St. Paul Enterprise, October 8, 1915


New York, N Y, October 3 Pastor Russell delivered a forceful and helpful discourse in the New York City Temple, W 63rd St., near Broadway, today. His text was, "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear. Forget also thine own people and thy father's House; so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty; for He is thy Lord, and worship thou Him." (Psa. 45:10, 11) He said in part:

Never was there greater need for the Lord's people to remember the words of this text than at the present time. We recognize these words of the Psalmist David as prophetic, referring to the Church of Christ. The Church has been called out during the Gospel Age to be Christ's Bride. The Prophet here pictures the Call of this class, the terms of the Call, and the Bride's preparation for her marriage to the King's Son. The exhortation is that those who have thus become espoused as a virgin to Christ, who have taken upon themselves the covenant of faithfulness, are to be separate from the world. Hence the injunction, "Forget thine own people and thy father's House."

Our own people are the human family. Our father's House is Adam's House. By nature we belong to his House; we have a natural interest in his inheritance; and although we have received woeful experiences through Adam's fall, yet whatever we have as human beings we have received from Adam. Those who are now the Lord's people "were by nature children of wrath, even as others." But something has occurred in our case. We have been called out of this condition, and invited to become "the Bride, the Lamb's Wife." Rev. 21:2, 9-11; Psa. 45:9


None of the human family could claim to be worthy of this exaltation to be the Bride, members of the Christ company; for neither Jew nor Gentile could keep the Divine Law. Our Lord Jesus was the only one who could keep it; for it is the full measure of a perfect man's ability, and, except Father Adam, there was never a perfect man upon earth but the Lord Jesus. Having kept the Law, He became Heir of all things; and just as a wealthy man might take a beggar for a wife, lifting her up from her degraded condition and making her joint-heir in his inheritance, his name, his honor and his property, so the Lord Jesus is to take a Bride from the fallen human family and make her joint-heir with Himself.

We had nothing which would ever entitle us to be taken into God's family, but God has made this way for us through His Plan of Redemption. How wonderful an opportunity for us, that God should choose us to be the Bride of His Son! God has called us with a Heavenly Calling. This choice is being made in harmony with the custom of olden times as in the case of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham typified Jehovah; Isaac, our Lord Jesus Christ; and Isaac's bride Rebecca, the Church. As Abraham sent his servant to seek a Bride for his only Begotten Son, so God has sent, through out this Gospel Age, the Message of His grace, by His holy Spirit, His servant, to seek a Bride for His Only Begotten Son.

The promises of God have gone here and there through the world and have acted like a magnet upon certain individuals. The Magnet of God's Truth has been a power that has drawn a certain class, but does not attract others very much. Is God making a discrimination? Yes. There are many whom He does not wish at all for His present purpose. He is not seeking the world now.

This statement would have seemed very strange to us once; for we had in mind the idea, handed down from the errors of the past, that whoever did not understand and accept spiritual truths and become a saint during this present life, would have to roast for all eternity. Now we [HGL751] see that God is merely gathering out a special class, that have special characteristics. God uses measures to drive others off. Just as you, if you were drawing tacks to a magnet, would blow off any sawdust that might loosely adhere, so the Lord is causing the winds of adversity to blow upon His Church, in order that any of the worldly who have attached themselves to the Church class may be blown off. But those who are of the true Church will only adhere the closer.


In the parable of the Wheat and the Tares, Jesus shows that in the Harvest time of the Gospel Age He would completely separate the wheat from the tares. (Matt. 13:36-43) Not a grain of wheat is to be left amongst the tares, and not a tare is to be left amongst the wheat. There will be such persecutions and oppositions as will make a complete separation and division. The wheat class will be taken out by the Lord and gathered into the garner. The tares will be uprooted from the wheat-field and burned. In other words, in the Time of Trouble they will be shown to be of the world, as they have been all along.

