physically weak bodies that we need medicines all the time. We are a dying race, we are under the curse of death. That is a bad enough curse, my friends, but it is not as bad as we thought--it is not eternal torment. God never said that the wages of sin is eternal torment. We got that in the dark ages. When we go to the Bible, we find that God said that "The wages of sin is death." It is the Bible that says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." It is the Bible that says because Jesus died for our sins, therefore there shall be a resurrection of the dead. It is the Bible that says that just as soon as God shall have finished the selection of the Bride class, then the Kingdom shall be established. It is the Bible that tells us that when that Kingdom is established it will bless all the families of the earth. I remind you that that is what God said to Abraham, the first mention of the Gospel made: "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Now that "seed of Abraham," you see, includes the Church. So the Apostle points out, using two different figures. One, the figure of bridegroom and bride. The other the figure of the man Jesus as the Head, and the Church as His Body, and says, "Ye are members in particular of the Body of Christ." (1 Cor. 12:27.)
My friends, how plain it is, when we have the Bible for it, that the blessing of all the families of the earth has not come, because the Bride of Christ, the Seed of Abraham, is not complete, for this word Christ you know means, the anointed. Now the Lord Jesus, the Redeemer, was anointed with the Holy Spirit and so every member of the [CR270] Body of Christ must be anointed with the same Spirit. This anointing of the Church began at Pentecost and all the way down this anointing has been coming through God's consecrated people. The words of the Apostle are true today when he says: "The anointing which we have received of Him abideth in you, and ye shall abide in Him." And so this whole Church of Christ is the anointed one, the Christ of God. Do not misunderstand me; you and I are not the Redeemer of the world. Jesus is the one whose life was valuable for the purchase of the world, but Jesus associates us with Himself in this work of the Kingdom, the blessing of the world. Now, as I said a while ago, so I repeat that this age is very nearly at hand, and that means that the opportunity for you and for me to make our calling and election sure is very short. And it means that we should be very earnest if we appreciate this great privilege. It means that the time for the blessing of the world is very near.
I described a little while ago what is meant by restitution, and I will give you a little more of that. First of all, I will prove from the Bible that restitution is the thing that is to come through the Kingdom of Jesus--restitution of the poor fallen, weak humanity, back to the full image and likeness of God. There will be an opportunity for every one of them, and those wilfully and deliberately rejecting it will die the second death. The second death will be just like the first death, only with this difference, that none will be redeemed from the second death. None will ever be resurrected from the second death, but, as Saint Peter says, they will be in their death like the natural brute beast-- destroyed. Saint Peter's words I want to quote you about restitution are found in Acts 3:19. This is the way it reads: "Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you, whom the heaven must retain until the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." That leads us to say that God has been telling about these restitution times in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament--indeed, more in the Old Testament than in the New Testament, and there is a reason. The New Testament was especially for the gathering of the Church, and, therefore, speaks more particularly of the things pertaining to the Bride class. But the Old Testament tells over and over about these restitution times. Let me remind you of some of these. "The wilderness shall blossom as a rose and be glad, and springs shall come forth in the desert." "The knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the great deep." That means ocean-deep knowledge of God in the world, reaching to all of mankind. And what will be the ultimate result of all this blessing and knowledge coming to the world? Oh, it will mean great blessings of a temporal kind, and it will mean great blessings of a spiritual kind--many blessings. And so we are assured that a time will come when every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess, and all who will not bow and who will not confess will be destroyed in the second death. And when those blessings shall prevail, what then, my dear friends? Oh, these temporal blessings, healings and upliftings of mankind will bring man back to the condition in which God created him, the image and likeness of God in the flesh, that which God declared was very good; but it will take a thousand years of Christ's Millennial Kingdom to do that. Therefore, the Bible tells us that Christ's Kingdom will last for a thousand years, and at the close of the thousand years He will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. And then what? Oh, the Bible says that then every creature in Heaven, and in earth, and under the earth, will be heard saying, "Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might be unto our God forever and ever." And what will be the condition of mankind? Oh, we read again that there will be no death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things have passed away. Who will do this? The great Messiah. So we read: "He that sat upon the throne said: Behold, I make all things new."
So, my dear friends, I congratulate you that we are living in the most wonderful day of the world's history. The six days of sorrow and sin and crying and dying are ended. We have already entered upon the great seventh-day period. It is to be the great Sabbath Day in which God is to give rest to the people, a blessing to all those who will come into harmony with Him. I am glad that I am living today, not merely because of the wonderful blessings and conveniences of a temporal kind, not merely because today we have the railroads, and electric cars, and electric lights, and telegraph, and all this, for there were none of these eighty years ago, they are distinctively signs of our times, but I am especially glad, my dear friends, for the light that is shining upon God's word. I am glad that all of us as Christian people can come back to the Bible and see it more clearly. I am glad that thus all Christian brotherhood and love for one another may be deeper than ever before. I am glad we are living in a day when God's true people do not think it right to burn one another at the stake, or do them injury, but rather to help one another. I am glad that God has determined to have an elect Church, a Bride for Christ. [CR271] I am glad that that election is not quite complete yet, for I am striving to make my calling and election sure to a place in that company, and I exhort all of you who are God's consecrated people to similarly make your calling and election sure. And to all others I say, there is a message of God's grace that must not be spurned. Whoever, because of believing that God is loving and merciful, would thereby take liberty to sin will find that he will have special punishment upon himself as a result. Whoever knows the Master's will and does it not will be beaten with many stripes, but he who knew not and did it not will be beaten with few stripes.
Now I thank you for your kind attention and I wish to mention another matter before I close. The friends arranged for me to meet you tomorrow evening, at the same hour, seven o'clock. I will give a lecture at that time and try to close the lecture a little early for an opportunity for any who desire to ask questions.
MEETING AT HOME OF A SICK BROTHER--BROTHER EKONOPOLUS.
THE class of Greek brothers at Athens numbers about twelve and they were nearly all present at this meeting. Brother Bosdoyanes served as interpreter and after greeting one another he translated a message in Greek from the sick brother to us.
Brother Russell: It gives me a great deal of pleasure to be with you all this morning on this occasion, so that the pleasure is mutual. I trust the Lord will give His blessing to our visit and that some good may be accomplished with those who are interested in the Truth, as well as to the public.
After this the song, "Oh, Happy Day," was sung, part of the friends singing in Greek and part in English. Following this a word of prayer was offered by one of the Greek brothers.
Brother Russell: I scarcely know what will be the best place to begin, since we have so short a time. I will just talk for a few minutes on general themes and then given an opportunity for such questions as may be in the minds of the friends.
It seems to me that those of us who have been studying the Divine Plan for a while see a great deal in our day to encourage us. We, perhaps, have been expecting some of the troubles that are now upon us to have come a little bit sooner, and yet we see that coming, as they do, all of a sudden, at the close of this is fully in harmony with the Divine Word. As the Scriptures tell us, "in one hour" her tribulation will come upon her. Suddenly, unexpectedly, as travail upon a woman with child. And so now, after waiting a good share of the forty years of this harvest time, we see many signs of unrest that is to overthrow the present institution. The Lord gives us a message respecting the present time. He says, "When you see these things beginning to come to pass, then lift up your heads and rejoice, knowing that your deliverance draweth nigh." There might be danger of some of our friends and neighbors misunderstanding our cheerfulness connected with this trouble; they might think we were rejoicing in the troubles that are coming, but not so; we are rejoicing in the good things that are beyond the trouble. This reminds me of our Lord's words in describing the matter of His Apostles after His resurrection. He said: "Thus it behooves the Son of Man to suffer and to enter into His glory." It is necessary that these things that are written in the prophecies be fulfilled and then will come the blessing. So our hearts are rejoicing now, not that we are without sympathy for the world, but that we have greater sympathy for the world. We see that God loves the world still more than we ever loved it or could love it, and through His Word now opening to us we have seen the wonderful blessings He has in store for the world of mankind; consequently, we are more really in a hurry for the world's blessings than for our own. If it would please the Lord we would be pleased to remain several years more and endure what He would think best through His grace. The present unrest which we see markedly in certain manifestation is apparently very general, although we might not have so understood the matter. For instance, I was very much interested in hearing about the coal strike in England and the prospects of its proceeding to Germany and France and ultimately to America, though I never thought of there being any trouble here in Greece, but on the way up in the car I was told of evidences of trouble here in your midst. These things indeed must needs be because otherwise how could other things come afterward? It is all a part of our heavenly Father's outlined plan--not that He has planned the evil things that will take place, but that His plans include the permission of these evil things to bring about the good things. Now, then, in view of these conditions and what we may reasonably expect within the next two years, what manner of persons ought we to be? It is a very important time for the Lord's people; it is the closing up of our trial time. If the elect will soon be completed, and if we hope to be members of the elect, we must expect that our tests and decision will be very near at hand. With these thoughts before our mind, it seems to me that it will be very sobering to us all. Our great King, our great High Priest, has not only come through the door, but He has come in amongst the people. The great tests of God's people are not only nigh, but they are here--we are in them. What will be more pleasing in the Lord's sight than to find the condition of our hearts such as will bring His words of comfort, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of your Lord"? Will He ask, "How much do you know about the Divine Plan of the Ages?" Will He ask, "How much do you know about astrology and geology and trigonometry"? No, there will not be the things concerning which He will inquire. All these things may help us in attaining to what He desires, but these things themselves are not the things which the Lord will desire to see in us. What He will approve will be this: If He sees that our hearts are very loyal to all the truths that we have received, if He shall find us hungering and thirsting to do His will, if He shall find us so loyal of heart that we will desire that every word and thought and action shall be to His pleasement. This is the condition of heart that He will approve. There is no doubt about it, we all agree to this. Thus our first thought should be along this line, loyalty to God, loyalty to the Truth, loyalty to the brethren, loyalty to everything that we see to be in harmony with the Divine will. After deciding that point, and finding our hearts are loyal to God, another question arises: What effect will this loyalty to God have upon our outward conduct? And would we have an outward loyalty that testifies [CR272] (A Good Picture of the Great Pyramid from a Distance. Note How Small the Stones Appear as Compared with a View at Close Range.--See Page 96.) [CR273] (View of Entrance to Descending Passage Fifty Feet Up the Side of the Great Pyramid. Note the Great Size of the Stones.) [CR274] to the sentiments of our hearts? The first thing that our Lord will expect in the way of outward manifestation of loyalty and which we should look for in ourselves and in each other is this, namely, love for the brethren. Why so? Because the brethren represent to us the Lord Himself. All who are begotten of the Holy Spirit are children of the heavenly Father, and, therefore, brethren, and all these are younger brethren of the Lord Jesus. We cannot render anything of special service to the heavenly Father, nor to the Lord Jesus personally. They are so great, so high, as to be beyond anything that we could do to render them any valuable service, but the brethren are right with us, in the same city, perhaps in the same house, and the Lord's way of viewing the matter is that if we really have love for Him we will love all these who are brethren of His; as the Apostle expresses it, he that loveth the brethren gives evidence that he has been begotten of the Spirit, and that he is a child of God Himself. It seems to me along this line that our special testings and trials of loyalty are coming. The brethren all have their imperfections, and we have ours. There is none perfect, no not one. And it becomes a part of our test, then, how we shall deal with these who are imperfect and whose imperfections more or less grate upon us and irritate us. This draws out in our conduct what may or may not demonstrate that we have the Spirit of the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord is a spirit of meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love. And we have an abundant opportunity, therefore, of demonstrating these very qualities to the brethren; and one of the things which doubtless will help us more in our dealings with the brethren, and in exercising the graces of the Spirit is this: That we doubtless have imperfections which grate upon them and we need their patience, their sympathy, and their love. But the particular thought is that we all have in God's sight many imperfections, and so the Scriptures represent that if we realize that God has been very gracious to us in forgiving our imperfections, we ought, also, to be very sympathetic and gracious toward them. The Apostle tells us that copying the Lord Jesus we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren. And while we are learning thus to lay down our lives for the brethren and to love and sympathize with them, we find that this also has an influence upon our dealings with the world. The heart that is overflowing with love for God and for the brethren, and also for the Truth, will soon be overflowing with love for the world, and thus the work of grace will not only continue to deepen in our hearts, but will expand abroad to all people; and whoever has this broad sympathetic love for humanity could not help but have a sympathy for the lower creatures. Thus it is that influences of the Truth and the Holy Spirit being shed abroad in our hearts makes us more kind and gentle to all, and more like our heavenly Father, who is kind to the unthankful, and who sends His blessings upon both the evil and upon the good.
Future days may bring us, perhaps, more particular trials than we have yet had--this is our expectation. The tests upon the Church all the way down have been severe, but the tests that are to be expected now in the ending of the age are still more severe than any in the past. But we ask, is this just, right, that we should have severer trials than came upon our parents a century ago? The answer is, yes. We have many advantages over them, we have greater opportunities in a general way for education and a general knowledge from the worldly standpoint. Besides this, we have special light from the Divine Parent. It is not only a part of the Divine arrangement that it should be so, but we see the justice of this, that where much is given much will be required; where little was given little was required. If our trials should be in proportion to our present blessings of understanding of the Divine Plan they would certainly be very great. I am rather expecting, therefore, that there will be some very extremely difficult trials for the Church. Just how near these are we do not know, and just what the nature of these trials are we cannot know. We can only say with the Apostle, we have not yet resisted unto blood, unto death. Who knows but what we will be called upon to prove our loyalty even by the sacrifice of our lives. Let us then, dear brothers and sisters, resolve in our hearts that we will be faithful to Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Faithful in all our dealings with the brethren and in our dealings with the Truth-- sanctified loyalty to God. After all, this matter of loyalty is the real test to bring some sons from the lower plane of the human nature, even the plane of sin, to the plane of glory, honor and immortality; but He does not wish to elevate a single one to that high position who is disloyal in the slightest degree. Hence loyalty to God is the test that is upon us, and so it was with Jesus. He is our exemplar and our forerunner in all these matters. What did He do, and for what did the heavenly Father honor Him with glory, honor and immortality? It was His loyalty to God that was tested, and His loyalty to God that was rewarded. He undertook to do the heavenly Father's will and be proved Himself loyal to all that He engaged to do. He was loyal to the Truth, to the brethren, and above all loyal to death, even the death of the cross, "wherefore also God hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every name," and our call is to walk in His footsteps in the same way of obedience and loyalty and share with him ultimately, if faithful, in His Kingdom. Let us then be faithful. If we are faithful we know that He will be faithful--"Faithful is He who called us who also will do it"--do for us exceedingly, abundantly more than we could have thought or asked according to the riches of His graces in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In view of all these things, what should be the attitude of the minds of the Lord's people in respect to the trouble and those who are causing the trouble? To what extent should the Lord's consecrated people take part in manifestations of disapproval of kings, or presidents, or governors, or those in authority? To what extent should they manifest their sympathy with labor, and what they realize to be some of the rights of the human family that are now being cried out for by the masses? Our proper attitude is outlined by the Lord through the prophet: "Wait ye upon Me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent." (Zephaniah 3:8,9.) The thought is that God intends to do these things. It is He that intends to permit this time of trouble and to bring order out of the confusion, and to right the affairs of the world. The world that knows not of it may well be excused in thinking they must take matters into their own hands. The world would be excusable for saying, This thing will never be done unless we do it ourselves; but we would not be excusable for we have the Word of God and see the plan of God, and know that God is at the helm and that He is [CR275] superintending the whole work. We see that these things are coming now because it is God's due time. We see that it is this increase of knowledge that is waking up humanity and bringing the great time of trouble, and we see that this great time of trouble is about to be utilized by the Lord to favor the interest of His Kingdom and to establish the reign of righteousness. Our knowledge, therefore, of the Divine Plan separates us entirely from the world in our attitude toward these things. We are waiting to see what God will do, and how God will do it. We already have quite a considerable conception of how it will come to pass, and yet there are little details that are not fully known to us. But our confidence is in the Lord, and we are waiting for Him to do it, and are deeply interested in what He is doing, and in what He is permitting us to do--kings and peasants, rich and poor, the capitalist and the working people. Our attitude, then, as God's children, is a waiting attitude. Of course, also, with the attitude of students, students of God's Word and comparing the events we see day by day with the things written in the Word. But this does not mean that we are to take a cold and indifferent attitude towards them. On the contrary we are to have a greater sympathy for all--a greater sympathy than others are able to exercise, because our minds are unbiased, and because we see behind the scenes what God's plans are, and because we see what results are coming and what the real cause of those results are. We are, therefore, to have a greater sympathy with the working classes; but this does not mean that we are to encourage them to violence, nor that we are to encourage their discontent. Rather, we should throw our influence as far as it will go towards peace. We should tell them as much as they are able to receive respecting the Divine blessings that are coming, and to advise them to wait for the Lord to bring it to pass, and not to precipitate the trouble before the Lord's time. Similarly with capitalists; we can feel a great deal of sympathy for them, and for kings, and for all who are in authority, both temporal and spiritual. They do not see the situation as clearly as we do. They are not, therefore, as responsible as we would be, if we were in their places. But even if we were in their places would we not find it difficult to walk so circumspectly as not to do violence to any of the interests of these times? It is certainly a very trying time upon kings and presidents and all who are in authority. They should have and do have our sympathy. If we were in their places and would act according to our best judgment, we would be in trouble with some classes. No one could be wise enough to steer his own course in life in the present time free from difficulties if he has power or wealth. Therefore, our hearts go out sympathetically for the rich and for the poor. And when we read in the Scriptures about the difficulties coming upon the rich we are to read these sympathetically. We may well thank God that His people are neither very rich nor very great according to the course of this World.
