Allegheny Pa

The same attention and careful consideration manifested at the previous meetings held by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract society, in Allegheny Carnegie hall, was exhibited again yesterday, when C T Russell gave the third lecture upon his "Chart of the Ages." Whatever private opinions may be entertained by his auditors, they were free [HGL86] to acknowledge the lucidity and forcefulness of the speaker's utterances, and the apparently complete Scriptural backing presented in support of his somewhat extraordinary views.

At the close of yesterday's discourse it was announced that a second series of chart talks would be given by the same man upon other features of the "way of salvation made plain," beginning February 8 and continuing for three Sundays, at 3 pm


The subject yesterday afternoon was "Election and Free Grace Harmonized," and the text was "Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God, our Savior, through sanctification of the spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:1-2). The speaker called attention to the dissimilar views of the character of God's plan, as represented in the theological tenets held by the great bodies of Christian believers, on the point of the afternoon subject.

He intimated that the Christian world was about equally divided between election and free grace. Upon the one side, the Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Baptists clung with tenacity to the former, while on the other hand the various bodies of Methodism represented the latter view, all finding in the Scriptures much to support their claims and views of God's work, and yet at total variance each with the other side, as regards an opposite presentation.


He asserted that the Scriptures were thoroughly harmonizable, and that if his auditors would look with him into the subject, without prejudice in favor of former opinions and views, he would endeavor to draw the lines of harmony together.

Using his chart to illustrate the various points, the speaker referred to the manifestations of favor shown by the Creator to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and declared that these were exclusive recipients of God's grace during the term of their several lives, and that a similar exclusiveness of favor was exhibited to Jacob's 12 sons, after his death, and to their descendants, constituting the 12 tribes of Israel. Upon these God showered great blessings and apparently overlooked and ignored all the rest of mankind.

In dealing with Abraham there was no intimation that the blessing conferred upon him was intended for others contemporary with him, and even his relatives were omitted from God's expressions of special interest at the time.


The same course of dealing was evidenced toward Isaac and Jacob, and of God's dealing with the Jews as a nation. The prophet Amos was referred to, who declared, speaking for Jehovah, and addressing the nation, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth."

Answering a hypothetical question, as to the reason for thus arbitrarily electing certain individuals and classes and ignoring others, the speaker called attention to the promise made originally to Abraham, when God showed his special interest in him, "In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." God was choosing the individuals whom he preferred to have associated with the work represented in the promise.

The Jewish nation lived in constant hope of the fulfillment of the promise in them as a nation, and at various times, as their kings attained power they looked for the carrying out of the promise, and the co-operation of the people of the nation in its fulfillment. That these were disappointed in their expectations did not signify any failure of the divine plan, for the Lord knew His work and had His purposes ordained from the beginning.


The real fulfiller of the promise, Jesus Christ, was unrecognized by the majority of the Jewish nation because of his meekness, lowliness and the altogether unlooked-for character of his work. Because of the failure to recognize him, the majority of the nation were cast off from special favor; but nevertheless those individuals who had previously shown their faithfulness to the Lord were acknowledged as a part of that class who were specially dealt with as elect ones.

The speaker drew attention to the fact that none of those who were special recipients of God's favors previous to the first advent of Jesus Christ were elected to heaven. On the contrary, there were no promises of a heavenly blessing granted to any. The declaration made to Abraham was, "Look now, from the north to the south, the east to the west, all the land that thou seest to thee will I give it, and to thy seed after thee," but comparing this with the declaration of the martyr Stephen, the speaker suggested that Abraham had not yet gotten that blessing, for Stephen declared, "Abraham received none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on."


The inference drawn was that the elected class of the past were to enjoy earthly blessings; they were to receive a paradisaic reward, a restoration to human perfection, and the blessings of the perfect man, so that eventually the prophet's declaration might be fulfilled, "They shall sit, every man under his own vine and fig tree, with none to molest or make them afraid."

But the speaker pointed out that prior to such work being accomplished a further elective work was to progress, a work begun when the Lord sent his disciples forth after his resurrection, declaring to them, "Go and make disciples of all nations," and giving them a message of heavenly salvation to preach such a message as had not been previously declared, as expressed by the apostle Paul, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be preached by our Lord?"

The special feature of the heavenly blessing was referred to as being expressed by Peter in the words, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be made partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

These promises have been made to all in the world who "have ears to hear, and will hear." Not all have such hearing ears, because the Lord declared, "No man cometh unto me [HGL87] except the Father which sent me draw him." Those who do hear are declared by the Scriptures to be "a little flock, to whom it is the Father's good pleasure to give the kingdom," and this company, "the church, whose names are written in heaven," are the elect of this Gospel age.

A nucleus for this class was found in the Jewish nation when Christ preached his kingdom message to them they were "Israelites indeed," and the apostle John referring to them said, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not, but to as many as received him to them gave he power to become sons of God."

It was but a remnant of the chosen people, because as a whole they failed to recognize Christ, and so God turned to the Gentiles to complete the class he wished to elect to become the "sons of God."


James' words were referred to, "God did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name," and the words "take out" were shown to have the significance of selection or election. And this election was manifest not in the taking out of individuals arbitrarily, as Abraham and his descendants were elected, but by granting special favors of knowledge and light to certain parts of the world. The speaker contrasted the darkness of India and Africa with the great opportunities and advantages throughout Europe and America, and called attention to God's arbitrariness in sending his apostles to the latter countries rather than to the former. He claimed that India and China were greater centers of learning, and more advanced in the civilization of the days of Paul and Peter, than western countries, but to the latter God specially directed the gospel message, hindering the apostles when they "essayed to go into Asia," and revealing to Paul in a vision the will of God that he should go into Macedonia, and thus throughout Europe, with the favor of the message of special grace of the present time.


