The Weekly Inter Ocean, February 23, 1913


Panama-Colon, February 23 Pastor Russell manifested a keen interest in the great Panama Canal work, which is speeding to completion. He took for his text Psa. 8:4, "WHAT IS MAN?" He rehearsed human engineering feats of the past the Tower of Babel; the great city of Babylon; the Great Pyramid of Egypt, full of scientific accuracy and symbols of Heavenly things. Solomon's Temple and Herod's, the Cathedral of St. Peter's at Rome and other great cathedrals, each wonderful in its way, were referred to as examples of man's skill in the past. All, he declared, glorify man's intellectual power, intelligence and acumen, no less than do some of the legal statutes of the past the Mosaic Law, the Laws of Lycurgus, etc. All of these achievements of the past refute the thought that our forefathers were monkeys or only a step or two in advance of that condition.

However, in our day practically within the past half century human intelligence seems to have bounded forward in a most remarkable manner. The telegraph, the telephone, the wireless, steam power, electric power and light have given talents a wider scope than ever before was known, and have forwarded the art of printing, which, in turn, has stimulated the education of the masses. Intelligence has increased demand, utilized inventions, and is making the world fabulously rich. Millions everywhere are on the alert to associate themselves with the new things and with the financial prosperity which they are bringing.


Our modern cities with their multiplied conveniences, palatial structures and office buildings more than forty stories up into the clouds, are fresh reminders of our text, "What is Man!" Our tunnels, or subways, under cities, and all the conveniences they stand for are well calculated to amaze us. As we look about us and realize that these things have come suddenly within fifty years, we repeat, "What is Man!" How wonderful the intelligence which has been able to grapple with the affairs of nature, its minerals, its laws, etc., and to master them! Is not man a great king in all the earth?

Nowhere is this power of man to deal with earthly conditions more strikingly manifest than here on this Canal Zone. We have here an illustration of mountain-moving faith. Six tons of Trojan powder exploded at one instant, crumbling an entire hill, is certainly a wonderful record. These great steam shovels moving with so great rapidity these enormous masses of loosened earth are marvelous. If only a few years ago some one had told us that a man, by moving a lever, could lift six tons of earth, transport it an eighth of a mile and load it upon cars, all in three minutes or less, we would have thought him insane. Who would have believed a short time ago that an eighty-foot gate weighing six hundred tons would have been practicable or possible!

History tells us that the desirability of this canal was recorded by Galvao in 1550. He had ambition. If he had had our modern appliances and the wealth of our day to back them, no doubt he had the intelligence necessary for the work. But the time was not ripe. Forty years ago our government realized the desirability of this work, but dared not undertake it. Thirty years ago the work was started by a courageous Frenchman, but abandoned because of the tremendous difficulties encountered. Ten years ago the United States government undertook the work, which is now nearing successful completion.


The advance of human intelligence in the power to overcome the obstacles of nature is shown thus. What was impossible in the hands of skillful men thirty years ago is possible at the hands of similar men today, because, in the interim, human intelligence in respect to the use of steam and electricity and the application of mechanical principles, has made rapid progress. This canal, therefore, not only honors Colonel Goethals, whose genius has had so much to do with the wonderful accomplishment, but it honors mankind in general; for here we find at work machinery invented and manufactured in all parts of the world. The Scotch suction dredge and the French ladder dredges co-labor with American machinery in drilling, boring, blasting, digging, accomplishing.

Our first lesson from what we see is that present achievements out-rank those of the past not so much in skill as in opportunity. Ancient masonry, found south of us here, like that in the Great Pyramid of Egypt, tells of a skill with which we cannot yet compete, in that great stones were so [HGL585] truly squared and so accurately laid as to make it difficult to find the crevices between them.

We must credit our great progress to God. His time has come for lifting the veil of ignorance and superstition. He has been gradually favoring the increase of knowledge along every line. We today are merely taking advantage of this more extended knowledge, carried into all the homes and offices by means of steam printing-presses, railroads, steamships, postal service, etc. Instead, therefore, of trying to belittle our ancestors, let us confess that we have drawn and are still drawing from them deep inspiration along various lines the Bible, Shakespeare and other writings.