There is only one class desired for the Bride class true Christians. Millions of people are associating together and calling themselves Christians that have not the slightest relationship to God. They are tares. God never authorized these. They did not come into association with the Church through the Doorway. (John 10:1-7) Some came in because their parents or their friends were in. Some thought that unless they were baptized they would go to eternal torment.

In the end of this Age, now present, there is to be a great burning time. Not the people, but their religious conceptions and affiliations will burn up. "The fire of the Day shall try every man's work of what sort it is." (1 Cor. 3:13) Those who have built with the stubble of human tradition will suffer loss. Their works and their professions will perish. Those who have built upon the sand will be overthrown. But any who have been real Christians "shall be saved so as by fire." Their systems and their doctrines will be consumed in the fire of this Day a bitter humiliation. These may be assured that their great church systems will suffer complete collapse in the Day of the Lord. They will fall to rise no more. Jer. 51:58


This special class that God has been gathering out for eighteen centuries to be the Bride of Christ have accepted God's terms and have entered into a special covenant with God in order that they might become members of the Bride class. These terms are very positive and definite. In olden times, when there was a betrothal, it was usually the father that looked after the contract. This was not a merely verbal contract, but a written one. It was a binding engagement with positive stipulations on both sides. Just so our Heavenly Father, in making the arrangement by which we may come into His family, drew up a very positive, unchangeable con tract. It is a condition of full surrender to Him. We give up our own wills. This agreement is more binding than any earthly marriage contract.

Those who have become betrothed to the Lord Jesus Christ give up their all to Him. They do not have very much, to be sure. Most of us have very, very little; for not many great, not many wise, not many learned, not many noble, are called. (1 Cor. 1:23-29) But association with the One to whom they are betrothed gives these a nobility of character. The wonderful promises of God begin immediately to work in them to will and to do of His good pleasure. It is a transforming work. The Apostle Paul tells us that we are "transformed by the renewing of our minds" not our bodies. (Rom. 12:2) Our body is the same body that we had before, but we have a new mind. We are New Creatures. All things are new; old things have passed away. (2 Cor. 5:17) This makes a change everywhere.

We need not go into detail as to what changes it makes. We know, if we are of this class, that "the things which once we loved we now hate." We loved the things that were pure, noble and beautiful in proportion as we were naturally of a noble disposition; but many of the things which once we loved were things of which we cannot now approve. We have received the begetting of the holy Spirit; and as God's Spirit abounds in us more and more, we become copies of God's dear Son, our Redeemer, our Head, our Bridegroom.

In the case of the Hebrew marriage contract, if the bride-elect was guilty of infidelity to her betrothed bridegroom, the unfaithfulness was punished with death. So if any of us who have made a contract with the Lord should violate that contract and be untrue to our Bridegroom, we would come under the penalty of the Second Death. "If any man draw back," says the Lord, "My should shall have no pleasure in him." God would not give eternal life to those in whom He has no pleasure. The Apostle Paul says that these draw back to perdition destruction. (Heb. 10:38, 39) So the matter is clear before us. We are espoused to a Husband. We have taken upon us certain obligations. We must go on now, and make our calling and election sure. We must either gain the reward of everlasting life or else go into the Second Death.


Does this mean that if we make slips we shall go into the Second Death? No. One might make unintentional slips of various kinds. Presumably there is no child of God living who has not made such slips. Our imperfections are hindrances to our doing perfectly. "With my mind I serve the Law of God," but with my imperfect body it would be an impossibility. Our great Redeemer, who is our prospective Bridegroom, has made satisfaction for our imperfections. Therefore when we err, we are to go to the Throne of Heavenly Grace to obtain mercy'mercy with God through Christ. If you and I were perfect, we would not need to go to the Throne of Grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:16) But as we become developed as Christians, we should not need to go so often to obtain mercy. As we grow stronger, we grow wiser.

But we shall always need mercy as long as we are in the imperfect flesh. The Lord knows of the blemishes of our flesh and of our unsuccessful strivings to overcome; and He has provided us a covering'the precious Robe of Christ's righteousness. So by the Lord's arrangement this Bride [HGL752] class may be eventually received at the wedding. The spotless robe given us at the first is the wedding garment mentioned in our Lord's parable. (Matt. 22:11-14) Clad in this precious Robe, we may come in and be participators at the great Marriage, as members of the Bride of Christ.


