I am satisfied that I am expressing the sentiments of all present when I say that if the English language contains words capable of describing our feelings at the present time, we have not learned them yet. We are happy and sad, confused and perplexed; yet the way is clear—and we are glad! Death invariably causes a gloom wherever its clammy hand appears; yet, as the Apostle Paul expresses it, "We sorrow not as those that have no hope." Our glorious hope buoys us up in this trial hour, and we are happy because we know our Beloved Pastor is even now with the Lord. Numerous questions crowd themselves into our minds: We wonder if the work will continue in the future as it has in the past; whether the waters of Jordan will be "smitten"; who will write the Seventh Volume; to whom shall we go with our perplexing trials and difficulties as individuals and as ecclesias? It is my purpose to attempt to answer briefly some of these questions by relating to you the arrangements made by our dear Pastor before his death.
Following the Newport Convention in July, Brother Russell had a serious sick spell, during which illness he called me to the Study and spent three and a half hours outlining the work that he felt was yet to be done, and endeavoring to make plans to carry it on. He asked me then if I would [R6001 : page 360] like to come back to Brooklyn and help in the work of the Home and Tabernacle. I gave him my reply later, offering my services to do what I could to help him and the other friends there. He told me at that time that he realized his strength was rapidly ebbing away and that he would not be with us much longer.
From that time on it seemed to be Brother Russell's purpose to place much more responsibility on the heads of the various departments in the Tabernacle and Bethel work. Just before he departed upon his last trip he did something he was never known to do before; viz., to write letters to the different friends in charge of the various departments of the work, outlining their duties to them. Upon his departure he asked me to ride with him in the taxi to the depot. On this ride he affectionately placed his hand on my knee and said, "What do you think of those letters I have written?" I replied that I considered superhuman wisdom directed him in writing them and that to my understanding the organization for the work here was complete. He said, "I am glad, Brother; for no one can work without an organization. Now that you have my plans before you, proceed and do your best." Later on he wrote a letter home numbering the tables in the dining room, and designating who would serve at the head of each table. Thus you see that everything that he thought could be done to organize matters, to the end that they might run smoothly, was done.
Respecting the continuance of THE WATCH TOWER: An Editorial Staff of five brethren has been appointed, and sufficient matter prepared to last for an indefinite period, so that we can continue to read the Lord's message through our Pastor as published in THE WATCH TOWER, even though he is not present with us in the flesh. It appears clear now that the Lord left our Beloved Pastor with us to the end that he might, as did St. Paul in his day, "bear the Church in birth until Christ would be formed" in us; and now that we should be able to stand without an earthly leader, the Lord has removed the faithful one He placed over us.
The work before us is great, but the Lord will give us the necessary grace and strength to perform it. The Prophet Zechariah clearly indicated this course when he said that the Lord would smite the man that was His fellow, even as He smote the Shepherd. As Jesus quoted a portion of this text and applied it to His own experiences, we believe the remainder of the text is being fulfilled now. When Jesus, the Shepherd, was smitten, the sheep were scattered abroad and were rent, torn and greatly perplexed until they were gathered at Pentecost and endued with power to go on with the work. We notice in this connection, however, that following the smiting of the Lord's "fellow," there would be no scattering of the sheep, but the reverse—the "Hand" or power of the great Jehovah God would rest upon the little ones left over.—Zech. 13:7.
And now, dear friends, what are we to think about this matter? The Lord has taken away our earthly leader; and some faint-hearted workers may think the time has come to lay down our harvesting instruments and wait until the Lord calls us home. This is not the time for slackers to be heard. This is a time for action—more determined action than ever before! Let us, by God's grace, resolve that we will take up the work where our Beloved Pastor left it, and with determined purpose keep high aloft the banner of Truth, until the waters of Jordan have been smitten and divided asunder, and the last member of the Elijah class has been taken to Heavenly glory. May the Lord help us all as we endeavor to serve Him!