The Cincinnati Weekly Enquirer, June 21, 1909


New Britain, Conn., June 23 Pastor Russell, of Brooklyn Tabernacle, addressed a large audience twice here Sunday. The topic for one was, "Where Are the Dead?" We report the other one from the text Eph. 5:14.

He said: The figures of Scripture are forceful, as well as true. Our Creator speaks of the whole world being dead – because under sentence of death. More than this, through the fall our reasoning faculties are more or less unbalanced, some in one particular, others in another.

Some have hope disproportionately large, and are continually overestimating their possibilities. Others have the quality of hope proportionately small, and are continually discouraged and hindered from making the best use of their faculties. And thus it is with all of our talents. None of them could really be too large if the others were proportionately large.

It is the mental balance, or poise, that constitutes a sound mind and judgment. Thus, George Washington was great: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," not because of special or freak qualities, but because he had a remarkably well-balanced brain. Similarly the great French statesman, Gambetti, was influential, notwithstanding the fact that he had a phenomenally small brain – what he possessed was well balanced, giving him soundness of judgement. . Viewed from the Creator's standpoint, our race is sadly unbalanced – greatly changed through the 6,000 years of the fall. Originally in the divine likeness, many of its gracious qualities and much of its balance have departed, and hence the Scriptural assumption that the world is nine tenths dead as respects its best qualities of mind and heart.

And since death is a condition without consciousness, well illustrated by sleep, the Scriptures frequently refer to the world as being asleep. The Gospel of Christ is a message for the awakening of some who are not too profoundly asleep. And even those awakened by the gospel message are intimated to be in danger of becoming overcharged – drowsy with the spirit of this world.


In one sense of the word, the world is very much awake – very full of activity – to-day as never before. When one looks at the wonderful architecture of our day and considers the rapidity of its construction, and the wonderful conveniences of elevators, electric lighting, & c.; when one travels on an express train and notes the conveniences, comfort and speed attained, the highways cast up throughout the length and breadth of the land for these arteries of life; when one travels, either by the subways or elevated tractions hither and thither; when one sends or receives a telegram or a cablegram; when one crosses the Atlantic or the Pacific on an ocean liner – all of these convince him that the world has wonderfully awakened within the last century.

Looking back a century, it is evident that the world was much more asleep then than now. And yet this awakening has affected chiefly what might be termed the middle brain. The lower organs of the mind have never been idle. The higher organs of the brain are still dormant with the majority. Indeed, it would appear as though the activities in the middle brain and in the animal passions of the lower brain have rather detracted from the upper or higher qualities of mind. Hence to all appearances mankind are more stupidly asleep to-day in respect to spiritual things than ever in the past. We are seeking to sound forth the message of the Lord, "Awake, thou that sleepest," especially desiring to awake spiritual consciousness and responsibility and activity. Nevertheless, the Scriptures and experience forbid us to hope that a majority, or even a very large minority, will be awakened by anything that we can utter. It is not for us to alarm or threaten or shake the world with fear of eternal torment. It is not for us to do evil that good may follow.

It is not for us to awaken by such false alarms those who cannot be awakened by the truth – by a truthful presentation of the divine character and the divine plan and the duties and privileges proclaimed through the Gospel. It is for us to speak the message of the Lord, knowing that none will receive it except such as have the "hearing ear" of faith – that none will be able to see the beauties of the message except those who have the eye of faith. As our Lord said to some, "Blessed are your ears, for they hear, and your eyes, for they see."


Our Lord defines the second step to be that those who are awakened should arise from the dead – should separate themselves from the world, its sins, its objects, its methods. Our awakening signifies our coming to a consciousness of the actualities of our condition as individuals and as a race. As consciousness comes to us we look about and see the pell-mell rush of humanity and ask ourselves, "Why, What, Whither."

We soon discover that the majority of those about us are practically [NS670] unconscious as respects a future life – conscious only of their present existence, and worried and fretted because they cannot attain all of their ambitions, which are practically limited to the few years of the present life. As we become awake to the Lord's message we say with the poet: "Life is real, life is earnest, And the grave is not its goal."

We begin to look beyond the grave, to realize that our Creator had a great purpose in our creation as a race, and that the present life consequently can be nothing more than a vestibule to the future possibility of life eternal. We note the tendency of our day to devote at least the first 15 years of childhood to education, in order to fit and prepare for the few remaining years of the present life. We conclude that if this be reasonable then surely all of the present life can be none too long for a course of schooling and training, and preparation for the life eternal.

As our minds become awake to the realities of the situation from this standpoint we determine to follow the injunction of our text – to arise from the dead – to follow no longer with those who ignore the future as not really believing in it. This exhortation, "Arise from the dead," evidently does not relate to actual resurrection from the dead, from which we would have no power to raise ourselves. The power of that resurrection we are assured is in the hands of God, and all we can have to do with it is to make such a preparation of heart as would, according to the divine terms, fit and prepare us for a share in the "better resurrection" – in the "first resurrection.

The real resurrection of the future is our only hope of life beyond the tomb, according to the Scriptures, but the thought of that resurrection is carried forward and the word resurrected used in a figurative sense in respect to the phenomenal change which may come to those who honor the Lord's voice in the present time and are awakened thereby. These may, through the operation of their wills undergo such a transformation, such a change, as is well represented figuratively by the expressions, "Arise from the dead," "Resurrection," etc.


