ANSWER.--This, I think: The Lord's people in the third chapter of Revelation are exhorted to keep their garments lest they walk naked. The garment that the Lord gives us does not refer to our earthly garment, it refers to the garment of His righteousness, our robe of righteousness, that which, if we keep it and embroider it, becomes our wedding garment; this is the garment we receive of the Lord, the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness; the imputed righteousness of Christ, covering our blemishes, our justification. Now, we are to keep our garment unspotted from the world; that is to say, we are to do all in our power to maintain this attitude of heart and this relationship with the Lord that will keep us in this pure and holy relationship with the Father and with the Son, not in our righteousness, but in the righteousness of Christ. We are to keep this from becoming contaminated with the world. We are in the world but we are not of the world, and we are to watch our garment, and the statement is, if they are not careful of their garments they will get them spotted and they will have to wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. The exhortation to you and me is that there might be danger that we, through contact with the world, might in some careless moment become contaminated with sin, by word, or thought, or action, and that this would constitute a spot or blemish on the garment. How could any of us be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing as respects our garment? How could any Christian live for years in the world, where there are all kinds of evil--pitch-black evil--and keep his garment unspotted? I answer: It is not the thought of the Scriptures that any will ever be able to pass through this world without a spot or wrinkle upon his garments. But, suppose we find we have gotten a spot? Then those who are in the right attitude of heart, those who find they have transgressed the divine law, will hasten to the blood again which makes them clean. If you have ever made a mistake, go to the Lord in prayer, confess it and seek to undo that which was wrong and you have the assurance of the Lord's Word that He is pleased to have you come in this attitude, and that He will cleanse you from all sin. These sins should be less numerous as we go on. Years should bring wisdom as to how to avoid evil in the world, so that the Christian of years could find fewer spots on the garment, and have fewer needs of going to the Lord to confess his faults and to ask their forgiveness and to be cleansed. But, dear friends whether you have had many or few, the only right position for any of us to be in is this: to remember that with these spots on our garments, with these responsibilities for some wrong doing, or wrong thinking, or what not, we cannot have the proper fellowship with God. They will serve to come between
you and the Lord. There are those who become careless. First of all, it would be one spot and they would say, "Oh, I have gotten a spot on my robe," and they feel much hurt about it; but when there are thirty, forty, fifty or sixty, they say, "Oh, I know they are there; I do not like them, they will come, you know." They get used to it, dear friends. You do not want to do that. You want to be on guard against that very spirit. Those who have this spirit will be the ones who will constitute the great company who will be obliged to go through the time of trouble and wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. If we are in the right attitude of heart, the very first spot would cause us pain and sorrow, and we should go to the Lord, and nothing should keep us from going to Him--go the same day, do not let sleep come across your eyes until you have made the whole matter right with the Lord, until He has cleansed you from the responsibility of the matter, and start each new day with fresh resolutions that, by the grace of God, you will watch and keep your garments unspotted from the world--un-spotted from its selfishness, from its meanness, from its lying spirit; unspotted from all the contaminating influences of the world, the flesh and the adversary, that you may thus be more pleasing to the Lord and walk closer to Him. The more you look, the more you will find that with any sin there will be a disposition on the part of anyone, everyone, not to go to the Lord in the matter. "I cannot go to the Lord tonight in prayer; I feel there is a cloud coming between the Lord and me, and I cannot go tonight." Well, you had better watch out; if you cannot go that night, it will be worse the next night, and it will be still worse the night after. It will keep on getting worse, and the spots will keep on increasing in number until bye and bye you will find yourself far away from the Lord. My advice to all of the Lord's people is, to watch, keep your garments. Do it intently every day. See at the conclusion of each day what you have to say to the Lord on the subject; see how your account stands, and keep close account. He is willing to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You see that does not refer to the original sin. He has indeed done that; it is referring to those sins that have come to us after we were cleansed, and after we become His. He is willing to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, from everything that you did that was not just right. Mark again, He may cause that you have some pain, or trouble, or some difficulty in getting rid of the matter; if you have been careless, you will probably have His face withdrawn from you in order that you may have the more care in respect to the matter on another occasion. Do not think that you may sin with impunity and go to the priest and have it all blotted out instantly, and go out and sin again? That is not the style. Our Lord's method of cleansing from sin is different from that. You will find that with the sin would come alienation. According to the poet, and in harmony with all your sentiments, I trust, and mine:
"O let no earthborn cloud arise
To hide thee from thy servants eyes."
GARMENTS--Significance of the Garments of Glory and Beauty. ::Q285:1:: QUESTION (1910-Z)--1--Was there any significance in the fact that the High Priest, after having performed the services of the Day of Atonement, took off his linen garments in the Holy and left them there and put on garments of glory and beauty when he came forth to bless the people?
ANSWER.--The High Priest all through this Gospel Age is carrying on the work of sacrifice; it was not only when He offered up himself, but during all this age he continues to be the sacrificing Priest, and although he has passed beyond the vail, he is still, so to speak, in the linen garments of sacrifice; and his secondary offering, that of the antitypical goat, will be accomplished in the linen garments, when he will enter in beyond the vail and present the blood of his Body, which is the Church, at the close of this antitypical Atonement Day, when the Church shall have filled up its share of the sacrifice of Christ. Our Lord, the high Priest, will then, the second time, sprinkle the blood, the merit, upon the mercy-seat, thereby sealing the New Covenant and applying his merit on "behalf of all the people."
Having done this he will come forth to bless the people; but he will not again appear in the linen garments of sacrifice. The change will be made unseen to the world. The last they will see will be the going in of the priests after the sacrificial work of the present time, the Gospel Age, and the first they will see in the New Dispensation will be the appearance of the great Priest in glory and beauty--in "the glorious garments." Not that they will see these with their natural eye; but his glory shall be revealed through the ministration of the New Covenant blessings to Israel and the world, and this revelation of all the glorious things represented in the various garments of the High Priest will he a manifestation that will last all through the Millennial Age--the various robes, the ephod, etc., will all have their fulfillment then in the glorious work of the Anointed One.
The beginning of this manifestation in glory will be in the time of trouble, of which time we read: "All shall wail because of him." It is his manifestation in power, the breaking in pieces of things of this present order of affairs, that will cause the great time of trouble that the Scriptures announce will be the conclusion of this Age and the inauguration of the Millennial Age. Thus the appearing in glory will have various stages, but all will be on the glorious plane; none will be again on the sacrificial plane of the present age.
In this picture of the robes of the Priest, we understand that the High Priest typified the entire Priesthood, the Under-Priests as well as the Head; that the Head did not need the covering, but that the covering of the linen garments represented the merit of Christ imputed to us, the members of his Body, whom the Father accepts and justifies and whose imperfections are covered through him. We understand that the white robe represents especially our share in the picture; that the High Priest going forth in glory typifies in large measure the glory of the Church in connection with her Head, as we read: "It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that
when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." Another Scripture declares that we shall be his glorious Body, or his Body in glory, and that "we shall be glorified together with him."
GENTILES--Vs. Jews. ::Q286:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--If a Gentile became a Jew under the Mosaic law, would he then be freed from the Adamic condemnation? If so, how would he be under the two condemnations, after transgressing the Mosaic law?
ANSWER.--I do not understand the question, but I will make another question in my mind and answer it. Any Gentile might under the law, became a Jew. There was a specified way in which they became Jews. There were some Gentiles who did become Jews. There is a record of them in the Scriptures--numerous places. When they became Jews, they had all the rights and privileges of Jews, as far as we have any knowledge.
GOD-LIKENESS--In Fallen Man. ::Q286:2:: QUESTION (1909)--2--Is there any of the original God-likeness in fallen men? If so, is this what the Holy Spirit works upon and causes us to see the Truth?
ANSWER.--I think there is. There are many elements of God-likeness, but the one particular element of character, so far as I am able to discern, that God operates upon when He draws us is first of all, that of HONESTY. If a man is not honest with himself, he is not to be called at all, to my understanding, and if perchance he hears a little, he will not stay very long under the influence. Whoever has an honest heart or mind has much advantage every way in the drawing and influencing of this present time.
GOLDEN RULE--Wrong Construction. ::Q286:3:: QUESTION (1909)--3--Can the Golden Rule be construed that one ought not to do for a brother what he would not ask a brother to do for him?
ANSWER.--No, I do not think that the Golden Rule hinders you from doing more than the rule requires. If you are a Christian, you ought to do more. The Golden Rule applies to everybody, but the Christian has another rule. As Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you," not to the world, nor to the Jews, but to His disciples, "That you love one another as I have loved you." If Jesus had loved us just according to the Golden Rule, He would not have died for us, but He did more, and He requires that you and I as His followers should do more for each other.
GOODS--Ruler Over All His. ::Q286:4:: QUESTION (1916)--4--What are the "Goods" referred to by our Lord Jesus in `Mat. 24:47` when He says, "Verily I say unto you that he shall make him ruler over all his goods?"
ANSWER.--I think this would depend a little bit upon each individual's judgment. The Lord has not said what goods He refers to, and therefore leaves it with you and me for each one of the Lord's people, for the church to decide what kind of goods is meant. If the Lord had said, we would have no liberty in the matter; that would settle it. But since He has not told us, we have a good chance to speculate on what we think about it. Each one is entitled to his own opinion about the matter.
GOSPEL--How Many Heard? ::Q287:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--`Col. 1:23,24`. Explain--In the first part does the Apostle mean every man under heaven had heard the gospel in his day?
ANSWER.--For 1600 or more years the Lord had a message for the Jews--this gospel or message was declared only to the Jews. After our Lord's first advent there came a time when He said to the Jewish nation: "Your house is left unto you desolate." After the conversion of Cornelius, this message was no longer restriced to the Jews--it was preached for "every creature"--whoever has an ear to hear. Will the others never have a chance? Oh, yes. Will they ever see and hear? Oh, yes. All the blind eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears unstopped. Paul was a minister of this gospel. "Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you"--Paul was glad that he was a minister of this gospel message. He knew that only those who were favored of the Lord were thus privileged. He said: "I am glad to fill up some of the afflictions of Christ." You and I have the same privilege. We have not the high position the Apostle Paul had. Today we read his words. The example and words of Paul bring great consolation to us. Unless we drink of this cup we cannot he His disciple. You and I will be glad to do all we can.
GOSPEL--Preached First to the Dead. ::Q287:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--"For this cause was the Gospel also preached to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to man in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit?" Please explain?
ANSWER.--Who are the dead referred to in the question? They are the same kind of dead ones that Jesus referred to when one came to him and said, "When my father is dead I will become your disciple." Jesus said, "Let the dead bury the dead; go thou and preach the Gospel." What does that mean? That means that all mankind, from God's standpoint, being under the sentence of death, are counted as dead. Unless you have the Son of God you have no life in you. No one has even reckoned life unless he is in conjunction with the Lord Jesus as the great giver of life. "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life." So then, the whole world is dead in this way, and the Apostle says, For this cause was the Gospel preached to those dead ones that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. That is to say! that you and I, although we are dead with the world by nature, are counted alive, reckoned as having passed from death unto life, and then have our trial here for life everlasting. How would we have a trial? According to men, they would think we were still in the flesh, hut according to God, we would be considered as new creatures. And so we recognize each other. But the world knows us not, and the world still thinks of us as a part of the world, and still judge us according to the flesh, but we are judged by the Lord according to the spirit. Now, says the Apostle, that is the reason the Gospel is preached to those dead ones that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
GRACE--Received in Vain. ::Q288:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--`2 Cor. 6:1`: "We, then, as workers together with him, beseech you also, that ye receive not the grace of God in vain." What grace or favor is meant, and how could it be received in vain?
ANSWER.--Since the apostle is here addressing Christians, we would understand he meant that some who had already made their conecration and had been begotten of the Holy Spirit, might still receive God's grace in vain.
Now the grace of God was with a view to this high calling, and whoever goes into second death under present conditions surely has received God's favor, or grace, in vain; and it would also be true that any who fail to run as they should do, would be receiving the favor, or privilege, of joint-heirship with Christ in vain; because they would fail to get that great blessing; even though they get a secondary blessing, they have failed to get the blessing to which they were called. Of course, it would also be true that those who have heard anything at all, received that degree of knowledge, or faith, or favor, of God, in vain. Any who are drawn or called of God and who do not accept him, receive it in vain, since they get no fruitage from it; no results or blessings from it they merely come in with the remainder of the world and get no special blessings in the present time.
GRACE--Once in Grace, Always in Grace, Contradicted. ::Q288:2:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--2--What is meant by the Scripture which says that if one who has been righteous shall depart from his righteousness, his former righteousness shall not count, but that he shall die for his sin? And also the statement that one who was unrighteous and turned from his unrighteousness shall be saved ?--`Ezek. 33:13-16`.
ANSWER.--This Scripture emphatically contradicts a doctrine held by some Christian people, "Once in grace, always in grace"; or that one who has been favored of God can never lose His favor. The principle of this Scripture applies, at the present time, to those who pass from death unto life as New Creatures. They are on trial for life or death. Adamic sin no longer counts in their cases. If they remain faithful to the Lord they will get the blessing of eternal life if unfaithful, they will die. If one should make a covenant with God and then fail to keep that covenant, he would lose his covenant-relationship with God as soon as he abrogated the contract. If we are faithful, He will be faithful in giving us life eternal.
But this Scripture specially applies to the Millennial Age; for at that time all are to be brought to an opportunity for life everlasting. People will then realize that "the wages of sin is death." Then it will no longer be a proverb that the parents have eaten a sour grape and the children's teeth are set on edge, but each "shall die for his own iniquity." (`Jer. 31:29;` `Ezek. 18:2`.) There will be a test for life or death, just as there is now with the Church. Only those who are faithful in their trial will be granted everlasting life, in either case. All others will be cut off in death.
GRAVES OPENED--Was it First Resurrection? ::Q289:1:: QUESTION (1911)--l--"And the graves were opened and many of the bodies of the saints which slept arose." Was this the first resurrection?"
ANSWER.--No, we answer, it was not the first resurrection. Why? The words here used are used in this connection: We read there was a great earthquake, and many of the bodies of the saints that slept arose and came into the holy city after Christ's resurrection. The account is not very explicit, but any who arose there could not have experienced the first resurrection for several reasons: First, that Christ himself was the first that should arise from the dead; no one had a resurrection before Jesus. He was the first-born from the dead. Why, did not Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? Oh, no. Lazarus was still in the condition of death after he was awakened. None were raised completely out of death. They were awakened for a little time, and again lapsed into death. They did not have a resurrection. A resurrection is a complete lifting out of death, and Jesus was the first that should arise; he was the first one lifted out of death to the perfection of life. Those, then, that were awakened at this time could not have been such, because the earthquake took place at the time of our Lord's death, and it was not for nearly three days after that Jesus arose from the dead. But anyway, the second ones that are to have a resurrection from the dead are the church. Jesus' resurrection to the spirit plane was the beginning of the church's resurrection. The apostle says, it was his resurrection, and says, "That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, being made conformable to his death." In other words, the resurrection of Jesus is the only resurrection for all of these 1800 years. But the church, the Body of Christ, is to share his resurrection, and there can be no blessings come to anybody except after that. So in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews we read of the ancient worthies, who died in faith not having received the things promised them, God having provided some better thing for us--the church--that they without us should not be made perfect; they cannot get their resurrection until we get ours. So the very most that could have taken place at that time would have been that some might have been awakened in just the same sense that Lazarus was awakened, and not in any other sense.
GREAT COMPANY--Overcomes by Compulsion. ::Q289:2:: QUESTION (1905)--2--If the great company is composed of "overeomers" does `Rev. 3:21` apply to them?
ANSWER.--No, because the limitation is here stated. It is not he that overcometh under compulsion, but "even as I overcame." Those who overcome, even as he overcame, are the ones to be in the throne.
