The National Labor Tribune, April 25, 1909


Brooklyn, N.Y., April 25. Pastor Charles T. Russell preached today in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. He took for his text the following: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.

He said: The first thought connected with this text, dear friends, is the peculiarity of the fact that the God of all grace, the Almighty, the All-Wise, the All-Just, should have love for the world of mankind. It would surprise none of us if the Apostle had written that God greatly loved the holy angels and that he would do any and everything for their protection and blessing. We would have said, "It is just like him. Of course he would do so. They have always been loyal, always been true. They are noble images of himself in character."

If the statement had even been that God so loved his saints, that, blemished by the imperfections of the flesh, he had accepted them through the merits of Jesus' sacrifice and counted them as perfect and entire in him, this would have caused greater surprise than God's love for the angels. And yet we would have said, "Yes, it is just like our heavenly Father to be abundantly gracious and to remember the sins and iniquities no more against those who have turned to righteousness and by faith have been covered by their Redeemer's Robe of Perfection."


If this were the only text of Scripture to the contrary (but it is not), it would be an utter refutation to the blasphemous declaration respecting the Divine Purpose toward mankind. The thought that God created our race with the foreknowledge and prearrangement that the overwhelming majority, all except the saintly"elect," must spend an eternity of hopeless torture, is thoroughly out of accord with reason, as well as contradictory to our text, "God so loved the world."

Does love plan torture? Does loving provision not imply wisdom in the use of power, that the creature may not be injured, if he shall not be benefited by the program? Is it conceivable that he who commands us to love our enemies and to observe towards them the Golden Rule would himself ignore that Rule and injure, not merely his enemies, but also the ignorant, the superstitious, the great masses of mankind – of whom the Apostle declares, "The God of this world hath blinded their minds?"

Let us have done with such nightmares, such "doctrines of demons," as the Apostle styles them. Let us begin to know our Creator, our heavenly Father, for such knowledge is a step towards love for him and hence towards life eternal for ourselves. It was our dear Redeemer who said, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3)

Not only the world perishes because of a lack of true knowledge of the Creator, but many of God's people are similarly hindered. As the Scriptures declare, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hos. 4:6 It should be understood by all that God's love for mankind, as well as Divine Justice and Wisdom, prepared man's penalty – "The wages of sin is death." (Rom. 6:23)

It is in full harmony with this that we know when the Lord drove our first parents out of the garden of Eden and placed the cherubim with flaming sword to prevent their return thither, it was a merciful provision, because had they continued to have access to the trees of life, and thus to continue existence, it would have meant everlasting life for sinners. And to give sinners eternal life and to perpetuate a condition of sin, rebellion, anarchy, in the universe to all eternity would have been discreditable to the Divine Character and Government, as well as injurious to his creatures. God's determination, therefore, from the very beginning was that he would have a clean universe, and hence the law, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" – a law which ultimately must prevail as respects the fallen angels and Satan, as well as in respect to mankind.

Thus we have the assurance that ultimately nothing shall mar the harmony of the universe. What the Scriptures point out respecting the future will prove true. "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." (Rev. 5:13)

Thus the time will come when sin and all who love sin will be destroyed and when, as a consequence, the [NS646] Scriptures assure us, "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new." Rev. 21:4, 5


God's love for sinners, as we have seen, was so great that he would not allow them to have everlasting life, because that would mean to them everlasting imperfection and sorrow, etc. But our text tells us of a still further step that the Lord took – and hence shows a still further love. He not only had the passive love for sinners which would not arrange for their eternal suffering through a perpetuation of life out of harmony with himself, but he had the active love which arranged for their recovery out of sin and death conditions, as stated by our text. "He gave his only begotten Son."

How? When? Where? What for? We answer, he did not give his only begotten Son to suffer eternal torment for us. Thank God, No! Yet, if eternal torment had been the sinner's penalty, God's Son could not have been their Redeemer, except by paying that awful price. As we have seen, however, the penalty was not that, but a death penalty – "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Eze. 18:4); "Dying thou shalt die;" "The wages of sin is death."

God gave his only begotten Son to die for our sins that he might bring us back to God. Our Lord's death on Calvary was the sufficient price for the sins of the whole world, although he did not apply that price directly to the world, but to believers of this present time; and, indirectly, through the consecrated believers, the Bride of Christ, it will be applied to mankind in general, thus permitting the Church class to "fill up that which was behind of the afflictions of Christ," and to share with him in the sealing of the New Covenant for Israel and through Israel for the world. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah." Jer. 31:31

Nor should we understand that God compelled his only begotten Son to die for us, but rather, as the Scriptures inform us, he set before him a great prize, so that Jesus counted it all joy to lay down his life that he might be the heavenly Bridegroom to the Church and be the Mediator of the New Covenant for Israel and the world of mankind. How wise, how just, are God's arrangements! Though he possesses all power, yet he would not infract the rights or liberties of even the most humble of his creatures, much less the rights of his only begotten Son, our Lord.


The Scriptures inform us that it was in accord with the Father's arrangement and the giving of his Son that he made to him the proposition to become man s Redeemer and uplifter and the Head of the Church, to receive glory, honor and immortality. It was in view of this proposition as a whole that we read of our Lord that he, "For the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand. of God." (Heb. 12:2)

Again, "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Tim. 2:6)

He left the heavenly glory and took upon him the human nature and, as the man Christ Jesus, gave himself as the Ransom for all.


God's love is not only large and broad, but it is also deep and wide. In blessing mankind he proposes the largest blessing possible in the wisest manner. He will not justify the heathen in their ignorance nor justify wilful rebels. He limits his favor by two conditions:

(1) The blessing through his Son shall go only to those who intelligently know of it and by faith accept it.

(2) It shall be available only to those who desire to come into harmony with Divine laws as obedient children. This presents a difficulty to our minds until we come to understand what the Scriptures call the Divine Plan of the Ages. Until we understand that Plan, we are inclined to find fault with the Divine arrangement and with ourselves and with fellow-Christians and generally to be uncomfortable and disappointed in proportion to the largeness of our hearts and our interests in God's character and in humanity.

We find fault with ourselves and others that the world has not long ago been evangelized and made acquainted with God. We fault God that he is allowing the heathen to go down into death at the rate of ninety thousand per day, with no knowledge of the "only name under heaven whereby we must be saved."

