Russell Vs. Eaton Debate

Complete report of the Great Religious Debate between Rev. E. L. Eaton, D. D., And Pastor C. T. Russell, V. D. M., on the Subject of "Eschatology."


Carnegie Music Hall in Allegheny Crowded, and Speakers Listened to Attentively as they Discussed Probation


Remarkable in the demonstration of religious interest, the series of discussions between the Rev. E. L. Eaton, D. D. pastor of the North Avenue Methodist Episcopal church, and C. T. Russell, pastor of the Allegheny Bible House congregation, was inaugurated yesterday afternoon with a debate on the general topic of probation. The meeting was held in the Allegheny Carnegie music hall, and a larger assemblage had never been seen in the building. The remarks of both speakers were interrupted at frequent intervals with fervid responses and enthusiastic applause.

The Rev. Dr. W. H. McMillan, pastor of the Second United Presbyterian church, Allegheny, presided. Half an hour before the meeting was opened the hall was packed with people. The aisles of the main auditorium, the balcony, the stage and the vestibules were given over for standing room to the eager crowd. Preceding the debate a short devotional exercise was held and the singing of the hymns, "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name," "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah," and "Tell Me the Old, Old Story" was entered into with the zest of worshipers at a revival.

No collection basket was passed, and the following proposition was announced for discussion:


"The Scriptures clearly teach that divine grace and power, full and free, have been constantly exercised toward mankind since the fall, to the intent that all, if they would, might be saved: hence there will be no probation after death, nor need of any. Dr. Eaton to affirm. Pastor Russell to deny."

The ushers were selected from the members of the two congregations. Prof. B. Frank Walters of the Bible House presided at the organ, and E. P. Russell of the North Avenue church led in the singing.

The next debate will be held tomorrow evening at 8 o'clock in the Allegheny Carnegie hall, the Rev. Dr. H. D. Lindsay presiding. The proposition for discussion will be: "The Scriptures clearly teach that the souls of the dead are unconscious while their bodies are in the grave. Pastor Russell will affirm. Dr. Eaton will deny."

The affirmative side was first given by Dr. Eaton, who spoke as follows: All mankind are on trial for their moral character and eternal destiny. The object of this probation is to decide whether they will accept the offer of eternal life, and by obedience to God rise from a state of depravity and sin to a state of holiness, or whether they will reject this offer of life and salvation, continue in sin and reap the awful retribution of sin at last.

We are on probation for a good many things of this life; for our health. Every human being is on probation all the time for his health, and he may so treat his health or the laws of nature as to cause it to be entirely over-thrown. We are on trial all the time as to the matter of wealth; of happiness; of education; social position; moral character'whether we shall be honest or dishonest; for personal influence. All these things, exceedingly important as they are, are under the control of our own will. [HG110] A time will come in respect to all of these when we shall cross a line and cannot retrace our steps. Who shall say that if we are on probation for these important things we are not on probation for other important things, for eternal things? Who shall say that with regard to my eternal destiny I shall not cross a line which will mark the eternal settlement of that important interest?

"Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; thou shalt not eat of it." When God made Adam and Eve he put them on probation, and those are the terms. "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you'life and death. Therefore choose life, that thou and thy seed may live." That is the declaration of Moses, that the race is on trial for life or death.


The heathen nations, as well as the Christian nations, are on probation. It is not limited to Christians at all. It is constantly assumed that there are none but Christians on probation. If that be true, then three-fifths of the human race, who die in infancy, have had no opportunity for salvation. Those who have died in heathendom have had no opportunity. But they were redeemed in Christ, in the great offering of salvation. It does not follow that every human being must know Him personally, individually, in order to secure the benefits of worldwide redemption. No member of the human race knew Jesus Christ as his Savior for 4000 years, but millions were saved who did not know him.

How were they saved? By believing and obeying God. All are saved on those terms. The Scriptures do not leave us in doubt on this point. Writing to the Roman Christians, just from heathendom, the apostle says: "The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal godhead and deity, so that they are without excuse." "There is no respect of persons with God; as many as have sinned under the law shall perish by the law; for not the hearers of the law shall be justified, but the doers."

