Peoples Pulpit, February 15, 1912


Madras, India'The Foreign Missions Investigation Committee is here. Our finest auditorium, the Victoria Hall, was crowded to hear Pastor Russell. He spoke here twice. We report one of his discourses from the text, "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich; and He addeth no sorrow therewith." Prov. 10:22 [HGL529] The thing which strikes me specially as I visit your great city for the first time is the marked contrast between the palaces of your superior quarter and the hovels of Blacktown the contrast between great riches and great poverty. But think not that I have come into your midst to speak words which would engender strife or even discontent. Rather my message will be one of peace. I bear you the Message of the Kingdom of God's dear Son the kingdom for which we have all so long prayed. "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven."

The inequalities, mental and physical, which prevail amongst us as members of a fallen race, produce naturally our inequalities as respects wealth and social conditions; it is well, therefore, that we should not accept the rabid views entertained by many, but we should think soberly, dispassionately. We should not be quick to think of the wealthy as robbers of the poor and injurious to the general welfare, wholly selfish and under Divine reprobation. We should remember that God Himself is very rich. All the gold and silver are His, and the cattle upon a thousand hills, with infinite power, beyond human comprehension.

We should remember that it is written that "Abraham was very rich," and that riches did not interfere with the fact that he "was the friend of God," and that to him God gave that great promise secured by the Divine oath, which is the basis of all hope for the blessing of the world: "In thee and in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Other noble characters on the pages of history are noted as having possessed great wealth. Many of us have erred in thinking that the wealthy are to be measured by other standards than are the poor. And could anyone properly urge that if rich and poor be measured by the same moral standards the poor would be found more noble-minded than the rich? We think not.

We should therefore view the matter of poverty and riches philosophically. Both poor and rich should be encouraged to use faithfully the opportunities which they possess and wait patiently for the Lord's time and way for the introduction of the new order of things which He has promised, assured that it is not in our power to either hasten or delay the Divine program.


The Apostle says: "Charge those amongst you who are rich that they trust not in uncertain riches." The history of centuries corroborates the Apostle's words. The rich and prominent of one day become the poor and forgotten of another. "Riches take wings" in a manner that poverty rarely imitates.

The talents and opportunities which have brought great wealth to some of our prominent Americans have brought wealth and prosperity in smaller measure to those associated with them in their enterprises. Indeed, in some respects the entire world, and particularly America, owes them a debt of gratitude for their energy and perseverance in the exercise of their talents and opportunities along such broad lines. And if some of these have been negligent of their opportunities for the redistribution of their wealth in the interest of their fellow men, all the more should this throw a halo of honor about the heads of those who have remembered that wealth, like all other great talents, is to be used, not too selfishly, but for the public good.

My mind took the course of reasoning as I looked at the handsome edifice occupied by the Y M C A of this city, and I was informed that it was the gift of one of our American merchant princes, Mr. John Wanamaker, of New York and Philadelphia. I said to myself, Behold an instance in which riches have been generously expended, even in a far-off land, for the benefit of the masses and with a desire to promote clean and noble manhood along Christian lines.

Another of my countrymen, Mr. Rockefeller, has done much to promote the enlightenment of the world by the introduction of a system into the business of oil refining. The low prices thus obtained have permitted the use of oil in thousands of humble homes, where its price would have been prohibitive without Mr. Rockefeller's business genius for organization. He has thus assisted in lighting India. And even the rewards of his enterprise, represented in enormous wealth, he is daily seeking to turn into useful channels for the blessing of humanity.

Even if we must dispute the wisdom of investing millions in great colleges for the teaching of Higher Criticism and Evolution and thus for the undermining of influence of the Bible and of a living faith therein, we must, nevertheless, compliment the evident good intention and must trust that the Lord will not hold a generous heart responsible for the terrible evils which are sweeping over the world, breeding discontent and anarchy as a result of unwise and improper direction of wealth.

