The Pittsburg Dispatch, February 25, 1907


Cedar Rapids, Ia., Feb. 24. Pastor Russell of Allegheny, Pa., preached twice here today to very attentive audiences. The Opera House was crowded at 3 p.m. to hear him talk on his cure for infidelity, entitled "To Hell and Back."

The large audiences gave closest attention for nearly two hours. The morning discourse, on "The Purport of Fasting," is reported herewith. It was from the text, "Then came to Jesus the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but Thy disciples fast not?" (Matt. 9:14)

He said: From earliest times fasting has been recognized as a valuable adjunct to piety. Many of the heathen even have their fast days as well as their feast days. Our text tells us that the custom was prevalent among the most religious in our Lord's day, and expresses surprise that it was not enjoined by our Master's teachings as a law, and at that time was not practiced by His followers. Jesus in reply explained the situation, indicating that His message was such a feast to His disciples and His presence among them such a cheer that practically they could lack for nothing and would have little reason for fasting until after His return to the Father. He says, "Yea, I say unto you, in those days they shall fast." [Matt. 9:15]

It is one of the peculiarities of our Lord's teachings and the teachings of His apostles that they bound the believers with no fetters, but after setting forth doctrines and principles for holiness of heart, they left the outward conduct to be regulated by the heart. Thus the disciples of Jesus were never commanded not to murder, not to steal. The command was on a much higher plane than this, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." [Matt. 22:39]

Love for the neighbor would neither covet his goods nor sanction injury of any kind, but the very reverse – would seek to assist him as might be needed. Whoever voluntarily comes under the Lord's Golden Rule finds that it regulates all the affairs of life. To do to others as we would have them do to us signifies that we would do them good in every reasonable and possible manner, but do them injury, never!


All close observers of human nature, and particularly all who are critical observers of their own lives, realize that there is a blessing in abstemiousness – self-denial – self-restraint – fasting. The Apostle speaks of some whose chief pleasure seems to be self-gratification, saying of them, "Whose god is their belly, who mind earthly things." (Philip. 3:19)

Persons of experience will be ready to admit that the gourmand satisfies his appetite at the expense of his higher intellectual qualities, without any reference whatever to religious matters. Hence we find that the more intelligent people of the world practice a kind of fasting or self-denial every day they live. They have an aim, an object, before them in life, and strive to eat and drink in harmony therewith.

They realize that with all their energies absorbed in the digesting of food and the making of flesh, their intellects and all their higher functions are stupefied and in the interest of their own welfare, therefore, they bring voluntarily their appetites under a measure of restraint that they may prosper along preferred lines. Many Christian professors observe a Lenten season in the spring of every year and establish the same as a law. While disclaiming that the Lord and the apostles, and the authorities in the Church, ever made such a law, and while correspondingly disapproving of laws made by those who have not the authority, we nevertheless recognize that the custom has probably been a beneficial one physically – sometimes spiritually.

The cold of winter, stimulating the appetite, very frequently results in overfeeding, especially among the wealthy and fashionable, and to these surfeited ones the fastings enjoined by their Lenten laws are undoubtedly safety-valves of health which measurably prepare the system for the changing conditions of springtime and doubtless to some extent avert sickness, especially in the case of those whose main meat diet is fatty pork. To such the Lenten law is a real blessing.


Recognizing that fasting signifies self-denial – the denial of the flesh – we perceive that He has invited those who would walk with Him in the narrow way to join with Him in this fasting, and that when they make a full consecration of their all to the Lord this signifies self-denial – the renunciation of the world, the flesh and the devil, with whatever this may have of charm or enticement for their flesh. I have already noted as beneficial, healthful, a restraint upon the appetite, and particularly at the spring of the year. I have also commended a general restraint of the appetite every day in the avoidance of foods and drinks recognized as in any degree injurious. I have shown that this is the course of wisdom and in line with the spirit of a sound mind. This commends itself, not to the worldly prudent, but especially to the Lord's consecrated people, who recognize [NS454] that they were bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ, and that they should therefore glorify God in their bodies and spirits, which are His. None of us has great talents or powers by nature, and all the more it behooves us to make the most of what we have in the service of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, with a high appreciation of the privilege of being His representatives and ambassadors. We come now to a consideration of the highest forms of self-denial, called in the Scriptures self-sacrifice, because they are not demanded of us by justice nor by considerations of health, but constitute our sacrifices of earthly riches in the interest of righteousness and in our service of the Lord's cause.

This highest form of fasting – self-denial, self-sacrifice – is represented in our Lord; but since He was so far above us, being perfect, we may perhaps use the Apostle Paul's case as a still better illustration of this kind of fasting – self-sacrifice. We see how he, by birth a Roman citizen and by education a lawyer, was well prepared to make his mark in the world as a prominent member of the Jewish Sanhedrin and doctor of the law, honorable, esteemed among his fellow men. We see how he devoted all these opportunities and talents, to the cause of the Lord – to the cause of the truth.

We see how he became an ambassador for the King of Kings to those whom he well knew in advance would not generally recognize his embassage, but who, on the contrary, would count him a fool or a knave – totally misunderstand his motives. The apostle's abandonment of earthly station and honors to receive instead the disfavor of his fellows and to be counted as a part of the filth and offscourings of the earth was an heroic self-sacrifice. It means fasting on the very highest plane, so that had we no record that the apostle ever fasted in a literal sense – no record that he ever denied himself dainty food – we would, nevertheless, see that his entire life was a season of fasting on a plane that must be the most acceptable of any imaginable in the sight of the Lord.


Hearken to the apostle's enumeration of some of the self-denials endured by himself and others of the household of faith who loyally stood with him. He says, "In all things approving ourselves as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings.. . . As deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as chastened and not killed." (2 Cor. 6:4, 5, 8, 9)

Mark again the apostle's appeal to the church in favor of this higher form of fasting practiced by the Lord and himself. He prefaces it by suggesting that the time is short – the opportunity for such self-sacrifice on the part of any person is very limited. At most we have but a few years to live – a few years only, therefore, to sacrifice.

At best we have very little talent and opportunity to lay at the Lord's feet: hence the importance of doing so in a wholehearted manner. A few more days or months or years and the trial time of the church will be at an end, and the time will have come when the Master shall declare who have been the overcomers and who have failed to overcome – who have faithfully walked in the narrow way, copying the example of their Redeemer, and who have not done so and have not manifested a sufficiency of zeal for righteousness and their covenant. The apostle's words are: "This I say, brethren, the time is short; it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they had them not; and they that weep as though they wept not; and they that rejoice as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy as though they possess not; and they that use this world as not abusing it." (1 Cor. 7:29-31)

The apostle thus urges upon all who like himself are seeking to make their calling and election sure as members of the elect class, the Bride class, which will share with Christ the throne of the millennial kingdom for the blessing of all the families of the earth, that in harmony with their consecration they should continually seek to live abstemious lives in respect to all the affairs of life. We do not understand the apostle to mean that wife or property or the pleasures of life should be entirely ignored.

There are duties and responsibilities in all these directions, incumbent upon all, but, as he intimates in the context, he would have you without carefulness – his thought being that in none of these respects should the Lord's consecrated people be overcharged; that none of these things should so absorb our attention, our time, our energy, our strength along earthly lines as to hinder us from the great privilege of being servants and ambassadors of the Lord and His cause. It is just so in the matter of fasting, which does not signify total abstinence from food, but a measure of abstinence and self-restraint as respects the condiments and delicacies.