We squirm and twist in our reasonings in trying to justify this course and are still further harassed by the horrible nightmare of eternal torment, which teaches that the heathen not only do not get eternal life in glory, but that they do get eternal life in misery. Alas, how true are the Lord's words through the Prophet, "Your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with the grave shall not stand. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you; for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night; and it shall be a vexation only to understand the doctrine." Isa. 28:18, 19 [NS647]


The key to the whole Mystery is that God first selects from amongst mankind a special class of those able and willing to exercise faith in him, to receive the Spirit of Christ, and to demonstrate their loyalty by walking in his steps. These, he tells us, he is calling out of the world, by what the world calls the foolishness of preaching.

These he is testing as respects their faith and loyalty and using the trials and oppositions of this present time as chiseling processes and burrs to shape and polish and prepare the precious stones for their glorious setting in the heavenly Kingdom. There are not many of these altogether. "Fear not, little flock; for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom." (Luke 12:32)

They are being selected out of all denominations, kindreds and tongues, and amongst them are not many great, wise, noble or rich. They are chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the Kingdom. This "little flock" of "saints," this "royal priesthood," with Christ their Redeemer, their Lord, their Bridegroom, their Head, their Chief Priest, are to constitute the Kings, Priests, Judges, Rulers of the world of mankind, when in the age to follow this one, in the Millennium, God's time shall come for dealing with mankind as a whole. In co-operation with the Kingdom work will be the binding of Satan and every evil influence amongst men, and the letting loose of every good influence and every helpful truth.

Thus the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the great deep. This is God's provision for the world of mankind, whom he so loved; not merely for the saints, who already having the hearing ear, the seeing eye, and the appreciative heart, is God's loving provision, but for poor, degraded humanity, which, through centuries of sin, has almost entirely lost the image and likeness of its Creator.

The promise for these is that they shall be privileged by resurrection processes to return to full harmony with the Lord and to repossess the blessings and favors lost by father Adam, when he sinned – blessings and privileges redeemed for Adam's race through the merits of our dear Redeemer's sacrifice at Calvary. Who will say that this Divine Plan, outlined in the Bible, does not contain the very essence of Divine wisdom and loving provision best adapted to the needs of our race? Belief in the Lord Jesus, acceptance of him, obedience to the Divine law, will thus be the conditions upon which mankind may be recovered. Would any other conditions be safe or just or proper? Is there any other way of arranging these conditions which God's wisdom and justice provided and which his grace reveals?


Notice how the various features of our text intermesh with each other, like the cogs and pinions of a well-fitted machine! Let us get rid of the wrong thought that so long has befogged our reason and robbed our hearts of the proper reverence for our Creator! Let us get rid of the thought that "perish" means to preserve in eternal torture, thus confusing the minds of the Lord's people and the world to the true teachings of the Scriptures. Perishing, of course, means perishing – to lose life, to become extinct. Man, originally made in God's image, was prepared for eternal life; that eternity was to be his destiny. But sin forfeited those life-rights conferred upon him by his Maker. He came under a sentence of death – that he should perish like the brute beasts. Hence his only hope of a future life is in the Redeemer and the resurrection which his sacrifice has secured. His intelligence and higher organism could only avail him on condition that they would be used in harmony with his Maker's reasonable and just requirements. Otherwise he must die the death, as being even less worthy of prolonged existence than the brute. Note how our text points out that God saw that in the race of Adam there would be many who, if they understood the light and the Truth and had it in contrast with the wrong, would be glad to return to harmony with God – glad to accept of Christ and Restitution privileges and blessings, and to come into full accord with the Almighty and with Jesus, and to have back again the life-rights forfeited by father Adam. Hence God's provision for the race as a whole – that they might not perish as the brute beast, but attain to eternal life again; attain to all that was lost in Adam, all that was redeemed by Jesus Christ our Lord – eternal life, fellowship with God the Father and the Son and communion with the holy Spirit; fellowship in all the rights on both the heavenly and the earthly plane and, indeed, become inheritors again through God's mercy in Christ of all that was lost by Adam and redeemed by Christ. "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform."

These words of the poet are wonderfully true! Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction! The Divine Plan for human salvation is higher and deeper, longer and broader than any of us dreamed of! Yet it is most exact; nothing about it is slipshod or irregular. While the blessed privileges of reconciliation will be granted all of Adam's race, they will be forced upon none – except that all will be forced to bow the knee and to confess with tongue the glorious manifestations of Divine power and goodness, as they will be exhibited during the Millennium. Evidently it must rest with each individual to determine whether he will be during this age [NS648] one of the "elect" or not. "Keep yourselves in the love of God," writes the Apostle. "Make your (own) calling and election sure," he urges. (Jude 21; 2 Pet. 1:10)

And so it must be during the Millennium. The knowledge will be forced upon all and obedience will be forced to a certain limit, but in the end the sinner himself must determine whether or not he will accept the grace of God for the remission of his sins. The provisions have been made by the Divine love, but God requires none who will not come into harmony with him and have a fixity of character, that there should be no further outbreak of sin through all eternity.

All who, after being brought to a knowledge of the Truth, persist in loving falsehood shall be accounted as children of Satan, who have wilfully adopted his spirit of enmity towards truth and righteousness. The end of such, as the Scriptures declare, is destruction. As the messengers and followers of Satan they, with him, and with the fallen angels, shall be utterly destroyed. Acts 3:23


The test before mankind is not along lines of eternal torment or eternal joy, but between eternal life and eternal death. Thus the Apostle states it, "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23)

We cannot change these Divine arrangements, if we would. We ought not to wish to change them, if we could. It is for us not to seek to have our wills done in heaven and earth, but rather to learn of the imperfection of our judgment and to pray to the Father, "Thy will may be done on earth, as it is done in heaven," assured that when the glorious consummation is attained it will signify the highest possible blessing for every creature – eternal life, eternal joy, for all in harmony with God, and death eternal"everlasting destruction" for all the enemies of God. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts (plans) than your thoughts (plans)," saith the Lord. (Isa. 55:9)

How true! How we should feel humiliated by the fact that we so greatly ignored the Divine testimony on this important subject and were so willing to give heed to our own immature thoughts and to those of our fellow-mortals. Let the lesson go down deep into our hearts, that it may make us the wiser and more humble. And let us learn as the Apostle suggested to Timothy, "Study to show thyself approved of God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing "THE WORD OF TRUTH." 2 Tim. 2:15

Ah, yes, the more we come to understand the deep things of God, and the riches of the wisdom hidden in Christ and revealed to us in the Scriptures, the more we may well respect and reverence our Creator. "Who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?" queries the Apostle. (Rom. 11:34)

Surely we all agree with him and will hereafter give him the more earnest heed that we place not our confidence and faith in works of man, but in the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever!

