August 26, 1906 Republished from The National Labor, August 29, 1918


Cumberland, Md., Aug. 26, 1906. Pastor C. T. Russell, of Allegheny, Pa., preached twice here today in the Opera House. The afternoon discourse was a vindication of the Bible. The evening discourse was based upon the Apostle's words, "Whose damnation is just." (Rom. 3:8)

We report the latter discourse: In the divine order justice has a place in every human mind – an appreciation of right and wrong. This quality, originally perfect in father Adam is more or less confused amongst his children today because of the fall. Even where this quality of mind itself is in good evidence other organs may he deficient, so that conscience may not always approve the best things.

For instance, the Apostle Paul tells us that it was with all good conscience that he persecuted the Church of Christ for a time. The conscience was there, hut was misdirected through ignorance. So with all mankind: we not only need to have a conscience and to keep it tender, sensitive, as the regulator of our lives, hut we need to guide it aright, and the only safe course is to guide it with the wisdom from above, first pure, then peaceable, easy of entreatment, full of mercy and good fruits. Blessed is the man or woman who follows his or her conscience carefully, for the Lord will ultimately direct such into the right channel even as he did Saul of Tarsus.

From time to time we hear of the lynching of evil doers, or see other evidences of the indignation of the general public against wrong doers. We have often been surprised at the zeal which seems to energize some in connection with the punishment of evil deeds, the more so as we learn to appreciate the fact that "There is none righteous, no not one" – none perfect; that all of these who so hotly pursue the evil doers must realize that they themselves have weaknesses, frailties, imperfections, if not of the same kind, of some other kind – if not so had, nevertheless reprehensible.

We conclude that the majority of people live more or less in violation of their own consciences and continually endeavor to stifle them; hut that when occasion offers in connection with the crime of another, they ease their consciences by co-operating in the work of punishment. At the same time – in the case of lynchings, for instance – many seem to gratify the low, base, murderous spirit of the fallen nature, their consciences helping to excuse them for the time by thought that to some extent they are gratifying their murderous instinct in the service of justice – not, however, that they would approve of having justice done to themselves in connection with their shortcomings, not that they would judge themselves and chasten themselves, as the Apostle suggests to the Church, hut that their fallen natures enjoy the opportunity of taking vengeance on others.

It is related of our Lord that when a woman convicted of sin was brought before him with the words, "Moses in the Law saith such should he stoned, hut what sayest thou?" Jesus turned the attention of the self-righteous judges and accusers of the Law upon their own hearts by saying to them, "He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone at the woman." [John 8:5, 7]

The country would surely he safe from lynchings if those who applied the instruments of torture would first see to it that they themselves where wholly without sin. Likewise many who feel it to he their duty to speak slanderous words of others, if they would hut hear the Master saying, "He that is without fault may speak against his neighbor," would be silenced. Let us more and more learn to turn loose upon ourselves our innate love of justice. Let justice have her perfect work in arraigning every evil thought, word and deed, and soon our hearts will he crying to the Lord for help and mercy, which to such he is ever ready and willing to give.


God's message in his Bible to his people is that they should utterly root out those murderous and vengeful feelings which are so common amongst men, and that instead of these the followers of Jesus should cultivate his spirit of love, gentleness, meekness, patience, long-suffering. To these the Lord says, "Avenge not your-selves: . . . Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord."

Hence the Apostle argues, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink." (Rom. 12:19, 20)

The spirit of the world, the spirit of the uncircumcised heart, is contrary to all this, and even after the voice of the Lord is heard and the hand is restrained from taking vengeance, and instead extends to the enemy the food and drink, nevertheless often the heart has the hitter feeling, the enmity, the murderous spirit, and manifests it in hitter words, evil speaking, insinuations, etc. Hence the highest evidence of progress in the Christian way, in the development of the Spirit of Christ, is not manifested in merely restraining from outward vengeance, hut is specially manifested in the restraint of that little hut powerful member of our bodies, [NS402] the tongue. When it is brought in subjection, so that it speaks evil of no man, injures no man, but contrariwise is continually used in blessing, comforting and uplifting others, this is the best evidence of a high attainment of the spiritual likeness of God's dear Son. We see continually that in our fallen condition we are unable to think charitably enough of each other's blemishes, and hence are unfit to be each other's judges in the sense of condemning and punishing one another. We are in this saying nothing against the proprieties of the world's judging and punishing criminals, but rather refer to the higher judgment of motives, sentiments, conduct, which does not come properly within the scope of human law and regulations.

Christians, indeed, are expected to live up to the highest standards of human law, but more than this is expected of those who are followers of Christ. The law is for the unregenerated, whereas all the regenerated ones, begotten of the Spirit, may be properly expected to live on a higher plane, and to speak and act toward their neighbors along the lines of love, whereas earthly law merely attempts to follow the lines of justice. The Christian, therefore, is admonished that God keeps the matter of justice in his own hands, and the more acquainted with the Father and with the Son we become, the better will we appreciate the fact that the divine vengeance will be along the lines of absolute justice tempered with mercy.

The divine character guarantees this: if he who formed the eye can see, he who gave us conscience and the sense of justice, and who outlined for us the character of love – surely he will be just and will fully substantiate his right to be considered the God of love.

With these thoughts we come to our text, inquiring what kind of a damnation would God consider to be just. At the threshold of our inquiry we meet with two difficulties:

(1) From early training the word damnation pictures before our minds devils, flames, anguish, tears, shrieks and groans. Is this the just damnation which a just and loving God would provide for any of his creatures? Our common sense answers, No! surely not. It would need to be proven to us beyond all peradventure before we could believe that he who instructed us to love our enemies and to do good to them that hate us would himself undertake to give an eternity of anguish and torment to the enemies of his government. Nevertheless this misconception, handed down to us from the "dark ages," blinds the majority of Bible students, and hinders them from seeing the just damnation which God has provided as a penalty for sin.

(2) Another difficulty we contend against in examining the subject is that the word damnation has come gradually to have a different meaning from that which it originally had in the English language. The word in its original signification had the same meaning as our word condemned. Hence our text properly translated would read, "Whose condemnation is just," and this is the translation given by the revisers. However, with the mind poisoned with the wrong thought of devils, flames, tortures, etc., it requires time for the majority to get rid of the smoke, confusion and delusion which came to them in childhood days – which have come down to us all from the "dark ages."


