St. Paul Enterprise, January 18, 1916


Louisville, Kentucky, January 16 Pastor Russell gave a practical address here today from the text "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me. . . ; for My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matt. 11:29, 30). The pastor said in part:

We are to remember that our Lord used these words to the Jews; and that He was not addressing so much those who labored and were heavy-laden in a physical sense as those who were burdened in a mental and moral sense. This class had been striving to keep the Law. They knew the terms of the Law Covenant, that "he that doeth these things shall live by them." (Leviticus 18:5) But they were all dying; and they well knew that if they had been keeping their part of the Covenant, God would have kept His part.

This class is illustrated in the case of the rich young ruler who came to the Master, saying: "What good thing shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" (Matt. 19:16-22) He had been striving hard to keep the Law. It was no wonder that Jesus loved him; for he was a noble character. Then in kindness the Master told him in what respect he was still lacking. His heart was set upon his riches. So our Lord put him to the test. "If you are weary and heavy-laden with trying to keep the Law from your youth up," was the thought which Jesus presented, "and still cannot gain life, I will tell you the only way by which you can obtain life everlasting. It is simply to cease from your own works, and accept through Me, as a gift from God, the forgiveness of the sins which you cannot avoid. Then renounce all earthly things, become My disciple, and lay up treasure in Heaven."

But the young man departed sorrowfully; for he had much possessions. Others, however, poorer than this young man in worldly possessions, had also been striving to keep the Law Peter, James, John, Nathaniel and the rest. Jesus presented Himself to them as the Messiah, telling them that if they would become His disciples and share with Him in the sacrifices of the present time, they should also share the Heavenly Kingdom hereafter. They gladly complied, unlike the rich young ruler, for they had less to fetter them to the earth. [HGL790] We can readily see how riches of learning of knowledge, of experience, of honor of men, of social standing of wealth riches in any form would be something to hinder the majority of men from becoming followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. but our Lord has just one set of terms under which any and all may come to Him. There is no royal road to the Kingdom of God. Whoever does not care to come on His terms may stay away and wait for the opportunities of the next Age. God has a great deal in the future Times of Restitution for a needy world. The Call of the Gospel Age is unique. Some learn of this Call; fewer accept it; and still fewer prove faithful to the end.


God?s Plan for the world is to lift them up out of sin, degradation and death, back to all that was lost by Adam. But no one can get this Restitution now. However it will not hurt men to know in advance that God is gracious, and that He has provided something good for mankind. As the Love and the Mercy of God shine into their hearts, they will come to love Him more and more. At present God is selecting the soldiers who wish to enlist in the battle now being waged between right and wrong. All others may in the future come into the family of God on a lower plane.

As Adam lost his sonship and all his possessions because of sin, so because of the deliverance which Christ will accomplish by and by these sinners may come back into harmony with God and to all that was lost in Adam. Let us thank God on their behalf. But this will not hinder us from having some still better thing. The more we come to know our Heavenly Father, the better we love Him.

When we find that it costs something to be a disciple of Christ during the present time, we are all the more convinced of the value of the good things which He has for them that accept His Call of the Gospel Age. But during the Millennial Age it will cost something not to do God?s will. For all such there will be stripes, and eventually destruction if they continue to be disobedient. But there will be blessings for all who will then walk in the way of the Lord. Now, whoever walks in the footsteps of Jesus must walk contrary to the spirit of the world. Yet this class are the happiest people in the world, even though the world, their own flesh and the Devil are all against them. Satan pays more attention to them than to other people. There is no need for him to give special attention to those who are asleep. But whoever is waking up will be beset with persecution, with worldly inducements and with everything to oppose his way.

But since He that is on their part is greater than all that can be against them, if only they retain their love, faith and obedience, the opposition will become a blessing. The Master told His disciples that all manner of evil would be said against them falsely for His sake. St. Paul also declared, "Yea, all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," in the present time. But there is a far greater reward for following Christ, for doing the Lord?s will under present unfavorable conditions, that there will be for doing the Lord?s will in the future. We are glad to suffer now that we may reign then, when the world?s opportunity shall come.


The High Calling of the Church is the most wonderful opportunity which God has ever given to any of His creatures. Those who have made a Covenant of Sacrifice with God may have severe experiences now; but later the faithful ones amongst them will have glory, honor and immortality, and in the ages to come God will show the exceeding riches of His grace toward them through Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:4-7) But who amongst those that have this hope would surrender it and take Restitution instead a perfect human body, a perfect home in a perfect earth, perfect fruits, beautiful flowers and all the grandeurs of Restitution Times? Not one!

How did we attain this hope? By obedience to the Call contained in our text. By nature we were sinners, even as others, members of the fallen race. But as the Apostle points out, we recognize in our nature the Law of right and wrong. We still retained a part of what was originally given to Father Adam and lost by him. Humanity still has something left of the image of God in which Adam was created. The world in general know about the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you". But "there is none righteous, no, not one." Fallen humanity find it a hard battle merely trying to live right, to do justly by their neighbors, to be kind and just to family and friends.

To this class that have been trying to do the Lord?s will and that have found it a hard task to live up to the Divine standard, our Lord Jesus says "Come unto Me" you who are weary and heavy-laden in your attempts to do what is right, to speak no slander, to treat your neighbor always as you would have him treat you. This class have found out that if God were to require perfection of them, they could never come to Him at all; for fallen humanity cannot measure up to His perfect standards.

