By C. T. Russell Pastor Brooklyn and London Tabernacles
"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."—#Jos 24:15.
DO NOT understand us to teach that the world’s opportunity for life everlasting or death everlasting is now. "God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world," grant the world a judgment or trial or test. That great day is future. It is the day of Christ, a thousand years long. It will be a glorious opportunity! Present right doing and right thinking, or wrong doing and wrong thinking will have much to do with the condition of every man and woman at that time. He or she will enter upon that Day of blessing and opportunity either from a higher or a lower standpoint, proportionately as he or she has acted wisely and conscientiously at the present time.
But nothing that the world can do can interfere with God’s great proposition, that a full opportunity for life or death eternal shall then come to every member of the race, because Christ died for the ungodly. The only class to whom present life means life or death eternal is the church. And by the church, we mean, not church attendants, nor outward professors, but those who have entered into a covenant with God through Christ and who have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasting of the good word of God and the powers of the age to come. If these should fall away, the Apostle forewarns us, it would be impossible to renew them again unto repentance. And there will be no home for them with the world in the world’s trial day because they already have enjoyed their share of the merit of Christ’s death.
A Great Privilege.
When, therefore, we speak of God and the home, we have in mind a family composed exclusively of saints who daily and hourly are following their great Redeemer’s footsteps in self-denial, in sacrifice, in the narrow way which leads to glory, honor and immortality and association with the Redeemer in His glorious Kingdom which is to bless the world for a thousand years.
We believe the Bible teaches that there are many of the world who are reverential, kind and just to a large degree, who are not saints, who have not presented their bodies living sacrifices to God, who have not been begotten of His Holy Spirit, and not, therefore, members of that "little flock to whom it is the Father’s good pleasure to give the Kingdom"—in joint-heirship with their Redeemer and Head. To this latter class our Master evidently referred when He said to His followers, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
To live righteously, soberly and godly in this present world to the extent of one’s ability is what every one should do—no less. To live a life of sacrifice—to lay down our lives for the brethren, for the truth, in the service of the Lord, is another matter, which justice does not require, and which the Bible nowhere enjoins upon mankind. It is pointed out as a privilege to those who desire it, and glory, honor and immortality on the spirit plane is the reward attached to this invitation or high calling. It is the selection of this special class of consecrated
OV293 ones that is the particular order in the Divine program at the present time, because the faithful, the elect, the "over-comers" of this class are to be the associates of the Redeemer in His great work of uplifting the world and restoring all the willing and obedient to human perfection, to an earthly Eden home everlasting in which God’s will shall "be done on earth as it is done in heaven."
An Inundation of Unbelief.
In our day the shackles of ignorance and superstition are breaking. Men, women and children are beginning to think for themselves. They no longer believe the fairy tales of childhood. The dreadful hobgoblins and nightmares of the Dark Ages respecting purgatory and eternal torture are doubted by all, and by the great mass totally disbelieved. What have they now to attach them to the Almighty since they have never been taught the love of God, the lengths and breadths and height and depths passing all human understanding? This is the world’s great need—to know God as He really is, a father, a friend, a God of love! And to thus know Him the people need to be taught how seriously they were mistaught in the past along the lines of hell and purgatory.
How could they ever truly love and worship a God of injustice and of hate—one inferior to themselves—one who knew, foreordained and prepared for their torture before they were born. They must see that these things taught by the creeds of the Dark Ages are wholly at variance with the Bible, else they will never come back to the Bible nor be able to see its teachings in their true light. They must be taught that the sin and death, sorrow and trouble all around us are the wage or penalty of Father Adam’s disobedience. They must learn that God purposes a blessing and uplifting which will be as world-wide as the curse.
Many religious leaders to-day deny that there is a personal God, and ascribe everything to—a great Nothing, which they designate Nature-god. Is it surprising, in view of the fact that these teachings are being promulgated in the universities, colleges and theological seminaries, in the high schools and even to some extent in the common schools—is it any wonder that the rising generation is losing its God?.
Awakened Parental Responsibility.
It is high time that parents realize the true situation—it is almost too late now. The seeds of unbelief already sown in the minds of the rising generation are being watered continually and are growing. All who love their families, all who love mankind in general, should awaken to the fact that a world that has lost its God must of necessity be an unhappy world. Platonic philosophy may serve the purposes of the few, but surely cannot serve the masses of our race. A godless world will, ere long, mean a discontented world, an unhappy world, and, bye and bye, a world of anarchy and strife.
This is what our worldwide education is leading to. Few of our race can stand an education which recognizes no God, no revelation of Him, no responsibility to Him, and no hope of a future life which will be effected by the conduct of the present.
O LOVE, our refuge in earth’s wildest storm!
O Service, life-breath of a heart that’s warm!
A dual-unity, of heaven born; For love is service in its highest form.
Flame-tints that shimmer on the desert air!
Love-lights that make Life’s sands a garden fair, Where joy and pain sing softly to the soul, That God in man is Love in human care.