The National Labor Tribune, May 5, 1909


Brooklyn, N.Y., May 2 – Pastor C. T. Russell preached at the Brooklyn Tabernacle today taking as his text the words, "I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people. I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord." (Psa. 116:14, 13)

He said: No less than ten times does the Prophet David refer to his vows to the Lord; the propriety of so doing and his appreciation of the responsibilities thus incurred and his determination to fulfil his vows. The word Vow is rarely used today except in respect to clerical vows, baptismal vows, marriage vows.

The word vow has to considerable extent been superseded by the word promise and other words which signify an obligation to the Lord, a covenant or agreement, as, for instance, we speak of our covenants with the Lord, meaning our vows or obligations.

The word consecration is frequently used to express this thought of avowed obedience and sacrifice to the Lord and his cause. Thus when St. Paul writes, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service," he is exhorting us to consecration – to an avowal of fidelity to the Lord, to the extent of death. Much is said in the Scriptures respecting the making of such consecration vows to the Lord. The Scriptures contain severe warnings against the making of vows to the Lord carelessly, assuring us that [NS649] it would be better to make no vow at all than to vow and to fail to perform to the extent of our ability. It is in harmony with this, that our Lord forewarns us to sit down first and count the cost of discipleship, so that there may be no falling back or even looking back subsequently. He declares, He that puts his hand to the plow and then looks back, regretting his covenant or vow of sacrifice, will not be accounted worthy of a share in the Kingdom.

The Scriptures abound with exhortations that we take heed to promise the Lord nothing that we will not fulfil to the best of our ability. Permit me to quote you some of these instances.

"When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord, thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee (it will be sin in thee to ignore it) – that which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform, even a free-will offering unto the Lord thy God." Deut. 23:21-23

"When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools; pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay (the vow)." Eccl. 5:4-5

"Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come." Psa. 65:1-2

"Vow, and pay unto the lord your God: let all that be round about him bring presents unto him that ought to be feared." Psa. 76:11

"My praise shall be in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him." Psa. 22:25

"Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High: and (then) call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. But unto the wicked (covenant breakers, vow breakers), God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant into thy mouth? Seeing that thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee." Psa. 50:14-17

"Thy vows are upon me, O God. I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death; wilt thou not deliver my feet from falling?" Psa. 56:12-13

"I will abide in thy tabernacle forever; I will trust in the covert of thy wings. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. So will I sing praise unto thy name forever, that I may daily perform my vows." Psa. 61:4-8

"I will pay thee my vows, which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble." Psa. 66:13-14


As we have seen from the foregoing illustrations a vow represents a promise or covenant with God, respecting some matter not strictly called for by Divine Law. That is to say, whatever is demanded of us by Justice is an obligation, and could not properly be considered a sacrifice or consecration, such as the word vow would imply.

It is for this reason that specific vows are not outlined and commanded in the Scriptures. The entire decalogue is commanded; and love for God and for our neighbor to the fullest extent is commanded; but the Vow is merely suggested as a possibility to those desirous of making an offering or sacrifice to the Lord.

Similarly the Divine Law, which commands that the human nature be restrained from sin and be obedient to every law of righteousness, does not command that we shall consecrate our lives to the extent of sacrificing them, even in the Divine service. A thing demanded and commanded cannot be a sacrifice. Thus the Apostle, when urging upon all believers consecration, does not command it, nor even hint a penalty upon those who do not consecrate. He merely urges, saying, "I beseech you therefore, brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Whoever accepts the Apostle's suggestion sacrifices his human rights to the Lord and his cause and the expression of such a sacrifice or consecration is a vow – an avowal. While it is true that those who make a vow of consecration and who fail to perform it in spirit will be less esteemed of the Lord than those who never made this vow, nevertheless there is a great blessing connected with such an avowal of loyalty to God, to the extent of self-sacrifice. Those who never make this consecration, this Vow, will in no sense be sharers of the heavenly Kingdom and its high spiritual reward. This does not mean that God has no other portion, no other blessing, for those who refrain to vow, for those who refrain to come into consecration. We have previously shown that in the Divine purpose there is an age of restitution just in advance of us, the blessings of which the Scriptures assure us will be for all the families of the earth. (Acts 3:19-21)

But we remind you that the high calling, the election of this Gospel Age, guarantees to those who make the Vow of consecration to the Lord and who perform it faithfully a still greater blessing than restitution and heavenly spiritual nature with glory, honor and immortality and participation in the Divine nature. God is now justifying believers through faith, in order to give them an opportunity to consecrate themselves, to make their vows unto the Lord and to show their love and loyalty by keeping these vows. In view of this who will say that God has not attached a great blessing to this vow of consecration – to all those who present [NS650] themselves in sacrifice to him?


The will is the proper ruler of human life; but the fact is that a great many people are without this ruler and guide as respects the higher things of life. Early in life the will usually decides for name and honor and wealth, to be secured as honestly and as easily as possible. The will represents the sentiment of our strongest or preponderating characteristics or mental qualities. In a majority of people these are not the highest qualities of the mind, but rather the lowest.

Selfishness, acquisitiveness, combativeness, destructiveness and animal passion lie at the base of the brain and are usually persistently cultivated, encouraged and gratified, with merely certain limitations of decency, honesty, respectability, associating with them as a veneer. A phrenological examination of the brain shows other higher and nobler qualities of the mind in every case, but with many the upper stories of the mind are comparatively unfurnished and unoccupied.

The owner of the frame lives almost continually in the cellar. Why is this so? Because the lower organs have to do with the necessities of every day life. And the owner of the brain often finds it inconvenient to consult the higher elements of his organism, because these usually through conscience would be inclined to reprove his course of life. His justice would frequently forbid commercial transactions which his lower nature desires to put through. His benevolence, his spirituality, his veneration for God and his Word, if allowed to speak, would thwart his selfish plans and resolutions. What such a man needs to do is to make a vow to himself that he will seek to live in harmony with his own convictions – that he will not allow the baser qualities of his nature to rule him, but will regulate those qualities by the noblest and best sentiments of which he is possessed.