Thus the Apostle suggests, "If then ye be risen with Christ, seek these things which are above." (Col 3:1)

Again he says, "But if the spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His spirit that dwelleth in you." (Rom. 8:8)

In this last text the Apostle likens the great transformation of the present life to a resurrection from the dead, and explains that none of us could have such a transformation of character except as we should receive the begetting of the holy Spirit, the spirit of Christ. That spirit – that holy mind or disposition – accepted by our wills should rule in our mortal bodies, however imperfect, however fallen, however dead they may be to the perfections and righteousness in which we were created as a race. Because Christ died for human sins – "for the sins of the whole world" – therefore eventually an awakening from the dead will come to all mankind. Thus it is written, "The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear (obey) shall live." (John 5:25)

The masses of mankind do not hear the voice of the Lord at all in the present life; many of these die in infancy, and the majority are in heathenism. The time when all such shall hear will be during the millennial age, when all that are in their graves shall hear the command of the Son of Man and come forth – just as Jesus at the door of Lazarus' tomb commanded, "Lazarus, come forth! And he that was dead came forth."

As the world is now counted dead from God's standpoint, so those in the millennial age which come forth from the tomb will still be dead in the sense that they will not have the perfection of life, and not be thoroughly awake intellectually. They will come forth from the tomb in order that they may hear the voice of God speaking peace through Jesus Christ – informing them that still they are sinners, and justly condemned to death and extinction. Nevertheless God in mercy had provided a redemption through Jesus, and therefore they were awakened from the tomb and caused to hear the message of God's grace. How blessed the assurance, "They that hear shall live."

They that hearken to the King of Glory will be gradually raised up, up, up, out of their condition of sin and death to righteousness and the perfection of life. As for the unwilling, those who refuse then to hear, to obey, we have the Scriptural assurance that their punishment will be, not everlasting life in torment, but "everlasting destruction." Acts 3:23; Rom. 6:23

Our text, however, is not describing the future age, the millennium, in which the Lord will speak so forcefully to the world that all will hear and be awakened and come to a knowledge of the truth. It is speaking of the present time when the god of this world, Satan, blinds the minds and stops the hearing of all mankind except a few. "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears," for they hear. The awakened ones of the present time are expected to have new desires, distinctly separate and apart from those which control the world in general, and these must be so strong as to lead them to a changed course in life – to arise, to take a higher plane of thought and action than that of the world in general. The desire to arise must be their own [NS671] desire, prompted by the awakening which the Lord has granted them. Whoever, becoming awakened, is content to abide in death, to have his fellowship with the dead world, to live on the plane of sin and death – such is not called of the Lord at the present time. Christ's call and his assisting grace are only for such as voluntarily seek to arise from the dead, seek to walk in the paths of righteousness, seek justice, seek righteousness.


To those awakened ones who seek to "arise from the dead" world, comes gradually the conviction that they have undertaken the impossible thing. They find, as the Apostle explains it: "To will is present with me, but how to perform the law of God perfectly I do not find."

This was the condition of the Jews as a nation for more than 16 centuries, from the time the Law was given at Mt. Sinai until Christ came and "brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel."

The Law awakened many of the Jews to a realization that they were in the bonds of sin and death – it set before them the perfect standard of the divine law – love for God with all their hearts, mind and strength, and love for their neighbor as for themselves, and promised them eternal life if they would arise from the dead to this grand development of character. We are assured that many Jews strove to fulfill the conditions, only to find that they could not do the things they desired, because "the reign of sin and death" in their bodies had perverted their powers and made it impossible for the higher organs of their nature to thoroughly dominate, subdue and control the lower organs. St. Paul, speaking for those representatively, cried out: "O wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from this dead body?" (Rom. 7:24)

I would like to "arise from the dead."

I would like to live in newness of life, but I am bound down to the sinful condition by my physical frailties, and there is no one that can help me. Then he announces the message of the Gospel, and points us to Christ as the one who gave him release, and who is willing to give release to all of those who desire to come unto the Father through him – release from the bondage of sin and death. Our text tells the same story briefly in the words "Christ shall give thee light," or Christ shall be thy light. But the question is, How shall we come into this relationship with Christ?

How shall we get this light, this assistance, this deliverance from our old selves, from the reigning power of sin and death in our mortal bodies? There is but one way to attain this. After seeking to "arise from the dead," and finding ourselves unable to do so, our hearts cry out to the Lord, and through His word and providence we are directed to the Lord Jesus. Coming to Him by faith we inquire, What shall we do that we may be saved from ourselves, from our own fallen conditions, from the death that is upon the whole world? How may we obtain eternal life? How shall we prepare ourselves for it?

The answer comes that we are not only to believe on our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, our Redeemer, but that additionally we will need Him to be our guide and our helper, and that only those who enter the school of Christ to learn of Him will be prepared for a share in His resurrection, the chief resurrection. We are assured that this resurrection change must begin in us now if it will be completed in the glorious transformation that will be granted to the elect at Christ's second coming. There is, however, only the one way to enter the school of Christ, to become His pupils. In the Scriptures it is called the "narrow way," entered by a strait or difficult gate. Our Lord explained this when He said: "If any man will be My disciple let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me."

Any who decline these terms are declining the only entrance conditions connected with the school of Christ, and hence decline all the blessed arrangements of this Gospel age. They decline to enter the list of those invited to be joint heirs with Christ in His kingdom – the very elect. Nor is it enough that we make the consecration, that we enter the gate; to gain the prize, we must continue in the narrow way to the end; we must keep awake; we must keep separate from the world, and keep in touch with our Redeemer, who becomes the Captain of our salvation.