The Apostle says, "He that believeth not is condemned (damned) already." (John 3:18)

In the same verse he tells us that he that believeth is not condemned. The thought is that the whole human family originally came under divine sentence or condemnation through father Adam's disobedience. When Adam sinned a sentence of death came upon him, and we his children were born sharers in his blemishes by heredity, and sharers likewise in his condemnation, curse or damnation, as any may choose to translate the thought. Believers in Christ are reckoned as justified by their faith – as passing out from the remainder of the world, freeing themselves of the original Adamic condemnation. Believers are no longer condemned, even though, as the Apostle declares, we were once children of wrath even as others. (Eph. 2:3)

The remainder of the race remains under the wrath, under the curse, under the damnation, under the condemnation; hence the whole world except believers is in this condition, in the old form of expression, damned – condemned. When we come to the Scriptures to see what they say about this damned or condemned condition, we find nothing whatever respecting an eternity of torture; but, on the contrary, the plain statements of Genesis show that the original condemnation or sentence or wrath or curse was a sentence to death, with all that this implies of dying processes, aches, pains, imperfections and blemishes incidental to the dying. Here we have the curse, and although it is a terrible one it is not the unreasonable, unjust one misconceived in the "dark ages."

It was just that God should refuse eternal life to his creatures when they proved themselves imperfect, disloyal, unworthy of the Lord's gift of life eternal. Those who are now reckoned as having escaped this condemnation, as having been justified by faith, are represented as being on trial and in danger of a second condemnation if they should now prove themselves disloyal to God and the principles of his government. In other words, God's intention is to save us from our [NS403] sins and not to save us in our sins. Whoever, then, being justified by faith, regenerated, begotten by the Spirit, loses this and turns again to sin, desires sin, clings to it, must thereby lose his standing of justification and come into condemnation – come again under the sentence of death. As the original condemnation was death, the Lord distinguishes this second condemnation as the Second Death, from which there will be no redemption, no resurrection, no recovery. It is everlasting punishment, everlasting destruction – not everlasting torment. Can we not agree that the damnation – condemnation – of all such is just? Surely we can see that since life everlasting is a gift of God he is in no way obligated to give it to anybody, and he declares that he is pleased to give it only to those who desire it on his terms.

We thus see that the divine arrangements are all just, loving and wise – precisely what we should have expected had not our minds been perverted by human traditions, which misrepresented God, but thoroughly represented the depraved sentiments of their authors, who further manifested the same spirit in their conduct, tearing one another limb from limb on the rack or burning one another at the stake, for differences of opinion, contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the divine regulation.


The Scripture's teachings appear to some to be in conflict in respect to human judgments of one another. Our Lord's instruction is, "Judge nothing before the time." (1 Cor. 4:5)

He promises that in due time, when our change shall come in the First Resurrection, we will be perfected, thoroughly competent for judgment in every matter, and indeed promises that the saints shall judge the world. But it is in the meantime that the followers of Jesus are commanded to "judge nothing."

On the other hand, the Master's injunction was that we should do a certain kind of judging. He said, "By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?" Surely not, and the intimation is that they would know better than to go to a thistle expecting figs. So we should have a sufficiency of general discernment to know where to look for the fruits of the Lord's Spirit – "By their fruits ye shall know them." Matt. 7:16

If we find any one bearing the fruits of the Spirit – gentleness, patience, meekness, long suffering, brotherly kindness, love for God and for man, loyalty for God and his Word – by these fruits we may know that such an one is no longer a child of wrath, but has passed from death unto life. We do not need that he shall tell us that he has joined some earthly Church, we do not need that he shall make first a long and elaborate confession of what he does and does not believe. He may be in more or less of ignorance or more or less of enlightenment, but so surely as he bears this fruitage he belongs to the true Church of Christ. Each one of the Lord's people should be able to form such a judgment.

On the contrary, each should be able to know these things, these fruits of the Spirit of Christ, and should remember that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his. If, therefore, they see in others the spirit of anger, malice, hatred, envy, strife, selfishness, having full sway, full control of the heart and life, hands and tongues, they should judge that these evil fruits never grew on any branch of the vine; they should remember that the Apostle has designated these fruits to be "works of the flesh and the devil." [Gal. 5:19-21]

The evidences are that such as have these fruits are yet in the "gall of bitterness," however outwardly respectable they may be. But here again we must distinguish as between the flesh and the spirit. If a brother or sister manifest these evil fruits, yet with contrition and tears tells us that these are weaknesses of their flesh, to which their hearts do not give assent, we are not to judge the heart, we are not to condemn the New Creature, but rather to accept his statement of the matter, and to judge him not according to the flesh but according to his real heart-intention.

The New Creature, the heart, we are unable to judge, we are unable to read, unable to fathom fully. We must leave that for God. The Apostle in our text is discussing the matter along this line. He is speaking not of God's judgment, but of the general judgment of himself and the Church against the persons whom he arraigns. Some in their opposition to the Gospel message misrepresent it, and defame the messengers and the One whom these messengers represented, the Lord, saying that his message through the apostles inculcated evil doing and sin in order to bring about good results.

The Apostle resents this, and declares that the condemnation, i.e., the damnation of those who said such things, was just – that he had a right to condemn them, and to say that this misrepresentation of the message of the Lord was evil, and betokened that those who spoke in this way were the servants of evil. Such fruit of animosity, of opposition to righteousness, could not, the Apostle reasons, grow upon branches of the Vine, but being the fruit of thorns and of thistles indicated clearly that those who said these things, and thus opposed the good tidings of great joy, must at heart be aliens and strangers and foreigners from the Lord of glory, whose Spirit they did not possess and did not manifest. As it was just that the Apostle should condemn those in his day, and should even specify Alexander the coppersmith, Hymenius and Philetus, so it may be proper [NS404] for the Lord's people today, in the interest of the Truth, to openly rebuke and reprove those who oppose themselves to the divine message now promulgated; but in any event the reproof should be in moderation, merely a sufficiency to show to others the true character of the wrong doers, that others may not be led away by the transgressions of the wicked. Nothing in the Apostle's language, in reproving any of his opponents, savors in any degree of malice or anger, or hatred or strife, but rather pity for the evil doers, and a desire in exposing them not to injure them, but to help others to avoid their snare and their fall.


