National Labor Tribune, February 19, 1911



Pittsburg, Pa., Feb. 19 Pastor Russell of Brooklyn Tabernacle gave two interesting discourses here to large and appreciative audiences. We report one of these from the following text: "Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people." Prov. 14:34. The speaker said:

Many besides myself surely were astonished to read the following extract from the Wall Street Journal, under the caption, "What America Needs: "

"What America needs more than railway extension and western irrigation, and a bigger wheat crop, and a merchant marine, and a new navy, is a revival of piety, the kind father and mother used to have piety that counted it good business to stop for daily family prayers before breakfast, right in the middle of harvest; that quit field work a half hour earlier Thursday night, so as to get the chores done and go to prayer meeting. That's what we need now to clean the country of filth, of graft, and of greed, petty and big, of worship of fine houses and big lands, and high office and grand social functions."

This reached the eye of Bishop Candler, whose comment is so appropriate that I cannot do better than quote it here:

"This editor is right in calling us back to more earnest forms of life than all these things involved. He wants religion in the home; he calls for lives of prayer; he insists that we need the most earnest type of religion to save the country from moral wreck. And he is right. but can we get that sort of religion under the spur of the motive to which he appeals? Hardly."

"We cannot get a revival of religion by seeking a revival of religion. Nowhere in God's Word are men admonished to seek religion or to seek a revival of religion. They are always urged to seek God. All the revivals of religion which have blessed the world in the history of the past have come when men have undertaken to seek God. None have ever come otherwise. We cannot deify even a revival of religion. God must be the supreme object of our love and desire."


"Herein is our trouble We have lost God. Men called preachers have explained away the Word of God, making it no longer a sure word of prophecy, but an antique for the critics to analyze and discuss. The moral law has been lowered. The ten commandments have been reckoned as a piece of Mosaic plagiarism applicable to the moral needs of ancient nomads in the wilderness, but have no more than a qualified bearing on the life of today. The Sermon on the Mount has been treated as 'An iridescent dream.'"

"The Lordship of Jesus Christ has been denied, while treacherous compliments have been poured out upon his name, as that of a great teacher and a noble martyr. His teachings have been defied or set aside wherever they have stood in the way of a rampant worldliness or an insurgent rationalism. The outcome of it all is that multiplied thousands have lost all knowledge of God in their souls. To all intents and purposes God is dead to them. They take no account of His will in any of their plans and doings, but live as if there were no God. They are atheists without taking the trouble to declare formally the atheism which they have inwardly accepted."

"The people must now be called to seek God. He is a real, living Person, and He will be found of those who sincerely seek Him. But He must be sought as the supreme need of the lives of men. He must be sought for His own sake. He will not be found of men who seek Him simply to remedy a bad commercial situation, or to cure social and political ills. He will not consent to be used as a sort of celestial and omniscient chief-of-police to help us suppress grafting and stealing and licentiousness."

"It is quite true that if all the people turned to God they would be turned away from every evil thing. But they will never turn to God until they feel that the worst disaster in life is that one should fail to know our Heavenly Father. They must be made to feel the sorrowfulness of the orphanage of the soul until, like the prodigal of the parable, they begin to say each within himself, 'I will arise to go to my Father.'"

"We have had already too great a disposition to try to use God for all sorts of social ameliorations, moral reforms, and political renovations. It is time now we sought Him for Himself alone. It is time we began to cry with the Psalmist, 'Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. 'Then indeed we shall find Him, when our hearts pant for Him, as the hart panteth after the water-brooks."


The words of the Wall Street Journal respecting the need of the old-time religion are along proper lines. The Bishop sees clearly what I also have so frequently pointed out, namely, that the so-called New Theology, Higher Criticism and Evolution theory have so undermined faith that it would be folly to look for a return of the pious earnestness of the past, which was built upon a living faith, [HGL469] even though it was not the pure faith, "once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3)

We do not admit that none today are pious; that none are what St. Paul styled "sanctified in Christ Jesus" (1 Cor. 1:2). We claim that there are as honest, as upright, as loyal children of God today as ever lived in the world. But they are few. The vast majority, under the false teaching mentioned by the Bishop, have utterly lost the "faith once delivered to the saints." The great majority of professed Christians are drifting. Long ago they gave up the creeds of the "dark ages," and, believing that the Bible taught the same things as the creeds, it also is being abandoned as too absurd for present-day intelligence. Higher Criticism (another name for infidelity and opposition to the Bible) Evolution, Christian Science, Theosophy, and Atheism have swallowed up the majority of the intellectuals of the Churches, and the mediocre masses are rapidly following them into the outer darkness of unbelief and godlessness.

