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“TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION”
A CONFIDENTIAL EXPLANATION BY THE EDITOR OF HIS PECULIAR TRIALS—THE WIDE SPREADING OF UNTRUTH MAKES NECESSARY THIS STATEMENT OF THE TRUTH
“LET NOT YOUR GOOD BE EVIL SPOKEN OF”
It is requested that this issue be not loaned or otherwise publicly circulated.
DEAR FRIENDS:—As your letters indicate, you have rightly judged that I have recently passed through the most trying experience of my checkered career as a servant of the Lord. And I may add that one of the chief features of my present distress arises from my conviction that my tribulations are by no means confined to myself, but pain and afflict all the dear “Household of Faith” walking in the narrow way and in the light of “Present Truth.” I am grieved, indeed, that those for whom I have pleasure in laying down my life daily should be caused any measure of pain, hardship or other bitter experience on my account. And yet I know that fiery trials must necessarily come to us all, to prove us, to test us, to refine us, to make us ready for the glorious things to which we have been called of the Lord.
I may further add that one of the chief consolations of my time of sorrow has been your letters assuring me of your sympathy, confidence and love. I was pleasantly astonished to find that many of these letters were written by friends who only recently came into the knowledge of the harvest message. I felt confident from the first that the well-established ones, who had learned from past experiences to endure hardness as good soldiers, would falter not in the presence of this attack, but I did greatly fear for the new recruits among the soldiers of the Cross, those who knew nothing of my past trials and difficulties from false brethren and who had less opportunity for personal acquaintance.
It appears to be my duty toward the Truth to give as briefly as possible an outline of the facts of the case leading up to the present denouement. Gladly would I have kept silence before the Church as I have opened not my mouth to the world; but I find my personal affairs so closely linked with the “harvest work,” that it becomes duty to let all the members of the body of Christ with whom I am so closely riveted know something of the facts, for their relief and comfort and strengthening;—”that the ministry [of the good tidings of great joy]
be not blamed.” This seems to be in accord with the Apostle’s injunction, “Let not your good be evil spoken of”: Let the search-light of truth disclose the fact that the Lord’s people seek in everything to practise what they teach! In a very special sense WATCH TOWER subscribers look to its Editor as their Pastor; hence the propriety of making known to them everything necessary to their peace.
There are some irregular readers who may not have come in contact with the slanderous reports who may, just as well as not, remain in ignorance of the whole matter. It has been my effort to hide my troubles; but now this much seems due to my friends. For these reasons it has seemed to be the Lord’s guidance that a rehearsal of matters should appear in this form intended only for friends, for private use amongst those whose minds have been so poisoned as to need these details as an antidote. Moreover, instead of giving full details I am herein confining myself to those features of this trouble seemingly necessary to a reasonable comprehension of the facts. Be assured that every word has been carefully and prayerfully weighed, to the intent that so far as possible not a word shall be uttered in criticism of my wife that does not appear to me to be absolutely necessary to even a brief outline of the difficulty. Further, I have endeavored to use only kindly and moderate language.
THE NECESSITY FOR THIS ISSUE
It was the receipt of the following (two) letters that decided the Editor that it is his duty to the cause
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of the Lord to make the statements of this Special Issue: May 10, 1906. My Beloved Brother Russell:
My heart aches for you as I read your letter of May 8th and note that you still love and cherish the memory of the one you have lost, in spite of all the suffering which her blindness has brought upon you. May God bless and help you, dear brother. It ought to be a comfort to you at a time like this to know that there are probably not less than 10,000 of the Lord’s saints who daily make mention of you in their prayers at the throne of grace. I have not failed to do this daily for the last 11 years, and how much more just now when you are passing through such deep waters. I doubt if in the entire history of Christ’s Church there has ever been any one person who has continually had so many saints to remember him daily in prayer as yourself.
In humility of heart, and realizing keenly my own littleness and unworthiness, I now suggest to you what it seems to me to be the Lord’s will that you ought to do regarding this matter, and will first point to the Word of God to sustain the opinion I shall express.
God rebuked Miriam, that there might be no question in the mind of fleshly Israel regarding the one at fault; God reproved Job’s friends that they and others might know whom God approved; our Father has explained particularly the circumstances which led to the
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imprisonment of Daniel and Jeremiah, that their good names might not be evil spoken of.
With what particular care are all the facts stated regarding our Lord’s apprehension and condemnation! The possession of the two swords, Pilate’s admission of the Lord’s innocence, and the bribing of the soldiers who watched the tomb, have all been helps to many in accepting the crucified One. Our Lord, himself, at all times, made it plain that neither his motives nor his conduct were to be lightly impugned, as in his inquiry, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” and in his severe reproof of those who accused him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. It is true that he was silent at the time when to have spoken might have interfered with his payment of the ransom, but he was never silent where his silence could cast a cloud upon his mission or his message. One of the first things he did after he arose from the dead was to remove the doubts of some as to the real cause of his death.