In the apostle's discussion in Romans 1 and 2 he shows that every heathen in the world is responsible for the light he has. The light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world hath reached all of them, and they can be saved by that light if they will. If that is the situation I am willing to presume that the entire race are having a fair chance for eternal life. This life is not one of retribution. There is a great deal of evil in the world, and even death came by sin, but it is not the punishment for sin.

Job was accused of being wicked because he suffered, but evil was not sent to punish sin in him, but to perfect his character in his day of probation. The blind man whom Jesus cured was declared not to have sinned, nor to be suffering for sin, but to show forth the glory of God. The evil of this life is permitted in order to furnish occasion for the display of divine mercy and grace.

God's offer of mercy is confined to this life. John 8:23, Prov. 1:24-28, Eze. 33:9, Prov. 1:7, 2 Cor. 6:2, Heb. 4:7, Ecc. 9:10. These scriptures have one declaration' that mercy is confined to this life. The parable of the wheat and the tares in the 13th chapter enforces this thought. It covers the entire history of the race. The Lord explained the parable to the disciples, who realized that it imported a very serious problem. He said: "The harvest is the end of the world"' aion' age, the end of human history. This word stands for the entire sweep of human history from the beginning to the end; it does not mean a dispensation or a fragment of time. "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world"' the "world" stands for the entire sweep of human history.

When human history ends on this planet the harvest takes place. The Son of Man shall send forth His angels and gather out of His kingdom' notgather seed for the kingdom, but gather out of the kingdom which is now in the world, the tares' allthings which offend and do iniquity." That seems to me to limit probation to that period. All people in the world, wheat and tares, are growing together on probation.


If there is any probation after death it must be in the intermediate state; it cannot be in heaven; it is not on earth; it must be in hades or sheol, that conscious state of existence into which all mankind goes at death and where they remain until the resurrection and judgment. We have one picture of the souls in this state in the Old Testament and another picture in the New Testament.

In the 14th chapter of Isaiah are these words: "Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming." Belshazzar, the last of the Babylonish kings and wickedest of them all, is here described; it is a magnificent celebration they are having in the lower world, a picnic in hell, the celebration of the down-coming of a lost soul.

"It stirs up all the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth"' a picture of the most abject helplessness and misery that could possibly be dreamed of is that of the man who sat on the throne of Babylon, defied God and God's people and drank wine out of the golden vessels of the temple was finally stricken and that night perished, to wake up in sheol [HG111] with the demons and lost men, taunting him with his awful end. If there is any probation after death it must be in sheol, but that man was not on probation in sheol.

The other picture is more definite in the New Testament. The hades of the New Testament is equivalent to the sheol of the Old, and in the 16th chapter of Luke we have the story of the rich man and Lazarus describing it. Luke, writing for the cultured Greeks, was delineating various phases of character and the results in each case.


Some ask, why was the rich man banished to hell'because he was rich? No; but because, being rich, he did not love God. That is the tendency of riches everywhere.

Throughout the Bible everywhere you can find men who were pardoned and saved, who committed adultery, murder and theft; they repented and were saved.

But where can you find any rich man saved? It is a tremendous commentary upon human nature.

Ahab and Judas were on probation, and they both went to hades. If there is any probation after death it must be in hades, for here are two live people who have died and are there' one in paradise, and the other in Tartarus. The latter did not repent; he had the same character he had here, and, just like many people since, who do not like God's plan and propose a plan of their own, he wanted something done which was not God's proposition. His prayers to Abraham were denied, and a place where prayer cannot be answered is not a world of probation. That man had entered upon his retribution' not his final and eternal retribution, but the retribution of the intermediate state, which Peter calls Tartarus.

Peter speaks about the preaching to the spirits in prison. (1 Pet. 3:18, 20) I have never encountered anybody who did not consider that a very difficult passage to interpret. Who are the spirits in prison? Some suggest that they were antediluvians, to whom Christ went in spirit when His body left the cross; some suggest that Christ's spirit was in Noah when He himself preached to the antediluvians. But these do not answer all the difficulties.


Others think He preached to the lost souls in Tartarus, to whom His soul went, after He left the cross. But if Christ did go to the lost souls in hades or Tartarus we would expect some results; but there is no such report' noevidence that any good was accomplished. We are inclined to think that He preached to the spirits in paradise, proclaiming the victory which He brought with him after His death.