As the absolute necessities may be eaten, should be eaten, so there are absolute necessities in life which should not be ignored – duties which we owe to ourselves and to others. But outside that limitation there is a vast range of possibility in the matter of self-denial, self-sacrifice, as every Christian should realize. The apostle urges a realization of the privilege and the opportunity for such self-denials, such fastings, and it will be profitable for all of the Lord's people to continually keep this in mind – to remember that they are different from the world, that in accepting the Lord and in consecrating themselves to Him and His service, [NS455] and being accepted by Him as His servants and begotten of His spirit, they have entered upon new conditions and have new responsibilities, and that among these is their engagement that they will show their love for the Lord by their fastings, by their self-denials on His behalf – on behalf of the service of His word of truth.


In illustrating the Christian's consecration to sacrifice, self-denial, fasting, that he may give himself the more thoroughly to the Lord's service in word, thought and deed, the Apostle uses the illustration of a Roman soldier. He points out that those who will be faithful soldiers must disentangle themselves from earthly obligations to a large degree, ignoring, sacrificing, enduring a fast of self-denial for patriotic reasons.

Using this as an illustration the Apostle urges that we should endure hardness as good soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who assures us that faithful is He who has called us to this service, and that He will do exceedingly, abundantly better for us than we could ask or expect. Then we are invited to consider the difference of reward. These earthly soldiers endure great hardships and practice great self-denials that they may have the approval of their superior officers and their Nation.

We as a reward for our faithfulness and self-denial, fasting, are exhorted to look forward to and have confidence in the approval of the great King of Kings and Lord of Lords when He shall come to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all them that believe in that day – the dawning of the millennial day. More than this, the soldiers of the cross who demonstrate their loyalty to their Master by sacrifice even unto death are assured that they shall be very highly exalted by Him in due time – when His kingdom comes. This He assures them, saying, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne." (Rev. 3:21)

He calls these by the precious name of brethren, and again by the still more precious name of Bride, assuring us that as all things have been given to Him by the Father since His exaltation, since His overcoming victory, so we shall be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord in the "inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Pet. 1:4)

The Apostle Peter, speaking of these faithful soldiers of the cross, declares their prospects thus, "To us are given exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might become partakers of the divine nature." (2 Pet. 1:4)

The divine nature is the highest of all, far above that of men, angels, principalities and powers – the Father's nature, incorruptible. The Apostle's question is pertinent: if our fellowmen are willing to endure great hardships for the trivial rewards that are theirs what should we be willing to endure who thoroughly believe m these exceeding great and precious things which God has in reservation for the faithful? What manner of persons ought we to be in all manner of holy conversation and godliness? 2 Pet. 3:11


It may seem to be stating the matter strongly to say that none will be admitted to the Kingdom glories and honors and association with the Redeemer in His Millennial work except those who practice fasting – self-denial. These are the overcomers, to whom everything is promised, and outside of whom nothing is promised as respects the Kingdom. Does this seem at first to us to be unreasonable?

If so, it requires but a little reflection to see that it is really most consistent, most reasonable. An overcomer is one who has gained an established, a fixed character as respects his will in all matters pertaining to godliness. The divine arrangement guarantees us that the overeomers will love righteousness and hate iniquity in their hearts, and exemplify this as much as possible in their words and deeds.

But, further, the fact that all the overcomers are now required to war a good warfare against their own natural appetites and desires to the extent of self-denial, fasting, guarantees us that those who will be associated with the Redeemer in His Kingdom work will be all above reproach, above temptation, above disloyalty in every sense. And the fact that these are to be the Kings and Priests, the rulers and judges for the uplifting of the world of mankind during the Millennium, is the best possible guarantee we could have of the justice, mercy and love which God will exemplify through their ministrations and that of their Redeemer. Let us go then a step further; let us point out that without self-denial no one will ever attain to eternal life, neither in the present age nor the age to come – the Millennial age. We have already shown that this is true of the Church which is being called and tested and developed during this age. As for the world in its trial in the next age, the Scriptures everywhere indicate that nothing short of absolute perfection must be attained by them before the end of the Millennium if they would have the reward of eternal life. And the attainment of perfection such as God requires signifies more than the attainment of innocency such as father and mother Adam and Eve enjoyed in Eden. They were not only created thus with good character, but were required to exercise it – to bring it to a fixed state or condition by being tested, proven, disciplined. It was early [NS456] in their career of disciplining and testing that they proved disobedient, and their trial terminated in their sentence to death. During the Millennial age mankind, brought back from sin-and-death conditions, gradually nearer and nearer toward perfection, will be required also to stand these tests, to demonstrate their loyalty to principle. This will mean that they must learn to deny themselves, must learn to control their fallen appetites and instincts, and to triumph over these, and ultimately to attain a fixity of purpose and character in harmony with righteousness. Whoever shall not thus avail themselves of the privileges of the Millennial Kingdom, the Apostle assures us, will die the Second Death, and this is corroborated by all the testimonies of the Scriptures. Acts 3:23 O, that all mankind might be able to realize how much the present life has to do with their future interests!

We are not holding up the unscriptural bogy of an eternity of torture for all those who do not attain to saintliness, to perfection, by walking in the narrow way. But we are pointing out that none can be of the elect class, the overcomers, but those who do walk in this narrow way of self-denial, self-sacrifice, fasting: that to them will be granted of the Lord the exceeding great and precious things of joint-heirship with His Son in glory, honor and immortality. And as for those who reject the narrow way, we would have them scripturally see that they lose the great prize of the present high-calling in Christ Jesus; they lose the glory, honor and immortality promised the overcoming little flock, and that in proportion as they neglect the development of fixed, solid characters – in proportion as they neglect to overcome the evil propensities of their flesh and yielding to these become more strongly bound to them – in the same proportion they will have steps to retrace during the millennial reign: for every downward step of self-gratification in sin means a step to be retraced by and by in order to become an heir of eternal life, even on the human plane. If all could see this what an incentive it would be to the world to abstinence of life, self-denial and all the other good qualities which are appropriate both to the Church and to the world, and which briefly might be denominated, meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love.

Let none think, however, that he can attain to all these graces of God's Spirit in the present time without the divine assistance. Let none think either that he can have divine assistance except as he comes to the Lord for it in the appointed way – through faith in the blood, and through consecration to follow in the steps of the Master.

The Pittsburgh Dispatch, April 29, 1907


Baltimore, April 28. – Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny, Pa., preached here today in Ford's Opera House to a large audience. His topic was, "The Bible Defended – To Hell and Back. Who Are There? Hope for the Recovery of Many of Them."

His evening discourse, on "God's Little Whiles," from the text, "A little while and ye shall not see Me; and again a little while ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father" (John 16:16)

follows: In the discourse of this afternoon we showed that our race is resting under a sentence of death, under a curse, as the result of the disobedience of our first parents, who, being created in the image of God and under favorable conditions, disobeyed, forfeited their blessing of life everlasting and were sentenced in the words, "Dying thou shalt die." [Gen. 2:17]

We saw that this penalty extended in a natural way from parent to child, the momentum of death increasing as centuries rolled by, until the vigor which enabled Father Adam to live 930 years had deteriorated so that the average of life today is about 35 years. We saw there was no injustice done to our race in this, because remarkably few even under adverse conditions wish they had never been born. The vast majority, practically all, can therefore feel that whatever measure of life under any conditions they have received calls for gratitude, thankfulness. We saw that the teaching that the penalty for Father Adam s sin inherited by his posterity is eternal torment is false, unscriptural as well as unreasonable, unjust.