While He leads His followers by such a narrow way, beset by difficulties, tribulations, testings of faith and obedience, we have the assurance that He is faithful, loving, sympathetic, and that He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but with every temptation in the narrow way will provide also a way of escape, so that the trials of life will not consume us as new creatures, but merely consume the dross. Acceptance of Christ by a full consecration to do the Father's will, laying down our lives in His service and in opposition to sin, brought us to the place of begetting by His holy Spirit. And such as the Father thus received and accepted by the spirit of adoption into His spiritual family became thus heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord upon condition that they suffer with Him, that by and by they may share His glory. (Rom. 7:17)

Their sufferings are counted in as parts of His suffering, as they are counted in as "members of His body."


A worldly adage has it, "Where ignorance is bliss 'tis [NS672] folly to be wise."

So with the world during the dark ages; it dreamed, and was measurably happy in its slumbers. In some respects it was happier than now. The awakening of the past century has not brought to the world blessing, contentment, happiness, but rather the reverse.

Awakened aesthetic tastes call for satisfaction in dainties and luxuries which all cannot attain. While "Christendom" to-day is more comfortably housed, and better fed, and better clothed, than ever before, it is more wasteful, and peevish, and discontented, and unhappy, than ever before. Why? Because the selfish propensities are in control of the will, and the more they see the more they know, the more they have, the more will they desire. The suggestion then comes that awakening and knowledge are dangerous things to come under present conditions.

We answer, yes; the only safe prescription for those awakened is that which the Lord provides, namely: Arise from the dead and have Christ give thee light, and follow that light. Otherwise the awakening is not profitable. Otherwise the heathen might just as well remain in their heathenism, waiting for the millennial age, with its strong government, law, order, enforced righteousness, etc. Japan is a commendable example of this. Aroused from the sleep of centuries, the Japanese have a feverish desire to be and to do. Yet they are no more happy than before, and no doubt many of them are farther from God and His righteousness at heart than were their forefathers – more unhappy, more discontented. We reiterate that the prescription will be of advantage only when taken as a whole – "Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."


Awakened Christendom is on the verge of anarchy, but does not realize it. In connection with her awakening she has developed financial giants, who, discerning the vast possibilities of the hour, have seized in various ways, more or less legal and more or less just, the inventions and opportunities brought in by the awakening. These advantages have been capitalized, stocked and trusted in harmony with the general laws of our time, the laws of selfishness which govern both poor and rich.

Under these conditions these financial giants control the world – all others to a greater or less extent do them homage and service willy-nilly. On the other hand, the masses, equally selfish, but less fortunately situated, are becoming more and more awake to their rights and their wrongs and their power through the ballot and otherwise. They, too, are organizing and federating and growing in intelligence. The battle between these two great institutions is sure to come, and cannot be long deferred. Love on the part of one or the other would save the day, but more and more they are losing confidence in love and are developing its opposite. Injustices on each side are magnified. Neither gives the other credit for any other principle or motive than avarice. The clash between the two will precipitate what the Scriptures designate as "A time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation." (Dan. 12:1)

Thank God for the Scriptural assurance that in the height of the trouble the Lord will bring deliverance by the establishment of His Kingdom, for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as in heaven."

Let us, then, seek to awaken ourselves and others along the line of our text – to awaken to righteousness and not to sin. Let us, when awakened, be prompt and energetic to "arise from the dead."

Let us note the impossibility of so doing in our own strength. Let us accept the Divine provision in Christ, not only for forgiveness of sins that are past and the covering of present blemishes, but let us also accept the great Redeemer as our great Teacher. Let us come into His school by a full consecration of heart. Let us abide in His school and learn the message of life, which will prepare us for an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

The National Labor Tribune, June 27, 1909


Glen Falls, N.Y., June 27 – Pastor Russell, of Brooklyn Tabernacle, preached to large audiences here today on two occasions. We report his discourse on prayer from the text, "Behold, he prayeth." (Acts 9:11)

He said: The thoughtless utterance of formalistic petition is not prayer, even though it be so called. The poet expresses the truth on the subject in the words: "Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, Uttered or unexpressed."

Some of our Lord's most severe criticisms of the formalistic piety of his day condemned those prayers which were offered in public places to be seen or heard of men, to be considered pious. His curt criticism of [NS673] such prayers was, "Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward."

They were in reality praying to men, seeking for human approbation. They got the reward they sought, in that many were deceived and thought them holy, pious. But while men might be deceived with such outward pretensions, God looketh upon the heart, and accepteth only the soul's sincere desires. "The Father seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth." John 4:24

Our text is a part of the Lord's message to Ananias when directing him to Saul of Tarsus. The latter had been a persecutor of the Church, an injurious person, honest at heart, but misguided and prejudiced. Saul had sought to do God service by opposing the Church of Christ. Following the lead of his elders, the Scribes and Pharisees of Judaism, he had allowed prejudice to make him a foe to Christ, and an opponent of all those who sought to walk in his ways. The Lord had allowed him to proceed to a considerable extent in his persecutions of the Church. The Lord wished a certain amount of persecution to come against his cause, and permitted an honest-hearted man to go to considerable length in his opposition. The intention of this was to accomplish the scattering of the Church, that the believers, going everywhere, might proclaim the Gospel that Saul himself might feel humiliated and forever afterward be on guard against a persecuting spirit and against the danger of being deceived respecting the Lord's will.

When the due time came he was smitten with what he describes to have been a glance of the Redeemer's face, while on his way to further persecute the Church at Damascus. The flash, above the brightness of the sun at noonday, worked serious injury to Saul's eyesight, completely blinding him. Led by the hand, he was entertained in Damascus at the house of one called Judas. He recognized the source of his affliction. The Lord had reproved him for his persecution, saying, Why persecutest thou me?

Saul inquired, Who art thou, Lord? And the response was, "I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest" – because persecuting a member of the Body of Christ is persecuting the Head of the Church.

