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A Sketch of the Development of Present Truth (CTR)

Posted on July 13, 2021. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The following is taken from The Watch Tower, July 15, 1906, pages 229-237. Our presentation of this is for historical purposes, and does not signify that we are totally in agreement with all statements given. We have expanded the names of the Bible books as an aid in searches. We have included also links to Brother Russell’s writings cited, and in some cases a few links to our own related writings.

A SKETCH OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF PRESENT TRUTH Many are the inquiries relative to the truths presented in MILLENNIAL DAWN [[Now Studies in the Scriptures]] and ZION’S WATCH TOWER [[not to be confused with the present-day Watchtower of the “Jehovah’s Witnesses“]], as to whence they came and how they developed to their present symmetrical and beautiful proportions — Were they the results of visions? Did God in any supernatural way grant the solution of these hitherto mysteries of his plan? Are the writers more than ordinary beings? Do they claim any supernatural wisdom or power? or how comes this revelation of God’s truth?
No, dear friends, I claim nothing of superiority, nor supernatural power, dignity or authority; nor do I aspire to exalt myself in the estimation of my brethren of the household of faith, except in the sense that the Master urged it, saying, “Let him who would be great among you be your servant.” (Matthew 20:27) And my position among men of the world and of the nominal church is certainly far from exalted, being “everywhere spoken against.” I am fully contented, however, to wait for exaltation until the Lord’s due time. (1 Peter 5:6) In the Apostle’s words I therefore answer, “Why look ye upon us, as though by our own power we had done these things? We also are men of like passions with yourselves” — of like infirmities and frailties, earnestly striving, by overcoming many besetments, discouragements, etc., to press along the line toward the mark of the prize of our high calling, and claiming only, as a faithful student of the Word of God, to be an index finger, as I have previously expressed it, to help you to trace for yourselves, on the sacred page, the wonderful plan of God — no less wonderful to me, I assure you, than to you, dearly beloved sharers of my faith and joy.
No, the truths I present, as God’s mouthpiece, were not revealed in visions or dreams, nor by God’s audible voice, nor all at once, but gradually, especially since 1870, and particularly since 1880. Neither is this clear unfolding of truth due to any human ingenuity or acuteness of perception, but to the simple fact that God’s due time has come; and if I did not speak, and no other agent could be found, the very stones would cry out. [[Luke 19:40]]
The following history is given not merely because I have been urged to give a review of God’s leadings in the path of light, but specially because I believe it to be needful that the truth be modestly told, that misapprehensions and prejudicial misstatements may be disarmed, and that our readers may see how hitherto the Lord has helped and guided. In so far as the names and views of others, who have parted our company, may be associated with this history, I shall endeavor to bring forward only such points as are necessary to an understanding of our position and of the Lord’s leadings. Nor can I name all the little points of divine favor in which faith was tested, prayers were answered, etc., remembering that our Master and the early Church left no such example of boasting faith, but rather admonished otherwise, saying, “Hast thou faith? have it to thyself.” Some of the most precious experiences of faith and prayer are those which are too sacred for public display.

LIGHT OUT OF DARKNESS 
I will not go back to tell how the light began to break through the clouds of prejudice and superstition which enveloped the world under Papacy’s rule in the dark ages. The Reformation movement, or rather movements, from then until now, have each done their share in bringing light out of darkness. Let me here confine myself to the consideration of the harvest truths set forth in MILLENNIAL DAWN and ZION’S WATCH TOWER.
Let me begin the narrative at the year 1868, when the Editor, having been a consecrated child of God for some years, and a member of the Congregational Church and of the Y.M.C.A., began to be shaken in faith regarding many long-accepted doctrines. Brought up a Presbyterian, and indoctrinated from the Catechism, and being naturally of an inquiring mind, I fell a ready prey to the logic of infidelity as soon as I began to think for myself. But that which at first threatened to be the utter shipwreck of faith in God and the Bible, was, under God’s providence, overruled for good, and merely wrecked my confidence in human creeds and systems of misinterpretation of the Bible.
Gradually I was led to see that though each of the creeds contained some elements of truth, they were, on the whole, misleading and contradictory of God’s Word. Among other theories, I stumbled upon Adventism. Seemingly by accident, one evening I dropped into a dusty, dingy hall, where I had heard religious services were held, to see if the handful who met there had anything more sensible to offer than the creeds of the great churches. There, for the first time, I heard something of the views of Second Adventists, the preacher being Mr. Jonas Wendell, long since deceased. Thus, I confess indebtedness to Adventists as well as to other denominations. Though his Scripture exposition was not entirely clear, and though it was very far from what we now rejoice in, it was sufficient, under God, to re-establish my wavering faith in the divine inspiration of the Bible, and to show that the records of the apostles and prophets are indissolubly linked. What I heard sent me to my Bible to study with more zeal and care than ever before, and I shall ever thank the Lord for that leading; for though Adventism helped me to no single truth, it did help me greatly in the unlearning of errors, and thus prepared me for the Truth.
I soon began to see that we were living somewhere near the close of the Gospel age, and near the time when the Lord had declared that the wise, watching ones of his children should come to a clear knowledge of his plan. At this time, myself and a few other truth-seekers in Pittsburgh and Allegheny formed a class for Bible study, and from 1870 to 1875 was a time of constant growth in grace and knowledge and love of God and his Word. We came to see something of the love of God, how it had made provision for all mankind, how all must be awakened from the tomb in order that God’s loving plan might be testified to them, and how all who exercise faith in Christ’s redemptive work and render obedience in harmony with the knowledge of God’s will they will then receive, shall then (through Christ’s merit) be brought back into full harmony with God, and be granted everlasting life. This we saw to be the Restitution work foretold in Acts 3:21. But though seeing that the Church was called to joint-heirship with the Lord in the Millennial Kingdom, up to that time we had failed to see clearly the great distinction between the reward of the Church now on trial and the reward of the faithful of the world after its trial, at the close of the Millennial age — that the reward of the former is to be the glory of the spiritual, divine nature, while that of the latter is to be the glory of restitution — restoration to the perfection of human nature once enjoyed in Eden by their progenitor and head, Adam.
However, we were then merely getting the general outline of God’s plan, and unlearning many long-cherished errors, the time for a clear discernment of the minutiae having not yet fully come. And here I should and do gratefully mention assistance rendered by Brothers Geo. Stetson and Geo. Storrs, the latter the editor of The Bible Examiner, both now deceased. The study of the Word of God with these dear brethren led, step by step, into greener pastures and brighter hopes for the world, though it was not until 1872, when I gained a clear view of our Lord’s work as our ransom price, that I found the strength and foundation of all hope of restitution to lie in that doctrine. Up to that time, when I read the testimony that all in their graves should come forth, etc., I yet doubted the full provision — whether it should be understood to include idiots or infants who had died without reaching any degree of understanding, beings to whom the present life and its experiences would seem to be of little or no advantage. But when, in 1872, I came to examine the subject of restitution from the standpoint of the ransom price given by our Lord Jesus for Adam, and consequently for all lost in Adam, it settled the matter of restitution completely, and gave me the fullest assurance that ALL must come forth from their graves and be brought to a clear knowledge of the truth and to a full opportunity to gain everlasting life in Christ.
Thus passed the years 1869-1872. The years following, to 1876, were years of continued growth in grace and knowledge on the part of the handful of Bible students with whom I met in Allegheny. We progressed from our first crude and indefinite ideas of restitution to clearer understanding of the details; but God’s due time for the clear light had not yet come.
During this time, too, we came to recognize the difference between our Lord as “the man who gave himself,” and as the Lord who would come again, a spirit being. (1 Peter 3:18) We saw that spirit-beings can be present, and yet invisible to men, just as we still hold and have set forth in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., Chap. 5. And we felt greatly grieved at the error of Second Adventists, who were expecting Christ in the flesh, and teaching that the world and all in it except Second Adventists would be burned up in 1873 or 1874, whose time-settings and disappointments and crude ideas generally as to the object and manner of his coming brought more or less reproach upon us and upon all who longed for and proclaimed his coming Kingdom.
We wish to note here that Brother Russell had already concluded that Christ would not return in the flesh before 1874. Before 1874, he was still rejecting the Adventists’ dates for Christ’s return, especially since this belief was being connected with the idea that “the world and all in it except Second Adventists would be burned up.” These wrong views so generally held of both the object and manner of the Lord’s return led me to write a pamphlet — “The Object and Manner of The Lord’s Return,” of which some 50,000 copies were published.
It was about January, 1876, that my attention was specially drawn to the subject of prophetic time, as it relates to these doctrines and hopes. It came about in this way: I received a paper called The Herald of the Morning, sent by its editor, Mr. N. H. Barbour. When I opened it I at once identified it with Adventism from the picture on its cover, and examined it with some curiosity to see what time they would next set for the burning of the world. But judge of my surprise and gratification, when I learned from its contents that the Editor was beginning to get his eyes open on the subjects that for some years had so greatly rejoiced our hearts here in Allegheny — that the object of our Lord’s return is not to destroy, but to bless all the families of the earth, and that his coming would be thief-like, and not in flesh, but as a spirit-being, invisible to men; and that the gathering of his Church and the separation of the “wheat” from the “tares” would progress in the end of this age without the world’s being aware of it.
 rejoiced to find others coming to the same advanced position, but was astonished to find the statement very cautiously set forth, that the editor believed the prophecies to indicate that the Lord was already present in the world (unseen and invisible), and that the harvest work of gathering the wheat was already due, — and that this view was warranted by the time-prophecies which but a few months before he supposed had failed.
Here was a new thought: Could it be that the time prophecies which I had so long despised, because of their misuse by Adventists, were really meant to indicate when the Lord would be invisibly present to set up his Kingdom — a thing which I clearly saw could be known in no other way? It seemed, to say the least, a reasonable, a very reasonable thing, to expect that the Lord would inform his people on the subject — especially as he had promised that the faithful should not be left in darkness with the world, and that though the day of the Lord would come upon all others as a thief in the night (stealthily, unawares), it should not be so to the watching, earnest saints. — 1 Thessalonians 5:4.