We suggest that this vow be to himself, because it could not be a vow to God. God's Law commands his best and, in living according to any other standards he is living in violation of the Divine Law written in his very constitution, represented in the organs of his brain. True, our fallen brains are not perfectly balanced, nevertheless, a measure of the Divine likeness is to be found in every human brain not idiotic. If the whole world could come to appreciate these facts and if each person would vow to himself to live his own very best – according to his own highest ideals – in full harmony with the measure of the Divine likeness which he possesses, the world would straightway be comparatively a Paradise. True, many things would still be amiss, but the will, the most important factor, if right with God, would bring a measure of peace to every heart, to every home, to every land.


"Create within me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me." (Psa. 51:10)

The man or woman who begins reformation of life by vowing to himself to live according to his best natural ability will find himself disappointed still; because of the impossibilities of harmonizing all the various qualities of his mind under present conditions connected with the reign of sin and death in the world. He will find that to will may be present with him, but to perform the will of his nobler mind will be an impossibility, because through heredity and through commercial customs and through his own habits of life, his lower organs are fully developed and stronger in their combination, while the organs representing his nobler sentiments are relatively weak, inexperienced and out of accord with the Sin and Death conditions which prevail on every hand. It is asked why this is so? The Scriptural reply is that we were born in sin and shapen in iniquity; and in sin did our mothers conceive us. (Psa. 51:5)

The Bible tells us of the origin of sin in the disobedience of Eden. It tells us of the sentence of sin. And we see how that sentence has bound and enfeebled our race on its way to the tomb. The effort to live righteously, soberly and justly in this present world is so great that if there were no future prospects, no Divine promises of future life, we might well consider, as the Apostle suggests, whether we might not better eat, drink and be merry and die rather than fight a continual warfare against so heavy odds.


The Scriptures inform us of the Divine pity for our race in its fallen condition; yea, that God perceived all of our distressed conditions before he created us and even then planned a remedy, "The Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world."

The Bible shows us that Jesus was that Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. It shows that before he can deal with the world, according to the Divine arrangement, he must purchase all of its rights and interests by his own perfect life. In our Lord's sacrificial experiences these two things were accomplished. He kept the Law and had a right to all of its blessings as a man. He sacrificed those rights in the interests of the world of mankind. He received a reward of life eternal on the higher spiritual plane. The next thing in order is to give to mankind the blessings secured by his sacrificial death. Our Redeemer might have consummated the entire work of uplifting humanity from sin and death back to all that was lost and which he redeemed by his own sacrifice. But God had a higher and a grander message [NS651] which would still further illustrate the length and breadth and height and depth of his justice, wisdom, love and power. This plan, which God is pursuing, calls from amongst the redeemed race those who have hearts hungry and thirsty for righteousness and harmony with God. By various processes these are "called" and chosen, instructed and tested and made ready as the members of Christ, God's jewels, who are promised a close relationship with their Lord in the future, represented by the picture of a bride and queen in relation to the king of Glory.

It is to these, after they have believed, that the Lord makes known his gracious purposes. Such of them as respond with zeal have the Apostle's exhortation to take upon them a Vow of full consecration to the Lord unto death and then to live up to the terms of that Vow to the best of their ability until the close of life. This Vow, unlike the other we suggested, is not to themselves, not to other men or congregations, lodges or societies, but to God only. While it is true that the Vow to the Lord will not end our responsibilities, but merely begin them, it is also true that we cannot come into relationship with the Lord at all, except by making a consecration Vow.

It is the Vow in advance that the Lord accepts and responds to by the begetting of the holy Spirit. Whoever, therefore, has failed to Vow unto the Lord with consecration has failed to be begotten of the holy Spirit and will have no share with the Church's glory. He may not have called it a Vow, he may not have called it consecration, he may not have called it anything; but the Vow of consecration must, nevertheless, have been his – uttered or unexpressed, before he could become a member of God's Spiritual family. Thus our Lord's Vow of consecration was expressed in the words, "Lo, I have come, as in the volume of the Book it is written of me – to do thy will, O God."

The will of the Father was that our Lord Jesus should have the opportunity of presenting himself a living sacrifice on man's behalf. Our Lord accepted this and his acceptance was his consecration Vow of obedience, even unto death on the cross. A man might have the intention for days or months or years to purchase a piece of property which he knew was for sale, yet the intention did not purchase it, nor did it give him any right or interest in the property.

But when the desire for the property reached the point when he went to the agent and signed a contract for the purchase and made a payment on account, then he had interest in the property. Similarly God has a wonderful proposition for us. We heard about it for years and more or less believed it, yet we had neither right nor interest in it until the time came when we accepted the Lord's favor and surrendered to him our wills. That surrender of ourselves, our rights, our interests, our lives, in whatever terms we made it, few or many, words or thoughts, constituted our consecration Vow, which became to us the channel of God's grace in Christ.


Our original consecration vow, even if carefully made, we found to be but an imperfect one because of our imperfect knowledge of the trials and responsibilities and difficulties and the Lord's requirements. We found need for new vows covering new features or guarding weaknesses. Some Vows we made for our own assistance, although it might be said that everything possible was included in our original Vow. Those who follow this course bind their sacrifices the more firmly and the more closely to the altar of sacrifice and correspondingly are assisted in the narrow way and in maintaining themselves in the love of God. In conclusion, then, let us not Vow hastily, but soberly, wisely. Let us bring ourselves under all reasonable restraints of thought and word and action – restraints to God and not to men or creeds. So doing, undoubtedly our cup of blessing will more and more overflow.

The National Labor Tribune, May 16, 1909


Glasgow, May 16 – "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Rom. 8:28, 29

Coming to the land of that sturdy man of God, John Knox, I am reminded of his able contention for the doctrine of Election – its Scripturalness and its demonstration of the greatness, majesty and sovereignty of the Lord our God. We surmise, however, that the good man's heart must frequently have been sorely distressed [NS652] with the logic of his own argument – that the eternal woe of nine-tenths of our race was as unalterably fixed in advance of their birth as was the eternal joy of the blessed handful predestinated to be saints and to share the heavenly glories. We may well thank God, dear friends, that in the clearer light now shining upon the Scriptures we may discern the errors handed down to us from the dark ages, without losing our appreciation of Divine foreknowledge and Divine sovereignty.

While it is true that it would be difficult to estimate the value of the doctrine of Divine foreknowledge taught by Brother Knox, not only in this nation, but also throughout the world, inculcating a reverence for the Almighty, it is also true that it would be difficult to estimate the amount of damage which has resulted to Christendom and throughout the world from his teachings respecting the Divine treatment of the non-elect. This serious error has alienated the hearts of thousands from God and from his Book. Let us look together at the doctrine of Election, Predestination and Foreordination, from the Scriptural standpoint, that we may note its beauties and be drawn the nearer to the Lord and to his Book in true reverence and worship.