Paul’s defense of himself on many occasions will instantly recur to your mind; his writings are full of explanations and assertions of innocence, all made solely with a view to helping the feeble-minded ones. Does he not set forth a principle in this matter when he says, “Let not your good be evil spoken of”? Peter also seems to me to include the same principle in the following texts: “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men,” and also, “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason [whether doctrinal or practical] of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”
I believe that the force of Luther’s message has been weakened by the false statements made regarding his domestic life, which a few words of explanation might have avoided. In the case of Mr. Dowie, I know that most people take the view that the reason he makes no more defense of the charges made by his wife is because he cannot. As this is not the case with you, it seems to me that your duty in the matter is quite plain, even though it will surely add to your suffering. O! how sorry I feel for you, and how eager I am to do anything I can to help you, and yet I cannot avoid the conviction that it is your duty to shoulder the additional burden of setting this matter right in the eyes of the Lord’s brethren. Here is a case in point: May 8, 1906. To Dear Brother Woodworth,
“Perplexed, but not in despair; cast down, but not destroyed.” As one among the household of faith, I am constrained to address you for personal information, because of your more active service, facilities and knowledge of matters at Scranton, or Allegheny. Coming to the subject: Have you seen the damaging, I had almost said damning, publication in the Inter-Ocean, of April 25th, wherein in contempt as “Russellites” is exposed the scandal relating to Bro. Russell? Right here, though I do not pose for others, but for myself, the Editor deserves to be prosecuted for slander in publishing such an article without further investigation, and I hope he will be! But now, dear friend, what do you know, or think of it? Have you any information that will throw any negative light upon this terrible question? Incidentally, there has come to me indefinite information of some past agreement between Brother Russell and his wife, as mentioned in I Cor. 7:1, wherein, in marital relations, Brother Russell had resolved to an entire consecration of soul and body to the work to which he was called. I can well believe it of such a man, and if true, how absurd even the thought that he would be guilty of the charge preferred against him. If it were possible to admit the charge, David fell a thousand times lower, but in repentance became the “Sweet Psalmist of Israel.” Peter fell and Jesus prayed for him, and he became the strength of the brethren, and was privileged to feed Christ’s lambs. Knowing as we do the consecration, the labor, self-renunciation, the Christ-like spirit, nothing short of an angel from heaven or his own admission would convince us. If guilty, he would well know that a mere social ostracism to himself alone would not be the result, but a public ostracism of his teachings and a lapsing of his influence. That the direst denunciation of Babylon even now, true or not, will fall upon his work is to be expected. And yet the monumental work of MILLENNIAL DAWN, establishing from the prophecies the God-given “Plan of the Ages,” will go down to posterity as certainly as the epistles of Paul!
Looking at it in its best light, the question will come up, Why is it permitted that after such a life consecration, its last stages should be embittered and cast down? But what are we when we remember that Paul and Peter were the victims of martyrdom, and our dear Redeemer was crucified? Perjury, if not detected in a civil court of justice, may convict any one, and it will undoubtedly be that, if the divorce comes to trial! I thoroughly believe in Brother Russell’s entire innocence, and I sincerely hope and pray that our faithful followers may stand by
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him, and that God may so overrule that the true Zion may be sustained and the “New Creation” be more firmly established than ever. Please write me soon.
Yours truly, in M. DAWN bonds,
DR. C. ALEX. GARNSEY.
Now, Dear Brother Russell, no tongue can tell how I love my dear old brother, Dr. Garnsey. You may remember that he is the dear old saint who came fully and gloriously into the Truth at 85 years of age, through reading the set of 3 vols. of the DAWN which I sold him 8 or 9 years ago, when I was carrying an advertisement in several religious papers. He is now nearly or quite 95 years old, and you can see from his letter how great a trial this matter is to him. It will not “sift” him out, for his heart is far too full of love for the Lord and his Truth, and his brethren; but surely a statement of the salient facts in this case could only prove helpful to a dear brother situated as is Dr. Garnsey.
He should at least know that Mrs. R. has over her own signature condemned in the most unsparing manner those who made some years ago the very charge which has now been brought against you; he should know that she has admitted that her only real grievance against you is that you would not permit her to run the WATCH TOWER, but that you guarded it as your stewardship; and he would be helped additionally if he could see a connected statement of the whole history of her defection, somewhat after the manner of that which you furnished me some years ago, and of which I still have a copy. And what is true of Dr. Garnsey is true of many others.
My advice would be that you prepare at once a new edition of “Harvest Siftings” and advertise it on the inside front cover of the “WATCH TOWER” at say 10 cents per copy. In the notice in the “TOWER” you would only need to say a few brief words about the siftings and testings which are to be expected in our day, and something like this, “This little book gives a brief resume of the more important siftings which have taken place in the past, including our experiences down to the month of April, 1906.”
Such a book will reach automatically all who ought to have it, and will reach the hands of very few others. It will be a tower of strength to many now, and will disarm many of the foes of the Truth after our work here is finished. And it would be a timely contribution to the literature of the harvest period, anyway.
I have in my possession a large lot of correspondence which would be valuable to you if you think of getting out such a book. Your Brother in Christ,
CLAYTON J. WOODWORTH.
“ALL THE WAY MY SAVIOR LEADS ME”
THIRTEEN BLISSFUL YEARS
From 1871-1879, while engaged in mercantile business, I was also engaged in promulgating “Present Truth.” My earliest efforts were in connection with Bible Classes in Pittsburgh and Allegheny. Later I published a paper in New York State, to whose columns others as well as myself were contributors. During 1877 and 1878 I travelled extensively throughout New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, West Virginia and Kentucky, leaving my several stores in the hands of trusted representatives, visiting them for supervision occasionally.
In 1878 my associate who had been attending to the paper fell from faith in the redemptive work of Christ, which led to a controversy in the columns of the paper, he denying the ransom and I affirming it, until it became evident that a paper divided against itself could not stand. My associate seized and appropriated to himself the office outfit, type, etc., which I had paid for. This led me to project our present journal, ZION’S WATCH TOWER AND HERALD OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE, as a defense of the great foundation doctrine of the Ransom and in general promulgation of the “meat in due season.” The starting of the paper was delayed until July, 1879, and this left me for several months continuously at Allegheny, where, in addition to the usual meetings, I conducted several series of meetings in the interest of the public in
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this vicinity. Considerable numbers were brought in contact with the Truth at this time. Amongst others was a Maria Frances Ackley, who became my wife within three months of her first attendance at these meetings, which was the beginning of our acquaintance. The Truth seemingly appealed to her heart, and she assured me it was what she had been seeking for many years—the solution of perplexities of long standing. For thirteen years she was a most devoted and loyal wife in every sense of the word.