In a word, then, the Lord's people at the present time should be peacemakers. This does not mean that they are to leave the proclaiming of the Gospel to try to make peace between capital and labor, and people and kings. We have only one commission, and that is to preach the Gospel; but while telling the good tidings we are to encourage by manner and speech the spirit of meekness and patience and long-suffering and peacefulness.
BROTHER EKONOPOLUS, the sick brother, then had some questions which he wished to ask Brother Russell, as follows:
Question No. 1. What is the meaning of the twenty-four elders which we read about in the book of Revelation?
Brother Russell: I think it is in the seventh volume.
Question No. 2. How explain the verse in Hebrews 9:4 in which the Apostle Paul writes that the golden altar was in the Holy of Holies? Some present the solution for this difficulty, saying that we must acknowledge or accept that the Apostle in saying golden censor meant one of the little golden censors by which the priests would carry the fire from the brazen altar.
Answer: There is unquestionably a difference between the statement of the order of things in the Tabernacle as given by the Apostle here, and the statement as given in the Old Testament. But we must hold steadfastly to the account given in the Old Testament, because the Apostle's own argument supports the Old Testament. He says that it was necessary for the High Priest to offer the incense upon the golden altar before he would enter the Most Holy. This means, too, the golden altar could not have been in the Most Holy, according to the Apostle's own account, and according also to the Old Testament account. The only explanation we could think of would be this, therefore: Either that the Apostle had a lapsus linguae, a slip of the tongue, or that his amanuenses to whom he dictated this put in the wrong word, saying behind the veil instead of before the veil. It is not a matter of any importance, anyway. Nothing serious depends upon it. We see what was the real intention at all events. The golden altar was in the Holy and not in the Most Holy, and, therefore, whatever slip was made in this record has no bearing or special importance.
Question No. 3. In the Tabernacle Shadows we read, "we must distinguish between the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement and the sacrifices which were following the Day of Atonement, and that the first were presented for the sin of Adam, while the following were for the private or individual faults committed by ignorance or wilfulness." But [CR276] it has caused me a great anxiety. In Hebrews 9:7 the Apostle teaches that the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement were for all the sins which were committed, for the sins of the whole people.
Answer: In the English Bible it reads, "But into the second went the High Priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people."
There is no conflict between this statement and the other. The Apostle is here speaking about the Day of Atonement sacrifices, and not about any of those sacrifices following the Day of Atonement. He explains in harmony with the account in the Old Testament that the arrangement was in two parts. In one sense of the word the Day of Atonement sacrifices were all one sacrifice and one work on behalf of all the people, but in another sense of the word it was divided into two sacrifices, the first one for the priests and Levites, and the second for all the remainder of the people, and the Apostle is speaking of this phase of it in this verse. He is here speaking of the second, which he is offering for himself and for the errors of the people. The first, the blood of the bullock, was for himself and his house, and the second was for the errors or sins of all the people. These errors of the people for which the High Priest offers atonement are not wilful sins, but those which are committed through ignorance, superstition, blindness, etc.--through heredity. In other words, God proposes to forgive and to cancel all sins for humanity that has come to us directly or indirectly as a result of Adam's disobedience. But if after getting that blessing and knowledge then we sin with any measure of wilfulness that measure which is wilful is not covered by the atonement.
Question No. 4. What is the difference between the sacrifices afterwards, following the Day of Atonement, and the sacrifices during the Day of Atonement, both being for the sins of ignorance?
Answer: We must consider what the Apostle is speaking about, and he evidently here is not talking about the sacrifices after the Day of Atonement. So he says in the sixth verse, Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first Tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God. But into the second went the High Priest alone once every year (the Day of Atonement).
Question No. 5. Were the sacrifices on the Day of Atonement offered for the sins of the people committed through ignorance?
Answer: This was a complete cancellation of all sin up to that date. It is merely a representation of the first Atonement Day, showing that when we once come and get our blessings from the sacrifice of the day of atonement it cancels all so far as we ever had recognition and ability.
Question No. 6. When the Lord said in the parable that the seed would bring forth some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred fold, are all these classes belonging to the Church or to the Great Company?
Answer: He does not say, and I would suppose it would represent all that are fruitful, that would bring forth the fruits of the spirit. One hundred fold might be those who came up to the very highest standard, and those who would bring forth sixty might refer to that same class, but not to shine quite as highly in the Kingdom, as we read that "Star differeth from star in glory." And the thirty fold might mean those who perhaps will be of the Great Company class, who will develop the spirit of the Lord, but not in such an abundant measure. They will all bring forth fruits of the spirit, in any event; just the same as those who are of the two classes, the wise and the foolish virgins. They are all virgins--all pure, all acceptable to God.
Question No. 7. Are you addressing your prayers only to the Father in the name of the Son?
Answer: Usually I follow that form of addressing the heavenly Father--only in the name of the Lord Jesus; but I have found myself in prayer addressing the Lord Jesus himself, for I find nothing in the Scriptures to contradict that, for they say to honor the Son even as we honor the Father. Nearly all the Scriptures follow that course of addressing the Father and I think of only one that is different, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
Question No. 8. How must we pray in the name of the Father?
Answer: Upon the basis of His name.
Question No. 9. Are there special instances in which we should appeal to the Lord Jesus?
Answer: I cannot think of any circumstance in which the Lord Jesus could do more than the Father. But in my own mind and prayer I think of the two being one because their wills are one, and therefore I never make any mistake. I find myself thinking sometimes of one and sometimes of the other, but it is Thy will and not My will, and so I try to blot out any distinction.
Answer: Well, I suppose it means that God is the only one that should be recognized. All others go into forgetfulness. I will be the God eventually, in the end. So this primacy of the heavenly Father is recognized by the Lord Jesus when He said He would deliver up the Kingdom to the heavenly Father that He might be all in all.
ATHENS' SECOND PUBLIC SERVICE.
We are thankful by the grace of God that we are privileged again to be with some of His children tonight. We are thankful that we can meet in the spirit of brotherly love and Christian fellowship, with malice toward none, but with charity toward all. Some questions have already been handed in and these will be attended to as soon as we get through with this address. Meantime, if others have questions they might write them out at their convenience.
Briefly reviewing what we found last night we would say, we found that God is selecting a Church of a very saintly class. We found that this very saintly class, the Church, is described in the words of Jesus; that Jesus said if any man will be My disciple let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.
Brother Russell then proceeded to give a discourse along the line of the selection of the Church with a view of taking up the questions soon afterward. However, before going very far, the number of Greek priests who were in the audience decided that they wanted to have some questions answered at once, and so they interrupted the meeting and a regular riot ensued. First one priest would get up and make some remarks, then some one else in the audience would reply to him, and then another priest would say something, and thus they had it back and forth, paying very little attention to Pastor Russell, who was on the platform. He, of course, was endeavoring to address the audience through [CR277] the interpreter, as everything was Greek to us, and the interpreter did the best he could to explain, but the others paid no attention. The truth that Brother Russell had been telling them evidently hurt a good many and thus, as in all cases the darkness hateth the light. The uproar continued for considerable time, reminding us of Saint Paul's experience in that section of the country in times past. Finally the president of the club which owned the hall stood up in the rear on a chair after the manner of the town clerk in the days of Paul and after considerable talk he quieted the audience, and soon the meeting was dispersed without any serious trouble.
LEAVING Athens we went by train to Corinth, and here we were surprised to find it a small city just the reverse of Athens. Arrangements had been made for a morning service in the City Hall, but upon arrival found that the crowd was so great they could not gain admittance. They consulted among themselves and arranged for the service to be held in St. Paul's Greek Church. This was quite a surprise to us, but we were glad to fall in line with their wishes. Brother Russell then spoke on the subject of "The Great Hereafter," and the people were so well pleased that they requested another meeting in the same place that afternoon. Brother Russell consented, so spoke to them again.
WHICH IS THE TRUE CHURCH.
First reviewing the morning talk on the subject of "The Great Hereafter," and then said:
If our children are to have an opportunity, what about our forefathers? If God is going to blot out all sin, etc., what about our forefathers? All the prophecies of this age belong to the Church; all the prophecies concerning the world belong to the next age. Now, we all know that all our forefathers were not members of the Church of Christ in the highest sense of the word. We know that the Church of Christ in the highest sense of the word is composed of those who walk in the footsteps of Jesus. We know that not very many walk in the footsteps of Jesus today. When Saint Paul was here in Corinth only a mere handful believed. What is the hope of those who have been passed by during the past ages who have not been saints, in the highest sense of the word? You and I ourselves profess to be saints, but we could not claim that all our forefathers were saints.
I remind you Jesus said that only the blessed and holy will have part in the first resurrection. All the great mass of Germans, British and Americans, and there are thousands of them, have been passed by.
I am not asking what you think, nor what I think, for neither of us is authority on this subject; but God in His Word has told us about his provision for these who are dead. We are considering the eternal interests of a very large number of people. The True Church, the saints, have never claimed to be a large number. Remember the words of Jesus, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." In my own estimate, I reckon that about twenty thousand million people have lived and died, and yet only a few of those have been saints and constituted members of the real Church of Christ. Only a few of those are what the Bible calls the elect and very elect, who make their calling and election sure. The great masses of them are only non-elect. Many of our forefathers neglected the Bible altogether, speculating as to what would happen to the heathen. Some of them told us that thousands of millions of them were being lost every year. Neither you nor I nor anybody else believes that theory. We could not believe that our heavenly Father made men to be roasted for all eternity. To think thus of Him would be to think worse of our God than of any human being, for no human being would be so wicked as that. The Bible, on the contrary, tells us that ours is a great God, a merciful God, and has no pleasure in the death of those who die.
Now we ask the Bible as to what it tells us of God's provision for the thousands of millions who have never heard and have never had any opportunity of coming into harmony with God? We believe the great mistake we have made is in the kind of hell to which people go. The hell that we made in the dark ages was with fire, devils, etc., but the hell of the Bible is a different hell altogether. The hell of the Bible in the New Testament is hades, and in the Old Testament is sheol, and these words do not mean a lake of fire. These mean the grave, the state of the dead. In the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi--the only scriptures that they had for thousands of years--the word sheol means the condition of death. I am not conversant with your Greek Bibles, but in our English Bibles this word sheol is translated more times grave than it is hell, and it means grave every time. Do not mistake the speaker to say there is no hell in the Bible. All men, good and bad, go to the Bible hell. All through the Scriptures we read about Abraham and Jacob going to sheol. The corresponding word in the New Testament is hades, and there we find that the good as well as bad go to hades. We find Saint Peter said that our Lord Jesus went to hades, the tomb, the state of death, and that God raised Him from the tomb, from hades, from the state of death, on the third day. We also note the Bible states that those who die are not conscious of anything, whether good or bad; neither the holy experience any blessing in hades, nor the wicked any torture in hell. The Bible says that all fall asleep, and that they will remain asleep until the resurrection from the dead. So the Apostle says that all who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. I remind you of the statement that Abraham slept with his fathers. Abraham was a holy man and his fathers were heathen men. Where did they sleep? Did they sleep in heaven? Is Heaven a great sleeping place? We do not think so. Did they sleep in the Catholic purgatory? It is too warm. Could they sleep in our Protestant hell? It is still warmer; it is still hotter. Where did they sleep? All through the Old Testament the kings, prophets, etc., fell asleep. We come down to the New Testament and we found there also the same thought. I remind you of what Jesus said. (Pastor Russell then gave an outline of his sermon on "The Rich Man and Lazarus.)
Pastor Russell then referred to St. Paul's statement to the resurrection, as stated by the Apostle in 1 Cor., 15th chapter. He dwelt upon this at some length, and stated that the Word of God is the only authority.
WHERE ARE THE DEAD?
Where are the dead? Not in Heaven, hell or purgatory, but as the Prophet Daniel said, They that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.
