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HARVEST GLEANINGS III PITTSBURGH GAZETTE'NOVEMBER 21, 1904 ELSE WERE YOUR CHILDREN UNCLEAN, BUT NOW ARE THEY HOLY, SAID PAUL
Pastor C T Russell addressed a large audience yesterday in the Bible House chapel, Allegheny, from the text, "Else were your children unclean; but now are they holy." 1 Cor. 7:14. His discourse in full follows:
For centuries our text has been one of the bulwarks of Calvinistic theology the ground upon which the Westminster confession built its statement differentiating between elect and non-elect infants. It is only of late years that our Presbyterian friends of the Calvinistic school have withdrawn from this position, and now hold, according to their latest statement, that there is no difference in God's sight between the children of believers and any other children dying in infancy. The old expression of the confession that the children of believers only would be saved, giving the inference that all other children would go to torment, has certainly been outgrown and discarded, much to the credit of our Presbyterian brethren and much to the honor of our Creator's government.
But while our Presbyterian friends have changed their views, this text of scripture remains the same and has the same meaning that it ever had. It says not a word about the children of believers going to heaven if they die in infancy, and hence gives no inference to the effect that other infants go to eternal torment at death. Here we see the baneful effect of an error. The unscriptural doctrine that the wages of sin is eternal torment has made to appear inconsistent many of the grand and beautiful teachings of God's word, and the misrepresentation put upon this text and many others, to harmonize them with the eternal torment doctrine, clings to them even after the error has to a large extent been repudiated, so that our Calvinistic friends today know not what to make of these words of the apostles they are confusion to them. To them they still seem to teach eternal torment, and the repudiation of that thought leaves in their minds a doubt respecting the wisdom and inspiration of the apostle who wrote these words. Thus error leads to further error, to confusion and darkness. They surely do class children as clean and unclean, justified and unjustified, on account of their parentage.
Let us look at the text with, so far as possible, our minds freed from all bias and prejudice; let us see in it just what the apostle wrote, no more and no less. He is writing respecting mixed marriages. He is advising the Lord's followers that he who marries does well, but that he who marries not does better, as respects the carrying out of his consecration vows, the giving of his entire being to the service of the Lord. He declares, however, that such a celibate life is not possible to all, and that those who choose to marry shall not be considered thereby trespassing against the divine arrangement, though he forewarned them that the assumption of marital obligations will bring them in some respects increase of trials in the Christian way. In pointing out thus the liberty of the consecrated to marry, the apostle limits the matter with the words, "only in the Lord." He would not be understood as sanctioning the marriage between a believer and an unbeliever between a consecrated and an unconsecrated person. However, he recognized the fact that in his day and at all times it might be expected that some would come into relationship to the Lord who had previously married and who would be thus in union with unbelievers.
CHILDREN OF THE MISMATED
It was for the comfort and instruction of this class of believers, who had unbelieving partners, that the apostle wrote the words of our text. He meant that such should understand that God would count the children as belonging to the believing parent, and as sharers in the blessings of God resting upon believers. The apostle takes for granted that all Christians understand that there is a "curse" resting upon the world a curse or penalty of alienation from God through wicked works, which has been upon the human family ever since the first transgression in Eden the curse or sentence that came upon Father Adam and Mother Eve and which has descended upon all of their posterity. The apostle's preaching was to the effect that Christ had died to relieve mankind of this penalty, this curse, this alienation and separation from divine favor and communion that the rolling away of the curse will come by and by in God's due time, at the establishment of Christ's millennial kingdom, when all the families of the earth will receive a blessing and be brought to a full knowledge of the truth and a full opportunity for return to divine favor and to all that was lost through the original transgression. That meantime during this gospel age God is reckoning His favor to a certain class to a little flock, to the household of faith, and that these enjoy divine favor in advance of mankind in general before the millennial morning dawns, while it is still night, while sin still abounds and evil and trouble and sorrow and weeping.
This blessing, which comes now upon believers through faith in the precious blood of Christ, gives to such certain special privileges not enjoyed by the world. They may consider their sins forgiven; they may count the errors and weaknesses and imperfections of life as not imputed to them when not intentional; they may have fellowship with God and recognize Him as their Father and hear through the scriptures His voice speaking peace through Jesus Christ our Lord, and inviting them to progress from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge [HGL275] and from honor to honor, changing and transforming the characters of the obedient until by and by they may attain to all the blessed provisions of the heavenly calling the divine, spiritual nature and joint heirship with Christ in His millennial reign.
