PEACE, TROUBLED SOUL, THOU NEED'ST NOT FEAR.—THE
"EXPLOSION" NOISY, BUT DID LITTLE INJURY.—THE WHOLE ARMOR
NEEDED, NOT THE HELMET MERELY.—NEW TACTICS OF
THE CONSPIRATORS.—THE NIGHT COMETH.—REPORT
OF SISTER RUSSELL'S TOUR.—A PENTECOSTAL
MEMORIAL.—LETTERS FROM EVERY QUARTER.
THE remarkable circumstances which called forth the WATCH TOWER EXTRA, dated April 25, now call forth this Triple Number; but for a very different purpose. The former awakened in some a fear that the cause we love had received some serious injury from the attack of the great Enemy, at the hands of the conspirators, who sought the death of our influence, and the disruption of the present harvest work. This issue, on the contrary, is a Thanksgiving Number, and to inform the Church of the wonderful way in which the Lord has overruled in the recent troubles, and is making the wrath of men to praise him. A blessing to all of the faithful is evidently coming out of this great evil. In it we also lay before you some extracts from a few of the hundreds of letters we are now continually receiving.
We cannot answer all these welcome letters personally, except as the writers will accept this Thanksgiving Number as a reply. Be assured that your expressions of warm brotherly love are fully reciprocated by us. You thus give evidence of having attained a growth in grace mentioned by the Apostle (1 Pet. 1:22), "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth in its spirit UNTO UNFEIGNED LOVE OF THE BRETHREN,—love one another with a pure heart fervently."
While we herewith publish extracts from many letters, that the voice of the Church may be generally heard for mutual encouragement, yet do not consider the omission of others as a lack of appreciation, for we can publish only a few in comparison to the number received. But be assured that all such letters are prized and will be preserved. And as soon as circumstances will permit we will have our office helpers make an alphabetical list of the names of the writers,—for an everlasting remembrance of God's grace and your steadfastness in this trial.
From these letters we have already expunged considerable that might be construed as personal laudation; but we have allowed more to remain than our modesty would permit under other circumstances. For the sake of them that stand by (John 11:42), we feel it to be duty to permit our friends to express themselves with considerable freedom, as an offset to the calumnies of the "false brethren" before the minds of the newer readers. But let none esteem this as our victory. We may truly say: "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes."
The effect upon the Church is the very reverse of what the Enemy designed: it is, as they express it, drawing nearer than ever to their hearts the WATCH TOWER publications and the general interests of the harvest work. The true sheep are being awakened to fresh zeal in the Master's service, as this storm indicates to us all that the weight of trouble, which is to usher in the Millennial morning, is fast approaching. They are beginning to see what we have repeatedly sought to impress upon all; viz., that the favorable period of quiet for study and for fitting on the whole armor of God, is to be followed by a severe "battle," in which every piece of that armor will be needed and will be thoroughly tried; a time in which there will be less and less opportunity for putting on the armor, because of the severe and repeated conflicts which our great enemy will be permitted to wage against us.
All this is clearly shown by the Apostle's words, "Take unto you [put upon you] the whole armor of God [beforehand], that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day; and, having done all [that you can do, in the way of armoring, etc.], stand [firmly and valiantly in the battle, defending yourself and those of the household of faith within your reach]."—Eph. 6:13.
Those who have put on the helmet only, who have merely a theoretical or intellectual knowledge of the Truth, are in great danger. They are far more exposed than those who have only a large shield of faith. But none are ready for the conflict, already beginning, except those having on the complete armor. No more armor is provided than will be needed in this evil day. All need the "HELMET" of intellectual appreciation of God's great plan. All need the "BREASTPLATE" of righteousness; not only of Christ's imputed righteousness, but also of the actual righteousness of heart,—of will or intent—which alone can appreciate and appropriate the imputed righteousness of Christ. All need the "SHIELD" of faith,—a trust in God which will protect from all the fiery darts and trials of the enemy. All need to have and to know how to use the "SWORD" of the spirit, the Word of God, so as to defend themselves and others from the insidious attacks of the foe. And all need the "SANDALS,"—consecration, patience and fortitude in order to keep the narrow, rugged way and not become weary and faint of heart.
Our chief joy in this connection, dear friends, was to find that the great Enemy's effort to shatter the body of Christ and to disturb the harvest work had so signally failed. The body of Christ is not divided. The true sheep heard the Master's voice, saying, "He that is not for me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad;" and many have been awakened by the noise of this "explosion," and are more than ever on the alert to note the very tones of the Master's voice and to watch to be "guided by his eye."
A few, no doubt more than we yet know of, will fall by the way, "offended" by the trial which the Lord's providence permitted for this very purpose of "sifting." As yet, however, more than six weeks after their attack, we do not know of a dozen in all who have been injured by the falsehoods and "bombs" of this wicked plot,—aside from the conspirators and about ten of the German congregation here who do not understand the English language and for whom we cannot speak. And of that dozen we regret to say that three were in our office and of our household, and were for some time, it now appears, directly and indirectly under the influence of the conspirators. The special and cunning attack made by the great Enemy upon those closest to us, in these three cases took effect; but believing them all to be true children of God, we have hope for their speedy recovery from this snare of the fowler. Indeed, we already have intimations from two of these that they are beginning to see matters in their true light.