You remember the words of St. Paul that there shall be a resurrection of the dead both of the just and the unjust. The question is, Are they dead? The Bible says that our friends are dead. Some others say that the dead are alive. We hold with St. Paul to the Bible that the dead are dead, and that there is to be a resurrection of the dead. There could not be a resurrection of the dead if nobody were dead. [CR278] If everybody became more alive when they died how could there be a resurrection of the dead? Notice again, the Bible teaches that He is our Redeemer; you remember the word Redeemer means to purchase, to purchase back again, but what have they to purchase back from? From torment? No. From the grave. And so the prophet said, speaking for God and Jesus, "I will redeem them from sheol. Oh, sheol, I will be thy destruction." In other words, when God said that He would redeem them from the death condition, he meant that he would destroy death. The Lord Jesus during his thousand years reign will destroy the grave by taking mankind out of death, out of the grave. See, again, what the penalty was: Did He go to hell, or to purgatory, or did He die for our sins, which? We must come to the Bible. What does the Bible say? The Bible says, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures." Again, it says, "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man." He did not taste eternal torment for any man. If there ever was a penalty of eternal torment against you and me, it is there yet; but there never was, thank God, such a penalty. The penalty against us was a death penalty, and Jesus has paid the death penalty, and, therefore, there shall be a resurrection of the dead. If you read in Genesis what God said the penalty would be upon our first parents the whole matter becomes very plain. There we read that the penalty would be death. They disobeyed and the penalty came upon them and God drove them out of the Garden. They were driven out into the accursed condition of the earth so they would die; thus we read, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." This is the penalty that God pronounced--a death penalty. It has been terrible penalty --a reign of sin and death, sickness and suffering, both mental, physical and moral, with sighing, crying and dying for six thousand years. But it is not eternal torment. The Bible does not say that God sentenced our race to eternal torture, but, as we have seen, He has provided the Redeemer and the Redeemer has died for our sins, to release us from death. That part is all finished, thank God. We are merely waiting now, since He gave His life to redeem us, to take His power to uplift the world and overthrow sin. Let me remind you of a text of Scripture we frequently forget: The Apostle Paul says, As by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead; for as all in Adam die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Now what came because of Adam's disobedience? All in Adam died. The benefit from Jesus' death is a resurrection of the dead. We clearly see that if Christ had not died for the dead then we would remain dead, just as the brute beast, but because Jesus has died for our sins, therefore there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. Hear the words of Jesus in John 5:28,29--He had been telling about His glorious Kingdom that is to come--then He says: "Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in which all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth." Not all in Heaven shall come down, or all in purgatory or in hell shall come up. But He did say, all that are in their graves shall hear His voice and come forth. Just exactly as Paul said, there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust, for the 29th verse reads, "They that have done good unto a resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto a resurrection of damnation (judgment)." Jesus, you see, divided these two: First, all those who have done good--then all the remainder are counted in as having done evil. Let us see what is meant by good and evil here. To do good does not mean to be perfect, for none can be perfect if he tries. To do good in God's sight means now to have come to Him, giving Him your heart and trying to do His will to the best of your ability. Those are the ones who have done good. Those are the saintly ones. The ones who walk in the footsteps of Jesus; they are to constitute the first resurrection-- Blessed and holy are all those who have part in the first resurrection; on such the second death shall have no power, but they shall be priests unto God and Christ and shall reign a thousand years. (Rev. 20:6.) All the remainder of the ones who are counted evil, and that means they have not come into harmony with God--and it includes all the heathen, thousands of millions, and includes many of your brothers and sisters, and fathers, and mothers, and mine, who have not lived as saints. They also shall come forth from the grave in a resurrection, but it will not be the first resurrection. Only the saintly will be in it. I do not know how this 29th verse of John 5 is rendered in your Greek Bibles, but I will tell you how it is in our English Bibles: I find that in the original Greek it is rendered better than we have in our common English version. According to the Greek it is rendered properly, "They shall come forth unto a resurrection by judgment--(krisis)." This word krisis signifies testing or trial. It will take a thousand years for the Lord to deal with the world and bring them up in this resurrection. It will not require a thousand years to awaken them--just a moment. But the awakening of a man is not restoring him. Take, for instance, Father Adam. If we had power now to awaken Father Adam, he would be a feeble old man, would he not? He died of old age, nine hundred and thirty years after being put out of the Garden of Eden. To awaken Adam to merely the condition in which he was before would do no good, and I have no doubt that you Greek here appreciate this word anastasis better than the peoples of other languages. This signifies, to raise up again, to bring back again to the place it once was. What did Father Adam fall from? The Bible says that he fell from perfection, the image and likeness of God. He experienced nine hundred and thirty years of dying, "Dying thou shalt die," until he was dead. So in the resurrection when awakened, he will have an opportunity of coming more and more out of death, until he shall be fully out of death. The Bible does tell in 1 Cor., the 15th chapter, "It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body." But this is in reference to the Church only. Only the Church will have that instantaneous change to the plane of spiritual condition, because the Church has her krisis now. But the worlds krisis will be during the thousand years of Christ's reign. All men will come forth from the tomb that they may have a raising up or resurrection, not merely Father Adam, but all of his children, because they have all shared in his condemnation. Jesus not only redeemed Father Adam, but all those who lost their life through Adam. I [CR279] quote you again St. Paul's words: "As by man came death, so by man there shall be a resurrection of the dead." The dying sentence came upon the world through Adam and has continued for six thousand years, but the works of Jesus will last for a thousand years, lifting them up out of their dying condition. As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, but every man in his own order. The Church will be the first class and the world will be raised in the next age. The resurrection that will take place during a thousand years is the same as St. Peter speaks of and calls it restitution. The word restitution means to restore. Not only Father Adam, but all of his children are fallen men, and God intends to bring them back out of their fallen condition into harmony with Him. There is no statement, however, in the Bible that all men will attain eternal life, but all men will have an opportunity to attain eternal life. We all share in Adam's condemnation, so God made provision through Jesus of coming back out of sin, condemnation, ignorance, back into harmony with God. Now let us see how reasonable this doctrine is from God's standpoint. When God made man, what did He make him? Let us ask the Bible. The Bible does not tell us that God made man an angel, and that he fell from being an angel. The Bible does not tell, therefore, that the restoration will be to bring him back to an angel. Hear the Lord's word through the Prophet David: "What is man that Thou art mindful of him, and the Son of man that Thou visitest Him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels, Thou has crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet." Adam had the glory of a perfect man as he stood there in Eden, and God made him king of the earth, besides He had put all things of the earth under him, the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, all sheep and oxen, and whatsoever passed through the sea. So, my dear friends, you see how reasonable it is that God proposes to bring mankind back from sin, back to perfection if they will.
Satan shall be bound a thousand years that he shall deceive the nations no more until the thousand years be past. Light and knowledge and the glory of the Lord shall fill the whole earth like the sunlight. Meantime, while mankind is being lifted up, the earth itself will be restored and perfected for mankind. It will require a thousand years for this great work. He says He will make the place of His feet (the earth) glorious. There shall be no more curse upon man or upon the earth. All the wicked will He destroy, says the Scripture. St. Paul says, "They shall be punished with everlasting punishment"--a destruction that will last forever. The Scriptures say it will be the second death. It will be just like the first death except that there will be no resurrection from it. St. Peter says, "They shall perish like the brute beast, for whom there is no redemption or resurrection in the Bible. But that penalty is only for the wicked who willingly and intentionally refuse the grace of God. Then the Bible tells us how glorious it will be when the whole earth will bow the knee to God. All the wicked will He destroy, and every knee will be bowed and every tongue will confess to the glory of God.
Here, again, the message of Jesus on this subject. "Every creature in Heaven and on earth, and under the earth, will be heard saying, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb, forever and forever." How glorious it will be at that time! Hear, again, the Scriptures, "There shall be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, because all the former things (of sin) have passed away." Some will say, I do not believe the time will ever come when there will be no more sickness, sighing, dying and crying, but I reply, Is it so in Heaven? Do they have tears, and hospitals, and insane asylums, and cemeteries in Heaven? Why should we say that the angels should have a different condition than humanity? Our Lord's Prayer tells us that we are to expect that when His Kingdom shall reign that as a [CR280] result of that reign God's will shall be done in earth even as it is done in Heaven.
I think of two Scriptures that may be in the minds of some, and I would like, therefore, to explain these while I think of them. For instance, some may say, you were speaking about the dead sleeping and waiting for the resurrection; did you forget about the thief on the cross? Therefore, let me explain that. (Brother Russell then gave a long explanation of this Scripture and also of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.)
Conclusion: If we would have a place in the heavenly Kingdom we must prove our loyalty to God. I trust some of you are seeking to make your calling and election sure to that glorious inheritance. Now, I thank you for your attention and bid you goodbye.
There were several Greek Priests present, and also the Mayor of the City, all of whom evidenced much interest. As there are few seats in these churches, the people nearly all stood up, and they remained for two hours in the afternoon to listen. I remember some army officers in uniform present. One was called out by someone, but the minute he could do so he came right back and listened to the end. At the conclusion one of the brothers stood up in a carriage and handed out right and left tracts which had been brought. We did not have near enough to go around.
AFTER the service the Mayor went with us in carriages to old Corinth, some three-quarters of an hour ride from the new city. Here we inspected the ruins of the old city, which had been covered over completely by earthquakes, but has since been uncovered in many places. It was not difficult to trace many things which are familiar from reading of Paul's experiences there.
We spent the night in the new City of Corinth, and early the next morning took train across the country from Corinth to
From here we were to board our ship to go to Italy. Just before reaching Patros a young Greek gentleman got into our car and, becoming acquainted with him, found that he had lived in America for a number of years and was then in Greece to get his parents and bring them back here. He spoke very good English and stated he was well acquainted in Patros and would be glad to be of any service to us while there. This we found very acceptable, because everything was "Greek" to us there, the language and everything else. On arriving at Patros we found that our boat was about five hours late and would not reach Patros before midnight; therefore, we went to the hotel, and made use of the parlor. During the afternoon, however, we went about the city of Patros and noticed many interesting things about it. The young Greek also hired a carriage and took four of us about the city, pointing out the principal things of interest. After supper we all gathered in the parlor of the hotel, and after a song service it was decided to have a testimony meeting, and we give here the testimonies of the different members of the Committee. Even the young Greek gave a testimony to the fact that he was very glad to meet us as Americans and had enjoyed his stay with us very much. The first one to testify was
BROTHER PYLES: I was just thinking the past few days that we were somewhat out of practice in our testimony, that we have taken up some other kind of life, avoiding work, responsibility, trials, worries, etc. We have been highly favored with the association of each other, and all probably have weaknesses and more or less trials with each other, yet nothing with what we find in our every day affairs; yet I question the fact that being so closely associated whether we might not possibly be taken unawares when these trials come. When in danger and having troubles and struggling on we feel the great necessity of obtaining assistance from the Lord, but when everything seems to be going smoothly we may be a little careless. So tonight I appreciate a testimony meeting that I might take my bearings and see where I stand in my relationship to the heavenly Father, to examine my heart, to see what He wants me to do. As I take an observation, I find my will is right. Nevertheless, I feel that this observation will be beneficial to me. I appreciate the blessings of the present time. I refer to the association with Brother Russell and the brethren, and to the favors the Lord is bestowing upon us, and that we are the recipients of prayers going up on our behalf, all of which I feel I have great appreciation for, and I am very thankful to my heavenly Father for these privileges and opportunities.
As I pray for the general harvest work and for our Pastor, I also remember this Committee, and I trust that the balance do the same and that I am included.
BROTHER WILSON: Well, dear friends, I am like Brother Pyles in one respect, having gratitude and thankfulness in my heart for the blessings the Lord is conferring upon us in so many ways, yet, like the Brother, I feel sometimes that we are so rapidly passing through the various scenes of this country, bumping up against the worldly things to such a considerable extent that we are likely to forget the higher things. I refer more particularly to myself. I try, however, to look up to my heavenly Father in thankfulness for His goodness and try to remember the harvest work and all the dear ones everywhere. I esteem it a privilege that the Lord has permitted me to be amongst so grand and Christlike characters.
I feel it has been of great benefit to me in many ways, yet I realize, too, that it is a matter about which we should be very careful in our hearts and minds, not to lean upon others or for myself to criticize what others do, or do not do, but to lean wholly and solely and entirely on the Lord, and to look to Him for strength. As the Apostle said, let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. When we feel strong, we feel that we are enjoying the Lord's blessing, and are likely to become ungracious or unfaithful, and then I fear we are on dangerous ground, and I feel that I should not rely upon my own strength, nor upon anyone but the Lord, and how mindful He has been to us. What wonderful care He has taken of us all, kept us so far in a condition of fellowship one with another that I have to say that I have no grounds for complaint in any way. Some things, of course, have tried our patience, but those we should be glad of. I know not what further to say, only that I am glad and thankful that the Lord has allowed me the grand privilege and blessing of being associated with our dear Pastor so long and with the members of this Committee, and while I have been neglectful in some instances, it is not because I tried to shirk any duties I felt competent to do. I have not been as mindful of some things as I might have been, but I hope the friends will realize that it was not a desire to shirk.
BROTHER HALL: I have thought, and back before we started on this trip, about the first of last December, and ever since that time up to the present time I have been more and more convinced, and am absolutely certain of the fact, that this trip and the obligations and duties which have come upon us, and which are falling to us now, are certainly in the lines of the Lord's leading. I am also certain as I can be of anything that He is directing the work of this Committee and the work that has been laid out, and while I do not pretend to understand how it is to work out, yet at the same time I am thoroughly satisfied that I can see the Lord's hand connected with our trip, both by land and sea. We crossed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, then across the Pacific Ocean to Japan, China, Manila, and all the way along and on through India, over thirty thousand miles, and the care and protection and supervision which the Lord has exercised over this party and over the details of this trip have impressed themselves upon my mind, and I am sure it is the same with all the individuals of this Committee. That ought to be enough if we need anything to strengthen our faith in our heavenly Father's kindness and grace, even if we had not been sufficiently established in the faith before, that all of our steps are guided and directed by the Lord. I am more and more impressed with the fact, and I believe everybody else who is connected with the Truth and the High Calling in any way is also, that we are in the position [CR281] of someone who is about ready to start upon a long journey and must put himself in readiness to start upon a long journey at any minute, and yet, at the same time, he does not know when he is going to take the final step. We are on the way and must keep ourselves in readiness to take the final step to the other side, and yet we never know when it will be. It is a condition of expectation and it reminds me of the Israelites, and like them we must be ready for anything that comes up in any shape, both in those experiences which seem to be blessings and in those which seem to be unpleasant. I could go on and say a great many things, but I shall only remark that I was just looking over the papers this afternoon, and it seems to me that the events which have occurred in the world since we started should impress upon our minds the fact that this is the end of the Gospel Age. They certainly confirm that belief more and more all the time, as we see the strikes in England, and the United States; but we want to be always ready to do whatever comes to our hands to do and to do it the very best we know how, and to the honor and glory of the Lord. That has been my prayer; that every member of this Committee should do everything to the honor and glory of the heavenly Father.
MRS. WILSON: I thought that, as "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," I want to first thank our heavenly Father for the goodness, and the privilege of letting me go on this trip, as the experiences received have greatly strengthened my faith, and I am more convinced than ever that poor man cannot uplift or convert the world, but that it will take the Lord's Kingdom to do it. I also want to thank the brethren and Brother Russell for having been so patient with me, for I must have been a trial to all. I realize that, and I want to benefit by the experiences that I have gained, and ask the heavenly Father to keep me more humble and to be so that I may remember this trip and bear the experiences in mind. I realize that I come so short of what I want to be. In coming to the Lord in the morning I ask Him to give me grace to do so and so. I realize my weaknesses, but I realize that His grace is sufficient, and I thank Him for those promises. I ask an interest in your prayers, that I may grow stronger, and I thank you all for your kindness and patience to me.
BROTHER MAXWELL: I feel thankful to our heavenly Father for the things that have come to me to strengthen my faith in His providences and in His grace. There have been many things that have come to me that have been blessings. I used to think over that passage of Scripture of the whole creation groaning and travailing in pain, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, and yet I saw but very little of the groaning creation; but during this trip I have seen much that has drawn out my sympathies to the world of mankind. How degraded man has become since left to himself! Also, how unable mankind is to lift the groaning creation out of the present troubles. It is impossible, and we see with all the work that has been done by many noble-hearted missionaries to do the best they could with the light they had, they have accomplished very little, so we are waiting for the Kingdom to do that which mankind has been unable to do. I think we have been blessed by God in His kindness and care that He has taken of us all. We certainly have been preserved from sickness and dangers, seen and unseen. He has borne us across on the water, and we have been strengthened in our faith by seeing His kindness and love manifested in the care He has taken of us. I think that His kind providence ought to make us very thankful, that we have been under His supervision for over three months and no evil has befallen us, nothing of an outward character has prevailed against us, but His kindness has been manifested to a great extent. There are things that have come to us in our lives since we have left our homes that certainly have given us great hope and expectation. I trust I shall be able to stand the great test that is coming to us all, and that I may not be overcome. Sometimes the thought comes to my mind that it is possible if I do not keep close to the Lord I may fail, fail of the great reward held out to us. I trust that the close association we have had with one another may be helpful to all in that great time which is to try the Church especially. I hope that we shall all be found worthy to reign with our dear Redeemer when He takes His great power to reign, and that we shall be associated with Him in that grand and glorious event which is to help the groaning creation.