While on this subject let me assure you that the words "damned" and "damnation," as used throughout the New Testament, in every instance have such a meaning as we have here pointed out, namely, condemnation. The world is now suffering divine condemnation or damnation on account of original sin, and struggles under a heavy curse, a heavy penalty.

For six thousand years the condemnation (damnation) of death has rested upon our race, and under it thousands of millions have gone down into the great prison-house, the tomb. As we look about us and see the mental, moral and physical decrepitude of our race – as we perceive that the whole creation is "groaning and travailing in pain together," let us rejoice that God's plan is to turn away the wrath, to turn away the condemnation, to turn away the curse of death, with all of its concomitants of sorrow, pain and trouble, and lift our race up, up, up out of this sin-and-death condition back to harmony with himself – so many of the race as will, when they have the full opportunity, accept the Lord's arrangement. This is the salvation which the Scriptures everywhere declare – a salvation from sin and from its death penalty. This salvation the Scriptures declare, "began to be preached by our Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." (Heb. 2:3)

Although the Lord gave to the prophets and to Israel special experiences and manifestations of his favor, yet this message of salvation was never proclaimed until Jesus came. His death as our sin atonement is the basis of our reconciliation with the Father – the basis of all salvation which God has provided. The minds and hearts of people have been turned away from the Scriptural presentation to a false one; taught, contrary to the Scriptures and contrary to reason, that the wages of sin is eternal torment. We have misunderstood the character as well as the Word of our heavenly Father when we supposed that salvation would mean salvation from eternal torment. But now, as we hearken to our Father's word more attentively, as we get rid of the smoke of the "dark ages," we hear the testimony of the Scriptures that "the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life." (Rom. 6:2 3)

Now we see that we are redeemed from death in order that we might through faith in Christ be made recipients of God's gift of life everlasting. How much this true view comforts our hearts, clarifies our minds and enables us to worship our Creator in spirit and in truth, and to see that the salvation which he has provided in Jesus is a salvation from death, from destruction, and that the Saviour who is appointed is the Life-giver who redeemed our race, and proposes under the divine plan to restore to absolute perfection and to a worldwide Eden all the family of Adam who will learn the proper lesson – learn to love righteousness and hate iniquity.

The salvation which our Lord will offer to the world during the Millennial age will be actual, tangible evidence by uplift out of imperfection day by day and year by year. But a still greater salvation is now proffered to a special class – an elect class. A salvation out of death, but to a life that is higher than was redeemed for Adam and his race. This elect class is called to a perfection of life on the spirit plane. Their salvation, however, is not a tangible matter at the present time, but merely by faith; they recognize themselves as justified freely, covered with the precious robe by faith; they present their bodies living sacrifices by faith; they follow in the footsteps of Jesus by faith; they lay down their lives in the service of the truth and on behalf of the brethren, even unto death.

Their salvation by faith and their actual salvation is accomplished in the First Resurrection, in which they will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye – changed from corruption to incorruption, from dishonor to glory, from human nature to spiritual nature. This, dearly beloved, is our salvation, the one that is now proffered, one in which we hope to make our calling and election sure, one respecting which the Apostle urges that we lay aside every weight and every besetting sin, that we may attain to it through the First Resurrection. We shall be satisfied when we awake in his likeness, but meantime we are by faith satisfied to contemplate that glorious change for ourselves, and also blessed and comforted with the testimony of the Lord's Word respecting the blessing which shall flow through us to all the families of the earth – so great salvation.

"Feed" upon the promises.


September 9, 1906 Republished from The National Labor Tribune, September 12, 1918


TERRE HAUTE, IND., Sept. 9,1906 – Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny, Pa., spoke twice here today to large and intelligent audiences. His afternoon discourse was on the "Bible Defended."

We report his morning topic from the text, "The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all (for all) men." (Titus 2:11)

He said: Our text, in unison with many other Scriptures, emphasizes the difference between God's grace and the salvation which it effects on those who rightly receive it. In unison with other Scriptures our text also teaches that there was a long period of time – over 4000 years from Adam till Christ – in which God's grace did not appear; but in which, on the contrary, law reigned without grace and without salvation. The divine arrangement for human salvation is as systematic in its every detail as the work of an earthly architect; yet many Christian people, ignoring this, are in confusion and require to be reminded afresh of the Apostle's words to Timothy – "Study to show thyself approved unto God; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth." (2 Tim. 2:15)

It is this matter of rightly dividing the Word that brings a special blessing and enlightenment to those who heed the divine injunction. Our text illustrates this matter of a proper division of the Scriptures. It indicates that something had occurred in apostolic times which was distinctly separate and apart from anything which had previously occurred, namely, the grace of God had appeared. The Apostle's language intimates that human salvation would be a matter of the future – the result of God's grace. Here, then we have three great divisions in the divine plan:

(1) A time when God's grace was not revealed, was not manifest to man – when only the justice and wrath of God were displayed;

(2) a time when the grace of God is revealed to such as are able to see it, "teaching us" as the Apostle declares in the succeeding verse, but not teaching others who now are blinded by the god of this world and unable to discern the grace of God, as the Apostle elsewhere intimates (2 Cor. 4:4);

(3) a coming time in which the salvation will be actual and manifest.


It was eminently proper that God should give our race a lesson along the lines of divine justice before proceeding to give any lessons respecting divine mercy and love. When the first perfect man wilfully disobeyed the Creator and knowingly brought upon himself the penalty of sin, "Dying thou shalt die" (Gen. 2:17), the sword of divine justice was unsheathed and fell heavily upon him, and incidentally, through heredity, upon all of his posterity. The flaming sword of justice drove our first parent from Eden, heeding not their crying, their tears, their sorrows, their promises of repentance. Its smiting is Scripturally called the "curse," the divine sentence – the "wrath of God."