After reaching Damascus, Saul evidently continued his praying. He accepted the fact that his experiences were miraculous, and proved that he had been serving God, but not according to knowledge; that he had been a persecutor and an injurious person as respected the cause of his Creator. In his blindness of natural sight the eyes of his understanding began to open. He was so deeply affected with the thought of how wrong his course had been, and how he had been fighting against God, that he could neither eat nor sleep, but was continually in prayer for forgiveness and for some manifestation of divine favor which would indicate this. He had finally come to the proper attitude of heart, and as a consequence the Lord received his petition and answered it by sending a faithful believer to restore his physical sight in a measure, and to further enlighten [us understanding. The explanation given by the Lord to Ananias in sending him to Saul was,


How much meaning there was in these few words! They meant, Saul of Tarsus is a changed man; he is no longer the self-confident one, boastful of his phariseeism, his holiness, his tithes, and his service of persecution; but, humbled to the dust, he has come to realize that while he thought he did service to the King of kings, he was in reality a servant of the Evil One, an injurious person.

While it is true that good men have prayed, and in spite of their prayers have made mistakes, it has doubtless generally been true that the mistakes made by religious people have been along the lines of too great confidence in themselves – too much self-assurance in respect to the teachings of the Bible, too much self-confidence as respects their service of the truth. And when good men have made mistakes after praying for Divine wisdom, it is not only possible but probable that their prayers were only partially sincere; that when they prayed to the Lord, "Thy will be done on earth as in heaven," they sometimes meant, "Approve my will on earth as I approve your will in heaven" – "deceiving themselves."

Let us all be on guard against any such self-deception. Let us remember the Master's words, "Blessed are the pure in heart."

Let us remember that to be pure-hearted means to be sincere, and to utter nothing which we do not mean. Let us learn to search our hearts, as the Scriptures suggest, to scrutinize our words, our thoughts, our conduct, with a view to noting to what extent self-will, or our own plans and arrangements, are influencing us, and to what extent we are sincere in desiring to know and to do the Lord's will.


Most of you probably have heard the story of early frontier life, in which two travelers were obliged to seek shelter in a mountain home, in a locality which they had been warned was dangerous, especially as they had money. Only the necessity of the occasion forced them to seek the shelter. They purposed keeping guard throughout the night, the one sleeping while the other watched in turn, fearing they would be robbed, possibly murdered. However, just as they had reached this conclusion, one of them noticed a crack in the door, [NS674] and peering through it beheld the uncouth householder on his knees in prayer. He explained the situation to his companion, and they both realized their safety and went to sleep in peace. There is a principle involved in this matter of prayer. The heart which seeks fellowship with its Creator seeks the loftiest companionship, one which will be sure to lead him more and more out of willful sin and depravity.

Those who have no fellowship with God cannot keep up for long a prayer of formality in secret. There must be a motive, either to be seen of men or to be heard of God, otherwise there would be no prayer. Whoever seeks his Creator in prayer is proportionately amenable at heart to righteous influences. Whoever has no appreciation of prayer thereby shows that proportionately he is estranged from his Creator – out of fellowship with him. And while such may at times, or perhaps for a considerable time, be outwardly moral and honest, we may be sure that their estrangement from God might at any time lead off into sin. They are off the path of divine fellowship, and on the path of carelessness and worldliness, which may at any moment lead off into the ways of unrighteousness.


St. Paul exhorts the church, "Let us come boldly (courageously) to the throne of heavenly grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need." (Heb. 4:16)

He is not addressing the world, but the household of faith, as indicated by the word "us."

The picture he brings before our minds is that of the Tabernacle and the priests conducting the service. He points out that our Lord Jesus as the great anti-typical High Priest has made an atonement for the sins of all believers, and that therefore believers who have turned from sin may come to the heavenly Father courageously – not in fear, nothing doubting.

They may come even when they realize their imperfection and natural blemishes; when they realize they have fallen short of the Lord's standard, and of their own standards; they may realize that it is a throne of grace, of mercy, of favor, where they drop the burden of their imperfections and obtain a blessing, and bear a song away. The world cannot come to this throne of grace, because still in sin; because they have not yet turned their backs upon sin, because they have not yet accepted Christ as their Redeemer, their Savior, and because, therefore, he is not their High Priest.

The Apostle says, "He hath appeared in the presence of God for us" – believers. He has an arrangement, disclosed in the Word which says that by and by he will appear on behalf of all, but as yet the new and living way is opened only to those antitypical priests and Levites who desire to come to the Father through him. No one loving and practicing sin has any invitation to this throne of grace. He must learn first the exceeding sinfulness of sin; he must become sin-sick before he will realize his need of or have an appreciation for the Good Physician and the balm which he alone can supply for the healing of the soul.


The Apostle not only declares that believers at the throne of grace may obtain mercy, forgiveness of unwilling sins, imperfections, but that additionally they may find grace to help in every time of need. (Heb. 4:16)

Surely this is true, as every developed Christian must know. Hence, the faithful approach the throne of grace with courage, not only when they have trespasses to confess and apologies to make, and forgiveness to ask, but also as they think of the trials, temptations and difficulties along the way, and of the day. They learn to seek fortification against sin, against their own weaknesses, against the encroachments of the world, the flesh and the Adversary. They obtain these blessings by their fellowship with the Lord. It lifts their hearts from the earthly things and the sinful things. It brings to them a fresh realization of the Father's love and care.

It reminds them repeatedly of their call of the Lord to be his disciples, and of the terms and conditions upon which they are accepted. It brings before them repeatedly the glorious standard above all standards – the Divine. It reminds them of the Savior's words, "Be ye like unto your Father which is in heaven, who is kind to the evil and the good, and extends his mercies to the just and the unjust."