However, the "Extra," with our complete refutation of all the false and wicked charges of the conspirators, was just in time; for, not content with printing the falsehoods, two of them, who had no money with which to pay their accounts, had suddenly plenty of it to spend in railway fares traveling east and west to see the sheep and personally "rub in" upon them their slanderous charges. Wherever they went we heard from them through faithful ones, who discerned their spirit, that it was far from the spirit of Christ, and backed by envy and ambition; [R1659 : page 165] and who thereby were put on their guard against believing such absurd slanders.
Wherever they were well received and got subscriptions to their proposed paper, they were mild and bland, and stroked only with the "fur;" [R1660 : page 165] but they let out "claws" upon any who refused to subscribe and who said they would wait until they heard from Brother Russell, before coming to any conclusion. In their anxiety to get subscriptions and donations—"money from the fish"—they resorted, it seems, to almost any kind of misrepresentation and falsehood.
But even this partial success lasted but a short time,—until the WATCH TOWER Extra reached the "sheep." Then their work was at an end: the answer being quite sufficient to satisfy all who rejoice not in iniquity, but who take pleasure in righteousness and truth.
As nearly as we can learn they received only about a hundred subscriptions, and many of these by personal misrepresentations and on the plea of sympathy and friendship, before our Extra appeared. And since then many have written them canceling those subscriptions and telling them in substance that they had been obtained by misrepresentations, and that as they could expect only error and darkness from teachers with such a spirit they would rather lose the money paid than have their paper for nothing.
Not only so, but of the about six hundred subscribers to the German paper published by Mr. O. von Zech, about one-third or two hundred are TOWER readers, who have taken his paper chiefly to encourage the work amongst the Germans, and who have donated money for the work as well as paid their subscriptions. These have seen the ambition and treachery, and many are indignant and have concluded to stop those donations and subscriptions. Some have sent us copies of the letters they sent to Mr. Zech. They reason rightly, that to do anything to encourage people with such a spirit is not gathering with the Lord, but scattering abroad. (Matt. 12:30.) They reason further, that if, as these men profess, they have felt themselves in bondage for years, then that would account for their keeping in line with the truths presented in the WATCH TOWER, and that, to be consistent with their own profession of new-found liberty, they will necessarily try now to publish something different, just to prove to themselves and others that they are free. The fact is, however, they never were in any bondage to us, except that they well knew that any deflection from the foundation principles of divine truth would mean a break of Christian fellowship with us. Our loyalty to the Lord demands of us that all his friends be ours, and that our Christian fellowship be with none others than those he fellowships.
But some of them, evidently, were under bondage to those foundation principles of God's word, as will be seen from Sister Peck's and Brother Mitchell's letters, which tell how Mr. Rogers favored the no-ransom views, and how he introduced the TOWER and DAWN readers in Rochester to Mr. Barbour, one of the most bold in denying that a ransom was necessary or given, and who, as a consequence of that repudiation of the precious blood, "the wedding garment," was, as long ago as 1878, cast out of the light of present truth into the outer darkness which is upon the whole world,—on the subject of the time and manner of our Lord's presence and Kingdom. Thus quickly we behold the effect of their freedom. Would it not have been far better for Mr. Rogers and all these conspirators had they STAID WITH US in bondage to the word of the Lord? However, while enjoying their freedom, they need to be assured that it is from this, the Lord's bondage, and not from ours, that they have escaped.
However, the conspirators now find that they made a great blunder in their effort at assassination. It is far less successful than their former method of administering slow poison by confidential "whisperings" and insinuations. As a consequence, without any change of heart, they are changing their methods and are now endeavoring to entrap by smooth words those whom they alarmed and put on guard by the venomous spirit of their first libelous circular, which, however, represented their real sentiments. They will, of course, endeavor to bring forth some "new light," to justify their claims as great teachers, and this will be the open door by which they will go into "outer darkness;" for we cannot expect that those who have so [R1660 : page 166] lost the spirit of the truth will be allowed to stay in its light.
Indeed, one of the conspirators recently interviewed said that for his part he would rather die than retract. This only confirmed what we had feared,—that their jealousy, envy and malice had eaten as doth a canker, into their hearts, so that they loved as well as made their lies and slanders. Alas! Who can say but that their course persisted in would indeed result in death—the Second Death? (Rev. 22:15.) What we have recently experienced was quite evidently only the outbreak of the venomous disease which for a long time has eaten at their very hearts. Such virulent diseases do not develop suddenly. Not for all the world would we occupy their places.
Of course, if they would fully confess their sins and heartily repent of them, we would rejoice, and would freely forgive them. But such a course is scarcely supposable in the cases of those who have been plotting and scheming this attempted assassination for so long a time; and who meanwhile have been writing such letters as the Zech letters published in our last Extra. We certainly would be stupid dupes if we allowed ourselves to be again deceived by professions of love and friendship without requiring the least evidence of a radical change of heart. And to reinstate such men in the confidence of the Church without the most thorough evidence of a radical change of heart would only be to expose the Lord's people to new dangers. Even should they repent, it would be far from wise for the Church to recognize them as teachers or leaders in any sense; nor would the humility which would necessarily accompany such repentance expect or desire such an office in the Church after such conduct.
