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Pastor Charles Taze Russell
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Using This World, Not Misusing It

(From the Pittsburgh Gazette, 1904.)

Toledo, 0., July 24— Pastor C. T. Russell of Allegheny, Pa.,

preached here twice today to large audiences. This afternoon

at 3 p. m., at the Valentyne theatre, his topic was “God’s Oath-

bound Covenant to Abraham and His seed.” The evening

subject was: “Using This World, Not Misusing It.” His text

was, “Be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in

the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.”—l

Tim. 6:17. He said:

Never was there a time when the whole world seemed

more intent upon the accumulation of wealth then now.

So manifest is the spirit of hunger for riches that some

one has compiled a mock prayer which, by its

exaggeration of the spirit of the world today, may help to

bring home to the hearts of some a realization of their

own danger of idolatry. When we speak of the “world”

we use that term as our Lord used it, saying to His

disciples, “Ye are not of the world even as I am not of

the world, for I have chosen you out of the world.” The

Lord’s disciples were chosen out of the professed people

of God, the Jewish ecclesiastical system, and those who

did not follow His teachings were, therefore, the “world”

under His definition. So then we see that the same

“world” today, namely: Christendom is considerably

given over to idolatry —to the worship of Mammon, to

the worship of money. Viewed from this standpoint as a

highly-colored picture of the general attitude of

Christendom today, it may be profitable for us to read in

your hearing this that some one suggests is the real

attitude of the civilized world. Profit to us of this mock

prayer will be in proportion as we shall discern its

impropriety and shall resolve by the grace of God that

neither the prayers of our lips nor the condition of our

hearts nor the actions of our lives shall in any manner

indicate to others that such is our prayer—that we are

idolaters of this kind.


“Oh! Almighty Dollar, our acknowledged governor, preserver

and benefactor: We desire to approach thee on this and every

other occasion with that regard which should ever be

cherished for exalted greatness. Almighty dollar, without thee

in the world we can do nothing, but with thee we can do all

things. When sickness lays its paralyzing hands upon us, thou

canst provide the tenderest of nurses and the most skilful

physicians. And when the last struggle of mortality is over and

we are being taken to the last resting place of the dead, thou

canst provide for us a band of music and military escort to

accompany us to that place, and, last but not least, erect over

our retiring place a magnificent monument to perpetuate our

memory with a living epitaph. And while here amidst the

misfortunes and temptations of life, if we are accused of crime

and brought before magistrates, thou, almighty dollar, canst

secure for us a talented lawyer, a favorable judge and a jury,

that we go scot free. Be with us, we pray thee then, in all of

thy decimal parts; for thou art the one altogether lovely and

the chief among ten thousand. There is no condition in life

where thy potent and all-powerful charms are not felt. In thy

absence how gloomy is all the household and how desolate the

heartstone! But when thou, almighty dollar, art with us, how

gleefully the beefsteak sings on the gridiron, how genial is the

warmth that anthracite coal and hickory wood diffuses through

thy apartment, causing the awakened soul to break forth in

acclamations of joy! Almighty dollar, thou canst adorn the

gentleman, feed the jackass; and, when an election is to be

carried, thou art the most potent argument of politicians and

demagogues — the umpire that decides every contest!

Almighty dollar, thy shining face bespeaks thy wondrous

power! In my pocket make thy resting place! I need thee every

hour! I need thee!!!”


The prayer of the true Christian is quite to the contrary

of the foregoing. To him the Lord his God is first—He is

trusted, is loved, is obeyed at any cost to the extent of his

ability. Briefly summed up by the poet, he says:

“One prayer I have, all prayers in one,

Tis to be wholly Thine;

Only Thy will, 0 Lord, be done,

And, Lord, that will is mine.


The common impression in the world is that to accept

the Lord’s will and to seek to walk in His ways, is to

forego all the pleasures and enjoyments of life and to

become very sad and disconsolate. This view of the

matter should be corrected on every suitable occasion by

those who really know the ways of the Lord.

It is not our claim that worldly people are Christians and

merely do not know it and that their various pleasures

are proper to the Christian. On the contrary, we stick

closely to the Scriptures, and admit that faithfulness to

the Lord and to His word and to all who have His spirit,

and in general; adherence to all the principles of

righteousness are sure to bring the Lord’s people more

or less into a condition of separateness from the world.