THE LEAVENING INFLUENCE.
It was shortly after our return from a trip to the Holy Land and the Pyramids, via Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France, which was a most enjoyable and profitable experience to us both, that Mrs. Russell seemed to come under a baneful influence of which I had no knowledge at the time. During our absence on that trip the Adversary seemed to have stirred up a spirit of strife, ambition and vain-glory amongst some who had previously given every evidence of loyalty to the Truth. It appears that “woman’s rights” literature and anarchistic ideas were connected with the matter. The bad fruit did not show itself at once. The leaven worked, and resulted, as some of the older readers remember, in a conspiracy on the part of several to injure the work, to overthrow it—apparently hoping to gather from the wreck some fragments—to “draw away disciples after them.” The entire matter came upon me like an explosion, being carefully planned to this end.
I was not aware of it at the time, but learned subsequently that the conspirators endeavored to sow seeds of discord in my wife’s heart by flattery, “woman’s rights” arguments, etc. However, when the shock came, in the Lord’s providence I was spared the humiliation of seeing my wife amongst those conspirators. Indeed, when she got a proper view of the situation, their perfidy quickened much of the loyalty in her which she had felt during the preceding thirteen years. She was aroused and proved herself a heroine in her defense of her husband and of the Truth, as many of you will remember.
COPY OF MRS. RUSSELL’S LETTER, PUBLISHED IN A SPECIAL ISSUE OF “ZION’S WATCH TOWER,”—”A CONSPIRACY EXPOSED,” APRIL 25, 1894—NOW OUT OF PRINT.
A letter by Mrs. Russell in answer to the slanderers was published at that time at her wish. It read thus: To the Church of Christ, Greetings!
I take this opportunity to speak in defense of my
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husband against the bold attack of our enemies in maligning his character and misrepresenting our domestic relations. Our household is composed only of ourselves and our esteemed and beloved helpers in the WATCH TOWER Office, all of whom gladly bear witness to the tranquillity and happiness of our home, save as intrusions of false brethren and busybodies occasionally disturb it.
Our home, so far from being a discordant one, is the very reverse,—most happy. I could, indeed, pray for no greater earthly blessing upon all of the dear saints than that their home-life might be as peaceful and happy as ours. The liberty wherewith Christ makes free is enjoyed by all who are of our household or in any way connected with the work; not the liberty of anarchy, however, but of subjection to the Spirit and Word of God.
To the above answers of my beloved husband to the charges of his slanderers I give my unqualified endorsement in every particular. Although such calumnies are severe, and doubly hard to bear when they come from those whom we had supposed to be friends, but who, we now find, have been plotting these wicked deeds for several years, I assure you all that God has sustained us and given us his peace through it all. At first it came with almost the force and suddenness of an avalanche, both upon us and upon the Allegheny Church; and although we feared for the stability of some, we felt sure that it was permitted of the Lord for the purpose of what he saw to be necessary sifting. But, thank God, the Church here has weathered the storm well; and now letters from some of the stronger ones abroad, who have received the libelous circulars, are coming in, expressing continued confidence, and showing that Satan’s arts are recognized; and these are further encouraging our hearts and answering our prayers, though we are still solicitous for many who are yet young in the Truth, and who may be unprepared to withstand such a shock; for we well know that the time intervening between receiving the slanderous report and this reply is one of suspense and severe trial to all.
We reflect, however, that “The Lord knoweth them that are his,” and that he is able and willing to keep them from falling; and that, as with Gideon’s band, some must needs be turned back. Who is on the Lord’s side?—the Truth’s side? “Who shall be able to stand?”—”Who shall ascend into the hill [the Kingdom] of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?” “He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn [a solemn covenant] deceitfully.”
Having committed our way unto the Lord, we are not fretting ourselves because of the evil doers, whose time is short, but we are trusting in the Lord, whose promises will in due time be fulfilled—”He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday” (Psa. 37); and until such time we will try to be patient, and will count it all joy to be esteemed worthy to suffer reproaches and afflictions for the name and cause of our beloved Lord.
“Oh! what are all earth’s gilded toys,
Compared with heaven’s eternal joys,
Or even to the feast now spread
For pilgrims through the desert led?”
In Christian love and fellowship with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ and his Truth in truth and sincerity, and who have no disposition to make merchandise of either the Truth or the character of any of God’s chosen instruments, I am
Yours in the faith and hope of the Gospel,
MRS. C. T. RUSSELL.
EXTRACT FROM AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CHURCH BY MRS. RUSSELL,
Published in ZION’S WATCH TOWER, June 1894, relating to this same conspiracy:
“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 described, and to the interest of his domestic happiness, not to inform Mrs. A. respecting
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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 Brother 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. 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. Adamson 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.”
THE BAD SEED GERMINATED
The excitement connected with the conspiracy against me above referred to temporarily hindered the sprouting of the bad seed of so-called “woman’s rights” and ambition, and temporarily Mrs. Russell became very enthusiastic in my support. It was she who first called attention to Matt. 24:45-47, applying it to me in a meeting at Allegheny and subsequently in another meeting with the New York Church. I demurred that I had not thought of the passage thus, and declined to make any personal application of it, although I could not deny the force of the argument that it pointed out “that servant,” and “fellow servants” and “the household,” apparently clearly and designedly distinguishing between these terms. Some little objection was aroused by her interpretation and I urged great moderation in the making of any personal application, suggesting that the WATCH TOWER rather than its editor might be considered “that servant.” As an evidence of Mrs. Russell’s position on the question I give a copy of a letter she wrote in defense of her statement of the matter before the New York Church, as follows:—ALLEGHENY, Pa., Dec. 31, 1895. Mr. Geo. D. Woolsey,
Dear Brother in Christ:—Husband has shown me your kind letter of Dec. 18, the spirit of which was much appreciated by both of us. I am glad to note your frankly stated opinion as to the interpretation of Matt. 24:45-51, and I have carefully examined the arguments and Scriptures you have set forth. Thinking you will be glad to know how I view the Scriptures you mention, I will proceed to tell you. I fully agree with the interpretation of Isaiah 52:7, presented in the TOWER of Oct., 1881, which you endorse, the one in that case being the Christ, Head and body, of which the living members constitute “the feet.”
