St. Paul Enterprise, October 10, 1916


Dayton, Ohio, October 8 Pastor Russell was the principal speaker today before the I B S A assembled in convention at the Soldiers' Home Memorial Hall for the past few days. His discourse was based upon the literal rendering of the last clause of Jas. 2:13 "Mercy glorieth against judgment." The Pastor said:

To the careful Bible student the Scriptures present a wonderful picture of the victory of Love, or Mercy, over Justice in God's great Plan of the Ages for man's recovery from the fallen condition into which the human race was plunged by the disobedience of Adam, the father of mankind. The Bible shows how our mighty creator was able to provide for the rescue of the race from the penalty of Death, pronounced upon our first parents and inherited by all of Adam's posterity; and how this rescue could be accomplished without violation of the Divine decree or of the principle of Justice, which God declares to be the very foundation of His Throne. Psa. 97:2

It has been said that "the proper study of mankind is man"; but we can more truly say that the greatest study of mankind is our great Creator. The character of Jehovah is the example, the pattern for all His intelligent creatures to follow. How important, then, it is that we understand aright the real character of our God in order that we may be able to imitate Him and develop characters like His! (Matt. 5:48; 1 Pet. 1:16) All who are children of God are called to partake of their Father's holiness; and ultimately the standard of perfect holiness righteousness will be required of all.

In the past, our lack of a knowledge of the true character of God has been one of our greatest difficulties. How could we copy the character of the God of the Bible unless we understood Him? We have not properly known our God. Thus the Bible declares, "My people perish for lack of knowledge." (Hos. 4:6) The necessary knowledge has been supplied by the Lord in His Word; but in the main His people have permitted themselves to be drawn aside and misled by the great Adversary. (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Pet. 2:2) the Lord has permitted this as a test to all of His professed servants.


We believe that today there are many honest people feeling after God, if haply they might find Him. (Acts 17:27) But, alas! Christian people have been misled, and have unintentionally misled others, by the terrible doctrines of the Dark Ages, introduced into the Christian Church after the Apostles "fell asleep". (Matt. 13:24-30) Thus harm has been done where only good was intended. Although sure that our Heavenly Father will not lay to our charge that which was unintentionally done, nevertheless we cannot but feel remorse for our serious mistake in thus maligning the character of our gracious God. How thankful we are that the light is now breaking in, and that we can see as never before, the lengths, the breadths, the heights and the depths of our great Creator's Love; that we can see in clear outline in His Word His glorious Plan for the salvation of the whole world!

By nature the highest organs of our head are those that tend toward love and reverence. Spirituality, veneration, hope, conscientiousness, are the very highest qualities in our organism. The baneful influences of the Adamic fall have dwarfed these qualities in all mankind; nevertheless they have made their influence felt to some extent in our natural character. Yet despite all this, error has been creeping in. The Bible tells us that the one to whom we should charge this imperfection is "your Adversary, the Devil."

The spirit of impatience and discontent is everywhere prevalent today. Satan is responsible for this condition. When we speak of Satan we mean a personal Devil. We believe in a real Adversary, once a glorious and powerful angel, created in full accord with his Maker, but later a rebel against the Divine Government. we also believe in the existence of a house of fallen angels, or evil spirits, who followed Satan's lead and over whom he became prince, as the Scriptures plainly declare. Eph. 2:2; 6:12; margin; Gen. 6:1-4; Jude 6, etc.

These powerful enemies of poor, fallen humanity have their mission and are working in so secret and crafty a manner that in our fallen condition we are no match for these higher intelligences, with the wisdom of ages at their command. They well know how to entrap; and they have entrapped some. In thus seeking to delude and mislead mankind, they know that they can cause humanity to dread their Creator, to hate rather than to love Him. The Apostle Paul declares that "the god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Cor. 4:4) The Adversary knows full well that if the light of the knowledge of God's glorious character should shine into men's hearts, it would make a great transformation. God's work in the heart of the Christian is for the purpose of transforming him by the renewing of the mind. Rom. 12:2.