The words of our text were addressed to this class. Realizing as they did that a divine sentence rested upon the whole world, and that they themselves had escaped it only by hearing the gospel and accepting its terms, they could see readily enough that where both parents were believers and in fellowship with God, the children of such would naturally and properly inherit this relationship, just as when Adam and Eve got out of harmony with God all of their children inherited their lack of harmony. But now the question that the apostle is discussing is, what about those families in which only one parent belongs to the Lord through justifying faith? What would be the status of the children in such families? Would they be justified children or would they be of the world, unjustified, strangers, aliens, foreigners from God and His blessings and promises?
CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS FAVORED
The apostle's Answer'shows us conclusively the divine mind on this subject, namely that where one of the parents is a child of God his children during the period of their infancy, until such time as they attain a personal, moral responsibility, are counted as justified from all sin, as in relationship with the Lord, as privileged, therefore, with their parents to approach the throne of heavenly grace, to speak of and think of God as their father and themselves as the objects of divine favor. On the contrary the children of unbelievers are, like their parents, out of harmony with God, strangers, aliens, foreigners, children of Adam, under Adamic condemnation and alienation. Such children are, according to the inspired testimony of our text, "unclean" in the same sense that all sinners are unclean in God's sight, unworthy to come into his presence, not subject to special providences of this gospel age, which are exclusively for believers and their families.
It should be borne in mind, however, that while the scriptures clearly indicate that the Lord preserves this attitude of opposition and condemnation against all out of Christ, it does not signify any hatred of the sinners as individuals, but rather the maintenance of the general law of righteousness by which the Lord differentiates between the faithful and the unfaithful, the justified and the unjustified, not with a view to doing injury to the unjustified but the very reverse to the intent that the unjustified may realize their conditions as being without God and having no hope in the world, to the intent that they may "feel after God" and find him, and find Christ whom He has set forth as the way, the truth and the life, and by whom alone there is access to the Father's favor. That God has no unkind sentiments toward unbelievers the scriptures assure us, telling us that it was when we were all sinners that Christ died for the ungodly, and that in Him God manifested divine favor toward the whole world lying in sin and condemnation. They assure us that the time is coming when all of these unbelievers shall receive a great blessing at the Lord's hand through the glorified Christ and the glorified church in the millennial kingdom, and the blessed conditions which will then prevail in the world, scattering all the darkness and superstition and error and misrepresentation and making the entire plan of God clear as the noonday sun, that all may see, that all may accept, that all may be blessed.
It is entirely proper, however, that the Lord should confine the blessings of this gospel age to the believing class, because He seeketh only such as can and will exercise faith and an obedience based on that faith. Whoever has the faith without the obedience is not acceptable to the Lord and will soon find his faith waning, disappearing, because "faith without works is dead." And whoever cannot exercise the faith cannot be of the class which the Lord is now selecting from the world. We are of the opinion that some, through the fall, through heredity, are so constituted that it is impossible for them to come under the con-ditions of the divine call of this gospel age. Such will find themselves able to walk by sight by and by when the millennial morning has dawned and the Sun of Righteousness shall have arisen, but they cannot walk in the narrow way of this present time without faith, and hence they cannot be the recipients of the opportunities and privileges now being extended to believers.
If all could see clearly how the whole world is unclean in God's sight Adam and all his children and all their children they would see what the scriptures mean by the repeated declaration that we all need to be washed in the blood of the Lamb, washed from our sins, cleansed from our sins through the merit of Christ's sacrificial death the death of the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. Ultimately it is to take away the sins of the whole world, but not yet. First that blood is applied during this age for the cleansing merely of believers, for those who will exercise faith and strive to be obedient to the Lord; by and by the Lord's gracious arrangements will be open to the whole world, after the believing class shall have been specially favored by the privilege accorded to it. Look now at our text, "Else were your children unclean; but now are they holy" washed, cleansed, justified through the blood of Christ, because their parents, being in this attitude, in this relationship to God, the children are in the same relationship, just as the children of the uncleansed are unclean from the divine standpoint.