GREAT COMPANY--Re the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. ::Q289:3:: QUESTION (l907)--3--When will the Great Company suffer the Great Tribulation, and will they be at the marriage supper of the Lamb?
ANSWER.--I answer that nearly all the Scriptural pictures with reference to the Great Company would indicate that the special time for their tribulation would be at the close of this age--apparently just after the Church will all be
gathered,--as, for instance, the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. We remember that when the wise virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us, and the wise virgins had all gone in, then came also the foolish virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us, and they were told that the Lord would not recognize them as the Bride Class, and that they would go into tribulation. That seems to indicate that the special tribulation upon the Great Company class will be after all the Little Flock have gone in beyond the vail into the Most Holy. Now that is only a parable, of course, and we are building as wisely as we know how on that parable. Then in Leviticus it shows us the place where the Scape-goat is dealt with after the Lord's goat has been dealt with, but that is not proof positive that it will be entirely after the Lord's goat has been slain, and after its blood has been offered, because these types could not all take place at the same time, and there would naturally be an order for it,--this first, and that second, and so on, but the fact that the bullock is dealt with first, and that the Lord's goat is dealt with second, and then the scape-goat is dealt with thirdly, seems to imply that the tribulation of this class will come more specially at the end of the Gospel Age, after all of the elect shall have gone in, notwithstanding we think there is room in the Scriptures to suppose that there have been some of this Great Tribulation class all through the ages, while the great mass of them probably belong in this end, because of the peculiar circumstances now prevailing. Someone perhaps will say, what are the peculiar circumstances now that would cause a larger class of the Great Company living today than at any previous time? The conditions that are favorable to them now are, that Christianity now is in a measure popular, and a great many people have heard of Christ and made a kind of a conscration to the Lord, and there is not that open persecution now which is sharp and distincitve; so that people are more likely to make a full consecration to the Lord now and suppose that it is an easy thing and when they get inside and find that it is not so easy as they thought, some some of them are disposed to hold back a little, and these will become of the Great Company, whereas in the past times when things were more turbulant and more sharply defined, it took more to make a decision. As our Lord mentioned, they sat down and counted the cost. In our day, they are not disposed to count the cost. They hear the preachers telling them that it is an easy thing. They say, in effect, come now, and you can have everything in a few minutes. You will be more prosperous in business, and get rich faster, and have better houses, more respect of your neighbors, etc. So, it is a time of enticing now, and these people are being enticed by these misrepresentations of the narrow way, and after they get in, they find it to be a narrow way, as the Lord will show them by and by, and so there is a larger number of this class today than in the past.
Now as to the marriage supper of the Lamb, we find the Lord picturing the Great Company Class. They say, "Let us be glad and rejoice for the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready." She was ready and went in to the marriage, and we are left out, is the
thought. Then they say, "Let us be glad and rejoice." Why should they rejoice? Why, by that time, their eyes are really opened, and they see Babylon as they never saw her before, and they see God's Plan as they never saw it before. They were not in the right attitude of heart to have a hearing ear and an appreciative heart, and therefore could not see the deep things, for God only gives us a deeper understanding of His Word as we come into the right condition of heart.
Now then, those of the Great Company in `Rev. 19`, are pictured as saying, Let us be glad and rejoice for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife hath made herself ready, and they are glad of it all, and then they go on to say, Babylon is fallen, rejoice, rejoice, ye heavens, in her fall, etc. They are glad that Babylon has gone down when they come to see what it really was and how much they were bound by it, and they did not realize how much blinding influence was coming from that source.
I want to say now, because some might not have taken this view yet, or have seen it in this light. So far as my observation and experience would go, the greatest hindrance to the work of God in the present time--now mark you, to the work of God at the present time--is what is known as the "Christian Ministry." Why, someone says, Brother Russell, you do not believe that? Yes, I do believe that. Why, are they not doing thus and so, preaching a good deal of morality? Yes, but that is not the work of God for this present time. The work of God during this age is the taking out of a people for His name; finding the wheat is the particular work of God at the present time. Now they are doing a work that will be good in its way, and I admit that a great many of them are benevolent works, and I appreciate it all just as much as anybody does, and I am glad to see them doing that rather than doing wickedness, and I congratulate them on that. Nevertheless, you will find nearly all the obstructions to present truth is coming from the ministry. If it were not for the ministers in all the denominations over the civilized world, the truth would spread among God's people like wild-fire. It is just as it was at the first advent. Who was it that hindered the people from believing in the Lord Jesus in that day? Why, it was the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus said to them, "You shut up the kingdom against yourselves, and you will neither enter in yourselves, nor permit those who are entering to go in--you have taken away the key of knowledge from the people." So it is with the ministers of today, dear friends. It is just a parallel of 1800 years ago. They are standing in the way. They do not fully realize this, I am glad to say, and they are not as responsible as though they did realize it fully. I do not think they are without responsibility entirely. I do not think that men who have had an education and know about sheol, and hades, and who are allowing the people to sit under their preaching year after year, and suppose that they believe in eternal torment, fire, etc., when they believe nothing of the kind, and allowing these absurd doctrines which hinder the people from rightly worshiping God, are inexcusable. But then, it is with their own consciences and with the Lord, and I have no fight to make against them. I am merely suggesting to you more than I would say to them;
because, why should we offend anybody needlessly? I should say to a brother who was in a right condition of heart, "Brother, if you are doing your duty, don't you think you ought to be setting forth the words of truth and righteousness, and the real character of God? Don't you think that is your privilege?" That is the way I would speak to anyone with whom I could speak in that way. But while they hold you at arm's length in their personification of dignity, if you were to ask any questions, you would find they could not answer the questions. They can hardly answer any Scriptural question properly. You try one and see.
I think of a brother who came to me and said, "Brother Russell, I think I have been doing wrong. I have accepted these doctrines of present truth and believe them, but I did not go to any of the ministers of the churches to ask them about them, and I think I should have done so. I think I have heen doing wrong, because I am not a Greek and Hebrew scholar, and have not a great education, and here are these men with whom I am well acquainted, and who are learned and good men; I am well acquainted right here in this city of Pittshurg and Allegheny with some of the leading ministers, especially in the United Presbyterian denomination because I have myself been working in all their different Sunday Schools, organizing temperance armies, and they all know me very well, and I know them to be fine men. Now then, my conscience has been telling me that I did not do right; I should have gone to them and said, Now, Doctor So-and-So, can you tell me about this matter, is it true or not? What do you think, Brother Russell?"
I saw that he wanted to go, and that it would be the better thing for him to do, so I said, "Brother, I would go and do that. If you do it in a proper manner, it will do good."
"What do you mean by proper manner, Brother Russell?"
"I will tell you what I think would be the proper manner; when you go to the residence, for instance, of Dr. A., you ring the bell and ask to see him, and when he comes to the door and you have your usual greetings, you say something like this to him: Doctor, I have some matters of a doctrinal nature that have heen perplexing me and I thought I would like to ask your advice about them sometime when you have the time: I do not want to trouble you now, you may he busy, and it will take an hour, and I want to come sometime when you have time to spare. Would you appoint me sometime? He will likely say, come right in, brother, this will do me just as well."
The brother said, "Why, Brother Russell, do you say so particularly that I should mind that ?"
I said, "This is the reason: if you do not take that method to get him to say he will give you an hour, you would find that by the time you had told him what your question was, he would say, Well, brother, there is a sick sister that I must go to see, please excuse me and come in some time again."
"Now Brother Russell, you don't know. I mean Doctor So-and-So, and Doctor So-and-So; they are such fine men."
"Yes, I know those gentlemen more or less, and admit that they are above the average, but Brother, you do not
know the difficulty they have when you ask one of these questions; they have a proposition before them they have never met before in their lives, and they do not know what to say, and that is the easiest way for them to get out of it. Of course there is in every large congregation one or two sick brothers or sisters at any time and they can truthfully say, I ought to call and see them,--and they know they ought to get away from you, and from your questions. They think they are doing good to you for they know they cannot answer the question, and they think that is the quickest and best way to do it, and they think you will never get a chance again, for they will dodge you every time."
"O, Brother Russell, you do not give them credit--"
"I do, brother, but you do not understand the situation, and I do. But, the minister will say, Yes, I can give you an hour now, come right in and sit down in the study. And you go in and he says, "Well now, what is your question?" I said to him, "What were you going to ask them?" And he said, "Well, I thought to ask him one question specially that I was interested in, that one about Restitution, where the Apostle Peter said, Restitution shall come from the presence of the Lord, etc. Now, that is the question I thought I would ask them." I said, "That is a very good question, you just stick to that question. But, when you get in and sit down and he says, What is your question, and you tell him the text of Scripture, you will have to be on your guard, for that man will say to himself, My conscience! That question, why, I do not know any more about the answer to that question than I would know how to jump over the moon. What will I do? I have told this man that he could have an hour. My conscience! what will I do? Well, what will he do? I will tell you what he will do, brother: He will say to himself, I have just got to mix this man up so that he will not know which end is to. I will razzle-dazzle his mind and confuse him all over--body, soul and spirit, hell, hades, sheol. I can do that. He does not know much, I know he is not an educated man.
"O, Brother Russell, Doctor So-and-So would not do that."
"Brother, I know they will do that because that is the only thing they could do. They would either do that, or else they would come out flat-footed and say Brother that is a Scripture that I do not understand. I wish I did, and if you ever find the interpretation of it, bring it to me. If they were thoroughly honest, that is what they would do. But after some large institution has said to them, 'You are a doctor of divinity, you are fit to doctor even divinity now'--when they have got all of that, then, for a little man to come in and say, here is a plain question to answer, and they cannot do anything with it, it requires a great deal of humility to acknowledge the fact.
I said to him, "Now, when he begins to talk this way, and tries to mix you up and ask you about so and so, and tries to confuse you, you say, 'O doctor, I do not seem to have stated my question properly.' Put the blame on yourself, you can do that honestly, you know, because you are not bound to suppose that he is trying to evade your question; you have just as much right to say to him--I have not stated my question properly. Say to him, 'Doctor, I do not
seem to have stated my question properly; that is not the question you are answering. The question I wanted to ask you was about the times of restitution of all things; what does that mean?' You must bring him back to that; and he will try again to get you mixed up. But you say, 'O Doctor, I do not get my question straight; I wish I knew how to state my question properly. I want to know ahout the times of restitution.' You hold him right down to that, brother, and there is not a doctor of divinity in this country or state that can match you with the knowledge of the Word of God, and you have heen only three montlis in the truth."
"Brother Russell," he said," instead of trying to catch him and hold him for an hour, I thought I would have to try to get loose myself, and prevent them from holding me."
I said, "No, brother, you have not the idea; you will have to try to hold them down to the question, because they cannot answer it, and they know they cannot, and they will try to get you mixed up. And they will not admit that they cannot answer it.
And this reminds me of another gentleman. As I was going down the street near the Bible House, walking a little more rapidly than usual, I passed him. I suppose he recognized me and said, Brother Russell, a moment. And he caught up with me. He was a man that I had never spoken with in my life. He was a very nice-looking gentleman, well dressed. I did not know who he was. He gave me his name, but I have forgotten it. He said, "I wanted to ask you a question about a parable." I thought that was very queer for a man to meet you on the street and ask you that kind of a question. I said, "What parable is it, brother?" He told me--I have forgotten now which one it was--but it was a very simple, plain parable, and I answered the question and explained it very easily, I think, in about two minutes' time. "Why," he said, "that is very simple, very satisfactory," and repeated, "very satisfactory."
I said, "How does it come you are so agitated about so small a matter as this?" He said, "I wonder why it is my preacher cannot tell me that. I belong to Dr. Kennedy's church, just opposite the Bible House--the principal Presbyterian church in Allegheny--and I have gone to him and asked him that very question."
"Now," he said, "you would have thought I was the most stupid man on earth, and he practically told me, why, you have not sense enough to understand it if I were to explain it to you. He made me feel like a very small potato. I have never thought that I was a great man, but I thought I was deserving at least of reasonable treatment, that he might have tried to tell me, and then if I could not understand it, it would have been my fault. He just sat down on me instead of telling me; he did not tell me anything about it. Now, what do you suppose was the reason for that?"
I said, "Brother, I guess the reason why he did not was because he did not know how to answer it, and thought that was the best way to get out of it."
He said, "I wonder if that was it."
We know, dear friends, those of us who have had such an experience, that that was just the difficulty. Dr. Kennedy
is a very able man, a very fine man in many respects; I am not speaking to his discredit as a man, or saying a word against his character; for as far as I know, he is a well educated minister, and he must know about a great many things. He knows what sheol is--at least I cannot suppose that he is stupid and ignorant enough not to know, after all the opportunities he has had to know.
This man went on to say, "Well, I could not help thinking that if I was the most stupid man in the congregation, they should not have selected the most stupid man as an elder."
I said, "Brother, I do not think it is entirely your stupidity."
He said, "I have head enough to understand it when you explained it."
Now, I merely mention these things to illustrate the point.
But coming back to `Rev. 19`, where it says, "Let us be glad and give honor to God, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, etc." They were glad when they found out the true situation, that God had delivered them, and that the institution was a hindrance to God's plan in many respects. While they do good in the way of building hospitals perhaps, and inculcating some morals, and keeping some people out of the saloons, and sometimes getting up a saloon law, and sometimes an underground saloon so as to keep people from going to a saloon of a worse class, sometimes having a bowling alley to keep people from going to bowling alleys where they get whiskey,--with all of this they are trying to act in a moral way. I give them credit, I think, for all they claim themselves, but as for teaching sanctification of the spirit and faith in the precious blood of Christ, I do not think many of them pretend to be doing that; I do not think many would say that was their true mission, and what they are trying to do. On the contrary, they would say that they must go after the people, save the masses, and in trying to save the masses from something, without having their hearts changed, they are neglecting the true people of God who need to have the feeding, as God tells us, "Feed My sheep." Our Lord when He spoke to the Apostle Peter did not say anything about going out and catching some wolves and putting sheep's hair on them, and finding some rattlesnakes and fixing them up and making them look like sheep. You take care of the sheep, and the lambs, and the Lord will take care of how they got to be sheep and lambs. He is to do the drawing. It is whosoever the Father draweth that comes to Him. "Whosoever cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out." You and I are not to try to smash people's hearts, or their heads either. Let the providences of God do all of the breaking of hearts. The Gospel He has given to us is to bind up the broken hearted, and take hold of the sheep and lambs and feed them; that is God's proposition. We want to stand by the Lord's Word. We have not the confidence in our own hearts that we are wiser than the Lord; we would not take a bundle of bramble bushes and tie a few bunches of grapes on them and say, these are genuine grape vines.
But these will find that the fall of Babylon, the complete overthrow of the human systems, has really worked a
good. Then they are represented as getting a special message from God, saying "Blessed is he that is called to the marriage supper of the Lamb." Now there is a difference between being at the marriage, and eating of the marriage supper,--that which is accomplished when the wise virgins go in and the door is shut, is the marriage, but the marriage supper did not take place for a little while after that. The marriage supper, of course, is just a grand picture before our minds. There is really no sitting down to eat or drink, but it is merely a picture of the joyous occasion that will follow. And to these great festivities, the Great Company are invited to come and share. They were not loyal enough to lay down their lives, but they had loyalty, because they would not deny the precious name and blood, and therefore the Lord would not deny them, and there would be a place for them; they would have an opportunity to come in to the marriage supper and have a share in the rejoicing. Just as in the 45th Psalm it is pictured, the Bride is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework--representing the Church all going into the Father's presence at the end of this age, and then we read in the next verse, "The virgins, her companions that followed her." These were the foolish virgins. They are virgins, nevertheless, that follow her. They also shall be brought into the presence of the King. We are glad for them also. There is no selfishness in the love of God. We are glad to see what the Lord has arranged for the Little Flock, the Great Company, and the Ancient Worthies, and for all the world of mankind--for all who desire to be in harmony with Him when they come to a knowledge of the truth.