So the Lord intended and foretold, “Ye are not of the

world, even as I am not of the world.” But, admitting

that faithfulness to these principles will interfere with the

accumulation of wealth, so that not many great, not

many rich, not many wise, will be found amongst the

Lord’s people; admitting also the force of our Lord’s

words, “Marvel not if the world hate you, ye know that it

hated Me before it hated you — the servant is not above

his Lord.” Nevertheless, the Lord’s people want to

appreciate more and more and to emphasize the fact that

there is a joy and peace and blessing in connection with

obedience to the divine guidance which is not to be

secured by any other course or from any other quarter.

These blessings from the Lord upon His faithful ones

more than compensate them for the losses of earthly

friendships and wealth and fame, securable to them by

their natural talents in other directions.

The misanthropic view of Christian life which prevailed

during the Dark Ages and led many to monasteries,

nunneries, cloisters, etc., was largely induced by

misconceptions of the divine character and plan. Under

Satan’s delusions of that dark time the flames of hell and

the imagined shrieks and tortures of deceased friends in

purgatory or hell, cast a shadow upon the lives of many

who mourned not only for their friends, but who were in

torment of fear as respected themselves. From their

standpoint of misconception, they imagined that the

Heavenly Father wished them to go about in sackcloth

and ashes, making themselves miserable continually in

the present life, so that they might themselves escape

some of the miseries they anticipate for the future. It was

in comportment with this spirit that the poet wrote,

“Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flowers, have

all lost their sweetness to me.

This is all wrong, dear friends, and the world in general to

some extent has awakened to a realization of the error, while

convents and monasteries have become unpopular in

proportion as the darkness has lifted; and this despite the fact

that many still cling to the theory of eternal torment. The

difference is that while hell is still theoretically acknowledged,

it is now assumed that all civilized people, church members

and their friends and relatives, will escape it. Nevertheless, the

Roman Catholic church still insists upon the baptism of

infants, lest, dying unbaptized, they should go to hell —still

insists that in the case of a child in danger of dying at the

moment of birth, baptism should be performed with a special

instrument for the purpose before the risk is taken. And many

Protestants, while they deny any thought of infants being in

danger of eternal torment for lack of baptism, are,

nevertheless, quite nervous if their child be taken seriously ill

before the baptism ceremony has been performed. Thus they

evidence that some of the old darkness of superstition and

error still clings to them.

How glad we should be that in divine providence our

eyes are opening more and more to see that this doctrine

of eternal torture is not taught in the Scriptures, and is

based entirely upon misrepresentations of certain

parables and dark sayings and symbols, with not a single

literal statement in its support - As I cannot take the time

here, dear friends, to discuss the question, I invite any

who are still in doubt respecting the scriptural teaching

concerning hell, to drop me a postal card at Allegheny,

Pa., requesting a free pamphlet on “What Say the

Scriptures About Hell.” This pamphlet discusses the

matter in a thoroughly reverent spirit, examines every

text containing the word hell, and makes very plain just

what the Scriptures do teach and what they do not teach

on this matter along this line.


Some of you have noticed that in our hymn book we

have changed the stanza already quoted to make it read

the very reverse —  “Sweet prospect, sweet birds and

sweet flowers, have all gained new sweetness to me.”

This is as it ought to be; for although the apostle

declares, “If in this life only ye have hope in Christ, ye

are of all men most miserable,” yet the hope in Christ is

not merely for the things of the life to come, but also for

this present life. The joys and blessings of the life to

come, shining into the hearts of the Lord’s people,

illuminating them, disperses the gloom and sadness to

such an extent that the Christian, rightly instructed in the

Word of the Lord, and properly filled with His spirit, is

the most happy person in the world. Others, the world,

are seeking joy and happiness —the Christian finds these

when he finds Christ.