For six thousand years and more this sword has not been sheathed; it has continued to smite throughout the whole world until, according to reasonable estimates, about 20,000,000,000 of Adam's race have fallen under it into the tomb, into sheol, into hades, the state of death. Its smiting affected not only the physical but the mental and moral elements of human nature. Mental weakness as a result is to be seen everywhere, and is felt by every member of the race to the amazing extent that in civilized lands about one in every two hundred of the adult population is deemed unfit to be at large – is consigned to an asylum. The smiting of the sword of justice with the death penalty has affected man's moral degradations toot as witness the prisons and penitentiaries, etc. of Christendom, the records of police courts, and the proverb that "Man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn."

The effect of the stroke of justice upon man's physical powers is not only shown by the number that have gone to the tomb by the abbreviation of human life; for while father Adam lived 930 years – or rather was dying for 930 years under the stroke of justice – his children of today, born in sin, shapen in iniquity through heredity, live on an average of about thirty-five years. In all this the divine justice is speaking to the world in thunder tones, which it might be expected to be able to hear – which all would hear were it not that the god of this world, Satan, deludes and deceives the masses by attracting their attention away from this real wage of sin and these real results of the death penalty, causing them to hate the Almighty Creator by telling them that the penalty for sin is beyond the present life – an unending torture. Nevertheless divine justice stands revealed, and they who discern it not in the present time will look back from the future and more favorable standpoints and discern it clearly.


Two thousand years and more passed before any intimation was ever given to our race of divine mercy. The first intimation, vague at the time, (still vague except to those guided by the Holy Spirit), was made to [NS406] Abraham in the brief statement that at an unnamed date in the future God would have mercy upon mankind and would use Abraham's seed in blessing all the families of the earth. The Apostle Paul (Gal. 3:8) calls this the first statement of the Gospel – the first announcement of the good tidings – saying, God preached the Gospel in advance to Abraham, saying, "In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." [Gen. 22:18]

Nevertheless the blessing did not begin there. On the contrary, justice still wielded its sword, smiting all the race of Adam, of Abraham's seed as well as of the heathen nations. As the Apostle again declares, "Sin and death reign:" the time has not yet come for righteousness to reign. It was over 4000 years from father Adam's transgression until our Lord Jesus appeared amongst men to be the Redeemer of Adam and his race and ultimately to be their Saviour from sin, degradation and death – to afford one opportunity to all.

This great event was referred to in our text by the Apostle as the grace of God which appeared at that time, but which had not appeared previously. An intimation of grace had been indeed made, as we have seen, to Abraham, but only an intimation, for how God would cause the seed of Abraham to bless all the families of the earth was not stated – merely the effect. However, when in due time God sent forth his Son to redeem the world – to pay to justice the ransom price for Adam's forfeited life and thus to purchase Adam and all of his race from the sentence of death and from the power and dominion of sin, and when it was made known that all this was designed to be a free gift of God, "not of works lest any man should boast" – it was manifest that God did not intend to bless all the families of the earth through Moses and the Law Covenant, which were quite insufficient for the work, but that his blessing would be one of grace, of mercy, of unmerited favor, through Jesus Christ our Lord. The same thought is presented by the Apostle when he declares that herein was manifested the love of God in that "he gave his only begotten Son." (John 3:16)

God was a God of love prior to the sending forth of his Son, but his love was hidden – not revealed, not manifest to men. He was just as loving before he created man, just as loving when he pronounced the sentence, and at that very time had fully formulated the plan of man's redemption and his ultimate rescue from the power of sin and death, but it was hidden, covered; it was manifest for the first time when he sent his Son to be man's redeemer, as the Apostle declares.


Our common version declares that God's grace hath appeared to all men, but the incorrectness of this statement is manifest, for hundreds of millions today, as well as during all the centuries since our Lord's first advent, have seen nothing of the grace of God – it has not appeared to them. A more correct translation, in harmony with the facts, is "the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared for all men." [Titus 2:11]

God's grace is world-wide. It makes provision through Christ as the Redeemer for father Adam, and hence makes provision equally for all of the race of Adam, who inherited weaknesses, blemishes, etc. through his disobedience. Indeed, so far from all mankind being able to discern the grace of God, we are surely correct in declaring that it has appeared as yet to but very few, only believers, only those who have the eye of faith, only those who have the hearing ear. Indeed, God's grace is not more manifest outwardly to the world than during the preceding ages.

It is the household of faith, which possesses the eye of faith, that now beholds Jesus as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world – which recognizes that thus God can be just and yet the justifier of him that believeth. This grace, however, is for all men so surely as the divine Word is true. The fact that only a fragment of humanity yet sees, yet knows, yet appreciates, is yet able to avail itself of the divine grace under its present limitations, proves nothing against the great fact that God has provided Jesus as the world's Redeemer, by and by to be the world's Deliverer or Savior. But why the secrecy?

Why did he not at once reveal the entire matter to the whole world of mankind as soon as Christ had died for our sins? The Scriptures answer that in the divine order and arrangement the sending of Christ as the world's Redeemer and Deliverer would not have taken place at the end of 4000 years of human history, but at the end of 6000 years – that God's purposes, his plan for the world, is 6000 years of a reign of sin and death, to be followed by 1000 years of the reign of grace unto salvation, unto life everlasting to so many as will accept the divine terms.

Why, then, did Jesus come nearly 2000 years in advance of this date? We reply that it was because God had another feature of his plan to work out, indirectly but not directly connected with the world's salvation. This other feature is the selection of a little flock from amongst mankind to be the Bride, the Lamb's wife – to be associates with Jesus, the great Redeemer, in his work of human salvation. In accord with this, the Scriptures tell us that the grace of God is now recognized only by a limited class, "even as many as the Lord your God shall call" (Acts 2:39), and that these must be taught in the school of Christ, tested as respects their obedience and devotion, and thus be enabled to make their calling and election [NS407] sure. With the completion of this elect company, with the dawning of the seventh thousand or Millennial epoch, the divine providence would be ready to take its next step. The next step for the elect Church will be in a participation in actual salvation from every power of sin and death in the First Resurrection, and then, under the Kingdom of God's dear Son – in which they will be associated with their Lord and Bridegroom – a general blessing of enlightenment will reach the world of mankind, causing their blind eyes to open and their weak ears to be unstopped, that the grace of God may appear to them also, that they may taste and see that the Lord is gracious, and that, being rightly exercised by this knowledge, they may be blessed with the opportunity for restitution to all that was lost in Eden and redeemed at Calvary. As a knowledge of God's grace preceded the Church's salvation, so a knowledge of his grace will precede the world's salvation.