Note: See Brother Russell’s Study: “The Manner of Our Lord’s Return and Appearing.” See our study related to Astrape.

I recalled certain arguments used by my friend Jonas Wendell and other Adventists to prove that 1873 would witness the burning of the world, etc. — the chronology of the world showing that the six thousand years from Adam ended with the beginning of 1873 — and other arguments drawn from the Scriptures and supposed to coincide. Could it be that these time arguments, which I had passed by as unworthy of attention, really contained an important truth which they had misapplied? 
Anxious to learn, from any quarter, whatever God had to teach, I at once wrote to Mr. Barbour, informing him of my harmony on other points and desiring to know particularly why, and upon what Scriptural evidences, he held that Christ’s presence and the harvesting of the Gospel age dated from the Autumn of 1874. The answer showed that my surmise had been correct, viz.: that the time arguments, chronology, etc., were the same as used by Second Adventists in 1873, and explained how Mr. Barbour and Mr. J. H. Paton, of Michigan, a co-worker with him, had been regular Second Adventists up to that time; and that when the date 1874 had passed without the world being burned, and without their seeing Christ in the flesh, they were for a time dumb-founded. They had examined the time-prophecies that had seemingly passed unfulfilled, and had been unable to find any flaw, and had begun to wonder whether the time was right and their expectations wrong, — whether the views of restitution and blessing to the world, which myself and others were teaching, might not be the things to look for. It seems that not long after their 1874 disappointment, a reader of the Herald of the Morning, who had a copy of the Diaglott, noticed something in it which he thought peculiar, — that in Matthew 24:27,37,39, the word which in our common version is rendered coming is translated presence. This was the clue; and, following it, they had been led through prophetic time toward proper views regarding the object and manner of the Lord’s return. I, on the contrary, was led first to proper views of the object and manner of our Lord’s return and then to the examination of the time for these things, indicated in God’s Word. Thus God leads his children often from different starting points of truth; but where the heart is earnest and trustful, the result must be to draw all such together.
But there were no books or other publications setting forth the time-prophecies as then understood, so I paid Mr. Barbour’s expenses to come to see me at Philadelphia (where I had business engagements during the summer of 1876), to show me fully and Scripturally, if he could, that the prophecies indicated 1874 as the date at which the Lord’s presence and “the harvest” began. He came, and the evidences satisfied me. Being a person of positive convictions and fully consecrated to the Lord, I at once saw that the special times in which we live have an important bearing upon our duty and work as Christ’s disciples; that, being in the time of harvest, the harvest-work should be done; and that Present Truth was the sickle by which the Lord would have us do a gathering and reaping work everywhere among his children.
I inquired of Mr. Barbour as to what was being done by him and by the Herald. He replied that nothing was being done; that the readers of the Herald, being disappointed Adventists, had nearly all lost interest and stopped their subscriptions; — and that thus, with money exhausted, the Herald might be said to be practically suspended. I told him that instead of feeling discouraged and giving up the work since his newly found light on restitution (for when we first met, he had much to learn from me on the fulness of restitution based upon the sufficiency of the ransom given for all, as I had much to learn from him concerning time), he should rather feel that now he had some good tidings to preach, such as he never had before, and that his zeal should be correspondingly increased. At the same time, the knowledge of the fact that we were already in the harvest period gave to me an impetus to spread the Truth such as I never had before. I therefore at once resolved upon a vigorous campaign for the Truth. I determined to curtail my business cares and give my time as well as means to the great harvest work. Accordingly, I sent Mr. Barbour back to his home, with money and instructions to prepare in concise book-form the good tidings so far as then understood, including the time features, while I closed out my Philadelphia business preparatory to engaging in the work, as I afterward did, traveling and preaching.
The little book of 196 pages thus prepared was entitled The Three Worlds; and as I was enabled to give some time and thought to its preparation it was issued by us both jointly, both names appearing on its title page — though it was mainly written by Mr. Barbour. While it was not the first book to teach a measure of restitution, nor the first to treat upon time-prophecy, it was, we believe, the first to combine the idea of restitution with time-prophecy. From the sale of this book and from my purse, our traveling expenses, etc., were met. After a time I conceived the idea of adding another harvest laborer and sent for Mr. Paton, who promptly responded and whose traveling expenses were met in the same manner. But noticing how quickly people seemed to forget what they had heard, it soon became evident that while the meetings were useful in awakening interest, a monthly journal was needed to hold that interest and develop it. It therefore seemed to be the Lord’s will that one of our number should settle somewhere and begin again the regular issuing of the Herald of the Morning. I suggested that Mr. Barbour do this, as he had experience as a type-setter and could therefore do it most economically, while Mr. Paton and I would continue to travel and contribute to its columns as we should find opportunity. To the objection that the type was not sold, and that the few subscriptions which would come in would not, for a long time, make the journal self-sustaining, I replied that I would supply the money for purchasing type, etc., and leave a few hundred dollars in bank subject to Mr. Barbour’s check, and that he should manage it as economically as possible, while Mr. Paton and I continued to travel. This, which seemed to be the Lord’s will in the matter, was done.
It was after this, while on a tour of the New England States, that I met Mr. A. P. Adams, then a young Methodist minister, who became deeply interested and accepted the message heartily during the week that I preached to his congregation. Subsequently, I introduced him to little gatherings of interested ones in neighboring towns, and assisted otherwise, as I could, rejoicing in another one who, with study, would soon be a co-laborer in the harvest field. About this time, too, I was much encouraged by the accession of Mr. A. D. Jones, then a clerk in my employ in Pittsburgh — a young man of activity and promise, who soon developed into an active and appreciated co-laborer in the harvest work, and is remembered by some of our readers. Mr. Jones ran well for a time, but ambition or something eventually worked utter shipwreck of his faith, and left us a painful illustration of the wisdom of the Apostle’s words: “My brethren, be not many of you teachers, knowing that we shall have the severer judgment.” — James 3:1 — Diaglott.