Bearing the burden of a human soul redeemed, as He declared to the dying thief, "Today thou shalt be with me in paradise." He proclaimed a message in triumph to the souls in hades.

We have a good many texts that God will have all men to be saved; but all those texts that express God's willingness to have all men to be saved is the same word used in this, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not." How oft would I have gathered!

There is the same word. This does not express God's purpose, but his desire to gather the people. So all the texts of this character.

God declares in His Word that He has exhausted all salvation means in this life to save them'done everything he could. He has given us His son Jesus Christ to die upon the cross, to break our hearts and bring us into harmony with him. Is there any world where God can appeal to men more than He is now, with blood and tears? Is there anywhere where God's work can mean any more than it means now? Is it possible for the preaching of the word to be any more clear than in this world?


I could not imagine any angel declaring the truth more forcefully than it is being proclaimed from pulpit and rostrum today. If the motive in men's hearts is not strong enough here I cannot imagine it being stronger anywhere else. Man has no right to ask for a probation after death. In this life all of us well know that we have an opportunity and if we despise that opportunity we know that we have forfeited our rights to any further chance. There is a magnificent chance for us all, and if we despise that chance it seems to me we have no right to expect another.

(Applause) Pastor Russell, on rising to reply, first explained that the initials, "V. D. M.," used in announcements in connection with his name signified "Minister of the Word of God" (Verbe Die Minister), expressed his pleasure in having recognized scholars and a gentleman for an opponent, and acknowledged the forcefulness of the latter's presentation of his side of the question at issue. He urged, however, that well-balanced minds should decide the matter upon a careful consideration of both sides, and remember that the deciding standard had been agreed between the contestants to be the Word of God alone' " What say the Scriptures?" He continued: Our brother declares that the Scriptures clearly teach that God has been doing all in His power to do from the beginning of creation down to the present [HG112] time to save mankind. If we find that the Scriptures teach that it will be a great disappointment to me, I assure you. I look back to the Bible itself, the only reliable ancient history, and there find the statement that after God had created our first parents perfect and in his own image, and after they had been tried in Eden and had proved themselves disobedient and had come under the sentence of death, there was a period of 1,656 years that ensued, and in that period, instead of the world of mankind being saved, and instead of there being any evidence whatever that our heavenly Father tried to save the world of mankind' the testimony of Scriptures is to the contrary' that at the end of 1,656 years the world was corrupt before God and he brought the flood of water which blotted out that world.

If those people had all the probation and all the opportunity they will ever have, then this place where they are going to be, the devil's picnic that our brother tells about, will have a very large population. A good many millions are going there.

At the end of 1,656 years only Noah and seven of his family were found worthy of salvation and being brought across the flood to be the starters of a new order of things this side the cataclysm. Then we take the history this side the flood and find that Noah and his family, eight persons in all, started out fairly well, fairly good representatives of the Lord in the world, and it was only a little while afterward that the earth was again corrupt, only a little while till they began to build the tower of Babel, as if to say, We will see to it that if God sends another flood it shall not drown us. They would build their own tower of salvation; and God scattered them and divided their language.

The Apostle Paul, in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans, calls attention to the fact that this prevalence of superstition and degradation throughout the world is not because our heavenly Father created the poor African and Chinaman and Indian in their present degradation, but that having created man perfect and in his own image and likeness; when they knew God they did not glorify Him as God, neither were they thankful, but became vain in their imagination and their foolish mind was darkened; so that God "gave them over" – He let them go. We see where they went' we see what degradation there is throughout the world today.


The apostle accounts for it and goes on to show why so few hear the gospel of Christ, saying: "The god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them that believe not." (2 Cor. 4:4) They are blinded, they cannot see' it is not possible for them to see. Why is it that the poor heathen do not know God and do not understand the plan of salvation? The apostle says Satan hath blinded their minds.

And all Christian people are glad to do what we can to remove that blindness, by sending missionaries to not only heathen lands, but throughout our home land as well. To what extent are we successful in removing this blindness, to make all men see the height and depth and length and breadth of the love of God? To a very small extent, and to a very small proportion of the people of this world.