In this connection I must not neglect to mention that generosity and public spirit are not associated merely with Christianity. Even here, on the opposite side of our globe, you have doubtless heard of our great steel manufacturer, who declares that if he has any belief in a religious way he is a Buddhist, and thus much in sympathy with the religion of millions in India. This man of genius, while putting into practice methods of steel manufacture which have greatly reduced the cost thereof, and thus benefited the world, incidentally reaped for himself a huge fortune. Noble spirited, he has publicly announced his intention to use his vast wealth in the public interest, wisely declaring that it is a shame for any man to die very rich while so many fellow creatures are very poor. All over the world Mr. Carnegie's generosity and public spirit are manifested in public libraries which he has freely donated.

It is not for us to discuss the wisdom or unwisdom of Mr. Carnegie's gifts or whether he could have done better; it is for us to congratulate our race upon the generosity of this one of its number and upon his proper appreciation of his relationship to the race as manifested in his desire to give back to the public the rewards of his genius.

No so familiar with the rich of India, I nevertheless counsel them with the Divine Message to "trust not in uncertain riches" to make not these the treasure of their hearts rather to consider them as blessed opportunities for doing good to their fellow men. I counsel them that the riches of Divine favor alone endure for eternity. If they are enterprising and ambitious, let their eyes rest upon the great "prize," which the Master called, figuratively, "The Pearl of Great Price" a share in the Messianic Kingdom. [HGL530]


The Gospel of the Kingdom is for rich and poor, male and female, white and colored, on the same terms. God is not a respecter of persons. For a time He was a respecter of nationalities; for a time He confined the offer of joint heirship with Jesus in the Kingdom to those Jews who would hear and respond to the Message. But after gathering out the "Israelites indeed," after begetting these by the Holy Spirit, the call was made general and has been sent to the four quarters of the earth.

Tradition says that one of the apostles, St. Thomas, brought the Message here to India, and we are pointed to his tomb. No matter whether the tradition be true or false, the facts stand: 1. The Gospel privileges have stood open to India and to every nation for centuries. 2. The Gospel was not sent to convert India nor any nation, but merely to bear witness. That witness has been borne and I am re-echoing it to-day. The Message is for the calling, instruction, sealing of as many as desire to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and no other. Only those who appreciate this great offer will sacrifice every earthly interest in order to obtain this "Pearl of Great Price." The masses have no ear to hear God's Message they have no desire to self-sacrificingly take up their cross and follow the Redeemer.

However, all God's purposes shall be accomplished; His Word shall not return unto Him void; it shall accomplish that which He pleases. It will find the elect number of saintly characters whom the Father foreordained shall be with the Redeemer and share His glory throughout His Messianic reign.

I have a special word for the encouragement of the poor of India and every land. I wish the poor to realize this truth, namely, that poverty is not unfavorable to their best interests for eternity, but, on the contrary, is assistful. Hence the Scriptures tell us that "not many great, wise, learned or rich" will be heirs of the Kingdom, but "chiefly the poor of this world rich in faith." (1 Cor. 1:26-28; Jas. 2:5)

It is not that God more highly esteems the poor than the rich, but that they have less to fill and satisfy their hearts now and are, therefore, more hungry and thirsty for the right way of the Lord and more ready to hearken to His voice, which says to both rich and poor, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The rich usually feel less weary and less heavy laden they have more to console them in the things of this present time. The poor, on the contrary, having fewer of the blessings of the present, are hungering and thirsting for some better thing for the future and thus meantime find the Lord and are glad to receive His blessings upon His only terms full consecration of mind and body, time and purse.