Let us note how the grace of God brings salvation now, and the different manner in which it will bring it to the world in the next age, the world's day of trial or judgment. With us, in proportion as we see the grace of God and appreciate his loving kindness toward us, a test comes to us as to whether or not we appreciate the Lord, his character and his mercy. If we do appreciate these the effect will be a transforming work in our own hearts and lives – a willing or desiring to serve and please and honor the gracious God whom we have come to know. In proportion as his grace appears to us, in proportion as we discern its lengths and breadths and depths and heights, in that same proportion should our love and obedience and joy abound.

If we be otherwise minded, unappreciative of divine favor and willingly love and serve the evil, it will be a demonstration that we are not of the Kingdom, for whom God's grace was specially intended; and after enjoying a measure of blessing our portion will be the Second Death, without hope of resurrection or further opportunity.


The term "grace of God" properly includes not only the primary blessing of our redemption by the precious blood and an opportunity of life everlasting through the Saviour's merit but it includes also the precious promises now made to those who have the hearing ear, "as many as the Lord your God shall call." [Acts 2:39]

Then as these progress in love and in obedience, grow in divine favor or grace to still larger knowledge and appreciation of the things which God hath in reservation for them that love him, the called ones according to his purpose – in proportion as their hearts are rightly moved, in the same proportion their eyes continue to open more widely, giving them to see more and more of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of love and grace divine. As our Lord said to some of this class, "To you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven; but to all who are without, these things are spoken in parables and dark sayings." Mark 4:11, 12

The Apostle in our context enumerates some of the things which God's grace teaches us who have the hearing ear and the seeing eye of faith and understanding. Its teaching is that, denying ungodly and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (epoch), looking for that blessed hope and the anticipation on the one side, and the effect of this hope in our purification of heart and separation from the world on the other side. God's grace teaches this, the Apostle said. Nowhere does God intimate that his grace is intended for wilful and deliberate sinners. It is provided for those only who, when brought to an understanding of the truth and righteousness, will seek and strive for it under divine assistance and encouragement.

God's grace through his Word shows those who have their eyes of understanding open that their salvation is to be brought unto them at the second advent of Christ; that at present they are merely saved by hope, by faith. God's message of grace to these is that he who rightly receives these hopes, these promises of God will find them a strengthening and cleansing power working in his heart to a thorough renovation of its thoughts and intents, to the casting down of its natural selfish ambitions and every high thought and aim, and to the bringing of every thought into subjection to the will of God in Christ.

God's grace through his Word teaches that, in order to attain this standard of heart perfection, a close guard must be kept upon the mortal body, whose admitted imperfections and weaknesses are reckonedly covered by the merit of the Saviour's sacrifice. The New Creature of the mind, the heart, can only live and prosper and attain its perfection by striving against the natural tendencies, or, as the Apostle expresses it, "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts" [Titus 2:12] – worldly desires. Ungodliness must first be fought down and most violently opposed by the New Creature, the new will; and worldly lusts or desires or ambitions must be remembered as being contrary to the interests of the New Creature – calculated to lead away the heart, the strength, the time, the talent, in other directions than those marked out by the Captain of Salvation in whose footsteps we must follow. Stating the matter from the reverse, the positive [NS408] standpoint, the Apostle says that our outward deportment of the flesh should correspond with the inward desires of our hearts to such an extent that we should live soberly, taking serious views on life, realizing increasingly the momentous results of our present warfare with sin-and-death conditions – that it means for us either victory or defeat, and that victory means the crown of glory, immortality with our Redeemer at his second coming in power and great glory for the establishment of his Kingdom. The Apostle suggests further that the influence upon us will be to live righteously, that is, justly. We not only appreciate the fact that the present life is short, and that anything gained by injustice should be of profit but a little while; but additionally, as we become filled with the spirit of the Lord, love for our neighbor insists upon our dealing with him righteously, justly, according to the Golden Rule, doing to him as we would have him do to us. We to whom God's grace has been revealed, should be godly in this present life, urges the Apostle. What does he mean by this expression, "live godly?"

He means that we should take for our standard not the rules or laws or conduct of imperfect men, nor of our own imperfect minds, but that God should be our portion, as our Lord expresses it, "Be ye like unto your Father which is in heaven." [Matt. 5:48]

True, we find that the copy before us in an absolutely perfect one, and that our God-likeness comes far short of the standard. Nevertheless that is our standard, and we are to keep it continually before us and never lower it, but go onward keeping it more and more carefully daily in our outward lives in accord with this pattern, in our hearts, in our minds, in our wills, in our endeavors.


The Apostle says, "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure," [1 John 3:3] and in our context he speaks of our looking for that blessed hope as being a source of strength and power to those who have been granted a view of divine grace in the present time: What does the Apostle mean by "that blessed hope?" [Titus 2:13] What hope? Where is it stated? We reply that this is the same hope to which the Apostle refers when he says, "Which hope we have as an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast, entering into that which is within the veil." (Heb. 6:19)

And this last quotation furnishes us the key, for in connection with it the Apostle tells us respecting the hope, what it is. He assures us that it is the hope of being of the seed of Abraham, the hope of being heirs of the great Oath-Bound Covenant which God made with Abraham, saying, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." [Gen. 22:18]

The Apostle explains that this Oath-Bound Covenant, the promise which has been so sure a hope, so firm an evidence to all of the Lord's people, and is now the anchorage of our hope in Christ, is to be attained by those who become the Bride of Christ. Hear his word: "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Gal. 3:29

O glorious hope! Well may those who have this hope purify themselves and keep before their minds the glorious Pattern. Well may they account all things of an earthly kind as but loss and dross that they may win Christ and be found members in him, in the glorious First Resurrection. Well may they deny themselves all worldly lusts and ambitions that they may thereby the more surely attain to this great ambition, this God-given ambition of joint-heirship with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom which is to bless the world of mankind. Do we not then see that a great favor has been bestowed upon us in that the eyes of our understanding have been at least partially opened to discern the grace of God manifest in our dear Redeemer's sacrifice, which is yet to bring salvation to us in the First Resurrection, and to the world of mankind during the Millennial age? How gracious are the divine provisions, not only for those who shall be ultimately saved to life eternal, but gracious also toward those who shall sin wilfully, and dying the Second Death shall be as though they had not been. Obad. 16

September 16, 1906 Republished from The National Labor Tribune, September 19, 1918


McKEESPORT, PA., September 16, 1906 – Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny spoke twice here today. One discourse was on the Bible teaching respecting "Hell – A Cure for Infidelity."