Our text declares that whom God did foreknow them he also did predestinate; but we notice that the predestination is stated only as respects the Church and not in respect to others. This fact does not escape the attention of others, but they have reasoned erroneously, – that if God foreknew an elect Church, for whom he predestinated special blessings and honors, this would imply that the remainder of mankind non-elect were to be tortured eternally. The logic of this position is unsound and it is quite unscriptural to say that all of the non-elect will be consigned to an eternity of torture at the hands of fire-proof demons in fulfilment of a Divine predestination fixed before creation. There is no Scripture whatever to this effect, and Brother Knox and others were in error to the extent that they wove into their theories matters not Scripturally stated. According to the Scriptures, as well as according to human judgment as expressed in the laws of civilization, the highest, the severest penalty to be enforced, is the death penalty, the taking away of the life not used in harmony with the Creator's reasonable, righteous requirements.

This is the Scriptural declaration to which, for so long a time, we were blind: "The wages of sin is death;" "The soul that sinneth, it shall die;" "All the wicked shall he destroy;" "They shall perish as brute beasts;" "They shall be destroyed with an everlasting destruction" (the Second Death). Rom. 6:23; Eze. 18:4; Psa. 145:20; 2 Pet. 2:12; 1 Thess. 2:9

Thus seen the very severest results possible to non-election would be extinction – the Second Death. But the Scriptures clearly show that God has gracious purposes, not for the "elect" only, but also for the non-elect, and that in his due time the non-elect shall be brought to a clearer knowledge of the Truth and to a full opportunity of harmony with their Creator and through Christ Jesus the re-attainment of all that was lost in Adam, all that was redeemed by the precious sacrifice of Christ. Thus, as the Scriptures declare, there is a "common salvation" (Jude 3)

in which all of Adam's children shall be privileged to have a share. There is also a special salvation, a "high calling" of God in Christ, which is referred to as "so great salvation which began to be (preached) spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." (Heb. 2:3)

This special or great salvation is the one which our Lord hath provided for the "Elect," while the "common salvation" is his provision for the non-elect. Does it not seem strange that Brother Knox and others, his coadjutors, in getting away from much of the smoke of the "dark ages" failed to even think of a salvation of the non-elect in God's providence?

Their eyes, beholding the awful and blighting errors respecting eternal torment, totally blinded them to God's provisions for the non-elect; for they reasoned that if God had predestinated them to eternal torment and had in advance of their creation prepared a great place of torture and fire-proof devils and fuel enough for eternity, then surely he could have no plan of salvation for them. The entire premise was wrong. The death into which they went was not eternal torment but the tomb, as represented by the Hebrew word Sheol and the Greek word Hades. And they can have no release from the tomb, no return to consciousness or pain or pleasure until the Second Coming of the Redeemer in the morning of the Resurrection.

Thank God, then, for the rolling away of the mists of darkness and error which permits us to see in the Bible that the "common salvation," God's provision for the world, will be a Restitution, a restoration to human perfection in the rejuvenated earth, a world-wide paradise! Thank God for the promises to the effect that then "the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep" and that "the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his beams;" that "nothing shall hurt or destroy or injure in all God's holy Kingdom;" that "the wayfaring man, though simple, need not err therein," and that a broad highway shall be there as a way of [NS653] salvation – a much traveled way – and that all the redeemed of the Lord from mankind shall be privileged to go up thereon out of sin and death conditions to conditions of life everlasting.

We thank God, too, that those who shall refuse to make proper progress and shall fail of that "common salvation" because of wilful sin will not be permitted to live endlessly in sin nor in torment, but will be utterly destroyed in the Second Death; because God is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna, the Second Death. We thank God also that the elect Church, under Christ, the Captain of their salvation, are promised a share in that glorious work of the Redeemer, in blessing all the families of the earth in bringing to them that common (general) salvation.


If once we dreaded to think of God's grace towards us in accepting us as members of his elect Church, because of the opposing thought of the damnation of the non-elect, we may now correspondingly rejoice the more in our privilege, of election, seeing that it means our privilege of sharing in the world's uplift under the direction of Emmanuel, our Lord, during his Millennial reign. The Apostle speaks of the prospect of the elect as "our High Calling;" and again, "our heavenly calling."

The thought is that we are called to a very high honor and wonderful distinction and that on a heavenly plane. The Gospel Church is invited to experience a change of nature from human to Divine, from the highest of the earthly natures to the highest of the heavenly natures – far above angels and principalities and powers and every name that is named – "jointheirs with Christ," "partakers of the Divine nature," members of "the Bride, the Lamb's wife."

Truly do the Scriptures tell that not many would be able to hear, to appreciate, to understand, to accept this high calling. The Divine arrangement of the call is elective, selective. It appeals to some and does not appeal to others. It has an attraction for some and not for others. If we had here a box of sawdust and scattered through it a paper of tacks until the latter were quite hidden from view, surrounded and covered in the sawdust, we know that we could take a magnet and, by passing it to and fro amongst the sawdust, the magnet would attract to itself every tack.

It might indeed exercise a still further attraction upon some of the sawdust, but the holding would be so slight that we could blow it off, while the tacks would be firmly held by reason of their responsiveness to the magnetic influence. The box of sawdust represents the world of mankind. The tacks of the illustration represent a small class of humanity, zealous at heart for God and for righteousness. The magnet represents the Gospel invitation which is now passed up and down, hither and thither throughout the civilized world, and to some extent, into the heathen world.

It is not the design of the Lord to elect, select, choose, gather all mankind (the sawdust) by the magnet; merely he would now gather the true-hearted, represented by the specks of steel, the tacks. The illustration might be enlarged by supposing some other tacks of other metallic composition not so subject to the magnetic influence as the steel. The illustration of these would represent mixed characters, such as we see about us in the world everywhere. The illustration might be extended to include good tacks covered with dirt or other foreign substance which would hinder them from responding to the influence of the magnet and this would represent true characters encrusted with the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, etc. "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God through sanctification of the spirit and the belief of the Truth," writes the Apostle, God designed the election of this Age.