The apostle speaks of our minds —our new views of life

guided and directed by the Father’s word —  as being

“the spirit of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7) As a


matter of fact the whole world realizes that it is unsound

of mind, of unsound judgment —  that it errs frequently

on many subjects. Nor is the Christian more favored

naturally in these respects than others. Often he is less

favored, being, as the apostle says, “Chiefly of the poor

of this world.” However, from the time he takes the Lord

as his guide, his counselor, he has a wisdom superior to

his own by nature, and this wisdom of a sound mind is

‘The mind of Christ.” In proportion as it is received, all

the affairs of life may be recognized according to their

true weight, their true value; in comparison with the

things of the life to come, for which the present life is to

the Christian a schooling-time of preparation. From this

standpoint of the new mind, taught of God, the Christian

realizes that the sufferings of this present time —  trials,

difficulties, self-denials — are unworthy to be compared

with the glory that shall be revealed in us –Rom. 8:18


Our text intimates that the Lord’s people are not to be

morose and disconsolate; because the Lord has made full

provision for their enjoyment. The apostle is discussing

the riches of this present time, and urging that the Lord’s

people do not put their confidence, their trust, in these —

that we remember the uncertainty of worldly riches. Our

getting of such riches would be uncertain even if we

sought them, and our keeping of such riches would be

uncertain even if we got them. The apostle urges that our

trust and confidence should be in the living God, that is,

in the God who is the fountain of our life, of all blessing,

who assures us of His good will toward us, and that all

things of life are ours to be richly enjoyed.

To the worldly-minded man this proposition is false -He

reasons that we cannot enjoy that which we do not have.

He sees not the fallacy of his reasoning and indeed many

of the Lord’s dear people have not sufficiently learned to

take the Lord’s standpoint in such matters. If we look at

these things from the world’s standpoint we will fail to

have the joy; we must view them from the Lord’s

standpoint if we would enjoy them rightly. This proper

standpoint, as expressed by the apostle, is, “All things

are yours... things present or things to come, all are

yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God.” 1 Cor.


To many this statement by the apostle seems untrue, but we

answer that it is true to each one of the Lord’s consecrated

people in proportion as each can take that standpoint of view

and by faith appropriate it to himself. From this standpoint the

church, the Lord’s consecrated ones, are His sole charge, the

sole objects of His providences in this present time. True, He

has a glorious provision for the world, in the age that shall

follow this one, in the Millennial age; but now the church, of

which Christ is the head, is the sole beneficiary of the divine

favors, arrangements, providences, etc. “All things are

working together for good to those who love the Lord.” They

are the “happy objects of His grace, destined to behold His

face,” and all the heavenly powers are so disposed as to favor

and to forward their highest interests. “The angel of the Lord

encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth

them.” (Psa. 34:7) ‘Their angels (messengers) do always have

access to the face of my Father.” Matt. 17:10

Who shall lay anything to the charge of these who love

the Lord, who are trusting in the precious blood, who are

seeking to walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? It

is Christ who died; it is God, who once condemned, who

has now justified them freely from all things; all things

are working on their behalf for good. They should

recognize these conditions set forth in the Scriptures,

that they may the more heartily rejoice in all the present

experiences of life, knowing that even its trials and

difficulties are working out the greater blessing in the

future by preparing their characters—polishing, testing

and preparing them for the heavenly kingdom—for co-

operation with their Lord and Master in the great work

of blessing the world, soon to be inaugurated.


Let us illustrate how the Lord’s people can richly enjoy

all things as though they were the actual possessors of

them now. As they look abroad upon the beautiful fields

and orchards, forests, lawns, gardens, etc., they can

enjoy the beauty of all of these just as much as can those

who hold the title deeds. They can look at the outside at

least of many of the beautiful and expensive homes of

earth, not to mention the grand public edifices, they can

admire and enjoy the architecture of these and think of

the blessings and comfort of the occupants. The fine

horses and carriages of their more wealthy neighbors

they can enjoy, too, without having the care and

responsibility of them.

But, you ask can not others than the Lord’s people

equally enjoy these matters? We answer no. There are

various things to hinder others from deriving pleasure

from such matters. In their hearts is selfishness, envy,

malice, hatred, strife, to a greater or lesser degree. If they

cannot have the beautiful, the grand, they prefer that

others should not have them either; they envy the rich.

Nor does this failure to “richly enjoy all things” apply

merely to the poor of the world; many who are rich in

this world’s goods and have need of nothing are


unhappy nevertheless, because of a failure to “richly

enjoy all things.” Many of the most cultures, the most

wealthy, the most favorably situated, are very unhappy,

and not only do not enjoy the things possessed by their

neighbors, but do not properly enjoy the things

possessed by themselves.

