December 16,1906

Republished from The St. Paul Enterprise, April 3, 1917


Marion, O., Dec. 16. – Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny, Pa., preached twice here today to attentive audiences in one of our largest auditoriums. His afternoon topic was "A Cure for Infidelity – To Hell and Back."

In the evening his discourse was on "God's Gifts and Callings," from the Apostle's words, "The gifts and callings of God are without repentance." (Rom. 11:29)

He said: The Apostle in our text, and the Scriptures everywhere, assure us that God knows the end from the beginning, and that all of His purposes shall be accomplished eventually.

Such wisdom we finite beings are unable to comprehend, and yet we all recognize the fact that our God must be greater than we, not only in power, as our Creator, but also in wisdom and in all the attributes of perfection. Those who thus recognize an Almighty One will not expect to comprehend fully all of His powers, for such a comprehension would imply equal or superior wisdom or ability on our part.

Our Lord freely declares to us His greatness as well as His unchangeableness, and the superiority of His plans and arrangements to anything that we have ever comprehended. God says through the prophet, "Your ways are not as my ways nor your plans as my plans; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa. 55:8-9)

Again, "The word that goeth out of my mouth shall not return unto me void, but shall accomplish that which I please, and prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isa. 55:11)

And again, "I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Mal. 3:6)

The inference of this last citation is that Israel had come so far short, been so rebellious against divine favors, that if it were possible to imagine God as a changeable being, we might surely expect that He would rescind his covenant arrangement with that people and utterly destroy them. The same thought is emphasized by another Prophet, who – after telling of God's coming favor to Israel and to other nations in their restoration to "their former estate," the forgiveness of their sins and the remembrance of their iniquities no more (Eze. 16:52-63) – tells them frankly, "Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, 0 house of Israel." Eze. 36:22, 32, 38


From Genesis to Revelation the Word of God sets before us the Abrahamic Covenant as the primary statement of the divine plan for human salvation. The Apostle declares this, saying, "God preached beforehand the Gospel unto Abraham." (Gal. 3:8)

True, that message of favor or good tidings has since been elaborated and opened up to the Lord's people, not only by the testimonials of the prophets but also by the testimony of our Lord and the apostles, who continually referred to that covenant of grace as the basis for all of our hopes. The Apostle Paul speaks of it, saying, "Which hope we have as an anchor to the soul both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail, whither our forerunner is before entered." (Heb. 6:19,20)

The Apostle thus applies some of the precious features of that Covenant to Christians – Spiritual Israelites; but this does not alter the fact that the promise itself was made primarily to Natural Israel, as the Apostle shows. Spiritual Israel is to get the cream of that Covenant, but Natural Israel is yet to have a goodly portion of divine favor in harmony with that promise; yea, "all the families of the earth" are vitally interested in it. It reads, "In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Gen. 22:18

Faith in this promise has been a condition for a share in its blessings for the 37 centuries since it was given. Abraham believed, and this was the basis of the covenant; Isaac and Jacob believed, and thereby shared its hopes and joys and comforts. The nation of Israel believed, and all were accepted of God as His holy people, separate from other nations. But faith was not strong in all of the nation, nor did they all have the spirit of believers – the spirit of obedience. Indeed, it was the unbelieving condition of heart in the majority which led that people so frequently into idolatry, until by captivity among the heathen the Lord sifted out the unbelieving, and in the return from Babylon brought together [NS442] a remnant of 50,000 of all the tribes out of the hosts who went into captivity. These restored Israelites never afterward showed signs of faithlessness to the extent of idolatry, and we find them at the time of our Lord's first advent the most religious people in the world. Their faith in God and in His promise or covenant to Abraham was strong; nevertheless, another condition was set up, namely, a kind of spiritual pride.

They felt themselves worthy of the honor which God had bestowed upon them – that He desired to carry out a certain plan and could find no other people as suitable as themselves, and was so dependent upon them that, without their co-operation, His word of promise to Abraham would fail. This spiritual pride, the Scriptures point out, prevailed to such an extent that only a comparatively few were in the right condition of heart to be pleasing to the Lord, and only to these, therefore, was God's favor in Christ specially manifested.

Thus we read of the majority of those who rejected Jesus and the few who accepted Him, the Apostle's declaration that Jesus came unto His own and His own received Him not; but as many as received Him to them gave He privilege to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on His name – who accepted Him as the Savior, the Sent of God. John 1:11-12

This was a crisis in the affairs of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh – a testing time – a judgment as to whether or not they were fit to be God's holy nation. Their rejection of Jesus and his testimony showed that they were not fit as a nation for God's purpose. But God's favor toward that people was manifested in the fact that He rejected none of those who were fit for His purpose. These "Israelites, indeed, in whom there was no guile," were favored of the Lord in that to them it was given to know the mystery of the kingdom – to appreciate the special features of God's plan in connection with His election of a little flock to be His kingdom class, joint-heirs with Christ. The Apostle adds his word just at this point, saying, "Israel hath not obtained that which she seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded." Rom. 11:7


What does the apostle mean by this statement? Who were the elect, and what did they obtain? Who were blinded, and what is their portion? Elect here is used in the sense of the chosen, the acceptable. Primarily our Lord Jesus was the acceptable Jew – the one who kept the divine law particularly, and demonstrated His loyalty to God even unto death, even the death of the cross. The Scriptures assure us that our Lord's pre7vious acquaintance with the Father, establishing His confidence in God's faithfulness, constituted much of His strength in the trials and difficulties of His consecrated life and in His faithfulness even unto death. He was with the Father even before the world was, knew of His faithfulness and learned to trust Him even where He could not trace Him, and all of His promises were sure. So when it came to the laying down of His life in obedience to the Father's arrangement, as a redeemer for all, for Adam and his race, His faith enabled Him to come off more than victor, more than conqueror, enabled Him to rejoicingly do the Father's will, as it is written of Him, "I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy law is written in My heart." [Psa. 40:8]

Jesus, as the only one born under the law who ever kept the law or was able to keep it, became "heir of all things" – every feature of the divine promise made to Abraham thus came to Him as the sole heir of that Abrahamic covenant. He was the seed of Abraham, and through Him and Him alone could the blessing of God proceed. The Apostle expresses this in Gal. 3:16.