I also agree that Rev. 16:15 refers to any one of the Church who complies with the conditions. The entire statement gives evidence to this effect. It could not be understood otherwise. I also agree that in the parables of the talents and pounds, as in all parables, the thing said is not the thing meant, and that each one here mentioned, as in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, represents a class.
But when we come to Matt. 24:45-51 it appears to me to be a totally different case. Here are brought to our attention—”that servant,” “his fellow servants” and “the household.” Now, if the Lord wished to indicate a chief servant of the Truth, and fellow servants assisting in serving the meat in due season to the household of faith, he could not have chosen more precise language to convey such a thought. And, on the contrary, to ignore such an order and reasonableness in the account, to my mind throws the entire narrative into confusion, making the “servants” (plural) and “that servant” interchangeable terms.
If we should handle all Scriptures thus loosely, it seems to me we could either prove or disprove anything according to our preconceived ideas. It does not seem to me reasonable, nor a justifiable interpretation of our Lord’s testimony, to say that the entire household fed itself, and that the Lord gave the meat in season to all together without using any of the number as his agents or servants in the distribution. And if it be conceded that there is a difference between “the household” and “the servants” who minister the meat in due season to the household, then it cannot be denied that our Lord’s words also point out one of those servants as specially intrusted with the meat in season and used in dispensing it to the fellow servants and the household in general.
I notice that you do not analyze the text as I do. If you see any way for making these three expressions, viz., “that servant,” “his fellow servants” and “the household,” all mean the same thing without making nonsense out of the entire statement, I hope you will favor me by pointing out how it can be done.
It seems to me, further, that the interpretation which I suggest is the one, and the only one, which corresponds to the fulfilment. We agree in the belief that the Lord is now present, that he assumed his office of King in 1878, and that since that time his household has been richly fed with meat in due season. It seems to me that in dispensing the food to the household the Lord has not given it personally to each member, but from among them he has chosen and used a number of servants, and that all of these servants have been supplied with the meat in due season through one particular servant—”that servant.” So, both from the construction of the Lord’s language, and from the facts before us which constitute their fulfilment at the time indicated, viz., in these days of his presence, I can, so far, reach no other conclusions than those I have stated.
However, my object in writing is not to urge my convictions upon you. I merely state them for your consideration, believing you will be interested in examining them, and that you will agree with me that whatever God has expressed in his Word is worthy of
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our most careful consideration, and is for our instruction and profiting.
With the greetings of the season, in which Bro. Russell joins, Your Sister in Christ,
MARIA F. RUSSELL.
Letter from Mr. Joseph L. Russell (now deceased), father of the Editor, relating to the same trouble:—
My Dear Son:—It is with love and sympathy in my heart that I write you at this time, after having read the full account of your trials and troubles amongst those whom you accepted as brethren in Christ. It does seem almost incredible that those people could be guilty of such mean and despicable conduct toward you, from whom they had received so many marks of kindness. But, my dear son, these are some of the trials we all may expect—especially those engaged in the “harvest” work. I am proud of the noble defense you make in vindication of your conduct, and especially in the cause of the Truth we all love so dearly. I feel confident that you will come out of this trial brighter and more appreciated in your character and works than you ever were before. The good Lord, who has been testing your works, will promote you to still higher honors in his Kingdom. I pray that he may bless you always and sustain you in every good word and work; and to him we will ascribe all the praise forever. Amen.
But while confident that the outcome will be a final victory for the Truth, it is very trying for one who has labored late and early for the last twenty years for the cause of Truth, to have his supposed friends turn against him and brand him as a liar and a hypocrite. Oh! it is terrible! I often think of you and your many trials, which you seem to meet very courageously. But with an approving conscience a man can stand considerable, especially if the Lord is on his side to help and strengthen. Please extend to your dear wife my hearty congratulations on her noble defense of her husband and the cause of Truth during this trying ordeal. With love and congratulations from us all, I remain, your loving father.
JOSEPH L. RUSSELL.”
* * *
As matters began to settle down, the “woman’s rights” ideas and personal ambition began again to come to the top, and I perceived that Mrs. Russell’s active campaign in my defense, and the very cordial reception given her by the dear friends at that time throughout a journey (which she volunteered at that time to take, for the express purpose of defending and vindicating me amongst those friends who had been disturbed by the slanders circulated by those involved in the conspiracy), had done her injury by increasing her self-appreciation. Instead of considering the kind expressions of the friends as applying to her as a representative of the WATCH TOWER, a representative of the truths it promulgates, and a representative of her husband, as well as for her personal worth, the lady appeared to credit all the demonstrations to the latter—as acknowledgments of her personal abilities. Gradually she seemed to reach the conclusion that nothing was just proper for the WATCH TOWER columns
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except what she had written, and I was continually harassed with suggestions of alterations of my writings. I was pained to note this growing disposition, so foreign to the humble mind which characterized her for the first thirteen happy years.