The result of this storm will undoubtedly be beneficial to quite a number like Brother Thorn, whose letter shows that the slow poison of whispered slander had been administered to him; and Sister Hamilton's letter tells the same story. Surely this experience must work for good to all who love righteousness and are called according to God's purpose. One lesson will be, not to tolerate "back-biters," "whisperers" and "busybodies," who bear false witness against their neighbors. Keep no confidence with such. Expose them at once to those they seek to defame.
But praise God for the deliverance which he has brought about, for his truth and for his people! Never did we see more markedly than in this experience the wonderful leadings of his Providence. The simple statement in our issue of April 1st, of the facts relative to "The Work in England" (and in the light of recent developments all can see that its treatment of Mr. Rogers was very fair and very kind), served to prepare the minds of all for something to come;—especially the statement that Mr. Rogers left us in an angry mood, expressing his intention to influence as many of the colporteurs as possible to his new mendicant method. In the same issue appeared the article entitled "Lest ye enter into Temptation." That article was written about a month before the conspiracy broke forth, and it was the subject of the Sunday discourse to the Allegheny church after it was written. We do not wonder now, in the light of what we see must have been their murderous condition of heart, that some of the conspirators who were present and heard that discourse said they did not like it. We are confident that Satan did not like it either. But we are sure that under God's providence it was "meat in due season" to many, and that in the spirit of watchfulness and prayer which it helped to awaken lay the safety and preparation of many of the sheep and the lambs of the Lord's fold.
The only portion of those TOWERS written after the conspiracy had shown itself was the brief statement in the April 15th issue, entitled "Watch With Me One Hour." Yet these providential safe-guards were enough, apparently, and all the dear sheep were prepared for something. How evidently our present Lord had provided that the enemy should not pluck any of the true sheep out of his hand.
Before our "Extra" was issued, Sister Russell received a letter from Sister Peck, saying that Mr. Rogers had visited her on his course eastward from Cleveland to New York City, and that at the various points along the way, where he knew of interested readers of the TOWER, he was stopping to accomplish, if possible, his work [R1660 : page 167] of destruction. He represented Bro. Russell as in a "deplorably sinful state"—dishonest, traitorous, a liar, etc. And all this he did in such a smooth and deceptive way that some seemed influenced by it; for only when he was boldly and persistently opposed, did his evil spirit manifest itself.
My loyal and dearly beloved helpmate said at once: This is a slander which I alone can refute for you and the Lord, and it should be done personally. If you will consent, I will start at once, meet Mr. Rogers and his shameless falsehoods, and silence him forever on that score. Then I will go over the route he has just been over and meet the friends and expose his malicious untruths. I consented, knowing that her visit would be specially profitable to those Mr. Rogers had met and personally influenced and prejudiced before they got the Extra exposing the conspiracy.
Sister Russell's journey of nearly three weeks was specially blessed of the Lord. She went from New York City, stopping at various places, through New York and Ohio, to Chicago and back to Allegheny. The result is everyway encouraging to the truth.
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits!" "Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness!—Psalm 103:2; 97:12.
Sister Russell arrived home on the last day of May, and to a surprise party of about fifty of the church friends who, notwithstanding the rain, met at our home to welcome her back, she related the experiences of her journey, and the Lord's favor in connection therewith. During her eighteen days absence she traveled two thousand miles, visited the congregations of the Church in ten cities, spoke nine times, on an average over an hour at each place. We have requested that she write out a little account of her journey for the benefit of the Church in general, and it follows:—
To the dear friends who bade me Godspeed as I left them at various points along the route from New York to Chicago, and also to those at home and abroad elsewhere, who are anxious to learn what I have observed of the condition of the church since the late storm has passed over it, I will report as briefly as possible as follows:—
First, in a general way. Though I have frequently met with various companies of those of this precious faith and hope, and have seen them rejoicing in hope and patient in tribulation, never before have I seen them awed with such a feeling of deep solemnity and serious consideration. This is manifest not only from my visit, but also from the many letters received; and while we greatly feared for the stability of the household as we entered into this storm-cloud, we come out of it now rejoicing to realize that the spirit of the Lord is so manifest in our midst. Our Lord predicted that the fiery trials of this evil day would try every man's work of what sort it is; and now the Church has passed through a most severe ordeal, and the confidence one in another has grown stronger as we have seen each other tested and proved.
Indeed, the spirit of moderation and kindly judgment and patient waiting for sure testimony, of slowness to impute evil, etc., which has characterized the Church everywhere, has been a matter of almost surprise to us; for we would surely have supposed that more would be caught in the snare of the fowler. As an illustration of this spirit of caution and moderation I cite the case of the Church in London. The circulars of our enemies were sent there in three packages, to three different parties, to be distributed to the Church in London. Sister Horne, who received one of the packages, after reading the circular and being very much shocked by it, as all have been, soon came to the conclusion that it must be the work of the great enemy, Satan; and she accordingly decided that she would not distribute her package. But presuming that the other two would do so, she at once wrote letters to the various members, urging all to reserve their judgment for the present and wait until they should have time to hear from America from Bro. Russell, who, she felt confident, would be able to clear himself from those charges. After she had mailed her letters the two brethren who had received similar packages called upon her to consult together as to what would best be done. [R1661 : page 168] They had not distributed their packages either, and desired to wait for further testimony on the subject. Then Sister Horne wished she had not sent her letters, as the London Church were still in ignorance of the trouble. However, as they would now be inquiring to learn what had happened, the three decided to call a special meeting of the London Church and to read to them the circular letters and give their own impressions,—that it looked like the work of the great enemy,—and to urge all to patient waiting and prayer that the Lord might in due time vindicate his own cause and keep his own people.