It reminds them afresh that they should pray, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," and thus it tends to make their hearts and minds more tender, more gentle, more forgiving toward all with whom they have to do.


We have read of King's commands that prayers should be said; we have read of general Church orders respecting the kind and number, and sometimes the phraseology, of prayers, but our Heavenly Father has left the matter open; he has no commands respecting prayers, nor concerning their length or frequency. He has merely indicated, through the words of Jesus and the Apostles, that he may be approached in prayer through the merit of the cross of Christ. When our Lord gave his Apostles an example of a proper prayer in what is generally known as "The Lord's prayer," he did this not of his own volition, but at their request. The lesson in all of this is, that "the Father seeketh such to [NS675] worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth."

Any who do not desire at heart to have communion with God would not be welcome at the throne of grace. Any who merely pray in a formalistic manner are not heard at all, and might better not pray at all.

To those who appreciate the great privilege, the great honor, of being permitted to go into the presence of their Creator, to bow low before him, to tell him of their realization of their dependence upon him, and their confidence in him, of their weaknesses, of their trials, of their endeavors to please him, and who thus come through the merit of Christ's redemptive work – these and their petitions are ever acceptable at the throne of grace.

They are encouraged to come, and no limitation is made on the number of times in which they may call upon God, and enjoy this privilege. What God has not commanded we may not command in his name, but surely we may recommend to all our own experience and the experiences of the world's most faithful followers; namely, that prayers should be made with regularity and frequency. Who will say that a day is properly opened until the Creator, the author of our being, and the giver of every good and perfect gift, has first been approached in acknowledgement and thanksgiving?

Who will doubt that a blessing upon the entire day must result from a committing of our ways to divine providential oversight and care, and the asking of divine blessing upon our endeavor to walk righteously, soberly and courageously in the pathway of the just. And when the shades of night appear, and we retire to rest, is it not most appropriate that we should review the day before the Lord, and render thanks for his mercies and care and blessing, and entreat for continual favor, and rest, and refreshment as he may see best for us? Does anyone doubt that the mere lifting of the heart, thinking of the will of God, and the calling to mind of the gracious promises and privileges that are ours, would have a sanctifying and happifying effect on the mind. The Apostle speaks, however, of praying without ceasing. By this we understand he meant that God's consecrated people should be continually in an attitude of prayer – "uttered or unexpressed."

The interests of life, committed to the Lord in the morning, and divine wisdom and providential guidance asked in the name of Jesus, should be expected throughout the day – looked for. The heart should train itself to repeatedly, continually, be on the lookout for evidences of the Lords guidance, and to give thanks in the heart, if not outwardly, for each recognized mercy and guidance, praying and singing and making melody in our hearts unto the Lord. Similarly, if any unexpected trial or testing should come, the heart in full fellowship with the Lord would be prompt to carry its troubles, its perplexities, to "the God of all grace."


By way of emphasizing his exhortation that the Lord's followers pray without ceasing, St. Paul adds, "In everything give thanks."

Thanks for life's blessings, for the things that are happifying, for the successes of life, for the opportunities of divine service that are pleasurable; thanks also for the trials of life, its difficulties, its sorrows, its disappointments, because all of these bring experiences which should be valuable to us, developing the fruits and graces of the Lord's spirit – meekness, gentleness, patience, longsuffering, brotherly kindness, love. The Christian who is well advanced in the narrow way, and in preparation in the school of Christ for the day of graduation, who is able to fulfill the Apostle's injunction and "in everything give thanks" – such an one will surely be able to rejoice in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation is a part of the Lord's providence for all those who are called to be footstep followers of Jesus, sharers in his sufferings now, and by and by to be sharers in the glory of his Millennial Kingdom.


We have seen who may and who may not pray, according to the limitations of the Lord's Word; that no one is invited to pray except the penitent who turns from sin and accepts of Christ. We have seen how the people of God may pray for the forgiveness of their own trespasses, and have Divine mercy and help, and how they may give thanks on behalf of themselves and each other. But may they pray to God for sinners, for the world?

Undoubtedly the majority of Christians would answer, Yes, they should specially pray for these; but if we find the Scriptural answer to the query, it is, No. Our Lord's words in his prayer to the Father on the same night in which he was betrayed were, "I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me." (John 17:9)

Our Lord was the great exemplar for all of his followers, who are exhorted to walk in his footsteps. If he prayed not for the world, neither should we. But what is the philosophy of this? Did not Jesus love the world? Yes, verily, he so loved the world as to die for us while we were yet sinners. Why, then, did he not pray for those whom he loved and for Whom he died?

We answer, because it is not the Divine Plan to save people by praying for them, but, as the Apostle declared, It pleased God that through the preaching of the Cross of Christ believers should be saved, though this course may seem foolish to the worldly. God has made a great plan of salvation, which eventually will [NS676] reach the whole world of mankind – every creature. He does not need, therefore, that either our Lord Jesus or we should pray for the world, for he has every arrangement made on their behalf that Love and Justice could provide: The time for blessing the world has not yet come. The present is the time for blessing the Church, believers who are now being called out of the world – to separate themselves as God's peculiar people.

It was for these that Jesus prayed, and for these, therefore, we following his example, should pray. Their afflictions are his afflictions, and hence our afflictions, because if one member of the Body of Christ suffer, all the other members suffer with it. Hence, as the Apostle says, we should pray one for the other, as well as labor to assist each other, and to build one another up in the most holy faith, for this is the will of God.