Gradually her interpretation of “that servant” worked upon her mind. First she suggested that as in the human body there are two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet, etc., this might properly enough represent the twain one—she and I as necessarily one in marriage and in spirit and in the Lord. But the ambition did not stop here—(it is a plant of thrifty growth). Within a year Mrs. Russell had concluded that the latter part of the statement (viz., Matt. 24:48-51) was not merely a warning, but that it would have actual fulfilment—that it meant that her husband would fulfil this description, and that she in consequence would take his place as “that servant” in dispensing meat in due season. This was in 1896. In harmony with this thought she concluded that her individuality was not sufficiently prominent in the WATCH TOWER announcements that she was the Associate Editor. She requested that her name thereafter appear with each article that she wrote. I told her that this would imply the erasure of her name as Associate Editor. She assented, saying that that did not amount to much anyway, as nobody knew her articles. She also at this time notified me that her articles must appear just as she would write them, without corrections or emendations on my part.
To all these requests I agreed, telling her, however, that I was afraid the WATCH TOWER readers would consider that I was demeaning my wife in dropping her as Associate Editor, placing her instead as a mere correspondent. Furthermore, I suggested that if I could make no editorial corrections to her articles it would imply that some of them would not appear in the WATCH TOWER, because where many corrections would be necessary it would be easier to write the article myself. Those possessing back numbers of the WATCH TOWER upon examination will find that Mrs. Russell’s name as Associate Editor first disappeared from the 2nd page of the TOWER in the issue of Nov. 1st, 1896. Fearing that this might be understood as some indignity to my wife I referred to the matter in the Dec. 15th issue, page 301, the “Tract Society’s Annual Report,” in these words: “The withdrawal of our ‘associate editor’ has been noted by some, so we explain now to all that this was granted at her own urgent request. She prefers to appear as a correspondent over her own signature, MRS. M. F. RUSSELL.”
HELP-MATE CHANGED TO OPPONENT
Prior to this time my Sunday topics constituted a considerable portion of the matter for the WATCH TOWER. Mrs. Russell took notes of my Sunday afternoon discourses and later on wrote these out as TOWER articles. This was, of course, a great saving of my time, and permitted me to attend to other parts of the work, and justified my denominating her “Associate Editor” of the paper. She notified me that I must not expect such assistance further, that whatever she wrote would be for publication over her own name. Apparently her thought was to impede the work, and to force me to call upon her for larger and still larger contributions to the columns of the paper—contributions which she had already stipulated must be taken just as she wrote them, without the alteration of a word. Had this program
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carried out as she evidently intended it would have made her virtually the Editor of ZION’S WATCH TOWER, and would have opened its columns to matter to which I could not assent. Furthermore, I saw that this would be fostering in my wife an ambition which sooner or later would work to her very serious injury and perhaps to the entire cause of “Present Truth.”
After making the matter a subject of prayer I adopted the method of dictating my articles direct to a stenographer, and enlarged the size of the WATCH TOWER from a 12-page to a 16-page journal. The trend of events led me to see that in at least one instance in the past, yielding to Mrs. Russell’s importunity, I had failed in my duty in allowing an article written by her, with which I did not agree, to appear in the WATCH TOWER, thinking that it would do no harm and at the same time gratify her wishes. In the WATCH TOWER issue for Feby. 1st, 1897, page 38, I corrected the error in the “Question and Answer Column,” item “Concerning the Epistle of James.” I quote from my answer as follows:—”The article to which you refer last, as being in conflict with our general presentations, was not an editorial article; nevertheless the Editor does not claim that his negligence in the matter is a sufficient excuse. It is a part of his duty to be critical, and to exclude whatever his judgment does not approve; and he now promises that by the Lord’s grace he will hereafter be still more careful of his stewardship, to the end that ZION’S WATCH TOWER may ever speak as ‘an oracle of God.'”
Despite this distressing situation of antagonism on the part of my wife the work continued to progress. Mrs. Russell’s next move was to so harass me as to make it almost impossible for me to proceed with the work. I appointed a desk drawer in which I requested that she place any articles she had to offer me. From this I made selections. That I might have no choice in the selection of her articles, in Feby. ’97 she removed all of those articles except two. Neither of those two being acceptable, no articles of hers appeared in the February 15th and March 1st issues. Mrs. Russell was indignant at this, but I explained the situation.
It was at this time that she took ill of a troublesome disease and required much of my attention, which was cheerfully given at the expense of every other consideration, and with the hope that what I believed was a discipline from the Lord might work out for her profit. I thought, too, that my kind and incessant attentions would touch her heart and restore it to its former tender and loving condition. I was mistaken, however. Just as soon as she recovered health she called a Committee along the lines of Matt. 18:15-17, specially with the object of having the brethren instruct me that she had an equal right with myself in the WATCH TOWER columns, and that I was doing her wrong in not according her the liberties she desired.
The Committee consisted of Bro. W. E. Page, of Milwaukee, Wis., and Bro. M. M. Tuttle, of Pittsburgh, Pa. Mrs. Russell, with them as her Committee, met me in my study. The entire matter was a great surprise to me, for I had kept my troubles secret even from those nearest to me in the home. I assured Mrs. Russell and the brethren that I was very glad matters had taken this turn, and that my hope was that it would solve some of my difficulties, because I had no doubt as to what their advice would be. Not to center the difficulty exclusively upon the WATCH TOWER question, Mrs. Russell had two other charges against me which were read first. One was that a will I had drawn for my father at his request, and which expressed his wishes fully, was not acceptable to my wife and her sister.
I explained to the brethren the kind of a will I had drawn, and they told Mrs. Russell that it was such a will as most people would consider excellent. She disagreed with them. I explained further that I had advised my father to destroy the will and to make one that would suit his wife’s ideas, that his declining years might be as peaceful as possible. The brethren were surprised that they should be asked to discuss a will no longer in existence and the character of which was considered excellent.