GREAT COMPANY--Of the Past Re the Great Tribulation. ::Q296:1:: QUESTION (1907)--l--Those of the Great Company who died in the past ages, how will they come up out of great tribulation, as they died long before the tribulations came on?
ANSWER.--I answer that, according to our understanding, there have been some of this class all the way down through the Gospel Age, yet the most of this class are living at the present time. There are reasons why, in the past, there would not be nearly so many. For instance, when there was a sharp persecution against all who named the name of Christ, it was quite a test, and not so many were ready to make a full consecration of themselves. As a consequence, those who did make a consecration were the class more earnest and willing to carry it out. But today, we are living in a time when everything is more favorable outwardly, and a good many people want to say they are Christians, whether they are or not. It is rather popular today. So some people have no doubt made a consecration under the present favorable conditions who would not have made it in the past. So a great many, we believe, are in this condition that they have made a consecration to the Lord, but because of the favorable conditions in another sense of the word, they are not living up to their consecration; they are not becoming overcomers; they are bound in Babylon. And so, this is the time when the Great Company ones are specially prominent. We are not competent to say who in all these various churches belong to this class, but we see that a large
proportion of this class belongs in our day. Down through the age we would understand there were some who were unfaithful in a degree, in that they did not voluntarily and gladly and willingly lay themselves down after they had agreed to do so. We can see how the Lord might have allowed some of them to go through the persecutions, the thumb-screw and rack, and how they may have come through great tribulations then. I have no idea at all that all those people who suffered by being burned at the stake, etc., were saints. I am not judging them, but reading between the lines of history, I would infer that a good many of them were not saints in the highest sense of the word as we understand the Scriptures to imply.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Receiving Life. ::Q297:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--Does the Great Compay receive life direct from God on the spirit plane?
ANSWER.--Yes, they receive life direct in that they have been begotten of the Holy Spirit, and when they are begotten they are just the same way as the little flock, because we are all called in the one hope of our calling. They do not make their calling and election sure, but not being worthy of second death, they therefore receive life on the spirit plane.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Life Giver. ::Q297:2:: QUESTION (1909)--2--Who is the life-giver to the Great Company?
ANSWER.--Not the Lord Jesus, but the Heavenly Father. Ye are begotten of the Holy Spirit of the Father in this present age. That is what the Lord Jesus and the Apostles tell us. Our Lord Jesus has only restitution life to give, and He gives now to only those who come in under the Father's drawing, to be members of the Lord's Body; they and they only receive the Holy Spirit begetting to this new life. The world is not dealt with at all--restitution is not yet offered. The only restitution offered now is that of justification by faith, with the understanding that it will be laid down.
If you are unfaithful, after you have been begotten of the Holy Spirit, there will be no other life for you. Having been begotten of the Holy Spirit, you have come to the place where you are a new creature. If you fail to go on, you are still new creatures even if you go into the Great Company class; they are all spirit beings, because begotten of the Father for the Father is doing all the begetting.
GREAT COMPANY--Spirit Begetting Re Tabernacle. ::Q297:3:: QUESTION (1909)--3--How do the Tabernacle types illustrate or show that the Great Company are begotten of the spirit?
ANSWER.--We have already pointed out that God does not make very particular mention of the Great Company in the Bible, and we have found out the reason for this; namely, that if the Great Company were treated on the same plane and with the same degree of interest and explicitness as the Little Flock, it would imply that God had offered both and said, Here they are, take your choice. But that is not so; the Lord's statement is, "Ye are all called in the one hope of your calling," to be members of the Body of the Anointed. Thus the Scriptures merely give the hint that there will be some who will constitute the Great Company, who will get
a great blessing, to which there was never an invitation. This is rather than that they should be destroyed in the second death. Every one of that Great Company receives the grace of God in just the same way as the Little Flock, but not using it in the proper way, which was to lay down their lives with the Lord Jesus, for in carrying out the Plan it must all be laid down in death, all be given to seal the New Covenant. So, then, with the Great Company, it is a question whether they are copies of the Lord Jesus, or whether they come through great tribulation and eventually get spirit life.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Cancelling Sins of World. ::Q298:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--How can the Great Company cancel the penalty for the particularly wilful sins of the world? How does the scapegoat make an atonement with God?
ANSWER.--The Great Company has nothing to do with it, neither has the Little Flock anything to do with the cancellation of sin. It is the High Priest that does that work. He may use various things for the basis of His various steps, but He is the one that makes the application, and neither the Great Company nor the Little Flock do anything in the cancellation.
We have suggested in the Tabernacle Shadows, and still agree to it, that the scapegoat represents the Great Company. Many say, well, the Great Company or the scapegoat do not go into the Holy. I answer that neither does the bullock or the Lord's Goat. What did go in there? The blood of the bullock and of the Lord's goat, representing the value of the sacrifice, was taken in to make atonement. The blood of the bullock was to make atonement for the sins of the Tribe of Levi, including the priests, called the body or house of the High Priest, the priestly family, and the blood of the bullock settled for the sins of all of those, the body members, or under priests. Then the blood of the goat was taken, which represented the under priests. The blood of the goat was not sprinkled by the goat, but by the High Priest, and it was applied for all the people. It is the High Priest who had the whole thing to do, and we would not be properly holding the Head, if we thought we had anything to do with it--it is merely as members of His Body that we are counted in at all.
Since the blood of the bullock cancelled the sins of the household of faith, and the blood of the goat cancelled the sins of all those outside, what sins, then, are left in connection with the scapegoat? The answer is that the High Priest took the sins of the congregations, and confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat. What sins are those besides the ones already mentioned, for which the blood has been applied? I answer that those sins for which atonement was made in the Holy and Most Holy were original sins which come because of Adam, and the imperfections inherited from him. Christ's merit passing through His Body is applied for all these sins. What other sins are there? They are the ones which are not due to Adamic weakness. The world is not doing the best it can and therefore they commit many sins that are not due to Adamic weakness. Some men's sins go before and some follow after, but the Lord will see to it that all sins are settled for. Every intelligent sin is a sin of this kind, and these are the ones that are confessed upon
the head of the scapegoat. We will give you an illustration: You remember reading, "Of this generation shall be required all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias," etc. What righteous blood is referred to? Evidently the wrong deeds done by mankind not due to Adamic weakness. The Lord sees some way in which the intelligent sins of humanity may be cancelled, and when you and I see the philosophy, we will say that it is all right. So the Scriptures seem to indicate that there is to be another accounting with the world. You remember the Scripture which speaks of the souls under the altar crying out, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" The Lord has an accurate system of bookkeeping, and He will reward each one and punish each one according to what they did that was right or wrong. Those who have sinned intelligently will have a certain punishment coming to them which must come before the books are squared. In view of the fact that we are living here and looking back upon the "dark ages," we are to acquiesce in the things that come to pass. At all events, there is a great time of trouble coming at the end of this age, and they are to be allowed to share in that trouble. They are to be permitted to share in this to the extent of laying down their lives, because if they do not die, they cannot have a share in the spiritual blessings.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Marriage of Lamb. ::Q299:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--Will the Great Company participate in the marriage of the Lamb when we are told that the Bride will be complete sometime before? Is the marriage of the Lamb a particular event?
ANSWER.--I answer that the marriage of the Lamb is a particular event and that our marriage custom of today does not properly illustrate the matter, but the marriage custom which prevailed amongst the Jews does properly represent the matter, and we should therefore look there for the illustration as it has come down through history.
A marriage contract was entered into, a marriage vow, usually in the form of a written contract between the one who was to be the bridegroom and the one who was to be the bride, and thus these two were both espoused or betrothed, and this usually lasted for about a year; and this was as binding as though they were actually married, and any impropriety on the part of either would be considered the same as though they had been married. During that year, she was known as the betrothed, and properly so. At the end of the year the man would come and receive her to himself, and from that time, she was his wife. Next followed a sumptuous feast that might last a considerable length of time, and that was not known as the marriage, but the celebration of the marriage, the marriage feast. The Lord's dealings with the Church is along these lines: First of all, 1800 years the Church was betrothed to God's Son, and then He went into a far country. He first promised that when He came back again He would receive His betrothed Church to Himself. All during this Gospel Age the Church has been waiting for Him, and has had the mark of her espousal, the Holy Spirit. When He comes and receives her to Himself,
she will be the wife, just as in the type--there is no ceremony needed.
What is the antitype? We understand that at the second coming of the Lord, the faithful ones of the Church who had died were raised and were at once received of the Lord, so that that portion of the Church is married to the Lord just as soon as they are received by Him. They were merely betrothed before, but now He has received them to Himself. We are going in and are being changed in the twinkling of an eye. This was represented by the five wise virgins; they did not all go in at the same instant, but followed one another. So with us, we shall be changed in the moment of our dying, we shall be changed in a moment and so we will be forever with the Lord. That will be the marriage with the Lamb. It is after that that the Lord sends the message to the Great Company, saying: Blessed is he who is called or invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. It may take several days or weeks, or a year or more for this sumptuous feast. At that marriage feast will be the Great Company, the virgins which followed her, as we read in the 45th Psalm.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Being in the Holy. ::Q300:1:: QUESTION (l909)--l--Should the Great Compay class be spoken of as being in the Holy?
ANSWER.Well, I answer, the Great Company class are not the Great Company class until they are put out of the Holy. You see what I mean. All those who receive the Holy Spirit during this Age receive it because they make the consecration unto death, and that admits them as if they were going to be priests. Jesus admits them, but if they fail to comply with the conditions, they will not be worthy to remain as priests. They are cast out and they go out into the court. So, when one comes to the place where he must be of the Great Company class and not of the Royal priesthood, that means that he is out of the Holy. But at first when he made his consecration, he consecrated to be a priest and to all intents and purposes was treated the same as the others up to the time he failed to make good in his consecration.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Abihu As a Type. ::Q300:2:: QUESTION (1909)--2--In what manner in the type did Abihu represent the Great Company class?
ANSWER.--There were two sons of Aaron, and we read that they served in the office of priests, and we read that they offered strange fire before the Lord. Nothing more than that is said and we have to guess as to what is meant. Nobody knows, but we believe it to be a type; for, as Aaron was a type of our Lord Jesus, so the under-priests were a type of the Church. So these two who offered strange fire and perished in so doing would seem to represent a class. Whether a class going into second death, I do not know; or whether one stands as a representative of that class, and one for another class, I do not know. There was a time when I thought that the two could not stand for those going into the second death. Why? That would be two-fifths of all the priesthood, and would imply that two-fifths of God's consecrated people would fail and go into the second death. But, dear friends, I have been thinking lately that perhaps
I did not take the right view of that matter. There may be a great many more going into second death than I had supposed. I remember I congratulated myself about the sheep and goats representing classes of people--sheep His people, and goats the others. I was glad there were so few goats. But when I was over in Palestine and looking over the flocks noticed nearly as many goats as sheep, I felt rather dubious about this illustration holding out.
My thought now is that none can be of the royal priesthood or get eternal life at all unless he shall have the perfect law of God, loving God with all his soul, mind and strength, and thy neighbor as thyself. And a new command give I unto you, that you love one another as I have loved you, etc. If this is the requirement, and it is, I really wonder how many will come up to that requirement. I have felt like being very careful myself, saying, "My soul, be on thy guard." Whether these two represent those who go into second death, it will not hurt you to be on your guard. Be not satisfied with anything short of the divine standard for your own heart and life.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Consecration. ::Q301:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--Who are those that constitute the great company besides those who have failed to keep their conseeration vow? That is, those dying before the time of trouble?
ANSWER.--I do not get that question. I do not know of any who will be in the Great Company but those who fail to keep their consecration vow, which is a vow to voluntarily lay down our human life, and if anyone will not do this voluntarily, the life will have to be taken away.
Did you notice this morning that we pointed out how our Lord ascended up on high, gave to the household of faith the human rights which He had purchased, and that He gave them under the terms and conditions that they would lay them down? Yes. Well, they that do so voluntarily and are of a good heart and earnest, they are the more than conquerors. And the others, what? It will have to be taken from them, because it must be passed on to seal the New Covenant, but they will fail to get the high reward.
GREAT COMPANY--Things That Lead to it. ::Q301:2:: QUESTION (l910)--2--What are the chief things that will draw us from the little flock to the Great Company class?
ANSWER.--My answer would be, lack of zeal, lack of love for God, lack of love for the brethren. That is to say, the coolness on the part of your heart. But, to answer and go more specifically to the root of the question, would be this: Little sins on your own part would be the things most likely to separate you from the little flock and give you your portion with the Great Company. The thought is given in Revelation, where it says, "These are they which came up out of great tribulation, having washed their robes and made them white." Now that washing of the robes gives the clew. Why did they need washing? Because they were soiled, etc. The Scriptures tell us that we should keep our robes unspotted, that we might be presented without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Here is the difference: The little flock will be the class without spot, etc., while the Great Company will be the class whose robes are spotted, and wrinkled and not fit to be of the Bride class. Let us apply this personally to
your affairs and to mine. Is it possible for any Christian person to so live as not to get a spot on the robe, and is that the teaching of the Bible? No, that is not the teaching of the Bible. Having an imperfect body, you, as a new creature, loyal to God, desirous of doing his will, find that you cannot do all the things that you would do, and therefore you will have occasionally a spot or wrinkle come to your white garment, that was given to you when God accepted you as a new creature in Christ. You cannot keep from having some spots or blemishes, because of the imperfection, because you must use this imperfect body. You must use the one you have and so you are sure to do those things which you would not desire to do; or as our Episcopal friends say, and very properly, "We have done those things which we ought not to have done, and we have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and there is no help in us." That is true, I believe, of every one of us. We cannot do all that we would do. We all know it, but there is no excuse for our not making the effort. God is going to watch the effort, and it is according to the effort that he is going to judge you. He is judging the new mind, not the flesh, for it is the new mind that is on trial. Now, then, suppose that because of flesh or ignorance, you are overtaken in a fault, you get a spot, what are you going to do? That is the question. Well, here the Lord has made a provision, there is a cleansing fluid, and if applied it maketh clean, as we sometimes sing, "His blood avails for me." So the Scriptures state, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." He is not speaking of the original sin, you did not get to be of the "us" class until you had come under the blood, and it had purged the responsibility for original sin. After you had received the robe of Christ's righteousness, then what? If you get a spot we are immediately to come to the Advocate, as we read, "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous." We have no Mediator with the Father, there is not a word about that in the whole Bible. We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. We are to come to the Father through him, entreating him for the forgiveness of this sin.
This Advocate is our Advocate, by virtue of his having a merit of his own that he can apply for us, applying it first for the sins that are past, and as he has applied it also for every weakness and imperfection that is present, that he may present us holy and spotless before the Father. But it will be this class, you see. This class, that want to have their robes cleansed, that deplore even one spot upon the robe. That is the class for whom the Advocate will do the work of cleansing.
Now let me refer to your own experience. When you go to the Advocate with the matter, you say, Lord, Lord, through weakness or imperfection I have failed in this point, I am sorry, and ask for forgiveness, and ask that it be not charged up against me, because my real intention is right, and I really desire to do thy will in my heart. You ask forgiveness for this, and he forgives. You say, Lord, I will never do this again. Then perhaps a little while after, it may he a year or six months, you do the same again. You say, O, I said the other time I would never do it again, and
now I am ashamed to go to the Lord and tell him I am negligent. What shall I do? Only one thing to do, that is to be so anxious for the Lord's favor and smile, that you will go to the throne of grace to obtain mercy. But there are some who do not. They say, O, not tonight, not tonight, I cannot pray tonight. Then they get into bed and sleep. The next day it is very much the same. They are a little farther from the Lord, the cloud is a little larger, and they say, I will try not to think of it at all. So there becomes an accumulation of spots, and at first they deplored them, hut now they do not. Then they say, I guess I was taking the matter too seriously at first, I find everybody has those spots. We do not like them and so they get to living a careless life, they are getting ready for the Great Company. You see they will have to wash those robes before they will be accepted to the heavenly condition. If you do not keep yours clean by constant application to the throne of heavenly grace, the spots will accumulate, and the only way to wash your robes will be in the great tribulation.