We saw that this false doctrine came from the "dark ages," and was formulated by those who were so much in the dark themselves respecting the divine character that they had pleasure in tormenting one another with the rack and thumbscrew, and even in burning one another at the stake in the name of God, but contrary to His word and Spirit. We saw that the word "hell" in the Old Testament Hebrew is sheol, and that its corresponding word in the New Testament is hades, and that these words never signify a place of torment or suffering, but, on the contrary, the grave, the tomb, the state of death, and that the original words are more times translated grave than [NS457] hell in our common version. We also saw that by the divine provision of mercy our Lord Jesus left the glory which He had with the Father as a spirit being and humbled Himself to become a human being, in order that He might redeem Father Adam, and thus incidentally redeem his race condemned in him. We saw that the Scriptures clearly present this fact, that the man Christ Jesus went into sheol, went into hades, went into death, as the Ransomer, the Redeemer of the world, in order that it might be freed from the death sentence, and that it might be possible in due time to raise all from death and bring them up, up, up to a perfection of being – to all that was lost in Adam, plus a knowledge of good and evil which Adam did not possess.

We saw that while the man Christ Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for the man Adam, God raised Him from the dead not as a man but as a New Creature, a spirit being, as a partaker of the divine nature, higher than angels, principalities, etc., as the apostle declares. We further noted that the reason why the glorified Christ did not at once begin His reign of righteousness for the blessing and uplifting of mankind from sin and death conditions, but deferred it until the Millennial age, was for the purpose of permitting in the interim, during this Gospel age, the gathering of a little flock out of every nation, kindred and tongue, to constitute the Bride of Christ and His joint-heir in the Kingdom glories and works for mankind.


This evening we call your attention to the fact that although this reign of sin and death, with its terrible havoc of sorrow and pain and trouble, which has involved what the apostle terms the "groaning creation," and which has seemed to us so long a time, is not really a long while from the right standpoint – God's standpoint. The prophet declares, "From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God." (Psa. 90:2)

And as we attempt to grasp the thought of eternity past and to come we find it beyond our powers – theoretically we may assent, but we cannot truly comprehend it. We must have the Lord Himself explain to us what eternity means, and this He does, bringing the matter down to our comprehension when He declares of Himself that a thousand years with us are in His own sight but as yesterday – but as a watch in the night when it is past. Again He tells His people through the apostle the same thing, saying, "Brethren, be not ignorant of this one thing, that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years with us." (II Peter 3:8)

The world, ignorant of God, have not this new measurement of time before their minds, and are not therefore able to enter into the declaration of our text and other Scriptures which speak of great events and ( from the earthly standpoint) of long periods as but a "little while." From God's standpoint, then, we see that only six great days of a thousand years each have elapsed since Father Adam's creation in Eden, and that the seventh great day is now being ushered in, and is to be the great Sabbath of rest, of blessing, of restitution, of comfort, of encouragement, of divine favor for all the families of the earth.

How such a view cheers our hearts, how it makes real the gracious promises of God, which we had thought so old and stale that they had become lifeless! For instance, the intimation of hope which God gave to our first parents in the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. How long it seemed since the promise was given, and yet no sign of the serpent's power being in any measure or degree curtailed; how hope vanished from our hearts, if not already dead, when we learned from the Scriptures the proper estimate to place upon time – when we learned that from the divine standpoint that promise was only six days old!. Similarly the promise made to Father Abraham, and which seemed to be so firmly established by the divine oath that it could not fail.

Nevertheless, when we read that promise, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed," and then perceived that the heathen of our day – numbering according to the most liberal estimates twelve hundred millions – have no knowledge of God or of the only name given under heaven and among men whereby we must be saved, we were disposed to say to ourselves, "The promise has not yet been fulfilled – all the families of the earth have not yet been blessed by the seed of Abraham."

Worse than this, even – when we look into statistics and find that a century ago there were only one-half as many heathen, we are appalled, and ask ourselves, "What prospect is there that this promise and oath of God to Abraham could ever be fulfilled?" When we consider that it is more than 3,700 years since that promise was made, and that the heathen are twice as numerous as they were a century ago, it would make us sick at heart and our faith would grow faint and weak and almost expire were it not that we hear the Lord's message, through the Prophet, "A thousand years in thy sight are but as Yesterday," a "little while." (Psa. 90:4)

When we get the thought that it is less than four days from God's standpoint since He made the promise and gave His oath, our hearts revive with courage and [NS458] with faith, and we say in the language of the Prophet, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are Thy ways higher than our ways and Thy plans higher than our plans." Isa. 55:9


Coming down the stream of time we find that it was more than four thousand years after sin entered into the world before God sent His Son to redeem the world. Until we heard the Lord's voice telling us of His standpoint of reckoning time we were disposed to say, "O what a long time for a reign of sin and death over Adam and his race before the Savior was even sent to pay the ransom price – to succor us!" O what a long time thus elapsed before the message of salvation was proclaimed, before Christ "brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." (2 Tim. 1:10)

Yes, we hear the apostle concerning this saying, "So great salvation – which began to be preached by our Lord." (Heb. 2:3)

How strange it seems that the greatness of the salvation was not even made known to the world nor even to a saintly few for four thousand years after the death sentence had been pronounced! But when we learn to view matters from the standpoint of God's "little whiles" all is plain – but four days of man's greater week had elapsed. In full accord with this is the Scriptural declaration that it was in due time that "Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom. 5:6) – not too soon nor too late, just at the proper time, according to the wisdom of Him who is too wise to err. Similarly the Scriptures tell us of another due time in the future, saying that the message respecting Christ's work as a Mediator between God and man shall be testified "in due time." (1 Tim. 2:6)

Ah, how much this explains! God's due time is not so long from the divine standpoint, and the matter is sure, the people may have faith in His promise – in due time Christ shall indeed be that true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. What matters it to those who have gone down into sheol, into hades, into the tomb, into the state of death, and of whom the Scriptures declare that they "know not anything," that they are unconscious, that they will know nothing until they are called forth from the tomb, called forth from sheol, hades, by the Son of man in due time, when He shall have set up His Kingdom, and when all things shall be ready for the bringing of them back during the "times of restitution of all things." (Acts 3:19-21)

Ah, yes, we can see then that God has a due time for every feature of His plan, that nothing is gone astray, that "known unto the Lord are all His works from the foundation of the world," that the whole creation is His charge, while saints are His peculiar care.


Coming now more particularly to the "little whiles" of our text: Notice that our Lord refers to the nearly nineteen hundred years of this Gospel age as a "little while" – "A little while and ye shall not see me, because I go to the Father." [John 16:16]

But on the other hand it will be but a little while until you shall see me, because I go to the Father. The matter may be viewed from two standpoints: The Lord is invisible to us, because in His resurrection He was changed, and instead of being, as before His death, the "Man Christ Jesus," He is now the heavenly Lord – "Now the Lord is that spirit." (2 Cor. 3:17)

But He has gone to the Father, we are still in the flesh. It will be but a little while, however, until the close of this age, and the faithful, according to His promise, shall experience the glorious change of the first resurrection – from mortal to immortal, from earthly to heavenly, from weakness to power, from an animal condition to a spirit condition.

As we have borne the image of the earthly Adam we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one; but, as the Apostle says it is necessary that we also pass through His resurrection "change," because, as He declares, flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom. (1 Cor. 15:50)

Our Lord left His flesh and blood nature in His resurrection; we must be similarly changed that we may be like Him. (1 Cor. 15:51)

We remember also the words from the Apostle John: "Beloved now are we, the sons of God [begotten of His holy Spirit to a new nature], and it doth not yet appear what we shall be [ we do not know experimentally respecting the glorious conditions of the new nature promised us in the resurrection], but we do know that when He shall appear we shall be like him." (1 John 3:2)

This is the Lord's promise – "A little while and ye shall see Me" – you shall be changed from human nature to divine nature in the resurrection and see Me and behold My glory.


It will be remembered that a little before the address of our text to the disciples the Lord had said (John 14:19) :"Yet a little while and the world seeth Me no more; but ye shall see Me."