SIFTING AS WHEAT

“Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat.” — Luke 22:31.
Thus far all had run smoothly and onward: we had been greatly blessed with Truth, but not specially tested in our love and fidelity to it. But with the Spring of 1878, the parallel in time to the Lord’s crucifixion and his utterance of the above-quoted words, the sifting began which has continued ever since, and which must, sooner or later, test every one who receives the light of Present Truth. “Marvel not, therefore, concerning the fiery trial which shall try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you;” [[1 Peter 4:12]] for this “fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is” — whether he has built his faith flimsily of wood, hay and stubble, instead of with the valuable stones of God’s revealed truth, or whether he has built it upon the shifting sands of human theory — evolution, etc., — or upon the solid rock, the ransom, the only sure foundation, which God has provided. They who build upon that rock shall be safe personally, even though they may have built up an illogical faith which the “fire” and shaking of this day of trial shall overthrow and utterly consume; but they who build upon any other foundation, whether they use good or bad materials, are sure of complete wreck. — Luke 6:47-49; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15.
The object of this trial and sifting evidently is to select all whose heart-desires are unselfish, who are fully and unreservedly consecrated to the Lord, who are so anxious to have the Lord’s will done, and whose confidence in his wisdom, his way and his Word is so great, that they refuse to be led away from the Lord’s Word, either by the sophistries of others, or by plans and ideas of their own. These, in the sifting time, will be strengthened and shall increase their joy in the Lord and their knowledge of his plans, even while their faith is being tested by the falling into error of thousands on every hand. — Psalm 91:7.
The sifting began thus: Regarding Paul’s statement (1 Corinthians 15:51,52), “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” etc., we still held the idea which Adventists, and indeed all Christians hold, that at some time the living saints would be suddenly and miraculously caught away bodily, thenceforth to be forever with the Lord. And, now, our acquaintance with time-prophecy led us to expect this translation of the saints at the point of time in this age parallel to the Lord’s resurrection; for many of the parallelisms between the Jewish and Christian dispensations were already seen by us, and formed one of the features of the little book above referred to — The Three Worlds. We did not then see, as we now do,* that that date (1878) marked the time for the beginning of the establishment of the Kingdom of God, by the glorification of all who already slept in Christ, and that the “change” which Paul mentions (1 Corinthians 15:51) is to occur in the moment of dying, to all the class described, from that date onward through the harvest period, until all the living members (“the feet”) of the body of Christ shall have been changed to glorious spirit beings. But when at that date nothing occurred which we could see, a re-examination of the matter showed me that our mistake lay in expecting to see all the living saints changed at once, and without dying — an erroneous view shared in by the whole nominal church, and one which we had not yet observed or discarded. Our present clear view was the result of the examination thus started. I soon saw that in the Apostle’s words, “We shall not all sleep,” the word sleep was not synonymous with die, though generally so understood; that, on the contrary, the expression sleep, here used, represents unconsciousness; and that the Apostle wished us to understand that from a certain time in the Lord’s presence, his saints, though they would all die like other men (Psalm 82:6,7), would not remain for any time unconscious, but in the moment of dying would be changed and would receive the spirit body promised. Throughout this Gospel age, dying has been followed by unconsciousness, “sleep.” This continued true of all saints who “fell asleep in Jesus” up to the time when he took the office of King (Revelation 11:17), which we have shown + was in 1878.

*See MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. III., chap. 7.
+MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., pp. 218, 219.