GREAT COMPANY--Who Depose Them. ::Q303:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--Tabernacle Shadows, page 69, states that the Great Company class cut themselves off from Christ. `John 15:2`, "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh it away," seems to indicate some additional act on God's part. Please define the two acts.
ANSWER.--Well, God acts only because the others act. For instance, Jesus says, "I am the Vine, ye are the branches; every branch in me that beareth fruit my Father purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." This pruning we see to be the trials and difficulties of life, but these are only for such as are branches in Christ. Now how do they get into Christ? By making consecration. And what was the legitimate intent or purpose of your consecration? That you might be a fruit-bearer. That is the very object of your coming into the membership of the Vine, the Body of Christ. Therefore if you do not bear fruit, if you do not cultivate the fruits of the spirit, you are marking yourself off, or cutting yourself off, for your failure to bring forth the fruitage God is requiring. Then he would separate those from his Church of the elect--the elect Body of Christ.
GREAT COMPANY--Suffer for Sins of World or People? ::Q303:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--June 15 Watch Tower makes a distinction between the world and the people. Are we to understand that the Great Company suffer only for the sins of the people, or do the Great Company suffer for the sins of the world?
ANSWER.--The Watch Tower did not know it was making any such distinction. I understand the people mentioned in the Scriptures to refer to the world, so if we made a distinction of that kind it was unintentional. It is very difficult to write and keep from tramping over somewhere in your writing and to remember all the different attitudes of mind, and how someone may look at it from this standpoint, and some from that, and some from another. You will have to read more carefully and I will have to write more carefully; so we will both take a share.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Seed of Abraham. ::Q304:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--Is the thought that the Great Company class is a part of the spiritual seed of Abraham contained in the question re the covenants? See February 15, Tower, 1909.
ANSWER.--1--I do not know what the reference is. The questions should always be independent of anything, then if the Tower is out of harmony you will notice it. But I will answer the question without reference to the Tower--"Is the Great Company class a part of the spiritual seed of Abraham?" I answer, Yes, to my understanding they are, but there are two ways of viewing the matter. The type of the spiritual seed of Abraham was Isaac and Rebecca, Isaac representing the Lord and Rebecca representing the Church, the Bride class, the Little Flock; and then in the account of how Rebecca was called, you remember we read that certain maid-servants were given to her and they went with her. These maid-servants, you see, represent the Great Company class. They traveled right along with Rebecca; they were not the Bride, but "The virgins, her companions," that went with her. So it was customary in all incidents of the Old Testament, that wherever the bride is mentioned, there is mention also of a maid as going along. There were the wives of Jacob, and each one of them had a maid. It was a custom of the times. So we read that Rebecca had at least two if not more. In the 45th Psalm, picturing the Church as the Bride of Christ, we read that the Bride is all glorious within; that she shall be brought unto the King in raiment of fine needlework. Then we read of the virgins, her companions, that follow her. These companions of the Bride are a part of the household. So the Great Company class is a part of the household. But take another picture that is given, the tribe of Levi. Go back and see where it came from. You remember the Passover night. In that night the Lord passed over the first-born of Israel. Then you remember that subsequently the Lord said to Moses, I have passed over and spared the first-borns of Israel, but now exchange these for the tribe of Levi. Thenceforth the tribe of Levi represented all of that first-born class, and that first-born class represented the Church, for ours is called the Church of the First-born whose names are written in Heaven. Now the whole Levite house, you see, was representative of this first-born class, this Church of the First-born. But among these Levites there were two classes. There was selected from the Levites a little flock of Priests--Aaron, and his family--and the remainder were the servants of this priestly family. Here we have another picture of the general fact that the household of faith includes Jesus, and the elect Bride class, and the Great Company class, and they are all the Church of the First- born whose names are written in Heaven, and they are all of those who are spared or passed over in this night time--in the present time before the Millennial morning begins. That night takes in the whole Gospel Age, and all of those who are spared in that night were represented in the whole tribe of Levi. Therefore the whole tribe of Levi represents the Church of the First-born, and these two classes are the elect Body of Christ, or Bride of Christ; and on the other hand the spiritual servants of the Church, the Great Company class.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Separation From Little Flock. ::Q305:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--Do you anticipate an outward separation of the Great Company from the Little Flock, or merely a separation in spirit, and a general affiliation of both classes in one assembly to the end of the harvest period.?
ANSWER.--I know of nothing to indicate that the Lord will make a separation between the Little Flock and the Great Company, as far as separating them into parties is concerned. You remember we pointed out in the Scripture Studies that Elijah was a type of the Church and that possibly Elisha was a type of the Great Company class, and subsequently of the Ancient Worthy class. We are not so sure about Elisha, but we are sure about Elijah, because we have positive proof in Revelation that Elijah was a type of the Church class; but if Elisha was a type of the Great Company class, then that type would seem to prove that there will be no separation, because there were frequent offers to separate as representing the trials and testings that would tend to turn them aside. As, for instance, Elijah said to Elisha, Now you tarry here, the Lord has sent me thus and so. But no, says Elisha, I will not stay; wherever you go I will go with you. So he went. Then presently another time Elijah said, Tarry here, the Lord hath sent me to so and so. But Elisha went with him everywhere. And finally Elijah acknowledged to Elisha that his getting a special blessing would depend upon his being with him down to the last. Elisha asked to have a special blessing--Cannot I have a special blessing, give me your blessing? Elijah answered, If you are with me when I am taken, then you shall have a blessing. In other words, if you continue steadfast and follow on and are not separated by the trials by the way, you will get a special blessing after the Elijah class is gone. And that is just what we would expect. You remember then the picture that when Elijah was taken up, his mantle fell from him for Elisha and Elisha went and got the mantle. The mantle is a symbol of power. You remember Elisha put on the mantle of Elijah and had some of the powers of Elijah. When he came to Jordan he smote the river with the mantle and it divided so he could cross over dry shod. All of which would be symbolical of the death of the Great Company class--that they would pass through death, which is symbolized by Jordan, victoriously, after they had the mantle of Elijah with them. Anything that happens beyond the crossing of the Jordan we would understand, if this be a type at all, to be typical of what the Ancient Worthies would do when their time would come after the Great Company had passed through the Jordan of death.
GREAT COMPANY--Fallen from Mark of Perfect Love. ::Q305:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--Can any one who has reached the mark of perfect love fall back into the Great Company?
ANSWER.--I think he could; I think he could not only fall back into the Great Company, but I think it would be possible for him to fall away entirely. That if he had reached the mark of perfect love, and been a teacher of others, he might be a castaway himself if he did not maintain his standing and relationship to the Lord.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Serving as Priests. ::Q306:1:: QUESTION (1910)--l--Are the Great Company Priests in the service of holy things?
ANSWER.--No, they are not priests. They were accepted as priests. The picture is a double one. But the priesthood God is providing is one that belongs to the future, that is, the spiritual priesthood; the Royal Priesthood is future. We now speak of ourselves as members of the Royal Priesthood, but not in the actual sense; you are now probationary members to see whether or not you will be worthy of being members of the Royal Priesthood. The members of the Royal Priesthood will be those who will share with Jesus in his resurrection, the first resurrection. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." But the Great Company are those that after having consecrated and proposed to take the proper steps to which they were called as priests fail to take the steps and therefore they will not be priests in the future. They are now in with us, and it is not for you and for me to determine who are the priests, and who are performing their sacrifices properly; that is for the Lord to determine. In this company there may be some who will be Priests and some who will be Levites, and will not attain to worthiness for the priesthood. But it is not for me or for you to make a distinction and say, You are not a Priest, but you are a Levite. The Lord did not give us any such authority. So we now speak of ourselves together. You consecrated and are going on but I don't know whether you are making your sacrifice properly or not, and you do not know about mine.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Losing Crowns. ::Q306:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--Are the words, "Take heed, let no man take thy crown," strictly applicable to the Great Company class? Can these be said to have the crown of life?
ANSWER.--I answer that there is no Great Company class in the beginning. Nobody was received as a member of the Great Company. He was received as a consecrating priest, and everyone is elect at the time of consecration. A crown was apportioned to such one. The object in inviting him at all was that he might have a crown. But the question is, Will he maintain his right to that crown by being an overcomer? If he does that will mean that he continues to be one of the priestly class to which he was invited, for we are all called in one hope of our calling. But if he fails to be an overcomer, then he ceases to be of that Body of Christ class, the Little Flock class, and by ceasing to be of that class forfeits his right to a crown. But the crown was there when he consecrated for no one is accepted but to a crown.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Awakening of Great Company. ::Q306:3:: QUESTION (l910)--3--Is it your understanding that since 1878 all the consecrated who are faithful pass immediately at death to the spiritual plane beyond, and would this include any of the Great Company? And do you understand that any of those of the Great Company who died previous to the present harvest-time
were awakened at that date.? And if this is true, how would it harmonize with the parable of the wise and foolish virgins?
ANSWER.--I answer: I do not know anything in the Scripture that would give us a proper ground for reaching a conclusion, and I do not know that it is very important that you should reach a conclusion. The conclusion that you and I want to settle is that we make our calling and election sure, and that we try to keep out of the Great Company class, and try to get into the Little Flock. I can see no difference to any of us as to whether the Great Company were awakened in 1878 or not. That is our understanding respecting the Little Flock, that from that date, all those who were members of the Body of Christ experienced a change; but as for the Great Company, we would not undertake to answer. We do not know. We are rather inclined to think not, but we have no ground on which to answer.
GREAT COMPANY--Ran for Prize and Lost. ::Q307:1:: QUESTION (1911)--l--Will there be any among the great company class who ran for the prize and lost, and then went into the great company class?
ANSWER.--We answer yes; to our understanding they will all be in this class--all those who started out to run. Some of them may only have run one step or two, but the running for the prize seems to me to begin right at the gate. Just the minute we enter the gate we begin running; you are on the race course and they are all running from that point. Whether you run fast or slow, you are on the race course and all enter by the same gate. As the apostle says, "We are all called in one hope of our calling." God did not call anybody to be of the great company class. Everybody that is called in this age is called to be of the little flock class. All of those go into the great company class; there will be those who having started to be of the consecrated class, and having consecrated to give up all, having made that much of a start in the race course, then fail, they must either then go into the great company class, or worse, into the second death.
GREAT COMPANY--Consecration But Not Running. ::Q307:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--Will there be any among the great company that made a consecration and never ran for the prize?
ANSWER.--I don't know that anybody could answer that question except the Lord; hut I would suppose there would he none in the great company class that had not made the start in the running.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Begetting. ::Q307:3:: QUESTION (1911)--3--Is it correct to say that the great company class is begotten to the divine nature, seeing that only the little flock are born as divine, of the immortal nature? Please explain the Scriptural teachings on the begetting of the Holy Spirit.
ANSWER.--I would think it entirely right to use that expression, "begotten to the divine nature." I did change it however, in "The Dawn," to read: "begotten to the Spirit nature," but I did that, not because I thought it as necessary to do so, but because I thought to make it easier for some to grasp the thought. The begetting is to a certain nature, just the same as we are all called in one hope of our calling.
The begetting of the Holy Sprit is the same begetting in every case, but if it has one turn, or development, the result will be the divine nature, and if it takes the other turn, or development, the result will be the nature like unto the angels. We think it is well illustrated by the fact that those who are begotten of the flesh may be born either male or female. The same begetting may result in the child being born male or female; so it does not follow, then, we must say that one is begotten to be a female or begotten to be a male. The begetting is the same in every case. So, with the Holy Spirit's begetting; they are all of one begetting, all by one Father, and all of the same kind. But as certain things in the human tend to determine whether it will be a male or whether it will be a female, after the begetting process is ended, just so with the spiritual; after the begetting of the spirit has been accomplished, certain conditions, etc., tend to determine whether the one will be born from the dead to the divine nature, or to the spirit nature like unto the angels, and that determining factor we find plainly stated in the Scriptures is with ourselves. In proportion as you and I are faithful to him who called us, and to the terms and conditions, we will make our calling and election sure. That calling, that election, that begetting, which we are to make sure, is to the divine nature. If we fail to make it sure in the highest sense of the word, there is still a possibility of a birth to a lower nature by the same Spirit begetting; or there is still a possibility of being utterly cast away into second death.
Another illustration you remember, brought to our attention in the Watch Tower, is that of bees. In bee culture it seems there are three classes of bees; there is the worker, and the drone, and the queen bee, and these are all begotten alike originally; but whether the cell shall turn out the one or the other depends upon certain subsequent treatment. When the bees desire to make a queen bee they apparently feed that larva more and more nourishing food until it becomes a queen bee, of larger size, distinct entirely from the other bees. I think perhaps we may learn a lesson there; that those who feed most upon the spiritual food have the best chance of getting to the royal position.
The Lord has given us plenty, and we are all called to be of this king bee and queen bee, class--the queen class rather suits us pretty well, since the Lord himself is king. We are to be his queen. So whether we shall be of that class depends largely on how we shall assimilate the truths that the Lord has given us, and the assimilation includes also our use of the blessings and favors that are coming to us. So all having one begetting, much will depend on ourselves as to how we use the varied opportunities and blessings.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Part in First Resurrection. ::Q308:1:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--l--Will the Great Company have part in the First Resurrection.?
ANSWER.--Those in the First Resurrection will live and reign with Christ a thousand years. (`Rev. 20:4,6`.) Therefore those of the Great Company will have no part whatever in the First Resurrection. The Apostle Paul speaks of Christ's Resurrection--"That I might know Him and the
power of His Resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death." (`Phil. 3:10`.) This is the First Resurrection.
There are, however, two other Scriptures which include the Great Company: `Heb. 12:23`, where the Apostle speaks of the Church of the First-borns whose names are written in heaven, and `Rev. 2:27`, where mention is made of those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. All will attain life on the spirit plane, whose names are written in the Book of the Lamb, and the Lord said that He would not blot out the names of any overcomers.--`Rev. 3:5`.
Do the Great Company overcome? Yes. God has no blessings to give to those who are not overcomers. What is the difference between the Great Company and the Little Flock? The difference is that the Little Flock are those who are more than loyal to God. The Great Company will be loyal to God in that they will not withhold their lives when the test shall come. They will perish rather than deny the Lord; and thus they will experience the destruction of the flesh. But they did not go forth with sufficient zeal to carry out their consecration. They were loyal to God, but they did no more than maintain their loyalty.
Then we have our Lord's statement as recorded in `John 5:28,29`:
"For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life." This will include both the Little Flock and the Great Company; both classes will get eternal life. If this statement includes the Ancient Worthies, then it means three classes: the Little Flock, the Great Company and the Ancient Worthies, though there will be different planes of perfection--human perfection, the perfection that will be like that of the angels, and lastly the perfection that will come to those who shall be like Christ, namely, that of the Divine nature.
GREAT COMPANY-Not Shown in the Pyramid. ::Q309:1:: QUESTION (1912-Z)--1--Is there nothing in the Great Pyramid to represent the Great Company--the Bride's virgin companions, who will follow her? (`Psa. 45:14`.) We understand your interpretation to teach that the Queen's Chamber symbolically represents those who will attain perfection on the human plane, and that the King's Chamber symbolically represents those who will attain to the divine nature. Is the Great Company not shown in the Pyramid or have you merely neglected to call attention to the feature which symbolizes it?
