St. Paul Enterprise, November 19, 1915



Utica, N Y, November 14 Pastor Russell gave a helpful and impressive discourse here today. He spoke as follows:

My text, dear friends, is from the words of the Apostle Peter: "Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" (2 Pet. 3:11, 12) The marginal reading omits the word "unto" after the word "hasting." The word "unto" was supplied by the translators in an endeavor to make the rendering clear. The marginal rendering does not give the right thought, evidently; for we could not hasten the Day of the Lord. God's Plan was fixed before the foundation of the world. In this passage the phrase, "hastening the preparation for the Day of God," more nearly gives the Apostle's thought than either of the other translations.

We can hasten our preparation for the wonderful things coming, but we cannot hasten the Day. Indeed, the fact that the marvelous things God has foretold are now beginning to come to pass demonstrates that the Day of the Lord is now present. It is very necessary to realize what manner of persons we should be and then to be such persons. We should be saints, faithful to the Lord in all things. We should give as much of our time as possible to the perfecting of ourselves and to the building up of one another in the most holy faith. We should be ensamples "in all holy conversation and godliness."

This word "conversation" in the old English includes the sum-total of holy living our words, our acts, our general conduct. It has thus in the Scriptures a wider meaning than is given it today. St. Peter knew that God's people would be helped by the thought that the great Day of the Lord was at hand, so he says, in view of this, "Seeing that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be?" Then how paltry all the things of "this present evil world" should appear to us who see the disintegration of the Present Order already under way!

What were the things to be dissolved? The Apostle had just been specifying them- "The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the things that are therein, shall be burned up." Yet God's people, as the Apostle says, "look for a new heavens and a new earth." He is not speaking of literal heavens, but the symbolic heavens the ecclesiastical heavens, the pre sent church organizations. The Prophet Zephaniah also speaks of this same great burning time of the Day of the Lord. Zeph. 1:14-18; 3:8, 9


Even now the present heavens, the nominal church systems, are in great commotion, in much distress. Preachers and people are wondering what these things mean that are now taking place. They have been telling everybody that the world is getting better, that all will soon be converted through the churches. They have been saying, "Peace! Peace!" but instead of peaceful conditions have come riot and war. (Jer. 6:14-19) There has been no real basis for peace. Christians who are hearkening to God's Word are the only ones who have a real basis for peace. In the Lord's Word and in the Lord's spirit we have the things that make for peace. "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God." "Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."

With the world the disposition is, "See that nobody gets the better of you. Fight your own battles." Life is a battle for all mankind. Some fight for a living, and others in more open warfare. All are more or less contentious to have the best they can get. But the true Christian's fight is in his own body principally against selfishness, a desire to have his own way, to gratify his own natural inclinations. God is not selecting a class different from people in general in this respect. On the contrary, not many great, learned, noble, wise, has God chosen, but chiefly "the poor of this world, rich in faith." This fact leaves us no room for pride.

We find that we have something to contend with in this natural meanness of our fallen nature, while the world imagine that they have something to be proud of. "No one shall get ahead of me if I can help it!" is their sentiment. The Lord gives His children different instruction, but not instruction merely; for if that were all, it would be very much harder for us than it is. He gives us a noble incentive and the necessary assistance all along the way. God has set before us a great prize; some of us have seen its glory and are running for it. What is this prize? Oh, glory, honor, immortality, joint-heirship with Christ in the Heavenly Kingdom, riches such as no earthly being ever dreamed of! [HGL767] He not only has shown us these things but has given us the opportunity of obtaining them.


We see many people who hope some day to be very rich. Now, the Lord offers everyone of us who has the hearing ear something beside which a million dollars or many millions would be as nothing, absolutely insignificant. To those who become His children He offers riches of grace, of life, of glory and exaltation far above angels, cherubim or seraphim, and still farther above humanity; and these riches to be eternal. Of this we are sure; we have the Lord's Word for it many places. The Lord through the Apostle Peter said, you remember, that by the exceeding great and precious promises He had given us we might be made partakers of the Divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4) Why did He make us this wonderful offer? Because of His love for us and because He has an infinite purpose to be outworked. We are to be transformed, made New Creatures, meet to be par takers of our glorious inheritance.

As St. Paul says, "All things are yours." The whole world would be insignificant in comparison with the Lord's rich promises to those who follow Jesus in the narrow way. Some live and toil for forty and fifty years to accumulate a fortune, and then generally die before they get much besides worry and care out of it; and at best it is all very disappointing. But God has promised to give His children everlasting life on the very highest plane, and glory, honor and joy beyond compare. How rich we feel who have accepted God's great offer and are complying with His terms! Let others contend about these other things if they will. Why should we waste any time quarreling over earthly baubles?

Our future is all dependent upon our becoming copies of God's dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We would surely lose the prize if we were to set our affections on earthly things. "Set your affection on things Above, not on things on earth." Are your affections going to home and business, to cats, dogs and canary birds, or to the things Above? Do you think chiefly of these earthly things, and then when in prayer try to turn your affections Above again? We shall not thus succeed in making our calling and election sure.

When the Master invited the Apostles, Peter, James and John up into the mountains with Him, where He was transfigured, they did not wish ever to go down again. Peter asked permission to build tabernacles there. So when some brethren get to a very uplifting meeting or convention of believers they desire to stay. They think they could be certain of spiritual victory in such surroundings. But we cannot always remain up on the mountain-top. We must return to the valley below for our testing, our proving and our crystallization of character and for service for God.

The Apostle in our text calls attention to the fact that we not only have the Heavenly things, far better and grander than the earthly things, but also that the Present Order is to be dissolved, as we have seen. Let us not become entangled with the things of this world. One might gain a high office, he might get a large fortune, have many servants, a fine mansion, automobiles, etc. But when he saw all these things slipping from his grasp, taking wings, how foolish his course in clutching for these transitory baubles would appear! How he would long for something permanent and substantial!