Sister Horne then wrote to us a kind letter of sympathy and comfort, informing us of these facts and of their waiting and prayerful attitude. On receiving this and similar testimonies from other companies in various parts, we thanked God and took courage, and said, surely the spirit of the Lord is in the midst of his people. He knoweth them that are his, and no weapon that is formed against them shall prosper. Yes, we greatly rejoice in this; for although the late troubles have revealed the workings of Satan, and made us to realize painfully that some whom we had esteemed as true brethren in Christ and partakers with us of the high calling and of this ministry of the truth, were actually false brethren and bitter secret enemies, they have also manifested in a most remarkable way that the spiritual condition of the Church at large was a healthy one, and capable of resisting the virulent pestilence that was abroad, which, like a great tidal wave, suddenly and unexpectedly swept over the whole Church.
But now for the occasion and facts of my recent visit: Learning from letters received the purpose of Mr. Rogers to meet with the Churches of New York and Brooklyn on Sunday, May 13th, and of the object of his visit there, which might be judged from the reports of his course all along the line from Cleveland eastward through central New York, I proposed to my husband that if he would allow me to go to New York City I would attend the meeting, let him make his false statements to my face and challenge him for proof of his assertions. The object of his tour was to get as many subscriptions to their new paper as possible before our defense—"A Conspiracy Exposed"—should appear, and as far as possible to nullify the effects of that pamphlet in advance, as they knew it was in course of preparation, it having been announced to the Allegheny Church. To do this, Mr. Rogers falsely represented Mr. Russell as a liar, and his wife and all his household—the office helpers—as compelled by him, by force of circumstances, which he very specially and falsely particularized, to lie for him. He stated that he had seen Sister Russell weep bitter tears over Bro. Russell's sins, though he never saw me in tears in his life; and for ten days previous to this despicable business he had been a witness of the peace and tranquility of our home, the hospitality of which he has so grossly abused.
I left Allegheny for New York City on Saturday night, May 12th, and arrived there on Sunday morning, where I was met by Bros. Mott and West, the leaders of the New York and Brooklyn meetings. They told me that Mr. Rogers was in the city, and that Mr. Zech was also expected. Later I learned that Mr. Rogers had endeavored to have a meeting on Saturday evening, but that as it was a failure, no one attending, there was no hope for his holding a meeting on Sunday, though they supposed he would attend their regular meetings. It was therefore arranged that I should speak to the New York company in the afternoon and to the Brooklyn company in the evening.
I chose for the subject of my remarks to the New York company 2 Cor. 4:5-9 and 1,2, and called attention to the very similar experiences of the Church now and in the harvest of the Jewish age, and particularly of those engaged in the special ministry of the Word of Truth then and now. We take our stand with the Apostle Paul preaching, "not ourselves, but Christ Jesus, the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts," etc. And this glorious shining in our hearts has impelled us to let our light shine out upon others. And, thank God, the blessed radiance has illuminated many hearts, and as one after another receives it and in turn becomes a luminary to others, the glory of God is seen more and more in his Church.
Like the Apostle, we well realize that we have this treasure in imperfect earthen vessels; but, thank God, the very frailness of the vessels only manifests the more clearly that the excellency of the power is of God and not of us. To ourselves we take none of the glory of the power which is now accomplishing the great harvest work of sealing, separating, ripening and perfecting God's own elect for the high office to which they are called. The power is of God, and we are glad to be counted worthy to be his servants in any capacity that he can use us, no matter how much of reproach and persecution may be the present reward of such service.
True, in the midst of persecution for the sake of the truth and righteousness, like some of the early Church, "we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." Yet, notwithstanding all this, and yet more that may be in store for us in the future, seeing we have this ministry, we faint not; nor will we handle the Word of God deceitfully, nor make any improper use of our stewardship as servants of God, to gain the favor of men or to abate the persecution from the enemies of the truth and of its faithful service. To our Master we stand or fall, and we desire the approval, sympathy and co-operation of those only who are in fullest accord with the spirit and Word of God.
I then told the friends there of the object of Mr. Rogers' visit to their city, and read to them the letters telling of his miserable work elsewhere, and particularly how he was representing me as in actual opposition to my husband's course, but in enforced co-operation. I told them of his barefaced falsehoods and refuted them with indubitable testimony to the contrary, being able in some cases to produce the written testimony of friends about whom he had falsified, they having written to us to the contrary of his statements, though not knowing of them.
In the evening I spoke to the Brooklyn meeting, on the Bible warning, "Beware"—"Beware of the concision" [the dividing spirit, the spirit of contention, which genders unholy strife, etc.], "Beware of false prophets," of "evil men," of "the leaven of the pharisees," of "covetousness," of "philosophy and vain deceit;" "beware of dogs," of quarrelsome, snappish dispositions, always selfishly seeking their own advantage; and finally, "Beware, lest ye, also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness." "And be ye not as the horse or as the mule, which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle," but in the legitimate use of our intellectual endowments, let us apply our hearts unto instruction.—Phil. 3:2,3; Matt. 11:15-20; 10:17; 16:6,12; Luke 12:15; Col. 2:8; 2 Pet. 3:17; Psa. 32:8,9; Prov. 23:12.