We report his second discourse, from the text, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23

He said: The world is afflicted with many counterfeit standards of righteousness, which are largely the result of neglect of the divine Word and the substitution therefore of human theories and creeds formulated in the "dark ages," under the delusion that the divine penalty for sin is eternal torment. Reason insists that the kind of sin which would permit such a punishment must be of the blackest, deepest dye; and under the preaching [NS409] of Protestantism, that the final destiny is fixed at death for either an eternity of woe for the sinner or an eternity of bliss for the righteous, the mental operation is to conclude that the dying friend was not sufficiently wicked to justly merit eternal torture and hence must be esteemed as sufficiently righteous to secure some place in heaven even though on a lower plane. Thus this horrible error of eternal torment fails to accomplish the desire of its advocates – fails to turn man to righteousness, to consecration to the Lord.

Its very atrociousness nullifies its influence upon human character, so that as a consequence nearly all the criminals of Christendom are firm believers in the doctrine of eternal torment, but hope they will somehow escape. The net result of this horrible doctrine, therefore, is the vilification and misrepresentation and nullification of the power of God's Word, which, as our Lord explained, is intended to sanctify the lives of believers. "Sanctify them through thy Truth; thy Word is Truth." John 17:17


The Apostle answers this question saying, "Sin is the transgression of the Law," the divine law. (1 John 3:4)

This divine law, as the Scriptures explain, was originally written in the very heart and character of man – Adam was created in the image and likeness of God. He needed not to have specifications of the divine law, such as "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not," because his organization, including his brain, was in that perfect poise and balance which permitted him to have a correct judgment as respects right and wrong from the divine standpoint on every question. In harmony with this, the Apostle declares that his sin of disobedience in the garden was not of any accident nor deception nor ignorance. (1 Tim. 2:14)

He sinned wilfully and deliberately. We admit that he had a strong provocation. His wife had transgressed the law, and he presumed that this would involve her death and that he should thus be left without his companion. His act of disobedience was therefore in the nature of suicide, with the full knowledge and intent that he would share the death penalty with his loved helpmate.

The very strength of Adam's good character, his love, became his snare. He should have remembered that his first obligation was to his Creator. He should have realized the wisdom and love of that Creator, and that as he had done for him graciously thus far he would continue to protect his best interests if he remained faithful. We do not know what provision the Lord would have made for the recovery of mother Eve from the results of the serpent's deception, but the divine character assures us that some way of relief and forgiveness and restoration would have been provided. Adam, however, though perfect, had no large experience and acquaintance with his Creator, his knowledge of him was limited; hence he failed to appreciate the possibilities of the case and took the matter into his own hands, with the dire results upon himself and his posterity which God foreknew and from which divine mercy has prepared through Jesus a rescue, and in connection with which divine wisdom, love and justice and power will be manifested as never before. Father Adam's transgression is what in all the creeds of Christendom is termed "original sin."

It is on account of that sin that all the creeds declare that God condemned to eternal torment all of our race except such as would hear of and accept our Lord Jesus and become his disciples and followers. We dissent from this, and quote the Scriptures in proof that "the wages of sin is death" – not eternal torment; that our Lord Jesus redeemed us from death – not from eternal torment; that in the resurrection he will deliver us from death, from the tomb – not from eternal torment; and that this is true not only of the Church of this Gospel age, the elect, whose eyes of understanding are now open and whose ears of understanding are now unstopped, so that they now see and hear and appreciate the grace of God in Christ; but that it will be true ultimately during the Millennial age to all others of the human family that as the Apostle declares, "He will have all men to be saved (from death, from sentence or curse of death, the tomb), and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:4)

God's time for bringing the masses of the world to a knowledge of the truth is not in the present time but in the future, during the Millennial reign of Christ. Now only the few have the special favor and blessing of enlightenment, but ultimately every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God. As now the full knowledge coming to us brings us responsibilities and means the decision for either life or death eternal, so then, in the Millennial age, to the masses of mankind the full knowledge will bring full responsibility, with the reward of either life eternal or death eternal – the Second Death. Coming back now to what constitutes sin: The ordinary conception seems to be that if a man were to violate the divine law in ninety-nine points out of a hundred, yet preserve some one point of character, this one point would save him from the penalty of the divine law – from the supposed eternal torment. But looking into the Word of God we find the very reverse to be true: the slightest infraction of the divine law would be sin – that if any man could keep the divine law in ninety-nine parts and should fail in one point he would be guilty of the infraction of the law as a whole [NS410] and subject to its penalty – death. Our first view of this matter might cause us a shock, and suggest that the Almighty would be harsh in thus establishing a standard of absolute perfection as a condition in his favor and his blessing of everlasting life. But the more we examine the proposition the more we can see in it an absolute justice and wisdom. Wisdom shows us that if the Almighty sanctioned or condoned sin in the slightest degree it would be wrong, unjust; and we see how unwise it would be, too, when we consider that if a concession were granted for one sin for one individual, justice should require that a similar concession should extend to all of God's creatures – that each should have the liberty of sinning once and still retain divine favor. Thus sin would be sanctioned in the divine government, which is not supposable, and this would mean more or less of the practices of sin and of divine recognition of it throughout all eternity. On the contrary, God has denounced sin in its every form, even the very slightest, and has declared that death is its proper penalty, wage, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." Eze. 18:4


Before examining what remedy God holds out for sinners, we want to ascertain exactly who are sinners. The majority of the intelligent people of Christendom seem to believe that they are not sinners. True, they do not on the other hand generally claim to be saints. The well-to-do, who live decently, avoid fights, drunkenness, profanity, etc., are esteemed to be the "best citizens,' and are far from thinking themselves proper subjects for the "mourners' bench."

