The National Labor Tribune, November 4, 1909


AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 31 – Pastor Russell of Brookiyn Tabernacle preached to a large audience of Truth seekers here today. Much interest and profound attention was manifest.

He took for his text the following: "Both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." (Heb. 2:11)

He said: Tomorrow will be observed by our friends of the Catholic, Lutheran and Episcopal churches as "All Saints" Day.

At an early date after the death of the apostles, probably in the third century, the custom crept into the Church of invoking the blessing of saints. Some held in remembrance a patron saint, whose influence and memory were of a merely local character, and a certain day in the year was set apart as a memorial and for invoking his influence in the heavenly courts.

When subsequently papacy was organized, gradually the majority of the Christian congregation acceded to papacy's claims that its bishop is the special vicar of Christ, reigning in his stead and exercising his authority, many submitted themselves to this rule and thus were absorbed into that great system which still holds sway in the world. It was papacy that established "All Saints' Day" as a holy day for the invocation of all saints not otherwise particularly provided for by separate days of invocation.

Although saints admittedly are rare – few in comparison to professed Christians, nevertheless it seems there were enough so considered in the time of Gregory IV, to nearly appropriate all the days of the year. In other words, there were about 365 recognized in Gregory's time – after Christianity had been in operation for 800 years. Hence tomorrow will be the day for invoking the blessing of all the saints of the past one thousand years. But just how many or how few they are according to the records of the celebrating churches we do not surely know. If the records of the first eight centuries were correct, in the same proportion we should not expect that the total number of saints recognized would be above one thousand.

One sad thought connected with the celebration tomorrow must present itself to all thinking minds amongst the celebrants; that is that only the saintly do they acknowledge as of holy character, fit for heaven, because the unsaintly, the unholy, would certainly be unfit. The teaching of papacy is that since only the saintly can be ushered into heaven at the time of their death, all the unsaintly, the undeveloped, they hold, must first experience awful tortures in Purgatory – to purify them, to make them ready for heaven. Protestants on the contrary have discarded Purgatory, claiming that it is an unscriptural doctrine.

They do not, however, claim that any but the saintly are prepared for heaven at death, nor that God has promised heaven to the untaught or undeveloped in Christian character. Hence, in some respects the Protestant theory is still more grievous, more terrible, more awful, for the bereaved than the Catholic view in that it offers no hope for all eternity to any unsaintly. Prayers to the saints, we believe to be unscriptural and unreasonable. Nowhere are we authorized to pray to the dead – either saints or sinners. On the contrary the Scriptures set forth our Heavenly Father as the supreme object of worship, though they do intimate propriety of praying to our Lord Jesus also. As we read: "All men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father." (John 5:23)

But prayers to the dead are unreasonable, according to the Bible which teaches that "the dead know not anything" (Eccl. 9:5); that "their sons come to honor and they know it not – to dishonor and they perceive it not of them" (Job 14:21); [NS733] and that "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Eccl. 9:10

The Scriptures do recognize the difference between the saints, the Lord's holy ones, and the remainder of mankind. And it is assuredly true that the great masses of humanity are totally unfit for the glories and perfections of the heavenly state. It is true that the Church is called upon to develop the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit and is assured, as St. Peter declares, "If ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Pet. 1:11

But we hold that it is not only unscriptural, but irrational, to believe that all mankind except the saintly deserve centuries of torment in Purgatory or an eternity of torture in a worse and hopeless place. Let us take the Scriptural proposition, the only consistent one, the one which agrees with our five senses and with the Bible – that the dead are dead and that resurrection from death is what they need and what our Lord's death will secure for every member of our race. Let us accept this statement of the Bible: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the Second Death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Rev. 20:6)

Let us accept the Scriptural explanation of that thousand years, that Millennial reign of Messiah – that it will be a time of blessing, of uplifting mankind, and that therein the elect saints of this age will be privileged to co-operate with their glorified Redeemer in bringing about the uplift, the resurrection, the restitution of all who will then prove willing and obedient. The term saint is not a sectarian one. It occurs over one hundred times in the Bible, mostly in the plural form, "saints."

Our text speaks of a saintly, a sanctified class, and declares our Redeemer to be one of these – their Head, their Lord. He declares that all the sanctified of this Gospel Age are one – of one spirit and figuratively of one body. As for instance, the House of Lords is one body under a chairman, and the House of Commons is another body. The United States Senate is another; and the House of Representatives is another. So the Church is the Body of Christ over which He is the Head, the Presiding Officer and Member.