Mrs. Russell’s second charge was that I had not treated her with sufficient consideration at a certain meeting in the Bible House Chapel. I explained the affair to all: that the lesson for the Bible study that evening was in Jude, respecting the Second Death, “twice dead plucked up by the roots;” that Mrs. Russell had been granted more time by far than any other person in the meeting to express her views respecting the text, but that she took offense because I intimated that she was taking more than her share of the time. I confessed that at heart I was solicitous lest she should succeed in making clear her views on the subject, which I considered unscriptural, and to which I feared she would be wedded more than ever after expressing her opinion; but that I had no unkind intent respecting the matter. I told them how Mrs. Russell had appeared ill-humored after the meeting, and I had inquired the trouble and found that she felt offended, and that I then assured her that I had no unkind intention in the matter, and that I was sorry if I had offended her, and that if she would prefer to have it so I would make the same expression to the Class on the following Sunday night. I explained that she finally forgave whatever there was wrong in the matter that night; but that she had brought it up four times subsequently, and I said, “Now, brethren, this is the sixth time that Mrs. Russell has brought this matter up, having forgiven it five times: I now ask her in your presence, the sixth time, to forgive whatever she considered wrong in respect to that matter.” The brethren looked at Mrs. Russell in amazement, and she again said that she forgave the matter.
Then came the real question for which they had been called, one of them a journey of nearly 1,200 miles. When the brethren caught the idea of the real object of their visit they were astonished, and told Mrs. Russell kindly, but very plainly, that neither they nor any other persons in the world had a right to interfere with Bro. Russell’s management of the WATCH TOWER: that it was his stewardship only, and that he alone was accountable to the Lord for its management. Further, they suggested that they considered Mrs. Russell had the grandest of all opportunities in the world as my associate and co-laborer in the harvest work; they told her that personally they could think of no higher honor, and advised her to take this same view, that evidently was at one time her own view of the situation.
Mrs. Russell was chagrined, broke down and wept, and left the room. Subsequently she was prevailed upon to see that since the Committee had come at her request it was her duty to treat them with greater respect
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and to give some heed at least to their counsel. She returned to the study and there stated herself in substance that she could not agree with their decision, that she still had her own views, but that in deference to their advice she would endeavor to look at matters from their standpoint. I then asked her in their presence if she would shake hands. She hesitated, but finally gave me her hand. I then said, “Now, will you kiss me, dear, as a token of the degree of change of mind which you have indicated?” Again she hesitated, but finally did kiss me and otherwise manifested a renewal of affection in the presence of her Committee. It was hoped that this would be the end of the matter. The crisis had been reached at about the Memorial season, but seemingly through wise counsel the storm had passed without breaking in any public manner.
BAD COUNSELLORS—FRESH DIFFICULTIES
Following this conference Mrs. Russell’s articles again appeared in the WATCH TOWER of March 15th, 1897, indicating my own good faith in the adjustment of the difficulties, and earnest desire to make use of my wife’s co-operation as fully as possible. Some of Mrs. Russell’s relatives were evidently “evil counsellors,” and the fruit quickly began to manifest itself. At Mrs. Russell’s request I appointed a weekly meeting of “The Sisters of the Allegheny Church,” with herself as its leader, little thinking that this was to be a new method of attack upon me and the interests of the work which I represented. A systematic endeavor was now made to work up a spirit of opposition to me amongst the Sisters of the Church. For months thereafter I could see that an evil influence was at work, but could see no honorable way of correcting it, so secretly was everything done.
In the meantime I had some very trying experiences with my greatly changed wife. I could see that herself and relatives were working up some kind of a figurative “bomb” intended for my destruction. My confidence was in the Lord, however, and I said nothing to others until, on August 30th, I learned definitely that there was a movement on foot amongst Mrs. Russell’s party which was to culminate in some kind of explosion on Sept. 12th. I acted promptly, but quietly, so that on Saturday night, Sept. 4th, about 50 brethren gathered in the Bible House Chapel, none of them knowing in advance that a meeting was to be held. I explained the situation to all and found that some of them had more knowledge of the business than I possessed. As the matter had passed from an individual affair to a Church affair, I suggested that it would be the duty of the elders of the Church to act, and that I was too closely identified with the matter to take any active part in the investigation. Upon the unanimous expression of all present it was decided that the proper procedure would be that a private meeting of the consecrated believers of the Church should be announced for the next evening, Sunday, Sept. 5th, at which the two sisters who had been circulating slanderous and false statements (presumably received from Mrs. Russell) should be charged with slander and false witness and asked to clear themselves by substantiating their statements if they could.
One of these sisters had stated that they had the women of the congregation already committed, and were wanting now to get a few men into the matter, so that it would not appear so completely a woman’s affair. Her tale was that Bro. Russell was treating Sister Russell shamefully. The other indicted sister had made similar charges. Without going into particulars they had given the strongest kind of inferences, and the Church eldership determined that it was time that such slanders should cease, or that if they continued all of the congregation should know that they were wholly without foundation or justification.
At the evening Church meeting Bro. M. M. Tuttle presided, and the board of Church elders served as jury. The accused sisters were asked specifically whether or not they had said such things. At first they were disposed to deny the matter entirely, but witnesses to whom they had talked were present and, called upon, gave their testimony. Neither could offer any explanation or defense—neither had any foundation whatever for the charges.