The selfishness which belong to our race by nature is

deeply ingrained, and it requires not only the begetting

of the Holy Spirit, but considerable growth in grace and

in the  fruits of the Spirit to arrive at the position where

we can take a proper view of all things surrounding us

and enjoy them and render thanks to God and be happy.

Many of the wealthy lose their interest in their own

possession when once they see themselves outclassed by

someone who previously had been no more wealthy than

themselves. It requires the peace of God and love and

benevolence toward our fellow creatures to enable us to

richly enjoy the prosperity of others and enjoy the

blessings of nature and of art which, by God’s

providences, are all about us. The true child of God,

even though his home be plainly furnished and his food

and raiment such merely as would be comfortable and

moderate, can look out with joy and peace and

satisfaction upon all creation, and can rejoice in

whatever he may see of the happiness and prosperity of

others —because his heart has been freed from that spirit

of selfishness which produces covetousness, envy, strife,

and which poisons and discolors everything that is

beautiful and attractive of the good things of this present


The child of God has abundant opportunity for

cultivating the very highest tastes as he passes along the

city streets and sees the rich window displays of elegant

wares. He is not immediately seized with the desire to

possess some beautiful work of art, to hang it up and call

it his own. He is content to take good view of it, to enjoy

it in the possession of other, and we believe gets much

more real pleasure from it than the owners. Indeed, he

has a pleasure in not “owning” extravagant things —  in

having sacrificed his “rights” in these respects for a

share with Christ in self-denials in this present life, and

in the future inheritance of “glory, honor and

immortality” eternally. He is content and very thankful

to have such things as reasonably contribute to his

present comfort. Such is the happy being, the child of

God, who recognizes that every good and perfect gift

cometh down from the Father of lights, such trust not in

uncertain riches, but in the God who is the fountain of

life and blessing, and who giveth us richly all things to



The apostle inculcates the same thought in 1 Cor. 7:31, where

he urges that the Lord’s people shall use this world as not

abusing it. That is to say, not misusing the things of this

present time, or, more exactly in the thought of the original,

perhaps, using this world without using it to the full —using it

in moderation. In another place he exhorts us to let our

moderation be manifest to all men. The teaching of the

Scriptures everywhere is that the people of God should be well

balanced in their minds —not extremists. True, the world will

think us extremists because we are willing to sacrifice all

earthly things for the heavenly things —because such a course

seems to the world, with its lack of faith in heavenly things, to

be unwise, unreasonable. But to us, from our standpoint of

faith in the divine promises, moderation in the use of the

things of this present time means the use of them in such a

manner as will contribute to our interests in the life to come.

This is the wisdom which cometh from above —first pure,

then peaceable, easy of entreatment, etc. —Jas. 3:17

Our text implies that ability to enjoy richly the things of

this present time means a trust in God rather than a trust

in ourselves or a trust in others or in wealth. And how

often we see it to be the case that those who are self-

confident, those ‘who trust in the arm of flesh, and those

who trust in and make an idol of riches, find in the end

that their trust, their confidence, has been misplaced, and

that life as a whole under such circumstances is a failure,

that it does not bring them the joy, the peace, the

satisfaction but merely discontent, disappointment 

they have strife and unhappiness.