But it was the Heavenly Father's plan, as the apostle declares, to bring many sons to glory through the Only Begotten Son, the captain of our salvation – or literally forerunner as well as guide. The Scriptures beautifully picture these sons as a bride class, which God purposes shall be selected from the world to be associated with His Son in the kingdom. Hence, as soon as our Lord Jesus had finished His sacrifice the work of selecting those who would be associated with Him in the chief favor of the Abrahamic covenant began. At Pentecost God recognized those who had already shown themselves Israelites indeed by their acceptance of Jesus as Messiah and becoming His disciples, and this same Pentecostal blessing extended still further to that nation to seek and to separate to the Lord every true Israelite in whom there was no guile. Therefore, the Lord directed the apostles that, while eventually their ministries should be to all the people, yet they were to begin at Jerusalem – begin with the Jews.


When we get a clear view of the matter we perceive that this entire Gospel Age, from the death of Christ to the second advent, is in many respects a parenthesis in the divine plan. During this period a work has been going on which no Jew had ever expected. Nothing was said to them in the law or in the prophets respecting a spiritual class of Israelites, to be changed from human nature to divine nature and made like unto the angels, heavenly beings. True, this class was referred to in the law in a figurative way, in that they were typified by the high priest and the under-priests, and by Melchisedek and by Moses, who was a figure of the great antitypical Leader, who ultimately was to bring the people from under the power of Satan, the antitype of Pharaoh, [NS443] and from under the dominion of sin, the antitype of ignorance, darkness, bondage, the antitype of Egypt, into the glorious liberty and privileges of the children of God, typified in the land of Canaan. But these types and shadows of good things to come were not seen nor understood previous to the coming of the holy Spirit at Pentecost, and have not been understood since except by those who are partakers of that same spirit of anointing. But Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets looked for and expected a kingdom of God under the whole heavens – in the earth, and not a heavenly or spiritual kingdom.

This spiritual phase of the matter – that Messiah was to be a spirit being, far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named, and that the Church of the Firstborn Ones, selected during this Gospel Age, are to be with Him and to be like Him on this spirit plane – these things were not revealed in times past. Hence the Apostle calls this matter the "mystery" – the mystery hid from past ages and dispensations, but now made known unto the saints. Eph. 3:3; Col. 1:26

With the end of this Gospel Age the parenthesis closes, and the general outward fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham continues just as though this parenthesis of time had not intervened. As soon as the last member of the Church shall have been glorified, the seed of Abraham in its fullest, completest sense as God meant it to be, as men did not understand it, would be fulfilled. The Apostle refers to this, and shows that the Church, as the espoused virgin, shortly, at the second coming of Christ, will become His bride and joint-heir in this promised kingdom, and be with Him an inheritor of that Abrahamic covenant and have the privilege of administering its blessings to all the families of the earth. The Apostle's words addressed to the Church are: "If ye be Christ's (bride) then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29)

So then Christ and the Church, His bride, must be completed before the Anointed Messiah will be complete and begin the work of blessing all the families of the earth.


This brings us to the exact point referred to by the Apostle in our text. In the preceding context he had been telling us that the natural Israelites were broken off from divine favor, were turned aside in blindness, that the spiritual Israelites might be developed, then He assures us that the blindness is not perpetual and total, but shall continue only until "the fullness from the Gentiles shall have come in" – until the fullness of the specially elect ones, spiritual Israel, shall have been completed from among the Gentiles, added to the remnant of natural Israel found worthy of the favor as "Israelites indeed."

The Apostle tells us that then, "all Israel, shall be saved."

We are to take these words in harmony with their connections; we are not to suppose that the Apostle means that all Israelites are to be saved to the spiritual, divine nature, because He has already told us that this will not occur until the elect class is completed, and it is the elect class alone that gets the divine nature. Neither are we to understand the Apostle to mean by these words that all Israel will be saved to eternal life by restitution processes, bringing them up to full human perfection. The opportunity to thus come to perfection and everlasting life is a part of God's provision for them, but the Apostle is not here speaking of this. He is speaking of their being saved from the blindness which came upon them when they rejected Messiah – all Israel shall be saved from their blindness. vs. 26-27

The Apostle here refers to the promise of the New Covenant, which elsewhere he quotes at length from Jeremiah 31:31-34 "The days come saith the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah" – "after those days saith the Lord, I will put my laws in their minds and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God and they shall be to me a people; and they shall not teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Heb. 8:8-12)

The Apostle had this promise in mind, as well as others which declare that in due time God will regather the scattered people, bringing them back into His favor, have mercy upon them and blot out their sins. This New Covenant will become operative as soon as the Church has been glorified. The Church will be the heir of God under the Abrahamic Covenant, while Israel will be the heir of God's favor under the New Covenant, which will apply to Israel first and subsequently to all the families of the earth. The Apostle emphasizes this matter and leaves no doubt respecting his meaning when in the twenty-eighth verse he says: "As concerning the Gospel they are enemies for your own sakes; but as touching the election they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." [Rom. 11:28]

What could be more plain, more simple, than this statement? Who could misunderstand that the Apostle is here referring to Natural Israel, broken off from special favor and relationship to God, that the favored ones from among the Gentiles might be gathered into membership in the Church of Christ, Spiritual Israel? And how strong, how convincing, is the statement that, in harmony with divine predestination on the subject, Israel is not forever cast off from divine favor, but is included [NS444] among God's elections – elect of God as a people, not to the highest place, the spiritual, but to have the first and highest blessing of all the families of the earth under Messiah's Kingdom, and this not for their own sakes, but for the father's sakes – for the sake of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – for the sake of God's promises made to them – for the sake of all the faithful of that nation who walked with God, and to some of whom the Apostle makes reference in his list of ancient worthies in Hebrews 11. Why? Because they were not worthy as those called during this Gospel Age? We think this is not the reason, but that they lived before the time for the call to the spiritual class.