Do they not avoid the grosser forms of sin? Do they not give time for Church attendance? Do they not occasionally read their Bibles? Do they not attend Sunday School? Do they not give money or time to benevolent work, and would it not be dishonoring themselves to in any wise confess that they were sinners – that they needed salvation from eternal torment?

Surely God would not eternally torment such as they – only the most degraded and most depraved would meet such a fate. Thus measuring themselves with themselves, the people of Christendom are as a rule quite self-satisfied, just as were the Pharisees, the holiness people of our Lord's day, who pointed with pride to the fact that they gave tithes of obedience to many of the outward demands of the Law, that they contributed liberally to the support of the Temple and to the poor, and that they occupied prominent seats in the synagogue. They felt in consequence that God had cause to feel proud of them, and that when he would be making up his lists for the eternal state he would surely not leave out their names. To such our Lord said, "The whole need not a physician." [Matt. 9:12]

He had come as a physician to the sin-sick, and they did not realize themselves to be sin-sick, and hence they had little interest in the physician. Our Lord's words were uttered in sarcasm, as pointing out the fact that they thought they had no sin and no need of a sin cure, and hence they were but acting on their misconception when they rejected him and his favor of divine grace and mercy. The prototype of this is to be found today all through Christendom, both inside and outside of the various denominations. For be it understood that sectarian membership in no sense of the word cancels sin or purifies the heart or gives divine forgiveness. Under false teachings, therefore, many professed Christians are indulging in false hopes – in thinking that they are the Lord's people when as yet in reality they are in "the gall of bitterness." [Acts 8:23]

Without having consecrated themselves to be his followers, they, like the Pharisees of old, stand in the Temple and pray, "I thank thee, O Lord, that I am not as other men, nor even as this publican." [Luke 18:11]

The first thing for all such to learn is what constitutes a sinner from God's standpoint. Who needs to be forgiven? Who needs the great Physician's cure, and thereby reconciliation to the Father? We have already shown what original sin is, and how in consequence of heredity all are sinners, all are imperfect, some more and some less imperfect, but all short of the divine requirement – perfection. Since we have lost the original image of God, which would enable us of ourselves to know perfectly right from wrong, it is necessary now that we have before our minds the divine standard as expressed in the divine Law. This standard as set forth by our dear Redeemer himself is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul, strength, and thy neighbor as thyself." [Luke 10:27]

According to this standard who is perfect? Who can claim that his entire heart is given to the Lord and filled with loving desires of obedience to him? Who can claim that he is so free from selfishness that he loves his neighbor as himself, and would do for his neighbor as for himself? The Scriptures answer the question, telling us, "There is none righteous, no not one." (Rom. 3:10)

Again, in the language of our text, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." [Rom. 3:23]

The glory of God as a standard is that perfection which was given to father Adam in his creation and which was blemished by his disobedience and his death sentence. The Prophet tells us of this when, speaking of Adam, he says, "Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over all the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air and the fish of the sea." (Psa. 8:5-8)

We are all short of [NS411] perfection, short of the glorious grandeur of human nature which originally constituted it the image of the divine nature. The Apostle, we remember, states the whole matter in brief form, and explains how and why we are all thus degenerates, saying, "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world and death as a result of sin, and thus death has passed upon all men, because all are sinners." Rom. 5:12


Thus we see that the whole human family is not only sick physically, ailing in one way or another, dying under the divine sentence, but that it is sick mentally as well. Hearken to the inspired description of the condition of Adam's race: we are assured that we are all "born in sin, shapen in iniquity" (Psa. 51:5), and also that from the crown of the head to the sole of our feet we are full of blemishes – there is no soundness. (Isa. 1:6)

If we look at the statistics of the insane we are horrified to find the immense proportion of our race who are mentally unbalanced to such a degree as to be unfit to have their personal liberty, and we see also that amongst those who do have their liberty sanity is a question of proportion – all are more or less insane – unsound of mind, of judgment. The Apostle declares that those who renounce their own wills entirely and accept the will of God as set forth in the Word of God, that these alone have the spirit of a sound mind. Surely there is no soundness here for us to boast of, and this Scriptural declaration is well upheld.

As for physical soundness, the doctors' signs and apothecary shops and the patent medicine advertisements, no less than the hospitals, declare that the race is sadly degenerate physically, that there is no soundness at all, and the death records of the world, 90,000 a day, fully corroborate this statement of physical unsoundness – from head to foot. Prison statistics show us that the world in general is morally sick also, and day by day the public print lays before us evidences that many who are not in prison are morally unclean, leprous; and whoever will be honest with himself and look into his own heart, and then look into the mirror of the divine law, must admit to himself – whether he confesses it to others or not – that he is also by nature unclean, imperfect, that he comes short of the glory of God, and that by nature he is not fit for eternal life and heavenly glory. What shall we do? Is there a balm of Gilead and a good physician able and willing to take charge of this case – of Adam and his race more or less defiled mentally, physically, morally. Is there hope at all for the recovery either of the dying ones or of those who have already gone to the tomb? The Scriptures answer "Yes."