Trust in God as the giver of all blessings, and a thankful

acceptance of the portion granted us, implies that we

have approached God in His appointed way and been

accepted; that we have recognized ourselves as sinners

who by nature have no claim upon divine attention, but

who, having heard of the grace of God in Christ, have

accepted divine favor through faith in the blood. It

implies more than this, that having accepted God’s grace

we put our affairs in His hands; that we have accepted

His proposition that by a full surrender of ourselves as

natural beings we should be accepted of Him, adopted

into His family, as spiritual new creatures in Christ. It

implies further that having taken these steps our faith

firmly holds to the divine promises that all things are

ours and are working for our good and for our highest

spiritual interests. From this standpoint we can indeed

have confidence toward God, and face all the mutations

of this present life with perfect composure, knowing that

He careth for us and that we have cast all of our care on



The statement of our text that “God hath given us


richly all things to enjoy,” and the other Scripture cited

that “all things are ours” because we are Christ’s and as

such are God’s, reminds us of a still different statement

of the same matter by our Lord Jesus. The apostle

inquired of our Lord what special favor would be

granted to them in view of the fact that they had made a

full self-surrender of all the interests of life to become

His followers and servants in the truth. The Lord s

answer is applicable to all of His followers from the days

of the apostles to the present time —applicable to all that

walk in His footsteps in the narrow way, and who thus

faithfully make their calling and election sure to joint-

heirship with Him in the heavenly kingdom, soon to be

established. He said, “There is no man that hath left

houses, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or father, or

children, or lands, for my sake, and for the gospel’s sake,

but he shall receive an hundred-fold” now, in this time-

houses and brethren and sisters and mothers and children

and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come,

everlasting life. Mark 10:29-30

Alas! that we must say it! but there are very many professed

followers of our Lord who have had no such experience as is

here detailed. It must either be the fault of the Master, and His

word does not prove true, or else it is the fault of those who

would claim this promise —that they do not faithfully come

up to the conditions; that they do not lose or sacrifice

everything in the interest of the Lord and the gospel, and

hence have little opportunity for getting back an hundredfold.

If nothing is sacrificed in the Lord’s cause, this promise of an

hundred-fold would mean no increase -On the other hand, to

those who have sacrificed and who have thus proven faithful

to their consecration to walk in the Master’s footsteps, there is

a depth of meaning in these words. They find themselves in

fellowship of heart with others who are walking in the same

narrow way ,and amongst those who are truly the Lord’s there

is a fellowship of heart, between the old and the young, as

between parents and children and between others as brethren

and sisters. All losses sustained as result of faithfulness to the

Lord and His message are compensated an hundred-fold

indeed, and more - This can be understood and appreciated

only by those who have had experiences in this line; others

must not judge nor condemn untried the Lord’s promise. As

we have already seen, too, these same faithful ones by reason

of growth in grace and love and benevolence, are able to enjoy

all the possessions of their neighbors and their friends more

than do their worldly neighbors and friends. An hundred-fold

more is a very small statement of the matter. Indeed, we think

our Lord could truthfully have said that we enjoy houses and

lands, etc., a thousand-fold more than anything we have

sacrificed for His sake.

Let us learn, dear brethren and sisters, more and more, to

take this divine standpoint in viewing life and our

surroundings. Under such conditions every day’s

experience, even in the present life, will be an hundred-

fold better, happier, more joyous with the true joy of the

Spirit than would be possible under other conditions; and

this in turn will be manifest in our outward life, and not

alone to ourselves. “Singing and making melody in our

hearts to the Lord,” we can receive all the experiences of

life —the painful as well as the pleasurable—with joy

and thanksgiving, and with the realization that they all

are working out good for us, valuable experiences and

character developments to fit us for the kingdom. More

than this, these joys of heart will be manifest in our

faces. The heart that is happy finds expression in the face

just as the contents of a book are told by the index. The

lines of care and worry which belong to the cares of this

life, and being troubled about many things, striving for

the unattainable things and being grieved over failures,

will give place in the Lord’s people to lines of

countenance indicating faith, trust in the Lord, rest of

heart, fixity of purpose —peace with God and, so far as

lieth in us, so far as possible on our part, with our fellow


The typical temple of old was not built in a day, neither

the glorious temple of the future, the Body of Christ, the

Church now in process of development and perfecting

for the kingdom. As “living stones,” the shaping,

chiseling, polishing, requires time. We must not expect

to have the full appreciation of all the gracious promises

of the Lord at the beginning of our Christian way; but

we should have them before our minds as indicating the

objective point of our attainment in the Christian life.

We should keep looking toward the “all things” that are

ours, endeavoring to realize the fact more and more. We

should be looking toward the “hundred-fold more in this

present time” and seeking to appreciate the blessings as

they are coming to us or are within our grasp to be used.

We should learn more and more not to trust in uncertain,

earthly riches, but speedily begin to “richly enjoy all

things,” realizing that our Heavenly Father is at the helm

and is guiding us as His children into all the exceeding

riches of His grace and loving kindness, which He has

promised to them that are in Christ Jesus, members of

His body, the church.


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