The Apostle proceeds to show this distinction in the gifts and callings of God, saying, "These all having obtained a good report through faith received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us (the Gospel Church), that they without us should not be made perfect." Heb. 11:39,40

In other words, God's callings and selections are definite, positive, separate and distinct, as the various wheels in a great machine are separate and distinct from each other, while they all co-operate together in the work for which the machine is constructed. Note a further evidence along this line in the fact that our Lord said of John the Baptist, "There is not arisen a greater prophet than John the Baptist," and then He added, "And yet I say unto you the least in the Kingdom is greater than He." (Matt. 11:11)

Here the Kingdom class, the Gospel Church, the Bride class, is declared to be superior in every way, so that the least one in it would be on a higher plane than the highest one on the earthly plane – John the Baptist being admitted to be one of the highest among the prophet class, and therefore to share among the highest honors that will come to that class.


Putting the foregoing matters together we find, first, that God's principal gift or favor or call to His service was to His only Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus, who in obedience to that call left the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, humbled Himself, became a man, and as the man Christ Jesus tasted death for Adam and all his race, as our ransom price, and was subsequently highly exalted of the Father above angels, principalities and powers to the divine nature, glory, honor and immortality, and all power in heaven and in earth, that He may now in this glorified condition carry out to the full of the Father's gracious plans respecting our fallen race. We see, secondly, the selection of the Bride class, to be associated with Christ in His Kingdom – composed first of those Israelites who were of proper condition of mind to receive our Lord at the first advent, and then of others from among the Gentiles of similar condition of heart. Thirdly, we see that in previous times God had a special people who are to be connected with His plan – associated with the glorified Christ in the Kingdom work, only on a lower plane, on the earth plane. "They without us shall not be made perfect." [Heb. 11:40]

The Church must be perfected first by the prime, the first resurrection, and then these ancient worthies will be resurrected, perfected as men, that they may be the earthly representatives or instruments of a spiritual and invisible Kingdom in administering the divine law to mankind. Fourthly, we see that as soon as the Gospel Church shall be completed and glorified, the blindness will be turned away from natural Israel, so that they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced and all come to perfect knowledge of divine goodness and mercy. This will be under the favorable conditions of Messiah's Kingdom, when everything will be favorable to the righteous and unfavorable to evil doers, and we may hope that large numbers will respond to privileges then opened to them to attain full perfection of human nature and the blessing of the Lord under the whole heavens. It will be among these that the ancient worthies, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets shall be princes, and to their words we may be sure the natural Israelites will the more readily respond when once their eyes are opened.

The Greensburg Daily Tribune, January 7, 1907


Allegheny, Pa., Jan. 6. Pastor C. T. Russell addressed the Bible House congregation today in Carnegie Hall on the Formation of Character. He took for his text 1 Pet. 1:7, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen we love."

He said: – We live in a day when Mammon, wealth, is almost worshipped. At its shrine, time, talent, honor, principle, [NS445] life itself, are being sacrificed by thousands upon thousands. The Apostle wrote that "Charity covereth a multitude of sins," but in the judgment of the world today wealth will cover almost anything. On the other hand it may be said that there never was a time when there was so much "muck raking" so much exposing of graft and grafters as now, and some point to this as an indication of a higher standard of morals than was ever before attained.

Without stopping to discuss the question of general standards, we hold that it is a self-evident fact that the reason why so much "muck-raking" is possible today is that the majority of humanity are grafters or would-be grafters to the extent of their ability. While strenuously opposing those grafters through whom they suffer the majority seem willing enough to profit by the graft whenever it comes within their reach.

Truly and wisely the Apostle wrote that "the love of money is the root of all evil," and never was money so plentiful as now, never were the misses so awake as to its evils, and never were so many striving with might and main so that they use what they control as "their share of it" – perfectly willing to grasp a little more rather than a little less. At a time when this spirit of mammon worship and craze for wealth seems to be sweeping the whole world before it, it is well for the Lord's people to take notice that many things that are highly esteemed amongst men are an abomination in the sight of the Lord, and to thus instruct their own hearts, and, to the extent of their ability and opportunity to extend the instruction to their children, relatives and neighbors. True, the world has not forgotten the Scriptural statement that"a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches," and hence there is a great endeavor to preserve the good name by outward manifestations of honesty where both heart and head and justice and love are wrested and twisted if not entirely ignored.

At such a time as this it is important for those who desire to maintain their favor with God to look well and carefully to the principles laid down in his Word and to be more vigilant than ever in the conforming of their lives; realizing that there are trials and difficulties along this line such as were unknown to their forefathers in the more quiet times of old, when character had so much to do with a name and when wealth could not cover so great a multitude of sins as at present.


Faithfulness is the standard by which character is to be tested and determined, and this text applies not only to God's consecrated people, called in the Scriptures saints, but in a large measure it applies to every man everywhere according to his light and opportunities. Nearly every parent can witness to the fact that children of today are less reliable, less faithful, have less character than those of his childhood days.

Nearly every employer of servants can witness to the fact that servants are less reliable than in years gone by – that they have less character, that wages and pleasure are their chief consideration; and since there is a great demand for service of every kind, principle, character, faithfulness, seem to have little weight in the minds of the employed. Storekeepers can testify that the employees in whom they could place confidence for faithfulness to duty, watched or not watched – in whose honesty they can thoroughly rely, and in whose loyalty to principles of righteousness and honor they can have confidence – are much more scarce than formerly. While with some the secret of this loss of character is the love of money, with others it is a love of pleasure, of show, of dress, of amusement – "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." [2 Tim. 3:4]

With the present demand for the services of all healthy, intelligent people, there comes a test of character, of faithfulness to principle, unknown a short time ago when situations were more difficult to obtain. Even those who hold situations very frequently cannot be relied upon, but prove unfaithful, lacking of character, and when called to account content themselves with saying, "Cancel my engagement; I will find another situation."