This will be the case with many. All these earthly things are bound to disappear in the great cataclysm just ahead. In this time of the Lord's Second Presence His saints are to be glorified with Him. We look from the Divine standpoint at the dissolving and shaking of all the things of this present Dispensation. The only thing that will not be shaken down is the Kingdom of God. Let us then serve the Lord faithfully, and realize the value of the unshakable things which will thus be ours. Heb. 12:26-28

Everything unjust, untrue, false, in any sense, everything imperfect, will be shaken down. They will all be burned up. The newspapers say that there is a great conflagration in Europe. The things of the present time'ecclesiastical, social, financial, political all will become "as the chaff of the summer threshing floor, and the wind shall carry them away" forever. (Dan. 2:35, 44) Then the New Order shall come in. The true Church of God will be the "new heavens" God's saints. Then there will be a "new earth" a new social Order. This will gradually bring in perfection. Mankind will be delivered from sin and death. All may become complete through the work of Christ.

Christ will always be the Head of the Church, although after their glorious "change" they will not need the robe of His righteousness, imputed justification. This "change" of the Church is, we believe, very near at hand. Knowing all that is so soon to come to pass, is it any wonder that the Apostle urges us to watchfulness and saintliness? Our salvation, our full deliverance, is ready to be revealed now in this last Day, which is right upon us. For about 1900 years the Church of Christ has patiently waited and prayed for these things to take place.


It is very important that we heed the Apostle's words in our text, "Seeing, then, that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?" We hope to be copies of God's dear Son. He had the Father's spirit in all things. He made the Father's will His own. So we are to have the Father's spirit and to make His will our own. We are to have the mind that was in Christ Jesus, the mind of the Apostles and all the true saints.

The Scriptures tell us how the Lord's Spirit manifests itself. It is manifested in meekness in our intercourse with the brethren, in a humble appreciation of ourselves, in contentment with everything our God gives, in a delight to have Christ as our Teacher. It is manifested in gentle ness. There are some people who are gentle because, naturally, they do not know how to be anything else, because they have not sufficient character to be anything else. These putty people will gain character during the Millennium; but God now desires those only who have a strong individuality and a love of righteousness. Others are not appealed to by the Lord's Message.

The class that appreciate the Lord's Word are those who have real character, something of a will of their own by nature. You could not give up your will to God if you had none. The condition upon which we may become disciples [HGL768] of Christ is to surrender our wills. From that time on we must keep them surrendered. There is no harm in a person's having a strong will. He will make one of the best soldiers in the Lord's army if that will is turned in the right direction. This class that God is calling have a good, strong will. But this will must be trained to full obedience to the Lord. It must die to self. We are learning this daily in the School of Christ.

If you are inclined to practice patience for a while and then get tired, remember "you have need of patience that having done the will of God you might receive the promise." (Heb. 10:36) The Lord has been patient with you. The prize-winners must become like our Father and like His Son. We must learn patience, if it is not there naturally. You may feel inclined to say, "The Lord must accept me just as I am." But the Lord will not take you into the Kingdom just as you are. He accepted you at first as you were; but He expected you to overcome, to develop as a New Creature. If you wish to be in the Kingdom class, you must attain the character-likeness of Christ.

But someone may ask, "Why does not the Lord make us perfect by His own power, without such painful effort on our part?" We answer, The character you develop is stronger for your struggles, and it is your own. It is a necessary part of our schooling to develop character. Why do we send children to school? It is because by the lessons there learned they will be exercising their mental faculties, thus making their minds stronger for every subject, fitting them for the responsibilities awaiting them later. So it is with us.

Meekness, patience, long-suffering these are some of our lessons. To be long-suffering means to bear long and be kind, to have the quality of endurance toward others, to be very kind in your home toward husband or toward wife, toward the children, toward your brothers and sisters. This is sometimes hard. But remember, "There is none righteous [perfect], no, not one." If you have not found that you have many imperfections, you have not learned the first lesson in the School of Christ.

We each have heads of different shape, and brains whose quality varies. But when we give ourselves to the Lord we all need a course of vigorous training; for we are very defective. We must have experiences that will reveal to us our own individual weaknesses and faults, that by Divine help they may be corrected as far as possible. The Lord desires every one of us to know how much and where we lack, what we need in order to build ourselves up into Christ. We should each know what part of our own character needs the most attention. In order thus to build ourselves up we look to that perfect Law which shows us just what a perfect character is'gentle, meek, loving, forgiving, patient, etc.


If you are prayerfully striving to do the best you can, God is pleased. He sees this in you, and will love you very much. He will approve you. But the Lord will not say, "Well done," unless you have done well. "What manner of persons ought we to be?" O, dear brethren, do not compare your selves with the world, not even their noblest ones! They are not begotten of God's holy Spirit; they are sinners. We are called to the highest of positions. We have been begotten of the Spirit for a special place of great exaltation in God's family. We are to look for every indication of God's stately steppings in this great Day of the Lord. Jesus only are we to see, that our characters may become conformed to His.

Our deliverance is at hand. "When ye see these things begin to come to pass, then lift up your heads; for your deliverance draweth nigh." Hasten to prepare yourselves for this Day of the Lord. When all the things of the Old Order are dissolved the New Order will be ushered in. When the saints are gathered beyond the veil, will you be among them? Thank God, we have the most wonderful hope in the world! We are the antitypical Eli jah class. We have come nearly to the close of our earthly pilgrimage. Let us then be true to God, waiting in patience and faith for our glorious "change."

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