June 14, 1908



Waynesburg, Pa., June 14 Pastor Russell delivered his anti-infidel discourse, "To Hell and Back," at the Opera House here today to a large audience. We report his evening discourse from the text, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." (Deut. 33:27) He said:

Whoever delves sufficiently into the Word of God, and, with an honest mind, weighs its precepts and promises, will be fortified against the growing spirit of higher criticism, new theology and evolution. Such will see in our text a beautiful poetic sentiment, skillfully adapted to our interests as a fallen race. And so far from ascribing these words of golden sentiment to a member of our race only a short remove from a monkey, he will, on the contrary, discern that such a noble sentiment and lofty expression could be copied to advantage, but could not be improved upon by the loftiest intellects of this, our boasted brain age. Indeed, the peculiarity of the poetry of the Bible is this wonderful adaptation to the heart interests of every class to which it is addressed. The merit of Shakespeare's poetry lies in the fact that it faithfully interprets human nature; yet Shakespeare had the Bible for one of his text books; and that he used it to a considerable degree is evidenced by his copying sometimes its style and sometimes its phraseology.

Many, indeed, admire Shakespeare's writings who do not admire the Scriptures; partly because they are ignorant of the latter and partly because they have not yet come to that condition of mentality, ripeness and experience which would enable them to partly appreciate the beauty and poetry of the Bible. Ignorance of the Bible is largely the result of its misrepresentation through the false doctrines and creeds formulated during the Dark Ages, and since under the same influences. Our adversary had much to do with the blinding of the minds of those who formulated those errors, as is absolutely proved by the records of their wicked persecutions committed in the name of God and religion and Christian love. Since the Bible is the handbook of Christianity every reflection against the latter attaches to the former; and hence we may see that the world's failure to be interested in Bible study is largely owing to misrepresentations of God's character and plan, erroneously supposed to have proceeded from the Word of God.


We remarked a moment ago that the majority of mankind never reached that degree of development in life experience which would enable them fully to appreciate the grandeur of some of the expressions of the Bible; as, for instance, of our text. By this we do not mean that such lack intelligence and education. On the contrary, some of the best educated are undeveloped in this direction, and some of the most illiterate are highly developed in the power of such an appreciation. The Apostle Paul tells us that mankind as a whole is a groaning creation, travailing in pain together and waiting for deliverance at the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His Millennial Kingdom. Rom. 8:19-22

But this groaning creation understands very imperfectly its real situation. It recognizes that something is wrong; that the world is and for centuries has been under the "reign [HGL432] of sin and death." It perceives that with "longings infinite" the course of human life is short; that its environment is unfavorable for happiness, mental or physical; and it determines that time must not be lost in speculating respecting the why and wherefore of the situation; but that if any pleasure is to be gained no time is to be lost in starting in its pursuit.

Hence we see the whole world thinking, planning and chasing after happiness, some by one road, some by another, but all with the one end in view, the attainment of something called pleasure, which will be an offset to and an antidote for the aches, pains, sorrows, trials and disappointments common to the world in general.

Remarkably few people are philosophical. Scarcely any sit down to count the cost of pleasure or of wealth; otherwise they would quickly discern with the wise man of old that "all is vanity." They would see that the battle for wealth brings victory for but the few, and that by the time victory is gained health and energy are largely gone and one foot is partly in the grave. They would perceive that a race for name and for fame is sure to bring more or less of opposition from others running in the same race, and that even the few who attain find the object but a gorgeous bubble which perishes in the grasping. Even the more humble ambitions for home and peace and love and happiness in the vast majority of cases result disastrously.

And sometimes a second or a third repetition of the endeavor proves equally unfruitful. The Bible, however, presents a philosophy concerning the present life and the one that is to come which only the few are willing to accept without first "trying their luck," as already set forth, and proving to themselves the truth of the Scriptural statement that all earthly ambitions are vanity. The formation of hopes and aims are vanity and bring no satisfying reward; or if the reward be gained it is usually at an equivalent or greater cost. Only by such as have learned to philosophize may the voice of the Lord through the Bible be heard, promising to heal the broken heart with a heavenly balm.


It was our Lord who declared that it was his mission to bind up the broken hearted, and not to break the hearts of men. In harmony with this he said: "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest;" Come unto me, all ye who have been vainly striving for rest, for happiness, for peace, for love, for joy, and "I will give you rest;" "Ye shall find rest unto your souls;" My peace I give unto you, yet not as the world giveth peace; "Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid;" "Let the peace of God which passeth all understanding rule in your hearts." Matt. 11:28; John 14:1, 27; Philip. 4:7

To the few of philosophical mind who can learn by observation and to the many who by experience with sorrow and trouble and heartache and tears are broken-hearted to these the teaching of God's Word is precious, different from the teachings of all the heathen Bibles. In none other is divine sympathy divinely portrayed, in none other is a God of love and compassion revealed, as expressed briefly in the declaration, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life" as the holy angels possessed and enjoyed in harmony with God and all His gracious provision for those who come into a knowledge of His goodness and love, and who obey Him.