Thus we see that present conditions are destructive of character – unfavorable to the cultivation of the principle of righteousness in the mind of the average man or woman, boy or girl. Parents cannot place as much reliance upon their children as formerly nor children upon' their parents, husbands upon their wives nor wives upon their husbands, teachers upon their pupils, nor pupils upon their teachers, pastors cannot so thoroughly rely upon the character and principles of their congregations, nor can congregations so fully rely upon the fixed character of their pastors. Every now and then they have the confession of some minister that he has long been preaching a creed which he did not believe, and they have reason to doubt if there be not other equal inconsistencies in these men and in others of the "cloth."

This appeal of the Apostle is especially appropriate today, and it should be the effort of all of us to lift up the proper standard of righteousness not only in our teachings but in all the acts and affairs of life – "lift up a standard for the people." [Isa. 62:10]

This standard of character, as we have already remarked, is faithfulness. Every messenger of the Gospel should realize that he has taken an obligation, not only to God, but also to the congregation that he serves – to minister to them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. [NS446] How any can satisfy their conscience with less than this is difficult to understand; but the fact is borne in upon us from day to day by their public utterances, in which many of them seem to glory in their shame – in their confession of years of disloyalty to the truth and to their confiding flocks. Such men should not be trusted in the future; not a word of theirs should be believed until they bring forth fruits in their lives, evidencing a thorough reformation – truth in the inward parts.

Every professed Christian should arouse himself to ascertain clearly, positively what creed he has professed; he should re-examine it in the light of the divine word, and either reapprove and freshly avow it if found to be true, or he should reject it and pronounce it as no longer his if found to be untrue. How can we have honesty or faithfulness in our dealings with our fellow creatures or with ourselves if we are deficient in this quality in respect to the things of God – if we handle the Word of God deceitfully, and draw nigh to him with our lips while our hearts are far from our professions, or, while our minds reject them, how can we expect to have the divine blessing and enlightenment – "meat in due season." [Matt. 24:45]

As the Apostle says, "Lie not one to another," brethren – neither falsely misrepresent the views and teachings of another nor falsely misrepresent our own. Let us be thoroughly honest, and, beginning with honesty in our religion, let us allow this quality of faithfulness to pervade all the avenues of life. As parents, with children, be honest, truthful, faithful to your trust, not shirking the same, but at the sacrifice of time and pleasure do your duty toward those whom the laws of nature and the Word of God tell you, you have the responsibility – toward your offspring. As children forget not your responsibility in the sight of God according to the laws of nature – "If any provide not for his own, specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." (1 Tim. 5:8)

As employers, as teachers, as superintendents, let us appreciate more and more the responsibilities of life, the duties of life; let us make character by attending to these duties – by faithfulness. As pupils, as employees, as servants, clerks, let us learn that there is a principle involved in even the slightest affairs of life; that whoever is obedient to these principles is making character, and whoever is neglecting them is undermining character. Loyalty to God must come first, but loyalty to obligations as pupils and servants must certainly be remembered and practiced, if we would grow in character development. Our Lord's words apply in all the cases most specifically, "He that is faithful in that which is least will be faithful also in much." [Luke 16:10]

If we do not learn to be faithful and conscientious in respect to the small affairs of life we will not have the character which should make us faithful in the larger duties and responsibilities that may yet come to us in the present or in the future life.

These are our Lord's words and in his own order; faithfulness is placed as the finality, the culmination, the test. It is not sufficient that we have been called of the Lord; it is not sufficient that we have accepted that call and come under the terms and conditions, and thus have been accepted of the Lord as his chosen ones. It is necessary that beyond this we shall develop character, and, as the Apostle expresses it, become "copies of God's dear Son," ere we can be counted of the Lord as faithful. And without this character development, faithfulness, we cannot hope to inherit the Kingdom. Faithfulness thus is made the test of the graduation of the Church from their present position and condition to the glorious station to which as the Bride of Christ they have been called to be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, if so be that they suffer with him, that they may also be glorified together. Rom. 8:17

The suffering here referred to by the Apostle as necessary to the Church's share with Christ in the heavenly glory of the Millennial Kingdom is presented in the Scriptures from the two following standpoints:

(1) It represents our sacrifices, our participation with out Lord and master in his sacrifice – suffering with him.

(2) This suffering is held out before us in the Scriptures as a necessary condition to the attainment of the Kingdom, because the suffering is attendant or incidental to the trial of our faith. This is referred to by the Apostle in our text when he declares that the trial of the faith of the saints is much more precious, much more carefully done, than the trial of gold in the fiery furnace. He explains to us the reason why this should be so – because although gold is one of the most precious metals, it is nevertheless a perishable thing, its value is comparatively perishable, it may have greater value at one time and less at another, and the Scriptures assure us that the time is coming when by reason of the change of dispensation gold will have no such value as at the present time.

Hence the Apostle contrasts it with the character of the Christian whose value will increase, because when the present testing time is ended, all the faithful, those who stand the trial, will be changed by the power of the Lord from earthly nature to heavenly nature, and become inestimable value as inheritors of the exceeding great and precious promises and their reward the divine nature. 2 Pet. 1:4

When we read in the Scriptures of our faith, the thought is not that of a testing of physical strength, but that of trying out impurities, refining. This is shown by [NS447] the illustration. Gold tried in the furnace is gold that is melted under the proper heat to separate the dross from the pure gold. This cannot be done without the heat, and yet if the heat were not regulated the effect would be the burning of the gold and its evaporation as gas. Hence in all furnaces where gold is tried or refined all the arrangements are very carefully made, and the refiner is a person of great skill, lest any of the precious metal should be destroyed – so that the proper purification might take place without destruction. And this is the thought. which the Lord everywhere holds out to those who are his consecrated people during this Gospel age.