My heart and sympathy has gone out to those poor people. I cannot help but think how many of them have gotten into vice and licentiousness, and how thankful we ought to be that our lot has been cast in a land of light and liberty, with so many privileges. How thankful that we have not been born in heathendom, amongst these things that we have seen which to us are very terrible. I am glad for this testimony meeting for perhaps we ought to have had more of these. We are glad that our hearts have been kept in harmony with the Lord, and His work, and that we have become more and more attached to our leader, He who has been especially called by the Lord at this time to make this trip. I trust that our love towards each other has been more deeply cemented and more closely bound, and that we will never forget this journey and the sweet associations we have had with each other, and that these will bind us closer to one another, and especially to our Lord and Master, and we will look forward with gladness to the time that is near at hand when we will be with Him.
BROTHER KUEHN: If there ever was any doubt in my mind as to whether this trip of the world's tour was of the Lord's arrangement, that has been long ago dissipated. When first the suggestion of an invitation to join the world's tour was made to me, matters at home seemed not favorable to my going. I made it a matter of prayer, asking the Lord, to know if it was His will, for such a journey, and to know if I were to be one of the party. Gradually matters shaped themselves in business and otherwise, so that the way opened. [CR282]
The incident at Honolulu, when the Lord so wonderfully provided a guide, as it were, to inquire into the conditions of the missionary work, was the first eye opener, as it were, in answer to my prayers. And along the journey there have been such instances--for instance, this brother who became acquainted with us on the train on the way to Patros and offered his assistance to us who were strangers to others, and to the people, and language, too. And reviewing the entire trip thus far I am fully assured that it is of the Lord's arrangement; and, as Brother Hall has suggested, it has strengthened my faith, but not only that, the association with those natives who have shown such childlike faith has been strengthening to my faith.
In line with our Manna text this morning (March 11) I am resolved more and more, as I appreciate God's kindness for all his favors shown to me, and especially on this trip, to lay aside all hindrances and to run more fervently the race that is set before us. Considering the advantages that are ours, to live in America, as compared with these countries in darkness, so great that we could almost feel it, I appreciate more than ever what the heavenly Father has done for me, and it has drawn my heart more strongly to Him and I am determined that I will go on. We know not what is before us, but as I think of Saint Paul, whose memory is revered by our being in the vicinity that has been hallowed by his presence in former days, he who said, "I have fought the good fight, and kept the faith," the same grace and strength that enabled him to not only say but do that will enable us to come off more than conquerors.
I feel it is a high privilege to have been selected, as I come now to see it as a selection from above to be associated in a work that must be of history--the closing of the harvest of the Gospel age. I want to prove myself more worthy of the favor bestowed upon me. I can say with General Hall that the signs of the times have been very plain and also the hunger for knowledge and Truth in these foreign nations, reaching out for the message that those more highly favored have rejected--it is to my mind an indication that there is a turn of events in favor of the coming age, and that the sealing of the saints of God is nearly completed.
BROTHER JONES: It seems very significant to me that we should have this testimony meeting tonight, at the close of this great tour, for we might say it has practically ended, inasmuch as the last meeting planned took place yesterday at Corinth, and is now a matter of history.
Two lines of thought have specially impressed me: (1) In regard to the world and (2) in regard to the Church. As we have traveled about from country to country and have seen the condition of affairs in those places, and at the same time learned of the strife in the home land, I was greatly impressed with the fact that nothing but the Kingdom of Messiah can ever straighten our matters. And in this connection I was made to feel very humble when I realized how little I or any one else could do to deliver the poor world in its trouble, and realized how great God is and I rejoice to know that He has such a wonderful plan as Pastor Russell has shown us is contained in the Bible, and I am more than ever convinced that the Divine Plan of the ages is the true plan of salvation.
While on the trip I have been reading especially the Gospels and have been surprised to note how much is contained therein with respect to the Kingdom of Messiah, and so, I marked those passages as I came to them, and I find that if everything pertaining to the Kingdom was taken from the New Testament, there would be very little of it left.
The second thought that was impressed upon me especially was in connection with the Church. As I saw the condition and signs of the times prevailing in the world, I realized that these two are indications of the fact that the Church is nearly completed. Yet I realize that there is still a time of testing upon her and this was particularly impressed upon me as I ascended the well of the Great Pyramid and found that about the last twenty-five feet was the most difficult portion to ascend and required that I keep a tight hold upon the rope, which to me would symbolize the rope of faith. Realizing, therefore, that the severest tests and trials are now about to come upon the Church, I am returning with a strong desire to serve the brethren and help them as well as myself to make our calling and election sure--serve them more humbly, kindly and lovingly.
I greatly appreciate our fellowship together on the trip and I can say that I have learned to love all more than ever, and that I have a great love for our heavenly Father, for Jesus our Redeemed, and all present. Here in this connection I wish to say that I have daily remembered the various ones in the harvest work, the various members of the committee and the different friends whom we have learned to know, whom we have personally met on our tour, and so I especially make mention of them in our prayers. The dear Greek brethren whom we left at Corinth and Athens, a little farther back, Brother Edgar, Brother Pfund at the Great Pyramid, then back at Bombay our dear Brother Robert Hollister, then the friends at Madras, a little farther back the dear ones in Travencore district, back farther those who are beginning to take an interest in the Truth in China and Japan. I also daily remember the friends at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, who have been toiling day by day at the work which in many respects is like the toil of the world, and which only the spirit of the Lord helps them to keep at. I have also remembered the dear Pilgrim brethren who are going from town to town and the colporteurs going two by two from house to house, and also the volunteers, gleaners and those on beds of sickness who perhaps can only pray for us who are permitted to go out into active service, and yet their prayers, as one brother said are like bandages and sandwiches for the soldiers on the battle field.
I desire to ask an interest in your prayers as I also pray for you.
PASTOR RUSSELL: The prevailing sentiment in my mind in connection with this trip from the start has been one of great gratitude to the Lord and an increasing appreciation of my obligation to Him and His goodness toward me. And this thought has been intensified as I came in contact with the actualities of life throughout Japan, China, India, Egypt, and I have said to myself over and over again, Verily my lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. The Lord was very gracious to me that I was born of Christian [CR283] parentage, under such favorable conditions, and I said over and over to myself, What manner of person ought I to be in return, and how much greater responsibilities have I than these poor creatures who have had such disadvantages and lack of opportunity. And yet, all my journey, I have not seen anything worse than I have anticipated seeing. From my study of these lands I had formed quite accurate conceptions of just what they were. They are not any worse, but in some respects I was very pleased that I found some things better--chiefly that there were some saints in those lands, and it cheered my heart that there were true characters there.
I have also greatly appreciated the fellowship that I have had with the members of the committee. I have not formed any different opinion of any than I had at the beginning. I thought much of you at first and I have had my convictions intensified, but they are the same as at the beginning, only they have been proven. It has been sometimes under trying conditions and circumstances, but I am glad these demonstrated great love and loyalty to the Lord and His Word. I love you, if possible, more than ever.
The whole experience has been a wonderful and convincing lesson respecting the things we have already believed and taught. We believe things still more deeply, if possible, and shall in the future present them, if possible, still more concisely --the necessity for the Kingdom, and that there is absolutely no human power in the world that could uplift humanity. The tendency in some respects would be downward, as we have seen. Some of these people have really been blest in that they have had a large amount of ignorance; if they had had more knowledge they would have been developed in sin. I can see the wisdom of the Almighty in permitting such ignorance. I can say that the bringing in of the light and Truth to these people in their unregenerated condition would not do them much good, but that the only things that could really uplift them in Messiah's Kingdom-- that heavenly power that will not only lift up physically and emancipate from slavery in mind and body, but also give the glory to God. The knowledge of that Kingdom will not prove an injury but a blessing. All this I behold before my mind more vividly than before.
Correspondingly, I rejoice that the matter is in better hands than ours,--in the hands of the great Creator; and correspondingly I feel also to appreciate the fact that God not only assumes responsibility but that we can see He has a responsibility in respect to these creatures whom He created, that their interests are necessarily also a part of His concern; and while He was not under obligations to redeem them or to give them eternal life we can see very clearly that it would be just like Him to do something good for these who through the fall and ignorance and unfavorable conditions have come into life under disadvantageous conditions, and to give them an opportunity for recovery from the curse of disobedience.
So I am returning to the other parts of the world invigorated in mind, strengthened in faith, and in mind, not only along the lines mentioned, but also along the lines of God's providences with our committee during this considerable journey. It would appear that we could not possibly have asked for or expected such wonderful openings or opportunities as we have had. It would appear also that the Lord must have arranged these very affairs. Amongst others, our experiences of yesterday in the Greek Church, by power and arrangement entirely outside of our hands, we had such a favorable reception at Corinth, and an opportunity to present the Truth in some measure to intelligent and earnest people for three hours. We were able to mention many features of the Divine Plan and interest was created to such an extent that many expressed themselves as pleased and also stated their intention to start afresh to study these matters.
While this is fresh in our minds in Greece, yet it is in full harmony with our experiences in the Hawaiian Islands, Japan, China, the Philippines, etc.
Another thing surprised me, and this is the surprising thing in my whole journey, that those to whom I expected to be able to do some good I was quite unable to reach at all, namely, the missionaries. In the start of the journey the missionaries were very largely before my mind's eye. I said to myself, I believe I would be a part of the divine will that all these missionaries should have a witness respecting the committee, and I believe we could use this means to bring many of them to the meetings, and they would all receive a great blessing--being honest people they would be profited. I have been disappointed respecting the missionaries. We not only got very few of the English and American visitors to our meetings, but additionally those who did come seemed rather indifferent. They were unready to hear the Word of God--they were indifferent to do it. My surprise was correspondingly very great. Nevertheless, we have good meetings, but they were more with the Oriental people, with those whom we thought would have no interest in the matter.
We had feared these would be so degraded that they would not have a hearing ear. I have been astonished to see how many of the Chinese have keen ears for the Truth--much more than the whites. The same way in Japan, in India, and everywhere; it seems to have been the specially interested of the common native people--different from what I have anticipated. So I have been disappointed in those who have had the largest measure of divine favor in birth and education-- unfavorably disappointed. Also disappointed, but favorably, in respect to those who have had little advantage, and all this seems to my mind to teach a great lesson, namely, that apparently the message of the Kingdom and of God's grace has already accomplished a considerable proportion of its work and that what may be expected henceforth will probably be in the nature of gleanings and these might be expected as much from some of the Oriental natives as from others. The prospect in India seems to be very favorable in many ways, especially in the Travencore district. Also the prospect in China seems to be good, and I cannot say but that in Japan it is favorable also.
On the whole, the conclusion of my testimony is, that I am very appreciative of the Divine favor bestowed on us, and feel very grateful to God for the privilege enjoyed, and I am returning with a heart not only grateful, but full of thanksgiving [CR284] and strengthened by the various experiences of this journey.
THE next day we arrived at Brindisi, Italy, and from here took train to Rome. Our journey through southern Italy was a very beautiful one. We arrived there about night time, and then the next day we spent in looking over matters of special interest, such as St. Peter's Cathedral, the Colosseum, Titus Arch, the Catacombs, etc. New Rome is truly a wonderful city and modern in all respects. It has fine streets, good buildings, etc.
St. Peter's Cathedral is a wonderful building and must have cost a great many millions of dollars. The weather does not seem to affect the statuary inside, as the beautifully sculptured marble is apparently as perfect as the day it was put there. Then we saw the wonderful paintings of past masters. Further along we noticed the bronze statue of Peter in a sitting position, and nearly all the toes of one foot are worn away by reason the people constantly kissing it. You can draw your own conclusions.
Later on we visited the Colosseum, and while within it a shudder came over us as we realized that on that very spot, and within those walls hundreds of Christians used to be gathered in the arena, and then the starved lions would be let loose and they would tear them to pieces, all for the amusement of Nero and his crowd of thousands who filled the seats of that immense amphitheatre. (See page 104.)
We also paid a visit to the catacombs, where it is stated some three millions of so-called Christians were buried, none are there now, however. Our guide showed us many caves with remnants of altars, etc., still there, in which the early Church used to hold services.
On our way back to the city we came up the Apian way. This, you remember, is the same road over which the Apostle Paul walked, after the shipwreck, and as he was entering the city of Rome a prisoner. We all got out of our carriages and walked along this road also in to the city through the great gates. It was as Paul started up this road that he was met by some brethren who came out to meet him, and he says that they comforted him not a little.
Then inside the city we saw also the Arch of Titus, made historic because of having been erected by Titus after his conquest of Jerusalem, when he brought back as part of the spoils the Golden Candlestick, etc. These are carved high up on the Arch, and can still be seen there, and thus we know something of how the originals looked.
FROM Rome we went on to Paris, and here met with the little class of International Bible Students in that great city. I report herewith a brief synopsis of that meeting.
Pastor Russell: I desire to talk to you a little while about the story we have loved so long, and I am sure we will love it as long as we remain loyal.
Anything that comes up which I think would be profitable to the household of faith, you know I try to put before you in the Watch Tower. The present journey that we have accomplished thus far around the world has been one of great value from an instructive standpoint. It has served to confirm various thoughts that we already had in our minds respecting the heathen and the Divine Plan. We found the heathen people in practically the condition we expected to find them. Indeed, we were much surprised to see a more favorable outlook than we had expected. I do not mean that we found the people in better condition than we expected, but that we found some more religious, in a deeper sense than we had expected. I was telling the friends on the train about some of our experiences in China--at Hong Kong. The missionaries there opposed any proposition to hold a meeting, trying to discourage the Chinese, but the Chinese saw that there must be some reasons why there was such opposition and they were independent enough to want to have a meeting. The result of the matter was that we had four meetings. The first meeting was for the Chinese only, and we had three Chinese ministers and a professor of a college--the latter acting as interpreter. The next night the Chinese wanted a meeting held for them in a little church, and had a very interesting company of about three hundred present, including a number of preachers. Then there were two meetings for the English, which were fairly well attended. As a result of the meeting we arranged there for the translation of the discourses delivered and also for the translation of the First Volume of the Scripture Studies, all to be translated and printed. We asked the interpreter what he would charge for doing this work, and to our surprise he said, This is a work for the Lord, and we will not receive anything for it. Another Chinese showed us some kindness and after the meeting asked, When can you speak to us Catholic Chinese. He said this message is not for Protestants only, but for Catholics also. We had to tell him that we had no further meetings and were very sorry for this, but that we would come again. One result of our journey seems to be this, namely: That English-speaking people of those countries and all people of Christian lands have no ears or curiosity even to hear. They seem to be fully engrossed in business and pleasure and have very little interest in anything spiritual. We thought of the Master's words: "Woe unto you who are rich now; for ye shall mourn." No doubt the Millennial condition will be disadvantageous to them in many ways, for they will not be able to get the advantage over the common people. More and more we can see the significance of our Lord's declaration that prosperity in the present life is not really favorable to the High Calling. "Not many great, not many wise, not many rich, but chiefly the poor of the world, rich in faith," are heirs of the Kingdom. On the contrary, the natives wherever we could obtain access to them seemed very amenable to the message of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Some of the Mohammedans inquired whether or not we could stop and talk to them, and also some of the Buddhists and Syrians, and singularly while in Greece many of the average Greek people had an ear to hear the Truth, but some of the learned scoffed and showed opposition.
