Peoples Pulpit Volume 1, Number 3



News of the Boston revival of religious interest has spread far and wide. Lovers of God and lovers of humanity must be deeply interested in a movement which has taken so great a hold of so large a number of intelligent people. To the thoughtful it shows what should never have been disputed, namely that notwithstanding the fact that we are a fallen race, "Prone to sin as the sparks to fly upward," nevertheless there is still remaining in us something of the character of our Creator, in whose image our father Adam was made. The fall affected some of us from the one standpoint and some from another; but left us, as a whole, in that undone condition from which we cannot extricate ourselves, because it is a part of our human nature. As the Scriptures declare, "We were born in sin and shapen in iniquity, in sin did our mothers conceive us." If every trace of the Divine likeness had been obliterated from our hearts and heads, there would be nothing left upon which truth and grace might operate. We are glad that we have been forced to vacate the thought of "total depravity," once inculcated as the essence of our orthodoxy. The fact that we are not "totally depraved" is the mainspring of hope and endeavor on behalf of mankind on the part of God and those who have enlisted on his side in the warfare against Sin and Satan.

Possibly the revival preaching did not include as much of a reference to Christ crucified as some of us could have wished; but it certainly did not ignore this basic feature of salvation. In any event, to have awakened thinking minds to the fact that the things of eternity are worthy of more time and thought and endeavor than the things of this present life this alone is a great achievement, and the engineers of the revival movement deserve considerable credit from this standpoint alone.

But already we hear protests from various quarters to the effect that revival influences are not permanent; that those thus reached almost as quickly fall away, and that it is more difficult than ever to reach them again. But admitting that this has been the general record of revivals, we hold that it is no reason why we should complain and sit idly by and watch the slipping and sliding away of those who for a time at least have taken a stand for righteousness, for God, for manhood, for Christ. Rather, Christian people should take such steps as will assist these multitudes who have indicated their desire to henceforth walk in the ways of righteousness. Our Christian knowledge should be put at their disposal, that they might thus be enabled to stand. [HGL44]


Our Lord, the great Teacher, gives us the key to the situation. In the parable of the sower he explains to us that men's hearts have much to do with their reception of the Truth. It is not enough that we have seed and ground and that the seed be properly planted. The ground must be of the proper kind and, if certain elements be lacking, these should be supplied, or weeds eradicated, in order to have the proper yield.

Without controverting the thought that our Lord referred to different classes of hearts and intended to show by this parable that some of them could not possibly be expected to bring forth the fruitage desired in this Gospel Age, we may safely apply the parable to Boston and vicinity, as though all those reached by the revival belong to the stony ground, the thorny ground and the good ground classes of the parable. Those of shallow soil must, perforce, wither away, because they have not a sufficiency of depth of character to bring forth the fruitage of this Gospel Age. Those now called by Divine grace, who will "make their calling and election sure," must be "able to stand" trials and persecutions. Such as cannot endure these are in the parable represented as stony-ground hearers, who at first rejoice, but because of their shallowness the Truth perishes with them as they are exposed to trials and persecutions on its account. The thorny ground is rich and might bring forth as largely as any of the good ground thirty, sixty or a hundred fold but the thorns are there and must be combated, must be uprooted. These thorns, as our Lord explains, do not represent gambling, intoxication, and various atrocious wrongs, but rather, as he explained, they symbolize in the parable the cares of the present life and the deceitfulness of riches. Matt. 13:22


The new convert needs instruction in the Word of God in the hopes and promises therein set forth. As St. Peter declares, God has "given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that we might become partakers of the Divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through selfish desire." We urge, therefore, upon all God's people, ministers and laymen, that they seek to indoctrinate the new converts not with sectarianism, which has proved unsatisfactory to everybody, almost to the degree of nausea, but with the doctrine (teaching) of Christ, the doctrine of the Apostles and Prophets the doctrine of the Bible pure and simple. To the extent that we give them these unadulterated, we communicate to them "The power of God unto salvation," able to keep them from falling.