Our brother seems to have the impression that these heathen that would not have good to reign over them, and thus became heathen, would be saved in their heathendom and ignorance and superstition. I understand him that some of these are already in Paradise, without ever having heard of the only name given under heaven or among men whereby we may be saved. I would like to know how they got there? The apostle, after laying down the proposition that faith is necessary, and no salvation without faith, says, "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they believe unless they hear, and how shall they hear unless a preacher be sent?"

Therefore, we will follow the apostle and not our brother when we send missionaries to help the heathen hear. There is no other condition of salvation than faith in the Lord Jesus. If faith is necessary, that is a different proposition; then the heathen are not saved. But suppose that those heathen are saved, and suppose we should admit the salvation which our brother suggests, and which Dr.Talmage also suggested, when he declared that he would not admit that the devils get all. Dr. Talmage declared that one-half died in infancy and God got them; and all the heathen that died God has got, and all the idiots God has taken in'and our brother included the idiots in his suggestion as to the ones benefited by Christ's death without necessity for faith in him.


Now I want to know, if the heathen and idiots are in paradise, where are the intelligent human beings who have been seeking to serve God with their best efforts and through various experiences of testing, to get their heaven? (Loud applause.) I do not think our dear brother would have this thought which he advances' it would not be reasonable' were it not for the fact that he is obliged to crowd down into the present life all the opportunity for salvation which his theory requires; and his heart is too generous for him to assert that those who have no opportunity to know Christ in the present time must go to a place of eternal torture.

I admire the brother's generosity, but I do not think [HG113] it is at all like the Father's plan that because a man was born a heathen, or an idiot, or died in infancy, therefore he must be saved. What is the meaning of those words: "Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it?" If our brother's proposition is the end, how unfortunate are you that you did not die in infancy; unfortunate are you that you were not a heathen, and thus have been able to escape the responsibility of hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Scriptures declare that the whole world lieth in the wicked one. Again we are told that "Satan is the prince of this world," that he exercises a great and dominant power over the world; he is the great power of evil; God has permitted this great power. We must all be agreed that if God did not give Satan this permission he could have no power. The scriptures teach that the time is coming when God will alter matters, when Satan shall be bound for 1,000 years, and when Christ shall take unto Himself His great power and reign. Our brother says he can see no reason why the present are not the greatest opportunities, why there should be any necessity for improving on them.


I can see why there is a necessity for improvement. I can. see where a vast opportunity for improvement is evidenced, and I could improve upon the conditions of the present day myself. Give me one-tenth the power of the Almighty, and I would shut up every brewery and distillery in the land; I would close every saloon and place of evil, and I would see that the influence of Satan was overthrown. (Applause) We see all the best people in the world trying to do this, which we know our Heavenly Father could do at His word; which we know He will do when the due time shall come, when Satan, the old serpent, the devil, shall be bound for 1,000 years, that he may deceive the nations no more.

He has been confusing the minds of all the heathen, so that they do not recognize him; and he has been blinding even the people of our own supposedly Christian lands, so that they think of our God as a great and terrible monster. He has beclouded the minds of God's dear children so that in the reading of His blessed book they misinterpret the same' not intentionally, but misinterpret, nevertheless.

I want to call your attention to the place where the gospel had its beginning, according to the scriptures. It did not begin in Eden. There was no need of a gospel when our heavenly Father communicated with Father Adam. He gave him a law; he was disobedient to the law and he was punished for the breaking of it, but He did not give him any gospel. The word means good tidings, and God did not tell our first parents about good tidings of salvation. The nearest hint to a suggestion on the subject was that some day "the seed of the woman should braise the serpent's head."


That statement has never been fulfilled. All during the period from Adam to the flood there is not a suggestion anywhere that the gospel was preached. On the contrary, the apostle tells us that "the gospel was preached beforehand to Abraham," the first who ever heard the gospel. He gave his message to Abraham, and what was the message? "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." That is a comprehensive promise' the oath-bound promise, as the Apostle Paul calls it in his letter to the Hebrews. God swore that it should be so, that we might have strong consolation while waiting for the fulfillment of that great statement of the divine purpose.