This is the plan of God – that during the present age the Elect class should be called and tested and chosen, in order that in the next age they with Christ in his Millennial Kingdom may be the divine agency for the blessing of all the families of the earth. Why should we not pray for the conversion of our families, and neighbors and friends? Because it is not for us to ask the Lord to select according to our judgment those who shall be of his elect Little Flock, his Bride class. Divine rules are in operation, and it is for us to cooperate with them. We may tell the good tidings to our friends, neighbors, families; we may exemplify the Gospel in our daily lives, and thus bring to bear upon our friends the things of the truth, which God has ordained shall be the sanctifying power – "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy Word is Truth."

We may, however, ask of the Lord wisdom and grace whereby we may serve him acceptably, whereby we may present his message faithfully as his ambassadors, and whereby we may be more and more burning and shining lights, and living epistles known and read of the dear friends whom we would love to serve and to bring to him. We might even ask for the Lord's blessing upon favored opportunities for presentation of the Truth, and for the wisdom which our Lord exhorted us to exercise, saying that we should be wise as serpents and harmless as doves in the presentation of his message.

The exhortations to pray for our enemies, and for rulers and magistrates, are not in conflict with the foregoing, because our prayer for our enemies would be that whereas they might be justly entitled to stripes on account of injury done to us, we would be willing to forgive them, that the trespass might not be laid to their charge; but this would not be asking the Lord for some miraculous power upon them for their conversion to be his disciples. And when the Apostle exhorts that prayer be made for magistrates, he makes no suggestion of praying for their conversion, but rather that their government might be so ordered as to inure to the benefit, the blessing, of the Lord's Elect Church – "that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty." 1 Tim. 2:2

I close with the exhortation that we all seek to appreciate more and more the great privilege which we enjoy as Christians, of coming in the name of our Lord and Head into the presence of the Emperor of the Universe, to get his smile, his benediction, obtaining his mercy, and finding daily grace to help our needs.


LOVE is the filling from one's own
Another's cup.
Love is a daily Laying down
And taking up;
A choosing of the stony path
Through each new day
That other feet may tread with ease.
A smoother way.
Love is not blind, but looks abroad
Through other eyes;
And asks not "Must I give?" but
"May I sacrifice?"
Love hides its grief, that other hearts
And lips may sing;
And burdened, walks, that other lives
May, buoyant, wing.
Brother, hast thou a love like this
Within thy soul?
'Twill change thy name to saint when thou
Dost reach thy goal.


The Cincinnati Weekly Enquirer, July 8, 1909


Brooklyn, N. Y., July 4 – Pastor Russell preached today at Brooklyn Tabernacle to a large audience. He took for His text Matt. 6:10.

The words of our text have been repeated by Christian people of all nationalities for centuries. You recognize them as a portion of what is generally termed the Lord's prayer, given to the Lord's followers as a model in answer to the request of the Apostles, "Lord, teach us to pray. The fact that our Lord instructs us to pray for His kingdom to come implies several things.

(1) That it was not already here.

(2) That it is part of the Divine provision that in due time the dominion of the Highest shall be established among men.

(3) That this is one of the chief desideratums for God's people and for humanity. In this connection we remember the Apostle's statement to some of the early church, "How ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for His Son from heaven." (1 Thess. 1:9-10)

We remember how the same Apostle links the second coming of Christ with the coming kingdom, saying, "Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and kingdom." (2 Tim. 4:1)

There is a double thought, however, connected with the matter which in the past has tended to confuse us as Bible students, until we recognized that the Lord has in store a blessing for the world in addition to the still greater blessing for the church. The double thought is this:

(1) That the church now being selected is to constitute that kingdom.

(2) That the kingdom will be established for the blessing of all the families of the earth by establishing a rule of righteousness and causing the knowledge of the Lord to fill the whole earth. If this double thought be kept in mind the entire matter will be clear, and every text of Scripture on the subject will be found harmonious.


It surely has not escaped the attention of every Bible student that nearly all of our Lord's parables are more or less closely identified with this kingdom thought. The majority of them open with such expressions as, "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto," etc. If we keep in memory that it is a kingdom of priests that is to be established, otherwise called a royal priesthood, all will be plain.

Our Lord Jesus, after He had paid our ransom price, after He died the just for the unjust, as our sacrificing High Priest ascended upon high to be our King, to be a priest upon His throne. And similarly he is now calling for an under-priesthood, willing to follow His example of self-sacrifice in the present life. These in due time He will glorify with Himself, giving them a share in that royal priesthood as priest upon the throne of the Millennial kingdom. Thus he promised, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne." (Rev. 3:21)

If all Christian people could realize that their "high calling" of God is not a calling away from eternal torment, but a calling, or invitation, to association with Christ in His great kingdom, which shall ultimately rule the world, "under the whole heavens," they would read the Bible with a fresh interest; it would soon be to them a new book.

Glance at some of the parables. Note how they give snap-shot pictures of the church's experiences, not only in the future, but especially in the present time of development and preparation and testing – picturing the trying experiences necessary for attaining the kingdom. In other words, the church while on trial is the embryo-kingdom, the probationary kingdom class. This is the enlisting time, the testing time, the proving time, and none will be accounted worthy to share in the actual glories and privileges of the coming "kingdom of God's dear Son" except those who now demonstrate not only loyalty but loving devotion to the Lord, to His truth, to all who are His – to the extent of laying down their lives for the truth and for the brethren. Note the parable of the sower, and that the message sown is the "good seed of the kingdom."