Jehovah, who condemned our race for its infraction of the divine law, has laid help upon one who is mighty to save – one "who is able to save to the uttermost all those who come unto the Father through him." (Heb. 7:25)

He himself assures us that he came to seek and to save that which was lost – Adam and his race. Some may suggest that his power is limited; that the worst of sinners, the vilest of the vile, would still be hopeless; but we remind such of the Scriptural declaration that he is able to save to the uttermost all who come to the Father through him. We remind such that according to the Scriptures Jesus paid the death penalty for Father Adam's transgression, and thus redeemed him and all who shared his penalty in each and every degree. To whatever extent, therefore, our blemishes, mental, moral and physical, are the results of heredity, to that extent they are forgivable, and the Redeemer stands ready to restore even the vilest of the vile to full harmony with the Creator. But there are conditions, as expressed in the Saviour's words, "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." [John 14:6]

None can have divine forgiveness or in any sense of the word have eternal life, the eternal life lost by father Adam, except as he accepts by faith the redeeming work of the Saviour; for, as the Apostle declares, "There is no other name given under heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

The one way of approach to the Father during the Gospel age is repentance of sin, turning from it, acceptance of the merit of Christ as compensation for our deficiencies, and then a consecration to the Lord to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Whoever attempts to come to the Father in his own righteousness, or in the righteousness and merit of any other than this Saviour the same is a thief and a robber, and is trying to climb into the sheepfold in some other way than that divinely appointed. He will not secure admittance; there is only one door to the fold. John 10:1


The great Shepherd, the good Physician, appeared amongst men and gave his life as their redemption price nearly nineteen centuries ago, and then began immediately to invite any who desired to go free from their sin-sickness to come unto him, to accept the healing balm of his grace and to become his sheep, his followers, hearkening to his voice, and to be guided thereby to the green pastures and still waters of refreshment in the present life, and at the end of the journey to be received into the heavenly fold. But comparatively few of Adam's race have ever heard his voice in any sense of the word, and of those who have heard something the majority merely hear indistinctly, vaguely, and have not understood the clear true import of the invitation. Only comparatively few of the race have [NS412] heard in the proper, definite, full sense of the word that brought them face to face with the facts and made them responsible. Speaking of this class our Lord said to the few who heard him, who recognized the "voice from heaven," "Blessed are your ears for they hear."

And all of this class who do really hear the Master's voice are indeed most wonderfully blessed, and, like the Apostle, they say, "Lord to whom should we go; thou hast the words of eternal life?" These find in the Master's words the promise of a blessing in the life that now is and also in that which is to come, and a peace and joy which they never knew before, and which the world can neither give nor take away. Blessed indeed are those ears which hear.


Nothing in our Lord's words in any sense intimates that those who do not hear his voice directly, neither through the apostles nor through the Scriptures nor through any of his followers, should never hear and should never be blessed. Quite to the contrary, the Prophet foretold that the time shall come when all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped. (Isa. 35:5)

And our Lord himself declares, "Other sheep I have that are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd." (John 10:16)

He has not yet begun to bring the other sheep; he is still taking the flock he first started to call, namely, Spiritual Israel. He found first of all the Israelites indeed amongst the Jews, and during this Gospel age he has been finding a similar class amongst the Gentiles, and these have been invited, and of these a little flock has been called out under the lead of the Shepherd. By and by these shall reach the fold, the heavenly condition, and then the greater work of dealing with all mankind will begin.

The little flock now called out from the world the Scriptures denominate the Bride of Christ. They are to be associates with the Lord in the glory and honor of his Kingdom and in his future work of finding the remainder of the sheep, giving them ears to hear, and leading them forth from the bondage of sin and death to the glorious liberty of the sons of God. It will be during the Millennial age that the great Shepherd will call the other flock and bless them, open their eyes and open their ears, and discipline them with his rod and staff, that whosoever will of them may ultimately attain eternal life. The two flocks will come back into harmony with God, but the one flock will be of the heavenly fold while the other flock will be of the earthly fold. The little flock will be brought to perfection as spirit beings, partakers of the divine nature, glory, honor and immortality; the subsequent earthly flock, the world in general, will be brought by the highway of holiness back to restitution. Their eternal state of blessedness will be that of an earthly paradise, related to God as was Adam before his transgression, but now so blessed by their experiences with sin and restitution that they will hate sin and love righteousness, and will therefore be the recipients of life and divine favor everlasting.

The Scriptures forewarn us that the little flock who now have the hearing ear will consist chiefly of the "poor of this world, rich in faith." (Jas. 2:5)

They assure us that we need not expect to find in this flock of the present time many wise, many great, many learned. How strange, we say – the very reverse of what we would expect! Our thought would have been that the grandest and noblest and best educated, the most favored of the race, would have been the first to realize their degradation and their need, to hearken to the voice of the Lord, and to accept the same and become his followers; that the ignoble rather should hear and accept now is an astonishment.

The Scriptural explanation is that the favored ones of the present time, contrasting themselves with the ignoble and degraded, have a self-righteous feeling and are not therefore sufficiently humble-minded to realize their own unworthiness and to accept the grace of God. On the contrary, those heavy laden with the disabilities of this life, with their own ignoble, depraved dispositions, with their own load of sin and imperfection, weary with these, weary with their endeavors to overcome their own frailties – these are the ones who, hearing the Shepherd's voice, gladly respond and accept his proffered assistance as their burden bearer, their sin bearer. With joy they behold that while divine sentence was justly upon them and upon all, divine love has provided the remedy in the death of the Redeemer, so that "God can be just and yet the justifier of those who believe in Jesus." (Rom. 3:26)

By faith they accept his assistance, by faith they become his sheep, by faith they follow him and have joy and peace in so doing – even though the way be narrow, even though it be rough with defects and trials, nevertheless in his presence and under his guidance they have joy and peace. Happy these sheep! Blessed are those whose eyes and ears of understanding become opened now to a realization of the facts and privileges of the present, and who become members of the flock now being called. For them is reserved the glory, honor and immortality, joint-heirs with their Shepherd in the Kingdom. They envy not the rich their joys of the present time, they envy not the earthly great and wise, for they realize themselves heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, if so be that they abide in his fellowship, [NS413] that they suffer with him, enduring hardness as good soldiers in their conflict with the world, the flesh and the Adversary, and in their loyalty to his standards. Dear brethren and sisters, Are we of this class? Have we realized that by nature we are all sinners? Have we hungered for righteousness as well as striven against sin?

Have we accepted the righteousness of Christ proffered us, have we put it on us as the wedding garment? Do we realize ourselves as justified freely from all things in the Father's sight through the Redeemer's merit? Have we made a consecration of ourselves to his service, and are we seeking to embroider our wedding garment with the graces of the holy Spirit? Are we striving to serve our Redeemer and to be co-laborers with him in so doing good to all men as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith? If so, blessed are we; if not, shall we not forthwith begin and avail ourselves of the privilege, and be permitted to hear the voice more and more as we seek day by day to obey and to follow on?

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