Not only did the King at that date “awaken in his likeness” all the members of his body, the Church, who slept, but for the same reason (the time for establishing his Kingdom having come) it is no longer necessary that the “feet” or last remaining members should go into “sleep” or unconsciousness. On the contrary, each now, as he finishes his course, faithful unto death, will at once receive the crown of life, and, being changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, cannot be said to sleep, or to be unconscious at all. Here — 1878 — Revelation 14:13 is applicable, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth.”
So this re-examination showed further light upon the pathway and became a good cause for encouragement, as evidencing the Lord’s continued leading.
But while I was thus helped to clearer views and brighter hopes, and while I diligently endeavored to help others, the Spring of 1878 proved far from a blessing to Mr. Barbour and to many under his influence. Rejecting the plain, simple solution presented above, Mr. B. seemed to feel that he must of necessity get up something new to divert attention from the failure of the living saints to be caught away en masse.
But, alas! how dangerous it is for any man to feel too much responsibility and to attempt to force new light. To our painful surprise, Mr. Barbour soon after wrote an article for the Herald denying the doctrine of the atonement — denying that the death of Christ was the ransom-price of Adam and his race, saying that Christ’s death was no more a settlement of the penalty of man’s sins than would the sticking of a pin through the body of a fly and causing it suffering and death be considered by an earthly parent as a just settlement for misdemeanor in his child.
I was astonished, supposing that Mr. B. had a clearer understanding of the work of Christ as our sin-offering, our willing Redeemer, who gladly, co-operating in the divine plan, gave himself as the ransom or corresponding price to meet the penalty upon Adam, that Adam and all his posterity might in due time go free from sin and death. A totally different thing indeed was the willing, intelligent, loving offering of our Redeemer, according to the plan devised and revealed by infinite wisdom, from the miserable caricature of it offered in the above illustration. I had either given Mr. B. credit for clearer views than he ever had, or else he was deliberately taking off and casting away the “wedding garment” of Christ’s righteousness. The latter was the only conclusion left; for he afterward stated that he had previously recognized Christ’s death as man’s ransom-price.
Immediately I wrote an article for the Herald in contradiction of the error, showing the necessity “that one die for all” — “the just for the unjust;” that Christ fulfilled all this as it had been written; and that consequently God could be just and forgive and release the sinner from the very penalty he had justly imposed. (Romans 3:26) I also wrote to Mr. Paton, calling his attention to the fundamental character of the doctrine assailed, and pointing out how the time and circumstances all corresponded with the parable of the one who took off the wedding garment when just about to partake of the wedding feast. (Matthew 22:11-14) He replied that he had not seen the ransom feature in so strong a light before; that Mr. Barbour had a strong, dogmatic way of putting things which had for the time overbalanced him. I urged that, seeing now the importance of the doctrine, he also write an article for the Herald, which, in no uncertain tone, would give his witness also for the precious blood of Christ. This he did. These articles appeared in the issues of the Herald from July to December, 1878.
It now became clear to me that the Lord would no longer have me assist financially, or to be in any way identified with, anything which cast any influence in opposition to the fundamental principle of our holy Christian religion; and I therefore, after a most careful though unavailing effort to reclaim the erring, withdrew entirely from the Herald of the Morning and from further fellowship with Mr. B. But a mere withdrawal I felt was not sufficient to show my continued loyalty to our Lord and Redeemer, whose cause had thus been violently assailed by one in position to lead the sheep astray — and in that position, too, very largely by my individual assistance and encouragement when I believed him to be, in all sincerity, true to the Lord. I therefore understood it to be the Lord’s will that I should start another journal in which the standard of the cross should be lifted high, the doctrine of the ransom defended, and the good tidings of great joy proclaimed as extensively as possible.
Acting upon this leading of the Lord, I gave up traveling, and in July, 1879, the first number of ZION’S WATCH TOWER and Herald of Christ’s Presence made its appearance. From the first, it has been a special advocate of the “ransom for all,” and by the grace of God we hope this it will ever be.
For a time we had a most painful experience: the readers of the TOWER and of the Herald were the same; and from the time the former started and the supply of funds from this quarter for the Herald ceased, Mr. B. not only drew from the bank the money deposited by me and treated all he had in his possession as his own, but poured upon the Editor of the TOWER the vilest of personal abuse in order to prevent the TOWER and the doctrine of the ransom from having due influence upon the readers. This of course caused a division, as such things always do. The personal abuse, being regarded by some as true, had its intended effect of biasing the judgments of many on the subject of the ransom; and many turned from us.
But the Lord continued his favor, which I esteem of more value than the favor of the whole world. It was at this time that Mr. Adams espoused the views of Mr. Barbour and likewise forsook the doctrine of the ransom. And, true to our interpretation of the parable of the wedding garment as given at the time, Mr. Barbour and Mr. Adams, having cast off the wedding garment of Christ’s righteousness, went out of the light into the outer darkness of the world on the subjects once so clearly seen — namely, the time and manner of the Lord’s presence; and since then they have been expecting Christ in the flesh every Spring or Fall and twisting the prophecies accordingly.
During part of this ordeal, or we might truly call it battle, for the cross of Christ, we had the earnest co-operation of Mr. Paton, who, up to the Summer of 1881, was an appreciated co-laborer and defender of the doctrine of coming blessings through Christ, based upon the ransom for all given at Calvary. The book, The Three Worlds, having been for some time out of print, it seemed as if either another edition of that, or else a new book covering the same features, should be gotten out. Mr. Paton agreed to get it ready for the press, and Mr. Jones offered to pay all the expenses incident to its printing and binding and to give Mr. Paton as many copies of the book as he could sell, as remuneration for his time spent in preparing the matter, provided I would agree to advertise it liberally and gratuitously in the TOWER — well knowing that there would be a demand for it if I should recommend it, and that his outlay would be sure to return with profit. (For those books did not sell at such low prices as we charge for MILLENNIAL DAWN.) I not only agreed to this, but contributed to Mr. Paton’s personal expenses in connection with the publishing, as well as paid part of the printer’s bill at his solicitation.
In the end, I alone was at any financial loss in connection with the book, called Day Dawn, the writer and publisher both being gainers financially, while I did all the introducing by repeated advertisements. We need to give these particulars, because of certain one-sided and only partial statements of facts and misrepresentations which have recently been published and circulated in tract form by Mr. Paton, who is also now an advocate of that “other gospel” of which the cross of Christ is not the center, and which denies that he “bought us with his own precious blood.” Mr. P. has since published another book, which, though called by the same name as the one we introduced, being on another and a false foundation, I cannot and do not recommend, but which I esteem misleading sophistry, tending to undermine the whole structure of the Christian system, yet retaining a sufficiency of the truths which we once held in common to make it palatable and dangerous to all not rooted and grounded upon the ransom rock.
The false foundation which it presents is the old heathen doctrine of evolution revamped, which not only denies the fall of man, but as a consequence, all necessity for a redeemer. It claims, on the contrary, that not by redemption and restitution to a lost estate, but by progressive evolution or development, man has risen and is still to rise from the lower condition in which he was created until, by his own good works, he ultimately reaches the divine nature. It claims that our blessed Lord was himself a degraded and imperfect man, whose work on earth was to crucify a carnal nature, which, it claims, he possessed, and to thus show all men how to crucify their carnal or sinful propensities.
And here we remark that the darkness and degradation which came upon the whole world in its fallen, cast-off condition, and which was only intensified by Papacy’s priestcraft during the dark ages, when contrasted with the light of intelligence, which God is now letting in upon the world, have gradually led men to esteem present intelligence as merely a part of a process of evolution. This view, as we have shown, * though quite incorrect, is nevertheless the occasion of the predicted great falling away from the faith of the Bible during the harvest period. (Psa. 91:7) And few Christian people seem to be well enough grounded in the Truth to be able to withstand this trial of the evil day, in which many will fall while only the few will stand. For this cause we use great plainness of speech.

*MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., p. 261, Vol. VI., p. 604.