On the whole, we go home with a feeling that the evidences are in harmony with the time prophecies that nearly all are ready and ripe, but the Lord seems to be giving the heathen an opportunity. And as we hear from home we hear of strife in England, Germany and America. All these things together seem to be very convincing and corroborate even the time features of our presentation. I remind you, nevertheless, that if the time features should prove to be entirely erroneous--if nothing special should happen in 1915--it still would not overthrow the Divine Plan of the Ages; it is not [CR285] merely the time we are worshiping and rejoicing in, but the grand Plan of the Ages, even if it were 500 years ahead. My thought is that the proper attitude would be to continue earnestly serving the Lord until our change, whenever that should be. If I should be here ten years from now, I hope I should be just as zealous as today. And in line with this we will continue all of our preparations for further service in publishing and distributing just the same as though we were not living in 1912, but in 1900. For instance, we have arranged for several millions of free pamphlets to be printed in the Indian language, and in the Chinese, and in the Japanese language. I heard recently that there has been a shortage of free literature here in France. I am sorry for this delay, but perhaps it will sharpen your appetites and cause you to feel your privileges all the more. We are now proceeding to at once get out more of this literature so that you will all have plenty to do. We have circulated a great deal of literature in Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Denmark, but in France, Austria, Greece and Russia comparatively little has been done. In Russia it is because we could not get in there. I have been thinking over these countries and wondered if the Lord would not open the way whereby they could get something. The chief difficulty has been that we were not able to circulate the literature. It seems to me that all those who are willing to labor ought to have a sufficient amount of ammunition with which to labor, and so we will see to that hereafter. Having in view a great activity in the work here we think of making some arrangements while on this journey for this very matter, of which you will hear fully shortly.
I want to say again that we have enjoyed very much meeting with you here and to see the spirit of the Lord manifested. May the Lord's blessings be with you.
Then followed five-minute talks by various members of the committee.
WHEN a few hours' ride by train brought us to the English Channel, then by boat to the British side, then by train for another hour and we reached the great city of London. While this is only four thousand miles from home, it seems real close.
Brother Hemery of the British Branch met us at the station, as did many others. The next day being Sunday, I went to Glasgow, Scotland, and twice addressed the friends there, greatly enjoying the privilege of meeting with the friends.
Meantime, on Sunday, Brother Russell spoke to the friends in the London Tabernacle. During the following week meetings were held in various places nearby, at which Brother Russell spoke. During the days matters of business were attended to.
Finally the time came to sail for America, and while we were sorry to part with the British friends, still we were not sorry to board the train which would take us to Liverpool to connect with the great steamship Mauretania, on which we were to sail.
We are looking forward to a pleasant journey across the Atlantic, so will say good-bye to the friends who are singing hymns on the wharf at Liverpool, and will close this letter with much Christian love, and remain, as B4,
Yours in His service, L. W. JONES.
PRAYER OF THE CONSECRATED
WE seek not, Lord, for tongues of flame,
Or healing virtue's mystic aid;
But power Thy Gospel to proclaim--
The balm for wounds that sin hath made.
Breathe on us, Lord; Thy radiance pour
On all the wonders of the page
Where hidden lies the heavenly lore
That blessed our youth and guides our age.
Grant skill each sacred theme to trace,
With loving voice and glowing tongue,
As when upon Thy words of grace
The wondering crowds enraptured hung.
Grant faith, that treads the stormy deep,
If but Thy voice shall bid it come;
And zeal, that climbs the mountain steep,
To seek and bring the wanderer home.
Give strength, blest Savior, in Thy might;
Illuminate our hearts, and we,
Transformed into Thine image bright,
Shall teach, and love, and live, like Thee!
SPIRIT-BEGETTING DAY. SUNRISE MEETING.
BROTHER RUSSELL was due to arrive in the early hours of the morning, sometime between 5 and 6 o'clock, so a number of the friends with their automobiles drove down to Warrensburg to meet the train on which he was expected to arrive. In the meantime the rest gathered in the Auditorium for a sunrise meeting, notwithstanding the fact that the sun did not shine very much. It had rained hard all the night and the morning hours were dark and cloudy outside. However, the inside of the Auditorium was bright with electric lights and the friends were cheerful and happy and were comfortably seated. This illustrated to our minds our condition in this world. Everything outside is dark and gloomy and clouds of trouble everywhere. But in our hearts we are happy, full of joy and peace because of the light of the Holy Spirit which is shed abroad there. At half past five o'clock in the morning there must have been some three to four hundred of the friends gathered in the Auditorium. There were a number of songs and prayers and then the chairman made a few remarks, and about that time the automobiles drove up and Brother Russell got out. As he came on the platform all the congregation rose, gave the Chautauqua salute and sang one verse of "Blest be the Tie that Binds." Brother Russell then spoke as follows:
Dear brothers and sisters, I am very glad to be here with you. Glad to see so many are well enough to be up this morning.
We remember the Scriptures tell the Church that the Lord will help her right early in the morning--we are pretty near that morning. How glad we are to see the evidences multiplied that we are nearing the new day and dispensation. We see that it means so much more to us than to others. The heavenly Father is already beginning to pour out the blessings of the Kingdom. All these invitations are but foregleams of that glory, and how glad to feel that we may share in these blessings now; but the world is to have a great blessing also. We are not of those who would say, "God bless me, my wife, my son John and his wife, us four and no more." We thank God that we have come to an appreciation of His great plan, that is to bless all the families of the earth. Our hearts are so fully in tune with Him that we rejoice in that plan. And, secondarily, that we may have a share in being connected with that great plan. What a good time we have coming when we get into the general Assembly! How glad we will be! It is early in the morning for us, too.
I learn that you are having a very enjoyable time. The same convention spirit is here that is in the larger conventions. Whether there are many or few, if we have the spirit of the Lord then we are sure to have an enjoyable time. Some have asked, What is it that makes you one spirit, whether upon the Pacific coast, the Atlantic coast, Great Britain, or anywhere? I have answered what I think you all recognize to be the Lord's teaching on the subject, namely: We were all baptized by one spirit into the one Body of Christ. That is the secret of it, my dear friends. Whoever has received that baptism is at one with the Lord, and if at one with the Lord, he is sure to be at one with all who are His. If there be trials, dear friends, partially because of our heads, environments, etc., nevertheless, we believe that these also gradually smooth out and our ideas will become the same as those of the brethren at large, because our hearts and intentions are the same.
Respecting the Bible House, some have said they could not understand how so many could live so beautifully--trying to give credit to your humble servant. Not so, we said. We are of one spirit and children of the Lord.
Glad we have a little of it now and will have more as the days go by, and by and by when the time comes for us to pass beyond into the glorious Kingdom, we trust we will have made some progress in the spirit of the Lord and His character likeness so He will be able to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things."
We are glad of this hope then, that we will have Him usher us into the presence of the heavenly Father, and that He will present us blameless and unreprovable. What a wonderful transformation God intends to work in us, that He will transform us from poor, imperfect, fallen creatures, children of wrath as others. By these things He works in us to will and to do His good pleasure to such a wonderful extent that He makes us New Creatures in Jesus Christ. To think that He should have made all the glorious things of the whole Universe then this His final creation the most wonderful of all, accomplished by His spirit working voluntarily in our hearts, from a desire to please Him; as we see this great work now in progress and that God is the great workman, and the Apostle says, "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them"--as we see this, what an influence it should have upon our lives! And it makes us desire to become more and more copies of His dear Son. Oh, we may be assured that He who begun this good work will not fail to carry out His part. And as He has assigned to us no part that we cannot carry out, therefore, let us be of good courage and good zeal, for He who is for us is more than all that can be against us.
This is my desire this morning, dear friends, that I may remain in the way, running his race, copying the Master, and that this be the attitude of my heart, that it may control more and more my words and actions and every thought, that I may be more and more a copy of the Lord Jesus and then be prepared to share with Him and with you all the glorious things of the Kingdom."O hail, happy day, that speaks our trials ended!
Our Lord has come to take us home; O hail, happy day!
No more by doubts or fears distressed,
We now shall gain our promised rest,
And be forever blest! O hail, happy day!"
PASTOR RUSSELL ANSWERS MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE.
IT has been suggested, dear friends, that I should say first something respecting the International Bible Students' Association; why there is such an association, what right there is to have such an association, and whether there is such an association. I do not exactly understand the purport of the questioner. I can say, however, dear friends, that the International Bible Students' Association is so called because no other name would better suit the circumstances and conditions as we know them. The International Bible Students are those Christian people all over the world who are studying God's Word and desiring to know the real meaning of that Word. We are not attempting to sail under the name of any denominational banner; instead, we believe that Christian people in general have reason to conclude that there is something seriously wrong with nearly all those Christian systems, that they were organized in the dark ages more or less, and more or less they are all in conflict in their teachings, and more or less they contradict each other, and more or less they acknowledge that they themselves are seeking more light. Therefore, instead of crystallizing any saying we will make a new denomination, we say, on the contrary, No, there are already too many--about six hundred --and each of them more or less representing a different Gospel. We must all acknowledge that there is but one Gospel of the Lord Jesus; so the Scriptures tell us: "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Father and God of all, and one Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," and one "Church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven." How, then, so many churches and so many denominations? I said a moment ago that our different denominations represent so many different creeds, or different views of the Gospel of Christ. Some might be inclined to challenge that and say, No, all people believe in one doctrine. But, my dear friends, that is an error. There was a sufficiency of difference in the views of the past to cause our forefathers to make new denominations, one after another, to express their different views. Each differed something from the other, else why [CR287] are there more than one, and the difference between the denominations, as we all agree, is a different view of the Gospel message of the Lord Jesus. I am glad indeed that there are many things common amongst us all--One God and Father, and one Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I am glad indeed that the majority of Christian people recognize the great fundamental proof that Christ died, and that we must have faith in His blood. I am glad there is so much in common amongst Christian people, but there is considerable still that is not in accord. As a matter of fact, Christian people say there is no hope of our getting together in common harmony and understanding of God's Word. I will not go into that part now, to discuss that, because it is the subject the friends have chosen for me for Saturday night in this same room. It had not been arranged for me to speak here, but because of a little commotion in the paper an arrangement was made for me to speak Saturday night respecting the "One true Church of Christ."
Now I am calling your attention to the fact that there is an association called the International Bible Students' Association; it has been in existence for some thirty years, composed of Christian people out of all denominations and of all nationalities, and in all parts of the world, and whether you stepped into a Bible class in San Francisco, Portland, Brooklyn, New York, Toronto, Canada, Nova Scotia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, or wherever you find them, they would be of one mind and spirit, because they are drawing their inspiration from the Word of God, and not from any human creeds of the past. We are seeking to know what God has said, and not merely preaching the creeds of the past. If we have an inspired word of God, and if we believe Jesus and the Apostles spoke by inspiration, why take what some one spoke in the fifteenth, twelfth or fifth century? Why not go back to the fountain head and get it pure from the great founder, through whom God said the streams of Truth should come to all hungering for the water and bread of life? This, my friends, is what the International Bible Students are seeking to do, to get the pure teachings of the Word of God. Neither do they find any unnecessary objections to people who differ. On the contrary, they have the broadest sympathy for all denominations, the Episcopalians the Roman Catholics, the Presbyterians, Baptists, etc.; they have sympathy as brethren, because they believe that all these people who are up to their own standard are seeking to know and understand the Word of God. If they follow not with us, very well, let them follow the Lord the best they can. If later they see this is the better way to grow and assist one another, very well, at that time we will be glad to welcome them. If that time should never come we will still bid them God-speed and rejoice as we see them progressing in doing God's will as they see it. So then, my dear friends, we have no antagonism to other Christian people. Indeed, this is one of the points and reasons why the Church is divided by the various creeds. Our Presbyterian friends are fenced off by their creed, and the Methodists are not in it; the Methodists by their creed, and the Presbyterians are not in it. So with all the various denominations. And, in reality, all are ready to confess that all are man-made, not having come from Jesus, the Apostles, or the prophets. We say then, why permit them to separate the children of God? Why should not all God's people be Bible students? Why should any prefer to have the name Baptist, or Methodist, or Calvinist, or Wesleyan, or Lutheran --why prefer these to the name which God gave His people--Christians, pure and simple? So we prefer to be known simply as Christians. So, whether we were Presbyterians, Baptists, or Catholics, we are glad that we can come together and see the fallacy of having been divided. We say, let us be one with God's people, no matter what denomination they are in and give them the right hand of fellowship and receive the same from them as they are willing, and then journey on toward the heavenly Kingdom.
This International Bible Students' Association, then, my dear friends, has in it people from all denominations, and when any come to the study of God's word and have received the spirit of the Truth, it gives them the spirit of a sound mind, especially when they consider the Word of God, and from this standpoint all the words of men seem as nothing. One word from God is worth a thousand from men. We are not wishing to get away from this condition, for it is a most blessed one and helps one to grow in the graces and knowledge and fruits of the Holy Spirit. This is what God intended when He gave His message, and this is the fruitage He expects. We are glad we realize it more and more, and are not satisfied, but going on and on. And, if our heavenly Father has more to show us in coming days or years, we shall be glad to receive every good word of God, and if any dear brothers, Presbyterians, Methodists, Roman Catholics, or others can call our attention to anything in God's Word that we have overlooked or misunderstood, they will be our friends. We will not feel that they must be throttled because they know something different from what we know. We will be glad to receive instructions from any one capable of giving us instruction.
The International Bible Students' Association is chartered and I am very much surprised to know that your ministerial association, among whom I would presume are men somewhat learned in the affairs of life, has never before heard of the International Bible Students' Association. It is known all over the world, and there are millions and millions of pages of literature distributed all over the world, published in at least twelve different languages. There are three or four in the languages of India, in Chinese, Japanese, Holland, Dano Norwegian, Greek, Roumanian, Russian and, of course in English. It is very strange that your ministerial association has not had more knowledge than this, and that they should think we are intruding upon them or to give the impression that we are laboring under their auspices. Nothing further from the facts of the case. Surely we never made any appeal to them, and nothing gives you the indication that we did. We would not think of it. We would not sail under the poor flag of the Baptists, the Roman Catholics, etc.; not any other flag than the Lord Jesus Christ. Is that right? We think it is right. So, my dear friends, we meet here under the auspices of our God and Father, and Lord Jesus Christ, and with the full commission of the Divine Word of God, with the full authority of the constitution of the United States, and with the full chartered right of the International Bible Students' Association, which was chartered in Great Britain. So, my friends, I hope you have a little better knowledge of what the International Bible Students' Association is. We have no thought of claiming to be of any other sect, or a part of any of them. We desire to bring the Word of God into touch with every Christian mind in the world; we try to get the people to study the Bible, instead of the creeds of the dark ages. How much did we ever gain from studying the creeds of the dark ages? Think of Brother Calvin and what it did for him! What a blot upon a good man's name, that he was a persecutor of Christians, and burned Brother Servitus at the stake. I never knew until lately the particulars of the burning. Poor Servitus was not burned after the manner of Latimer and others by our Roman Catholic friends. Instead of the fire being started near him so that the flames would come up about him and quickly suffocate him, we now learn that the fire was built about ten feet all around him, and he was literally roasted alive for five hours. Think of that! Is it not a most horrible blot! We hardly think of the devil doing such a thing. The devil is no friend of mine, but still I would not want to accuse him, or Brother Calvin, of doing such a thing. Brother Calvin's creed was at the bottom of it. If he had not had that devilish creed he never would have acted that way.