What a blessed thought it is, dear brethren in Christ, that we are getting rid of this blindness? The eyes of our understanding are indeed opening. The Apostle Paul thus [HGL856] prayed for the Church- "I pray for you, that the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, ye may know what is the hope of your calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe." (Eph. 1:16-19) Further on, he prays, "that ye may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and know the Love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." Eph. 3:14-19.


In our text the Apostle is showing us that in God's wonderful Plan for man's recovery from sin and death Divine Mercy, which means Divine Love, has triumphed over Divine Justice, and yet without impinging God's Justice in the slightest degree. It is a very interesting and important study for us to learn just how this was accomplished; for if we do not see it clearly we shall have confused ideas of God's Plan as revealed in His Word. If we do see it clearly many of the theological tangles which long have troubled and hindered us will be unraveled.

We remember that it is written, "Righteousness and Judgment (Justice) are the habitation of His Throne." God's whole Empire is founded upon Justice not Love, but Justice. We see the propriety of this. How else could He be the proper Administrator of the universe! This statement does not conflict with the other Scriptural declaration, "God is Love." Justice is the very basis upon which true love is built. At first these two elements of the Divine character might seem to conflict, when we remember that while God's Justice demanded the punishment of the sinner, nevertheless His Love provided a way to bless that sinner. Let us see how the Word of God harmonizes these facts of theology.

This matter is very simple to understand in our day; whereas in the past our forefathers had great confusion on the subject. Many and fierce were the theological battles fought along this line. they had long arguments as to whether God's Justice would finally prevail, or whether God's Love would override His Justice, and how this would be accomplished. Here was the difficulty in our minds.

Before we can understand what constitutes God's Justice, we must rid ourselves of the errors embodied in the creeds of the Dark Ages, whether these errors be Calvinistic, Arminian, or whatsoever they may be. We are astonished today at the monstrous errors held by some of these well-meaning forefathers of ours. Take, for instance, Jonathan Edwards, who doubtless was a wonderful man, of wide influence. He believed in a literal Hell of fire and torture, into which the great majority of humanity were to be cast. He preached eloquently upon the subject. When asked on one occasion whether Christians would not be unhappy in Heaven, knowing that the majority of their friends and relatives were suffering agony in Hell, he replied: "No, we shall be so changed that we shall not suffer in seeing our friends in Hell. We shall look over the battlements of Heaven and see their agony; and then, turning around, we shall praise God the louder that His Justice is made manifest."


It seems past belief that an intelligent, sincere man could have so perverted an idea of justice. Can any sane mind today see any justice in a God who would create billions of human beings, with powers of feeling, with capabilities of the most acute suffering, who would permit them to be born into the world under conditions of weakness, prone to sin as the sparks to fly upward, surrounded by temptation, beset by evil angels, and who would then declare that if they did not live saintly lives and love supremely the God who thus created them they should be damned to an eternity of torture? Ah, something is radically wrong with the brain of the man who can accept such a creed and worship such a God! Such is not the God of the Bible, but a monstrous Demon. The god that originated such a creed is "the god of this world" the Devil.

No human being would ascribe such a character to any human parent. How, then, can any believe such a monstrous libel upon the character of the God of all grace! How strange that we should ever have been thus trapped by this wicked lie of Satan's!

Many who have long discarded the creeds of the Dark Ages still profess to believe them, and still retain membership in the denomination which holds one or another of these creeds. No intelligent minister of our day believes these monstrosities of medieval doctrine. We need God's leading and teaching. The difficulty has been that we have leaned upon the creeds of human tradition, instead of relying upon the Word of God.


Let us see what God says of His Justice. He declares that the penalty pronounced upon man for sin was Death. "The wages of sin is death." "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." "In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying, thou shalt die." (Rom. 6:23; Eze. 18:4, 20; Gen. 2:17, margin) The entire Scriptures bear out this declaration. Only a few highly figurative statements could be so misinterpreted as to seem to teach otherwise. But when the symbolic character of such passages is recognized, they are seen to be in full harmony with the plain declarations of the Bible.