ADVANTAGES OF CHILDREN OF BELIEVERS
The apostle clearly intimates that there is a difference, a great difference, between the unclean children of the unclean and the clean children of the justified, the blood washed. What is the difference? We Answer'that unbelievers cannot expect to understand, to appreciate the difference their unbelief, their lack of faith on other subjects, would hinder them also in respect to this one; but those who believe in their own cleansing and who know their own relationship to God can have full confidence that their children also, during the period of infancy, are as much under divine care and protection as themselves. As the parent rejoices in the divine promise that all things shall work together for good for him, he may rejoice in this promise as being applicable also to his children in their earthly affairs. When he rejoices in the divine promise that God will not permit us to be tempted above that we are [HGL276] able, but with the temptation will provide also a way of escape, he may also apply this in reasonable measure to his children, and know the protecting care will give all necessary shielding and assistance to those children. As the believing parent recognizes that "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth them out of them all;" and when he recognizes that these afflictions are often the Lord's methods for bringing him valuable lessons and experiences, so on behalf of his children also he estimates that God in His wisdom and love may permit difficulties and afflictions to come upon them, but with the eye of faith he sees the outcome a blessing.
How many of the Lord's people who were born in this justified or cleansed condition, in our text called "holy," in looking back can see that the good hand of the Lord was over them even in early childhood, and that many of the interests and affairs of life were shaped to their advantage. We do not by this mean that they were born with silver spoons in their mouths, nor that they had more than heart could wish of earthly luxuries; but on the contrary we mean that they can see that the proper, moderate and middle course in which the Lord directed their interests and affairs was probably the most beneficial course for him. They can see how the trials and difficulties of life were so wisely shaped and so skillfully tempered to their conditions that they were helped through the difficulties and trials which otherwise might have turned them to destruction or have discouraged them, or have permitted them to go on in ways that would have led them far from the paths of righteousness and joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.
The favor of our Lord mentioned in our text applies specially to this present life. Children dying in infancy without coming to years of discretion, understanding and responsibility, cannot be said to be overcomers of the world of the flesh or of the adversary. They died before reaching years of personal responsibility, either good or bad, and hence they could have no part or lot in the great reward which the Lord has proffered to the church, and on account of which the present testings and trials are given to the church to prove them, to develop character in them, to thus by trials and tribulations work out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
Children dying in infancy fail of these trials and testings in the school of Christ, and thus evidently fail also to attain the prize, the reward, specially held out to those that only fight a good fight and finish their course, and who, as wise stewards of their talents and bounties, shall be granted an abundant entrance into the glorious things of the millennial kingdom, in joint heirship with their Lord. Hence the children of believers and the children of unbelievers in the resurrection morning will find themselves all well favored of the Lord under the general blessings that will fill the whole earth at that time; and the only advantage that we can suggest that the children of believers would possess would be that there would be fewer of the natural marks of sin in their character, fewer of the stains of sin, less to fight against and overcome when they,
with the remainder of mankind under those favorable conditions, will be started upward on the highway of holiness. We may assume that with the better birth, the result of a better parentage, these would be better prepared for the millennial conditions and make more rapid progress toward human perfection than the unwashed, unclean children of unbelievers.
Thus does the Lord, not only in respect to the present life, but also in respect to the future one, show mercy unto thousands of them that love Him and keep His commandments, and unto many generations, and thus also we see that He has permitted the stain of sin to pass from generation to generation to the third and fourth and many generations of those who hate Him and who have neglected His counsel. While ultimately, therefore, all mankind shall have glorious opportunities, the Lord has placed a special promise, a special reward, upon those who in the present time become His people, and he allows this blessing to extend to their posterity up to the time when they shall have reached years of discretion and individual choice.
This period of personal choice varies with each individual. Some seem to have discerning minds quite early in life say 12 to 15 years of age others develop more slowly and seem not to reach the state of personal accountability until much later in life, while others seem so devoid of sound judgment that we may reasonably question if they attain at all in the present life a personal responsibility, and this latter class, we believe, is by no means a small one. They are still in Adam, his condemnation is still upon them, they have not escaped it, they are still unclean. But when the great High Priest shall have come forth at His second advent to give to the world the blessings secured by His sacrificial death, it will mean not the taking of these to heaven nor the making of them perfect, but it will mean the opening of the eyes of their understanding and the rendering to them of such assistance in mental, moral, physical and religious uplift as they need.