Accordingly we should introduce them to "Studies in the Scriptures," that they may thus be fortified, prepared, for the assaults of the world, the flesh and the Adversary, which are sure to come upon them. We must show them what the Apostle refers to as "the prize of our high calling in Christ." We must explain to them the glorious privilege that is ours, of becoming members of the "elect" Church the "Bride, the Lamb's Wife." (Rev. 21:9) We must tell them of the glorious Kingdom in which our Lord promised that his faithful should share, saying, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne" (Rev. 3:21), and "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." We must get them to pray for this Kingdom as our Lord taught us, "Pray ye, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is done in heaven." Matt. 6:10

To the extent that we can get these doctrines fed into the minds and hearts of new converts we will be successful in supplying them with a weed destroyer that will kill the seeds of the thorns and thistles of earthly ambitions and pleasures, because only as those ambitions perish can "the good seed of the Kingdom" flourish, and the heart be fully enlisted in the things of the Kingdom the "things not seen as yet." Only those who obtain the opening of the eyes of their understanding to the wonderful truths of the Divine Word can have the right appreciation of the "length and breadth and height and depth of the love of God, which passeth all understanding." (Eph. 3:19) And only such can appreciate "the things which the natural eye hath not seen and the ear hath not heard, the things which God hath in reservation for them that love him."

These love God more than they love houses or lands or parents or children or anything more than they love themselves so that they are willing to lay down their lives in his service. To so many as we shall be able to communicate these glorious hopes and promises to these we may be sure the blessings of the revival will not be temporary, but permanent, glorious!


We must hope that some of those who have been induced by this revival to turn over a "new leaf" are really "hungering and thirsting for righteousness"; for only to such is the promise, "They shall be filled." To these hungry ones food must be supplied or they will become faint by the way, if, indeed, they do not perish. The Apostle suggests that they need first "The sincere milk of the Word, that they may grow thereby." This milk of the Truth consists of the first doctrines of Christ; how that we were all sinners, born such, inheriting imperfection, mental, moral and physical, under father Adam's death sentence. (Rom. 5:12) They must realize the meaning of this alienation from the Father, the unfitness for the heavenly Kingdom, the need of the Savior to die on our behalf as our Redeemer, and that through the merit of his sacrifice we are permitted to return to Divine fellowship. They must learn that this is what the Apostle calls justification by faith a heavenly harmony with God, based upon a sinless will, however imperfectly we may be able to control our mortal flesh. We may rest in the assurance that in the Father's sight the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.

After digesting this milk and rejoicing in the reconciliation to the Father, the new beginners were invited to take another step to consecrate themselves their wills, minds, bodies, time, influence, money, talents, to God, to Christ, to the service of the Truth and righteousness. Properly enough such a sacrifice calls for a reason. Why should we do this? What is to be gained? The reply is that during this Gospel Age the heavenly Father is seeking a "little flock" of the same character likeness as His Son, our Redeemer. [HGL45]


The Bible, and it alone, explains certain phenomena, and all of the Bible explanations, although written, some of them centuries apart, are in most perfect accord. Thus in Genesis the Bible tells us respecting Satan's deflection, and the book of Revelation, written more than three thousand years later, tells us of his binding for a thousand years, of Messiah's reign and Satan's ultimate destruction. Isaiah and Ezekiel tell us of his being at one time in full harmony with God, and that then he was the "covering cherub," glorious, grand, beautiful, and that his name was Lucifer, which signifies the Morning Star.

All of the angelic, heavenly hosts are termed stars, bright ones; but Lucifer, being of a higher order, was styled the Morning Star, the Brightest Star. It was at that time, while in Divine favor, that Satan permitted the lodgment in his mind of a disloyal thought of how, indirectly, by being in higher responsibility, he could work some wonders and do some things better than the Almighty. He craved the opportunity to make a demonstration of what he could do. But the Scriptures declare that, first of all, he said this merely in his heart and uttered it not. "He said in his heart, I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God (still farther above his angelic associates), I will be as the Most High" a ruler.