But why should we come to Jesus, instead of going directly to God? It is because Jesus is God?s appointed Way. (John 14:6) God is aware of our fallen estate. He knows that we have inherited our weaknesses of mind and body. He could not accept us thus; hence He has provided for us a Savior and Advocate. He is seeking now for those who are striving to do right, those who realize the grandeur of His requirements in the Golden Rule. To this class He is sending a special Message. He is inviting them to have a share in the sacrifice of Christ Rom. 12:1, 2


But no sacrifice can come to the altar of the Lord except that which is without spot or blemish; and we are spotted and blemished. Therefore unless our Lord Jesus imputes of His merit to cover these spots and blemishes, we never could be accepted as joint-sacrificers with Him. He must do this before we can receive the begetting of the Holy Spirit.

Thus those who realize that they come far short of God?s standard and need a Savior may come to the Lord. these enter by faith into the rest of God not merely that future rest for the people of God who enter into the Kingdom, but even now, "We who have believed do enter into rest." (Heb. 4:3) We have rest even in these imperfect human bodies. We know that there were weaknesses before, but [HGL791] we did not know how to get rid of them. Now we know that "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin," from all unintentional weaknesses. How glad we are that Jesus died for our sins! That He has furnished by imputation a covering for all of our imperfections! So we are resting, trusting, refreshed by this knowledge.

"According to thy faith be it unto thee," says the Master. Our justification is all by faith. God does not purpose to justify those who cannot believe. Some can believe more easily than can others. But the time will come when all can believe.

For my own part, I cannot believe as easily as do some people. I must have a certain amount of evidence. But the Lord was willing to accept St. Thomas even if that disciple could not exercise faith quickly in what he had not seen; in fact, the Master even gave him the demonstration which he needed in order to believe. But unless we can accept the Gospel Call with the evidences which the Lord has furnished, we cannot be of the Kingdom class at all. We do accept. We are resting in the promises by faith. The Apostle says, "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philip. 4:7) Just as surely as we are children of God, and are living in covenant relationship with Him, so surely is this promise ours.

So then, if there be any dear friends present today who have not yet come to the Lord, we would give them this Message, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden; and I will give you rest." If you have not been trying to do the will of God, then you are not weary and heavy-laden. But if you have been trying and feeling your impotency, then listen to this Call. do not stop there, however. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me," advises our Lord and Savior.


A yoke is a symbol of servitude. by the use of this symbol our Lord implies that those who are set free, either from the yoke of the Law Covenant, as were the believing Jews, or from the yoke of Satan, as were the believing Gentiles should learn to do His will. A yoke is generally arranged for two; and since our Lord speaks of it as His yoke, we are to understand that He also is a Servant. Having come to do the Father?s will, He invites us to become true yoke-fellows with Himself in the doing of the Father?s will, to be co-laborers with Christ in the great work of the world?s deliverance from sin and death.

The secret of the ability to wear this yoke, to have companionship with Christ in His service, and to have as a result a great blessing in our own hearts, lies in our learning to be meek and lowly of heart, as He was. It is impossible for the proud, haughty, self-willed, ambitious or worldly-wise to labor in the same yoke with Jesus, or to find the true rest of soul which we properly seek. But if we are meek, teachable, humble-minded, ready to know and to do the Lord?s will at any cost, then indeed we shall find rest.

Those who wear this yoke have the Divine assurance that all things are working together for good to them; that the heavier the burden now, the greater will be the blessing and the reward by and by; that the severer the experiences now, the brighter shall be their character and the surer shall they be of preparedness for the Kingdom. From this view-point every burden is light, not only because the yoke is easy, but because the Lord is their Yoke-fellow, and assumes the weight of the load for those who walk close to Him.

Having a strange, efficient Yoke-fellow is very different from trying to pull the load alone. Of our Lord it was written, "Of the people there was none" with Him. (Isa. 63:3) But how different it is with His footstep followers! Not only do they have brethren to encourage and assist them, but above all they have the Master with them. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the Age" is His promise. Although we are now in the end of the Age yet the Age will not close until the last member of the Church is called and proven. Moreover the Lord will be with His followers all the way as a true Yoke-fellow.


"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me," says the Master. If we have taken His yoke upon us, we are in His School, learning of Him. Yet at the same time we are being taught of the Heavenly Father. He says, "I will put you into the School of Instruction; and the One who has redeemed you I have appointed to be your Teacher. You are to be under the care of your Elder Brother." So we are learning the necessary lessons day by day, growing in grace, in knowledge, in character-likeness to our Redeemer, in all the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

What are the fruits of the Spirit? Meekness, faith, gentleness, patience, self-control, brotherly kindness, love. the Apostle says that these fruits are manifest can be seen. "If these things be in you and abound," declares St. Peter, "they make you, that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:8, 10, 11) We must therefore exercise ourselves according to the Divine arrangements; and then we shall be ready for the graduation, when our Master shall say, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things-" you did not do very much, but you had the right spirit, you did the best that you could- "enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

"For I am meek and lowly in heart." This is one of the main lessons in the School of Christ. Whoever has learned to be humble-minded, submissive, gentle, obedient, shall find rest of soul, and finally shall enter into His rest the Kingdom rest. Then the sons of God will have perfect bodies, complete in every sense of the word. They will have the glory, honor and immortality which God has in reservation for those that love Him supremely.

Those who have learned of Christ have made God?s work the chief interest in Life. Therefore they do not give all of their time to the ordinary vocations of mankind. On the contrary, they are determined to follow the Master, to labor for the good of others, and to let the light of Truth shine out wherever, they may go. Having become members of the Christ company, henceforth for them to live is Christ. Their work is to serve the Truth and the brethren, to suffer with their Lord now, and to reign with Him hereafter.

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