ANSWER.--God, during this Gospel Age of nearly nine teen centuries, has been calling the Church to glory honor and immortality. During the next Age, under Messiah's Kingdom, He will open up a way of Restitution and return to earthly perfection for all the willing and obedient of mankind. God did not call any to be of the Great Company Class. Those who will ultimately be of that class, "saved as by fire," will get a reward to which they were never called or invited. There is but one call during this age; as we read, "Ye are called in one hope of your calling." (`Eph. 4:4`.) That call was to self-sacrifice--to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Only by making that covenant of sacrifice were any of us accepted or begotten of the Holy Spirit
or privileged to call ourselves the elect of God.
In view of these things it would seem quite appropriate that the Great Pyramid does not show a place for the Great Company, as though they had been invited to such a place.
The ante-chamber, as we have already pointed out, marks the experiences of the Church in the School of Christ, which are necessary before any could pass, by the power of the First Resurrection, into the divine perfection symbolized by the King's Chamber. We may, therefore, assume that the Great Company class all come into this Ante-Chamber, or School, but that only the "faithful unto death" pass beyond it under the granite leaf into the King's Chamber.
GREAT COMPANY--Spirit Begotten, Levites, Court. ::Q310:1:: QUESTION (1912)--l--Please explain about the Great Company, "Spirit Begotten"--the anti-typical Levites, as against the Court being the justified condition.
ANSWER.--In the Tabernacle the Court represents a condition which is not yet complete or perfect at the present time. Let me illustrate the matter in our spiritual experience. We will suppose that we belong to the Camp, and over yonder in the background is the Tabernacle with its curtains and everything else which I need not describe to a class of Bible Students. We would, before long, say to ourselves that we had the desire to go across, and we learn that there are those who are special servants in there, and we wish ere long to become one of the servants of God in connection with the Tabernacle. We realize, however, that we are sinners and so imperfect, but still we turn to God, and we walk toward the Tabernacle and our Justification may be said to have its beginning from that very moment we turned toward the Tabernacle. We are enjoined to seek "that which is right" and it is right and just that we should have this attitude towards God, therefore we are taking the right course or the course of Justification. There are many people in the world saying that God is not far from everyone of us, but the inspired writer said that there are many who are "feeling after God, if haply they might find Him." Those who leave the Camp to come into the Court of the Tabernacle are feeling after God with the desire to find Him. When they come up to the Tabernacle enclosure they find that there is only one entrance (Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ), and that that one way is the only way of approaching the Tabernacle. They enter, and as they enter they must pass the Brazen Altar of Sacrifice before they have gone very far within the enclosure. The person who sees that much sees more than ever before of the matter. But he or she is not yet at the Tabernacle proper. Those who have come thus far must remember that they have still to go on for a bit more yet. At that Altar they have seen the fact that God has provided a way from sin. Recognizing this, they may stop there for a longer or shorter period. A danger is that some are so pleased with that portion that they would sit down there content with that. It is good that we thank God for having made that provision for salvation, but there must be a going forward for a distance yet. What is there after seeing this Altar and its meaning? The next step is to yonder Laver, and towards yonder Laver they go next. What do they find? Water! This surely means Cleansing. O! to put away the filth of this flesh and make myself--or rather
allow myself to be made--as nearly as possible right with God! Have I wronged anybody? Such questions as that must be asked of ourselves and answered by ourselves. This is the attitude of those who have reached the Laver for cleansing. We may cleanse ourselves at the Laver, but still we have not fully come to God. Is there not something I can do? That is the next question which turns up in the mind of those who have reached the Laver. We remain in a justified condition so long as we keep forward in our way, and we become more right with God and more justified, if we might say so, every step of the way onward. Now we come to the Door of the Tabernacle and we present ourselves as Sacrifices as represented by the Goat for instance. "Present your bodies" is the injunction which comes to us now. When we have done that, we have done everything in our power to do. There is nothing more we can possibly do after that presentation of our bodies as Sacrifices in that sense. But we are not justified by that action. Nothing of ourselves can justify us for our justification is not of works. "It is God that justifies." And there is only one way, namely, that way through HIM who is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. He must be our Advocate. When we present ourselves at the Door of the Tabernacle, and say: "Here, Lord, I give myself," then is the time for God to put into operation the gracious arrangement He has made previously, and there and then the High Priest becomes our Advocate. When He applies His Merit the sacrifice is accepted. That moment we are justified, and then, as a consequence, the Heavenly Father receives us through the Holy Spirit and we are begotten of that Holy Spirit as New Creatures. The New Creatures are now in the Tabernacle; have passed under that first vail, and they should enjoy the light from the Candle Stick and the Shew Bread and the Golden Altar, and then at the close of life should pass beyond that Second Vail--the Resurrection, and should land on the other side of that Vail in safety. It is all in this present life. Whoever is coming near to God by believing in the work of Jesus, and who trusts in the precious sacrifice, these are in a tentatively justified position, but justified only as they have made a full consecration to the Lord. They are justified to the privilege of approaching, but they are not privileged to be Priests, and they cannot come into God's full favor without going on and still on. Suppose anyone went as far as the Laver and then began to reason that he was advancing too rapidly, and then stands still arguing that he must stop this rapid progress by taking matters slowly and wishing to remain here for some time before going on to the Priesthood, that one never has his Justification completed. His Justification is never fully completed because he never takes the final step by which that Justification is vitalized. That is the step of FULL CONSECRATION. After wandering around in this way for a length of time without any sign of going on in the way, some grow cold and get out of the way, and perhaps out of the Court altogether. That represents the use of the Court at the present time. When it comes to the end of this Age and to the perfection of the saints at that time, those who were approaching unto God sincerely during this Age, and who have come all the way there will be accepted. The remainder will no longer be justified in this way, but will be
with the rest of the world waiting for the blessings of the next age. The Court will be emptied, so to speak, and all those who have entered fully into the Most Holy will then remain as the Members of the Body of the Christ. At the end of that time a distinction will be made between those who have been found worthy and those who have not been found worthy. Those who are found worthy shall pass into the Most Holy to be there forever with the Lord, but the others who are not found worthy will be excluded from that and they will belong to the second company. They still have Justification. They got it the moment they passed the First Vail of Consecration-- the moment Jesus Christ became Surety for them. They cannot be of the Elect. They are of the Levites. These positions represent the attitude of the two classes. All the Levite Class represents the Court condition; all the Priest Class, the Elect condition.
GREAT COMPANY--In Holy or Court. ::Q312:1:: QUESTION (1912)--l--Can one who has entered the Holy as a Priest, during the Gospel Age, ever drop back into the Great Company, or the Court condition?
ANSWER.--This shows a misunderstanding--the Great Company are not in the Court. The only ones in the Court now are those in a tentatively justified condition--the Great Company are not in the Court. At the close of this Age there will no longer be a tentative justification. There will be nobody in the Court condition, except the actually justified. If the Great Company will be excluded from the glory of the priestly office, at the end of this age, then it will be theirs to serve in the Court, as the Levites of the next age. But those in the Court now, during this age, are only those in a tentatively justified condition.
GREAT COMPANY--Re the Holy. ::Q312:2:: QUESTION (1912)--2--Can any be of the Great Company class who have never been in the condition typified by the Holy of the Tabernacle?
ANSWER.--No, they could not be of the Great Company class, unless they had gotten into the Tabernacle--only those who make the consecration and those consecrations have been accepted, are tentatively counted as members of the Body of Christ. If, after entering the Holy they fail to have the Spirit of Christ, fail to be exercised by His Spirit, the end will show that they have not retained their position in the Body of Christ, but no one is competent to decide that point now. The resurrection will reveal the Master's decision.
GREAT COMPANY--Should We Fear We are in it? ::Q312:3:: QUESTION (1913)--3--While we realize that fear is of the Adversary, would it be improper to expect that we would have some sure indication in our own hearts, that we have lapsed into the Great Company class, or made our calling and election sure in this late time of the harvest?
ANSWER.--My thought would be that your head is poor and imperfect, and so is mine, too; that you would not be able to juggle all your thoughts sufficiently to know where you stood. If you attempt any such hair splitting with yourself the best thing is to say, I know the terms and conditions, am I
living up to the best of my ability to these terms? If you can say to yourself, I am doing all I can in the fulfillment of my consecration vow, you could not do any more, so do that much and let it go there. Say to yourself, "faithful is he that called us who will also do his part;" If you do your part the Lord will do His part--that is the end of it, it is no use arguing any more. If you were in the Great Company class you probably would not realize it at all. I would say simply this: did you make a consecration to the Lord? Yes; are you doing your best? Yes; do you think you could do any better? Yes; well, try and do a bit better.
GREAT COMPANY--Their Development. ::Q313:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Have the Great Company class been developing all through the Gospel Age; or will they all come out through the time of trouble?
ANSWER.--We have already answered that in the Studies in the Scriptures, and perhaps a second reading will give better light. The fact is, the Great Company is not to be known to you, or me, or any other individual. There will be no such class until the Lord shall make the decision as represented in the parable. He is represented as having given certain talents to his servants, and upon His return He reckons with the servants, and that means the church. Some will be in one class, and others in another. That classification will affect the dead as well as the living. In God's providence, some may have been experiencing the tribulation which belongs to the secondary class, during the Gospel Age. We cannot determine who are of the little flock.
GREAT COMPANY--Re 1914. ::Q313:2:: QUESTION (1913)--2--Do you think those going beyond 1914 will go into the Great Company class?
ANSWER.--I do not know, and my think or guess, would not be of any value. I think the less guessing we do the better. As respects 1914, we have some reasons for believing that to be a very important year. We have never set forth anything to indicate that our view in the matter was infallible. I do not know positively that the times of the Gentiles will end in October, 1914, or at any other particular time. We think there is strong reason for believing that the Gentile Times will end in October, 1914. We give it as our opinion, and set before you the Scriptural reason. Some may believe and some not. This is our thought and if it is correct, about that time, or shortly thereafter, a great time of trouble will come upon the world. Not a burning of literal fire, but a symbolic fire, in that the world will pass through fiery experiences, in the midst of which Messiah's kingdom will be established.
GREAT COMPANY--Expiating For Sin. ::Q313:3:: QUESTION (1913)--Is it your thought that the Great Company expiate for the partially wilful sins committed against the Church so far as justice is concerned, in order that they may come from the tomb?
ANSWER.--I would not put it in that form. I would put it in the form it is in the WATCH TOWER or DAWNS; I think that is better. This brother may be all right, but I do not like the way of stating it. If you will read over again what is in the WATCH TOWER, that is what I prefer. On
most of these doctrinal questions I prefer not to say either at conventions or in private letters anything else than what is in the WATCH TOWER because I find that some of the dear friends are inclined to say, Oh, well, that is what Brother Russell used to believe, that is what is in the DAWNS and in the WATCH TOWER, I know, but since then he has changed his mind; he wrote me a special letter, but I heard him say at the convention this year so and so. I understand that even one of the Pilgrims has been telling what Brother Russell changed his mind about. I want to say that when Brother Russell changes his mind, he is going to put it in the WATCH TOWER; he wants you all to know. You just take it from the WATCH TOWER. I will make it as plain as possible there, and, if I cannot make it plain enough there, I am afraid I would not do so here.
GREAT COMPANY--Their Change. ::Q314:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Are those of the Great Company class changed at the moment of death at the present time?
ANSWER.--Do we understand that those of the Great Company class are changed at the moment of their dying? I think not. To my understanding, the Little Flock class will constitute the first resurrection; as we read, Blessed and holy are all of those who have part in the first resurrection: they shall he kings and priests unto God and Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. This is the first resurrection. I would understand the Great Company class will not he changed until after the Church class, the Little Flock company, is all completed on the other side of the vail.
GREAT COMPANY--Their Change. ::Q314:2:: QUESTION (1913)--2--About what time will the Great Company class be glorified?
ANSWER.--I think shortly after the Little Flock has been glorified, and the great time of trouble has come upon the world in general in which the Great Company class will be amongst the first to share and that after they have all finished they shall he glorified and brought into the presence of the great King, as described in the 46th Psalm.
GREAT COMPANY--This Side the Vail. ::Q314:3:: QUESTION (1913)--3--Is there any Great Company class on this side of the vail and is there any separation between the Little Flock and the Great Company on this side?
ANSWER.--We tried to say last evening there is no separation, no two classes at the present time, and it would be quite improper for you or I or any others of God's people to try to say, This one belongs to the Great Company and that one to the Little Flock. No one decides that but the Lord Himself, and that apparently is left to the very close, therefore we think it would be quite improper to speak of two classes in the Church. "All ye are brethren." All come under one name. Seek to make your calling and election sure. No man can know nor say how well you are running in the race. Only God and you know how loyal you are, and the Apostle intimates that we might ourselves be fully confident as to how well we are doing. You remember he says, It is a light thing that I should be judged of you or any man. Yea, I judge not mine own self. I might pass a wrong judgment on myself and say, You do not belong to the Little Flock, or say, Surely you do belong to the Little Flock. So it
would be a small thing that we should be judged of each other or by our own selves. There is one that judgeth, even God, and He will decide the matter. No one else is competent to do so. We do well to avoid any such judging. Help one another, encourage one another, point out the conditions and terms and all that, but do not judge one another.
GREAT COMPANY--What Part in the General Assembly. ::Q315:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--To the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn which are written in Heaven--does the church of this text include the Great Company and when does the text apply?
ANSWER.--This question we had earlier in our service. It does include, as we then showed, the Great Company class, and it applies at the present time. That is to say, the Apostle is telling about the gathering of the Church. The General Assembly, we believe, is going on now; just the same as this convention has been going on now for two days; some came on Saturday morning, some in the evening and some have just come in. I saw some coming in with their valises just now. So there is a gathering here and it has been coming together gradually. Just so God is gathering in the first resurrection, the Church of the Firstborns. The Firstborn of the Church, Jesus the head, went to glory 1,800 years ago, but the gathering of the Church which is His Body we understand takes place during this harvest time. Those who sleep in Jesus will be the first to be changed, then we which are alive and remain are to be changed gradually, each one in his own order, until all the church will have experienced the change. And this same process of gathering the Church of the Firstborn will include the Great Company class, and all of those will come in as part of the gathering together of the General Assembly of the Church of the Firstborn whose names are written in Heaven. Their names are not all written in the Lamb's Book of Life, because those whose names are written are the special class, the Bride class. Their names are written from the time they first made their consecration, and the Lord said He would not blot out their names unless they would prove renegade--unless they would turn against him and His arrangements. So we see that the Lord is dealing very graciously and even will bring some through great tribulation.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Chart of Ages and Tabernacle. ::Q315:2:: QUESTION (1913)--2--On the chart the Great Company is represented above plane M of spirit begetting, yet we are told in the finished picture in the Tabernacle type they will be in the court condition below the spirit begetting. Please harmonize this.
ANSWER.--The chart is a picture of the progress of the Church upward to the attainment of the High Calling, and then in the large pyramid at the end of the chart the different relationships of these the one to the other is pictured. We cannot say that we can harmonize it to everybody's mind. Take as much of it as you can and leave the rest. Some can get more nutriment out of a slice of bread than another can, so we cannot hinder the one that gets only a little nutriment from eating the bread, and, if he need it, eats more.
GREAT COMPANY--Re Teaching What is Understood. ::Q315:3:: QUESTION (1915)--3--Cannot `Rev. 7:9-17` be applied
to the saved world of mankind, rather than to a Great Company class? Is there not a very serious danger in teaching that there is to be a great company on the spirit Plane and that those who lack a thorough appreciation of the high calling, and a consecration thereto, will be saved notwithstanding?