He informs us that we have been accepted of him through the merit of Christ, that our faith is counted to us for righteousness, that our good endeavors are counted as they were the actual accomplishment of all that we strive to accomplish, that our unintentional weaknesses and frailties are all considered by the heavenly Metallurgist who has charge of the refining process. The refiner of gold first ascertains what are the peculiar characteristics of the dross with which it is combined, and then he arranges such fluxes in his furnace as will best combine with those elements of dross in the ore so that the heating process be not in vain.

Thus it is with the heavenly Refiner, who knows his people individually, particularly, and who so arranges for all those who have consecrated themselves to him and who willingly abide in his care that the difficulties and vicissitudes of life to which they shall be exposed shall be fiery trials so combined and regulated as to most easily dissolve and separate their dross – to the intent that when the trying or purifying process is complete they may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing – fully acceptable to the great Father of Lights.


We come now to the crux of our lesson. We have already seen how desirable it is that the world should form character, how great a loss it experiences if it fails so to do. We may well imagine and will remember, too, that every point of character lost by the world will be one that will need to be regained in the life to come if they would attain at any time to divine favor; and every point of character gained in the present life would be that much of an aid in the future life to their attainment of divine favor under Christ's kingdom.

But now we notice the still more important testing which belongs to the Church – not the nominal Church, but the real Church – those who have made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice, of time, talents, influence, life itself, to him and to his service. The refining process means 0, so much to these, because having been enlightened more than others, having tasted of the heavenly gift, having been made partakers of the holy Spirit, having come into this especial relationship with God, there is a trial, a testing for either life or death. Should they not attain character that would be pleasing to God, (who would grant them a share in the heavenly condition) it will prove that they have received the "gift of God in vain." Because of this relationship to the Lord, they are in the furnace of trial at the present time.

If they submit themselves willingly to the Lord, proportionately less of the fiery trials will be necessary to separate their dross; but if unfaithful to the covenant of sacrifice they cling to their sins and weaknesses and imperfections and fail to develop character it will require the stronger heat to release these impurities and if still they are recalcitrant the still greater heat of the furnace will be applied which, as the Apostle explains, would consume them as adversaries of God, adversaries of righteousness, adversaries of the principle s which God stands for and which they had agreed to stand for as his children and followers of his dear Son, their Lord and Redeemer.


Those who have become the Lord's "peculiar people" by making a "covenant of sacrifice' – surrendering earthly interests and prospects for the heavenly – are admonished by the Apostle that they are specially in the school of Christ for the development of character, so as to constitute them "copies of God's dear Son" in their hearts, though they cannot come up to his likeness in the flesh because of their imperfections. Writing to such the Apostle Peter says, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial that shall try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice;' that when his glory shall be revealed ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." (1 Pet. 4:12)

All of the "beloved" must have just such experiences of fiery trials. Indeed these trials are a mark or sign to them that they are the Lord's beloved. As the Apostle Paul declares the heavenly Father scourges every son whom he receiveth, all need such scourging or chastening for the development of their characters. All need thus to be tried with fiery trials so as to purge from them the dross of this world – self reliance, worldly wisdom, earthly ambition, etc., to purify their faith in the Lord, his promises, his power, his grace all sufficient. Instead of thinking these fiery trials strange we learn to consider them most reasonable and indispensable. What Christian of experience has not found that some of the very best developments of his character have come through fiery trials; how else would he learn to exercise heavenly patience, forbearance, sympathy for others, love for the brethren, compassion for the [NS448] world in its troubles and trials? How else than in the furnace of affliction have the Lord's people learned the great lesson of faith, humility and love? Nor is it for us to say when we have had a sufficiency of trial, when the fiery trials shall cease.

It is for our faith to accept the divine assurance that our Lord cares for our interests and will not suffer us to be tempted, tried, above that we are able, but will in every trial provide a way of escape from whatever portion of it would be too severe. We may be sure that when we come into touch with some Christian brother who manifests great faith in the Lord and in his Word, and great love for his cause and for the brethren that we have come in contact with one who has been in the fiery furnace, who has learned there of the Lord these valuable lessons and that because of these experiences he has been able to "put on Christ" – to put on the spirit or disposition of the Master and to be more and more conformed to his likeness.

In view of these things we do well at the opening of a New Year to afresh set our affections on things above and not on things of the earth, and to expect in connection with this our proper course that we will have trials which must not have the effect of discouraging us or weakening our faith, but contrariwise must increase our love, our trust, our devotion, our zeal, our conformity to the image of God's dear Son. The New Year thus entered upon by the Lord's people with guidance of the great Teacher, will form character pleasing in the Master's sight and will be an encouragement and strength for the coming days – an assistance to the end of the year and will guarantee us under the Lord's supervision a year's march nearer to the Kingdom and to all the glorious things which God has in reservation for them that love Him. We see the reasonableness of the divine arrangement and that it is not an arbitrary matter on the Lord's part, but a necessary arrangement for our benefit to assist in making our calling and election sure.

When we hear the Master's voice saying: – "Through much tribulation shall ye enter the Kingdom" – it would cause us terror did we not know him and did we not remember his assurance of his loving protection of our welfare – that he is the great Refiner who looks for his image in the molten metal and who skillfully withdraws it from the fire ere it be consumed just in time to fully separate it from the dross.