Here, as everywhere, we have a clearly drawn line of distinction as between the Church and the world. The world is to see Christ no more; He will never again appear in the flesh. As the Apostle explains, [NS459] He humbled Himself and took our nature, was made flesh in order that He might suffer death as our Redeemer, and having accomplished this He will never take our nature again, for "Christ dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him." (Rom. 6:9)

He has done with the flesh forever. And as the world will not see him in the flesh, neither will the Church ever see Him in the flesh. On the contrary, "we shall see him as He is" – not as He was in the flesh. We shall see Him at the close of a little while, in the close of this Gospel age, because of our change to His likeness. The world will not see Him thus, because it is not the divine provision that the world in its salvation shall be changed from earthly to heavenly nature. How consistent, how harmless are all the presentations of God's word! What proof we have in these that the wisdom of the Bible is not earthly but heavenly! We were not forgetful of the Scriptures which declare that "every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him," when we corroborated our Lord's words – "Yet a little while and the world seeth Me no more."

They will see Him no more in the flesh and with the natural eyesight. The seeing that is promised in the Millennial age will be the result of the opening of the blind eyes of understanding. Israel and the world will, with the eyes of their understanding, look upon Him whom they have pierced when in God's due time the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters cover the great deep, and when none shall need to say to his neighbor, Know thou the Lord, for all shall know Him from the least unto the greatest of them. (Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34)

Nor should we think of this as being any disadvantage to the world. Indeed, as the world could not see the Father because He is a spirit being, because no man could see His face and live, and because "no man hath seen God at any time," – for the same reasons the world could not see the Lord Jesus in His present highly exalted position of the divine nature, most glorious. We remember the experience of the Apostle Paul as Saul of Tarsus, who was granted a mere glimpse of the glorious Christ, "shining above the brightness of the sun at noonday," and the effect was the destruction of his sight. Would it be a blessing to the world to thus see the Father or the Son in the future? By no means. And hence the Lord's provision is a most gracious one. "Yet a little while and the world seeth Me no more."

The Bible shows us, however, that God has made a glorious provision for the world in the future, and that during the "times of restitution of all things," while Christ Himself will be invisible to the world as a spirit being, and while the Bride of Christ will similarly be for the same reason invisible to mankind, because changed and like her Lord, nevertheless there will be amongst men representatives of God to whom men may look for instruction, for guidance, and in whose perfection they may see their own possibilities if they are obedient to the rules and regulations of that Millennial Kingdom. The Scriptures clearly show that the company of faithful ones known as the Ancient Worthies – including Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and all the holy prophets – the faithful of the past, will come forth from death, not perfect as spirit beings, but perfect as human beings.

Thus they will be as Adam was before his fall, plus the knowledge gained through experience. They will be as Christ was in the flesh, before His anointing with the holy Spirit at baptism. As perfect men they will be thus perfect representatives of God – God manifest in the flesh – the best examples of God-likeness, the best examples of the perfection God desires men to have as His image that could possibly be set before mankind. These, under the superior direction of the spiritual Christ, head and body, will be the "princes in all the earth," through whom the messages of the heavenly will be made known to mankind for their blessings, encouragement, reproof and uplifting from the conditions of sin and death. Then whosoever wills may come and take of the water of life freely, while those who refuse under all the blessed opportunities of that time, let them die the death – the Second Death – from which there will be no hope of recovery, no hope of redemption.

The context tells us that when Jesus had uttered the words of our text the disciples were perplexed as to what He meant by the "little while."

Jesus explained that in one sense it meant a little while of trouble and trial and vexation to His disciples and a little while of rejoicing on the world's part, but that the sorrows of His disciples would be turned into joy eventually; and His intimation is that the sooner they are able to accept the situation by faith the sooner may they with joy anticipate the coming blessings, so as to have that joy and peace which the world can neither give nor take away. He tells them plainly that His words signify that as He came forth from the Father and came into the world so again He would leave the world and go to the Father. He had been with them a little while, He would be gone [NS460] from them a little while, and the more they could enter into His spirit and become associates with Him the shorter would that little while of His absence be until His return to accept them as His Bride – to make up His "jewels." (Mal. 3:17)

The sufferings and self-denials of the narrow way are intimated by our Lord's words, and the world's hilarity in the broad road is also intimated. But His followers – while suffering, enduring hardness, and through such developing being prepared for the Kingdom – are to have such an appreciation of the situation, such a well-founded and glorious hope respecting the future, such a knowledge of the divine arrangement in respect to God's "little whiles," that not only will their sorrows eventually be changed into joy and blessing in the resurrection, but even now – anticipating that resurrection in their faith, in their hope, and passing from death unto life as risen with Christ and walking in newness of life – they already may have many of the joys that belong to the future as blessings and refreshments, so that they may be enabled thus to rejoice even in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and that thus ultimately they shall not be ashamed as a result.

The sufferings of the Church have been along various lines, some including physical persecution and pain, others less direct persecution, ostracism, boycotting, mental pain – and the latter is perhaps more especially the portion of the Lord's people at the present time than the former. Nevertheless, we know not how soon may come open persecution, sufferings, and it behooves every soldier of the Cross therefore to be faithful at heart and to keep close to the Captain of our Salvation and His glorious standard, the Word of God, and to put on the whole armor of God, that He may be able to stand in the evil day which is upon us and increasing in its severity daily, hourly.


As faith perceives God's "little whiles" and takes the Divine standpoint, hope reigns and counts the years that remain until the full completion of the times of the Gentiles and the inauguration of the great time of trouble, in which will fall all present institutions, because all are more or less imperfect, and because nothing will be permitted to remain that is shakeable – that is not in accord with the absolute righteousness of the Divine law of love. The signs multiply about us daily, indicating that the new dispensation of the Millennial Kingdom is just at the door, that the dark night of sin and death and sorrow and pain and trouble under the prince of this world, Satan, is about to terminate in the glorious dawn of the Millennial Day, ushered in by the great Prince of Light – the Christ.

Oh, how our hearts do uplift with gratitude to God! how we are enabled to rejoice, notwithstanding the trouble that is coming, and notwithstanding the share that we may have in it, as we think of the glorious blessings that great trouble time will usher in. As for the Lord's saints, we have the assurance that although it will be through great tribulation we shall enter the Kingdom, nevertheless also they shall have deliverance – they shall have succor; in their hearts they shall be enabled to rejoice even in tribulation, and to glorify God in their bodies and spirits which are His. As for the world, the plowshare of trouble and sorrow and pain will go deeply into their hearts; nevertheless even these, under Divine Providence, will work a great blessing, preparing them to hear the voice of Him that speaketh from heaven, and to bring forth in obedience to His direction the peaceable fruits of righteousness. Surely all who are the Lord's people can agree to the Apostle's declaration – "Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed." (Rom. 13:11)

The "little while" is eighteen centuries further gone than it was when St. Paul wrote. The glorious salvation is now nigh, even at the doors. Our Lord explains that this will be for us, "the salvation that will be brought unto you" – unto the Church, unto the little flock, unto the elect. Subsequently it will mean through you, through the elect, the blessing of Natural Israel and all the families of the earth according to the original promise, in harmony with the Oathbound Covenant, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed" "If ye be Christs then are ye Abrahams seed and heirs according to the promise," and all who can thus reckon themselves can rest assured that if faithful they will soon be fulfilling the terms of that Oathbound Covenant in scattering the blessings of God's favor to every creature.

"A little while; now he has come;
the hour draws on apace –
The blessed hour, the glorious morn,
when we shall see His face.
How light our trials then will seem!
how short our pilgrim way!
The life of earth a fitful dream,
dispelled by dawning day!"


The Pittsburgh Dispatch, May 13, 1907


LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 12. Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny, Pa., gave two interesting addresses here today to large and intelligent audiences. His afternoon topic was "A Cure for Infidelity."

His evening discourse was from the text, "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Isa. 40:5.