The divinely inspired words of warning are very explicit, instructing us all to be ever on the watch that we be not caught in any snare of the adversary. We stand in the midst of perilous times. Let us beware: the Church militant has well nigh accomplished her warfare, [R1662 : page 169] and her great foe, seeing that his time is short, is exceedingly industrious to foil the purpose of God in her completion, exaltation and establishment as his Kingdom. His efforts in this will, of course, be futile; but they will surely serve the Lord's purpose in gathering out of his prospective Kingdom all things that offend. Therefore, take heed, let no man take thy crown.—Rev. 3:11.
Like Gideon's band, only the few who prove loyal and strong and true to the end will share with Christ the honor of bringing forth judgment unto victory by the Millennial reign of righteousness. And let all who value the prize of their high-calling beware of all the snares and temptations of this evil day. Do not aspire to be some great one now: be contented to wait for the glory that is to be revealed in us, remembering that he that humbleth himself shall be exalted, and he that exalteth himself shall be abased. Surely all who have a true faith can afford to wait and patiently bear the cross, especially seeing that the time is short—oh, so short; for only a score of years will see the Kingdom in both its spiritual and earthly phases established.
I then rehearsed to the Brooklyn friends the object of my visit and of the present necessity for calling attention specially to these words of [R1662 : page 170] warning, telling them of the object of Mr. Rogers' visit there and stating that I was there for the express purpose of meeting his assertions with the truth, which he was so unwilling to face that he had not appeared at either meeting. His absence, under the circumstances, was a quite sufficient refutation of his false statements, so boldly made elsewhere in our absence.
Having set the truth of these matters fairly before the New York and Brooklyn companies, and assured them fully of my personal liberty, as being in no sense fettered by my husband, etc., I was fully assured by them that they were a unit in their condemnation of the whole conspiracy, that they recognized it as the work of Satan whose tools these men had become, and that nothing they could say or do would move the Church there; that Mr. Rogers' past course while in the colporteur work thereabouts had led them to rather expect such a fall, so that they were much less surprised by it than we had been.
Bro. Mott handed me, with privilege to use as I saw fit, a copy of a letter sent by him to Mr. Rogers before the conspirators had issued their slanderous circular, but after we had learned something of the plot and had sent word of it to a few of the Churches. It reads as follows:—
BRO. ROGERS:—Your first letter was followed by one from Bro. Russell, since which I have seen Bro. West and others of the "household" in this vicinity. In reference to this matter, which has intruded into the Church, I voice the sentiments of at least a majority—all to whom I have talked—in stating that it is shocking and most inopportune. At a time when all are preparing for one of the most solemn observances of the year [the Memorial Supper], you come and propose a meeting, which, if permitted, would absolutely spoil the whole spirit of the occasion. You say you will "try to be well pleased with any arrangements which have been or may be made." Let me say plainly that no arrangements have been or will be made by us with reference to your coming here; we do not want to see or hear you under present conditions. If you come here, you can make your own arrangements and introduce your peculiar views in any way you see fit; but understand that the channels through which the truth is being distributed among us will not be at your service.
In regard to your last letter: I am disgusted that any one claiming to be of the Lord's people should so far forget himself as to pry into and seek to make public any of Bro. Russell's family affairs. Has Sister Russell applied to you for aid? Until she does, her domestic relations should be held sacred. I may as well tell you frankly that, while I have always esteemed you for the sake of your usefulness in the colporteur work, your course in other matters has displayed deplorably bad judgment, and I have only one opinion on the subject in hand; viz., You have erred sadly; and although the cause of the truth will not suffer eventually you will see the results of your recent movements in the downfall of those whom possibly you may persuade to think with you. "It must needs be that offences come, but woe unto him by whom the offence cometh."
What you have written is not new to me, as you suppose. A long time since certain rumors reached me; but those who gave them currency have lived to be ashamed of the injustice done to the victim of what seems to be but jealousy and ambition for leadership.
On my journey westward I spoke on the same and kindred topics, and always with the same results; viz., the hearty assurance of the friends that the TOWER Extra had been quite satisfactory, and that the personal, gauzy misrepresentations of these men, which they had only slightly credited anyhow, were now fully dispelled. A few special incidents, connected with my journey, will, no doubt, be of general interest.
I found that Mr. Rogers had advocated no-ransom views, and introduced no-ransom literature, to a Presbyterian minister, who, for over a year, has been a reader of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, making good progress toward the fulness of light and liberty in the truth. Mr. Rogers had also misrepresented my husband to alienate this gentleman's sympathy and esteem. And evidently he had been successful in at least confusing his ideas on both subjects. I am specially glad I met this brother, as I was able to clear away all his doubts. He expressed himself as greatly relieved of a heavy burden which had been oppressing him, and as now able to help some interested ones in his congregation who had been similarly disturbed. He rejoiced in the full vindication of Bro. Russell's character. [R1662 : page 171] This brother remarked, I am preaching these truths and with good effect on my congregation, and I have not yet been interfered with. A number in his congregation are readers of the TOWER and DAWN.