Note the contrast between the erroneous teachings of the "dark ages" respecting an angry God viciously delighted in the torture of 999 out of every thousand of his creatures and the compassionate, loving, tender, gracious, caressing expression of the Bible itself in which we read, "For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to loose them that are appointed to death." Psa. 102:19, 20


While the Scriptures most explicitly tell us of the times of refreshing which shall come to the world in general at the Second Advent of our Lord and of the times of restitution which shall then be inaugurated; and while these have been in a large measure the theme of all the holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19, 21), nevertheless the great majority of the Scriptures, especially of the New Testament, are addressed to the Elect Church, the Christ, the Seed of Abraham, which is now being selected. These alone now have the ear to hear the divine message. The remainder of the world must wait for the dawning of the new dispensation, in which the Lord assures us that all the blind eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears will be unstopped. (Isa. 35:5) But as our Lord said to some in his day, so it is still true that a special blessing has been provided in connection with this election for all who have the ear to hear, "Blessed are your ears for they hear; and your eyes, for they see." (Matt. 13:16) True, our responsibility is increased in proportion as we see and hear, likewise our joys, our pleasures and our possibilities as respecting the glorious things to which we are now being called by divine grace.

It is to this spiritual Seed of Abraham, the Elect, the Anointed Messiah class (Gal. 3:29), that our text has special application. It is pleasant indeed for us to know of God's sympathetic love for the world, and of the attestations of His provision that ultimately every knee shall bow and every tongue confess and every member of the race have the fullest opportunity of coming to a clear knowledge of the truth and to a full harmony with God. Rom. 14:11; 1 Tim. 2:3, 4

But in the meantime while Satan is not bound, while sin still prevails, while the Church is still being presented as living sacrifices, and while faith is still requisite, how precious to these is the divine promise of our text and many others like it. The everlasting God is their refuge; and underneath them are the everlasting arms. Well has the poet said: "Ah, whither could we flee for aid when tempted, desolate, dismayed!" How wonderful that these who were children of wrath even as others, under a death sentence with the remainder of the world, how wonderful that the eternal God has adopted these into His family, made them partakers of His Holy Spirit, crowned them with His loving kindnesses, prepared for them joint-heirship with Jesus in [HGL433] His Kingdom, and sent them the message of His love and grace. Well has the poet said:

"God is the refuge of His saintsWhen storms of sharp distress invade, Before we enter our complaints, We behold Him present with His aid."

The Scriptures present the thought that the Lord's people are surrounded by enemies of every kind the Adversary himself and fallen humanity, considerably under his domination and spirit -including often those who are dear to us according to the flesh. All these are represented as being unreliable, unworthy of full confidence, because they are out of accord with God; because under the delusions of error they have a wrong spirit and often mistake light for darkness and darkness for light, righteousness for sin and sin for righteousness; yea, the Lord's people even are admonished to be on guard lest their subtle adversary, Satan, should beguile them from the right attitude of heart and conduct, and under some specious form of temptation should lead them to do those things which are contrary to the light and to the spirit of the Divine Word the law of love.

Hence the Scriptures warn us to have no confidence in the flesh and to keep our hearts, because out of them are the issues of life.

If we fail to keep our hearts in the right attitude of love for God, for the brethren, yea, for our enemies, we might soon be entrapped by the Adversary and made servants of sin contrary to the real intention of our hearts. Hence, while fleeing ourselves for refuge to the Almighty God, and remembering His love, and trusting therein, we should see to it that we are full of a similar love toward all others, especially toward those of the Household of Faith. We should measure our love not by the world's standard, not by any selfish standard, but by the Lord's divine standard

"The love that is perfect, the love that is pure, That we may with patience all things well endure."

Then, for the present it is our privilege continually to call to the world's attention the blessed rest and peace which God has provided in Christ, and that this is a world-wide provision that only a certain class may enjoy its blessings and provisions in the present time.

How simple are the terms by which we can thus come into this blessed relationship with the Lord. 1. We must renounce sin, which we should be glad to do the more we learn of its real character and injurious qualities. 2. Having heard of the redemption accomplished through Jesus we must believe in the same fully according to the record, and must accept our share, realizing that without the imputation of righteousness we could have no standing whatever with the free. 3. We must consecrate our little all to the service of the Lord, the truth and the brethren, and to do so acceptably we must realize that our very best, our very most, is an offering far too small, and aim very humbly to accept the Lord's grace. By this door of faith, obedience, consecration, we enter the precincts of the heavenly family, become heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord we enter into the refuge and feel about us the Everlasting Arms.

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