Let us accredit our progress, not to Evolution, but to the more reasonable proposition that God's time has come to give us the blessings promised in the Scriptures the blessings which are heralding Messiah's Kingdom of "peace on earth, good will toward men." We have waited for it, prayed for it and sung about it for centuries. And now that we are beginning to enjoy its blessings, now that the dawning of the New Day is visible on every hand, let us make no mistake. While learning from each other, let us not forget to be taught of God, reading in the signs of the times the fulfillment of the predictions of forty centuries.


Our text asks, "What is man that Thou are mindful of him?" intimating what we all acknowledge that man is poor, weak, imperfect, fallen, unworthy of his Creator's favor and blessing. He is not deserving of eternal torment, but deserving of the divine sentence, "Dying, thou shalt die," because of degradation through the fall. Yet God is mindful of man.

God has made provision for man's recovery from sin and death. The foundation for the recovery was laid by the Sin-Atonement Sacrifice at Calvary. The blessings of that Atonement have been extended thus far only to a small number. They have been limited to such as would take up their cross and follow in the Savior's footsteps. As the Scriptures declare, these are few, a "little flock" not many great, wise, rich or noble.

But the selection of the Elect to be associates with Messiah in His glorious Kingdom is only the beginning of God's favor toward mankind. The Elect will soon be completed. The saintly followers of Jesus from every nation and denomination will soon become His Bride and Joint-heirs in the Kingdom. Then that Kingdom will be established by Divine Power in authority and dominion, not to crush mankind, but for human uplift out of sin and degradation, ignorance and superstition, back to the full image and likeness of God.

If mankind in the fallen condition, and imbued with sin and selfishness, can be influenced by knowledge and ambition to accomplish the wonders of our day, what will not be possible to the restored man, as gradually he reattains the image and likeness of his Creator! The eyes of our understanding open widely as we consider the great length and breadth of human possibilities, under those favorable conditions which God declares will obtain during the thousand years of Messiah's Kingdom, for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven."


Our context declares that man was made "a little lower than the angels"; that is to say, man as an earthly, or animal being, is on a lower plane than angels, who are spirit beings. Yet there is one respect in which man is treated from a standpoint superior to that of angels. Of man God said, "In Our likeness let him have dominion over the earth." So man was to have the earth as his little universe. But no dominion, so far as we know, has ever been given to the angels.

Man's ruling power was neutralized by the sentence of death which came upon him. As the dying process continued, man's power to rule his dominion waned. Whereas originally he was able by mere exercise of his mind to control the beasts, he has since been obliged to cope with the beast by brute force and superior cunning. Finally by invention, fire arms, etc., he has gained the mastery in the world by force.

Doubtless the lessons of experience in all these six great Days (six thousand years since the fall) will ultimately inure to man's benefit. His exercise of his ingenuity in battling with thorns, thistles, beasts, etc., has served to quicken, to energize, to give him force of character. But alas! this force of character is not in any way advantageous; for in many respects it is contrary to the highest standards contrary to the image of his Creator.

During the great Day just beginning (the seventh of the great Thousand-Year Days the Sabbath) man will have weighty lessons to learn. The selfish and animal propensities of his nature have become so strong and the higher moral faculties have become so dwarfed that a large proportion of human effort will necessarily be along the lines of self-control and the development of the godlike mind. The advantages of this godlikeness will not only be clearly set before man in the Millennium, but he will be assisted in forming such character, because the laws of Messiah's Kingdom will thoroughly estop sin and every form of selfishness which will attempt to do injury to another.

Every evil purpose will be nipped in the bud. Every evil deed will be promptly punished in its incipiency, without being allowed to progress to the injury of others. Soon the great lessons of the glorious rule of Messiah will be recognized and appreciated; and as development will be made in the reattainment of the Divine likeness, all of its beauties will be appreciated and every where seen.