It is impossible for an honest man who has lost his faith in God, and in the Bible as the Word of God, to take a real heart-interest in prayer-meetings, in Bible study and in attempted holy living. He finds nothing substantial for his faith to rest upon. He scorns to be a hypocrite. Hence the old time religious life is not to be generally expected.


Modern revival methods (slangy talk, clownish actions and a pretense that rising to one's feet in a public assembly means Christian reformation and spirit-begetting) is too foolish for thinking people of the class represented by the Editor of the Wall Street Journal. It is not for us to say that absolutely nothing is accomplished, and that all fall away who, under excitement, stand up to be prayed for, or to indicate that they prefer to spend eternity in bliss rather than in torture. We do, however, mean to say, that such persons are bewildered, if no worse, and a year after, we fear, are as bad or worse than the year before. This is because they are not really converted because they have no real foundation for faith given them, and have no faith to put upon such a foundation. They are not even what St. Paul styles "Babes in Christ" (1 Cor. 3:1), for only the spirit-begotten belong to that class.


The revival really needed should not be looked for nor expected amongst worldly people. They have nothing of Christianity to revive. It should begin with Christians who have not yet lost all their faith in God and in the Bible. These should become awakened to the fact that spirituality and faith are at a low ebb. Their prayers should ascend to God, and their Bible should be studied as never before. They should make use of present-day helps in their Bible study and become fervent and revived of spirit through a better understanding of the Scriptures. They must see that the Bible was not properly represented in the creeds of the past; that it is in direct opposition to many of the doctrines of the past which have justly become repulsive to intelligent minds.

When once they get the proper focus on God's Word, one passage illuminating another, their faith in God and in the Bible will become a living one, a moving one, and, with this spirit, faith and works will come Christian zeal, fervency of spirit in the service of the Lord. With these in turn will come activities in helping one another, activities in family worship, in Bible classes, in prayer and testimony meetings, etc. Then, as the Master said, they will let their light shine and the worldly will see and be influenced by these living epistles, known and read of all. (2 Cor. 3:2)


It is useless for any to attempt to believe, or to attempt to teach others that God is great, and just, and loving, while at the same time teaching that He prepared, before the foundation of the world, an immense torture chamber in which thousands of millions would be forced to spend eternity. How our forefathers could believe this and yet believe somehow or other that God is Love we do not understand. It was their faith in God's Love, and not their faith in eternal torment, which constituted the power of God working in them for good and which offset the errors of their creeds to a large degree. But no one of today who is at all awake can any longer think of worshipping a God inferior to himself. A God unjust and unloving, or unkind and powerless, can no longer be worshiped in spirit and in Truth.

What the World needs, and what first of all the Church needs, is to get doctrinally straight in respect to the Almighty's character, and in respect to His purposes for His human creatures. As soon

as that condition of mind shall have been reached there will be no need to pray or ask for revivals of religion they will follow irresistibly.

But what do we see opposing any such desirable denouncement? We see two hundred thousand Protestant ministers and Sunday-School superintendents working against such desirable results. We see about two-thirds of them advocating Higher Criticism Infidelity and one-third of them striving to hold the people in ignorance respecting the teachings of the Bible concerning man's future seeking, by inference at least, to uphold the atrocious doctrines of devils foisted upon God's people by the great Adversary during the "dark ages." It is a sad picture. Has it no silver lining?