ANSWER.--It would he very dangerous for any person who does not see a thing to presume to teach it. The questioner evidently does not understand this subject, and that cuts the answer short. When we leave a subject as the Lord puts it, we have it right. "The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully." "We speak that we do know." This is the privilege that we intend to have until we die. Is it not?
GREAT COMPANY--Their Change. ::Q316:1:: QUESTION (19l5)--1--Will the Great Company be take Home before the Kingdom is set up?
ANSWER.--I think not. I think the Kingdom will be set up before the Great Company is taken. I believe that after the Kingdom is set up and after the Time of Trouble is fully on the Great Company will wash their robes and will finish their course, during the period of anarchy, and will then be present at the Marriage Supper. They will not be a part of the Bride, but may nevertheless have the honor of being at the great Feast and have association with the Bride, become her honored servants--her bridesmaids so to speak.
GREAT COMPANY--And The Divine Nature. ::Q316:2:: QUESTION (1916)--2--Are there any Scriptures to prove that the Great Company will not receive the Divine nature?
ANSWER.--There are no Scriptures to prove that the great company will get the Divine nature, and there are many scriptures to prove that they will not get the Divine nature, because the Scriptures say that the Divine nature will be given only to those who are more than conquerors. The great company will finally be conquerors, but the Little Flock class will he more than conquerors and will consist of those who gain a great victory in that they fully follow the Lamb. Jesus went on voluntarily presenting His body as a living sacrifice. The little flock will be voluntary sacrifices, whereas the great company will not be voluntary sacrifices. They will therefore be sent forth into the wilderness of the tribulation for the destruction of their flesh. Only those sacrificers who cooperate willingly and gladly with the sacrificing Priest, the Lord Jesus, will be members of the bride class and become partakers of the Divine nature--glory, honor and immortality. At first the Father only, had immortality, afterwards the Son received this as a reward for His faithfulness, and then the bride class will sit with Him on His throne and share His glory. St. Peter says He has given us exceeding great and precious promises that, by these (working in our minds and hearts) we might become partakers of the Divine nature. He speaks to the little flock class, and not to the great company class. Why not? Because the Word of the Lord is not for the great company. They refuse to go faithfully forward until death, so the Word of the Lord is not sent unto them. They will have
to be pushed in, you see; but those who will be willing to go in by the Word, they will share the Divine nature. St. Paul speaks of those who seek glory, honor and immortality as gaining this eternal life, but they must seek for it. It is something to be done. The worthy ones are those who seek for it. We must first apply that promise by entering into the covenant by sacrifice, and then, if we will run properly, we will attain unto that prize. Others will receive a lesser reward.
HANDS-Placed on Heads of Offerings. ::Q317:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--What was the significance of the High Priest always laying his hands upon the heads of the offerings?
ANSWER.--I am not sure that he did always lay his hands on their heads, but when he did, it would imply that he accepted it, and that it would represent him, as being his sacrifice. The same also when a sinner laid his hands upon a sacrifice, it was accepted instead of himself and represented him. Also the same in the case of the Church laying their hands upon Paul and Barnabas, that act said, in effect, We accept them as our representatives, and when they go out they represent this Antioch Church, that they would bear their expenses, etc.
HARVEST--Difference Between Separating and Reaping. ::Q317:2:: QUESTION (1908)--2--What is the difference in the character of work between separating the wheat from the tares, and the reaping?
ANSWER.--Well, dear friends, I suppose this illustration of a harvest is not a perfect illustration; I would scarcely think that it would be a perfect illustration. If we were to think of it that way, we would have to suppose, first of all, there would be the cutting of the grain, and then the separating of it, and the threshing of it, and the gathering of it into the barns; and if we were going to apply that, we would see so many ways for cutting it down, so many ways of separating it, so many ways for threshing it out, etc., that it would not fit with the facts. To my understanding, this harvest work is going on for all of these forty years, and there are some who went promptly into the garner away back in 1881, and some have been going into the garner ever since, all the way down; so here in this beautiful figure of the harvest work I do not think we could expect the fulfillment of every little detail. The main features are given in the parable itself, namely the Lord taught that the harvest would be the end of the age, and in the harvest He would send His reapers who would gather the tares into bundles for burning. Now, the gathering of the tares into bundles to my understanding, represents the gathering and the tying tight of organizations. I am not going to limit this to so called secret orders; I think that probable they are part of it. All the various denominations are part of that great bundling system, and the effect is very similar in; fact I do not know why anyone who is a member of an ordinary church should make objection to a man being a member of the Odd Fellows or the Masons. So far as I can understand, they are a kind of a church, too, or they clam to be; they have their regular ritual service, and claim to go to the holy,
etc., when they die. Only a few days ago I heard a little dissertation along that line. Their comrades are all supposed to be welcomed when they die into the great hereafter; they pass them along gently, just about as well as any of the nominal church people could do it, and with just about as much authority, and with just about as much sincerity, so far as I can tell. I am not judging at all, I am merely saying, so far as I can tell. But my understanding is, that all of these are bundles, and each bundle is getting tighter. Some of you know a great deal more about Freemasonry than I do, and I am not here to say anything against it, because I do not know anything to say, and I do not know as I would say it if I did know it. The Lord did not send me to preach against Masonry or Odd Fellowship, nor against Presbyterianism or Methodism. Our opportunity is to tell the truth, to preach the true gospel of Christ, and the Lord says that this message is to have its effects on the different hearts. Now, if you find yourself in any kind of a bundle, you know that is not the program so far as the wheat is concerned. The wheat is to he gathered into the garner; it is not to be put into bundles in the present life. The wheat is to be free. If you find yourself in any kind of a bundle, better get out of the bundle. Trust in the Lord, and be in harmony with Him, and this will take you out of all kinds of bundles and human organizations, I believe. I should, perhaps, say a cautionary word here to the effect that I would understand this would mean, for instance, that if I were a carpenter I would prefer to be at liberty, but if it were demanded of me that I should join a union before I could have work, and that I must pay so much of my money into that union's coffers, I should join. I should understand that I was making so much of a contribution to the general weal of the carpenters, and I would have no hesitation in the matter, because there is nothing of a religious kind there. There is nothing that would fetter my heart or mind. But if that organization should do anything I could not approve, I would feel perfectly free to withdraw at any time. So I would make that limitation. But, so far as wheat and tares are concerned, I think there are plenty of bundles all around you, and I notice, too, that these different worldly organizations, if we may so call them in contradistinction to church organizations, are also taking the same methods the church people are taking. It used to be very easy to withdraw from one of the churches and you could say, "I will thank you for a letter," and then they would take the letter and never deposit it, but burn it up, if they desired. And so with the Masons; they had a method by which anyone desiring to leave the order could ask for a demit and he would get that without any particular question. I have been informed that now this is changed somewhat. If you are a Presbyterian, and you wish a letter, they say, "To which church do you wish the letter addressed?" You say, "Oh, just make it out anyway." "Oh we do not do that now; we will give you a letter to a certain, particular church and it is to he deposited there--good when deposited there." And so I am informed that our Freemason friends are doing the same thing; they do not give demits now. If you wish to be transferred to another lodge they will transfer you, but they do not give demits now in the same way they formerly did.
A Brother: Brother Russell, I am a Mason and, unfortunately, hold a high position in the order, and I would like to make a little correction on that. A Mason is perfectly free to leave when he feels so disposed. No restraint whatever is placed upon him.
Brother Russell: I told you in the beginning that I did not know about it myself; I was only relating what a brother told me.
Another Brother: I was a Mason in a different jurisdiction from that of the brother. It may he all right in his particular jurisdiction, but it is not the same in other jurisdictions, as I know.
Brother Russell: You will notice that we never have anything to say against any of these. We have not said an unkind word about Freemasonry, and you never read anything unkind that we have ever said about it, and I do not wish to say anything unkind about Presbyterianism, or Methodism. I think that many of the dear friends in these denominations are good people, and I appreciate their characters. What I talk about sometimes is Presbyterian doctrine, and they talk about it, too. And I have read things they have said about Presbyterian doctrines far harder than anything I have ever said. I sometimes quote in the Watch Tower some things Presbyterians say about their own doctrine, and I occasionally quote in the Watch Tower something the Methodists say about their doctrine, because they say it stronger than I should wish to say it.
HARVEST--Great Harvest, Little Flock. ::Q319:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--"The harvest truly is great." If it is a "Little Flock" that comes out, how is the harvest great or plenteous?
ANSWER.--The Lord's illustration must be borne in mind; he was in the harvest time of the Jewish Age, and the whole Jewish nation was the harvest field at that time, so then we will have to find fault with the Lord. If there is any mistake, he made the mistake, for He said, "The harvest is great and the laborers few." Now, then, the harvest there, so far as Jesus was concerned, was the gathering in of 500 brethren at that time, but that was not all of the Jewish harvest, for more were gathered later. We must suppose that Jesus meant relatively, there is a great work to do in comparison with the few that are ready and willing to do it. Also they were a typical people and it was true then, and so it is true now. All of the Jews were not gathered then, for millions were not gathered, but the Lord spoke of those who were gathered as plenteous, all good characters, and he was satisfied. He will be satisfied with what he gets out of the Gentiles. But the point of the argument seems to be that the laborers are few, more work than the laborers could do. There is plenty for all, and work for more. So he said, Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he will send more laborers. Such should expect that the Lord would send them. Apply the same thing now--do not expect that the harvest work here will include millions, but a considerable number, and in my judgment there is yet a great work to he done. I can see where ever so many more of the Lord's faithful people could be used in the Lord's work. I have been calling attention to the London office, that there ought
to be a great many more Colporteurs here. There is a great field for work to be done. If the Colporteurs do not do it, I presume the Lord will find some other way, but the opportunity will be lost.
As an illustration: the Lord hindered the books from being sold in book stores, and I presume it was to make the way clear for the friends to sell the books. For a long time the Lord did not open the way for the newspapers, so the friends could give out the tracts, but now the Lord is opening up the worldly newspapers, and sending them to millions of people. Why? There are not enough reapers. While praying, ask yourself, What can I do? If he has a work going on you want to get your share, so with everyone.
HARVEST--Re Ending in Spring of 1910. ::Q320:1:: QUESTION (1910)--1--A thought is being advanced among the friends that the work will close next spring. Do you find any Scriptural proof for such thought, and are you in sympathy with the advancing of such theory?
ANSWER.--I do not find any ground for such a thought. I am not in sympathy with the advancement of such a theory. I think it would be far better for the dear friends not to speculate about things of which they have no knowledge. At least, I will say that I think I would do best not to speculate about things of which I have no knowledge. If they have any knowledge on this subject, they have some knowledge I do not have, and if they are sure that they have knowledge, of course to their own Master they are responsible for the using of it. But so far as I can see, dear friends, discussing such matters as that merely takes away from the friends opportunities for usefulness, and we would far better stop talking about such things and be busily engaged in the harvest work, doing what we can do, never minding whether it is going to stop next spring or not. I will tell you next spring how it will be. In the meantime, as far as I can see, we all have plenty to do. Do not anybody stop for lack of work.
HARVEST--Re Extent of Opportunities for Service. ::Q320:2:: QUESTION (1910)--2--According to the present outlook, can you give us any idea how long the opportunities for service will continue, the pilgrim service, colporteur service, volunteer work, etc..?
ANSWER.--I cannot. Some of the dear friends would seem to think that they have it all very nicely figured out. Well, I cannot quarrel with them, because I do not see it. If they say they see it, why they see more than I do. So far as I can see now, dear friends, I have no reason to think that the colporteur work or the other parts of the service are going to shut down immediately. It looks to me as though the work never had a more prosperous appearance than it has at the present time. My thought is that you and I, and all who are interested in the work, had best not be bothering our heads about when it is going to close. You will find out when it closes all right, won't you? Of course you will. So then do with your might what your hands find to do, and you will find lots to do now, large opportunities every day in all these various directions. My advice is, go
ahead; never mind what somebody says about when you can not go ahead; you will find that out in due time yourself.
HARVEST--Length of in Parab1es, `Math. 13:30` and `Math. 20:1-16`. ::Q321:1:: QUESTION (1916)--1--Does the harvest referred to in the parable of the tares in `Mat. 13:30` cover a corresponding period of time to the work in the vineyard in `Mat. 20:1-16`?
ANSWER.--I don't know.
HATE--The World Cannot Hate You --To Whom Spoken? ::Q321:2:: QUESTION (1907)--2--Please harmonize these verses: "The world cannot hate you, but Me it hateth because I testified of it that the works thereof are evil." And the other text is: "If ye were of the world, the world would love its own. Now, because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." Please harmonize these two particular texts, and particularly the words, "The world cannot hate you," and "therefore the world hateth you."
ANSWER.--The one was spoken to a mixed audience of people, and the other was spoken to those who were His disciples, whom He had gathered out from the Jewish people. He said, Them that you gavest me, they received my Word, and because they received My Word and became My footstep followers, therefore the world hates them because it hated Me. It did not hate them originally; it was not opposed to them originally. It might have ignored them, but it did not hate them. But He was bearing the light, and the light rebuked the darkness, and so they hated the light, and hated the light-bearer. Now you have become sharers with me in holding up the light--"Let your light so shine"--and in proportion as you do so, the world will hate you just as it hated Me.
HATRED--For Satan and his Sympathizers Proper. ::Q321:3:: QUESTION (1915)--3--Please explain the Scripture: "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred." (`Psa 139:21,22`.)
ANSWER.--We may not he sure that we get the full import of the Psalmist's words in this passage, but we can apply the matter to ourselves and say that all the Lord's people should hate that which is evil. We could not properly have any sympathy with that which is evil. And so, of our Lord Jesus it was said, "Because Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity, therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows" (`Heb. 1:9`). Now the great Head of the Church loved righteousness, and we must cultivate that same love for righteousness. He hated iniquity, sin, and we must have that same hatred.
There are people who are more or less under the influence of iniquity by reason of weakness with which they are born. We must still hate the iniquity, but must learn more and more to have sympathy for the poor human race, as God has sympathy for them. His sympathy is so great that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly," the unjust, those out of accord with God's Law (`Rom. 5:8`). We must have the mind of the Lord; but we are to
have no sympathy with the evil. If there are any who have come to the place where they are in full sympathy with iniquity, and there are some such the Scriptures assure us, they are themselves iniquitous and would properly be classed with Satan.
Satan has shown this iniquitous spirit not only by his course when he first defied the Almighty and deceived mankind and became the murderer of our race, but all along up to the present time. Jesus said to Satan, "When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it" (`John 8:44`). Now if Satan had turned from his iniquity, then no doubt God would have found some way, even in Satan's case, by which he might come back to God. Since he has never made any manifestation of repentance nor of sympathy for righteousness, his name is properly used in the Bible as the synonym for iniquity.
What about the fallen angels? We are not able to judge of them all. The Bible tells us about the final destruction of the Devil and his angels--those who prove, like him, incorrigible. All such will be iniquitous--not merely under the evil influence of another, but they themselves inseparably identified with iniquity, because of their own choice and volition. This class will include both evil men and evil angels, and such will be the class that would be the haters of God referred to in the text cited by the questioner: "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate Thee? I hate them with perfect hatred."
Do I hate Satan? I certainly do! Is it a perfect hatred? I hope it is a perfect hatred, so much so that I would not compromise or enter into anything that would bring me into relationship with any of Satan's methods. We wish to be separate from everything that is occult, remembering that there are but two masters, the one our Master, and the other his opponent. We have no fellowship with him. All our interest is on the Lord's side. The Adversary, Satan, the Prince of Darkness, we hate with perfect hatred; and any who prove to be his followers or sympathizers under full light deserve the same hatred.