But the point specially to be noticed is that all who will belong ultimately to this Church class which the Lord is now calling and drawing from amongst men will every one of them be saints, every one of them be sanctified. The word "sanctified" signifies to be set apart to holy usage or services, and distinct and separate from any earthly ambition, calling or business. Nevertheless these sanctified ones are not merely the clergy or those without earthly responsibilities. While our heavenly Father is a great King, the King of the Universe, he nevertheless has made a plan which enables even the humblest of his creatures to approach him through the merit of the blood of Jesus, and by faith and obedience to the extent of his ability in sacrifice, to become a joint-heir with his Redeemer in the heavenly Kingdom. Thus the present call is confined to a call to sanctification. As St. Paul declares, "This is the will of God (concerning you), even your sanctification." 1 Thess. 4:3

The word "saint" signifies "holy one," "sanctified one," 'set apart;" or, taken as a whole it signifies one set apart to holy usages, service, etc. We are quite ready to admit that these are a comparatively small number at the present time, as the Scriptures declare, a little flock;" and again, "not many;" and again, "few there be that find it."

When we say that God is now selecting a special class to be joint-heirs with Christ and that he has determined that this special class shall consist exclusively of the sanctified, let us not be misunderstood to mean by this that in the next age God will accept to his favor the unsanctified, the wicked. The conditions during the Millennial Age will be much easier for mankind than are present conditions of the Church, the elect, the saints. Now we must walk by faith; then we will walk by sight, because Satan and sin and darkness will have passed away, and the light of Truth will flood and cover the whole earth, so that, as the prophet says, "They shall teach no more every man his neighbor, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord." (Jer. 31:34)

The rewards for obedience to the Divine requirements in the Millennial will be the earthly rewards, eternal life on the earthly or restitution plane. The reward proffered to those who now walk the narrow way by self-sacrifice is a spiritual one, glory, honor and immortality on the spirit plane, like unto the holy angels – and higher than this – like unto our Lord Jesus in his glorified state; as seen by the Apostle, "Shining above the brightness of the sun at noonday." Acts 26:13

We must guard also against the thought that the total number of God's elect would be as small a number as the calendar of the saints recognized by our Christian friends might imply. We hold that none is able to judge definitely on this subject, except the Master. He has given us general intimations of the lines of his decision, but he has not permitted us to determine the matter, saying, 'judge nothing before the time."

We are to content ourselves, therefore, with [NS734] the thought that "the Lord knoweth them that are his," and that he will accept none that in any degree are disloyal in heart, and that he will overlook and neglect none who are of the proper attitude of heart. We understand, too, that our Lord is no respecter of denominational lines, but that, in every sect, he who loves God, and who accepts the merit of Christ by faith, and who presents his body a living sacrifice daily unto death in the Lord's service – all such are his disciples and, as stated in our text, "He will not be ashamed to call them brethren."

But all of this, be it noted, is based, not upon their earthly Church relationship, but upon their sanctification of heart, their relationship to their Redeemer and Head, Jesus. Not only may these be found by the Lord in various denominations, but of various ages, of various colors, of either sex, of various nationalities, and on various levels. One may be a washer-woman; another a farmer; another exercising his talents in business direction; another having his time as a Pastor, Priest, or teacher of spiritual things. "The Lord knoweth them that are his." 2 Tim. 2:19


Seeing that the sanctified are comparatively few, and that evidently few can properly direct the way toward a condition which they have not themselves attained, it behooves us to look carefully to the instructions given us by our Lord Jesus directly and through his apostles. St. Paul, who wrote, "This is the will of God, even your sanctification," also wrote, "We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the Truth, whereunto he called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thess. 2:13, 14)

Note from these words that the call of the Church is the special feature of this present Gospel Age and its message. Note also that our call is not to sectarianism, but to a heart relationship with the Lord through a belief of the Truth and a proportionate getting rid of error.