He said: While it is quite true that the heavens declare the glory of God and the earth showeth His handiwork it is also true that but few appreciate these facts, but few see the glory of the Lord. Those who do see the Lord's glory in the sun and moon and stars, and their glorious harmonies of movement and relationship, are but few; and while the earth shows God's handiwork, His provision for the necessities of all His creatures in hill and valley and plain, grain, fruit and flower, beast, bird and man, the great majority of the race accept divine blessings daily with but little appreciation, with but little thankfulness. The majority, as the Apostle declares, "are blind and cannot see afar off." (2 Pet. 1:9)

Nor need we wonder that it is only those who have the eye of faith, only those whose eyes of understanding have been opened, who can appreciate the divine glories and benefits at the present time. When we look around us and see that sin and death are reigning, that their sting has blemished every pleasure, every joy, every beauty, the natural inquiry is, why does not the Creator of the Universe rule among the children of men, overthrow Satan and sin and death and all their train of evils, and give to God's creatures such blessings as might naturally be expected from such a beneficent Creator and Father?

A satisfactory answer comes to us from but one direction – the Bible. True, infidels and higher critics generally tell us that nature is our God and Creator and is without sentiment, merely an operation of laws which ignore man's noblest sentiments of justice, love, mercy, etc. But this answer is not satisfactory to the reasoning mind, which feels assured that the Creator cannot be inferior to but must be the superior of the created being. Hence reason tells us that He who formed the eye sees even better than we; He who formed the ear hears better than do we, and He who gave us qualities of heart and mind has the same on a higher and more complete plane, that at very most we were merely made in His image; and here the Scripture steps in and assures us that all this is true, but that we have lost much, some more and some less, of the divine likeness through the fall, through sin and its penalty – "dying thou shalt die." [Gen. 2:17]


The Lord, speaking to us through the Prophet, comforts us with the thought that "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psa. 30:5)

The era of the reign of sin and death is thus figuratively spoken of as a night time, a dark time, when the sun of divine righteousness and glory does not shine upon the human family – when only the reflection of His glory may be seen in the stars of hope and the moon of the Mosaic Law. It is in harmony with this that other Scriptures assure us that darkness covers the earth – the most enlightened of the human family – and gross darkness covers the people, the heathen. (Isa. 60:2)

As the poet has expressed it, the human family are like children crying in the night. With the morning sun will come the termination of all our troubles, our sorrows, our crying and our dying, "for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." [Isa. 1:20; 40:5; 58:14]

The morning of the new dispensation, the millennial morning, will be ushered in, the Bible assures us, by a great time of trouble, a great thunderstorm, from behind which the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in its beams to flood the whole earth with a knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isa. 11:9)

All these various Scriptures indicate that the knowledge of the Lord is to come in the Millennial age, that then the tears will be wiped off all faces, that then the Lord's blessing, an uplifting influence will be with every creature, that then the darkness will be over and the true light will shine, the Sun of Righteousness. All these and many more Scriptures imply what we know to be the case, that the knowledge of the Lord does not prevail now, that the glory of the Lord is not now seen, that the tears of humanity are not now wiped away. Whoever believes this Scripture looks forward to a glorious coming day, the Golden Age. Whoever doubts this testimony, viewing it from the standpoint of the Higher Critics, loses the power, strength and help which he might have through its acceptance. Let us learn more and more to take the Lord at His word and thus have more and more of His joy, His peace and His love shed abroad in our hearts, because of having the true hope built upon the sure foundation of divine testimony.


Our hearts go out toward those who have consecrated [NS462] their lives as missionaries to carry the message of divine truth and grace to the twelve hundred millions of heathendom. We are glad to know through missionary reports that a few here and there become nominal Christians, and that many children are gathered into schools where they are taught various branches of useful knowledge. But no reasonable mind can hope that all the efforts – if doubled, if trebled, if multiplied ten times – would accomplish the desired results and blot out the darkness and fill the earth with the knowledge of God. On the contrary, we see that the number of heathen is today twice as great as it was a century ago – six hundred millions then, twelve hundred millions now. We see further that the four hundred millions accredited as Christians in such statistics include so many goats, so many wolves in sheep's clothing, and so many ring-streaked and speckled sheep as to contradict the thought that Christendom is the ideal to which the Lord intends to bring humanity.

Indeed, we may feel sure that if all the missionaries were to be called home and a thorough – going work attempted among the four hundred million professed Christians the results would still be unsatisfactory. The Church does not possess the power to more than gloss the fallen human nature – to more than partially civilize the masses of the people. The great and deep truths which the Redeemer taught respecting the narrow way and self-sacrificing conditions arranged for His followers in the present time are now appreciated only by a mere handful of the race. These alone see the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, in the Word, by faith – they "walk by faith and not by sight." [2 Cor. 5:7]

To these alone, therefore, comes any measure of appreciation of the divine glories and blessings. Of these alone the Lord speaks, saying, "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear (reverence) Him, and He will make them to understand His covenant (promise)." (Psa. 25:14)

To these alone, therefore, is displayed even the reflection of the coming glories in the promises of the Scriptures, which they see and appreciate with the eye of faith. Actually, the glories of the Lord are not revealed to mankind.


Our text declares that "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." [Isa. 40:5]

Here is an admission that the glories are not yet revealed as well as a promise for the future revelation, and that future revelation is not merely to be for the Church in glory, but for the world – for all. Neither will it be, as some of our premillenarian brethren think, merely for those who shall be so fortunate as to live when the glorious millennial epoch shall be ushered in. On the contrary, it shall be unto all flesh, which will include those who have gone down into the prison-house of death, the tomb, sheol, hades, during the past, and of whom the Lord declares, "All who are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man and shall come forth." (John 5:28, 29)

Of course it was possible for the Lord to have revealed his glory at any time in the past, but the Scriptures inform us that this was not the divine purpose; that God chose rather to allow the night of weeping and sin and death to give to the world of mankind an experimental lesson on the exceeding sinfulness of sin, as well as to give to the holy angels an object lesson along the same lines, without prejudice to any, but in the interest of all, to cause the light of the knowledge of his glory to fill the whole earth. A question arises – What will constitute the glory of the Lord in the earth?

We answer that God is glorified through the exercise of His attributes and in their harmonious operation, His justice co-operating with His love, His wisdom and His power. But have not these qualities of the Creator been in operation and manifested in the past? We answer No! Justice alone reigned for over 4,000 years. There was no manifestation even of divine love during all that period. Then came the due time for God to manifest His love, as we read, "Herein was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him." (1 John 4:9)

This manifestation of God's love, however, is as yet revealed only to those who have the seeing eye and the hearing ear. "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, blessed are your ears, for they hear." (Matt. 13:16)

Thus the world in general has seen only the display of divine justice in permitting the wages of sin to bring calamities and troubles, sorrow and sighing and groans and tears and suffering and death as the penalty for original sin, and even then the Adversary has taken advantage of man's confused and degraded condition to misrepresent the significance of all these things, and to torture him with fears of an eternity of suffering after passing through the present vale of disappointments and sorrows.

The glory of the Lord will not be seen by all flesh during the present age – not until the new dispensation shall remove present blindness and display to the world the love which God bore for us all as exemplified in His great gift, His Son, and the provision made for our recovery from sin and death through Him and His resurrecting power. By and by, when not merely the justice of God but also His love have been manifested, His power will also be manifest in the overthrow of Satan and in the arrangement of all the affairs of the new dispensation in favor of Adam and his race, in assisting them up out of their degradation and death back to all [NS463] that was lost in Eden. Finally, the wisdom of God will be seen in permitting sin, in permitting evil, in permitting death and all the train of connected evils. It will be seen that it was wise to do so as a great lesson for man and for all creation. Thus will the glory of the Lord be revealed and all flesh shall see it.