MORAL FREE AGENCY
Respecting the children of believing parents the Lord's providences over them are not to be understood as operating contrary to their wills, but merely as favors by providential dealings and the proper direction of those wills. When years of discretion are reached the child believer can no longer claim for himself the covering of his parent's faith and obedience. His conscience, his reason, as well as the instruction of his parents and teachers, should make this matter clear to the unfolding mind of youth, and the period of individual responsibility looked forward to should be anticipated as a time and opportunity for a full personal consecration to the Lord, to walk in His ways and in fellowship with all those who are walking in the same narrow way of faith and obedience. Thus does the child of a believer pass from its embryo or chrysalis condition to a newness of life, guided by the hopes and promises set before the Lord's people in His word.
True, not every child of the consecrated takes the proper course. Many, alas, attracted by the offers of the world, the flesh and the adversary, find pleasures along those lines and thus slip away from their cleansed or justified condition. Some of these may never return, may become so ensnared by the adversary that they will lose all the faith and hope and make void all the faith and hope, all the precious instruction received in childhood. Such a result to parental labors must necessarily be very discouraging, and seems to be contrary to the accepted law as set forth in the word of [HGL277] the Lord, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." It would be far from our wish to charge believing parents with all the misdemeanors of their children. We leave to the Lord to make clear and plain to all by and by wherein lay the fault in such cases, and why the good promises of His word were not realized. We would be inclined to fear, however, that in the case of such believers false doctrines, or misrepresentations of the divine word had hindered them from leading the godly life and teaching their children the truth, which might have stopped them from taking a wrong course.
Undoubtedly there are nominal believers and true believers those of little faith and those of much faith. It is not for us to attempt a judgment of our fellows, but it is for us as believers to apply to our own hearts the precious promises and consolations of the Lord's word. I say, therefore, to true believers who have works as well as faith, "Be not discouraged. Your work shall be rewarded. Your painstaking training of your children, your prayers on their behalf, your continual endeavor day by day to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and by word and act to set them the proper example your endeavor even before their birth to favor them by prenatal influences and to manifest toward them the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit these labors are not in vain. Even should the child for a time prove wayward, trust firmly in the Lord; continue earnest and instant in prayer, and we believe the results will justify your faith and perseverance."
From quite a number have we heard at various times that the thought of the faith and godliness of parents, and of their prayers, had come often to mind, and had frequently influenced them for good more than anything else, and had finally resulted in their full turning to the Lord and full consecration to do His will. Remember, that the Lord deals with them as free moral agents. He always recognizes the freedom of the will. He cannot change this feature of His general dealing on your account or on any account; but He can and evidently frequently does grant to the children of believers such providential care, such disciplines, such experiences as open eyes the more clearly to discern between right and wrong, between justice and injustice, between wisdom and unwisdom, between God and Mammon. Having done your part, leave all the results in the hand of the Lord. Rest assured that He will do all that can properly be done for the highest interests of those you have committed to Him, according to His own arrangement.
WESLEY COMMENDED, BUT NOT IN ALL
Brother Wesley properly stands high in the estimation of all true Christian people, and the movement which he headed and which today is represented by many large and influential Methodist bodies had its excellent features, but one of its prominent teachings has been productive of much distress and misunderstanding on the part of many of the best of Methodists. Nor is this to be wondered at; on the contrary, it would have surprised us had Methodism grasped every feature of divine truth more clearly and cogently.
Each prominent denomination represents, or was intended to represent, some reform movement. Calvinism marked the rebellion of consecrated minds against lax views respecting the sovereignty of God, His wisdom, His power to accomplish His will and His promises. In its zeal it carried many of its propositions to extreme conclusions, yet on the whole it gave strength and tone and character to Christian thought, and these have not fully lost their power to this day, though many of the extremes have been discarded. Similarly, Methodism was a rebellion against certain laxities and perversions of the truth in the day of its origination. Wesley perceived that formalism had taken the place of vital Christianity with the great mass of professing churchdom of his time. He perceived that there was much praying to the Lord with the lips while the heart was far from Him that many who had neither part nor lot in Christ had come to regard themselves as Christians. That time was in many respects like the present, is more and more coming to be everybody was regarded as a Christian who was not a Jew or an infidel. Wesley perceived that the matter of personal consecration was being overlooked, and that membership in a church, attested to by a "christening" in infancy, was deceiving multitudes, who, as a consequence, had a self-satisfied feeling, their religion consisting in an occasional or regular attendance at worship and little more.