He desired to separate to himself a peculiar people, to be the associates of Jesus, their Redeemer, in his subsequent work of uplifting the willing and obedient of the world of mankind. But God has not predestinated nor desired the election of any except a sanctified class, a class not sanctified through stripes, not through force or compulsion, but sanctified through a knowledge of the Truth. Such are drawn to God in devotion through a knowledge of his glorious purposes and heart sympathy therein, sufficient to induce them to sacrifice their all, so far as earthly matters and interests are concerned. These are the elect, whom the Lord has been searching for and testing with the magnet of his Truth, and the manner of their response to it throughout this Gospel age, determined whether "They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I come to make up my jewels."


It is not for us to quibble respecting the Divine power of foreknowledge – to question the ability of our Creator to have foreknown, had he chosen to do so, and foretold every member of the elect class. The Divine is so far above the human that it is impossible for the human mind to measure the infinite or to comprehend his power. We must merely accept the Divine statement. However, nothing in the Word of God tells us that we were foreknown individually – personally. Rather the intimation is that God predestinated the election of a Church, predetermined the number of persons who would be accepted as members in that Church, the Body of Christ, predetermined what characters they must have and what tests of character would be necessary [NS654] to demonstrate their loyalty and to prove the individual worthy a place in the foreordained class. It is in full harmony with this that we read that many are called to the few who will be chosen, and that again we are exhorted to "make our calling and our election sure."

We are assured that "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it" – do all that he has promised – keep his part of the contract. This being so, all of the called ones have the determining of results in their own cases. God is faithful. If they are faithful at heart to the terms and conditions of their Covenant they will be of the elect – otherwise not.


We come now to the particular clause of our text which has seemed to fortify the error. "Them he also did predestinate."

Ah, say many, that fixes it! There is no option, nothing dependent upon it. God predestinated everything. Not so, we answer. In the past we have been prone to read our text disconnectedly and thus doing we have overlooked its clear teaching. We thought of it as though it read, "God predestinated the elect," but not so. The declaration is that God predestinated that all that would be of the elect class must be copies of his Son. The predestination of this verse relates not to individuals, but to a certain character which all of the elect individuals must attain to – otherwise they will not be of the elect. How beautifully simple and plain this makes it all. Nor would we ask the matter otherwise.

"Just and true are thy ways, Lord God Almighty!" The great honor, the high distinction which God proposes to confer upon the "very elect" in the First Resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ is so grand that the very highest possible test of character is appropriate to those who would be granted such honors and immortality. Our Lord Jesus said to his disciples, Sit down first and count the cost of discipleship and if you determine that it is worth the price, come, "take up your cross and follow me."

As a reward I promise you that "where I am there shall my disciple be."

"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne."

Those who attain the character likeness of Christ Jesus will have the character likeness of the Father, of whom the Son is the express image and character likeness. Hence the appropriateness of our Lord's words "Be ye like unto your Father which is in heaven."

So direct an application as we are making of these words may appall some of the Lord's people who have been thinking carelessly that if they were once in grace they would always be in grace – if once elect they would never fail. I desire to awaken such to a realization of the heights of our calling and of the necessity of our obedience to the terms of the calling, if we would make our calling and our election sure – certain.

However, it is well to remark here that the perfection to which the called ones are exhorted is not a perfection of the flesh, which would be an impossibility because of its natural blemishes, its hereditary taints and weaknesses. It is the heart, the will, that the Lord is inspecting, proving, and not the flesh. "Blessed are the pure in heart," said our Savior. And we may be sure that the pure in heart, the pure in intention and endeavor, will make considerable progress in overcoming the weaknesses of the flesh. The Lord will expect them to prove their faith and their loyalty by such good works as are possible to them in their weakness and under their environments.


The "very elect," those who will make their calling and their election sure – those who will inherit the glory, honor and immortality in the First Resurrection; are described as the "called and chosen and faithful."

Those called through the Gospel message, through the Bible and Tracts and hymns and Christian lives everyway, are many. "Many are called."

But not so many respond to the call. The majority, noting the fact that the Vows of consecration imposed score hard against the will of the flesh and make the way to glory narrow decline to enter the "straight gate and the narrow way," hoping still for some favor from the Divine provision – hoping against nearly all the creeds and theories of the world, but still hoping.

Nor is the hope in vain, as we have already seen. God has a gracious arrangement and a"common salvation" which, in due time, will be offered to all men. But how much they will miss! – All the wonderful things that "God has in reservation for them that love him" – for the elect! And besides, to whatever extent they shall wilfully engage in sin and selfishness they will degrade their fallen natures and make the more difficult the ascent in the Restitution Highway of the coming Age. Let us be glad, in God's providence, our ears have heard the message of his love and grace and if our hearts have responded and if, subsequently, we have been begotten of the holy Spirit and thus have a mark of being not only called, but chosen.


It is to this class that our text refers, assuring us that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to the called ones according to his purpose."

So we should expect. These called and chosen, begotten of the holy Spirit, are "children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord." (Rom. 8:16, 17)

Could we expect less than that their Heavenly Father would watch over [NS655] their every interest, temporal and spiritual? Could we think for a moment that he would become negligent of their interests? On the contrary the words of our text are in fullest agreement with just what we should have expected. For, as the Apostle says of these, "All things are yours and ye are Christ's and Christ is God's." 1 Cor. 3:22, 23

How is it, then that our Redeemer was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grieves? How is it that so many of his followers have suffered afflictions? How is it that the Great Teacher forewarned those, "Think it not strange if the world hate you and persecute you and do all manner of evil against you for my sake."

How is it that the Apostle writes, "Whosoever will live godly (in this present time) shall suffer persecution" and assures us that we "must suffer with Christ, if we would reign with him?" How do these sufferings comport with the assurance that "All things shall work together for good" to these? Ah, the secret lies in the fact that these are counted as New Creatures, begotten of the Spirit, and merely for a time tabernacling – subjected to trials and testings, chiselings and polishings, through the weaknesses of their own flesh and through their association with other imperfect ones. The new nature develops, grows strong in proportion as the human nature is conquered and brought into subjection and finally mortified.

It is, therefore, not inattention to our best interests on our Father's part that permits us to have trials, difficulties, persecutions, but, on the contrary, his interest in us guarantees that no good thing will he withhold from us – no trials, no difficulties or other experiences which will be really helpful shall be withheld. Yet he will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but will with every temptation provide a way of escape. How glad we are to know aright our Heavenly Father's Predestination and Election and to have a share therein! Let us with increasing zeal seek to make our calling and election sure.