This is the meeting from which Mrs. Russell and her sisters were excluded—because they had ignored the Church, declared they were not of it, and did not attend its meetings for several months prior to this meeting. It was a strictly private meeting of the consecrated believers of the Church, and hence they had no right to be present. They were excluded because it was recognized by the elders of the Church that had they been present they would have created a scene, and would have hindered the investigation for which the meeting was called. The two sisters who at that meeting were shown to have been guilty of false witness and slander as charged were, at my request, not condemned; the board of elders holding the matter over pending a possible later apology to the Church for their wrong course. I took this opportunity to briefly explain to the congregation present a little of the trouble that surrounded me, as an explanation of the slanders which I knew had been circulated. I took particular care to shield my wife as much as possible, laying the principal blame on one of her sisters, whose evil influence I could note at almost every turn of my affairs.
Following this I sought to separate my wife from her evil counsellors in hope of recovering her. I sent those false friends letters, warning them not to come to see my wife, etc., and gave my wife the following letter which she put into the court record of the case:
ALLEGHENY, September 6, 1897.
My Dear Wife:—I send you a copy each of three letters just sent as legal notices. [Accompanying were notices to Mr. J. L. Russell, Mrs. J. L. Russell and Mrs. L. J. Raynor, “not to receive, harbor or entertain my wife under your roof under any pretext whatsoever.”]
I wish you, my dear, to know that these steps now being taken are in your interest as well as in the interest of the Lord’s cause. I desire to shield you from what I believe has been a very pernicious influence upon you for some time past. I do this in the hope that under favorable influences, and by divine blessing, you may free your heart of the slime of misrepresentation which others have poured over it, and that thus relieved you may realize your first love for me, and that no one on earth so really loves you, or so genuinely desires your advancement in all the graces of the spirit of Christ and in the service of our dear Redeemer.
Come back to me, my dear! I promise that I will do all in my power to make you as happy as you ever were,
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and as much more so as lies in my power. Think, my dear, that God has already favored you with a position as my queen and associate and helper that, in some respects at least, is second to that of no lady in the world. And do, my dear, remember that ambition is one of the foes of the people of God, that has snared more of the bright ones than perhaps any other. Consider, I pray you, in time, ere it be too late to retrace your steps, whether or not your present condition of heart may not be a seduction of the great adversary.
Is not the situation sufficiently critical to make you go very cautiously and prayerfully? Stop, I entreat you, and join me in humble heart to seek afresh to know the will of our Lord and Master. Remember how Satan fell and how our Lord proved himself worthy of his high exaltation, and remember the Apostle’s words: “Humble yourselves, therefore, brethren, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” Remember Miriam, and Korah, and remember the various conspirators, and how they all have not only left Brother Russell, but also the Lord and the Truth. Remember that the present matter is as humiliating for me as for you, because if a wife is the glory of her husband, so any reflection, even against her, is to his injury and shame. Remember, also, that I will be anxious to lift up your head and influence in every proper manner, and will not glory over you as a foe, but as one who has recovered a lost and highly-prized treasure.
And now, my dear wife, all that I could wish for as respects my earthly life is that I may serve the Lord, his cause and his people, amongst whom no one can hold so near and dear a place as you have held and may again hold if you will. And next to my effort to serve and please the Lord shall be my effort to serve and please you as my wife, if you will permit it and co-operate to that end.
Finally, not in anger, nor in any other spirit than that of love, and as my final move in your favor, and to help pull you out of the fire of the present trial, I give this legal and formal notice, which I shall be only too
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glad to rescind absolutely.
Done in love, and as a despairing effort to separate you from evil influences, and with a hope for speedy reconciliation and annulment of this limitation, at Allegheny, Pa., this 6th of September, 1897.
C. T. RUSSELL.
NIPPED IN THE BUD
As a result, the entire conspiracy dissolved like a pricked bubble. The Sisters of the congregation and others realized how sadly they had been deceived in the name of the Lord and in the name of righteousness. Mrs. Russell was completely overwhelmed with the defeat of her scheme. I hoped the crisis had been reached and that the tide might turn in her favor, in my favor, and in the favor of the Truth. I pointed out to my wife the error of her course carefully, kindly, gently. I told her how wrong it was for her to plot to do me injury, and pointed out that if, as she thought, the Lord wished that she should supplant me as the Editor of the WATCH TOWER and general overseer in this harvest work, he was abundantly able to carry out his purposes and needed no evil assistance from her. I suggested that he could easily permit me to be mangled or killed in an accident; that he could smite me with paralysis or other disease; or by the merest touch of the brain he could disorder my mind; and that thus he could cause everything connected with his work to drop into her hands, for, as I assured her, my confidence in her had been so great that in my will everything had been left to her care and supervision. (This is so no longer. I have already transferred everything I possess except my personal clothing to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY.)
Mrs. Russell afterward denied that she had authorized any of the slanders or that any were uttered; but I pointed out that the slanderers had confessed; and that if she were truly on my side, instead of being angry with the fact of their exposure she would have manifested righteous indignation for their false accusations. But still my hope was the recovering of my wife to her former condition, and accordingly I forbade her relatives to visit her, hoping that she would be benefited thereby. I invited to the home a Sister Jones, her friend, a woman of great kindness and large experience, whose influence I knew would be favorable. I opened to Mrs. Russell’s mind a door of hope by suggesting that if I could come to accept her declaration that she had no sympathy with the slanders I would know well how to bring order out of the confusion and restore her to the love and fellowship of the dear friends. She demurred that since the exposure of Sunday night, Sept. 5th, it would be impossible to heal the breach. I told her that it was only necessary for her to convince me, and that I could do the rest; but that whatever we would do should be done before Sunday, so that if harmony were effected we could at the following Sunday meeting make an announcement of the fact to the dear friends of the Church, which would set their hearts at rest.