But such a hatred would not mean on our part any pleasure in having them tortured throughout all eternity. It would be the same kind of hatred that God has. God is altogether righteous and His hatred will mean the destruction in due time of Satan and all who are of his spirit. This is the proper hatred that we should have, the hatred that would wish to see the opponents of God destroyed.
HEAD COVERING--Kind of. ::Q322:1:: QUESTION (1906)--1--The modern hat is certainly anything but a convenience in an audience, and some of the sisters wish to know if any one can suggest some method by which women can have the head covered during service without wearing the objectionable hat, and yet be something that would not call undue attention to the fact?
ANSWER.--Am I a Solomon, that I would have the wisdom to decide questions like this? I will tell you, dear friends, what I have noticed some sisters do, and thought that if I were a sister it is quite probable I would adopt it, though this is the first time I have ever mentioned it, I believe. I have noticed some of the sisters wearing a little lace covering, and thought, now that looks very neat, and as far as I
know, that covers everything the Apostle had in mind. It is merely a sign, and I would not know any reason why that would not be proper. But, mind you, I am not laying down any law.
HEAD COVERING--Authority for. ::Q323:1:: QUESTION (1906)--1--Is it necessary for women to wear hats or some other covering during meetings?
ANSWER.--Well, ask the Apostle Paul: he is authority on the subject and I am not.
HEADSHIP--Re Writing in Mannas, etc. ::Q323:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--Is it denying the headship on the part of a sister who signs her name in Mannas, etc., instead of her husband's full name, as for instance, Mrs. Mary Dodds, instead of Mrs. Joseph Dodds?
ANSWER.--Well, it would be not necessarily denying the headship, dear friends; I would not say that; but it would be a matter of etiquette, and a question as to what would he the proper form. As a rule, the understanding is that when a woman signs "Mrs." to her name she puts her husband's initials or name, but that if she wishes to sign her own name she leaves off the "Mrs." or else puts the "Mrs." in parenthesis.
HEALINGS--Call Elders, Pray and Anoint. ::Q323:3:: QUESTION (1909)--3--How should Christians follow the admonitions of `Jam. 5:14`. "Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the Church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, in the name of the Lord. . . .and if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."
ANSWER.--"And if he hath committed," that I consider the essence of it. The intimation is that such an one has committed sin, become estranged from God, and is unable to go to Him. Therefore in this sad and separated condition, "Though he hath committed sin," he may call for the elders of the Church and confess his fault, as the Apostle said: "Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another." This I would understand to be spiritual healing. Why not physical healing? To understand it so would he to understand it out of harmony with the whole Bible, which tells us that instead of expecting physical healing, we are to lay down our lives in sacrifice. There is not a suggestion anywhere that our Lord's disciples were healed by him. While Jesus sent forth His disciples to heal others, He never told them to heal themselves, and they never did, and Jesus never healed them. In the case of Paul, he mentions several brethren who were sick, and the Lord had mercy and finally healed them, but the Apostle did not command any magic work to be done for them, nor give them any aprons or napkins, etc., but he did to others. When Peter's wife's mother was sick of a fever, then she was healed, but not Peter nor any of the disciples. Hence, if James' statement is to he regarded as a general one to the Church, it would he contrary to everything else in the Scriptures.
When you and I were accepted, we were counted as having received restitution or life, and were admonished to present our bodies a living sacrifice. When our Lord was worn and tired from labor of preaching and teaching, did He pray to be healed? What did He do? He sat on the edge of the well and rested, just as you and I would do if we were tired. When He was hungry, did He command the
stones to be made into bread? No, He said it would be using power improperly. But, He did use that power for the feeding of the multitudes, and He may have eaten some of that which was provided for the multitudes, which would not have been a special use of His own power for Himself. We are called to sacrifice, and not called to restitution--that will be in the next age.
A friend of mine, believing in Present Truth, called upon me one day and said he had a cold. I drew out a drawer and said I would give him something that would help him. He said, "No, the Lord is my healer, and I will get over it in two or three days." "Oh," I said, "I thought I might help you over it sooner." I then remembered that he had the thought that if he had a toothache, or earache, or a corn that the Lord would heal him. He was inquiring for a brother and said he was so sick that his life was despaired of, and he also believed the same way. I said, "Brother, I will take this opportunity to tell you something. You believe that you should take your aches and pains to the Lord and then wait. Now, brother, I would like to call your attention to this fact that this brother, notwithstanding he has the Lord as his healer, is now so sick that you can't even see him, and then after being sick a long time, then gets a doctor and gets well. Now you are sick, and I remember several occasions when you have been sick. Now, while I am not boasting of the Lord being my healer, nor of my suggestions, I want to tell you that the Lord in His providences has so overruled in my life that I have been but one day in bed sick in forty-five years. Now, brother, do you think it would be better for the Lord to keep you well or to let you get sick and then heal you?" He seemed to see that the Lord could keep him well.
My thought is that you and I have a perfect right, according to God's arrangements, to do anything that we can properly, and to use anything for our physical health. When you are hungry, you eat meat and bread and potatoes, and they are some of the very best medicines. Also a little sleep. Now we do not think of doing without these. And if I thought that a pinch of catnip or anything else would arouse the liver and settle the stomach, I would not hesitate to take it any more than to take bread or potatoes, and I would think I was using the same common sense in caring for my body. We read: "Of all the herbs of the field you may freely eat." Do the best you can, you are a groaning creation, do anything for your relief. When I take some medicine I am not doing something but that is open and common to all mankind. I have consecrated all that I have to the Lord, but he never expected me to give up the eating of bread and meat or of taking some catnip if it was good for my stomach.
HEALINGS--Re Jesus' Command. ::Q324:1:: QUESTION (1911)--1--What does this mean: where Jesus commanded his disciples to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cleanse the lepers?
ANSWER.--His disciples did go out and do that very work to a certain extent; but there is one passage of Scripture which this brother refers to, which reads like this: "And these signs shall follow them which believe. In my name
they shall cast out devils, and heal the sick, and if they drink any poisonous thing, it shall not hurt them," etc. What is the matter with that? As a matter of fact, that passage is not a part of the original Gospel; that chapter ends with the ninth verse; everything after the ninth verse is an interpolation, added somewhere about the eighth century as near as we know. It is not in the oldest manuscripts in the Greek, as all scholars know. Giving you an illustration of what has been added to the Bible take the last verse of the gospel of John. Anybody can see that it is an interpolation; it is not in any of the old manuscripts. It reads this way: "And I suppose that if all the things Jesus wrote and done were written the world itself would not be able to contain the books that should be written." What a whopper! Somebody who wanted to make it large felt at liberty to add that verse without any authority. Now, I do not go in for all the additions to the Word of God; I merely stand for what God said, as written by his prophets and apostles, nothing more.
HEALINGS--Result of Prayer. ::Q325:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Has the due time come in God's great plan when the consecrated may pray for the removal of mental or physical defects in children?
ANSWER.--I do not think restitution blessings are due to the world yet. I understand that restitution is God's provision to be inaugurated after the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom. What Jesus did in the way of restitution at the first advent, and what the Apostles also did at that time, we are not to consider against God's plan, and if the Lord could and did do miracles there in advance of the restitution it would show that it was violation of God's law, and hence if God should grant more restitution blessings now there would be no law to hinder it, as there was no law to hinder Jesus and the Apostles from performing restitution blessings. But the time for them is future. So, then, if I were to think of or pray for such, and in connection with their infirmities, my thought would be like this: I know that God has made full provision for the restitution of my children and other children, and for the whole human family by and by; I am not sure that God is ready now to give any special manifestations along this line; if I would pray at all on this subject I would pray with a certain limitation in my mind as well as in my expression, and I would say, "Lord, notwithstanding though I ask this, Thy will be done, not my will." I would see no harm in making such a prayer under such conditions, saying, "Lord, I know not whether the time has come that you will be pleased to grant some measure of restitution to my child, therefore I leave the matter in your hands. I pray, if it is in harmony with your will that such blessings may come to it. Father, I ask nothing of restitution rights for myself, because all of these earthly and restitution rights I have sacrificed and therefore I ask nothing for myself." My petition would merely be for this child, this one who is the subject of prayer.
HEARING EAR--Is it Miraculous? ::Q325:2:: QUESTION (1909)--2--Do we have the hearing ear by a miraculous gift from God, or because the image of God has not been wholly obliterated?
ANSWER.--I understand that this expression "hearing ear" might be viewed from different standpoints. If you refer
to the natural man, then it would have one meaning, but if to the New Creature, then it would have another meaning. As for instance, if I speak to Christians and speak of our eyes being opened, and of our ears being blessed of the Lord, I am speaking of our spiritual eyes and ears by which we can appreciate the spirit of the Lord. Another illustration, when you first came to the Lord, you were drawn to the Lord, or you heard His voice, and that attracted you, and you came to Jesus. This is where the natural ear had not been entirely vitiated by the fall. You perhaps were born with some reverence which would say, You ought to bring an offering to the Lord, you ought to render thanks to Him. This led you to feel after God and He was pleased to he found of you, and He took you by the hand, saying, this way, my honest soul, this is Jesus, the one through whom I am pleased to have all come who would come to me. But don't make a mistake of confounding the hearing ear of the human nature with the hearing ear of the New Creature.
HEAVEN AND HELL--Did Pastor Russell Say There Was None? ::Q326:1:: QUESTION (1909)--1--If there is no heaven or hell please tell us how you found it out?
ANSWER.--We have already said that there is a heaven, and enough space for all the angels and the saints. Our Lord said, "In my Father's house are many mansions, but I go to prepare a place for you." But He did not say anything about preparing a place for mankind in general. The time to prepare for them is in the Millennial Age.
HEAVEN AND HELL--Are There Such Places? ::Q326:2:: QUESTION (l909)--2--Why are heaven and hell mentioned in the Bible if there are no such places?
ANSWER.--We believe that there are such places. We believe that there is a heaven, as the Scriptures say: Heaven is my throne, the earth is my footstool, sayeth the Lord.
Supposing that every one born into the world is eventually to go to heaven is one of the errors that we have fallen into. God, in the greatness of His wisdom and power, was pleased to create angels and then subsequently, in the further development of His plan, He was pleased to make this earth and then create mankind. He made human beings a little lower than angels. Man never was an angel, never fell from being an angel, and was never intended to be an angel. Made a little lower than the angels, just like them in respect to having the divine characteristics of mind and will, and in some respects God made man higher than the angels, in the sense of giving them dominion over the earth, but to the angels He never gave any dominion; He put all these things under the feet of men. Heaven was intended for the angels and for Himself. During this present time God is developing the New Creation and they are to be heavenly beings and are to go to heaven, and as the Scriptures state, they will have a nature not only like the angels, but in some respects superior to them, in that they will have the divine nature.
We do not know how many orders there are of spirit beings, but we read about Cherubims and Seraphims. He informs us that He has put these all under subjection to Christ. When Christ ascended up on high, God said, let all the angels worship Him. But this does not interfere with God's plan respecting the earth, which He designed should
he inhabited. It would be very absurd to think that after God had spent six thousand years in training the world, and then 1,000 years in making them fit for eternal life, He would blot them out.
As for hell, we certainly believe more about it than others, for we understand that all go there, while others put only part of the people there; but it is a different hell, it is the Bible hell, the state of the dead, sheol, and the whole world goes to sheol. Get your Bible and compare how this word is used all through the Old Testament. Good and bad all go there; they are all gathered to their fathers, and sleep with them whether they are good or bad. It would be very strange to say that they slept with their fathers if their fathers were in hell, for they are awake in the theological hell.
We do not deny that there is a hell and a heaven, but we do deny the nocturnal hallucinations that have come down to us from the dark ages.
HELL--Its Opposite. ::Q327:1:: QUESTION (1909)--l--We say that everything has an opposite; if so, why is there no place of punishment?
ANSWER.--Well, I don't know that you ever heard me say that everything has an opposite, nor that the Lord said so, and whoever said so, he is the one you ought to ask this question of. It is true that wherever there is a mountain, there is pretty sure to he a valley, but there are some mountains rising up out of the sea and there is no valley present. Mean things are opposite to good things, and sweet things are opposite to sour.
The Bible places life and death as opposites, and he who will not serve God shall not have life but death, but he who will serve and obey Him shall have life. That is the best kind of an opposite, and we have the Lord's word for it, "I have set before you life and death, choose life that you may live." So the whole proposition during the Millennial Age will be, Obey and live, disobey and die. Those are the antitheses or opposites.
HELL--Re Destroyed by Pastor Russell. ::Q327:2:: QUESTION (1911)--2--If you do away with hell, and its torment, why do you not do away with the devil?
ANSWER.--I do not do away with hell, my dear friends. All of you who were here this afternoon will hear me witness that I preached more hell than you ever heard before, and said that everybody goes to hell--the Bible hell; but there are no demons in the Bible hell. The Bible never says anything about demons in hell. The Bible tells us that Satan goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. How could that be if he is stoking fire off in some place beyond space or time, how would he be able to attend to things so well in Winnipeg?
HELL--Re Being Opposite of Heaven. ::Q327:3:: QUESTION (1911)--3--What answer should be made to those who declare that if there is a heaven of everlasting happiness for the saintly, there must be also a hell of everlasting torture for the wicked?
ANSWER.--Well, we would not like to answer such a person really according to the logic of the question, because that might seem rude, and Christianity is never to be rude.
The person who asks a question like that of us implies that he has not good reasoning faculties. There is no comparison between everlasting life in happiness, and everlasting life in torture, there is no such proposition set before us in the Bible. The antithisis of life is death. You will live or you will die. And so the Lord, you remember through the prophet, said, "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; choose therefore life that ye may live." This is the whole invitation of the Gospel, that we might live. God is offering life. He declares that there is no everlasting life to any except through our Lord Jesus. "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth upon him." The wrath of God is a death penalty. As you and I look out into the world today, every funeral we see, every piece of crepe we see, everything that indicates sickness and death, speaks of the wrath of God--the sentence of God as the Bible presents it. Anything else is a misconception. We look back and see what the curse was that God put upon Father Adam. When Adam was placed in the garden of Eden, it was upon the condition that if he would remain obedient to God he might continue to live and live in happiness, live in an earthly Eden, and if he was disobedient to God he would die. "The wages of sin is death." "The soul that sinneth it shall die." This is God's sentence, and so it was then, that when Father Adam was disobedient, this sentence or curse of death came upon him, and you and I as his children today are suffering this curse of death; all the aches and pains, all the mental and moral imperfection that you know about and possess, and that I have anything to do with all of these are so much of death working in us. This is the original penalty that is bearing the human family down to the tomb. That is the great hell of the Bible, sheol, hades. Death is the penalty for sin and all the aches and pains incidental to it are so much incidental to the full culmination of that penalty. And so it is that God set before Adam life and death, not heaven and hell. He might continue to live in Eden if obedient, he would die if he were disobedient. He did disobey, he did die. We are all witnesses that the whole race is in death. Saint Paul expresses this matter most clearly in `Rom. 5:12` when he says, "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." It does not say a word about eternal torment passing upon anybody; there was no such sentence; the wrath of God is not revealed in eternal torment. The wrath of God is revealed in the death sentence that has been on our race for six thousand years. So the Apostle in another place says the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness. Who will say that the wrath of God is revealed in hell fire? Did you ever see it? Not at all. Was it ever revealed to anybody? Not at all. How is the wrath of God revealed? I answer, you feel it, and you see it all about you in the dying of our race. And so in God's due time he has arranged that our race should be redeemed; he has laid hope upon one who is able to help, mighty to save, Jesus; and Jesus has appeared, and he was the manifestation of God's mercy, and has laid down his life! He did not go to eternal torment for us; he did not pay any eternal torment penalty, and if you and I were ever under any eternal torment
penalty, we would still be under it; it has never been paid by our Lord; it has never been paid by anybody. But what say the Scriptures? The Scriptures say the penalty against us was a death penalty, and that Jesus died, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us hack to God. The penalty he paid therefore was the death penalty. "He tasteth death for every man," "He poured out his soul unto death," "He made his soul an offering for sin," and the Scriptures also say that eventually he will see the travail of his soul and be satisfied. I am glad, I will he satisfied first of all to see the saintly Church in glory, and I will be satisfied completely with the end of the work when the full knowledge of God shall have reached the whole human family, and every individual of our race shall have had an opportunity of coming back to God's favor and eternal life. The masses of mankind will have the privilege of coming back to perfect human life during the Millennium, during the time of Christ's reign, and the saintly ones will be coming to this high calling, the heavenly condition which was never lost; you never lost the heavenly condition; you lost life. God says if we walk in the footsteps of Jesus he will not only give us life, but he will give us life more abundant. So then we quote the text again which says, "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." The death penalty will continue on him, he will go into the second death. Plain enough! We are in the first death through Adam's disobedience, now if when God sent forth his Son to be the life-giver, and the rescuer from death, and one neglects or refuses the Son, he will die for his own sin, and it will be the second death.