Note that the ripe wheat developed from the sowing is denominated the children of the kingdom. Note that the gathering of wheat into the barn – by the resurrection change, to the heavenly state – is still associated with the thought of the kingdom in the words, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

Now they are exhorted to shine forth their light as tallow candles, that they may show forth the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. If unfaithful in shining forth the light under the present conditions of prevalent darkness, they will not be esteemed worthy of a place with the glorified faithful in the kingdom which shall shine forth as the sun. [NS678] Note in the parable of the net cast into the sea, which gathered fish of various kinds, that the net represented the nominal church of this present time, which in due time is drawn ashore, the fishes caught separated, and those suitable for the kingdom are represented as gathered in baskets, while the unsuitable are represented as being cast back into the sea.

Notice the parable of the pearl of great price, which represented the kingdom blessings and privileges, and could be obtained only by the selling of all that was possessed; that thus the Lord's followers who desire a share in His kingdom are to reckon that no sacrifice is too great to make to attain that blessing – indeed, they are to know that the kingdom can be attained at no less cost than the surrender of all their earthly hopes and aims. Note the parable of the pounds and talents, which represented our Lord's departure to heaven for investure in authority to be the great King of earth, the sovereign of the Millennial kingdom to be established at his return.

Note the giving of the pounds and the talents to his faithful servants to be used in his interest in his absence. Note that on his return he first reckoned with these, and rewarded the faithful, saying to one: Have thou dominion over two cities? to another, have thou dominion over five cities? to another, have thou dominion over ten cities? Note that this giving of the dominion to his faithful servants signified their sharing with him in his kingdom at the time of its establishment at his second coming.


Note the parable of the sheep and the goats, which pictures the Millennial kingdom in full operation. It opens with the announcement, "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." (Matt. 25:31)

This is unquestionably a picture of the Millennial reign of Christ, and His dealing with the world. When that time shall come the elect church, the bride of Christ, will be with him in the throne, sharing his glory, and sharing in the work of judging the world; as said St. Paul, "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" 1 Cor. 6:2

The prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures abound in testimonials respecting the blessing which shall come to the world during the reign of Messiah's kingdom. The Jew had every reason to expect that God had honored their nation as the seed of Abraham with especial relationship to his Kingdom – that as his holy nation and people Israel should be the channel for the dispensing of the divine blessings to all the families of the earth. Nor will that expectation prove false. The Lord has not changed His plan. A portion was not previously revealed, styled by the Apostle Paul "the mystery of God."

This mystery is, that before Israel can be God's earthly agents for dispensing his blessings to mankind in general to every nation, people, kindred and tongue, God will first select a special class, a "Little Flock," a "Royal Priesthood" – the church, the bride, the members of the Body of Christ, as a spiritual Israel. When this kingdom class shall have been fully selected, and the last member shall have been glorified with Christ beyond the veil on the spirit plane of existence, then divine favor will return to natural Israel.

We are not to understand that every one who has Abrahamic blood in his veins will on that account be permitted a special service for the Lord during the Millennium as an earthly representative of the spiritual Empire. Nay, they are not all Israelites who are of the seed of Abraham. But the Lord shows us through the apostle that prior to the coming of Christ God had already selected Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets and other faithful ones enumerated by St. Paul in Hebrews 11. These, having demonstrated their faith and willing obedience to do the Lord's will, have this testimony, "that they pleased God."

These ancient worthies of the earthly seed of Abraham are already prepared of the Lord to be the earthly representatives of his Spiritual Kingdom. In due time, after the glorification of the Church in "the first resurrection," these will come forth not on the spirit plane, but as perfect human beings. Through these the Lord's blessings and instructions to mankind will be disseminated. They will constitute the earthly Jerusalem, as the Church will constitute the heavenly Jerusalem, Mt. Zion; as we read, 'The law shall go forth from Mt. Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (Mic 4:2), for the blessing of all nations, for their instruction in righteousness, for their assistance in the highway of holiness, that they may gain at its farther end the great reward of life eternal.

It is but reasonable to expect that with the establishment of that kingdom for which Israel has so long waited and hoped, its mercies through these ancient worthies will first appeal to the nation of Israel, and subsequently to all people, of all nations, as they shall come to the faith of Abraham and receive the instruction of the Kingdom. Thus it is written, "And many nations shall go and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in His paths." (Mic 4:2) [NS679]


It may help some to think of this Gospel age as a parenthesis. God's dealings with the Jews in the flesh were interrupted by the development of the spiritual seed of Abraham – Christ and the Church. (Gal. 3:29)

As soon as this work of developing Spiritual Israel shall be completed, and the "little flock" be exalted to glory on the spirit plane by their resurrection change, then the parenthesis will be ended, and divine favor will resume its operation with natural Israel, and through Israel to all nations for their blessing. Note how distinctly this matter is set forth in Romans 11. There the Apostle notes the rejection of natural Israel, and how it was foretold by the prophets Isaiah and David that their table of divine mercies and promises would become a trap and a snare to them, making them proud and arrogant instead of humble, and thus showing the unfitness of the majority of them for a share with Messiah in the spiritual part of the Kingdom.

The Apostle pictures these in the olive tree, whose roots represented the Abrahamic Covenant, and whose branches represented the Jews. He points out that nearly all the branches were broken off – because of unbelief – and that the unbelief was because of an improper condition of heart. He says that those Jews who received Jesus were the branches not broken off, and that God during this age has been choosing out from amongst the Gentiles such as would be suitable substitutes for the broken-off Jewish branches, so that eventually the olive tree would have the full number of branches definitely known and intended – a few of them natural branches (including the Apostles and all the Jews who received Christ in sincerity), and the remainder of that spiritual olive tree branches grafted in from amongst the Gentiles.