The pagan doctrines of the immortality of the soul, a trinity of gods, etc., are responsible for the great confusion of Christendom regarding the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God. There is not a word of Scripture for the almost universally accepted idea of the natural immortality of the soul. The Bible declares that man is mortal. How absurd the thought that God would so make a soul that even He could not destroy it under any circumstances, however desirable this might later prove to be! The generally accepted idea is that man has a soul. The Scriptural teaching is that man is a soul. (Gen. 2:7) It is man's physical organism that makes him superior to the brute creation.


What a marvelous mind must have been possessed by the perfect man Adam before his fall! The measure of the image of God possessed by mankind today is only what remains after the blighting effects of six thousand years of weakness and sin. The perfect Adam, in his Maker's [HGL857] image and likeness, must have been a very wonderful and beautiful specimen of manhood, physically, mentally and morally. The size and the shape of the head, the form of the features, the expression of the face, the poise and the carriage of the body, the shape of the hands, the feet all would proclaim the glorious perfection of the first man, Adam.

This perfect man brought the penalty of death upon his posterity, however, by reason of his disobedience of God's just commands. Therefore the whole Adamic race has been born in a dying condition. All mankind came under sin and death conditions because of one man's disobedience. God provided that only this one man Adam should be condemned to death, and that through him condemnation should come upon all his posterity while they were still in his loins. By this arrangement one man could pay the penalty for all. One man sinned. One Man was to be the Redeemer. 1 Cor. 15:21-23.

We have never heard of anything so wonderful as the Divine economy manifested in the great Divine Plan for human salvation. In this marvelous Plan, covering six thousand years, the salvation of twenty billions of human creatures involved; and yet every feature is easily and is perfectly poised! Justice will not be cheated out of its dues; but Love gains the victory and provides the way out of the difficulty, at the expense of the One through whom the whole Plan is consummated our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. His perfect human life offset Adam's perfect human life; and the whole Adamic race is included, because they were all children of the one sinner, merely sharers by heredity in his sin.


The Ransom is the very foundation of all God's dealings with the race of mankind. It is even through that Ransom that He is now showing mercy. the Bible assures us that to the Logos, the Word, the Messenger Michael, The Godlike One God made the proposition that by the purchase of the whole race of Adam through His sacrifice He might obtain the honor and glory of Messiah the opportunity of blessing the billions who had been condemned to death in Adam; and that then, as a reward, He should be supremely exalted, even to the Divine nature far above angels, principalities, powers and every name that is named. Heb. 2:9; Philip. 2:8-11.

In God's due time, the Logos laid aside His glorious spirit nature, came to earth as a man, and by the grace of God tasted death for Every Man. By purchasing the forfeited life of Adam. He purchases all who fell in Adam while yet unborn. It is only when we see the nature of man that he is mortal, not immortal and the penalty of sin Death, not an eternity of torture that we begin to see the significance of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. He "gave Himself a Ransom (Greek, antilutron, a corresponding price) for all, to be testified in due time." 1 Tim. 2:5, 6.

For the Church the due time is in the present life. For the world it is during the thousand years of the Reign of Christ. All this is the triumph of Love over Justice. While Justice remains forever inviolate, yet Love is the victor. Mercy rejoiceth against Judgment Justice. Christ and the Church will have the great work of uplifting the world from their degradation and of bringing them up to that full perfection, that image and likeness of God, lost by Father Adam in Eden. Then, when the world shall have been recovered from the Adamic fall all willful sinners having been utterly destroyed in the Second Death all will see the infinite Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power of our great Creator, and bow in loving adoration and praise.

The faithful Church will be associated with our Lord in all His Kingdom glory and honor. In order to be of this class, not only must we be begotten by the Holy Spirit of God, but we must be quickened by it. We must manifest the fruits of that Holy Spirit meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness, love. Then in the first Resurrection we shall be born of the spirit, and shall share with our Lord this work of Divine Mercy will have been accomplished, through all the varied features of which will be observed operating in full harmony, absolute Love and absolute Justice.

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