Isaiah the Prophet was granted a symbolical vision of the coming glory of the Lord. He wrote of it as though it were present in his time, just as in various other of the prophecies. For instance, when speaking of the birth of Jesus he said, "Unto us a child is born," taking his standpoint of utterance, as it were, beside the manger-cradle of the Redeemer. So in his vision of the coming glory he heard one cherub cry to another, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isa. 6:3)

Thus it will be when the night of sin and death are past and the glorious Millennial morning shall have ushered into the world the light of the Sun of Righteousness – the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth. Ignorance and sin and the works of darkness can have no place under those glorious conditions, and the human family, favored with this glorious view of the divine character, will be on trial as to whether or not they will appreciate and avail themselves of the assistance of the great Mediator, the glorified Christ (Jesus and His Bride), to escape from their sins and weaknesses and to come back, back, up, up to the full perfection of human nature. Whosoever, when this glory is seen, shall fail to come into harmony with it in his heart shall be utterly condemned, destroyed in the Second Death.


The Lord declares heaven to be His throne and the earth His footstool. He has informed us respecting the glory of heaven, and we know of the disorder, darkness, trouble and sin in the earth – prevailing throughout God's footstool. Do we wonder that He allows His footstool to be thus out of accord with Himself, His righteousness, His power, His wisdom, His love, His justice? If so, He gives us the assurance that at the second Coming of Christ "He will make the place of his feet glorious." (Isa. 60:13)

This is in full accord with all the other testimonies on the subject, the great work of the Lord Jesus in the earth – the restitution promises to begin at the second coming. (Acts 3:19)

All are to lead up to and finally accomplish the renovation of the earth, of God's footstool, to make of it a paradise of God as promised, restore mankind once more to his original position of king of earth, subject to his heavenly King. Let us not forget that while divine glory will be manifested in the perfections of earth, its fruits, its flowers, the beauties of nature, etc., yet the grandest exhibition of divine glory will be in mankind himself. To appreciate this we must remember that God created man in His image and likeness and for His glory. We must remember also that it is written of our race, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." [Rom. 3:23]

God's glory in us as a race has been blemished: we no longer as a race properly reflect the divine image and likeness. In harmony with this we can see that all the work of restitution, all the blessings coming to the earth in material ways, would not fully show forth the glory of the great Creator so long as man, His chief handiwork, would be imperfect, blemished. Hence the grandest feature of restitution held out before us pertains to mankind himself. The return of humanity to its former estate of the divine likeness will be the crowning climax of the divine plan, set in operation when man was created by the Creator, who, we are assured, is working all things according to the counsel of His own will. Eph. 1:11


When we hear of great projects we naturally and properly inquire, By whom are they to be executed? And our confidence in the results is necessarily measured by our knowledge of and faith in the contractor. The Almighty has stooped to our inquiry and informs us that it is the One who redeemed Adam and his race with his own precious blood who has been appointed the divine Agent for the subjugation of all evil and sin, the wiping away of all tears from off all faces, and the establishment of righteousness in the earth on so permanent a basis as to insure us that the whole earth shall be filled with the glory of God, and that on so thorough and permanent a basis that it can be guaranteed in advance that sin and death and sorrow, sighing, tears and dying, shall be things of the past, never again to mar man's heritage.

The titles of this great King of Glory who is to accomplish so great a work are full of satisfaction: He is to be the "Prince of Peace," the "King of Righteousness," the "Judge," the "Everlasting Father" to the race, and his obedience to righteousness, to the Father's will, and His love for humanity, exemplified in His sacrifice as our ransom price – all these assure us that the wonderful powers committed to His care and exercised by Him during the Millennial age to effect this return of divine glory to the earth, will be exercised in full harmony with all the principles of love which He has already so richly manifested in His dealings with our race. We cannot fear this great King of Glory. All who [NS464] are of reverent heart and who love righteousness either now or in the future will assuredly love Him and delight to co-operate with Him in the execution of the divine will.


Through the Prophet the Lord gives us the message respecting Messiah and His work – "He shall not fail nor be discouraged until He shall have established righteousness in the earth." (Isa. 42:4)

Our Redeemer's sojourn with our race in the valley of the shadow of death and His sufferings demonstrated His faithfulness. He did not fail, He was not discouraged. In harmony with the divine will, the Church, His espoused Bride, continually under His guidance, when called to walk in His steps and to suffer for their loyalty to the Truth, by His grace neither shall they fail nor be discouraged – an elect company of them, all overcomers, more than "conquerors," will eventually be found. Then these all together, the jewels of the Lord gathered to Himself, will shine forth in the Kingdom as the glorious Sun of Righteousness for the healing and restoring of all the families of the earth. (Matt. 13:43)

A picture of this future work of establishing righteousness in the earth – abolishing sin and death by the uplift of the human family out of these – is given us in the symbols of Revelation. There the glorified elect Church, changed to spirit conditions, is pictured as the heavenly Jerusalem, in the midst of which is the throne of God's glory – "God is in the midst of her." (Psa. 46:5; Rev. 21:2,3)

The symbolical picture shows a river of life flowing from the throne, and on its either bank grew trees whose leaves are for the healing of the nations, while the Spirit and the Bride glorified say to all the families of the earth, "Come and take of the water of life freely," and "Whosoever will may come." (Rev. 22:1, 2, 17)

In proportion as any will fall into line with the righteous laws of the kingdom and into loving obedience to the great King, in that same proportion will he be drinking of the water of life provided by the great Life Giver – in that same proportion will he be rising out of his condition of sin, imperfection and dying up and back to all that was lost by father Adam.


Will there be any danger that at some future time sin may again invade the world, again degrade God's human representative and obscure the glory of the divine creation? We answer no, never. The guarantee of this is in the Lord's words that there shall be no more death. So surely as there will be sin, the penalty of sin must follow it; hence the guarantee that there will be no more sin. But how can this be guaranteed and at the same time man's free moral agency be guaranteed?

The Scriptures give the explanation, telling us that at the close of the Millennial Age, when Messiah shall have accomplished His work of putting down all opposition and bringing all the willing and obedient up to perfection of human nature, then He shall deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. The next step in the divine progress as outlined in the Revelation is that the world, no longer under the mediatorial covering of the Redeemer and no longer needing such a covering because perfect, will be subjected by the Father to severe tests of their love and loyalty, their obedience, similar to the test which came upon father Adam in Eden when he was perfect.

The symbolical description is that Satan will be loosed to tempt and deceive all the people, whose number will then be as the sands of the seashore. What proportion he will succeed in deceiving is not intimated, but the general statement is made that all those who are deceived by him in that crucial test will be utterly destroyed with Satan in the second death, which, symbolically, is represented by the lake of fire. This will leave a clean universe as represented in the Scriptures, and every voice in heaven and in earth and under the earth will be proclaiming praise, honor, dominion, might and power to Him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb.

Blessed are our eyes and our ears and our understanding hearts, which are already enlightened in advance of the world, that have already learned of the glory of God. We, with the Seraphim, proclaim, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, and we rejoice that the time is near at hand when the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.

June 17, 1907 Republished from The St. Paul Enterprise, July 31, 1917


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., June 16 – The Convention of Believers in the Precious Blood, which opened here Friday last, has had a large attendance and been addressed by numerous speakers. Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny spoke twice today, his evening discourse being from the text, "We are Ambassadors, therefore [NS465] on behalf of Christ." (2 Cor. 5:20)

He said: Phrenology tells us that while the majority of mankind has large approbativeness – that is, the desire to be thought well of by others – comparatively few have large esteem, large appreciation of themselves and their abilities. This lack of self-esteem is a hindrance to many people of the world as respects their progress in life; undervaluing their mental and physical qualities and powers they never aim high enough; consequently never attain to their grandest possibilities. But for the Christian a deficiency of self-esteem is a very valuable trait.