The little history of the way in which Mr. Paton came to turn from us and from the ransom, to oppose that which he once clearly saw and advocated, is important, as it became the occasion of another sifting or testing of the WATCH TOWER readers, by that time a much larger number (because Mr. Paton had been a respected brother and co-worker with us, and because as a traveling representative of the TOWER and its doctrines, his expenses being met in part by TOWER subscriptions and renewals, as well as by money from me, he was personally known to a larger number of the readers than was the Editor of the TOWER). It came about thus: —
In the year 1881, Mr. Barbour, still publishing the Herald, and still endeavoring to overthrow the doctrine of the Ransom, finding that on a preaching tour I had used a diagram of the Tabernacle to illustrate how Christ’s sacrifice was typified in the sacrifices of typical Israel, wrote an article on the Atonement, in which he undertook to show that the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement typified almost anything else than what they do typify. I could readily see through the fallacy of his presentation, which made of the bullock a type of one thing in one verse and another thing in each other verse in which it was mentioned, and so too with the goat. But I well knew that people in general are not close reasoners, and that, with the cares of life upon them, they are too apt to accept a seeming interpretation, without a critical examination of the words of Scripture and their context.
I thought the matter all over. I examined the chapter (Levitcus 16), but while seeing the inconsistency and error of Mr. Barbour’s interpretation, I could only confess that I did not understand it and could not give a connected interpretation which would fit all the details so plainly stated, and all of which must have a particular meaning. What could I do? Those reading the Herald as well as the TOWER would probably be misled, if not helped out of the difficulty; and to merely say that the Herald’s interpretation was inconsistent with itself, and therefore a misinterpretation, would be misunderstood. Many would surely think that I opposed that view from a spirit of rivalry; for there are always people with whom everything resolves itself into personality, rivalry and party spirit, and such cannot understand others who take a higher and nobler view, and who think always and only of the Truth, regardless of persons.
I went to the Lord with this as with every trial, told him just how it seemed to me, how anxious I felt for his dear “sheep,” who, having their appetites sharpened by some truth, were by their very hunger exposed to Satan’s deceptions. I told him that I realized that he was the Shepherd, and not I, but that I knew also that he would be pleased at my interest in the sheep and my desire to be his mouthpiece to declare the truth, the way and the life to them; that I felt deeply impressed that if the time had come for the permission of a false view to deceive the unworthy, it must also be his due time to have the truth on the same subject made clear, that the worthy ones might be enabled to stand, and not fall from the truth. Believing that the due time had come for the correct understanding of the meaning of the Jewish sacrifices, which in a general way all Christians concede were typical of “better sacrifices,” and that the Lord would grant the insight as soon as I got into the attitude of heart best fitted to receive the light, I prayed with confidence that if the Lord’s due time had come, and if he were willing to use me as his instrument to declare the message to his dear family, that I might be enabled to rid my heart and mind of any prejudice that might stand in the way and be led of his spirit into the proper understanding.
Believing that the prayer would be answered affirmatively, I went into my study next morning prepared to study and write. The forenoon I spent in scrutinizing the text and every other Scripture likely to shed light upon it, especially the epistle to the Hebrews, and in looking to the Lord for wisdom and guidance; but no solution of the difficult passage came. The afternoon and evening were similarly spent, and all of the next day. Everything else was neglected, and I wondered why the Lord kept me so long; but on the third day near noon the whole matter came to me as clear as the noon-day sun — so clear and convincing and so harmonious with the whole tenor of Scripture, that I could not question its correctness; and no one has ever yet been able to find a flaw in it. (This has been published in several editions in pamphlet form under the title, TABERNACLE SHADOWS OF THE BETTER SACRIFICES, and can still be had by addressing the Watch Tower office — 10c.)
Then I knew why the Lord had led me to it so slowly and cautiously. I needed a special preparation of heart for the full appreciation of all it contained, and I was all the more assured that it was not of my own wisdom; for if of my own why would it not have come at once? I found that the understanding of that subject was bound to have a wide influence upon all our hopes and views of all truths — not that it overturned old truths or contradicted them, but, on the contrary, that it set them all in order and harmony and straigthened out little knots and twists. For instance, the doctrine of “justification by faith” had always been more or less confused in my mind, as it is in every mind, with the doctrine of “sanctification” which calls for self-sacrifice and works. This was all made clear and plain at once; for the types showed that we all, as sinners, needed first of all Christ’s ransom sacrifice, that we appropriate its merits (justification — forgiveness) to ourselves by faith, and that thus we are justified (reckoned free from sin) when, turning from sin, we by faith accept of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. The type showed, too, that it is only after being thus cleansed in God’s sight (by our acceptance of Christ’s finished work as our ransom-sacrifice) that God is willing to accept us as joint sacrificers with Christ, so that if faithful to the end, following in his footsteps, we should be granted the favor of joint-heirship with him.
Here I first saw that the great privilege of becoming joint-heirs with Christ and partakers with him of the divine nature was confined exclusively to those who would share with him in self-sacrifice in the service of the Truth. And here, too, I saw for the first time that the Lord was the first of these sacrifices of the Sin-Offering; consequently, that none of God’s servants, the prophets, who lived and died before Christ, were priests after his order, nor sharers in sacrifice with him, even though some of them were stoned, others sawn asunder and others slain with the sword, for the cause of God; that though they would get a good and great reward, they would belong to a separate class and order from those called to sacrifice and joint-heirship with Christ on and since Pentecost. Here, too, I first saw that “the acceptable day of the Lord” signifies this Gospel age — the time during which he will accept the sacrifice of any who come unto God through Christ, the great Sin-Offering: that when this acceptable day ends, the reward of joint-heirship and change to the divine nature ends; and that when this great day of sacrifice, the Gospel age (the real day of Atonement), has closed, when all the members of the body of Christ have participated with him in the sacrifice of their rights as justified men, and been glorified, then the blessing will begin to come to the world — the Millennial blessings purchased for men by their Redeemer, according to the grace of God.
This first brought a clear recognition of the distinction of natures — of what constitutes human nature, what constitutes angelic nature and what constitutes divine nature, as shown in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., Chapter X. And whereas we formerly used the word RESTITUTION in a general way to mean some sort of blessed change, now, under the clearer light, we began to see that the great work of restitution could only mean what the word implies — a restoration of that which was lost (Matthew 18:11) — a restoration to the original condition from which man once fell. Then I saw that God’s plan, when carried out, would not bring all his creatures to the one level of the divine nature, but that he purposed to have an order of creatures called Angels, who, though perfect, would always be of a different order, or nature, from the divine nature, and he likewise purposed to have a race of beings of the human nature, of whom Adam was a sample or pattern, and whose future earthly home, Paradise, Eden was a sample or pattern. I also saw that God purposed that Christ and his joint-sacrificers and joint-heirs are to be God’s instruments for blessing the fallen race and restoring them to the condition of perfection enjoyed by Adam in Eden — a condition which God said was “very good,” and an image of himself. And these joint-heirs with Christ, I saw, were to be highly exalted to a nature higher than restored and perfect manhood, higher, too, than the angelic nature — even to be partakers of the divine nature. When all these things so unexpectedly shone out so brightly and clearly, I did not wonder that the Lord gave me several days of waiting and preparation for the blessing, and to him I rendered praise and thanks. All my faintness of heart and fear of the bad effect of the wrong view fled before this evidence of the Lord’s leading in the pathway that “shines more and more unto the perfect day.” I saw at once that these new developments would probably prove a stumbling block to some, as well as a great blessing to others who were ready for them. Instead, therefore, of publishing it in the next TOWER, I determined to first present the matter privately to the more prominent brethren; — remembering Paul’s course in a similar matter. — Galatians 2:2.
Accordingly I sent invitations and the money necessary for traveling expenses to four of the more prominent brethren, requesting a conference. Mr. Paton from Michigan was one of the four, and the only one who rejected the fresh rays of light. Nor could he find any fault with the exegesis, though urged, as all were, to state anything which might seem inconsistent, or to quote any passages of Scripture thought to be in conflict. But there were none; and every question only demonstrated more fully the strength of the position. I therefore urged that what was beyond the criticism of those most familiar with the plan of God must be the truth, and ought to be confessed and taught at any cost, and especially when it arranged and ordered all the other features of truth so beautifully. I pointed out, too, how necessary it was to a logical holding of the ransom, to see just what this showed; viz.: the distinctions of nature — that our Lord left a higher nature, and took a lower nature when he was made flesh, and that the object in that change of nature was, that he might, as a man, a perfect man, give himself a ransom for the first perfect man, Adam, and thus redeem Adam, and all lost in him. I also showed how, as a reward for this great work, he was given the divine nature in his resurrection — a nature still higher than the glorious one he had left, when he became a man. But either Mr. Paton’s mental vision or heart was weak, for he never took the step; and before long he, too, forsook the doctrine of the ransom. Yet he still used the word “ransom,” while denying the idea conveyed by the word; nor can he give the word any other definition, or otherwise dispute the correctness of the meaning which I attach to it — which may be found in any English dictionary and is true to the significance of the Greek word which it translates, anti-lutron, a price to correspond.
Notwithstanding our best endeavors to save him he drifted farther and farther away, until I was obliged to refuse his articles for the TOWER for the same reason that obliged me to refuse to longer spend the Lord’s money entrusted to me to assist Mr. Barbour to spread the same pernicious theory.
It was about this time that Mr. Jones informed me that the copies of the book Day Dawn which I had purchased last were all that were left; and, announcing it so that no more orders for it might come to the TOWER office, I took occasion to promise MILLENNIAL DAWN, which should present the Plan of the Ages in the clearer, more orderly manner made possible by the new light shed upon every feature of it by the lessons from the Tabernacle. About this time Mr. Paton concluded that he would publish another book under the name Day Dawn, revised to harmonize with his changed views, which ignored the ransom, ignored justification and the need of either, and taught that all men will be everlastingly saved — not in any sense as the result of any sacrifice for their sin by Christ, but as the result of each one’s crucifying sin in himself — the law under which the poor Jews tried to commend themselves to God, but which justified none. Many and severe were the calumnies heaped upon me, because I exposed this change, told that the original was out of print and that the new book was on a different foundation from the book of the same name which I had commended.
During this time I was busied by an immense work known to many of you — the issue and circulation of over 1,400,000 copies of two pamphlets, entitled FOOD FOR THINKING CHRISTIANS and TABERNACLE TEACHINGS, whose united matter was about the same as that of DAWN, VOL. I.; and besides this I was flooded with thousands of joyous and joy-giving letters, from those who had received and were reading the pamphlets thus distributed, and asking questions and more reading matter. To add to our throng, financial complications came; and thus for four years I was hindered from fulfilling my promise of MILLENNIAL DAWN. Nor is our promise of the complete set yet fulfilled; for although six volumes are now issued, a seventh on Revelation and Ezekiel is still future: delayed by the growth of the general work, doubtless in accord with the Lord’s “due time.” But during those four years I struggled through an immense amount of labor and many drawbacks (all cheerfully undergone for the sake of the Lord and his saints), each year hoping to be able to gather the hours necessary to complete the first volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN.
Some who have The Three Worlds or the old edition of Day Dawn would perhaps like to know my present opinion of them — whether I still think them profitable books to loan to truth-seekers. To this I reply, Certainly not; because the very immature views of God’s truth therein presented fall far short of what we now see to be God’s wonderful plan. Things which are now clear as noonday were then cloudy and mixed. The distinctions between the perfect human nature to which the obedient of the world will be restored during the Millennium, and the divine nature to which the little flock, the sacrificing elect of the Gospel age, are soon to be exalted, were then unnoticed. All now so clear was then blurred, mixed and indistinct. Neither had we then seen the steps or planes, shown upon the Chart of the Ages, MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., which have assisted so many to distinguish between justification and sanctification, and to determine their present standing and relationship to God.

