St. Paul Enterprise, October 17, 1916


Providence, R I, October 15'Pastor Russell was here today and addressed a large audience upon the theme, "Full Assurance of Faith." His discourse was based upon Heb. 10:22 - "Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." He said in part:

Full assurance of faith is something that every Christian should have; and yet we are all sadly aware that in our day but comparatively few professing Christians have this assurance. The great majority seem to be losing their faith; and, worse than this, they are in many cases losing the very foundation, or basis, for faith. For years the great colleges of Christendom have been undermining faith by undermining the Bible. They do not make an attach upon faith itself; indeed, they all admit that it has its place, and is a glorious quality. But straightway they proceed to do the same work that Thomas Paine and Robert Ingersoll tried to do to undermine confidence in the Bible as the Word of God.

Confidence in the Bible is the very basis of faith. After one has lost his confidence in it as the Word of God, what has he left? He would have merely the vagaries and guesses of Higher Criticism and Evolution. We have very little use for guesses. We have little confidence in fallen flesh. We know that all men are imperfect in every sense of the word, that their judgments are exceedingly fallible. When men undertake to picture a God to their own liking, we have as many gods as there are men.

Looking into the past, we see what many of the noblest minds came to in the way of image-worship, bowing down to some of the worst idols, that could be imagined; for more black misrepresentation can be done by pen and ink or by the printing-press than by making the most hideous idols of the heathen nations. The creeds of Christendom have carved out the worst idol in all the Universe. Yet great men made these creeds men of noble minds. This shows us how little confidence we can have in any theory that men can evolve. We may be sure that if we had been in their places we could not have done any better. We are not finding fault with them. We are finding fault with the real source of the whole matter. This the Apostle Paul declares when he tells us that "the god of this world" has been responsible for this misleading. Satan has done this lest the light of God's goodness should shine into men's hearts. 2 Cor. 4:4-6


The Apostle also explains why it is that many Christians cannot see the light of the Gospel of Christ the true Message of salvation. Satan has gotten his bandages upon their eyes, and as a result they cannot see the things of God. The Apostles warned the Church that after their time many would depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. (1 Pet. 2:1, 2; 1 Tim. 4:1) We have come to the time when many good, intelligent people including ministers in the various pulpits, professors, theologians, presidents of colleges, etc. confess that they have lost the basis of their faith.

We are not for one moment to suppose that those who have lost confidence in the Bible as the Word of God are wicked people. On the contrary, the majority of them are fine, well-intentioned people. But they are under a delusion. The delusions of the Dark Ages coming in contact now with the full blaze of the New Dispensation just upon us, there is a conflict between the light of our day and the darkness of the past. There is such a clash that everybody sees stars, so to speak. People are astonished, and do not know what to think.

Some are still holding to the Bible, in a sort of blind way, bewildered and uncertain as to their real position, hoping against hope that they will not lose what little faith they have left, afraid to think and afraid to read lest they be cast adrift in an unknown sea. We sympathize with these people. But the fact is that they never have had faith enough to worry about. It was not a well-established faith, a full assurance of faith. On the contrary, it was a blind faith, a kind of credulity. They have hoped that they were of the [HGL861] Elect; but they had little or no conception of what is meant by election or to what this class were elected. In the light of our day such faith, or rather credulity, is crumbling to pieces.


Yet at this very time when Higher Criticism and Evolution are undermining the foundation of religion, and when nearly all thinking people are losing faith in the Bible as the Word of God, how gracious our Creator had been to those who have retained their faith in His sure Word! The eyes of their understanding are opening more and more widely; and they are coming to see that the Bible is the most wonderful book in the world. Never before have God's people understood the Divine Plan as they do now, in the midst of the turmoil of all the denominations and of the learned men of all lands. Truly we can sing with the poet:

"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He hath said, You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled!"

We have often wondered whether God did not partially inspire some of these precious hymns that have cheered, comforted and refreshed the Lord's people in their journey through the wilderness of this world; for they seem to fit so wonderfully our time and our condition, and the real knowledge of God's Word seemed so misty at the time when many of them were written. The strongest language would not be strong enough today to express the faith, the confidence, the trust, which we have in our god through seeing His real character and His real plan as outlined in His Word. This is full assurance of faith.

There is a vast difference, however, between a full assurance of faith and a full assurance of credulity. Credulity is a readiness to swallow everything and anything, without any real basis for believing, without proof. This is what most people have called faith. But it is not. Faith must have a basis; and the basis must have some intelligent presentation.

When asked, "Why do you believe the Bible?" many people will reply, "My father and my mother believed it; and I was taught to believe it." When asked as to what is their real basis of faith, they look bewildered, hesitate, and either acknowledge that they have none, or else change the subject of conversation. This is not faith; it is mere credulity. Heathen people could do as well; for their parents and their grandparents believed their heathen books. To really believe the Bible it is necessary that we understand it. That which gives us faith in the Bible is proof that it is the Word of God. To understand it we must understand God's Plan therein outlined; we must learn rightly to "divide the Word of Truth." 2 Tim. 2:15.

Higher critics are busy trying to prove that Isaiah never wrote the book of Isaiah, but that it was written by different persons; that Moses never wrote the Pentateuch; that Daniel never wrote the book called by his name. The fact that Jesus and the Apostles quoted from these books and ascribe them to the very authors claimed in the books has no weight whatever.


Our confidence in the Bible is based upon the fact that it contains a great Divine Plan, far superior to anything that mortal man could have produced. Show me a watch with the wheels revolving with perfect precision and with perfect relationship to each other, a watch that keeps correct time without variation; and I shall know that some skilful hand, guided by an intelligent mind, made that watch. Such a piece of workmanship never came by chance. The hands did not get on the dial by accident. There was some intelligent power in operation there.