Never had there been sin in heaven. Satan was the first of all its inhabitants to cherish, to entertain, a rebellious thought and to bring it to a consummation. He held the thought in abeyance until the opportunity afforded, and God Himself afforded the opportunity, with full knowledge of the consequences, and with the desire that this test of the entire heavenly host, and of a human race as well, should be effected, because God seeketh not the worship of constraint, but "seeketh such for worshipers as worship Him in spirit and in truth," voluntarily, joyfully.

It was when Satan beheld our first parents, in the image and likeness of God, yet not spirit but flesh, earthly, that he perceived the opportunity of gaining the coveted power for an empire, separate from that of Jehovah. In the first pair the Adversary beheld a new thing, a creature of Godlike qualities and possessed of the power to propagate his own species. Satan realized that the conquest of this pair and the bringing of them into subjection to himself would signify the capture of a world full of people eventually that the enslavement of the parents would signify the enslavement eventually of the race.


We cannot deny that Satan's plans were logical and that he has carried them out with great success so that the Scriptures declare him "the Prince of this world" (John 14:30); and again, "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4). Nevertheless, his victory was not so great a one as he doubtless expected it to be. No doubt he expected that he was capturing an immortal race. Quite probably he believed the falsehood he told mother Eve, when he contradicted the Word of God that sin, that disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit, would bring upon them the penalty of death, "dying thou shalt die."

Satan's charge was that God had misrepresented the facts for the purpose of holding His creatures in mental slavery to Himself; that He did not wish them to be wise, therefore He forbade the eating of this particular kind of fruit and declared the penalty of death for the transgression of His Law. "I, Satan, assure you that you need not be afraid of the fruit; I assure you that it will do you good, and that you will not surely die from the eating of it."

Alas! Mother Eve believed the Adversary and disbelieved her God, and then enticed her husband, still thinking, no doubt, that she would not die and that the serpent had told her the truth and that God had been the deceiver. St. Paul tells us that father Adam knew better and ate the fruit, knowing that it would cause his death, willing thus to disobey in order to maintain the fellowship of his wife, whose life, he realized, was already forfeited.

When the Divine sentence began to go into execution, when our first parents were driven out of Eden to battle with the thorns and thistles until they should return to the dust, no doubt Satan was disappointed. He would rather be the Prince of a noble, living family of angels or of humans than the Emperor of a weak and dying race. However, from that day to the present time he has been fighting upon the same line; he has been contending with mankind that the Word of God is false when it declares that "the wages of sin is death," and that "the soul that sinneth it shall die." From that day to this he has been using this falsehood to the injury of our race, and surely he has succeeded wonderfully.

Today, not only in heathen lands, but amongst the most civilized, it is freely believed (and by many Christians considered Scriptural to believe the nonsensical) that a dead man is more alive than before he died. People of good, sound reasoning faculties on ordinary subjects seem to be "hoodooed" by this falsehood of Satan, "ye shall not surely die." So true is this, that it seems not inconsistent to them to say that a man hit over the head with a stick and knocked senseless knows nothing, but a man hit over the head harder and killed, knows everything.


It was sometime after the fall of Satan and the fall of man that the Lord permitted the great test to come upon the angels of heaven, under which test a host of them fell into sin, disobedience, etc., and since then are known in the Scriptures as the fallen angels, and as devils more properly demons. These fallen angels, demons, are under Satan as their great Prince and they have been his active agents for long centuries in deceiving mankind and opposing the Divine Program.


No less an authority than our great Lord and Redeemer tells us that Satan is a murderer and a liar. He declares that "He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth; when he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own, for he is the father of lies" (John 8:44). It is well that we keep this Divine testimony in our minds. It is well that we note just what the first great lie was, namely, Satan's [HGL46] misrepresentation, saying, "Ye shall not surely die." It is important that we notice this, because so thoroughly has Satan accomplished his deceptive work that practically everybody, heathen and civilized, accepts Satan's version of the matter and discredits that of the Almighty.