Once I was much less careful about what I circulated or commended, but I am learning every day to be more careful as to what sort of food I put before any of the Lord’s hungry sheep. The Lord has taught me that it is a responsible matter to be a teacher, even to the extent of circulating a book or a paper. Even Food for Thinking Christians (now also out of print), I no longer commend because it is less systematic and therefore less clear than later publications. (Vol. I., MILLENNIAL DAWN, in magazine form, the special “Hell” edition of the WATCH TOWER, Jan. 15, ’01, and Tract No. 52, all bear this title, and are not to be confounded with the original booklet issued in 1881.)

Another chapter in our experience needs to be told, as it marks another shaking and sifting. Mr. A. D. Jones proposed to start a paper on the same line as the WATCH TOWER, to republish some of the simpler features of God’s plan and to be a sort of missionary and primary teacher. Knowing him to be clear on the subject of the ransom, I bade him God speed and introduced a sample copy of his paper, Zion’s Day Star (now for some years discontinued), to our nearly ten thousand readers — only, as it soon proved, to stumble some of them into rank infidelity and others into the rejection of the ransom; for though the Day Star for a few months steered a straight course and maintained the same position as the TOWER with reference to the ransom, and for the same reason refused the no-ransom articles sent for its columns by Mr. Paton, yet within one year it had repudiated Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and within another year it had gone boldly into infidelity and totally repudiated all the rest of the Bible as well as those portions which teach the fall in Adam and the ransom therefrom in Christ.
All this meant another strain, another sifting, another cutting loose of friends, who erroneously supposed that our criticisms of the false doctrines were prompted by a spirit of rivalry, and who did not so soon see whither his teachings were drifting, nor how great the importance of holding fast the first principles of the doctrines of Christ — how Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification. We want to put you all on notice that the shaking and sifting process, so far from being over and past, is bound to progress more and more until all have been tried and tested thoroughly. It is not a question of who may fall, but of “Who shall be able to stand?” as the Apostle puts it. And we have need again to remember the admonition, “Let him who thinketh he standeth [who feels very confident, as did Peter when he said, ‘Lord, though all forsake thee, yet will not I’] take heed lest he fall.”
This doctrine of another way of salvation (and salvation for all, too) than by the cross of Christ, is not only the error which is, and has been since 1874, sifting all who come into the light of Present Truth, but it is the trial that is to come upon the whole of so-called Christendom to try them. (Revelation 3:10) It is already spreading among all classes of Christian people, especially among ministers of all denominations. The number who believe that Christ’s death paid our sin-penalty is daily getting smaller, and before very long there will be a regular stampede from the doctrine of man’s fall in Adam and his ransom from that fall by “the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5,6) As the Psalmist prophetically pictured it, a thousand will fall to one who will stand. — Psalm 91:7.
The time has come for each one to declare himself boldly. He who is not for the cross (the ransom) is against it! He that gathereth not scattereth abroad! He who is silent on this subject, when it is being assailed by foes on every hand, whether it be the silence of fear, or of shame, or of indifference, is not worthy of the truth, and will surely be one to stumble quickly. He who from any cause sits idly by, while the banner of the cross is assailed, is not a soldier of the cross worthy the name, and will not be reckoned among the overcomers who shall inherit all things. And God is permitting these very siftings, in order to sift out all who are not “overcomers,” and to test and manifest the little flock, who, like Gideon’s final army, will, though few, share the victory and honors of their Captain in glory.
Are you prepared for the issue, dear brethren and sisters? The armor of Truth has been given you for some time past; have you put it on? have you made it your shield and buckler? your defense against all the wily arts of the Evil One?
Do not be deceived by the agents Satan often makes use of. In this he will be as cunning as in his presentation of the deceptive misrepresentations of truth, making unwitting use of many a weaker brother, and to some extent of every stumbling and deceived one, to spread farther the infection of false doctrine. And while every child of God should take earnest heed, that he prove not an occasion of stumbling to any, we cannot doubt that every one, through some instrumentality, will be assailed.
Aptly indeed did the Prophet liken it to a pestilence. (Psalm 91:6) A pestilence spreads because people are in a physical condition which renders them susceptible to disease. Physicians say that those whose systems are in good, healthy order are in little danger of any disease. So it is with a spiritual pestilence: it will flourish not only because all will be exposed to it who have not a clear intellectual appreciation of the doctrines of Christ, but from another cause also. Out of the heart are the issues of life, and most needful of all to be in right condition is the heart. How is your heart? Is it proud, boastful, independent, self-conscious and self-willed? If so, take care; you will be very liable to this epidemic, no matter how far from it you may seem to be. Pray for
“A heart resigned, submissive, meek, The dear Redeemer’s throne, Where only Christ is heard to speak, Where Jesus reigns alone.”
With such a heart you are safe. In meekness and lowliness, you will never think of redeeming yourself from the condemnation that you inherited through Adam, by sacrificing present sinful desires, but you will flee to the cross, where God himself opened the fountain for sin and uncleanness, present as well as past.

DOTH THIS OFFEND YOU? We presume that this warning will offend some, though it is not designed to offend any. It is written for the defense of the meek against the sophistries of error. “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord [into the Kingdom offered]? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart [who is diligently fashioning his life after the principles of holiness]; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity [who cultivates no earthly ambitions or pride, but patiently waits for the glory to follow the course of present self-sacrifice], nor sworn deceitfully [ignoring or despising his covenant with God]: He shall receive the blessing of the Lord [the Kingdom glory and joint-heirship with Christ], and righteousness [perfection — full deliverance from present infirmities, etc.] from the God of his salvation.” (Psalm 24:3-5) “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” — that “your minds be not corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Let all the meek fully awake to the trial of the hour; and while many are putting stumbling blocks in the way of the “feet” of the body of Christ, let each soldier of the cross be vigilant, not only to stand, but to assist others — bearing up the “feet.” — Psalm 91:11,12.

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Russell’s Responses to J. J. Ross

Posted on May 26, 2021. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Because many are reproducing and spreading abroad the false accusations that were made against Brother Charles Taze Russell by the “Rev.” J. J. Ross, I am presenting some of Brother Russell’s own responses below. If anyone knows of more that could be added, let me know in the comments.



Watch Tower, September 15, 1914, page 286
INTERESTING LETTERS
A REPLY BY THE EDITOR
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:–


I am pleased to acknowledge receipt of yours of 16th ultimo.

After making copies of your letter, I went to the Editor of the Gazette and submitted to him your original letter. After reading it he said he would publish all except that portion relating to ordination. I hand you herewith the page of the Gazette containing the article, and I praise the Lord for rewarding your efforts in defending the Truth here.

Through the Lord’s providence I had heretofore been able, apparently, to parry every blow directed against the Truth, but in this attack of Rev. Ross the javelin seemed to pass me and strike notwithstanding my best efforts to turn it aside; but now the darkness disappears and the light again shines on the cause of Present Truth through the good defense which you have offered; the Lord has shown us again how He can make the “Wrath of His enemies to praise Him.” The Editor of the Mirror (Protestant), a contemporary of the Gazette, told me he would run your letter in full.