Let us then begin this new year with the expectation, with the determination that it shall be marked by great increase in our character's formation – that we will be faithful to our natural duties and responsibilities and also to our obligations and vows. Seeing that faithfulness is the character approved by God let us receive of its increase – that we will be more faithful as parents to our children and as children to our parents, as husbands to our wives and as wives to our husbands, as employers to our employees and as employees to our employers. Above all let us remember that the center of faithfulness is toward God – that we have natural obligations toward him as our Creator to obey his laws, to seek to know and to do his will. And as for those who have consecrated their all upon the Lord's altar in harmony with the Apostles s injunction, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice holy, acceptable to God and your reasonable service." (Rom. 12:1)

Let us remember that we have an additional obligation to faithfulness – that our covenant of sacrifice implies still more than an avoidance of sin, that it means that we will seek opportunity to use our little all in the service of him who has redeemed us and adopted us into his family and given us the prospect of becoming joint heirs with his Son in the heavenly kingdom. Faithful is he who has called us, who also will do it, writes the Apostle, and the conditions are that we shall fulfil our covenant and be not only called and chosen but also faithful. Let us not forget either the Master's words that he that is faithful in that which is least will be faithful also in the thing which is great, that he who is unjust, in that which is least will be unjust, unfaithful in that which is greater. With this in view let us not forget the little things in life and that the Lord is specially judging of our professions and heart desires by these rather than by the greater things.

The Greensburg Daily Tribune, January 14, 1907


Lynn, Mass., Jan. 13 – Pastor Russell, of Allegheny, Pa., preached twice here today. His topic in the afternoon at Lynn Theater was the "Overthrow of Satan's Empire."

His morning discourse, which we report, was based upon the words, "Ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:20)

He said: When we consider the greatness, majesty and glory that must necessarily appertain to our Creator, and when we consider further the insignificance of humanity [NS449] even at its best even when perfect, and the fact that there is none righteous, no not one, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, the proposition of our text seems an astounding one when applied to any member of the human race. In what way is it possible for any of our race to add to the honor and dignity and glory of the Heavenly Creator?

Instinctively all would agree that if we possessed the power to glorify the Creator, the duty to do so would be incumbent upon us. By his grace we live, hence all the pleasures which have come to us or may yet come to us are reckoned as amongst the blessings that come down from above – all that we enjoy of food and raiment and appreciate of the beauties of nature and the fellowship of friends are ours by virtue of our existence and the provision which our Creator has made therefore. As the Apostle declares, "every good and every perfect gift cometh from above, from the Father of lights, with whom is no changeableness neither shadow of turning." (Jas. 1:17)

Very properly, then, all should feel the responsibility of making some return to the one who has made so bountiful provision for our needs – even though the conditions of this present time were far from perfect – far from satisfactory to the Lord himself, since he has promised us new conditions, a new heavens and a new earth, new arrangements both of government and society. Our text, in common with all the Scriptures, is addressed not to the world in general but to the Church – to the household of faith.

Nevertheless it may prove advantageous to us to consider its admonitions first from the standpoint of the world, and afterwards from the standpoint of those to whom it was most particularly addressed. We inquire, then, how could the natural man glorify God in his body? We must assume him to start with a measure of faith. He must believe that God is, and that he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him, else he would have no incentive to worship or glorify God. This degree of knowledge and faith, acting properly upon the individual, would have an influence upon all of his conduct of life, though not necessarily the same influence that it would have upon others still more enlightened – the saints or himself if later he became one of the saints.

Such a "natural man" under favorable influences ought to desire to glorify his Creator in his body, and properly enough would come the question: In what way could he accomplish this? We reply by that reasonable and proper use of it which would develop and preserve its powers, mental and physical. This would mean that he should take heed to his eating and drinking, his use of his time and talents, that all of these might serve their very best and noblest purposes in his own interest and in the interests of others with whom he comes in contact. Such a use of the human body would be to the glory of God, tending to demonstrate the divine wisdom originally exhibited in man's creation.

The Lord declares that his work is perfect – that he made man in his own image and likeness and that our present condition as a race, some more and some less fallen, are all the results of the impairment of the human organization through sin and disobedience. The spirit of a sound mind teaches that this impairment is not only derogatory to the glory of God but injurious to ourselves, that we should do all in our power to counteract these disadvantages – to restore the equilibrium of our being and thus recover so far as possible our original condition in human perfection, in which condition the Lord declares he was glorified and honored. In our present condition our race is a dishonor to the Creator. Any noble-minded man would be ashamed to be known as the maker of the vast majority of our poor race. Even the noblest of men come short of the original perfection, or, as the Apostle declares, "We have all sinned and as a consequence come short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23) – come short of that perfection or likeness of God which really honor and glorify him as the Creator.


Here the "natural man" finds his insuperable barrier. He can will to be perfect, but he cannot accomplish that will; he can resolve that the words of his mouth and the meditations of his heart shall be acceptable to God, but he cannot make them so. He finds that he has inherited a downward tendency which he cannot fully overcome. He may resolve that he will glorify God in his body, so that whether he eats or drinks or whatsoever he does shall be done to the glory of God, but he finds a power of appetite with cravings of a fallen nature which occasionally, in spite of all his resolutions, swerve him from the path of propriety. He cannot do the things that he would.

He feels his helplessness – what must he do? He should cry to the Lord in prayer, telling him of his desires to glorify him and of his realization of his own weaknesses, imperfections and general undone condition. To such as take this course, to such as hunger and thirst after righteousness and the glory of God, to such as desire to do the divine will, seeking, knocking, the way shall be opened, as the Scriptures have promised. To such the Lord will point out the great Redeemer, who is the Way, the Truth, the Life. Ere long to that "natural man" will come the knowledge of the fact that God, taking cognizance of our fallen state and knowing that we could not recover ourselves, has provided a Savior and a great one, able to save to the uttermost all who come unto the Father through him. To the seeking [NS450] one the revelation is opened that Jesus left the heavenly glory, was made flesh and gave himself a ransom for Adam and incidentally for his race. That thus a redemption price for Adam's sin having been provided God can be just and yet cover the unintentional blemishes of all that come unto him through the merit of this sacrifice; he can count them as though they were perfect, reckoning according to their intentions and not according to their actual performances. How wonderful, how gracious an arrangement is this, which the Scriptures designate the justification through faith. Would that all could grasp even this primary feature of the divine plan and receive the great blessing which accompanies it.