All those experiences of humanity under Messiah's Kingdom are in Scriptural language declared to be judgments; that is, testings, provings. That great Day of Messiah, a thousand years long, is Scripturally styled the Day of Judgment. The Church will not be on judgment, or trial, then; but the world. The Church, walking by faith, and not by sight, is having her trial now. The faithful of

the Church now on trial, if found worthy, will be given the reward of glory, honor, immortality, and will be made the judges of the world. "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" ' 1 Cor. 6:2.

St. Paul referred to that Thousand Year Day, and described it as the future Day of Judgment, saying, "God hath" [HGL586] "appointed a Day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hat ordained." (Act. 17:31) The Christ will have the judgment of the world in His hands. The Christ has Jesus as its Head and the Church as its Body, as St. Paul has declared. Eph. 1:22, 23.

The judgment of the world will not be in respect to whether or not they have been sinners; for that God has already determined. As the Scriptures declare, all men are sinners. That coming judgment will not be to see which of these sinners is really worthy of life and which worthy of death; for that also was determined by the Lord long ago, when He passed the sentence of death upon all, without exception. Because all were sinners it was necessary that all should be redeemed in order that they might have that coming judgment. The very object of the redemption was to settle for ever (Heb. 10:12) the death sentence pronounced against Adam and inherited by all of his race.

All were redeemed, and all are to be set free from that Adamic condemnation. The moment they are set free from the condemnation of the past, they will be put on trial, or judgment, for themselves. From that moment their responsibility will begin, the result of which will be either everlasting life or everlasting death Second Death. And the rewards of that trial will be in respect to their course after they are freed from the Adamic sentence. The past will figure only as it has meant opposition to light and knowledge.


Only the Church at the present time are on judgment, or trial for everlasting life or everlasting death, because only the consecrated are set free by the Redeemer. As it is written, "We were children of wrath even as others." (Eph. 2:3) Nor will the world be on trial, or judgment, for everlasting life until they shall have been brought to a very clear knowledge of God, of His arrangements for them, and of their opportunities.

However, there is another law operating, which affects every member of Adam's race. Whoever sins a little suffers proportionately. Whoever sins much suffers proportionately. But such punishments for sin are not unto eternal death. They are merely transitory and on account of misdeeds, and have no bearing whatever on the original sin unto death and the redemption from it. The man or the woman who transgresses a law of nature suffers. If he transgresses a moral law, he suffers also. He who steals or who murders or slanders another, and seemingly meets with no retribution in the present life, nevertheless does not escape not even if his conscience becomes seared and he can forget his misdeeds.

It is a law of our nature that the very finest of our powers are the most easily injured. Thus he who injures his conscience damages that which is most difficult to repair. Those who have seared their consciences will, during the thousand years, have the most difficulty in regaining the image and likeness of God, without which they can never have everlasting life.

St. Paul, after assuring us that "As all in Adam die, so all in Christ shall be made alive," adds, "Every man in his own order" or class. (1 Cor. 15:22, 23) This suggests that God has the world identified by classes, as well as individually. The Church class will be first the Chief Resurrection. (Rev. 20:6) None will be in it except those accounted worthy to share in the Messianic Throne and Kingdom.

Later on will come the resurrection of the worthy ones of ancient times Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the Prophets. Their resurrection will be to human perfection, as examples of what all men can attain, if they will be obedient to Messiah's righteous requirements.

Then will come the world, "every man in his own order." All will be awakened. Each will have an opportunity of coming to a knowledge of the Truth. Each will have opportunity, by obedience, to arise out of degradation, thus demonstrating his worthiness or unworthiness to participate in complete Restitution and everlasting life.

Thus each individual of Adam's race will take his place, either at the right hand of the Majesty of the Kingdom or at the left either at the place of favor or disfavor. He will be thus deciding for himself, according to the Divine standards, whether he will have everlasting life, or the penalty of opposition to God- "everlasting destruction" the Second Death.

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