Our text is an epitomized statement of the Gospel of Christ. All God's blessing for our race will come through the seed of Abraham The Christ. The giving of His Son to be man's redeemer and deliverer from sin and death was God's blessing to man making man rich. Messiah, having died for the redemption of the world, is about to bestow upon men the divine blessing promised to Abraham, "In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

That blessing to the non-elect world will be a glorious opportunity for rising up out of sin and death conditions to full human perfection in the image and likeness of God as Adam possessed this before his fall. It will mean the bringing of the earth to the conditions pictured in Eden. The earth, God declares, He formed not in vain, but to be inhabited. At present man is in a condition of enmity and separation from His Creator and his earthly home is disordered. God's footstool, for 6,000 years, has been the scene of a terrible reign of sin and death.


The only hope is in Messiah's kingdom, which God has promised shall be established for the overthrow of Satan, the abolishing of ignorance and superstition, the enlightenment of mankind and the uplift of all the willing and obedient and for the destruction of the willfully wicked of the second death. But before the kingdom could be established a redemptive work was necessary for the satisfaction of justice on behalf of Adam, the sinner, and his race involved with him. By the grace of God Jesus has appeared and, as a corresponding price, has died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us back into harmony with God and bring in the glorious and long-promised thousand years of restitution. (Act 3:19-21)

Eighteen centuries ago Jesus accomplished His redemptive work and was rewarded, in His resurrection, with glory, honor and immortality. Ever since then He is at the right hand of Jehovah God, merely awaiting the divinely ordained time when He shall take unto Himself His great power and reign. Of that time we read prophetically, "Ask of Me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." (Psa. 2:8)

But why so long a delay between the time when He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself and the time when He shall appear in His glory to establish the reign of righteousness and lift up the world of mankind for whom He died? The Bible alone answers this question, and oh, how much we are interested in its answer. It tells us that in this interim between the death of the Savior and the inauguration of His Kingdom a special and great work is to be accomplished according to the Divine arrangement the calling and the choosing of a faithful few from among the redeemed race to constitute a Royal Priesthood, to serve and reign in association with the Savior.

These heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord are variously described in the Scriptures. Under one figure they are spoken of as being members of the Body of which He is the Head. Thus is shown the oneness of Christ and His faithful followers. In another picture Jesus is spoken of as the heavenly Bridegroom, and the Church is described as His espoused. At the second coming of Jesus His espoused virgin Church is to be made alive from the dead and thus to be married to the Bridegroom and become His Bride and joint-heir to the glory, honor and immortality which are His by virtue of the heavenly Father's [HGL531] arrangement and of the Savior's worthiness faithfulness unto death, even the death of the Cross.


Thus seen, God, the Fountain of every good and every perfect gift, proposes, first, to make rich the Church, the Elect of the Gospel Age. Theirs will be heavenly riches, a spirit nature, glory, honor, with our Redeemer- "far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named." The blessing of the Lord will make these rich indeed, and after they shall have entered into the riches of this reward, in the First Resurrection, they will be absolutely perfect. God will add no sorrow to that completed blessing. All the imperfections of the present will be past, and we shall be like our Redeemer and share His glory and see Him as He is.

And as for the world, we have already seen that God is waiting to be gracious to all who will accept His favors. He is waiting for the completion of the church of the first born, who constitute "a kind of first fruits unto God of His creatures. (Jas. 1:18) He is waiting for the kingdom class to be fully selected, fully developed, fully shaped and polished in the Redeemer's likeness before bestowing the blessing upon mankind through natural Israel. The blessing of the world will require a thousand years for its outpouring upon every nation, people, kindred and tongue."

"They shall obtain mercy through your mercy." (Rom. 11:31) The blessing will come to natural Israel, and, gradually, through natural Israel to other nations.

Gradually the blessing of the Lord will be making rich all who will come under the terms of the new covenant and of Messiah's glorious reign. By the close of the thousand years the world will be perfect no more sighing, no more crying and no more dying. The blessing of the Lord will have made us rich, and then what? He will add no sorrow. The lesson of sin and death will have been learned before mankind will thus be enriched by the Savior through restitution processes and uplift from sin and death.

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