HELL--The Wicked Cast Into. ::Q329:1:: QUESTION (1913)--1--Please explain "The wicked shall be cast into hell, with all nations that forget God." Is this hell the place for all, including the church?
ANSWER.--In the first place, people who forget God must be people who have known Him. No man can forget what he has not learned. The time for most of the people to learn of God will be in the future. There are very few in Springfield who know God in the true sense. You and I find that we are daily coming to a better knowledge of God. Jesus said, "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the true God." How many know him in that sense? Every one must come to know Him before they can forget Him.
But who are these wicked ones referred to by the Psalmist? We have looked up that particular text and remember how it reads. According to the Hebrew it should read this way, "The wicked shall he returned into sheol, together with all nations that forget God." It means to go to sheol a second time, or it is another way of saying they will go to second death. Into sheol everybody will go the first time; not merely the wicked, but every one; the rich and poor, black and white, male and female, every one shall go to sheol. But they cannot go there a second time unless the son shall first set them free. We learn that it will be his work during the millennial age to release these prisoners from the state of death. He will say to the prisoners, "Show yourselves. Come forth." During the thousand years of Messiah's reign all these prisoners will come forth. All who do not prove themselves worthy of everlasting life during that time will
be returned to sheol. It is simply another way of expressing the second death.
HIGH CALLING--Coveting Crowns of Others. ::Q330:1:: QUESTION (1905)--1--If the called ones were all selected prior to 1900 are we not coveting the crown of another? I mean those that have started in the race since then?
ANSWER.--I think the brother does not mean just as the question reads, for if the required number has been selected that would end the matter. I think what he means is that if a sufficient number had been called to complete the election, prior to 1900, would we not be coveting some one else's crown? We answer, no, not at all. It is according to God's grace, and not as we will. It is not because you or I do this or that, but because God has something to give away. God has done his own work in scattering the truth, etc., and God has favored those that come into the call. If they count themselves unworthy of the crown or do despite to God's favor they are not the kind God intends should get the crown. He intends to give them the opportunity just as though he did not know how it was going to result. Suppose a sufficient number at the present time have the grace of God and that there is no lack of numbers, and suppose I were one that had not yet made the consecration, and suppose I should like very much if the Lord had some blessing to give that I might be one of his favored ones, but I do not know, and the whole number may be completed and it might be useless to try, for I might be taking the crown from some one else? I ought to say, I have learned of the riches of your grace, Lord, and I give myself to you anyway, whether the number is complete or not, and you can give me what you please. Anything that the Lord would give would be a very great thing. All kings give presents in proportion to their positions as kings. It would be all out of harmony with God's character to give a mean thing. The Lord is going to give a blessing to thousands that are his. You give him your heart and you will get exceedingly abundantly more than you could have asked or thought of. So it would not be coveting another's crown to consecrate yourself to the Lord. If he gives you a crown, take it, for it will not be coveting any one else's crown.
HIGH CALLING--Will Our Families Know About Us? ::Q330:2:: QUESTION (l909)--2--Will those of our families who are left behind know that we have made our calling and election sure, and how will they know it?
ANSWER.--I think they will. It will be just like our Heavenly Father to make something known of the richness of His grace toward us in Christ Jesus. A Scripture in Psalms says, It shall he said of this one and of that one, that such a one was born in Zion. What does that mean? I think that refers to the heavenly Zion, and to those who shall be born in the first resurrection, and our friends and our relatives will know of our resurrection and birth in Zion, and that we had passed beyond the vail, just as we know of our Lord Jesus having passed beyond the vail.
HIGHWAY--Will Force Be Used? ::Q330:3:: QUESTION (1912)--3--Will it be consider walking up the Highway of Holiness if force or compulsion be used?
ANSWER.--There is no Highway of Holiness yet; hence nobody is walking on it yet. None can walk that way until it is prepared. There will be no such highway until the Great King takes control of affairs, overthrows the present order of things and sets up the Kingdom of Messiah--then there will be a Highway of Holiness. Then the righteous can go up thereon.
Now there is only the Narrow Way and the Broad Way. The Narrow Way is for those who wish to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the steep and rugged way. To be forced is not the thought, it must be a voluntary devotion, a willing walking in the footsteps of Jesus, or it will not be acceptable at all.
The Great Company will have certain experiences in being forced. But they will not be forced to perform, but forced to decide for themselves. You see the difference between forcing a man to go into a boat and bringing certain influences to cause him to desire to go in. Will I turn my back on the Lord to escape the trouble, or will I take the way of the Lord? Even those who choose to take the way of the Lord under stress will be overcomers. In the next age, when the world's Highway of Holiness will be opened up, force will be used to bring all to a knowledge of the Truth respecting God's provision for them. Wrong doing will be punished with corrective stripes. But it would be far from right to suppose that mankind will be then driven or forced along the Highway of Holiness. All who will go up thereon must exert themselves--it will be an upward way. Our Saviour stated the Father's sentiment respecting all to whom He will ever grant life everlasting: "He seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth."
HIGHWAY--Rod of Iron Used. ::Q331:1:: QUESTION (1913-Z)--1--Will any one, be forced, or compelled, to walk up the Highway of Holiness?
ANSWER.--At present there is no Highway of Holiness; consequently no one is walking on it during the Gospel Age. There will be no such Highway until the Great King takes control of affairs, overthrows the present order of things and sets up the Kingdom of Heaven. Then a Highway of Holiness will be prepared, upon which the righteous can walk. During the Gospel Age there are but two ways--the Narrow Way and the Broad Way. (`Matt. 7:13-14`.) The former is for those who desire to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and is a steep, rugged path. The latter is the road that leads to destruction and is a broad way on which the human race are hurrying to the tomb.
Those who walk acceptably in the footsteps of the Master must do so willingly. Theirs must be a voluntary devotion. To be forced is not at all the thought. The Little Flock will thus run the Narrow Way; but the Great Company will have experiences which will force them, not to take one special way, but to decide for themselves what course they will pursue. There is a difference between forcing a man to go aboard a vessel, and bring certain influences to bear which will cause him to desire to do so.
In the next Age, when the world's Highway of Holiness shall have been opened up (`Isa. 35:8`), force will be used to bring all mankind to a knowledge of the Truth respecting
God's provision for them. Wrong doing will then be punished with corrective stripes. But it would be far from right to suppose that mankind will be driven or forced along the Highway of Holiness. All who go up thereon must exert themselves; for it will be an upward way. Our Savior stated the Father's sentiment respecting all to whom He will ever grant everlasting life. His words were, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him."
HOLY SPIRIT--In What Sense Received Before Pentecost. ::Q332:1:: QUESTION (1908)--1--In what sense did the disciples receive the holy Spirit before the Day of Pentecost, as stated in `John 20:22`: "He breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit."
ANSWER.--The record here would seem to imply that this was done some time before, at the beginning of the ministry. I was not there, and do not know to the contrary, but I fancy that while John recorded it here, the fact is that it was done some time before, at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus, when He sent forth the disciples in His name. That is the time I think He breathed on them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit," and sent them forth; and when they went forth, they went in His Spirit, in his power, and they exercised His power in His name, and cured diseases and cast out devils, and did many wonderful works. So I presume then that this breathing on them, and giving them the Holy Spirit was in this sense of the word, and at this time. What could it mean? The Holy Spirit as it came to the Church at Pentecost was the heavenly Father's manifestation of His acceptance of the Church, and that was deferred until after Jesus had made His sacrifice at Calvary--until after He had ascended up on high and appeared in the presence of God for us; and it was an evidence to these disciples that God had accepted them, and that they might count themselves in as members of the Body of Christ, His spirit-begotten sons. The spirit that Christ put upon them was His Spirit, His power, before that. He had received the Spirit without measure; He used that Spirit Himself in the healing of diseases, because the power was thus put upon Him; so He gave the disciples of this power and sent them forth as His representatives in His name.
HUMAN BEINGS--Rights and Privileges--Belonging to. ::Q332:2:: QUESTION (1908)--2--What are our human rights and privileges?
ANSWER.--I suppose the thought in the mind of the person asking this question is, that you and I and all others propose to lay down all rights and privileges, to sacrifice these. What are these? Now I think of one that will serve as an illustration. I was on a sleeping-car not long ago, and the porter and some fellow-traveler in the middle of the night got into a conversation, talking about a variety of things, loud enough to wake up all of those who were not as sound asleep as they might be. I exercised my right and privilege by calling the attention of the porter to the fact that he was not attending to his business properly, and that unless he desisted I would report him to the company. That
was my right; that was my privilege. He afterwards made some amends, and I dropped my privileges in connection with reporting him. That is an illustration and you can apply it in a thousand different ways in the affairs of life. You have rights, everybody has rights, and you will find that people trample on your rights every little while, and possibly unintentionally you may trample on theirs; it is your business and ours to see that we do not trample on anybody else's rights; we want to obey the golden rule and do to others as we would that they should do to us. But it is unnecessary to insist that they should do to us according to the golden rule. You have a right to demand justice, but you can forego these rights. Now in connection with this matter, I will tell you that I learned a little lesson myself and I have made a partial resolution; I have not made it a fixed resolution yet. When I go to make a resolution, or a vow, I usually think it over pretty well, and try it for a little while, see how it would go, and whether it would do to make it a fixed resolution or not. I have never been as much afraid of vows as some of the dear friends, but I have made a number of vows to the Lord, and I hope I will make some more. Whenever I find a place where I think I can improve on the old man, then I say, Here, put another strap around him and tie him down, and if you find it is likely to be able to hold, make it positive, clinch it with a vow, and that helps you ever afterwards. If you leave it open to be tried another time, every time that matter comes up you have to fight it over in your mind; but if you have once fought it over and gotten the conquest, and realized that it is the right thing, then nail it down, or as the Apostle says, put the body under and bury it--"I keep under my body." So when we find any part of the body sticking up a little from the grave, bury it again, stick it down and put a little more dirt on it. In this matter I was thinking some years ago to make a resolve, or vow, to the Lord that with His assisting grace I would never murmur or complain in respect to anything He permitted to come to me. I thought that was right. What right have I to complain? Shall I receive blessings at the Lord's hand, and if He sees proper to give me some that are not quite so pleasant, shall I refuse those? No. Then I have no right to murmur or complain. So I said, with your assistance and your grace I make this vow, that I will never murmur nor complain with respect to anything that your providence may permit to come to me. Now as far as I know I have always kept that vow, and I am very glad I made it. If I could find another as good as that, I would make it right today. When I was thinking about this porter afterwards, and how I had hauled him over the coals, and it was all right, there was justice about it, but I thought this, Now how do I know but what that porter might some time have a kind of grudge at me, and suppose the truth should come to him. He would say, "That is the man that raked me over the coals, and I do not like anything he has, though it may be reasonable, or just, because he held me to account there." But it might keep him from getting the truth. I would not keep that poor man from getting the truth. I had better not say anything to him. It is a good principle to apply all through. This resolution that I would never murmur has been a great blessing to me. I find so
many people that are groaning, and working, and grunting, and complaining about things, and I think they are making a great mistake. All their burdens are harder after they have grunted over them a while; they make them worse all along. I find we get along much better by saying, If the Lord is pleased to let that come, I would not think of murmuring against His wisdom in the matter, but will accept it as of the Lord. If I break my leg this afternoon, shall I murmur? Not a bit of it. Not one of you would hear a murmur come out of my mouth. If something else happened I would not murmur. What right would I have to murmur? What good would it do to murmur? It is the Lord's will I want to be done, and He says He will not allow anything to happen to His children that He will not overrule for good. If the Lord thinks it is good for me to break my leg this afternoon, I hope I will break it. We want that which the Lord's will sees is best for us. So we have nothing to complain or murmur about; we are not to be complainers. You remember the Apostle points out that that was one of the difficulties of the children of Israel. They first murmured and complained, and afterwards it led up to opposition to the Lord. So when you begin to murmur you begin to get out of accord with the Lord. So I said to myself, I think I will make a resolution, or a vow, that I will not murmur about what other people do to me. If they do something bad, I will not murmur; I am not bound to take it up and say, "I challenge you, sir; that is a lie." I need not do that. I need not murmur or make a complaint against him. Let him take his course; let the Lord deal with him. What will I do? I will try and take it as meekly as I can, and I will get a good lesson out of it in patience, perseverance, and self-control. I do not know how much of a blessing there may be in that resolution. I have an idea that resolution, or vow, never to murmur about anything anybody says, if I shall make it, will do me good. I have not made it as yet in full; I have merely thought to try it and see if it will not be good; but I think I will make it, and I think it is going to do me a lot of good. You can say anything you like about me and I think I will not say anything back to you.
HUMAN NATURE--Does It Desire Sympathy? ::Q334:1:: QUESTION (I908)--l--Is it part of human nature to desire sympathy from others? And then, if so, does avoiding telling our troubles to others, even other members of the Body of Christ, bring us into nearer relationship with him, causing us to lean solely on the arm of the Lord?
ANSWER.--I answer: Yes, to the first part of the question. The Apostle's suggestion is that each one should seek to bear, so far as he can, and not only should he seek to bear his own burdens so far as possible, but he should seek to bear somebody else's burdens. And whoever has burdens of his own and tries to bear them and to have the Lord's assistance for them, and then who is seeking and reaching out to help other people with their burdens, will find his own burdens thereby a great deal lighter, and that he has a blessing on the way. So then the proper attitude for each one of us is to seek so far as possible to bear our own burdens and then to help somebody else, and not to think too much of our own, not to imagine that we have all the labors and all the troubles and all the burdens, but to look out and see
how many other people have troubles, and you will find that many of them have more than you. But before that, when looking at your own, they seemed very large. This does not mean that you and I will never get sympathy from others; but we will not be seeking for the sympathy so much as before; we will be trying to bear our own; and the Lord will send someone perhaps who will give us some sympathy when we did not reach out for it; sympathy will come as the Lord sees best. You remember the great Head of the Body is the Lord Jesus Christ and every member of the Body is under His superintendence and care; and just as if you had a sore finger, what would the finger do? Appeal to the foot? No. To the other hand? No. Well, what would the finger do? The nerves of sensation would telegraph to the brain, "I am hurt." And the brain would telegraph to the other hand, "Go and help that finger." And thus you see, our Lord is the One we tell our troubles to, and we are to look to Him for the aid, and then we are to expect whatever we may need and it may come from the fellow members of the body; and as fellow members of the Body, we must all be in that attitude of seeking to respond to the Head, knowing the Head would have us sympathize with one another, to give to one another in His name, so that we will be trying to do good, and to look for opportunities to serve one another. This is the way we will have the most blessings, the most peace, and the most joy, doing the best we can to bear our own burdens and to bear as much as possible for others, to sympathize and to help others.