This statement made to Abraham has never been fulfilled; not a word of evidence has been produced to such effect. It is impossible to produce such testimony, because there is none such. On the contrary, according to the Scriptures, darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people. It is not true that the light of the world is shining forth; that the great Redeemer who is to enlighten every man that cometh into the world has not yet begun that glorious work, else we would now see the fulfillment of the gracious promise, "The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea."

"None shall say unto his neighbor, Know the Lord, for all shall know him, from the least unto the greatest of them." The Lord's promise is, however, that in due time the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his beams, and shall flood the earth with light and scatter the nighttime. (Great applause) That time is not yet come; the night-darkness is not scattered. We know that there is still necessity, as the prophet has depicted it, that we should recognize the word of God as a light to our feet and a map to our pathway as we walk through the darkness of this world, "until the day dawn, and the day star arise," as Peter puts it.


We can see the gross darkness upon the world, but He who has told us about it has told us also about the great sunrise of righteousness, and that sunrise is the millennial sun. It is Christ, the sun of righteousness, with healing in his beams, which is to be the fulfillment of that promise to Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

The Lord is now blessing the church, but [HG114] they are not all the families of the earth by any means. The blessing was not merely to be to the church, but as expressed by the Apostle John, "He is the propitiation for our sins (the church's sins), and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." The church is to be a part of the seed of Abraham which is to accomplish the blessing upon the world. So the apostle declares in Gal. 3:16, 29, saying of the seed, "which seed is Christ," and continuing declares, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise."

So we see that this first statement of the gospel has only gone so far in fulfillment that God has been taking out the seed of Abraham during this gospel age. The seed, which is the church, is not yet complete. We are not speaking of the Presbyterian or Methodist or some other denomination; we are speaking of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, those who are trusting in the Lord for divine mercy and who are united to him by a living faith, in full consecration to His service. These are the members of the real church, the seed of Abraham, and this gospel age is appointed to gather out all from the nations, kindreds and peoples under heaven, that they, as the seed of Abraham, may be glorified, and as the glorified seed may shine out in blessing for all the world of mankind.


Subsequently to the giving of the promise to Abraham God made a covenant with the people of Israel, and the apostle explains that the law of Moses was added to the great covenant of blessing. This covenant constituted the people of Israel' God's chosen ones' in a special sense, a peculiar people, under the Mosaic law which they vainly strove to keep. The apostle tells us that it was impossible for them to keep the law, for by the deeds of the law should no flesh' be justified in God's sight. It was intended to teach that people their utter helplessness, and the absolute necessity for a great mediator, Christ Jesus, to redeem them from sin and enable them to approve themselves before God.

It did not save them from sin in any sense. In the meantime what about the heathen nations around about? The declaration of Scripture is most positive. God had no dealings with them whatever. Through the prophet Amos God declared to the Jewish nation, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth." The other nations were left out entirely. The Apostle Paul showed how distinctly they were left out, when he said, addressing some who became Christians out of the heathen nations, "Ye were strangers and foreigners, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, without God and without hope in the world"' that is the attitude of all heathen people. The only people who had any opportunity with God up to the time of Christ was the nation of Israel, and that one nation was only a typical people.

Their sacrifices could never take away sin. The apostle says they merely typified the church which should later be the chosen people of God. The church has the real sacrifice, the church is the real priesthood, it is the real peculiar people, it has the real holy of holies, has the real justification, all of which were typified in the various conditions of the Jewish nation. The point we desire to make is this: God did not begin any work of salvation until this gospel age; the Jews who were the nearest to salvation were only typical people. And so we read that" Moses was faithful as a servant over all his house( the typical house, the servant house). but Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end." Even the Jews were only servants, and not until Christ came were any accepted as God's sons.


The words of the apostle prove that salvation began with Christ's first advent: "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by our Lord." It did not begin to be preached to Adam, nor to Noah, nor to Moses, nor in any other day until, as the apostle says, it began to be preached by our Lord, "And was confirmed unto us by them that heard him."