The Lord Jesus intimated that some of His disciples will not be ready to go in to that Marriage, because, although they are wearing the robe, they have gotten it besmirched and spotted. We are to keep our garments unspotted from the world. Can any one pass through the world and always remain absolutely unspotted? No; that is not the thought. But if those who are in the right attitude of heart should get a spot upon their robe, it will be so grievous to them that they will hasten to remove it. There is only one way to get a spot off from that robe. We must take the matter to the Throne of Grace; and whatever our sin whether it was temper or what when our lapse has been acknowledged, the cleansing merit of Jesus' blood is applied; and our robe is spotless again. 1 John 1:7-9

In this way our robe is kept white. We are to keep ourselves unspotted by going to the One who alone can remove such spots and by asking the forgiveness necessary. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The blood of Jesus Christ, the atoning merit of His sacrifice, cleanses us day by day as we, appreciating our need, come to Him daily to have His blood applied.

There is a class, however, who do not keep their robe clean; for any stain upon this robe remains until the proper steps are taken for its removal. There are many Christian people who have not taken these steps, and who therefore have not had the spots removed. Why do they not have these spots cleansed? you ask.

There are things connected with that matter which some of you know about. When first you came to the Lord, full of earnest desire to keep yourself unspotted from the world, you were very careful about your robe. Oh, how shocked you were at the first spot! You said, "I am a child of God; and oh, what a mistake I have made!" But as time passed and you realized more and more keenly your infirmities of the flesh, you found that you were often overtaken by these weaknesses; and you were so humiliated thereby that you were tempted to remain away from the Throne of Grace, the Mercy-Seat provided by the Lord for this very purpose. But if you were a true disciple of Christ, you conquered this feeling and went to the Lord to have the spots removed.


But a great many Christian people have not been faithful in this respect and are being deceived; and a reckoning time is at hand. They have doubted the Lord's mercy or else have been careless of their covenant; and they are not living close to the Lord. Their lives are unsatisfactory to themselves and to God. They will not be of the Bride class. Nobody whose robe is covered with spots will be received into the wedding as a member of the Bride of Christ; for the Bride must be "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing." (Eph. 5:25-27) Only thus could she be presentable to the Heavenly Bridegroom. "There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" amongst the foolish virgins when the door to the wedding is shut. (Matt. 25:10-12) Many will be disappointed in this Day of Christ.

Where shall you and I be then? I hope that we shall make our calling and election sure; that, knowing the terms, we shall keep our garments unspotted from the flesh, from everything that is contaminating. There is a peculiar beauty about a pure white robe. A robe spotted all over would not look very attractive, nor would a robe all wrinkled. The King will greatly love and appreciate those who are in a spotless condition.

"Forget also thine own people and thy father's House." The temptations to wrongdoing, to disloyalty to our covenant with the Lord, come largely though relations with our own people. It is very trying to endeavor to do two things to keep on good terms with the world's people and with the Lord at the same time. To do so is an impossibility. This is where the Great Company class make their failure. They fear what their acquaintances and neighbors will say. They do not care to be considered peculiar. But we are not to be ashamed of the Truth or of the brethren or of reproach for Christ. Matt. 10:32, 33

"So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty." This is a beauty that dwells in the heart, a beauty of character. Every Christian should see to it that he is growing daily in grace. In all the true Body of Christ there is a growth in the Lord's Spirit, a growth in love. This is the beauty that our Bridegroom desires in His Bride this beauty of character-likeness to Himself. We desire this in ourselves. We wish to see our minds and hearts opening more and more widely to take in the interests of others, especially our brethren of the Body of Christ. Those who prove faithful unto death shall receive glory, honor and immortality. "They shall walk with Me in white," says our Lord Jesus; "for they are worthy."

Prev   Next