The "natural man" of our illustration, now justified, has peace with God as the Apostle declares. (Rom. 8:1)

Afresh he determines that he will glorify God in his body, afresh he strives to live a godly life, rejoicing that the Lord is willing through Christ to accept good intentions with best endeavors as instead of perfection. Nevertheless he does not go far until he meets with serious difficulty. He cannot still do things that he would; to will is present with him, but how to perform is the difficulty. (Rom. 7:18)

He finds such a tide of indifference, carelessness, superstition, folly, sin, injustice, etc., all around him, that he feels appalled at the situation. Why did he ever undertake to walk in the ways of righteousness and to glorify God? His stand in this matter has put him in opposition to almost everybody and to almost all the arrangements of the present time. Heart sick he stops to survey the situation, to determine whether he will go on or whether he will swerve and bend to some extent to keep himself more in touch with his fellow creatures, who have a less noble standard and ambition.

It is a query whether he will go on in his endeavor to glorify God in his body or will turn aside and yield to sin in greater or lesser degree. He is at the parting of the ways; he needs counsel, he needs assistance, and it is the Lord's time to bring it to him. At this very juncture the Lord shows this "natural man," "justified through faith," that it is impossible for him to go on of himself, in his own strength – that it will surely mean failure. At the same time the Lord proffers him divine aid and assistance, but with one condition, namely, a full self-surrender – a full consecration of mind and body, time, talent, influence, everything, to the Lord's care.

Here is his great struggle. Will he become a disciple of Christ, a follower of the Lamb, or will he maintain his self-control? If he decides upon the latter course, such decision, is a great mistake. The Lord gave a parable which will illustrate what results might be expected. He is like the man who, in the parable, had a demon cast out of him and his heart swept and garnished, and to whom subsequently the same demon returned, accompanied by several other demons more wicked, and entered into him, and the last end of that man was worse than the first. His only hope of going onward, in harmony with his good intention of glorifying God, lies in his acceptance of the proffered assistance of the great Redeemer. But the latter does not force nor even urge the matter, but in his own language says "Let him sit down first and count the cost." (Luke 14:28)

If he have a sufficient love for righteousness, love for truth, honorable and noble principles of life, to desire to glorify his Creator by following the paths of righteousness, he will after complete consideration determine that duty calls him to a full self-surrender. Additionally, by this time love for the Redeemer should be a powerful factor in his mind, and, as the Apostle suggests in our text, he should realize that he is not his own, that he is bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ. These considerations of duty and of love decide the matter if the man has the proper character, of the kind the Lord has been seeking during this Gospel age. If he has no such character he cannot be one of the Kingdom class now being sought.


Let us assume that he takes this step of consecration – willingly laying his all of time, talent, influence, property, etc., at the feet of the Lord, with a desire to use all of these in glorifying God – what could be more rational than that we should use our bodies in the service of our Creator? What would be more reasonable than that the first step of such a consecration should be the giving up of the will by which our lives and bodies are controlled? Who can doubt, after coming to a knowledge of the grace of God in Christ, his loving kindness, his tender mercies – who could doubt that he would abundantly reward such an one, granting him, according to the Savior's promise, a hundred fold more in this present time and in the world to come everlasting life.

In this suppositious case we shall assume that, when the consecration was made the heart, the will, all given up to the Lord even unto death, the Heavenly Father accepted the sacrifice and granted the blessing of a share in the holy Spirit. The result would be the gradual opening of the eyes of understanding, the gradual attainment of the spirit of a sound mind in respect to all the affairs of life, the gradual transformation of the character in its every particular, especially noticeable in those features which were most defective. This one, desirous of glorifying God, is no longer a [NS451] "natural man."

He is what the Scriptures designate a "new creature in Christ." His change came as a result of his consecration of his all to the Lord – at the moment of his divine acceptance – at the instant when he received the begetting of the holy Spirit. This New Creature finds his enlightenment increasing through the instruction of the divine Word. To him old things have passed away and all things have become new in the sense that the instructions of the Word under the enlightenment of the holy Spirit give him clearer views of the sinful and fallen condition of mankind in general, and of the necessity for a thorough regeneration.

They also inform him of the fact that God has provided for these in his own due time, during the Millennial age, and that those who are now properly exercised by the desire to glorify God and by the enlightenment of the holy Spirit, if faithful to the end, will be made associates with the Redeemer in that glorious Kingdom for which he taught us to pray "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Now he begins to understand what the Apostle meant when he wrote, "Set your affections on things above and not on things of the earth."

Ah, yes; no wonder! The things of earth are all blemished, and, like a faded flower, they have lost their beauty and attractiveness to those who have a knowledge and appreciation of the fresher and better glories that are beyond. He now has the eye of faith, enlightened by the Word, illumined by the holy Spirit, and can see things that before were not discernible.

Now all of the divine promises from the lips of Jesus, the Apostles and the prophets are luminous, giving light upon the pathway and enabling the eye of faith to see the heavenly glories even as we may see the sun thru an obscure or smoked lens. Now he is not alone, for he has the companionship of him who promised, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee;" and again, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the age;" and again, "I will come and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also." (Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20; John 14:3)

The presence and providential care of the Lord in his affairs, all consecrated to the divine will, bring a peace and joy which the world knows not of – which the natural man, even though justified by faith, cannot appreciate, because "the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14)

Only those begotten of the Spirit, therefore, may appreciate these deeper things and have a reverent joy and peace and blessing.