And this enlightenment through the Truth progresses in proportion to our sanctification of spirit – of thought, of word, of deed. Note again the same Apostle's explanation of the matter. He says that he addresses them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus (who were) called to be saints, and he explains that while they had been sinners, "children of wrath, even as others," they had been cleansed by faith through acceptance of the finished work of Christ on our behalf. "Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Cor. 6:11)

The same St. Paul, addressing the Ephesian brethren says, "I commend you to God, and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified." (Acts 20:32)

Note here that it is only the sanctified of the present age that are to get the inheritance that is now offered – the heavenly inheritance with our Lord Jesus – a share with him in his heavenly Kingdom. Note also how the Apostle here again lays emphasis upon the Scripture through God's message as containing the power which not only leads us to consecration and setting apart to the Lord's service, but which will strengthen us in thought and word and deed to do his good pleasure, to maintain our sanctified relationship with him through our Lord Jesus Christ.


St. Peter (1 Pet. 1:2) explains to us that God's election of the members of the Church from amongst the world during the present age is along the line of sanctification. He elects that all those who shall accept his favor to the extent of sanctification in the trying conditions of the present time shall be joint-heirs with our Lord and Redeemer in his Millennial Kingdom. The Apostle's words are, "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 1:2)

Here we have the matter succinctly stated – faith in the blood of Jesus is essential as the first step in the way to God. "No man cometh unto the Father but by me," said our Lord. Then our way must be through sanctification of the Spirit, of the will, the setting apart of our hearts from earthly ambitions and pleasures to heavenly ones – deadness to the world and liveness toward God. This work of grace must progress day by day. Our sanctification is not merely for the beginning of our Christian experience, but to be the very essence of our lives hereafter.

The trials and testings of life from the world, the flesh and the devil will serve to demonstrate the thoroughness of our sanctification. God, however, is not seeking to prove whether or not we are perfect in the flesh, for he knows and informs us that we are imperfect. He does, however, desire to prove that our consecration, our sanctification, our setting apart of ourselves to be faithful to the Lord at any and every cost is not merely a passing whim or fancy, but by continual instructions of his Word by the inspirations of his Promises. By the testings of his disciplines he would fix indelibly, unalterably, this decision of ours to be entirely his in thought, in word, in deed – even unto death. Such as attain to this good degree will have the Divine approval and will hear the Master's "Well [NS735] done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Matt. 25:23


St. Paul consistently with his statements already quoted, wrote to the Christians at Rome respecting God's foreknowledge and predestination of the Elect Church, saying, "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. 8:29)

Let us not lose the thought. It is this. Our Heavenly Father, who foreknew our Lord Jesus Christ, his suffering, his death, and his exaltation to be the great Prophet, Priest, King and Mediator between God and men during the Millennium, has foreordained that a company of saints should be selected during this Gospel Age to be the Bride – Consort of the great King of the Millennium – to be his Queen, to sit with him in his throne, to share with him in his glorious work. But Divine Wisdom and Justice decreed in advance that no one might be a member of this elect Church except sanctified ones. And these must be tested before final approval.

Their Lord, their Redeemer, having been a saint fully consecrated to the Father's will, these called, chosen and faithful followers will likewise be saints and, in this respect, the Apostle declares, they will be copies of their Redeemer, and he will be an Elder Brother amongst them when they shall share his glory, in his Kingdom. Notice the harmony of all this with our text, "Both he that sanctifieth (our Lord Jesus) and they that are sanctified (his elect Church) are all of one (of one spirit of loyalty to the Father and his righteousness – and baptized by the one spirit into the one body of which Christ is the Head). For this cause he (the glorified Redeemer) is not ashamed to call these sanctified ones, finally tested, his brethren on the highest plane of nature – his own, the Divine nature, in glory, honor and immortality, far above that of the angels."


We have already hearkened to the Apostle's words, to the effect that the sanctified in Christ Jesus are to receive an inheritance. I remind you that this inheritance was promised to Abraham's seed more than thirty-five hundred years ago. The Divine Word was backed by an oath for confirmation to this effect, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

Abraham's natural posterity claimed this promise. And indeed they were doubtless as noble as any race in the world, if not more so than any of them. But God had this high standard of sanctification in mind and set it as a test. It was represented to the Jews in the Law Covenant which they were unable to fulfill because of their fleshly imperfections, the results of the fall, though the hearts of some of them, we are told, were thoroughly loyal to the Divine Law, which they could not keep perfectly.