It is not our suggestion that nobody is on trial today. It is not our suggestion that everybody is going to have another chance. That is not the proposition we are discussing. The proposition is whether there is anybody that needs a probation after death. I am not saying that if it is true of you, as it was true of the apostles, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears for they hear," that you will have another chance after death to take another glimpse and to hear further of divine mercy, if you fail to use your privileges Now.(loud applause.) But I am saying that those fifty thousand millions of the human race that have gone down into the great prison house of death, where, as our brother quoted, "There is neither wisdom, nor knowledge, nor device," those fifty thousand millions who have no wisdom, devices nor knowledge in sheol, need some future opportunity, or else they have not had a chance at all. Christ's sacrifice was of no avail unless they are to have an opportunity to hear, because God's arrangement is that "He that believeth shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be condemned."

There is no suggestion anywhere in the Scriptures that God has [HG115] made provision for salvation in blindness and ignorance and superstition. There must be faith, and there must be knowledge preceding faith, or the Scriptures are untrue.


To give the world the full opportunity which Christ purchased for them will require an awakening from the dead' a bringing forth from that condition of lack of wisdom, device and knowledge to a condition where they shall know, in order that they may exercise faith and profit by the opportunities given to them in the time when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the whole earth. Under the great sentence which God pronounced upon the first pair the entire race has been in death, and the apostle makes the statement most forcefully when he declares, "The wages of san is death;" and again, the prophet, "The soul that sinneth it shall die."

I do not care how people try to twist those words' they stand! The darkness of the dark ages confused the minds of many regarding their meaning, and many of us still have difficulty in getting the smoke out of our eyes, but death is the sentence, and it is from death that the world must be awakened in order to know the privileges of divine grace' not a place of conscious existence, where the good are divided into 'one compartment and the evil into another. The one word "sheol" in the Hebrew and "hades" in the Greek describes the habitation of both good and wicked dead, and there is no Scripture which intimates that there is any distinction between the condition of either class while they are in the tomb. We had not anticipated that the class of texts produced by our brother would be made use of in discussing the present proposition' they properly belong to later subjects, and we shall reply to them fully when they come up again in their proper place.


What has God been doing during the time he has been waiting for the fulfillment of his plan for blessing the world? It would afford me pleasure, if there were time, to show that during the dispensation before the flood God left the control of the world in the hands of angels, and that the angels were misled, were seduced by the sin among mankind, so that they "kept not their first estate," they fell from their original pure condition, and through their sin they became the spirits in prison of whom Peter speaks' not men in prison, not men who have gone down into sheol, that Christ preached to, but the spirit beings, the angels, who fell from the original state of obedience, and have been kept in prison until Christ comes.

These, prior to their disobedience, were given the opportunity to see to what extent they could help mankind. On the contrary, sin proved contagious, and they were misled, and their condemnation to chains of darkness resulted. Christ, as the real succorer of mankind, preached to them most effectively in his faithful obedience to the Father, in contrast to their disobedient course.

If the whole world up to the time of the gospel dispensation was practically left outside of God's plan of salvation, as the Bible history tells us, and if the Jews only had any favor, and that was merely a law which was a shadow of good things to come, and not the substance, what has been going on during this gospel age?

We answer, the selection of the seed of Abraham, which is to bless the world.

Meantime the world is getting a general lesson on every subject, a general experience in all the trials and difficulties of life, teaching mankind something regarding the extremely undesirable results of sin, but the particular dealing of God is with his people, the little flock who are being selected for the blessing of the world in the future.


This is election, as the scriptures teach the doctrine of election; not the selection of a few and the damnation of the remainder, but the selection of a little flock for the blessing of the remainder of the world, that they might constitute, with Christ, the members of a glorious kingdom class, that millennial kingdom for which we pray, as taught by our Lord, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." The will of God is not done yet, because the hour has not yet come. The clock of the universe has not struck for the bringing of blessings to all the families of the earth.

Our brother calls attention to the parable of the wheat and the tares, and that the end of the age would be a time of separation. We agree to all that is written. We would like to have you notice that all these parables relate to the kingdom of heaven; the kingdom of heaven is likened to thus and so. The church in the present time is thus likened, in its preparatory condition, its embryotic condition.

When the church shall all be selected then it will be the church in glory, bride and bridegroom joined together for the blessing of the world.