Let us notice that Satan is a murderer; that he murdered Father Adam and Mother Eve, and that his lie is still murdering our race, under the just laws of heredity. The error of believing Satan instead of God has gotten many into the confused situation of disclaiming that God proposed that man should live forever on earth in a Paradise, and, as his family would increase and continue in harmony with His wise regulations, the boundaries of his Paradise would be enlarged and be a Paradise filled with the knowledge of God and the home of a perfect humanity, in accord with God, privileged to maintain everlasting life here. And, says this theory, by Satan's lie and our first parents' fall, we die and by dying become more alive and some of us go to heaven and the mass to some eternal, fiery hell, of which we have no knowledge.


(Rom. 6:23)

God, while permitting Satan and sin and depravity and death to take their course, has not been idle. He has had, and still has, a great plan for human salvation a plan for recovering man from sin and from death and from all of his fallen conditions, a plan of restitution to human perfection, a plan by which the Seed of the woman shall yet, literally, crush the Serpent's head, and undo Satan's great original misdeed recover man from his murdered condition and from his fallen estate to all that he had at first (plus the knowledge and experiences of the present life and plus the experience incidental to his uplift) during the reign of Messiah, for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come."

The Scriptures clearly show us that all of this recovery is to be accomplished through the merit of Jesus' sacrifice – "the just for the unjust." That the work has not yet begun is evident. We are still living under the reign of sin and death. The Messianic Kingdom must come in power and great glory and be established, the Scriptures tell us, in a great time of trouble. Then the earth will be made to blossom as the rose, and the wilderness and the solitary places will be made glad, and all mankind will receive Divine blessing and opportunity to return to Divine favor and eternal life as human beings. And the willfully disobedient and negligent of those opportunities will die the Second Death, from which there will be no recovery, no resurrection, no hope.


(1 Cor. 6:2)

These great blessings of restitution, for which Israel and the whole world are waiting, cannot be brought about until first the special salvation of a special class, the salvation of the very elect not to human nature, but to a heavenly nature, as the Bride of Christ shall be accomplished. The selecting of these has progressed for nearly nineteen centuries and, apparently, is about complete. The Divine blessing and work then to be inaugurated will be restitution to earthly nature and perfection- "to the Jew first." Rom. 1:16; 2:9, 10.


During all these centuries, while Satan has been the Prince or ruler amongst the children of this world, and while he has blinded them with his sophistries and falsehoods, he has also done another work for the saintly few now being called to the heavenly places. For these he has, so to speak, turned a polishing grindstone to prepare them for the riches of the heavenly glory as New Creatures, as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord. Quite unwittingly, we may be sure, he has served the Creator's purposes and helped to prepare, through trials, this class for the glorious things which God has in reservation for those that love Him.


St. Paul declares of Satan, "We are not ignorant of his devices," and he tells us that Satan and his servants transform themselves into servants of righteousness, etc. We see this principle in operation as we read Church history. Satan, all through this Age, has sought to pervert Christian hopes and distort Christian doctrines by presenting counterfeits of Bible truths. Thus, for instance, the Scriptures tell us that eventually the Church, "a little flock," will be associated with Messiah in His Kingdom of glory, to reign a thousand years. It was Satan's method to counterfeit this hope, to suggest to men the establishment of an earthly Kingdom with an earthly little flock, an earthly glory, an earthly reign. This was set forth as the fulfillment of the second Psalm.

And when later as some as Satan's dupes began to get free from some of his snares, he became their leader in an opposite direction, called them Reformers and led them to claim that all the civilized kingdoms of the earth are the kingdoms of Christ. This is the status of affairs today. The world in general believes that Christ's Kingdom has come, even though they are still praying, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Satan has led them away from careful attention to making their own calling and election sure by Christian character development, into the various reform movements of the world, whose trial time has not yet come. Thus Christians of all denominations have been bewildered, confused by the artful wiles of our enemy.

Now, however, as the morning of the New Dispensation dawns, our eyes of understanding are opening. We perceive that our Adversary has but a short time until he must be bound for a thousand years; that the Messianic Kingdom must prevail that all the families of the earth may be blessed through the Seed of Abraham. Finally, at the close of that reign of righteousness, the Scriptures declare, Satan shall be destroyed.

The Church is the Body of Christ, of Messiah. Hence the Apostle's words of our text apply to the Church in glory- "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."

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