With reference to first complete paragraph of Vol. II., p. 67, the following facts, culled from "Tregelles on Daniel," regarding Ussher's position in the matter of the date of Nehemiah's commission, may be of interest to WATCH TOWER readers, seeing that he is deservedly considered as an authority on chronology.
"Archbishop Ussher drew up a scheme of chronology which is commonly followed rather for convenience than for absolute accuracy. About a hundred and fifty years ago Bishop Lloyd undertook to affix Ussher's dates to our English Bibles, but in this instance (Nehemiah's commission) he made a considerable alteration, substituting another date of his own, so as to adapt the reign of Artaxerxes to his own theory.
The date which stands in our Bibles for the 20th year of Artaxerxes is B.C. 446. This makes the commencement of his reign B.C. 465; but the date fixed by the best and most nearly contemporary historian will put the matter in a different light. Thucydides mentions that the accession of Artaxerxes had taken place before the flight of Themistocles. This authorizes us to adopt Ussher's date and to place the commencement [R4094 : page 351] of the reign 473 or 474 B.C. This would give the date of 454 or 455 B.C. as his twentieth year and the date of the commission."
It appears that Archbishop Ussher was the first to establish the date of Nehemiah's commission as 454 B.C. as a result of lecturing on the 70 weeks of Daniel in Trinity College, Dublin, in 1613. Other critics who support the date given in DAWN II. are Vitringer, Kruger and Hengstenberg, as well as Tregelles, above quoted. With much love, I remain,
It might interest you to know that we are already offering the books for "Christmas gifts." We find that many secure their Christmas presents several months ahead, and that this month is the one in which many are very pleased to secure "such a beautiful, appropriate, and above all such a reasonable [in price] gift!" Often we can get orders for several sets in one home, in view of the fact that the books make such splendid gifts. Today we got more than one order on this account. We mention this because we think it might help wonderfully during the next six weeks in securing orders from people who would perhaps not buy for their own use. We say, "Many are taking them for gifts, and it is of course a compliment to a friend's intelligence to give him a book, and especially a work of this kind, and you get the entire three for only 98c!"
I wish to thank you for the copy of the new Bible you have so kindly sent me. It is needless for me to tell you that I am delighted with it, not only because of its elegant binding and compact form (such that it will easily go into the side-pocket of an ordinary coat), but especially because of the extraordinary helps for Bible study that it provides. In the 220 pages of abbreviated DAWN comments there are 11,608 references to the DAWNS and booklets; or, in other words there are that many Scripture explanations utilized. 4793 texts are examined—about one-seventh of the total number in the Bible.
Just here let me say that I have been deeply impressed in gathering and compiling these explanations to note how perfectly they are in accord with each other and with the Word itself. This beautiful harmony of thought and expression speaks very significantly of the fact that the Lord of the Harvest has exercised close supervision of his message. Few works have ever been subjected to such a critical analysis, and nothing but the TRUTH could stand before the word-by-word and clause-by-clause method which was used. It now remains to be seen whether the Truth people, with their sharp eyes, will find that my representation of your works has been as faithful and as accurate as your representation of the Scriptures has been! If they find a whole lot of mistakes I will take refuge in the thought that I did the best I could and that it was a hurried job—only about 1400 hours of labor altogether.
Sister Seibert has done a grand work in the "Epitome of the Faith." The first thing I did when I got the Bible was to read every word of it. I cannot conceive how it could be more complete in plan, orderly in arrangement or concise in statement. I have already made use of it on two occasions with excellent results, and am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
Being my Pastor in a very special sense to me, and knowing of your deep interest in all who understand, even to a limited degree, the Harvest Message, I am taking the liberty to write you on a subject that has been on my mind for a long time.
I am sorry, very sorry to say it, but many times I have found, on close acquaintance with the brethren in the Truth, men who professed full consecration, that they neglected their families so very badly relative to the Truth. Seemingly anxious to spread the Truth amongst their friends and neighbors, yet they made no provision for their wives, so that they could attend the meetings, and would even talk before their families in such a way as to leave the impression that maybe the Truth was not for their wives and children.
A man can leave all the cares of the home and the care of the children to a perhaps not too strong wife, and spend all of his spare time while at home reading; and Sunday morning, instead of helping his wife and encouraging her, just get up and eat, dress and leave, and let her know he expects a hot dinner when he returns from the class, and it is no wonder she cannot go. It certainly doesn't look fair to me. Just nominal Church people do better than that.
From the depths of my heart I pity the man who has the Truth and objects to his children attending the nominal Church Sunday school and makes no effort to teach his children and never has family prayer unless some of the Colporteurs or Elders call on him. These things are so. I wish I could believe otherwise.
Several cases have come to my personal knowledge where the wife was really hungering for fellowship with the class and believed all the Truth she could understand, and whose husband, while himself attending the class every Sunday, was the real cause that hindered her. I feel confident a special, pointed article from your pen would do good to many.