But now look at the parable. The wheat are the children of the kingdom. Are there many? No, none would say so. Narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Only those are the wheat, the children of the kingdom, and these are the only ones referred to in the parable except as the tares come in.

Now in this wheatfield the enemy sowed tares; he [HG116] brought in a lot of people not in the consecrated class at all, a lot of people who associate themselves with the Lord's true people as imitation wheat – not all bad people, but deceived, not Christians, and really hypocritical, in that they are assuming a false position in connection with the Lord's people.

This condition has been permitted of God to continue since it began, after the apostles fell asleep in death. The harvest is the end of the world' I do not agree with our brother that aion means the end of all things in the universe. If you will take your Greek-English concordance you will readily find every place where the word aion occurs; you will find that the nearest English translation would be age.

We have in the Scriptures "aions of aions," and if our brother's position were correct there could not be ages of ages. The end of the age will bring a manifestation of who are true Christians, who are real, consecrated followers of God and who have been hypocritically attaching themselves to these without real zeal and consecration.

In further discussion we think we shall be able to show that our Heavenly Father will have a grander outcome in his plan than that which our brother has suggested.

"My word that goeth forth out of my mouth shall not return unto me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it."

If God sent his word to convert the world during this gospel age, then the world would have been converted.

The fact that it is not converted is a proof that God has sent His word for some other purpose. By and by, when that word shall have gathered into the garner the faithful wheat class, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of the Father," for the scattering of the night, the scattering of darkness and superstition and evil that now enshroud this world. (Prolonged applause)

Dr. Eaton then arose and began as follows:

This is the greatest mix-up of Scriptural quotations I have ever heard. If one wants to make a snatch here and another snatch there into a crazy quilt, and call that Scripture, it is all right' but it is not Scripture. In that way one can prove that the best thing for a man to do is to hang himself at once.

"Judas went out and hanged himself' Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might' What thou doest, do quickly." (Laugther and applause) You can teach anything that way. In all the ages of the world God has shown his mercy to men. He has told us that the angels failed in their attempt. If the words spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape? (Applause) In all ages God has given men opportunity. Our first parents had their chance. It was simply a question of obedient faith in God. He tells us that nobody is saved except those who have had an opportunity for believing in Christ.

That is a strange thing. What about Abel, Abraham and Noah?

In all ages salvation has been provided. Paul tells us in the first chapter of Romans of the heathen world. "They are simply without excuse." If without excuse they have had a chance. There is no need of my making any excuse for them, or my brother either. Moreover, the standard of salvation has been in all ages according to the condition of each. I grant Adam had not all the knowledge we have. There is an evolution in progress, and the conditions and opportunities are changing.

When Cornelius was converted, and the council was called at Jerusalem to discuss the case, the only conditions which were prescribed to the Gentiles who became converts were that they "should abstain from things strangled, and from fornication and from blood." Was that a very high standard to set for Christian living? None of us today would think it so, but it was the condition appropriate to that time.


Cornelius was a heathen, but he was a lover of God, and God heard his prayers and blessed him, and sent Peter to convey to him the privileges of Christianity.

What would have become of Cornelius if Peter had not taken the message God was sending through him? Would he have been lost? Assuredly not.

What is the use of saying we must know the complete purpose of God to be saved? In all ages the man who has had faith in God is saved. And by faith I mean that we believe and love and obey God. That is what the apostle says when he says "Without faith it is impossible to please God."

God can save every heathen on the face of this earth on that basis. He knows whether they have the willing spirit or not. It is not necessary that one shall know the will of the Lord Jesus in every particular; but it is necessary that some test shall manifest the obedience of the individual. "To obey is better than sacrifice."

That has made it possible for the entire human race who have reached years of accountability to fulfill the will of God.

Why do we send missionaries to heathendom? Because Jesus Christ said so. That is all I know about, and that is all anybody knows about it. I am glad that our brother made this noble confession and concession, that if we in Allegheny do not profit by our opportunities we shall not have any future [HG117] opportunity. If any of you think that this next chance for a thousand years after Christ comes is to be your portion, you will miss it. My brother seems to think that the full and complete revelation of God must be made in order to give the world a fair chance, and that is to be in the millennium; but he has fixed the funniest kind of millennium I ever heard of.