So it is with the Bible. When we find the prophecies of the Old Testament, the types of the Mosaic Law, and the teachings of our Lord Jesus and His Apostles all interlocking, based and dependent one upon another in the most marvelous way, all telling the same story, although written by various men, in various ages, and under various conditions, with Genesis describing the fall of man into sin, with Revelation portraying his recovery from that fall, with each intervening book corroborating both tell me, who made that Plan? No one could convince me that any human beings made it. The very conditions of today, so wonderfully fulfilling the prophecies of the Bible, are amongst the strongest proofs of its Divine inspiration.


Once in early life I had an argument with an infidel, who claimed that "the Bible was written by priests and knaves." When I asked him, "which set of priests and knaves do you think made it up?" he hesitated; for he had not anticipated that question. Then I suggested that we reason a little on the subject. I showed him that if any of the denominations had made the Bible, they would surely have put into it many things that are not there, and would have left out of it many things that are therein.

For instance, they do not know what to do with the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. Having a theory that at death people go to Heaven, Purgatory or Hell, they have no need of a resurrection. Yet they know that it is in the Bible. If ever they come across it in their reading, it is a sort of "thorn in the flesh" to them; for it disturbs their peace of mind. Nor do they know what to do with the Judgment Day. They must think that the Judgment is past. Otherwise how could the dead be in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory? Then there is the theory of the Trinity, in which all, practically believe, though not a word of Scripture justifies such a belief.

Surely our Calvinistic friends would not make up the Bible as it is today. Neither would our Arminian friends. The latter would surely leave out all of those texts which speak of an election, of foreordination, of predestination, of making our calling and election sure, of "the very elect," etc. The former would doubtless leave out some of the texts which tell about free grace; for these do not fit with their idea of election. Of course both would put in something about a Trinity; for all hold that theory as the very essence of faith. The thing which you cannot understand, and which is the most mysterious, is the most important! 1 Cor. 8:6, 7; Eph. 4:4-6 [HGL862]


But, dear friends, from the standpoint of itself the Bible is simple; and everything is thoroughly explained, when we get our mental telescope properly adjusted and see the wonderful Plan of God as it is mapped out in His Word. However, no amount of learning or of worldly wisdom or of knowledge will enable one to see this and to have a heart appreciation of it. The deep things of God are revealed only by His Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 2:10) They are especially clear at this time, because God's due time has come for the full unfolding of His Plan. These deep things are revealed to the faithful, watching children of God, who are walking hand in hand with the Master, seeking in all things to be guided by Him.

Thank God for the Morning light! Thank God that we are living in the time when the path of the just is shining so brightly! For it was to shine more and more unto the perfect Day. (Prov. 4:18) Now the perfect Day is almost here. It is so near that we can see the first rays of its dawning, although before its full glory breaks upon the world the storm clouds will gather dark and gloomy, and soon will let fall "hailstones and coals of fire." But it is merely the darkness that precedes the full dawning.

The creeds formulated during the Dark Ages have greatly injured the whole world. Doubtless many people today are following sin who would, if they had a right knowledge of God, be following after righteousness. Many men have been led to drink, to debauchery and to all sorts of sin simply by reason of not seeing the true God. For any one to see the real God is to love Him. Mankind are made upon that basis. Notwithstanding the six thousand years of the Adamic fall, there is in every man's head unless he be an idiot or in some way deformed that quality of reverence of a Supreme Being and a desire to render worship.


The Christian's assurance of faith is based upon the Word of God and the realization that he has taken the various steps which God therein directs. He tells us that by nature we are sinners, that Christ Jesus tasted death for every man, that by and by He will give Restitution to human perfection to whosoever will accept the arrangement which He has made and which is soon to be opened up to all mankind. He tells us, too, that during this Gospel Age there is a Call for those who desire to come out from the world to be a peculiar people unto Him, a Royal Priesthood, a holy nation, zealous of good works, zealous of everything that is God's will, and ready to lay down their lives in the doing of it. Have you heard and accepted this Call?

To those Christians who do not have that full assurance regarding their standing with the Lord which they wish to have, and which is their privilege, we would suggest that they ask themselves the following questions:

Have I forsaken sin and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Redeemer? Have I made a full consecration of myself to God through Christ, giving Him my time, my means, my all, surrendering myself fully to His keeping, to be henceforth guided by His Holy Spirit in all things as His will is made clear to me through His Word?

As I thus gave myself to the Lord, did I realize that I am still imperfect, and that my standing before God is only in Christ? Did I realize that thus He imputed, or counted, to me the perfection which He would otherwise give me in the next Age, in order that now I might lay it down in sacrifice with Jesus, sharing His sufferings and death that I might also share His glory, when His Kingdom is set up for the blessing of the world?

As the result of my consecration to the Lord, am I able, to some extent at least, to grasp spiritual things? Do they appeal to me? Am I gradually attaining a holy mind, a holy disposition? Do I desire above all things to do God's will, and is my holy mind bearing fruitage to the Lord's praise so that others can see it? Am I gradually growing more meek, more gentle, more patient, more long-suffering, more kind and loving? Is my heart growing broader, deeper and more sympathetic?

Whoever can say "Yes!" to these questions, even though keenly realizing, as all God's children should, that he has many imperfections, may have full assurance of faith that he is a child of God in full standing, that the Father's smile of approval is upon him, and that if he continues thus to develop in the likeness of Christ he will inherit the Kingdom as a joint-heir with Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is our Heavenly Father's will that we have this full assurance, that thus we may be kept in perfect peace of heart, and may demonstrate our trust in Him and in His precious promises, despite our sufferings for righteousness' sake. But let us never suffer as busy-bodies in other men's matters. Yet if we suffer as Christians, let us glorify God on this behalf. 1 Pet. 4:15, 16.

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