Dear Brother, would it not be well to let your letter come out in one of the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY or in THE WATCH TOWER? It would give many of the dear friends some good ideas as to how to offer defense along this special line of the Adversary’s attacks on you and the cause of Present Truth. I received a letter from a brother in Grenada, stating that some prominent Plymouth Brethren were circulating Rev. Ross’ pamphlet. Of course, they will not circulate so very many, as the pamphlet costs 10 cents, and very few of the Plymouth Brethren or other denominations are willing to pay that much to defend their errors.

How grand it will be when the people are delivered from the bondage of error! I am glad for the ministers’ sake also, for they will not have to fight any more, and I am sure that will be a great relief to their minds! One Catholic gentleman told me that Catholics and others could argue with us until we got to the Bible, and then they had to stop!
Assuring you of my continued love and fullest confidence, which you have always had and which have never wavered since I laid my life upon the altar of sacrifice in 1897, I am,

Yours in the Redeemer’s service,
E. J. COWARD.

Below we reprint the portion of our letter as published in The Port-of-Spain Gazette, Trinidad, B.W.I.:

PASTOR RUSSELL REPLIES.
MR. E. J. COWARD,
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, B.W.I.

Dear Brother in Christ:–

Yours of October 3d is before me. Thanks for its clippings from the Gazette and the Evangelical Christian.

I am quite familiar with the slanderous screed issued by Rev. J. J. Ross. In Canada they have just two laws governing libel. Under the one the falsifier may be punished by the assessment of damages and money. Under the other, criminal libel, he is subject to imprisonment. I entered suit against Rev. Ross under the criminal act, at the advice of my attorneys, because, as he has no property, a suit for damages would not intimidate him nor stop him. The lower Court found him guilty of libel. But when the case went to the second Judge he called up an English precedent, in which it was held that criminal libel would only operate in a case where the jury felt sure that there was danger of rioting or violence. As there was no danger that myself or friends would resort to rioting, the case was thrown out. I could still bring my action for financial damages, but it would be costly to me and impotent as respects Rev. Ross. He, however, is having troubles of his own. Since he began to attack me, he has split two Baptist Congregations–one in Toronto, the other in Hamilton. The last heard of him, he was in London, Ont., and again in trouble with his congregation. A lying spirit is sure to be a boomerang.

As respects my education in Greek and Hebrew: Not only do I not claim very special knowledge of either language, but I claim that not one minister in a thousand is either a Hebrew or a Greek scholar. To be able to spell out a few Greek words is of no earthly value. Nor is it necessary longer to study these languages, in order to have knowledge of the Bible. Our Presbyterian friends have gotten out at great cost Young’s Analytical Hebrew, Chaldaic, Greek and English Lexicon Concordance, which anyone may procure. And our Methodist friends have issued a similar work– Strong’s Analytical Concordance and Lexicon. And there is a still older one entitled Englishman’s Hebrew, Chaldaic, Greek and English Lexicon and Concordance. Additionally, Liddell and Scott’s Greek Lexicon is a standard authority. The prices of these are not beyond the reach of the average man. By these works scholarly information respecting the original text of the Bible is obtainable. I have all four of these works and have used them faithfully. Very few college professors, even, would risk to give a critical translation of any text of Scripture without consulting these very works of reference, which are standard. To merely learn to read the Greek and Hebrew without a six years’ course in their grammars is more likely to hinder than to help in Bible study; far better take the acknowledged scholarship to which I have referred.
Additionally I remind you of the many translations of the Bible now extant–all of them very good. I have all of these and find them useful in comparison in the study of any text–one sometimes giving a thought which another may not. The other day, for curiosity’s sake, I counted Bibles in different translations, etc., in my study and found that I have thirty-two.

As respects my business dealings, Brother Coward, I need not remind you that American Courts are very strict and that if anybody feels that I have wronged him out of a dollar, he would have no difficulty in haling me into Court. You have my assurance, dear Brother, that I do not owe any man on earth a penny and that I have never taken a penny from anyone unjustly. On the contrary, as you know, I have spent several small fortunes in seeking to do good to my fellow-men –in helping them to a better understanding of God and the Bible. Having once been an infidel myself, and having subsequently found that I had confused the teachings of the Bible with the teachings of the creeds, and that the Bible’s teaching is a glorious, grand doctrine, it has since been my business and pleasure to do all in my power to help fellow-mortals out of darkness into the true light.


If you choose, you may make such extracts of this as are likely to reach intelligent people through any of the newspapers. But really I care little for what men may say or think about me. Of course, such things are painful; but they are only what the Bible tells us will be more or less the experience of all who would be loyal to God and His Word. So persecuted they the saints and prophets of the past– even the Master Himself. And as for how I got my education –it seems to me of little consequence. I have enough to serve my own purposes, and, apparently, too much to please Rev. Ross and others of his type, who, not knowing how to meet my theological teachings, do not attempt to do so at all, but merely charge me with ignorance. As I read his vile slanders I thought of what the New Testament says about St. Peter and St. John. They were so woefully ignorant that all the people perceived that they were “ignorant and unlearned men.” If they were living today, I suppose that the Rev. Ross and Co. would be after them to show them up as not having been ordained by the Baptists and not knowing anything anyway.

Very truly your servant in the Lord,
C. T. RUSSELL.

The portion of our communication omitted above, follows:

I need not tell you how absurdly untrue Rev. Ross’ statements are in respect to my ordination; but really it seems strange how little people use their thinking faculties in such matters–how few who would read the Rev. Ross’ statements would see their absurdity. For instance, he is a Baptist and was authorized or ordained by the Baptists–not by Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics or Episcopalians. Would an Episcopalian recognize Rev. Ross’ ordination? Surely not! Would a Roman Catholic recognize his ordination? Of course not. Ordination merely means authorization. The Catholics will authorize, or ordain, those only who belong to their faith. The Baptists will ordain, or authorize, those only who are Baptists. How foolish, then, to talk about ordination from their standpoint!

But ordination from my standpoint, the Bible standpoint, the standpoint of an increasing number of Bible students all the world over, is different. It is a Divine ordination. But our Baptist friends and our Methodist friends would say that they, also, recognize Bible ordination, that they are not [R5544 : page 287] merely dependent upon each other. But we challenge them to prove that they ever had a Divine ordination or that they ever think of it. They merely think of a sectarian ordination, or authorization, each from his own sect or party.

True, Catholics and Episcopalians are different and do recognize a Divine ordination. They claim that Jesus ordained His Twelve Apostles and that these have successors in the Bishops, who are styled “apostolic bishops,” and under the theory of “apostolic succession” have the same power as the original Twelve Apostles to ordain and to teach. Bible students believe that they err in this claim and that the doctrine of “apostolic succession” is unscriptural. The Bible recognizes only Twelve Apostles. More than that, the Bible denounces all apostolic bishops as being in error. Referring to them, Jesus said that they claimed to be apostles, and are not, but do lie. (Revelation 2:2.) In other words, contrary to the superstitions of Catholics and Episcopalians, their bishops have no authority whatever to ordain anybody.
What, then, is the proper ordination of a minister of Christ, and how can it be obtained, according to the Bible?
We answer that God’s ordination, or authorization, of any man to preach is by the impartation of the Holy Spirit to him. Whoever has received the Holy Spirit has received the power and authority to teach and to preach in the name of God. Whoever has not received the Holy Spirit has no Divine authority or sanction to his preaching. In other words, he is unordained in the highest, truest sense of that word.

What is the secret of the opposition and slander that is being raised up against me and against all who, like me, are Bible students? It is malice, hatred, envy, strife, on the part of those who are still hugging the nonsense of the Dark Ages and neglecting true Bible study. They see that their influence is waning. But they have not yet awakened to the true situation. They think that I am responsible for their smaller congregations and small collections. But not so. The real difficulty with them is that the people are becoming more intelligent and can no longer be driven with the crack of a merely man-devised whip of fear. The colleges of the world have been teaching that the Bible is a foolish old book, until few preachers and few of the educated of the world believe it to be of Divine inspiration. Losing faith in the Bible, in the preachers and in the creeds, the people are drifting toward atheism. That is the real difficulty.