It was against such conditions and with a view to awakening thought on the subject, with a view to differentiating between the truly consecrated and the merely nominal professor, that the Wesleyan movement was started. It was admirable in this particular; but it made the mistake of ignoring the fact that among the nominal Christians there were some true ones, and that the children of these true Christians, as our text shows, are justified in God's sight. True, these as compared with the whole are few; and did not deserve all nor even the larger proportion of Wesley's efforts; but they should not have been totally ignored.
The circumstances which called forth the Wesleyan movement directed its energies somewhat at a tangent, teaching that without exception every human being was through the fall a child of wrath and must feel the burden of sin upon his heart and the divine wrath against him, and must repent, go to the altar, or otherwise experience the profoundest revolution in his life, in his heart, in all of his sentiments. Much of this was entirely right as respects the vast majority of humanity except that Brother Wesley, laboring under the delusion that the Bible teaches eternal torment, according to the various misinterpretations of it handed down from the dark ages, preached not that the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness in the sicknesses and sorrows and deaths that are all about us, but preached on the contrary that the wrath of God manifested in the present distresses is not a circumstance to the indescribable eternal torture of the future.
Eliminating this awful, indescribable, God dishonoring teaching of eternal torment, we are ready to indorse much that Brother Wesley taught respecting the alienated condition of sinners, respecting the Creator, and regarding all the features of His gracious plan of salvation. We urge, with Brother Wesley, the only way in which the world can approach God is by faith and repentance and reformation of life and a full consecration of all to Him and His service, and that until these steps be taken no individual can [HGL278] properly be classed as a Christian, or consider himself in any wise related to the Lord because he resides in a so-called Christian land not a bit more than could the heathen residing in a heathen land. The scriptural teaching on the subject is clear, that only by faith and obedience can we become untied to the Son, and only through the Son can we have a relationship to the Father.
A METHODIST BROTHER'S DILEMMA
Brother Wesley's extreme view overlooked and ignored the class of people represented in our text the children of believers who were not born "unclean" not born children of wrath, but through the consecrated parent were born in a justified condition or relationship toward God. There are some of this class in the Methodist churches as well as outside of them, and to these certain features of the Wesleyan doctrines they profess have proved to be snares causing great disquiet of mind, sometimes to the extent of utter loss of faith in everything religious. Thus it is with every error, great or small; it is sure to have its baneful effect. It is like so much poison in the family baking.
Not long since, while in a railway train, a Methodist brother, a stranger to me, left another seat and came over and sat down beside me to tell me of a difficulty under which he had labored from the beginning of his Christian experience, but which he had feared to tell to others. He said: "For years I have been a member of the Methodist church and taken an active part in its services, and yet I have never felt what our church teaches should be the experience of everyone who is a Christian I have never had what our people describe as conversion. I never had that feeling of deep sinfulness, nor did I, when I made a consecration to the Lord in the Methodist church, experience the remarkable things which many of our people tell us and which our religious books lead us to believe are the only true marks of a change of heart, of a true conversion, of an acceptance with God. Not having had those ecstatic experiences related by others, I have for years fought against three doubts: (1) Whether or not others were mistaken in what they described; (2) Whether or not I was the one who had failed to get the Lord's blessing and acceptance, or (3) Whether or not the whole matter were not a delusion and Christian experiences largely made up of imaginations according to the various bents of mind. According to the general teachings of our church I am not a Christian at all, because I have not had these ecstatic experiences connected with what our church standards recognize as a true conversion. Now, Brother Russell, what is my real standing as you see it according to the scriptures?"
I questioned the brother first: Did he believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Redeemer? Did he accept, as his ransom price, the sacrifice of our Lord finished on Calvary? Had he repented of sins and, so far as possible, made restitution for any wrong doing? Was he now seeking to live righteously, godly, soberly? His answers to these questions were in the affirmative. I said, "Then, dear brother, you may rest assured that according to the scriptures you are justified in God's sight, your sins are covered with the merit of Christ's righteousness and you are no longer a stranger, alien, foreigner no longer a child of wrath even as others. Now let me ask you. Were your parents believers in the Lord as their Redeemer, and were they, do you think, consecrated to the Lord at the time of your birth, either of them or both of them?"