His creed was not election, because that is taught in the Bible and was in the Bible 1,500 years before Calvin was born. The doctrine of election is a precious doctrine, but it was the doctrine of reprobation, that every man not elected to heaven was foreordained and predestinated before the time of his birth to go to an eternity of suffering, and that the devils would roast him through all eternity. Brother Calvin, being led by this theory, was ready to burn a Christian and as much as said I will roast him only four or five hours, but all eternity will not be enough to satisfy God.
Poor Calvin! How glad we ought to be, dear friends that something has occurred that has helped us to get rid of that horrible doctrine, else we might be burning each other today.
So then, dear friends, this convention has met here to worship God, to consider the terms and conditions of the great proposition made to humanity. We are here today because we are seeking to make our calling and election sure. We did not come here to convert Pertle Springs or Warrensburg, [CR288] and, I venture to say that the people of Warrensburg have not been improperly urged or bored. However, I am sure all the dear friends will be glad to give freely what they have received freely, and which has brought such a blessing to our hearts. We are glad to give it, and give it freely. And all our meetings, you know, are without collection and without any fee for admission.
One minister in New York City said, What is Pastor Russell going to do! By and by our congregations will think it is a crime to take up a collection? We have hard enough time now, what will we do if we cannot take up a collection? My dear friends, we believe it does the people of God good to give money to benevolent purposes and to support some mission, and all that, but we do not think it in harmony with the Divine will that they should be bored and twisted in every way to get money out of them. We do not say a word about money, taking up collections, but they may take up collections two or three times a day if they choose. However, we believe we are doing the will of God more perfectly when we eliminate this matter. I don't suppose you hear a word about money here. Some of you have attended all kinds of conventions, but you never saw meetings carried on in just the same way; we are trying to carry it on after the manner of Jesus and the Apostles. We are not copying our Methodist, or Baptist friends, but we are not quarreling with them. If theirs is a better way, let them have it and be satisfied. Why should they be denied the privilege of worshiping God after their own conscience, and doing the things in the way most pleasing to them?
Our thought respecting collections is this: The heavenly Father tells us that all the gold and silver and the cattle on a thousand hills are His, and if He wished for anything He would not require to ask us. Our heavenly Father is rich and He makes us rich with world's goods, or influence, or time, in whatever proportion He thinks best, and we are to render these to the Lord according to our best judgment, glorify Him in body and spirit, which are His.
WHAT IS THE RESULT?
We have no trouble, because we merely spend what we have, not over-spend, and then have fairs, and grab bags in order to make up some deficit for what we have unwisely gone into debt for. We have the precedent set in the Scriptures. If we are satisfied, why should others complain? On the contrary, all these who are in this attitude of mind have great privilege in giving according to their substance and ability. It is a pleasure to give, but if it is pulled out of you, and you are bored, and a bag is put under your nose every few minutes, you would not feel good about it.
I remember a Reformed Presbyterian minister said, How is it done, Pastor Russell--where does it come from?
I said, Brother, if people's hearts are thoroughly united to the Lord, they will want to do something for the Father, the Saviour, the brethren, the children, and indeed you would have to restrain them from giving so much.
This minister looked at me as though he would say, Do you take me for a child that I should believe such stuff as that? I saw he was thinking that, so I said, Brother, it is true. Some say, Can I not get some money into that work? I have not much, but I would like to be associated in that work, and then they push the money under. Again he was surprised, because it had never been thus in the Reformed Presbyterian church.
Now, my dear brothers and sisters, think over this matter --What is the Lord's way? What is the example of Jesus and the Apostles? And then act according to your judgment, not mine; act according to your own judgment as to the way you can best glorify God in body and spirit. Then you will have a blessing from the Lord, whether or not you do just exactly as we do. All who are seeking to do the will of the Lord and are trusting in His precious blood as we are, are our dear brethren.
PASTOR RUSSELL'S REPLY TO PROFESSOR MOOREHEAD.
I brought with me a copy of the resolution which your Ministerial Association published and I thought it might be perhaps a part of your desire this evening that I should answer these propositions. They say:
"The convention is not under the auspices of the Evangelical denomination, nor yet authorized by any accredited Christian organization."
Of course you cannot tell what people mean by "accredited Christian organization." I cannot, at least, but perhaps some of the rest of you are wiser as respects this word. But if the International Bible Students' Association sounds like a Christian name, I can tell you that it is a Christian association. It is accredited in the sense that we accredit ourselves, whether anybody else cares to or not.
I do not suppose, my dear friends, that the Methodists are specially accredited by the Baptists, or the Baptists by the Roman Catholics, so where will you draw the line? I think the Baptists will accredit themselves, and the Catholics themselves, and so the International Bible Students' Association are quite competent to accredit themselves.
The next objection in these resolutions is that I am the author of Millennial Dawn.
Now, my dear friends, I cannot say that I am sorry I wrote Millennial Dawn, because it would not be true. I am very glad if the heavenly Father was pleased to have me write those six volumes, because I know of a surety that they have accomplished a great deal of good. I will not say that the Ministerial Association ever got any good out of it, nor Professor Moorehead, D.D., but there are others who have. I can tell you, and could show you letters from hundreds of infidels and Christians, who had lost their faith and did not know what to believe, but who were helped back to a faith in the Bible through these books. I will tell you about one of them. This gentleman came from Ithaca, New York, and while in the Watch Tower office, attending to some business, he saw the racks of literature, etc., and he noticed the people engaged and asked, What is this going on? The reply was, This is religious work, tracts, etc., being mailed all over the world. This gentleman afterwards explained it: He inquired of the lady at the counter and found her very intelligent respecting the Bible, and was surprised and said to himself, I wonder if others are equally well instructed respecting God's Word. So he went out and came back at a time when this lady was not there so as to speak to others. He said he was surprised for he asked questions and found a ready answer from all working there. He said, This is very strange! So he told me that was the reason for staying over two days, to attend the Sunday services, as I was to speak and he wanted to hear me. At the conclusion of the service he came up to shake hands, and said, I stopped over to hear you because of being interested in the people in the mailing office. I am sorry, Pastor Russell, it is of no avail to me. I have no Christian faith left.
How is that, you look like a Christian man?
Oh, indeed, I was an elder in the Christian church and was a Bible teacher in the Sunday School, and it was in connection with that work that I got into infidelity.
How was that?
This way: In the study of my lessons I wanted to get all the information that could be obtained and got some reference books, etc., and these were along the line of higher criticism and my faith was entirely undermined, and I now know that the Bible was nothing and that I was fooled in believing the Word of God. Now then I see that it is only human sentiment and not based upon faith. I stayed over because of curiosity, because there is nothing to build upon. When I lost my faith I did not stay with my class to teach them the higher criticism; I said, God forbid, I am sorry to have lost my faith and hope I will not help them into this terrible condition I am in. So I said nothing to anybody, but simply withdrew, resigned as teacher and elder in the church and simply stepped out. Neither will I stay there, and act a hypocrite and represent myself as teaching what I do not believe. As I was with those people in the mailing room I said, I used to have such a faith, too, and would like to have it back, but there is no chance.
Well, I said, there is a chance. I will tell you that I was once in a very similar position.
What, were you ever as I am and threw away your Bible?
Yes, in a very similar position. I thought it was unreasonable and that the Bible contradicted reason, and I threw it away for nearly two years; yet I was constantly feeling after God, desiring to know the truth.
Then you came back to the Bible?
Yes, in God's providence.
And you have such a faith as this now?
Yes, I believe it is the most wonderful book in the world. [CR289] It is a thousand times better than all the creeds.
Well, Pastor Russell, that is the first gleam of hope and I feel that if it is possible that something brought Pastor Russell's faith back perhaps I can get that.
I said, Brother, I have a volume I will give you, if you will read it.
Surely I will read it.
I gave him the first volume, and he had it about eight days when a letter came from him, and he was so overflowing that he could hardly write, could hardly express himself, because of a feeling of gratitude in having his faith back, not only all that he had before, but now it was stronger and much better than anything he ever had before.
Now that has been duplicated in many instances from all denominations, and from Catholics also who have thrown away their Bibles. So, my dear friends, if our friend in the Ministerial Alliance of Warrensburg know nothing about Millennial Dawn some of us do know and I have no apology to make in connection with the books or their teachings. They represent exactly what I believe the Bible to teach. Furthermore, there are no ministers in Warrensburg or the whole state of Missouri who can contradict them. They may try to slander them just as our Brother Moorehead tried. Anybody can say something bad about the Bible, and many people have done it. I would like to know how many have contradicted the Bible and its teachings. How many in centuries? Yet Jesus and His teachings have stood and so will Millennial Dawn with those who have read it. It is those who have not read it or who are trying to refute it, reading with prejudice, and trying to slander. So we must have the spirit of truth before we can get the truth out of it.
PROFESSOR MOOREHEAD'S SUMMARY OF THE SO-CALLED FALSE DOCTRINES OF MILLENNIAL DAWN.
We will now consider these propositions which Mr. Moorehead thinks are false doctrines as taught in Millennial Dawn:
First, So-called false doctrines of Millennial Dawn.
"Christ before His advent was not divine."
Well now, let me say first of all that the object of the Professor stating these was not to make known such truths, because if he wished to make them know he would have said, Get the books and find out. On the contrary, his object was simply to prejudice the people so they would not get the books. That is an old trick. So the statement is put in such a form as to make it unreasonable.
But now, what do the Scriptures say? It is not what Professor Moorehead says, for we are not ready to take him instead of God, or the Lord Jesus, or the Apostles. What say the Scriptures? If I was to take up this one subject alone, of the pre-existence of our Lord Jesus Christ, it would take more than an hour. Then the other questions would be here still unanswered. So I must divide up between these and give a little on each subject; but remember that all these are treated in the six volumes of Millennial Dawn, or Studies in the Scriptures, and are so treated that Professor Moorehead cannot answer them, because they are thoroughly Scriptural, and he does not want the people to read, because they are Scriptural, and they would be converted if they did read.
What does Saint Paul say? You know Professor Moorehead's theory and the one we had--something that we never understood, and something that they never understood--the doctrine of the trinity. We had two ways of stating it: One says, it is three Gods in one person, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. They must say, one person, because the Bible says there is one living and true God, therefore they must get the one in somewhere. The others had to make that fit, so they turned it over and the more they think of it that three times one is three, they say, that does not sound right. There is one God in three persons. Now tell us what you do mean, and if they are honest they will say, we don't know; they don't know what they mean. I used to be with them and I knew that I did not know, and that they did not know.
Professor Moorehead would not think of discussing the proposition with me; he would just as soon take his life as to discuss it; he knows that he would have no foundation on which to set up his theory.
The Scriptures say that there is one God (not three Gods); that was the great point God made in telling the Israelites all through the Old Testament, "Hear O Israel, the Lord thy God is one Jehovah"--that is the way it reads. Did He say, the Lord thy God is three? No. Well how about the New Testament, does it contradict that? No, indeed. The Apostle Paul says to us (not to trinitarians nor to Brother Moorehead) but to all Christians who take the Bible, "To us there is one living and true God, the Father"-- that is to us. Then what more? "And there is one Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." That is but two. One and one equals two--one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ. Then he proceeds to say, "One God, the Father, of whom are all things and one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things, and we by Him." That is the Bible. Is there any statement of the trinity in the Bible? Not a word; it does not occur in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Not a word about it.
Brother Russell, you must be mistaken, we have several trinity churches--you may have one in Warrensburg.
But there is nothing like it in the Bible. Did Jesus say He was His own Father? Did He say that He was His own Son? How could He be His own Father and His own Son, both at the same time, and in the same person? It is absurd. It is strange that we did not use any of our brain power in the past. We did not study our Bibles at all. There was some excuse for some people in the past who had to work fourteen to eighteen hours a day for their bread, but there is no excuse now. In the past they had no Bibles, except those written upon parchment which cost a fortune; now you can get a good, complete Bible for twenty-three cents. There was an excuse in the days of Abraham Lincoln, for then a person could not read by Mr. Rockefeller's oil, nor by gas light or electricity, but only by tallow candles and pine knots. There was some excuse then, but none now. So, when we come to see what the Bible says, it tells us not a word about three Gods being one God nor one God being three. It does tell us there is one God and one Lord Jesus. It also tells us that there is one Holy Spirit, the spirit of the Father and of the Son and of all who are in harmony with the Lord. It is called by different names: "The spirit of God," "the spirit of Christ," "the spirit of holiness," "the spirit of truth," "the spirit of a sound mind," "the spirit of liberty," "the spirit of the Father," "the holy spirit of promise," "the spirit of meekness," "the spirit of understanding," "the spirit of wisdom," "the spirit of glory," "the spirit of counsel," "the spirit of faith," "the spirit of adoption," "the spirit of prophecy."
These various titles repeated many times, and used interchangeably, give us the full, proper assurance that they all relate to the same holy spirit--indeed, frequently the word "holy" is added in, combined, as, for instance, "the holy spirit of God," "the holy spirit of promise," etc. We must seek an understanding of the subject which will reject none of these appellations, but harmonize them all. It is impossible to harmonize these various statements with the ordinary idea of God; but it is entirely consistent with every one of them to understand these various expressions as descriptive of the spirit, the disposition and power of one God, our Father; and also the spirit, disposition and power of our Lord Jesus Christ, because He is at one with the Father; and also to a certain extent it is the spirit or disposition of all who are truly the Lord's, angels or men, in proportion as they have come into oneness, or harmony, with Him. All these names are proper names and we are exhorted to be filled with the spirit--not filled with a certain person, which is a mistaken idea.
Now, what does the Bible state about our Lord Jesus Christ? What was He before He came into the world? Unless Warrensburg and Pertle Springs are different from the majority of cities in this country and Europe, in all probability at least one-third of the ministers do not believe that Jesus had any pre-existence at all. I said one-third, but I really believe that two-thirds do not believe that Jesus had any pre-existence. They believe that He began when He was born, the babe at Bethlehem, and the majority tell us that they believe He was born a sinner, the same as others. I do not say that is true here in Warrensburg, but two-thirds of our ministers are higher critics, and do not believe in Jesus, and do not believe that He ever was divine. Yet in this day, when two-thirds do not believe that Jesus was divine, I am pointed out as a heretic and these two-thirds who do not believe in God's Word are the gentlemen of the hour.
Let me quote from the first chapter of John's Gospel. I will give the exact translation; it should read this way: [CR290] "In the beginning was the Logos." Let me explain that this is the picture God gives here through John. In the beginning was the Logos, the name of Jesus, before He became flesh. We do not know how far back--He was the beginning of God's creation.
Do you mean to say that God created Him?
Yes, I am only quoting the Bible; it says He was the beginning of the creation of God, the first-born, He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. God made just one being and never made any more, because all subsequent creations were operated through Divine power, working through Jesus in His pre-human condition as the Logos. "The Logos was with the God and the Logos was a god." Mark the difference between, a god and the God. A god means a mighty one--any person. The God means the mighty one--Jehovah. The mighty one would be higher than a mighty one.
All through the Old Testament the meaning of the Hebrew word Elohim is the "Almighty One." Logos means mighty, not almighty. The angels are mighty ones, because they have a great power. On one occasion the seventy elders of Moses are spoken of as Elohims--mighty ones, to be the special ones in the nation of Israel, but anything these mighty ones could not judge, they were to bring to Moses.