There are still a saintly few in the world who are not bowing their knee to Baal, not worshipping the golden calf of mammon, but wandering, not seeking to prove that they are descendants of monkeys, not seeking to figure God out of creation and to say that nature is God. In this time, when others are going into outer darkness, these children of God, feeding upon His Word, are being blessed and refreshed in spirit as never before. To them God's Word is shining more brightly as the days go by; the rough places are becoming smooth and the dark places clear. To them the glory of the Divine character is being revealed. The secret of the Lord is with them. He is showing them His Covenant and making them to understand many of the deep things of His Word, which the natural eye has not seen, nor the natural ear heard, neither have these things entered into the heart of the natural man things which he hath in reservation for them that love Him.

These are now seeing the Kingdom blessing, in proportion as they respond to the blessed privileges of this time. As the Restitution work will progress, and they obediently rise from their degradation, their shame and contempt will [HGL470] gradually disappear, and eventually perfection of human nature may be attained in an earth also attaining perfection, as the Garden of the Lord.


Intelligent people no longer believe the God-dishonoring doctrine of eternal torture, nor even the doctrine of purgatorial suffering. Having lost these, they are doubting every religious teaching. What they need is to see the Bible's presentations. They should see the "high calling" now extended to the faithful, saintly few and should sit down and count the cost before undertaking so great a contract as to become members of the Royal Priesthood.

If they do not accept this, the only call now extended, they should have in mind that there is a general Law of Retribution operating expressed in the terms, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." They should understand clearly that every thought and word and act of theirs will have to do with their future conduct and affect them more or less favorably in the resurrection, when Messiah's Kingdom will provide to every man a full, gracious opportunity of Restitution to human perfection in a world-wide Eden.

To the Kingdom of Messiah belongs the promise, "Righteousness exalteth a nation." His will be a reign of righteousness, and, by Divine direction, will have control of the whole world for the uplifting of all mankind redeemed by the precious blood of Calvary. At present, in every kingdom under heaven we see exemplified the latter part of our text, "Sin is a disgrace to any people" to the whole world. Let us accept the direction of God's Word and set our faces toward righteousness with greater zeal than ever to attain Divine favor, either by the "high calling" of this present time or by the blessed Restitution times soon to be ushered in. (Acts 3:19-23)

These are now seeing that the Kingdom for which He taught us to pray is not a myth; these are seeing that it did not come at Pentecost, nor when Papacy was established, nor with the establishment of any of the sects of Christendom. Consequently they are now praying from the heart, "Thy Kingdom come," and waiting for the glorious Messiah, promised to begin His great work of blessing natural Israel and through Israel all the families of the earth (Acts 15:14-17; Acts 3:19-23)

These see that the Kingdom of God's dear Son is to be one of "power and great glory;" that before it, in a time of trouble, every other religion and influence will crumble to dust; that Satan shall be bound, and for a thousand years the most blessed influence favorable to righteousness will be brought to bear upon mankind.


During the "dark ages" the fact that the Church is a specially called, chosen, faithful class (and only "a little flock"), was seen and preached to some extent. But that this lofty Church standard was difficult of application to the world, and the world's hope, and under a different standard, was not seen. It clarifies our minds greatly when we recognize that the elect few are intended by God to be the world's instructors and helpers by and by, when the world will be granted an opportunity of rescue from sin and death not to heavenly conditions, but to earthly Restitution of all that was lost by Adam's transgression and Redeemed by the Great Sacrifice of Calvary. (John 3:16; Isa. 35)

After learning that the hell to which the world goes in death is the grave, and that it is an unconscious condition, a "sleep," the next lesson is the resurrection of the dead- "Many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, . . . some to shame and lasting contempt." (Dan. 12:2) Mankind fell asleep with experiences only with unrighteousness and very indistinct glimpses of holiness and saintship. When awakened they will recognize the glory, honor and immortality of the saintly Bride of Christ and be recipients of her loving care and blessing, in proportion as they respond to the blessed privileges of that time. As the Restitution work will progress, and they obediently rise from their degradation, their shame and contempt will gradually disappear, and eventually perfection of human nature may be attained in an earth also attaining perfection, as the Garden of the Lord.

Principalities and powersMustering their unseen array, Watch for thine unguarded hours: "Watch and pray."

Prev   Next