I called his attention to our text and the explanation of it now presented to you, and said to him, "The more you will think over this matter the more you will appreciate the impossibility of your having under such circumstances the same experiences which some others might have. Conversion signifies to turn about, to take an opposite course; but from infancy reared in the nurture and admonition of the Lord by godly parents, your course was undoubtedly directed in the line of righteousness, reverence toward God."
"For you to have turned about or be converted would have meant the reversal of all this, turning to sin and unrighteousness and away from God. You will thus see, dear friend, that conversion was not what you should have expected."
"On the contrary, the man or woman whose life has been that of rebellion against God, or carelessness and disregard of Him and of all obligations to Him and to the principles of His government, such a heart recognizing the Lord, belief and acceptance would mean conversion or turning over, changing about from going after sin and unrighteousness to seeking after and pursuing the Lord and His way. To such a person such a change would indeed mean a reformation in life; but you, who from infancy have been pursuing this proper course with more or less of desire and earnestness, could not expect to experience a mental or moral reformation any more than you could expect a physical one."
DEFECTIVE WESLEYAN DOCTRINE
"The Wesleyan doctrine is defective, dear brother, on this point. It has not only disturbed your mind and hindered you, but others from properly attaining the peace of God which passeth all understanding. What should have been presented to you was this: Born in a justified relationship to God, under His providences you have come to the present time in sympathy with Him and the principles of His government, and desirous of avoiding sin and realizing Christ as your redeemer. Now there is another step for you to take, namely you should realize that, having been bought with a price, you have no right to regard yourself as your own, but should consider that every talent and power that you possess belongs to Him who bought you with His own precious blood. Moreover, your experiences up to this time demonstrate to you the impossibility of pleasing self and pleasing the world and at the same time pleasing the Lord, and you should be ready for the second great step set before us as believers, namely, a full consecration of yourself to the Lord. This should have been set before you, dear brother, long ago. You have been starving for years, and your Christian life has been correspondingly stunted because of the mistake made in your spiritual bill of fare. You should at once heed the apostle's words, given, not to sinners, aliens, strangers, enemies, but [HGL279] to 'brethren' saying, 'I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God (the forgiveness of your sins, etc.) that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service'." -(Rom. 12:1.)
Those who under the gospel call have taken the steps which the apostle here outlines pass from what the scriptures term the "household of faith" into what they term membership in the "body." The "royal priesthood," who present their own bodies living sacrifices upon the altar of the Lord, and being sanctified, are made acceptable through the precious blood of Christ. Those who never take this step of full consecration to the Lord are not to be of the royal priesthood, are not of the body of Christ, the "elect church," will not become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, their Lord, because they do not "suffer with Him" that they may also be "glorified together." -(Rom. 8:17.)
Very many are in the same condition of mind as was that Meth-odist brother because, misled by an error, they had failed to grasp, to appreciate the grace of God which had already blessed and favored them and put them upon a different plane of relationship to the Lord from the world in general. I am aware that we are living in a day of general skepticism both in pulpits and in pews, in a day when the words of the apostle in our text are treated lightly by those who, according to their profession of faith, should esteem them very highly indeed as the words of inspiration. We cannot help this so far as the mass of Christendom are concerned, but we can say today, as the Lord said more than 18 centuries ago, "He that hath an ear to hear let him hear." And, hearing, if he have the heart to obey let him obey.
It is to such as have the hearing of faith and the obedience of heart that the Lord's blessings and mercies during this gospel age are specially extended. By faithfulness to Him we may become His jewels and, ultimately, at the close of this age, at His sec-ond advent, be gathered to Himself "in the day when He comes to make up His jewels." (Mal. 3:17.) Then will come the great work of this selected, self-sacrificing, polished and prepared company Christ and His followers in the "narrow way." They are to be God's missionaries and representatives to the world of mankind during the millennial age, when all the world shall be made to hear the message of divine favor and love and to understand the demands of the divine law; when the willing and obedient shall be assisted step by step up to full perfection of mind and body, until thus eventually the whole world shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the great deep.