Neither are we able to keep that perfect Law. Only our Lord Jesus could and did keep it. Our saintliness under present conditions of fallen flesh cannot extend to our flesh. At very most we can be sanctified in heart, in intention, in will. Thus we see that we are not a whit ahead of some who lived in the Jewish Age. Nevertheless there is a difference. Christ has come.

The National Labor Tribune, November 9, 1909


BROOKLYN, N. Y., Nov. 7 – Pastor Russell returned home from a short tour this week and was welcomed by a large out – pouring of Truth seekers. He preached two interesting and instructive sermons in the Tabernacle. We report one taken from the following text: "Cleanse thou me from secret faults; keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great Transgression."(ps 19:12, 13)

He said: Our text prophetically represents the attitude of mind of God's true people. Those who are aliens and strangers from God would not thus pray. Even if they were repentant their first prayer should be in the nature of a confession of sins and an acknowledgment of their acceptance of God's mercy in the forgiveness of their sins and of his accepting them to be his children through the merit of the Redeemer. But even those who have become children of God, by renouncing sin and exercising faith in Divine forgiveness in the merit of Christ, have still to acknowledge that by nature they were "children of wrath even as others."

Although they are saved by grace, only their minds, their hearts, their wills, have yet been saved or fully reconciled to God [NS736] and harmonized to the Divine will. Their flesh is still imperfect, fallen. Hence, in the language of the Psalmist, it is appropriate that the Lord's people take knowledge of their own blemishes, imperfections, and that they seek the Lord's assistance in fighting the good fight against those blemishes of their flesh. Thank God, this battle of the New Creature, the new mind, the new will, against the fallen flesh and its appetites will not last forever; to the faithful, death will be the close of the conflict.

The glorified Redeemer is watching over the interests of his people. He guarantees us in advance that all of our trials, our difficulties, shall work together for our spiritual welfare. He guarantees us that when he shall have sufficiently tested our new minds, our new wills, by the opposition of the cravings of the flesh, he will forthwith declare our trial ended – declare us victors and heirs of glory, honor and immortality with himself, according to the exceeding great and precious promises of his Word.


The question arises, Why should not the Lord grant to us and to all mankind an easier trial than is ours? Why should there be a fallen disposition to fight against? Why should it not be as easy, or more easy, to do right than to do wrong? Why should we not have flesh which should have a good craving merely, and not an evil craving?

And if we must have an evil craving, why are we not at least relieved of the outward temptations which excite these evil cravings? temptations from the world about us, inciting to evil rather than to good, and, according to the Scriptures and our experiences, temptations also from Satan himself, and from the fallen angels, who continually endeavor to intrude upon us, to incite us to anger, malice, hatred, strife and the various works of the flesh and the devil? These questions are not unreasonable, and God acknowledges this when he shows us that just such favorable conditions as these questions suggest will be provided for the world of mankind during the Millennium.

Satan and the evil angels under his captaincy will be restrained according to the Bible and not be permitted to molest mankind in evil promptings and suggestions. We read that Satan shall be bound for a thousand years that he may deceive the people no more until the thousand years be finished. (Rev. 20:2)

Relief is also promised from the injurious conduct of others, in that we are assured that during the Millennium nothing shall hurt or destroy throughout God's holy Kingdom. In that blessed time every evil deed will be restrained that it may not accomplish injury to another, while even the effort to commit sin will be promptly punished with "stripes;" not an immoderate, not an unjust torturing for centuries for finite sins, but, as the Scriptures declare, a just recompense of reward will be given both to the just and to the unjust. The Scriptures assure us that promptness in the punishment for sin, and its reasonableness, its righteousness, will be promptly recognized and quickly bear fruitage throughout the world in peace and order – righteousness. Thus we read, "When Thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." (Isa. 26:9)

The preaching of this reasonable, righteous judgment of the future surely bears much better fruitage than the preaching of the "dark ages," now fortunately disappearing – that the wages of a trifling sin might be either a century of roasting or an eternity of torment. The exaggeration of the error is so great that the human mind instinctively resists and rejects it. The next query we shall answer is, Are God's ways unequal?