Now coming back to John's statement, "The Logos was with the God, and the Logos was a god, and the Logos was in the beginning with the God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made."
There you have the story from the Bible standpoint; it tells us that the Lord Jesus did not begin His existence as the babe of Bethlehem, and evidently He knew that all the world and all things that were made were made by Him, and that He Himself was the beginning of Jehovah's creation, and that Jehovah acted through Him that in all things He might have the pre-eminence over all other things in the whole Universe. That is the Bible statement, my dear friends. We stand by the Bible and it is right. No other proposition is reasonable.
Ask Jesus whether He was the Father or not. Jesus said, "I and My Father are one."
Brother Russell, I thought you said they were not? No, my brother, you and I are one. Read that prayer of our Lord's in the 17th chapter of John: "I pray for these that they may all be one even as you and I are one." We are to be one in the same sense. Are we one in person? No. Neither is the Father and the Son. You see the point, my dear friends. It is very clear when you take the Bible for it.
Ask Jesus again: "I came to not to do My own will, but the will of the Father which sent Me." Again, "Of Mine own self I can do nothing." There was no disloyalty on the part of Jesus--He never said He was the Father. When He came to His dying hour He cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me." Was He telling a falsehood, was He the Father Himself, and merely pretending that He was dying? That is the theory of the trinitarian when it is boiled down--that He was the Father and could not die, because the world could not do without a God for three days, therefore, when Jesus died on the cross it was merely a pretense--He slipped out of the body and said, Let the people think I am dying. They say that He could not die, but merely that He let that old body die--that is the theory. But what does the Bible say? Does it say that the body was to die for our sins? No, the Bible says that His soul was to die, for it is our soul that was to die for sin, and in order to be our Redeemer His soul must die. So we read, "He poured out His soul, He made His soul an offering for sin." We will see the fruitage of it by and by. But His soul did travail, and it did die. And it was His soul that was raised up from the dead. Mark you what Saint Peter said. Go to the Bible, dear friends, don't go to the creeds. Saint Peter says in the second chapter of Acts, when telling the people about the resurrection of Jesus, "This is that which was spoken of by Prophet David saying, thou wilt not leave my soul in hell--'hades.'" Saint Peter then went on to say that David was a prophet, and that so far as David was concerned his soul did stay there, and his sepulchre is with us until this day, but he being a prophet spoke of Christ's soul, that it was not left in hades, that God raised Him from the dead. So you see it was the soul of Jesus that died, and which God raised from the dead. Take the Bible, and we will not get mixed up.
So, then, we do agree that Jesus was not Divine before He came into the world, for if He had been he could not have died because of the peculiar character of the Divine nature, which cannot die, for it is immortal. If Jesus had been Divine He could not have died. Thank God, for He must die for our sins; that was the price.
How was He raised from the dead? The Bible tells us that God raised Him from the dead by His own power--but not to be a human being again. He was raised to be a spirit being, higher than He was before. God made man a little lower than the angels, which means that angels are higher than men, and if Jesus was raised from the dead a man He was raised a little lower than the angels, and that would not be a suitable reward. That is what our friends believe, however; that is what our Methodists friends believe, that He has that very body in Heaven. Our Methodist friends have it most particularly stated there; they say, "Christ did surely rise again from the dead, and took again His body, with all things appertaining to the perfections of man's nature, wherewith He ascended into Heaven, and there sitteth until He returns to judge all men at the last day." (Article 3 of the Methodist Articles of Religion.) That is very funny; it sounds as though the body was a sort of luggage, or trunk, and that all things appertaining thereto were the straps, etc. Taking His body with Him! Here was one thing, and He was another thing. I think if our Methodist friends try that over again they can improve on it.
The thought of the Bible is that God allowed His Son to become a man for the very purpose of redeeming man. Why so? Because the Divine law says, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and a life for a life," therefore, the blood of bullocks and goats could not take away sin, because bulls and goats had not sinned, but a man had sinned, therefore a man must die. Likewise an angel could not die for men, for an angel had not sinned, but it must be a life for a life--a human life for the human life that had been sentenced to death because of sin. That is the meaning of the word ransom; it means a corresponding price. It must be the same price to release Adam as the penalty was against him. But in order to give the human life for mankind it was necessary for Him to have a human life; therefore, the Divine arrangement was that He might be changed from the spirit nature to the human.
He did not get into a human body and masquerade around. No, "He who was rich for our sakes became poor." He did not deceive the people by getting into a body. The Bible says, "He was made flesh and dwelt among men."
Now, then, Jesus the man was there for the very purpose of rescuing the world, and the Bible says, "A body hast thou prepared for me," for the very purpose of suffering death. And when He had died, He had made the use of that body which God intended, and had no further use for that human nature, as God had promised that He would highly exalt Him. Would not that be reasonable? Do you suppose if Jesus was higher than the angels in the heavenly Father's estimation and love, and it pleased the heavenly Father for Him to leave the heavenly glory on a spiritual plane and become poor, in order to carry out the Father's will, that the Father would condemn Him to stay in that condition through all eternity? Indeed not. The Bible tells us that nothing of that kind occurred. It tells us that Jesus took the human nature and when God raised Him from the dead God raised Him a spiritual being. He was put to death in the flesh, and quickened, or made alive, in the spirit. Was He a more glorious spiritual being? He tells us how He left the glory of the heavenly nature, humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; wherefore (because, on this account) God hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every name. This is what Saint Paul said, God gave Him this glorious nature in His resurrection. He was not made merely equal to the angels, but far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named. Now the Bible says that He has the Divine nature. Glory, honor, immortality and the Divine nature are His portion now.
Second, so-called false doctrine of Millennial Dawn.
"When He was in the world He was not divine."
No, my dear friends, when in the world he was a human being. The Bible is reasonable, whether Brother Moorehead is or not.
Third, so-called false doctrine of Millennial Dawn.
"His atonement was exclusively human--a mere man's." [CR291]
Yes, it was, because an angel could not die for a man, nor a bullock be worthy for man, but only a man. None could be a Saviour unless He was a man, a perfect man, as we read in 1 Timothy 2:5-6, "There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus who gave Himself a ransom for all." That is the way Saint Paul states it, "the man Christ Jesus." But now when Professor Moorehead puts it "mere man," he is intending to try to cause a misrepresentation. What does it mean to your mind? The thought is, "just like other men." That is not true, and if Professor Moorehead read the books, he knows that it is not true that we claim Jesus was a mere man, imperfect. We show from the Bible, "For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the Heavens" (Hebrews 7:26). He was not an imperfect Saviour, but the man anointed of God, the man Christ Jesus, the perfect one.
Fourth, so-called false doctrine of Millennial Dawn.
"Since His resurrection He is divine only,--no longer human at all."
Certainly He is divine only. How could He be both human and divine? People write and talk as though they did not have any thinking apparatus at all. He must be either one thing or another. You cannot be a cat and a dog both. You could not be a river and an ocean at the same time, neither a man and a being of the divine nature at the same time.
So the Bible tells us that He was the Logos, with the Father. He was made flesh (not only into flesh) and He dwelt amongst us and we beheld His glory, as the glory of the only begotten of the Father. That the Logos then as a human being gave himself sacrificially, and the Logos was raised to the divine nature, glory, honor, immortality, in His resurrection, and so He will ever be at the right hand of the Father. He could not be the Father, but He is at the right hand of the Father. You see the difference. He will always be at the right hand and will judge men--the place of government, next to the Father.
Fifth, so-called false doctrine of Millennial Dawn.
"His body was not raised from the dead."
No, we answer, there is a great mistake in nearly all of our creeds. You will read in the so-called Apostle's creed, which was not written by the Apostle, which all scholars know, but the laity do not. It declares, "I believe in the resurrection of the body." There is nothing about the resurrection of the body in the Bible; it says the body shall return to dust as it was, and that God will give it--the soul--a body, to each kind its own kind of a body--those in the human family a human body, but those of the Church will get a spiritual body; they will have a change of nature, for they must all be begotten of the spirit and will be spirit beings, and have spirit bodies, like unto Christ's glorious body. We quote Peter's statement, that God raised His soul from sheol, not His body, but raised His soul on a higher plane, on the divine plane, instead of on the human plane. The same personality which was the Logos, and became flesh, and was a human soul, is now resurrected and glorified, and is a divine soul. The word soul is also used in the Bible in connection with the heavenly Father.
Sixth, seventh and eight, so-called false doctrines of Millennial Dawn.
"His second advent took place in 1874."
"Saints were raised up in 1878."
"Christ and the saints are now on earth, and have been for thirty-four and thirty-eight years respectively."
There are some things of this kind, my dear friends, that would take more time to explain than is at our disposal, and in the time allotted to me I will not be able to give a satisfactory reply as I would like to give.
To our understanding, however, the second coming of Christ will have two stages, and in the Scriptures these stages are called the "parousia" and the "epiphania." Now the difference between these two words is not always apparent in the common English version, because both are rendered by the word "coming," but all scholars should know that in the Greek there is this distinction between these two words. The word epiphania signifies the shining forth, the manifestation, and when used it refers to the way Christ shall be manifested at his second advent. "He shall be revealed in flaming fire." That will be a revealing in flaming fire, not literal, but symbolic, but fire which will manifest His advent in a time of trouble, such a time of trouble as never was before. This flaming fire of trouble in the day of the Lord will be the outward sign by which the world will know that Messiah has accepted His throne, that He has taken His power, and that His Kingdom is about to be set up, and then, "Justice will be laid to the line, and righteousness to the plummet." All errors will be swept away and every imperfect thing that can be shaken will be shaken, and only the unshakable things will remain, as Saint Paul says in the 12th chapter of Hebrews.
That epiphania, dear friends, has not yet taken place. But, do we not see the labor trouble, do we not see the army trouble, etc.? Do we not see all the strikes, etc., in Germany, in Great Britain, here and elsewhere? Everything is published abroad and nearly everybody who knows anything about society today knows that the world is sitting close to the crater of a great volcano. We all know it whether we are Methodists, Presbyterians, or nobody.
Now, that time of trouble we believe will be in connection with the epiphania, at the time of the judgment of the world, or nations, or systems. There is more or less injustice and iniquity in all our arrangements of society, political, financial or ecclesiastical, and more or less that is right, and more or less that is wrong. When that time of trouble comes, the people will recognize it, and then the Scriptures say they will be calling upon the rocks and mountains to fall upon them. That is not the real thought--not to crush them, as if a mountain fell upon them, they would not know much about it, but the thought is, cover us, protect us, because of this great day of wrath. These rocks of society are the Free Mason rocks, the Odd Fellow rocks, this insurance society and that insurance society, and the people want to get into these rocks to protect them in this time of trouble, and they want to be identified with the strong governments, such as the United States, for they want to be protected. If they go to Europe, they want to say they have their passports from United States or from Great Britain, etc. So they will say, those great mountains will be my protection. That is the way these things are used in the Bible. Here rocks represent stone fortress. When the trouble breaks out they will begin to go into these things so they may be sheltered and protected, but the Scriptures say they will not be able, for it will be a time of trouble that nothing will be able to deliver from.
At the conclusion of that trouble they will be conquered, not by men fighting it out, but the Lord says that it will be for the elect's sake. For the elect's sake it shall be cut short. That means that Christ's Kingdom, taking its power, will put an end to this trouble. That is what you and I have been praying for, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, even as it is done in Heaven." It will take the whole thousand years of Christ's reign to have the will of God done on earth as it is done in Heaven. It will be a gradual work. There will be some blotted out in the second death before the world will be in that glorious condition where every creature in Heaven will be singing praise, glory, honor, dominion and might to Him that sitteth upon the throne.
But now about this word parousia: It signifies "presence" that is not manifest, not seen. Well, will Christ be present in such a manner unseen, unknown? Yes, my dear brother, the Bible tells us very plainly that He will be present but not visible to any one, and not exercising any power that the world can see, but He will be present and doing a work in his Church, amongst his people.
In that sense He has been present for the last thirty-seven years. This statement as to the period of time is correct enough, but it is put in a form calculated to deceive people, because of the bluntness in the way it is stated. Do you remember what Jesus said He would do when He would come again? I will remind you. One of the things is that He will receive us, His faithful people, whether in the Presbyterian church, the Methodist, Episcopal, or Roman Catholic, or outside all these churches--whoever they are-- He will gather all the elect, the saints, to Himself.
Then, another thing will be that He will take His great power and rule the world with a rod of iron. That will be at his second coming. Before that takes place He does something else. To illustrate this our Lord gave several parables. In one of these parables, of the wheat and the tares, He taught that He was sowing the good seed and that later when men--the Apostles slept, Satan came in and sowed the seeds [CR292] of error--tares. The result of sowing the tare doctrines was a mixture of children of God and of the devil--those who believed the message of God and were begotten of the Holy Spirit and others who were deceived. He said, let both grow together until the end of the world. That word "world" does not mean the earth, but in the Greek it means "age," the end of the age, for this earth is never to pass away. "God formed it not in vain, but He formed it to be inhabited." The whole earth, my dear friends, is eventually to be made like Paradise from pole to pole, from shore to shore, and the whole world will be God's footstool, and, "He will make the place of His feet glorious." He has not done this yet, but Messiah's Kingdom will do it. For a thousand years Christ and His Church will reign for the blessing of mankind and the purifying of the earth, until it comes to a Paradisiac condition. In this parable it is taught that this age will end, and a new age will begin; the two will lap the one upon the other. What will help them in the end of this age? He said He would be the great chief reaper in the end of this age, as in the Jewish age. What did He do then? He sent out His disciples to gather in all the wheat of the Jewish nation. He sent them forth to reap that upon which they bestowed no labor. They reaped all the ripe grain of the Jewish nation in that harvest. So Jesus said there would be a harvest time in the end of the Gospel age, and that He would again be present here and do a work of reaping; and He said that then the tares would be bound into bundles for the burning but that He would gather the wheat into His garner. It would all be done in the harvest time, and He will be present in that time.
Take another parable. He gave this parable because many thought He was about to set up His Kingdom. He said, "A certain young nobleman went into a far country to receive a Kingdom and return." He here illustrates that while He was to be the King of the world, He will not take the Kingdom at his first advent, but go first into a far country, Heaven, there to be invested with authority, and then, in due time come again. He said when this young nobleman returns, he will call His servants (not the world), to whom He gave talents, in one parable the pound, and in another parable the talent, saying, trade with these things, make as much out of them as you can. At his return He does not deal with the people in general, but calls His own servants, the Church, and reckons with them, before He does anything with the world at all. This is done in the harvest time, during the parousia, before the open manifestation of the establishment of His Kingdom. This has been going on for thirty-seven years, since 1874.
You mark that there has been something of a reckoning with the nominal church. They know something is the matter, but they do not know what is the matter. They know a change has come over the church; they are aware of it, my dear friends, His reckoning is taking place with each one of us. What kind of an answer will we give when He asks for a reckoning of our account? If some of us should say, Lord, we hid your talent in the earth and we have been so busy with our house and morals, etc., we really forgot that we were servants, but were serving ourselves, our people, our denominations, and forgot that we had a talent to serve you, He will say to such, "Depart thou wicked and slothful servant." He did not say, Go to hell and be roasted. No, but that such would receive certain chastisements and punishments. Then He called the other servants. Some answered, "Lord, thou deliverest unto me two talents; behold I have brought two other talents beside them." "His Lord said unto him, well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." So it was also with those who had received the five talents. He said, You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. You showed your earnestness and zeal and love and loyalty, therefore, my dear servant, enter into the joys of your Lord. You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things--over the whole world. In the Kingdom his faithful servants are to share with the Master, to sit on his throne with Him. In another connection we read that He will give such rule over two cities and five cities, according to their faithfulness, zeal, love and activity in His service.