To the gospel of Christ, notwithstanding encrustations of error, with which it has frequently been surrounded, the speaker gave the credit for the marvelous increase in knowledge, and the various advantages of civilization. The people were not to be credited with being more worthy, noble or great, so that the truths of God's word should reach them first, but God's elective work has been in progress, and He has thus been manifesting His own direction of the matter as to which classes of people in the world shall receive the most favorable opportunities.

The speaker combated the theory that the world in general has had an opportunity to know God's will. The prophet's words were quoted, "Darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people." The prayer taught the disciples, "Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven," was shown to be still unfulfilled, for even in the most enlightened parts of the world, no one could say truthfully that righteousness prevails to such an extent that any comparison could be made between such a condition there and in heaven itself.


Taking up the query as to the subject of the election, the speaker compared the object of electing members of congress. Not all were elected presumably not one within hearing of his voice was a member of congress, but being thus non-elect did not prove an injury. Such an election to congress implies a work to be done by congress on behalf of the people; and so in God's election; a great promise had been made to Abraham that his seed should bless all the families of the earth; He purposed to elect that seed for the blessing of mankind in general. Although the seed was looked for in Isaac, and in Jacob, and in various sons of Israel, no fulfillment was manifest until Christ came. But when He came He brought no general blessing to mankind He died for all, according to the Scriptures, but the blessing is still delayed. And the speaker eloquently pointed out that the delay was in order that the church of Christ should constitute with Him the great seed of Abraham for the fulfillment of the promise.


To substantiate this thought the Apostle Paul was quoted, from Galatians, 3:16, 29: "He saith not, And to seeds, as of many, but to one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. . . and if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." The church, being elected during the gospel age, was then, according to this scripture, a part of the seed, and in order to perfect her and make her ready for the great honor of being associated with the blessing of the world it was necessary that she should be polished and fitted by various trying experiences and disciplines of the present time. To all who had the ears to hear, and who would obey when they had heard, and follow in the footsteps of Christ their Lord, a place was reserved in the body of Christ, the seed of Abraham, the church of God. The "ancient worthies," who shared in the favor of God prior to the coming of Christ, were not called to this high and heavenly calling, because there could be no such favor until after the head of the body had come, and so it was that no heavenly promises were given to Abraham and others up to the time of the first advent.


On the contrary, the speaker found scriptural statements to declare that they should be princes in the earth, and rule under the church, the heavenly kingdom. Psalm 45:16; Heb. 11:39, 40

When this elective work is completed, and the foreordained number found, which shall become the members of the seed-class for the world's blessing, then the election shall cease, and the work to be accomplished by such a class shall begin. This work was assigned to the future period called the millennial age, in which righteousness is to rule, and the principles of equity and justice to be established by the glorified Seed Christ, head and body. The purpose of the millennial age being to bless all the families of the earth, the great instigator of evil in the present time, Satan, is to be bound for the thousand years, that he may deceive the [HGL88] nations no more. Then will be fulfilled the Lord's utterance, "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me."

Here was a contrast of the present age the Lord declared, "No man cometh unto me except the Father draw him," but in the Millennium the Son shall draw all mankind. This is not because the Father has no power to draw all men now, but because He wills not to do so, purposing rather to elect a limited number for the special work of drawing all later.

The speaker discussed a number of Biblical statements, used by those favoring the doctrine of free grace, and pointed out their thorough appropriateness during the future age of general blessing. In particular the 22d chapter of Revelation was referred to, and the statement, "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come; and whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely." It was shown that this was a symbolical picture, representing the completion of the church, and glorification with her Lord, Jesus Christ, who thus shall accept the church as His bride.


The speaker insisted that there is no bride in existence as yet that the most the Scriptures admit of her now is that she is a "chaste virgin, espoused unto one husband, even Christ," and that the nuptial feast, proclaiming the complete union, will not take place until the church is resurrected in glory. Now, in the present time, instead of the river of water of life flowing freely, there is no general channel of truth open to mankind in general, "pure as crystal," from which all may drink. The waters of truth have been largely befouled, and Satan's evil influence has hindered the world from knowing of the source of supply. In the "little flock" who accept the Lord as their guide, the Scriptures declare that the truth is in them as wells of water, springing up into everlasting life. When these well-springs come together, as the one glorified church, and begin to let flow their united supply of truth, then the river shall have begun its course, for the refreshment and comfort of all.


Again, according to the Scriptures, the individual members of the church of Christ are little candles, set to lighten in their own little sphere of influence; but when the kingdom shall have been established, and those who now are said to be candles have been changed, to be with their Lord, the figure also changes, and the Scriptures say, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." Then it is that "the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his beams." While the present time of evil, and general darkness and uncertainty regarding God's purposes, is likened to a night, that future time will be the full day, in which the sun shall shine gloriously, for all, and those who walk in the day shall not stumble or fall. Nevertheless, the speaker declared, as there are some today who having ears to hear the message of special grace now, and refuse to obey their call, also in that time of general blessing there will be some who will fail to appreciate the gracious purpose of God, and will be cut off from divine favor- "punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." All, therefore, who have knowledge of God's way in the present time were urged to "make their calling and election sure," in accordance with the drawing of the Father's holy spirit.

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