It restrains him from pride and worldly ambition and too great self-consciousness, all of which qualities would be serious hindrances to him as a child of God under present conditions. It is to his own advantage to feel his own littleness, his own unworthiness. This helps him with veneration to look up to God, the great Giver of all good, and to feel his need of and to accept the mercy of God, so freely provided in Christ Jesus.

More than this, the assurance of God's word that the follower of Jesus is accepted as a child of God, an heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ his Lord, is so astounding a proposition and implies so great honor now, and especially by and by, that anyone possessed with large self-esteem would be very apt to become proud and boastful under such favors, such honors, such testimonies of divine favor as are promised to the called, chosen, faithful. The Scriptures abound with admonitions along these lines; that the Lord's people must be very humble, must feel their constant dependence upon the Lord and their own insufficiency, so that they will look to him in every matter, in every interest, in every affair for guidance, realizing their own insufficiency, their own imperfection. On all such the Apostle urges, "Humble yourselves, therefore, brethren, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. For the Lord resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." 1 Pet. 5:6


We have often considered this side of the question and wish always to keep it before our minds; but at this time let us examine the other side of the question, and note that many of the Lord's people are hindered from making the best use of their consecrated time because they have not fully appreciated the possibilities before them, and because they have not rightly estimated their own value as servants of the Lord, or, as the text states the matter, as the "Ambassadors for Christ." [2 Cor. 5:20]

We are not desirous of raising any in their self-esteem, but we are desirous of placing before the minds of all the Lord's people the fact that, however lacking they may be in those qualities which would be highly esteemed amongst men, nevertheless through Christ they have been accepted into God's family, and have been commissioned by the Lord to serve him as His ambassadors before the world for the remainder of their present lives.

From this standpoint the very humblest of the Lord's people, however insignificant of themselves and however willing to admit their own littleness, should consider the honor, the dignity, the responsibility of being the representatives of the King of glory – the King of the universe. What higher honor or station could be imagined, and how surely a proper appreciation of this honor conferred upon us by the Lord will tend to lift us to new conditions – new thoughts, new aims, new endeavors – all in line with our ambassadorship. At Washington, the Capitol of our nation, reside representatives of all the civilized Governments of earth, some ranking higher and some lower, according to the dignity, greatness, civilization and power of the country they represent. Thus the Ambassadors representing Great Britain, France, Germany and Russia rank higher than those representing Persia, Spain, Holland, etc.

Each of these representatives has a manhood of his own to be appreciated, but his personal qualities and powers individually are all insignificant, swallowed up by his official standing by the value, the greatness, the honorableness of the nation which he represents. And this is the illustration which the Lord, through the prophet, gives us: The world through original sin has fallen into a terrible condition of distress, mental, moral and physical, the prince of this world has taken captive many through ignorance, superstition and weakness; the Great King Almighty has arranged to have mercy upon mankind – has provided a Redeemer who shortly, with His glorious Bride, the Church, is to usher in the glorious Kingdom, for which we are taught to pray, "Our Father who art in heaven... Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." [Matt. 6:9-10]

Meantime the great King is selecting the Bride class, to be joint-heirs with His Son in that Kingdom; and, instead of using forced judgments in order to test mankind, He is using what to humanity may seem to be the foolish method of preaching, telling, inviting. And He assures us that His message is so wisely arranged that it will secure the proper number suitable to be His very elect, and that "none of the wicked shall understand." (Dan. 12:10)

It is under these conditions that we have been called and that we are authorized to make known to whomsoever has ears to hear that Jehovah God is now electing the little flock to be the Bride of Christ. While informed that not many wise, noble, learned, great or mighty are chosen to be God's mouthpieces in this matter and His ambassadors, we are thus privileged – so many as themselves have heard and accepted [NS466] Divine Grace and come into consecrated relationship to the Lord. Oh, how wonderful this privilege of being ambassadors for Christ! – speaking in His name, representing Him and the Heavenly Father and the great plan of God now only in its incipiency, but shortly to be thoroughly outworked during the millennial age for the blessing of all the families of the earth who have a will to know and do the Lord's will.


Referring to these ambassadors the Apostle says, "The world knoweth us not, even as it knew Him not." (1 John 3:1)

Nor are we authorized to parade our ambassadorship before the world; rather we are to remember the Master's words, "Cast not your pearls before swine," and to remember that few will be able to comprehend our message in the full, and that it is the Lord's will that we should be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, as His representatives in the world, giving no offense either to those who have the hearing ear or to those who lack that ear and whose eyes are blinded by the errors and delusions which the adversary has so freely introduced among men that the whole world is said to be deceived by him.

When the Kingdom shall have come we are assured of the Lord that Satan shall be bound a thousand years and deceive the nations no more until that period be finished. It is among themselves, therefore, that the Lord's ambassadors are recognized – yea, all who have the ear to hear or the eye to see should be able to recognize these ambassadors from the heavenly King. They should be able to discern the difference between these and mankind in general, and, as the Apostle says, they should so behold our proper living as to glorify God on our behalf – to recognize that we are actuated by a different spirit from that which operates in the world in general; that instead of loving sin we hate it; instead of being moved in all our affairs by selfishness we are striving against such tendencies, moved by the spirit of love, generosity and kindness – the spirit of our master, the spirit of our King, whom we represent as ambassadors.

Not only should our message be recognized as good tidings of great joy ultimately for all people, but, as the Apostle declares, we who bear the messages should be recognized as God's peculiar people, zealous of good works, or, as he again says, we are to be living epistles, known and read of all with whom we come in contact. And the intimation is that these epistles of our daily lives should so corroborate the good tidings which we declare, that the world would take knowledge of us as God's ambassadors, that all having an ear to hear would be influenced to give heed to our message.


It is said that the present representative of the British people at Washington receives a yearly salary of $60,000. Assuming that he is not expected to labor more than eight hours a day this would mean more than $20.00 per hour as his government's valuation of his time, more than $5.00 for every 15 minutes. We do not know the value the gentleman places upon his own abilities – whether he has large self-esteem and thinks he is not sufficiently paid and that his services are worth more or whether he has small self-esteem and feels that he is being paid more than his services are really worth. No matter – we have his Government's estimation of the value upon his time, and it becomes his duty to seek to measure up to this estimate, to use his time to the very best of his ability in the interest of his name and his kingdom. We as ambassadors for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords hold still more responsibility and a still more dignified position, and well does the Apostle say, "what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy living and godliness." 2 Pet. 3:11

Neither is our pay inferior, rather it is superior. Our King has not fixed for us an annual or quarterly stipend – He has merely promised to the faithful ambassadors that in the present time their "bread and water shall be sure," that "no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly," and that "your Father knoweth what things ye have need of." (Isa. 33:16; Psa. 84:11; Matt. 6:8)

We are even distinctly told that in the present time our supplies and rations may, according to a worldly standpoint, be small, and that therefore we must mainly glory in the things that we hope for, the things to be attained at the close of our service. But, oh, what riches of grace are in reservation for them that love God! – things that eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man: honors and dignities which at present we can but imperfectly imagine – that we shall be like our Lord, spirit beings, sharing His glory; that we shall sit with Him upon His throne; that we shall be associated with Him in His great work of the Millennial age in blessing, judging, correcting in righteousness, disciplining and uplifting the world of mankind, bringing them back to God, blessing them thus with the great promise made to Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." [Gen. 22:18]

To set at rest every doubt or question respecting God's rewards – which at present we could not grasp – the Lord has declared through the Apostle that while it doth not yet appear what we shall be, we may know that we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And again the Apostle declares – "All things are yours, for ye are Christ's and Christ is [NS467] God's." (1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 3:2 1)

So, then, the British ambassador's reward is very insignificant in comparison to ours, even as his king and the Government which he represents are inferior to those for which we are ambassadors.