The National Labor Tribune, May 23, 1909


"He ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." Eph. 4:8

Stockholm, Sweden, May 23 – Pastor Russell of Brooklyn Tabernacle preached here today to a large congregation, composed chiefly of those acquainted with him through his books of Bible study. He spoke through an interpreter. He said in part: As many of you are aware, we have just passed the anniversary of Christ's ascension. We recall that following our Lord's crucifixion he arose from death on the third day.

He remained with his disciples during forty days, although he manifested himself to them only a few times and then very briefly – probably seven manifestations in all, and of but a few moments each. The work of those forty days was primarily to demonstrate to the Apostles, and through them to his followers throughout the Age, that he who redeemed us through the sacrifice of himself is not a dead Savior but a risen one. Secondly, he wished them to understand that as he had left the spirit condition and humbled himself to take the bondman's form for the suffering of death, he resumed his spirit nature in the resurrection and was no longer flesh and blood.

He wished them to know that flesh and blood could not inherit the Kingdom and that the Divine calling to them as his disciples was that they lay down their lives in his service so that in due time they also might experience a share in his Resurrection to spirit nature, glory and honor. In his own person he illustrated what the Apostle explained will be the experience of all the faithful saints of this Age – he died and was buried in weakness, he was raised in power; he died and was buried in dishonor, he was raised in glory; he died and was buried a natural body, human, he was raised a spirit body, Divine. 1 Cor. 15:42-44

These great lessons required time, and evidently the forty-day period was none too long. The Apostles were convinced at once that their Lord was no longer dead. He had appeared to them. He had manifested himself at various times and in various forms – as a traveler, as a gardener with wounded hands and feet, and otherwise; but, as he declared, "They were slow of heart to believe all things written in the Law and prophecies concerning him."

They were disappointed that he did not stay with them as previously when he was "the man Christ Jesus."

They were amazed when he came into the room where they were assembled, the doors being shut and securely barred. They knew that no human body could thus come in, and yet so he appeared, and when the interview was ended he vanished. He walked not away, but vanished. They looked for him frequently, but he disappointed them – not manifesting himself for more than a week several times. They could not understand spiritual things because they were but [NS656] natural men, even though consecrated to the Lord; they had not yet received the holy Spirit, and hence were slow to learn spiritual lessons. John 7:39


Toward the close of the forty days the apostles were not only perplexed but dispirited. The Messiah with whom they had hoped to reign had not only been crucified, but now, in Resurrection, he had been so changed that they were at a loss how to understand matters. They concluded to give up the entire proposition and to return to their secular business. The leaders were the first to so decide – Peter, James and John.

They took back their boats, nets, etc., and resumed the old business partnership on the Sea of Galilee. Now came the opportune moment for our Lord to teach them a great lesson respecting his power as a spirit being – that it was no less than that which he exhibited to them when as "the man Christ Jesus" he had fed the multitudes and miraculously filled their nets with fishes at the beginning of his ministry. It was a part of the Lord's providence that they caught nothing on the first night.

In the morning they saw a man upon the shore who inquired if they had fish. They replied that they had toiled all night and had caught nothing. The stranger suggested dropping the net on the other side of the boat and, without specially reasoning that the little boat was continually turning about anyway, they obeyed him. Forthwith they found their net choked with fishes. The lesson was sufficient. The apostles knew at once that the stranger on the shore could be none other than their Master, who had adopted this new form of manifesting himself. They could scarcely wait to reach the shore. St. Peter, impatient of delay, swam to his Master, fearful that he would disappear again before he could reach him. When ashore they found that the Master had miraculously provided a fire and fish and that their breakfast was ready. We read that "None of them durst ask him who he was, knowing that it was the Lord" – knowing by the miracle which he alone could work, but not knowing by any wounds in hands or feet, nor by any exact reproduction of his garments, which the soldiers had parted amongst them. The lesson needed had been taught. The disciples had learned the force of the Master's words, "Without me ye can do nothing."

They learned that they were under his careful supervision, even when they saw him not, and that he had withholden fish from their net during the night as a part of their lesson, and that similarly he had filled their net with fish as an exhibition of his power; finally that he could provide the fish on the shore ready cooked and that, therefore, as his disciples and laboring under his instructions, they might be sure that "no good thing would he withhold."

It was at this time that he gently reproved Peter for denying him by saying, "Simon Peter, lovest thou me more than these" (nets, boats, etc.)? And when he answered Yes, three times, the Lord enjoined him to feed his sheep and his lambs. Peter, the oldest of the apostles, received his lesson with meekness, as was attested by the faithfulness of his entire ministry. Never again did he deny his Redeemer and never again did he think of leaving the work to which he had been specially called – to be a "fisher of men."

Once more did our Lord meet by appointment with about five hundred, and a little later by appointment he met the twelve at the Mount of Olives, gave some parting instructions and ascended from them. He could have vanished before ascending to the Father; but he assisted the disciples' faith, and ours also, by retaining his materialized body in which he had appeared and in it ascended into the clouds. They needed all of this assistance evidently. But it was sufficient for them. They remembered his word and tarried at Jerusalem ten days longer, waiting for the Pentecostal blessing and when it came upon them and they began to have spiritual eyesight and to see spiritual things then all of their experiences became plain. 1 Cor. 2:9-14


We remember that two angels appeared to the apostles and said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11)

This was an additional attestation of the Lord's ascension and a reminder of his promise that he would come again. The angel did not say, however, that at his Second Coming he would appear in the flesh, nor should we so expect. It was the manner of his going that would be duplicated at his Second Coming – its quietness, secrecy, unknown to the world and known only to his most intimate ones. Not with trumpets on the air, not with dazzling brightness will our Lord's Second Coming be heralded. On the contrary, the voice of prophecy will declare his presence, and the enlightening influence of the Truth shall gradually display the glory of his Kingdom. But his words will prove true, as uttered to the Jews, "Yet a little while and ye shall see me no more."

The only reason why the Church will see the Lord in glory will be because, as the Apostle explains, she will be "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" – the Resurrection change – because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom."