The tree as a whole, then, represents spiritual Israel, the one new man mentioned by the Apostle, whose head is Christ and whose members are partly Jewish and partly Gentile, transformed, renewed. (Eph. 2:15)


Continuing his discussion of the subject in this same chapter, St. Paul says: "I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceit; that blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer."

Let us not make the mistake of supposing the Apostle meant that all Israel will be saved to heavenly glory, or to eternal life. Israel will be saved from the blindness and rejection of God which came on them as a nation when they rejected Messiah. The great Deliverer who will bless them will be composed of Messiah, the head, and the Church, his body – composed of overcomers, some of whom once were Jews, and some of whom once were Gentiles. This great Deliverer who comes out of Zion is the spiritual Son of Zion, the Messiah, the King, the Royal Priest, the Judge, the Mediator of the New Covenant.

The first blessings of His Millennial kingdom will be upon natural Israel, from whom the kingdom was taken away, and to whom the earthly phase of the kingdom will be restored in the hands of the ancient worthies, who will be the earthly representatives of the heavenly kingdom. The kingdom itself will be invisible to men, but its earthly representatives will be seen and known to all mankind; as it is written, "Ye shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God." Luke 13:28

St. Paul proceeds to point out that this return of divine blessings to Israel at the second coming of Christ, and the establishment of his spiritual kingdom will be merely the fulfillment of the divine promise to the natural seed of Abraham. He declares that it will be because the gifts and calling of God are things not to be repented of – things from which God will never change, nor need to change, because he knew the end from the beginning, and promised nothing out of accord with his divine purpose. St. Paul continues, "As concerning the gospel, (the privileges of the spiritual Empire as members of the Body of Christ) they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes."

"As ye in times past did not believe God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief and rejection, even so these are now unbelievers that they may obtain mercy through your Mercy."

For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon them all. O the riches of his wisdom. Rom. 11:28


The object of our Lord's reign is distinctly set forth in the Scriptures. Also its length of duration. He is to bind Satan, "the prince of this world," to overthrow entirely his dominion of sin, ignorance, superstition, as they now control the human family, bought with the precious blood. His Kingdom will cause the knowledge of the Lord Jehovah to fill the whole earth, that every creature may receive a blessing through that knowledge – that as many as will come into harmony with God may obtain eternal life, and that all others shall be destroyed in the Second Death. We are distinctly told that this Millennial Kingdom will not last forever, but for a definite period of time – for a thousand years. The Scriptures clearly intimate [NS680] that the work of havoc caused by the reign of Sin and Death during six thousand years – from Adam to the second coming of Christ – will be fully offset by the one thousand years' reign of the Kingdom of the Righteous. How stimulating the thought!

How it must thrill the hearts of all who love God and their fellowmen – all who grieve to see the divine will and standards violated, all who love righteousness and hate iniquity, all who love their fellowmen, and realize that the dying, and the crying, and the degradation, and the sin, which prevail throughout the whole world, are enemies, contrary to the Lord's Kingdom. St. Paul assures us that in due time God will give this Kingdom to the Christ – divine power shall be established in the Millennial Kingdom, and at the end of that Millennial reign Christ will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father – the entire work and purpose of the reign being then fully accomplished.

He tells us that meantime Christ "must reign until He shall have put down all insubordination" – everything contrary to the divine will, everything sinful – until He shall have uplifted mankind out of the miry clay and the horrible pit of sin and death – until all shall have been delivered who are willing to come into harmony with the divine will – such as God is willing should have eternal life. (1 Cor. 15:24, 28)


Ye know your calling, brethren, how that not many great, or wise, or rich, or learned, are called to the heavenly kingdom. More and more as we learn of the blessings that are to be dispensed thereby, our hearts long for that kingdom – not only because we hope for a share in its glories on the spiritual plane, but because we long for the blessing of humanity, its release from the bondage of sin and death, the deliverance of so many as are willing "into the glorious liberty of the sons of God."

It is the hope of a share in the kingdom that the Lord sets before His people as the inspiration of their lives as new creatures. They are to esteem it as the pearl of great price, and to give all they have of time, and of energy, and of effort – even life itself, to attain this prize. They are to count it all joy when they fall into various kinds of temptations and trials, knowing that such experiences are necessary for their development, for their chiseling, polishing and preparation for participation with Christ in that glorious kingdom. They are to realize that only through great tribulation may they enter this kingdom and become sharers with Christ in its glories. They are to remember the apostle's words, "If we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him."

We are, therefore, to expect no royal road to the kingdom, but a "narrow way," the way of self-sacrifice, self-denial, painstaking carefulness, with testings and provings from the Heavenly Father to demonstrate our fitness to be of that royal priesthood which shall be His representatives in dealing with the world of mankind, for their instruction and uplifting. This is the thought brought before us by St. Peter saying: "Times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you, whom the heavens must retain until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:19-21)

These times of restitution are the kingdom times, the times of resurrection, the times of human uplifting from sin and death conditions to life, and joy, and peace, for all who will receive the Lord's favors upon His terms. Let us then, remember our Lord's words, "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven" – a share in the glorious kingdom, in its righteousness, the righteousness which it will require of the world, and the righteousness which must be attained by all who would be sharers in that kingdom.

This we are to seek first, chiefly, and to be content in respect to all the temptations of life. We are to trust to our Lord's wisdom and grace that He will withhold no good things – joys or sorrows, trials or blessings – and that He will make all things work together for our good, giving us the needful things of life according to His wisdom of what would help us make our calling and election sure to a place on the throne with His Son.

HE knows the way I take, – What matter then if dark it be, Or rough, or hedged about, – His staff shall comfort me.

Prev   Next