Our King has placed us here as His ambassadors under peculiar conditions:

(1) "We must provide things honest in the sight of all men;" we must provide for our earthly needs under our Lord's supervision, and must do it in an honorable, upright manner, that all might be able to approve as just and right.

(2) We "must provide things decent" – not elaborate, not showy, not expensive, but decent, is the command from the King.

(3) We must provide for our own; those dependent upon us for life's necessities must not be neglected, must have also things decent, honorable, things honest; but not things expensive or costly or foolish. Under these limitations the ambassadors find that a considerable proportion of their available time is consumed necessarily upon earthly things; every ambassador who feels the dignity of his call, his relationship to his king and Government and the responsibilities of his appointment, and who has hopes respecting the future rewards, must feel that his main business in life is his ambassadorship. And many of these ambassadors would feel distressed to lose from their work as ambassadors the time necessarily devoted to fulfilling these commands of our King respecting our earthly interests were it not that He has put these matters upon us as a command, and assured us that, done as unto Him, these things necessary for our earthly comfort and sustenance will be counted in as a part of our stewardship and ambassadorship. Nevertheless, our King indicates to us most clearly that in making this arrangement, by which we shall care for earthly interests and devote the surplusage of time to the kingdom interests, He is putting a test upon us which He intends shall demonstrate whether we love the earthly things or whether our hearts are mainly centered in our office as ambassadors of our King – putting the King's business first. Those who waste time and energy in earthly show and foolishness, and give merely the tag ends of time, influence, strength, etc., to the work of the embassage, show that they have not the interests of the kingdom properly at heart; and the King has intimated that with such He will not be well pleased, and that they shall not sit upon the throne, even though finding them loyal at heart by certain tests, and He will ultimately give them some place in His future service. The conditions which He has arranged, He informs us, are specially adapted to the testing of the hearts, the intentions, of these ambassadors.

Among them was a great example; the King's Son, and following Him were other noble examples, the apostles, etc. These all – estimating the things of this present life as but loss and dross, unworthy of comparison to the things of the kingdom – were willing to take joyfully, gladly, the incidental sacrifice of many earthly conveniences and comforts that they might have a share in the great work of proclaiming the message of the King to all who have ears to hear and hearts to appreciate. With these the sentiment is not, how much can I shirk my privileges and obligations as an ambassador, how much can I have and enjoy and hold of the things of this present life, how much dare I use upon myself and family without offending the King and risking too greatly His displeasure and the loss of the crown – but, on the contrary, with these the question is, how can I best arrange all my affairs as to be able to give to the Lord and His cause the most and the best of all I possess of time, influence and talent? Speaking of this class the apostle says, "Woe is me if I preach not the Gospel." – My ambassadorship is my chiefest joy every day, and everything which would hinder it would be far from pleasurable.

This same Apostle assures us that he counted all earthly things as loss and dross in comparison to the heavenly things, and God's rich promises point out to us that we should be continually, every day, striving to redeem the time. To redeem is to purchase back, and we get the thought that the world and its affairs, ourselves, our families, and our real or fancied needs and cravings, appetites and desires would really take up all there is of time and more, too. But, says the Apostle, we who are ambassadors for God should seek to redeem the time, to buy it back – to give up something else in exchange for it. We should be willing to give up certain luxuries or cravings of appetite or pleasures of the eye and pride of life and everything, not only those things displeasing to God, but give up things that are right enough in themselves, but which are now hindrances to our ambassadorship, hindrances to our fulfilment of our covenant with the Lord. Our real necessities are comparatively few. How simply we could live, how simply many of the world do live under stress of their conditions. How much of our time could we redeem or purchase back if we were willing to sacrifice some of the luxuries, comforts, social amenities, etc.? We are not seeking to lay down any fixed rule – no one has a right to do that but the King, and He has not done it, and has not authorized others to do it. All of His ambassadors are free to use their consecrated time according to their consecrated judgment of what would be pleasing to the Lord and honoring to His [NS468] name. We are only pointing out what would be the extreme possibilities – how simply we might live, how little time our arrangements might require, and how much time would remain for our work as ambassadors. But our moderation must come in as our Lord directs, through the Apostle. We must remember our covenant in respect to our dress, in respect to our food, lodgings, etc., and must strive to have these things so decent and so moderate that the world will have no proper cause for shaming us and our King.

Then, too, we must remember that all that we might do as respects ourselves alone may not be done when others are concerned with us who do not view the matter in quite the same light. The ambassadors of the Lord, therefore, must take as wise and moderate a course as they can, continually seeking wisdom from on high, but continually remembering also the general tendency of the world, the flesh and the adversary to consume all of their time and their energy and talents upon earthly things. Opposing these in a measure is a large part of the overcoming which these ambassadors must accomplish in order to make sure a place in the high calling, the Kingdom.


The Apostle refers to this very tendency of our times. The pride of life and desires of the flesh never had so deep and broad an influence over the minds of the majority of mankind as they have at present. The increase of wealth, the comparative cheapening of luxuries and the fact that these are becoming almost necessities, together with the growing ambition of our neighbors and friends – all these things appeal to us and strive to get from us precious moments and talents, opportunities and influence, which as ambassadors for the great King we feel we ought to be rendering to Him and to His service.

The test is upon us; if we yield to the spirit of the world it means a corresponding loss of favor with our King, and if loyal to our King and our ambassadorship it means that the world will think of us as foolish. As the Apostle says of himself, "We are counted fools all the day long," and as our Lord said, "The world will cast out your name as evil" and "all who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," if not physical persecution, then a persecution of a more refined character, ostracism and sometimes boycott. He that endureth to the end faithful the same is to receive the crown of life.


Assuming that 8 hours out of every 24 are necessary for sleep, that 2 hours are necessary for eating and that 1 hour more is necessary for the care of our person, washing, dressing, etc., we have left 13 hours out of which the demands for daily labor for things needful varies from 8 hours to 12.

As a matter of fact, the time we have to render to the Lord our God as His ambassadors and representatives before men is very limited – with some more, with others less – and this limited time is usually scattered throughout the day, some of it consumed in going to work and returning, some of it in other ways. When we look at the matter from this standpoint we see the reasonableness of the Apostle's exhortation that we should redeem the time – that we should buy it back, that we should value every spare moment possible to be used in our higher work, the spiritual work, as ambassadors for our Lord and King.

If the time of the British Ambassador is worth $20.00 per hour, is not our time spent as ambassadors for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords worth at least as much? Yea, it is worth far more, but let us reckon it on this basis. If we do – if we recognize every 15 minutes as worth $5.00 in connection with our heavenly ambassadorship we may be sure that little of our time would be spent foolishly, in foolish talking and jesting, in foolish acts or foolish thoughts or foolish reading. Such an estimate of the value of our consecrated time will mean a careful husbanding of every moment, every opportunity to do and to be, and as ambassadors to speak, for our King.

After this manner we shall be laying up treasure in heaven and feel that in buying back moments and hours from worldly matters, social frivolities and various time-killing devices we are getting an excellent bargain. Can we not all grow rich in these heavenly treasures much more rapidly in the days to come than in the days that are past? Will not this thought be with us to the end of life's journey – that we are ambassadors of God and that our time is valuable, that he is proposing to pay the faithful exceedingly and abundantly more than we could have asked or thought and that even aside from the pay, ours is a most pleasurable privilege – to testify on behalf of Him who loved us and who bought us with His precious blood and who has adopted us into his family of God and made us heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ in the glorious Kingdom? "No evil shall come nigh thee." [Psa. 91:10]

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