At Rochester, in addition to the misrepresentations of my husband and all connected with the TOWER office, Mr. Rogers had introduced Mr. Barbour, an old enemy of the cross of Christ and of Bro. Russell, its fearless champion (See TOWER Extra pages 104-109), thus endeavoring to put the flock there under the influence of a bold and relentless enemy and his blasphemous teaching. On reaching Chicago I was grieved to find additional testimony that Mr. Zech and Mr. Adamson were pursuing a similar course of misrepresentation, but on different lines.
There I learned that the conspirators, realizing that they had failed to accomplish their terrible scheme, are now planning a change of tactics, but without repentance. Mr. Adamson told that at a recent emergency-meeting of the four in Allegheny they had cast Mr. Rogers out of their combination—I suppose because he still persisted in the bolder course which they by this time see is a failure. Mr. Rogers wanted the others to hire a hall for him in Pittsburgh, and to advertise that he would "expose the errors of Millennial Dawn and Zion's Watch Tower." In the light of their recent experiences no wonder the others voted that such a course would be insanely suicidal to their cause, and dropped him.
But nothing can be more evident than that they are as full as ever of the murderous spirit, and that any "reconciliation" would only mean another opportunity to "blow Mr. Russell and his work sky-high;"—an opportunity to do and say things privately as before, so that they could not be caught and exposed. As evidence of this, Mr. Adamson has a type-written letter from Mr. Zech, which I have seen and read. This letter he is loaning around amongst the Chicago Church (which no longer tolerates him as a teacher), on condition that they first promise that they will make no copy of it, nor allow it to pass out of their hands;—evidently fearing that its false presentations, if copied, would come to my husband's eyes and be exposed. Verily, they love darkness and secrecy, because their deeds are evil. Alas! how hard it is to realize that we have been so grievously deceived in these men.
Mr. Zech furthermore is evidently in a private way seeking to give the inference that if he should fail in his business it would be my husband's fault. I am told that he says "I don't know what I may be obliged to do if Mr. Russell should push me." He does know, however, that such words are very deceptive to most people, who know little about business matters. I explained to the German sister who told me this, that if either one got pushed by the other, it would be my husband who would be pushed by Mr. Zech. My husband, having indorsed thirty-two hundred dollars of Mr. Zech's notes without one cent of security, will surely be pushed by the banks who hold those notes, if Mr. Zech does not pay them.
Mr. and Mrs. Adamson are at the same business of misrepresentation. A Norwegian sister, with whom I took tea in Chicago, said to me before I left, Oh! Sister Russell, I am so glad that you visited us, I am so glad to get personally acquainted; for Mrs. Adamson has been telling us lately that you are very haughty and proud, and I am so glad to know that it is not true. And Mr. Adamson said to us recently—"The Church in Allegheny is rotten." I answered, "How is that Mr. A.? You told us not long ago of the Church there, that they were such noble Christians, and all so harmonious. How is it now that you have suddenly changed your mind and say they are all 'rotten?' In what respect are they 'rotten?'" "Well," said he, "I mean to say that they are only 'babes.'" "But," I replied, "are babes rotten?"
I assured the sister that while some false brethren have recently disclosed themselves and removed the sheep's clothing they formerly wore, yet we have some as noble hearts in the Allegheny Church as are to be found on earth. And as for their being "babes," I could tell her that some here who are "babes" in "malice" (1 Cor. 14:20), compared with Mr. Adamson, could instruct him on the proper interpretation of parables, as well as show him that some of his recent Chicago preaching is very unscriptural. I refer [R1663 : page 172] to his telling the Church there that if they found the narrow way of the high or heavenly calling too difficult, they could turn aside and run for the restitution prize of human perfection, and that the ancient worthies may be looked for any day now—before the "first resurrection," of the Church, is completed.
This sister also told me of a very remarkable dream of another of the Norwegian sisters, a near neighbor. A short time ago, she said, Sister W. came over to my house in the morning to tell me that in her dream, which made a very deep impression on her mind, she had seen and heard Bro. Russell preaching these precious truths "in our own beautiful Norwegian language"; and while she listened enraptured with it, some one in the congregation hurled a stone at the head of the preacher, which struck him in the mouth, from whence the blood flowed profusely. She ran to his aid and tried to wipe away the blood, which only flowed the more.
Then the scene suddenly seemed to change, and she held in her hand an open Bible, whose pages were mirrors. On one page was reflected a great and venomous serpent, which caused her to fear and tremble so that she could scarcely hold the book. Yet she feared to let it fall, lest it might break. But as she tremblingly held it, she glanced at the opposite page, where she read,—"The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Then she awakened in great excitement. It seemed at the time prophetic; and when the late storm broke over Bro. Russell and the Church, she at once recalled its peculiar impressions. Several others have mentioned similar dreams preceding this trouble, and they seem strangely prophetic.