At his Second Coming [NS657] our Lord will not appear in the flesh, else it would not be necessary for his Church to be changed to spirit beings, in order to see him as he is. But after receiving the Church to himself in the Resurrection change the Millennial Kingdom will be established, and its power and great glory will gradually be made manifest through its enlightening influence upon the world, which will speedily come to see the great change from the rule of the invisible Prince of Darkness to the rule of the invisible Prince of Light – from the reign of Sin, tending unto death, to the reign of Righteousness tending unto life everlasting. Instead of appearing as a man to instruct the world, and instead of the Church appearing to co-labor with that work of instruction, the Scriptures inform us that the new teachers of that period will be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets resurrected to human perfection. These will be the earthly representatives of the Kingdom to men, and in themselves will be examples of human perfection, to which the entire human family will be privileged to return by obedience to the Divine laws then promulgated.


The expression "on high" refers not so much to locality as to station, power, dignity, as the context clearly indicates. He came to earth from on high, from the heavenly plane, as "the firstborn among many brethren." (Rom. 8:29)

He came down to earth – not merely to our world, but to our earth condition, to human nature. Still lower he stooped. He humbled himself even unto death. Nor was this all. He humbled himself even down to the very lowest, the most ignominious form of death, the death of the cross, and the tomb, as a blasphemer, as a sinner. Mark St. Paul's expression as to how high he ascended. He says, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father." (Philip. 2:9, 10)

This is the thought also of our text. He is ascended up on high, "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named," up to the Throne of the Father. Eph. 1:21 St. Paul quotes from David's prophecy, saying, "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them." (Psa. 68:18)

St. Paul quotes this, "Gave gifts to men."

The Scriptures represent that all the blessings which our Lord Jesus is to shed forth, first upon his Church for its perfecting on the spirit plane, and secondly through the Church upon the world, "the rebellious also," are of the Father though through the son. Our Lord received the dignity, blessing and power of the Father, as St. Peter tells us, and then shed forth a part of what he had received upon the waiting Church in the upper room at Pentecost. The blessing still continues with all who are his, all who come into the position of Justification by faith and Sanctification of heart.


We might have had room for speculation as to what kind of gifts the Lord bestowed had not the apostle proceeded to specify and to leave us without a question of doubt. He says, "He gave some (the gift to be) apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers."

This declaration is in harmony with another from the same pen, to the effect that "God hath set the various members in the Body of Christ, the Church, as it hath pleased him."

The Scriptures clearly teach that but twelve were set to be apostles; that the office is not, as some claim, prolonged in the bishops, cardinals and popes. The Scriptures tell us of the "twelve apostles of the Lamb," whose names are written in heaven, and of the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem. Another picture of the same thing in Revelation represents the Church as a woman, upon her head twelve stars, no more, no less, one being chosen in place of one of the original, Judas, who was lost, so that the twelve might be maintained.

While the number of pastors, teachers and evangelists is evidently greater, we are not for a moment to doubt that the Lord has the supervision of this matter and has been giving the gifts to the Church throughout the Gospel Age as their services were necessary and, as believers were prepared, to make use of their assistance. Here we are reminded of the Apostle's words, "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?" His intimation assuredly is that all are not so recognized of the Lord; that God makes his own selection – and it is for his people to hear, to recognize his voice and to follow the same and not to follow the voice of strangers.


Alas, that an important Truth is slighted; that the Lord's people have forgotten that he himself is the Head of the Church; that by his appointment the twelve apostles are the channels of his blessing; that only through them do the streams of Truth go forth, and that evangelists, pastors and teachers are to be heeded only as they can show that their messages are from this Fountain Spring! Would that every consecrated [NS658] Christian would realize what the Apostle Paul so clearly sets forth, namely, that all the teachings represented in the name of the Lord and the apostles are to be proven, to see whether or not they do proceed from these Fountains and without admixture and adulteration.


For what purpose did the Lord give these gifts unto men? For the conversion of the world, some one answers. Yes, we reply, but not directly so. We must be guided by the Apostle if we would know the Truth of the matter. He says distinctly that these gifts were for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the Body of Christ, till we all come into unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God; unto full-grown men; unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Eph. 4:11-13

According to this it is a mistake to suppose that God's will is accomplished in the mere preaching of the first principles of the doctrines of Christ. The Apostle explains that our first standing in Christ is that of babes, but that we need to be nourished, strengthened, developed to perfection, to the condition of manhood. We believe that the Apostle would find fault with the sentiments of men today on this subject; that he would tell us that the doctrines of Christ are not sufficiently taught and not sufficiently understood to produce the finished Christian character which the Lord desires. Men are to become saints first, and then to attain a perfecting as saints. Full consecration, therefore, is a mere beginning of the matter and not the end of it. We must "go on unto perfection."

He says that the saints are to be "perfected for the work of ministry."

To whom are they to minister? We answer that the saints have indeed some opportunity for serving one another in the present life; yea, and some opportunity for "doing good unto all men;" but the special work of opportunity or service will be that of the future, when, as the Royal Priesthood in glory, they shall be associated with the great High Priest, Jesus, in his Millennial Kingdom work of blessing all mankind. As the prophet says, "Yea, the rebellious also."

The rebellious are not now being dealt with, only the willing and obedient, the meek, the teachable, the willing. The rebellious will be dealt with by force and with "stripes" during the Millennium and, as St. Peter says, "It shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:23) – in the Second Death. Taking this view of the great plan of God we see a special reason why these gifts of the Lord should be now granted to the willing and obedient for their perfecting; because they will need to learn obedience themselves before they can properly become the teachers, judges, kings and priests unto God, governing the world of mankind to uplift humanity out of degradation and sin and death.


St. Paul says that these gifts through apostles, prophets and teachers are to develop the Church to the condition of a perfect man, "unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

He does not mean that each individual is to become of Christ's measure and stature and character. Nothing of the kind is possible nor has ever been accomplished. His meaning is that from the Divine standpoint of intention The Christ, of which Jesus is the Head, has many members, possibly one hundred and forty-four thousand, and that these members, when all completed at the end of the Age, will constitute the perfect man – the Great Prophet. This is the same new man of which the Apostle speaks, saying that the Head and some of the members were Jewish while others of the members were of Gentile origin, "that of the twain he might make one new man. (Eph. 2:15)

This is the same Body that the Apostle refers to in 1 Corinthians 12 when he says that "the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more, those members of the Body which seem to be more feeble, are necessary."

That Body complete will be the great Prophet, Priest and King, our Lord the Head and his perfected saints the members. Through the Kingdom then to be established the gifts and blessings will proceed through Abraham's Seed to all the families of the earth; yea, unto "the rebellious also" will come fullest knowledge, fullest opportunity for reconciliation to the Father through the death of his Son. Thus seen our Lord's ascension to be Lord of all is close to the core of the Gospel program.


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