While my work does not, indeed, help to build up any of the sects of Christendom, it is helping to establish Christian people in a true faith in God and in the Bible. It is giving them a firm foundation and an intelligent understanding such as they had prayed for and hoped for before, but never found. This is not because of great ability on my part, nor on the part of my associates, but because God’s time has come for blessing Bible study in the light of present-day opportunities. It is as Jesus promised–the Wise Virgin class of Christian people, who “trim their lamps”–study the Bible –find it to shine out brightly and to point them to the new Age of blessing under Messiah’s Kingdom.

The following is from the Watch Tower of October 1, 1915, page 302.

SCRIPTURE PRECEDENTS FOLLOWED

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:–

Some time ago I read in THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY of a suit you had entered against Rev. J. J. Ross in Canada.
Now, I am only a humble seeker after truth, and I cannot criticize you, because I have not sufficient knowledge of the Scriptures to do so. There is, however, one point I would like to have cleared up; and if you would be so good as to take up a few lines in THE WATCH TOWER to answer me, I am sure it would do not only me a lot of good, but others also who may have given the matter serious thought.

The question is, dear Pastor, how could you as a follower of Jesus bring suit against a fellow creature, no matter how vilely he talked about you or your work?

You know how our Savior was talked about, and aside from a rebuke He did nothing. At least, He never sought redress through any legal agency.

I despise the clerical profession, because I know them to be liars and parasites, who suck a fat living from the parish; that is, a good part of them. Of course, there are many noble, misled men amongst them; and I am sure they will be rewarded for whatever good they may have done.

Please, dear Pastor, will you not answer one who is sorely troubled–one who believes your work the grandest ever undertaken, and who loves God and His people, although he feels himself an unworthy sinner–one who hates to think of one who is doing so grand and noble a work for Jesus, as not walking in His footsteps in every respect?

Yours sincerely.
A. WOODS.–New York.


REPLY BY EDITOR

We are not certain that we did the wisest and best thing — the thing most pleasing to the Lord in the matter mentioned. However, the suit against Rev. Ross was not undertaken without consideration of the Lord’s will and of the precedents of the Bible.

Amongst Bible students, informed respecting the Divine Word and its requirements, Matthew 18:15-17 is the accepted standard of action:–

(1) Private conference;

(2) If necessary, taking a couple of brethren in a further endeavor to get at the right and to stop what is believed to be the wrong;

(3) In the event of the concurrence of the brethren that the wrong is being done, and of the refusal on the part of the wrong-doer to desist, the third step is to bring the matter before the Church. If the Church agrees, then the wrong-doer, if he still refuses to desist from the wrong course, is to be disfellowshiped–to be barred from any office or service of the Church–treated as an outsider–“like a publican.”

We could not see how this rule could be applied to Rev. Ross; for so far as we have knowledge he would have no regard whatever for such proceedings and could not be debarred finally from fellowship, because he recognizes no such fellowship. We felt, therefore, that any proceedings against Rev. Ross must be along the lines which he himself would recognize. He, like other ministers, recognizes the governments of this world as being parts of Christ’s Kingdom; and their courts, therefore, as being parts of the Divine Institution. For this reason we felt that we were approaching the subject from a just and Golden Rule standpoint in appealing to the courts of justice, which Rev. Ross recognizes as being The Divine Institution. In other words, we attempted to meet him on his own grounds.

As for Scriptural precedents: Jesus did not need to take His case before the courts, because His enemies did that –taking Him before the chief priests and the Sanhedrin. They condemned Him in the Jewish courts. When before His judges, Jesus offered no resistance, in the sense of using His power, either of eloquence or of Divine energy, to resist their unjust decisions. He merely submitted Himself with the complaint, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou Me?”–John 18:23.

The Apostles, Peter and John, brought before the Sanhedrin court, made their defense. So also did St. Paul. On one occasion, because he thought he was not getting justice, he appealed to Caesar’s court for whatever the Roman law might provide. Similarly I appealed to the court having jurisdiction of Rev. Ross, having in mind to stop him from doing evil and from opposing the Message of the Lord, which I am seeking to bear to all people. My attorneys, of course, were obliged to bring their action in harmony with the laws of the land. While the case was still pending, I wrote Rev. Ross, assuring him that I had no unkind intention, and proposing that I would discontinue the suit if he would promise to discontinue his injurious, slanderous course.

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For more related J. J. Ross

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Did William Miller Get His Chronology and Dates From the Mayan Calendar?

Posted on October 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

It is being claimed that the Jehovah’sWitnesses “got all their failed end time date prophecies based upon a false view and interpretation of the Mayan calendar from William Miller.” We are not with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses are being tied in with Charles Taze Russell, who was never associated with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It would appear, however, to making a false claim that Russell (who is evidently thought to have been the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) based his understanding of time prophecies on the Mayan calendar, since it is being alleged that Miller obtained his “date prophecies” from a false view and interpretation of the Mayan calendar. Did Miller indeed obtain the “date prophecies” from the Mayan calendar? If so, what is the conclusion based upon?

First of all, the “date prophecies” that Miller used to draw conclusions are from the Bible. Is the Bible to assumed to be based on a false interpretation of the Mayan calendar? Miller himself gave no prophecies, but he gave his conclusions regarding evidence provided from “date prophecies” found in the Bible.

So far, we have found nothing at all to substantiate the claim that Miller used the Mayan calendar at all. The claim is given without any proof of the claim at all, except the false claim that Russell’s gravestone is a pyramid, and the false claim that this is a connection to the Freemason’ organization. If there is no further proof than these false claims, then like the imagination that is used to produce the idea that Russell was Freemason, we can only conclude that the claim that Miller used the Mayan calendar is simply thought up in someone’s imagination, and assumed to be fact based on what is being imagined. We have found no proof that Miller ever used the Mayan calendar. If such proof actually exists, we would like to know about it.

Links to Related RL Studies

Russell Was Not the Founder of the JWs

Russell — Founder of the JWs?

Reply to: “Charles Taze Russell founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses was a Mason”

Was Russell the Founder of What is Now Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Charles Taze Russell Was Never President of the Jehovah’s Witnesses

CTR’s Gravestone

I am a free and accepted Mason

Is Russell Buried In or Under a Pyramid?

Masonic Symbols?

Russell’s Comments on the Freemasons

Russell’s Cross and Crown Symbolism — Masonic? Rosicrucian?

The Watchtower and the Masons

Biblical Study of the Great Pyramid Vs. Spiritism

Some Inaccuracies Regarding Russell

Links to Related Material

We do not necessarily agree all conclusions given by the authors presented below.

Evidence From Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ by William Miller

The Time is At Hand by Charles Taze Russell

Thy Kingdom Come by Charles Taze Russell

Hastening the Day of God by Carl Hagensick

Pastor Russell Not the Founder of Jehovah’s Witnesses – North Seattle Bible Students

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2010 in review

Posted on January 2, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2010. That’s about 13 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 12 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 23 posts. There was 1 picture uploaded, taking a total of 3kb.

The busiest day of the year was June 18th with 53 views. The most popular post that day was A truth Presented by Satan.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were ctr.reslight.net, rlctr.blogspot.com, en.wordpress.com, answerbag.com, and reslight.net.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for charles taze russell, seola, angels and women book, charles taze russell false prophet, and charles taze russell tombstone.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

A truth Presented by Satan April 2008
3 comments

2

CTR’s Gravestone April 2008
10 comments

3

Angels and Women (Seola) June 2008
7 comments

4

Occultism and the Great Pyramid April 2008
7 comments

5

About April 2008
4 comments

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