Mr. Adamson also told that my husband forbids people to marry, and as a proof of this related how he once sent Mr. Bryan a three days' journey into the country at an expense of twelve dollars, in order to prevent a wedding. I answered that this statement is as untrue as the others; that Mr. Russell never forbade any one to marry, and that not a living being could truthfully say that he or she had been forbidden; but that I knew that when his opinion was specially asked he gave the Apostle Paul's advice, and as nearly as possible in his words, citing them. (1 Cor. 7:25-35.) And when I had given a truthful explanation of his proof, above referred to, all saw that it was to my husband's credit that he spared neither trouble nor expense in order to let a sister in Christ know something of what he knew of the character of the man she was about to marry; that, thus informed, she might the better judge for herself whether or not he would make a desirable husband. Mr. Bryan who took that letter, and who brought it back undelivered, because too late to be of service to the sister, knows the truth of the matter, while conniving with Mr. A. at its misrepresentation of my husband's character and teachings. Anything to down Mr. Russell's influence,—seems to be their motto.
In the same connection, Mr. Adamson is telling that Mr. Russell wrote to him shortly after he was married, telling him that he should make his Will so as to give what money he had to the Tract Fund, and to be sure not to let Mrs. A. see that letter. They affirmed this story in my presence, and said they had the letter in hand. I denied it emphatically, well knowing my husband's disposition to the contrary. I asked them to read the letter aloud to us all, but they refused to do so, and this clearly showed to all present that the statement was not worthy of credence. Only since my return home have I learned the truth on the subject, as follows:
Shortly after Mr. A's marriage, Mrs. A., it seems, declared that she "was not going to race over the country after him, like a mad dog." In writing to Mr. Russell on the subject, Mr. A. said, in substance, "What money I have was all consecrated to the Lord before I married; and in the event of my death I do not intend that any of it shall go to Mrs. Adamson or her folks: it shall go to the Tract Fund."
In his reply to that letter, my husband urged that Mrs. Adamson be not ignored; that as a wife she had a just claim upon him;—that on general principles any woman he would call his "wife" deserved consideration as such, even if out of harmony on religious subjects, as Mrs. A. then was, according to his representation. But he advised that if Mr. A. decided to will any portion of his effects to the Tract Fund, it would be wise, under the circumstances he [R1663 : page 173] described, and to the interest of his domestic happiness, not to inform Mrs. A. respecting it. That is probably the letter they had in hand, and were afraid to read lest their misrepresentations should be made manifest. Thus do falsehoods force the truth to view.—Matt. 10:26.
As illustrating the depth of wickedness to which these men would stoop, under the influence of envy and ambition, I told the Church how Mr. Adamson had written to Bro. Wright (and we know not to how many others), citing 1 Cor. 5:1-6 without comment, as applicable to my husband. Mr. Adamson could not deny the fact, under the evidence, but protested that he had not intended any reflection upon Mr. Russell's moral character. But Bro. McPhail, of the West Chicago meeting, spoke up and said that Mr. Adamson had made the same citation before that congregation, and reminded Mr. A. that he had challenged the reference then and there. Some of the brethren present remarked that such a charge would have no weight with anyone who knew Mr. Russell or who had ever looked into his face. In telling what inference he did wish to give by the citation named, Mr. A. replied that he meant to say that Mr. Russell is a "railer." But since railers are not mentioned at all in the citation, but five verses further down in the chapter, I showed that this is only one of the many cunning methods of misrepresentation resorted to by these wicked men—because they do not know any real crimes to lay to his charge.
I mention these items here, because no doubt they have been similarly misstated orally or by letter to others; and to show that the same spirit that prompted the misrepresentations of their first attack still controls them, and that reconciliation with such people, under such conditions, would neither be possible, nor desirable, nor right, nor Scriptural. Better, far better off, is the Church without these men and all who have sympathy with such unscrupulous conduct. Indeed, while I was speaking at Chicago upon the duty of the Church as laid down in Matt. 18:15-17 and 2 Thes. 3:6 (See TOWER Extra, page 66), and showing that such men were not to be accounted again as "brethren" unless they first make full confession and give evidence of a heart repentance by as industriously attempting to undo the wrong as they exercised themselves in doing it, Mr. Adamson spoke up and said, "I do not repent. I would do the same thing again to-morrow." I replied, You are unto me, therefore, under the instruction of the Scriptures, as a heathen man and a publican;—as "a heathen man" in that I can no longer have any Christian fellowship with you; as "a publican" in that I can no longer respect you as I could respect an honorable man of the world.
On the whole, my visit among the Churches gives reason for great encouragement; for surely if the Lord were not in the midst of his people such a virulent attack of the Adversary to destroy and scatter the flock would have done great damage. But I found everywhere a noble spirit of patience, faith, moderation and zeal. With deep sorrow and often with suppressed emotion the course of the conspirators was referred to, and earnest solicitude for the young of the flock was manifested. In every place the sentiments expressed were that these sad and painful experiences only served to draw their hearts nearer to God and nearer to all his faithful people, who stand shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart in the conflicts of this evil day.
All such—and that is all that I met from New York to Chicago, with perhaps a single exception, or possibly two,—having stood this shock so bravely and well, feel only the stronger for the probably more severe conflicts yet to follow. The necessity for prayer and communion one with another and with the Lord is also more fully realized; and thus the body of Christ will be the more closely knit together in the bonds of mutual sympathy, love and helpfulness.