The only millennium in the Scriptures is in the 20th chapter of Revelation, and there it merely tells of the reign of eminent saints and martyrs, and the remaining in death of all the rest of mankind. His idea of a millennium, with saints and sinners, joy and despair, with a writhing, wriggling mass of two hundred and fifty thousand millions on earth, will be a peculiar one indeed. It is not taught in the Scriptures, and I absolutely doubt the whole presentation of a millennium. (Loud applause) This whole millennium nonsense, I think, is a piece of foolishness we would best dismiss first as last. It is not probation at all; devil chained, sin gone, all temptation removed, a picnic excursion all 'round indeed it will be. What balmy breezes will waft over everybody when such a condition is attained by the world, according to our brother's picture! (Prolonged applause)


Pastor Russell concluded the debate for the day in the following manner: When we come to that topic we shall have something to say about the millennium that will perhaps not be so easy to dispose of. It will come in its appropriate time. I want now to call your attention to some of his own texts of Scriptures. Our brother tells us practically that we would not need a savior at all.

Everybody got saved, if the Lord Jesus Christ never came into the world, and had never died, and though it is declared that there is no salvation outside of him. I say, and the Scriptures declare, that salvation is only attainable through Jesus Christ the Redeemer. What ever anybody may get outside of him, they cannot get salvation. Ignorance never saved any man, and it never will.

It is a very popular thought to consider the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, and everybody sailing into heaven of some kind, except the worst kind of criminals; but that is far from the scriptural idea. The scriptures lay down an explicit statement as to the conditions of acceptance with God, and these are all based upon faith in Jesus Christ Himself as the only way to salvation and eternal happiness. The evolution theory suggests that we are getting along amazingly well, that we started out as monkeys, or some lower form of existence, and if God will only keep his hands off we will yet become gods.

The scripture says there was a fall, and that sin brought death, and that Christ died for our sins, and that faith in Him and in His blood is the only condition of reconciliation with God' "Neither is their salvation in any other." We want to stick to the word of God. We agree that Cornelius was a good man; he built a synagogue; he showed his good feeling toward God, but was he a Jew? No. Then he was a stranger, an alien, a foreigner, without God, having no hope, according to the apostle, no matter how good he was. Why then, did God send Peter?

Because the appropriate time had come. Not until after Christ had died, not until after God's covenant with Israel had come to an end could a Gentile be received as such into divine favor.


Seventy symbolical weeks of favor had been promised to the Jews – according to Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 9); in the middle of the last week (of seven years) Messiah was to be cut off, leaving three and a half years of favor still remaining to the Jews, during which the Lord instructed the apostles not to go outside of Judea; but immediately at the close of that period favor could go to the nations about, and Cornelius, as a faithful and earnest seeker after God, was favored of the Lord with the first privileges as a Gentile.

And what was the message God gave him? "Send unto Peter and when he shall come he shall tell thee words, whereby thou and thy house shall be saved!" He was not saved without these words! (Loud applause) And when Peter came he preached Christ and Him crucified. He did not shake hands with Cornelius and say, "How are you Cornelius? You have been saved all this time and didn't know it!" (Laugther and applause) Cornelius had to believe what everybody must believe in order to become a Christian, that Jesus Christ died for his sins, and rose again for his justification, because there is no other name given under heaven whereby we may be saved.

The brother quoted another text. "God will have all men to be saved," but he didn't give the remainder of the statement' " and to come to a knowledge of the truth." How will the heathen come to a knowledge of the truth? They cannot come to it in sheol, where there is neither 'wisdom, device nor knowledge' of the truth, which shall be presented to them when they have been awakened from their sleeping condition in sheol, according to the words of the Lord, "The hour is coming when all that are in the grave shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth' "' come [HG118] forth to have testified to them that Christ died for them, because by that time the seed of Abraham will be completed and the blessing of the Lord shall come upon the whole earth.

Our brother has sneered at the millennial age, but we are on the side of the prophets, and they declare that the time is coming when the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep, and none shall need say unto his neighbor, know the Lord, for all shall know Him, from the least unto the greatest, saith the Lord. (Loud applause)