And if not, Why should he provide at the present time for the trial and testing of the Church under conditions so much more severe than those which shall prevail by and by, during the Millennium? Why must we battle against the Adversary and his minions as well as against our fallen flesh? Why must we contend with sinful oppositions in our neighborhoods and our homes? Why should not evil in every sense of the word be restrained for us as well as for the world during the Millennium, and our way be made smooth also? The Scriptures answer that the Church class, which God is now selecting or electing from the world, is a very special class, for which he has very glorious designs of joint-heirship with the Redeemer in the kingly and priestly offices for the blessing of the world during the Millennium.

The greatness of the dignity to which the faithful will be exalted makes it reasonable that the terms and conditions should be exceedingly difficult in this way. Hence we read that the gate is difficult and the way a narrow one, so that few may find it. These few are the "elect," whose character – superiority will be fully evidenced to God, to angels and to men to be such as fully justifies the Lord in granting to them the high reward promised. Were their honors no greater than those the world shall experience, how could God's ways be just and equal in granting them the heavenly nature and Divine glory, while awarding the world of mankind restitution, blessing and a world-wide Eden home corresponding to what was lost by Adam and redeemed for the willing and obedient by the sacrifice of the man Christ Jesus? [NS737]


If now we have clearly before our minds that it is the Church class who are addressed in our text, let us examine the various steps it suggests. During the Millennium the errors and secret faults and presumptuous sins of the world will all be made manifest and all be openly rebuked and punished. But not so now. Those who are now called to be of the elect Church are expected to be so zealous for God, so desirous to know and to do his will, so opposed to sin, that they will voluntarily search for their own errors, their own secret faults, and strive against presumptuous sins.

It is the zeal of this class in the matter of uprooting evil from their own hearts and subduing their own flesh which entitles them to be called "overcomers" and to be rewarded as such. Of this entire class, Jesus the Head and the Church his Body, it must be true as foretold by the prophet, "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Heb. 1:9

When we remember that God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven the sins of the Church, the question may arise, What then are these faults or errors? If all of our sins are forgiven freely for Christ's sake, what sins then remain to be forgiven? The answer is that through faith in Christ's blood we were fully forgiven "the sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." (Rom. 3:25)

We will never more be held responsible for sins great or small which were ours before we came to the Lord and accepted his grace, his forgiveness, and became his followers through our consecration of our little all to him. What remains of sin with us is the imperfection of the flesh and its inherited weaknesses, and these blemishes may be with us to our dying day in considerable measure. It is against these that we must fight – fight the good fight and endure hardness as valiant soldiers of righteousness, soldiers of the cross. But some one may inquire, Is not the merit of Christ sufficient, not only for the sins that are past, but for all of our unwilling blemishes of the past and of the future? In other words, Does not our Lord's satisfaction of Justice include our imperfections present and future, which are the result of Adam's sin and our inheritance of the fallen condition, as well as atone for our sins of the past prior to our acceptance of the Divine mercy?

We answer, Yes, this is quite true; nevertheless the Lord requires of us that, after coming into the family of God, we shall take note of our imperfections and apply to him for specific forgiveness of all transgressions. Doubtless this is intended to assist us in keeping humble – to assist us in keeping in remembrance the horrible pit of sin from which we were lifted by the gracious merit of the Redeemer by which we were justified. All of these experiences will doubtless be helpful to us by drawing us the more frequently to the "throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace (merit) to help in time of need." Heb. 4:16


The expression, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin," refers not merely to the sins that are past and the cleansing which was ours at the moment we first accepted the Lord's favor, but rather, especially, it refers to the cleansing which is continually necessary to the maintenance of our relationship with the Lord. The forgiveness, the cleansing, is freely, promptly given, but conditionally. It must be applied for. This is the Lord's method of instructing us in the way of righteousness and of assisting us to overcome the oppositions and temptations of the world and to become at heart "overcomers."

He knows our weaknesses better than do we; and he wishes us to learn of them, not with a view to discouraging us, but that we may fight a good fight against them, conquer them and, in so doing, develop the characteristics which he approves and has promised to reward with joint-heirship with the Redeemer in his Kingdom. Hence, instead of openly rebuking his people, the Lord leaves as ours the work of searching for secret faults and putting them away. In proportion as we love him, we will be desirous of doing those things which please him, thus living in his smile, under his approval.

It is quite sufficient that the light of the Lord's countenance, his smile, should be withdrawn from those who do not walk the narrow way with zeal – who do not seek for their own faults and endeavor to correct them and to thus make character. As those now being called grow in love for the Lord, every hindrance to his favor will be quickly noted. It is this class that in our text is represented as seeking Divine assistance in the searching out of their secret faults. Some of these faults may be known to ourselves and to the Lord, but unknown to fellowmen.