Many who have already endured much for the truth's sake are now reproached with the words, Oh, you are no better than other people; you call yourselves the "little flock," "the saints," and have as much contention and strife as may be found anywhere; etc., etc. And this is, alas! only too true, and the dear, faithful ones have felt the reproach keenly, and many scarcely knew what reply to make. But the answer is plain and Scriptural; for where did the Lord promise that his "little flock" of consecrated and faithful followers should be exempt from all intrusions of false prophets, false teachers, false brethren, [R1663 : page 174] yes, and of wolves in sheep's clothing? Nowhere is any such assurance left us.
On the contrary, we are distinctly forewarned that, as in olden times there were false prophets among God's people, so there will be also false teachers among us, who privily (privately) will bring in damnable heresies, and that many will follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of, and that, through covetousness (ambition, etc.) shall they with feigned words endeavor to make merchandise [R1664 : page 174] of you.—2 Pet. 2:1-3.
Again, we are forewarned of "false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ." "And no marvel," says the Apostle Paul, "for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light; therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." And Paul also tells of his own "perils among false brethren."—2 Cor. 11:13-15,26; 1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 2:17,18; 4:14-18.
The Lord also bids us, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves;" saying, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit....Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them."—Matt. 7:15-20.
Here, then, is the answer to all such reproaches: We were forewarned by God of the very conditions that now surround us; and that such conditions, while they were quite prominent in the harvest of the Jewish age and beginning of the Gospel age, would more especially characterize this harvest period; for "in the last days" many will have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof, and such deceptions will make the "perilous times" of this "evil day." (2 Tim. 3:1,5.) If there were a Judas among the apostles, a Hymenaeus, a Philetus, an Alexander and a Simon Magus and others such in the early Church, and if there was a great conspiracy of two hundred and fifty of the princes of Israel, famous in the congregation, men of renown, against the meek and humble instruments which God had chosen wherewith to accomplish the deliverance of his people (Num. 16:2,3), that through the very weakness of the earthen vessels his own glorious power might the more be realized; and since we are distinctly forewarned of God that thus it must be here also—in the last days of the Church's warfare—why should any of his people be dismayed to find it even so? Surely here is an abundant answer for all who would take up a reproach against the anointed body of Christ.
The Church has not yet accomplished her warfare, and her foes multiply on every hand; and their attacks are the more bold, persistent and determined as she approaches the end of her course. They are vigilant, energetic, subtle and relentless; but greater is He that is for us than all them that are against us.
It occurs to us as fitting, that as the Adversary's murderous plot against the Lord's work reached its height on the anniversary of our Lord's betrayal and death, so this thanksgiving issue of the TOWER should be dated just fifty-three days after,—corresponding to the Pentecostal blessing which came upon the faithful ones just fifty days after our Lord's resurrection,—"when the day of Pentecost was fully come, and they were all with one accord in one place."
We rejoice, dear friends, that this anniversary of Pentecost finds so many of us of one accord (of one mind in the truth) and in one place (abiding in the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty). As the early disciples rejoiced and were begotten again to a living hope by the evidences of God's continued favor, manifested in the resurrection of Christ and evidenced on the day of Pentecost, so let us, while rejoicing as they did in the same, additionally recognize the Lord's continuing favor and protecting care over all that are his. Let us rejoice for ourselves and for each other that we still stand; that another sifting has passed, and has not separated us from the Lord and his people.
And let us pray and seek that we may have more and more of the holy spirit of our Master, that more and more we may be about our Father's business—co-workers together with God, ambassadors of the truth, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. And as the early Church after Pentecost went everywhere preaching the gospel, so let us be renewedly earnest in our fidelity to the truth, to the Lord and to his "brethren." We cannot continue "fervent in spirit" except as we serve the Lord; and we cannot long serve the Lord except we do it from a pure heart fervently. Hence the necessity of activity in the service of God, on the part of all who would stand in this evil day. If our hands be not full of the Lord's service and our mouths full of his praise, it is because our love lacks fervency—heat. And it is into the [R1658 : page 175] luke-warm hearts that the great Adversary gains admission with his spirit of envy, malice, evil-surmisings, strife and every evil work. Such are all to be sifted out as even less esteemed by [R1659 : page 175] our Lord than the coldly indifferent worldly class. He says to such, "Because thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." Let our love—
Thus, turned to good account, our recent sad experiences will become to all of us rightly exercised thereby a Memorial of Divine favor and blessing. And as such it will strengthen us all, cause us to walk still more circumspectly, and prepare us for future trials and siftings. For these no doubt will become more virulent and severe as the remaining years of the Church's pilgrimage roll on. Indeed, as often before noticed, but always well to be remembered, the close of the Church's course, as represented in various types—Elijah, John the Baptist and John the Apostle—is to be one of very severe trial, possibly including physical persecution.
Dear Brethren and Sisters, as you prayed for us when you knew we were in the midst of the trouble, so render thanks for us now that it has passed away; and ask for us grace and strength, and humility, to endure whatever trials the Lord may yet see best to permit to come upon us.
And we, here, who prayed for you that the Lord would keep you from being stumbled by the Adversary's snares and deceptions and that your faith fail not,—we will render thanks on your behalf that the God of all grace and comfort has kept his own and not suffered them to be plucked out of his hand, nor to be tempted beyond what they were able, but that with the temptation he provided a door of escape. And we will ask for you that these light afflictions, which are but for a moment, may work out for you and for us all a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.