Oh, dear friends, this is the reckoning that we believe is going on now. Whatever we see in the Word of God we are deeply interested in. We are not saying anything fishy, not dealing with any spooks, but walking by faith. Whether the Lord is present or not, whether we are living in the parousia or not, I tell you, dear friends, it is a very interesting matter to view it as we view it, because it will help us to realize that He is dealing with us, looking at how we are using the talents given to us.
Ninth, so-called false doctrine of Millennial Dawn.
"The professing Christian church was rejected of God in 1878."
My dear friends, there is a statement in the Scriptures that at a certain time this will be true. Whether true now or not, the time is coming when the voice of the Bridegroom and of the Bride shall be heard no more in her, in Babylon. That time will come, whether now or at a future time, and we believe that those who are in harmony with God will not be in Babylon any longer. As their eyes open, we believe they will see that they are misrepresenting God while they are there, and if they do realize this they will know that the only terms on which they can remain will be that they should not tell God's word. If I were trying to get into any of these churches that these brethren have charge of, they would try to put me out. Well, I am not trying to get into them, because I would feel that I was stultifying myself, for their creeds are not such that any man or woman could confess-- we cannot believe them today. Perhaps our grandfathers could believe them, but today we cannot. If you stay there as a Methodist, you are saying, I believe in and stand for those God-dishonoring doctrines of that creed. So with any others of the churches, according to their creeds. Do you wonder why I do not try to speak under their auspices! I would rather they would come here and study together what God's word teaches and not what the creeds teach. Let us get free from the bondage of any traditions, bondage of human errors.
"Tenth, so-called false doctrine of Millennial Dawn."
"The final consummation and end will take place in 1914."
We are expecting in October, 1914, that a great change will be due. Now, how quickly will it come? Whether on the stroke of the clock or not we do not know. We believe that it will land upon humanity by that time. Perhaps some of it will come before that, but we believe it will be stayed off until that time. Now, dear friends, what if it does not? We are just as well off as the rest. That is what the Bible states. If it does not state that to you, we have no quarrel. And if it does not come we will not try to bring it about. But, on the contrary, we will try to practice peace and holiness withal. We are children of peace and peacemakers, not strife breeders. But we believe the Bible teaches October, 1914, as the time. If that is incorrect for a year, or five, or one hundred years, no matter, it is coming some time, whether we have it right or not.
"Eleventh, so-called false doctrine of Millennial Dawn."
"Silence as to the person and work of the Holy Spirit."
Not at all; if the brother will read he will find three or four chapters in the fifth volume of the Millennial Dawns or Studies in the Scriptures devoted to the Holy Spirit and all the texts of Scriptures bearing on it.
Twelfth, so-called false doctrine of Millennial Dawn.
"Teaches that Christ did not mean what he said regarding the destiny of the wicked."
This brother says I do not believe and teach what Christ said. What does the Bible say? Well, the Bible says, "All the wicked will God destroy." Do I believe it? Yes. Does Brother Moorehead believe it? No. He believes that all the wicked will God preserve in fire, with devils having tails, pitch forks, etc. The way the preachers go on to tell about it is laughable. One of them went on to tell about it as though he had been in hell and knew all about it. He went on to say that after a person had been in hell for some time the old skin becomes asbestofied, so to speak. After awhile the skin cracks open, he says, and the flames go right in; it is awful. Well, I should think it would be. When asked how any man could stand it for centuries after centuries, they say, God will inject or infuse life, so that He will keep them alive, so as to perpetuate an awful eternity of horror, and all except the saintly few will be roasted in that way. Think of it! Did we not have our heads pretty well muddled when we preached the same things? I believe God will forgive me for attributing such awful doctrines to Him.
I remind you of what that great doctor of theology, Jonathan [CR293] Edwards said. In answer to a question as to whether we would not feel bad if we got into Heaven and knew that our loved ones were in eternal torment, he said, No, you will look over the battlements of Heaven and perhaps see your parents or children writhing in the lake of fire and suffering untold agonies and then turn around and clap your hands and praise God for His justice.
Poor Jonathan did not have a very good idea of justice. I would not like to have him try a case in court for me. My dear friends, it is ridiculous. What did Jesus say? Jesus said, "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son shall not see life." This means that He will not let them have life; they will not suffer in misery. So the Apostle says, This is the promise that He has promised us, that we might have life and this life is in his Son, and when He shall appear we shall appear also with him in glory, in the first resurrection. But those who will not come into harmony with God, shall not have eternal life; and I thank God for the wisdom and justice of His plan.
I presume Brother Moorehead had special thought with respect to the 25th chapter of Matthew, because there we read, in the 41st verse, "Depart from me, ye (speaking of the goats) cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." What is meant by the everlasting fire? This everlasting fire is just as symbolical as the goats. Fire is a symbol of destruction, not preservation. Do you put anything into the fire to preserve it? Why not? Because it would burn up. So this is the picture God gives, "All the wicked will God destroy." In another place fire came down from Heaven and destroyed them all. It did not preserve any of them. So in this chapter Jesus pictures the two classes, and you cannot burn symbolical goats with literal fire. The goats is symbolical and so is the fire. The goats represent a wayward class, and the fire represents their destruction.
Saint Paul said, "They shall be punished with everlasting destruction." Did he say anything about their being punished with fire? No.
Peter says, "They shall perish like the natural brute beast." Do they roast them or torture them? No. Does he state that God will? No--all the wicked will God destroy.
So again in the 25th chapter of Matthew one receives life everlasting, and the other everlasting punishment--not torment. What is the punishment for sin? What does the Bible say? Let me quote from the Bible--never mind the creeds--remember the Bible: "The soul that sinneth it shall die"--not that it shall live forever in torment. That is the punishment for sin. It is just the same as the greatest punishment in our laws. No civilized nation would think of torturing any criminals. So God said that the extreme of all punishment will be that he will destroy the beings entirely. So He says, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment" --which is destruction, the punishment of death.
But then, there is another answer: the word punishment here used, in the Greek is "kolasin," and it means, pruning or cutting off; and he shall go away into everlasting cutting off from life, from the Lord, and all hope of life. Before being cut off, however, they will be given every opportunity. That parable does not belong here in this age, but this one, the one about the sheep and the goats, belongs to the next age, during the thousand years of Messiah's reign, when the whole world of mankind will be before the great Millennial throne of the great judgment day, and all the sheep will be at the right hand of favor, and the goats at the left hand of disfavor for the thousand years, and at the close the sheep will be received into favor with God, but the goat class will be cut off in the second death. The first death was the penalty for sin; Love sent Christ to redeem the world from the first penalty, but Christ will not die for those who go into the second death, and there will be no hope or redemption for them.
NOW, my dear friends, we have come to the conclusion of this convention. I have not been privileged to be with you at every session but my heart has been with you from time to time, and all the reports I have received are to the effect that you have been having a good spiritual feast--just what you came here to enjoy and to help to give to others. And, indeed, I have heard some of the friends make the remark, This is our best convention, but I tell them that is so in every convention, and I think the explanation must be this: That by the Lord's grace we are growing in grace and knowledge, and in His love, and, therefore, each time we come together it seems more precious, simply because our own hearts are in better condition to receive the blessing. You might be here and your heart somewhere else, and you would get no blessings at all. You might be in an evil condition of heart and be vexed and hurt by everything. I am very glad, indeed, to hear, so far as any friends could go and report, that they had not heard anything except the Lord's name was praised, and that all His people seemed to be greatly blessed in this privilege of fellowshipping together.
I cannot tell, dear friends, brethren and sisters, how long it will be before we will meet again. As you know, I am expecting to meet with some other dear friends in about a month in Toronto; we expect to have another convention as large as this one, and then we expect to have another in Washington, D.C., and directly following that I take the steamer for Europe, and after several stops in Great Britain, the last Sunday of July I will be in Glasgow, where we are to have a large convention, and then after visiting a few other towns, the following Sunday I will be in London, where we are to have another convention. I wish I could take you all along and have the benefit of them all. It is not selfish on my part, but I was telling some of the friends about the matter, how that they could go to all the conventions, and so cheap. I was saying that we do nearly everything in our minds anyway. As for instance, I was introduced to a dear sister who had come quite a distance to this convention, and I understand she is Polish and unable to understand a word that we said, but she wanted to participate in the spirit of the convention; and as she looked into the faces at the convention she was getting a blessing. Now, if she shuts her eyes she can imagine she is with us in Toronto, later in Washington, later in Glasgow, and later in London, what she can do the rest of us can do. Is not that so?
I think of another sister who for some reason went away every summer to visit one of her daughters for awhile, and as she came back from such a visit of several months, she said, Brother Russell, I am back again; I have had a good time, been to meetings all the time I was away. I asked her what she meant? She said, Every Sunday as regular as the time came, I got a hymn book and sang my hymn. Next, she said, they are having prayer, so I had prayer. Next she thought, now they usually sing another hymn, so I sang another hymn. Then, she thought, they have a sermon, I cannot be there to hear, so I had a sermon to read, then I prayed in the usual form, and Brother Russell, I have been having a grand time--yes, had a spiritual fellowship with everybody, all in my mind.
Now, was not that a pretty good idea? It is so cheap, you do not have to fix up, no fixing of dresses, etc., no suit case to pack, no board bills and railroad fare, nothing of the kind, and no dusty travel. You can get all of that benefit just in your mind. I fancy most people have never learned what a great privilege a brain is. If your mind and heart are rightly in tune with God you can have a good time with God anywhere. At one time it was difficult for us to understand [CR294] how we could have fellowship with our heavenly Father; we used to wonder how God would hear so far, and if He could hear if we would whisper. Now we have something that helps us, dear friends. Some of the inventions of our day, such as the telephone and the telegraph and the wireless telegraph teach us wonderful lessons. If man can have wireless communication with other men hundreds of miles away we can now see how the great God can have communication with His children. Our minds can the better grasp the facts. As we get this illustration, it helps our faith. Why, it seems almost as though we were walking by sight and not by faith. Particularly when we see the fulfillment of the Scriptures going on right around us every day, and more and more wonderful things coming, just as God said they would come, and just as we have been seeing in His word before they came. We knew about their coming, and when they do come, they become confirmations of our faith and trust in God.
I say, dear brothers and sisters, "What manner of persons ought we to be?" We should certainly not think of comparing ourselves with other people in the sense of comparing ourselves with worldly people, because we have so many advantages over other people. How little they really appreciate life. They hardly know why they are in the world. Just ask somebody why he is here, why God created him, and what God intends with respect to him? The chances are that he will be thoroughly surprised, never having thought of the matter as to what he is doing here or what his hopes are. That person does about the best he can if he fills his life with business or pleasure. He cannot keep his head empty without being an idiot. But I tell you, my dear brothers and sisters, this more and more impresses itself upon me. What manner of person ought we to be--ought we to compare ourselves with others and say that we are better than they? Oh, that would be a poor plan, but some of us who have been Christians for years are not to compare ourselves with others who have been Christians for a day, week or year or month.
I remember a friend coming to me one day saying, "Brother Russell, I have such difficulties along certain lines." Well, I tried to give him good advice. Oh, yes, I see that and know how it ought to be done, but do not seem to be able to do it. I make a failure of it; if I could only do it the way you do it would be all right. I said, my dear friend, if you could do it the way I can do it, it would be a great shame to me, for I was a Christian before you were born, and if I had not learned to do better each day I would certainly be discouraged. Oh yes, he said later, that helped me so much. I found that all God required of me was to do my best. If I had a little experience I gained more experience. He found it to be a great blessing. So we all will find a great blessing by coming into this attitude of appreciating our blessings and making certain allowances if we have certain known tendencies.
The Apostle says, speaking along this line, we should not judge one another; yea, I judge not mine own self, he said. What did he mean? Oh, he meant that he might be too lenient with himself, and again too severe, when, perhaps, he was doing the best he could; so he said, there is one that judgeth me.
So that is our thought. And since we have come to know our heavenly Father is a good, gracious, loving Father, delighting to do good, having sympathy, etc., now we can come to Him as children to a Father. And He says we must come to Him and acknowledge our faults. How precious to remember that He is able to appreciate our condition and sympathize with us, and also provides for us a Great High Priest, and Advocate. So the Apostle says that if we trespass against others or against Him, let us come with boldness to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need. I think there is a special reason why God has fixed this matter as He has done in respect to our coming to Him in prayer. He might have said, Now they are my children, I will not count these things against them, I will merely reckon that they did not know and were imperfect and weak, and did not do it intentionally, and I will make no record of it. That is not the way God does. But what does He do? Does He charge them up, whether intended or not? Yes. Whether deliberate or not? Yes. Whether we thought or did not think? Yes. He charges them all to us. Then what? He has made provision through Christ that these trespasses that were not intentional, not wilful on our part, can be atoned for us. But why should He do that? What object could be served by doing that? Oh, it brings the matter to your attention and to my attention to know what right is. Knowing that we cannot do the right, the effect is to teach us that we are weak and imperfect and needing God's mercy. That sends us to the throne of heavenly grace, and makes the throne of grace a very precious place, my dear friends--a very blessed place--and it impresses upon us the matter, and if you have come once and have occasion to go the second time for the same weakness or blemish, you feel as though you wanted to say, Lord, this is the second time and I told you before that I would try to be more careful and here is the second time, and I am ashamed, but I felt that I must come, that I did not dare to stay away for I felt that if I did this earth-born cloud would be there and I could not realize the privilege of being a child of yours without forgiveness through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Do you not see, then, dear friends, that it impresses the matter more than if you say, God knows all about it and did not count it against me. The only way you can blot that out is through the merit of Christ's precious blood. It gives us an appreciation of the merit of Christ's blood and makes it precious before us.
Then, dear brothers and sisters, we will welcome the difficulties and tests which we know must come to every Christian. They may never have them the second time, but we will hope that you will so fortify yourselves and say, there is a weakness in my nature; I see it now and I am going to barricade it by putting every resolution behind it to keep it strong, and it becomes the very strongest part of your character. You did not know it at first, but after you found it out, then you fortified that weak spot. You are making character, and even the mistakes and failures become helps. God's arrangement commends itself to us as being the very essence of wisdom for us.
Further, as you would have to do this time and again, it would have the effect upon your own heart of making you very humble. Oh yes, whatever pride was there, if you were feeling that you were much better than the average of people you would say, Oh, I have found some of my weaknesses and feel very humble before God. Good for you; you need to be humble before God, for if you were any other way than humble before God you could not abide in His love. Humility is a very prominent grace in the sight of God. "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time." It comes right in as you find your weaknesses--humble yourselves and make it right with God.
Another thing it will do for you: After you have humbled yourselves several times coming to God in prayer because of your weakness-it might be an appetite for liquor, or good things of this life, or a bad temper, or impatience, or criticizing someone else, or tongue of slander--whatever it may be, and you have found yourself out, you will feel real mean and ashamed of yourself. Well, that will help you when somebody says something mean to you; it will be such a help to you. You will say to yourself, I had my little experience, I guess I had better not say anything. The gracious God has forgiven me and I will be gracious to forgive others. It will make you tender-hearted, you will not sympathize with sin because God has no sympathy for sin, but He has a great deal of sympathy for the sinner when weak and the fault is through weakness or disposition received down through all those generations of six thousand years since the fall. We get His spirit as we thus follow the directions of His word.