The heart that is truly converted to the Lord and to harmony with all the principles of righteousness which he represents must more and more desire full perfection – full victory over the weaknesses of the flesh, and must strive for this condition. Other secret faults may be secret from us but well-known to the Lord and possibly quite plainly manifest to our brethren and neighbors. How earnestly all who are truly the Lord's people should seek to see themselves as others see them, and to correct those faults which hitherto have been secret to themselves. [NS738] Assuredly the Lord's assistance is necessary in this work; but, in praying to him, in the language of our text, we should remember that his method of answering our petitions is to show us the facts of our case, and then to encourage us by his promises to fight a good fight against the weaknesses thus brought to our attention.

The Bible is the Lord's lamp. The Spirit of its wonderful teachings, like a two-edged sword, is sharp and penetrating. It can discern or discriminate between the very thoughts and intents of the heart which deceive so many into thinking a wrong course justifiable. The Christian who makes continual and good use of this "sword" will soon find that with its assistance he is able to analyze his own motives lying behind his words and his acts, will sometimes find himself secreting them and sometime masquerading them as graces and otherwise. The difficulty with the majority of Christian people seems to be that they have never undertaken a close scrutiny of the motives lying behind their words or their deeds – yea, the motive or intention lying hidden in their own minds.

The reasons for this laxity, the reason for their failure to follow up with the searchlight and to "bring every thought into captivity to the will of God in Christ" is that they have not yet attained to a sufficiency of love for righteousness and a sufficiency of a hatred for iniquity. The reasons for this condition of things may be either that they are "Babes in Christ" who have in the past fed merely upon the milk of the Word and not upon the strong meat and who are therefore, weak in the faith and weak everyway along the lines of Christian character development. What they need is more love for the Lord and a greater appreciation of his Word, which will lead to more earnest study of the same. "The entrance of Thy words giveth light." (Psalm 119:130)

As the Word of the Lord dwells richly and abounds, it educates us respecting God's will and its standards and, if we are obedient to his will and his gracious purposes, we will endure his tests and ultimately stand approved as our Lord's joint-heirs in his Kingdom.


One of the great character tests imposed upon the Church is humility. It is not sufficient that we love right and hate wrong and search for even our secret faults. Even after attaining perfection we might be presumptuous and, if so, be unfit for the proposed exaltation. Satan, when a holy angel called Lucifer, the Morning Star, was perfect; but the sin of presumption crept into his heart and blighted everything. So Satan strove to tempt our Lord, who was perfect, to commit a presumptuous sin, through which he would have made shipwreck of his career.

He wished him to presume upon God's goodness and abundant care, not by starting a rival empire, as Satan himself had attempted to do, but to presume, nevertheless, upon Divine goodness to the extent of jeopardizing his life by leaping from the pinnacle of the Temple and trusting that God would suspend the laws of nature and work a miracle for his protection, when no such miracle was necessary, because no such hazard had been demanded. Applying this matter of presumptuous sin to the Church of our day, we find some who appear to be the Lord's people presuming upon his goodness and mercy and love by jumping from financial and other pinnacles and trusting for miraculous protection from disaster. This, to our understanding, is a presumptuous sin.

Sometimes we see presumptuous conduct amongst Elders and others in the Body of Christ, much after the manner of Moses' transgression, when presumptuously he smote the rock, while God had merely bidden him to speak to the rock. For pastors and elders of the Church to assume and to exercise an unscriptural lordship over the Church would appear to us to be a presumptuous sin – a presuming to take place and authority not bestowed by the Lord. On the contrary, sometimes a congregation of the Lord's people may be presumptuous in neglecting the Scriptural direction to take heed to those who have the rule over them and watch for their souls, as those who must give an account. In how many ways might we be presumptuous and ignore the Lord, his supervision over the Church, and his message to us in his Word! Our text declares, "Then shall I be innocent of the great transgression – innocent of anything which would prove me unworthy of eternal life and worthy of everlasting death – "the Second Death."

Sometimes our pride would fain unfurl Ambition's flaunting sail, – Ah! then He knows we need to walk Humiliation's vale.

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