The consecrated one of our illustration, having by his consecration a begettal of the holy Spirit, becomes a member of the Church whose names are written in heaven; and he may now properly lose his individuality and consider the Church as a whole, and ask, What is the force of this text and its application to the Church, the saints of God, who have made full surrender to him and his service of all that they have and are? The Apostle urges that such should remember that "Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price." [1 Cor. 6:19,20]

The more of the new mind these enjoy, the more they are taught of God by his Spirit through his Word, the better will they comprehend the fact that they not only owe the Lord a debt of gratitude for their natural life and earthly blessings, but additionally, they now owe him a still greater debt on account of their redemption through the precious blood; and even this indebtedness was greatly increased when, after their consecration and begetting of the Spirit, they realized that God had accepted them as "new creatures in Christ." And his promise to them is that if they are faithful unto death they shall have the crown of life and joint-heirship with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom, with the glory, honor and immortality attaching.

If the natural man might reasonably look to God and desire to glorify him in his body – if still more the justified natural man should appreciate this privilege, then assuredly these New Creatures should far more esteem the privileges of using their mortal bodies to glorify their Father in heaven. But how shall they use them? What say the Scriptures? The words of the Lord and the apostles indicate clearly that these should have a different view from that which they formerly had in respect to their bodies. They should still consider it proper that whatever they eat or drink or whatsoever they do may be done to the Lord's glory; they should still consider it proper to use their bodies as not abusing them realizing that their consecration to the Lord meant something – meant much. It meant that their mortal bodies were to be surrendered unto death as "living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, and their reasonable service." (Rom. 12:1)

The central thought of sacrifice is the free surrender or giving up of the sacrificed thing, and it here implies that while the "natural man" might not improperly think of preserving his life and earthly interests, these New Creatures – by reason of their full consecration to walk in the Master's footsteps as living sacrifices – had put themselves under new conditions, which would hinder them from merely preserving their mortal bodies and conserving their best protective interests. They are to esteem that their time, their talents, their influence, their wealth, are not their own, but consecrated, given over, devoted to the Lord and to his service. The sacrifice of these things means their spending, [NS452] not their hoarding; whoever therefore has taken this position and rightly understands what he has done should see clearly that it is his business according to his vows to the Lord, as a member of the body of Christ, to lay down his life in the service of the Lord, in the service of the truth, in the service of the brethren, by great deeds or by little deeds as the Lord may grant opportunity. His influence as a man attaches to his body, his person, and it also must be used in the Lord's service.

We might surmise that this would mean great honor, as the world would recognize these consecrated ones and their devotion to the Lord; but not so. They knew not the Master, they discerned not his spirit, they appreciated not his sacrifice when it was being made; neither can they for the same reasons appreciate the motives and devotion of those who follow in his footsteps. Hence to take this step of sacrifice will in the estimation of the world deserve and bring opprobrium, disdain and such will be "counted fools all the day long." [1 Cor. 4:10; Rom. 8:36]

It includes the money, because it appertains to the flesh, which is consecrated. The property of such is no longer theirs, but the Lord's, not to be foolishly wasted or thrown away, but not to be hoarded either. Their duty is to sacrifice it, use it, to spend it according to their best judgment as New Creatures as to what would be pleasing to the Lord and honoring to His name.


As the facts as well as the declarations of Scripture show that God is not glorified in our depraved race, but the very reverse – that he is dishonored – the picture presented to us of the future is a grandly inspiring one; for God's declaration through the prophet 4s that the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the great deep. (Isa. 11:9)

This will not be, of course, at the beginning of the Millennium, but at its close. During that glorious reign of the glorified Jesus and his glorified Bride, the Church his joint-heirs in the Kingdom, the work of restitution will go grandly forward, with naught to oppose. The power of Jehovah's arm will there be manifested throughout the great Mediator's Kingdom, putting down all insubordination and every enemy to righteousness, and lifting up all who will accept the divine favor from the tomb and from the weakness, sickness and frailty of our present fallen condition – lifting them back to that perfect estate from which all fell in the person of father Adam, in whose loins the entire race then were. It is for this reason that the Millennial reign of Christ is spoken of by the Apostle Peter as the time of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:19-21)

No wonder our Lord taught us to pray for "that glorious coming day whose Sun of Righteousness will dispel all the darkness of the present night time of sin."

While the Scriptures distinctly assure us that none will gain perfection and eternal life contrary to their wills and that God seeketh only such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth, nevertheless the assurance that Satan will be bound during that thousand years that he shall deceive the nations no more until it is finished, and the assurance that the Christ in glory will be the great Physician to heal the wounds caused by sin and death, the great Redeemer is to bring back not only those from the tomb but from every phase of imperfection and death, so many as will obey him.

This, coupled with the Apostle's declaration that God will have all men to come to a knowledge of the truth, is the guarantee that the prophetic picture of the Millennial day is not overdrawn, not exaggerated. Another similar picture is given us in the Lord's last message to the Church, in which we read respecting the conditions of the world at the close of the Millennial age, in the "song of Moses and the Lamb," "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; righteous and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou art holy; for all the nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy righteous dealings have been made manifest." (Rev. 15:3, 4)

As yet the ways of the Lord are in darkness, except to the few who are enlightened by the holy Spirit, taught of God, granted an appreciation of the deep things of God. But by and by his righteous dealings, the righteousness of the entire plan of God, will be manifested to all. Who then will not glorify God in that day when restitution shall have brought them back from the influence of the curse, the sentence of death, restored them to the image and likeness of God? Surely, as is here declared, all nations shall come and worship before the Lord.

That is a happy day coming for the world in general, but already those who are the Lord's, in the highest sense of the word his "very elect" by faith, may see, understand and appreciate not only these things yet to come, but themselves now have a share by faith in the glories of that coming Kingdom and at present in the appreciation of the Father's love 'and are enabled to glorify God in their bodies by using them to his glory and praise, whither all the blind eyes shall be opened, and when the ways of the Lord and of those who are walking with him shall be manifested to the glory of his praise.

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