On Friday night I drew up a paper representing the re-established harmony, wording it as favorably as possible for Mrs. Russell and her misguided friends. On Saturday morning she and Mrs. Jones, her friend, were quite enthusiastic over the paper. We got several copies typewritten and Mrs. Russell and I signed the paper, and she and Sister Jones went out and got the other signatures. Mrs. Russell’s two sisters and one of the two persons who on the previous Sunday night had been convicted of slander and false witness signed it with us, and on Sunday afternoon I requested the consecrated ones to remain for a special service, and to them I read the said letter, asking them that as many as desired to do so would signify their participation in the spirit of the letter by a rising vote. The dear friends were overjoyed and arose as one person, praising God for his mercy in thus bringing order out of confusion. Here is
A COPY OF THE SAID LETTER
To the Allegheny Church, Bible House.
Dear Brethren and Sisters:—It is with praise to God and with thankfulness of heart that we unite in a joint note to you all. Since last Sunday we have sought earnestly through prayer divine aid in respect to some matters which grieved us all, and have obtained help in time of need.
Investigation revealed the fact that our troubles arose largely through the too free use of the tongue and the neglect of the Scriptural rule of Matt. 18:15. Many things had grown out of all semblance to their originals; and many of the originals upon close investigation
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proved to be mere fears which had no foundation in fact.
We are happy to tell you that all misstatements and misapprehensions are mutually rescinded and forgiven, and supposed grievances are all forever blotted out, while mutual love fills all our hearts for our Lord and for all his Church.
Although the trial has been a severe one, we trust that its present happy outcome may prove to be everlasting; and that some lessons have been learned by us all respecting the need of charity, and the close following of the Scripture rules laid down in Matt. 18:15 by our Master.
We hope (D.V.) to meet with you next Sunday; and are all resolved by the grace of God to more zealously strive to act and speak kindly to one and all, especially to God’s children; and if we know nothing favorable to tell of one another we will abstain from such personalities altogether.
(Original was signed by)
CHARLES T. RUSSELL,
MARIA F. RUSSELL,
EMMA H. RUSSELL,
LAURA J. RAYNOR.
On the following day, Sept. 13, 1897, a copy of that letter was sent to friends from nearby towns who had been present at the meeting of September 4th, with the following one:
To the Friends who kindly visited us at Allegheny on September fourth and fifth,
Greetings:—It gives us great pleasure to inform you that our Heavenly Father has very graciously heard your prayers and ours in the interest of all the parties concerned in the matters which caused us so much distress. It appears that certain features of difficulty in the case, which eluded our every effort to grasp, prove to have been in many respects fears and misunderstandings and the results of these. In an altogether unexpected manner the Lord has straightened out these troubles. The letter following is a copy of the one in which the various parties interested have joined heartily and gladly. I send it to you realizing that it will help to bring rest and peace to your hearts as it has done to ours at Allegheny. The entire Church here has been greatly troubled, not only for the past week but previously, and after the reading to them of this letter yesterday all their hearts rejoiced, and they unanimously joined in as parties to the letter as a congregation. Many expressed the sentiment that the matter, although very grievous, will prove a lesson of great value to us all.
“God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform.”
Individually I feel as though I had received a great fortune, and appreciate each of the signatures more than I would $5,000, and the second one many times that. Join with us all in giving thanks to our heavenly Father for having delivered us out of so great a trial.
Your brother and servant in Him,
CHARLES T. RUSSELL.
Our hope was short lived. On the following Sunday, when all was to have been harmony, the storm broke out afresh. One of Mrs. Russell’s sisters came in late and went out early, and Mrs. Russell herself posed as wounded innocence, refusing to shake hands with some, calling others traitors, etc. I made no further effort to secure her attendance at the meetings, believing it would be better for all concerned for her to be absent.
THE DEPARTURE NOVEMBER 9, 1897
I put in two months more trying in every way to recover my wife to her former condition. On November 9th, being called from the city, I made arrangements for her to have a Sister’s company until my return. She accepted this, but subsequently left for Chicago without leaving me the slightest information. I had no knowledge of her whereabouts for two weeks.
Chicago had then the largest congregation in the “Present Truth” outside of Allegheny, and Mrs. Russell sought every way to enlist the friends there by slanderous statements. So far as we are aware only three came under the influence, as about eight had done in the Allegheny Church.
Later on, finding that she accomplished nothing there, she proposed to return to me at Allegheny. I refused to accept her return unless she would acknowledge the error of her former course and pledge herself to reasonable, proper, wifely conduct. I wrote her that in her departure the Lord had granted me great deliverance, and that I felt that I must require this guarantee for the future, otherwise it would seem to be tempting Providence. In January, 1898, Mrs. Russell returned to Allegheny, to the home of her sister; and herself, sisters and friends began a campaign of vilification of every kind, regardless of the truth, going hither and thither wherever they could find any one willing to hear them, bound on injuring me in some manner. This lasted for about a year, at the end of which time my wife gave me
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her solemn assurance that she had ceased to bear false witness against me before others, whereupon I gave her possession of a house which I owned facing the parks, and furnished it for her in good style—a better home than she ever before had—thinking to myself, I will overcome her evil with good; she shall yet see the wrong of her course and appreciate my loving intentions. She manifested some appreciation, sat on my knee and kissed me, and knelt with me in prayer in that house. The house contains ten rooms, and she had considerable income from renting some of these to lodgers. In hope that a change of sentiment was in sight I visited her every Thursday evening for some five times, when she said, “Husband, I have been fearful that the neighbors and lodgers would think it strange to see you come here every Thursday.” The hint was sufficient; I discontinued attentions. The puerility of the situation was ludicrous. The neighbors would see lodgers, men, going to and from the house daily, hourly, but would be surprised to see the woman’s husband come once a week. I perceived that further quest for her affection was useless. Afterward she merely requested me to come to see her when she desired some repairs or additional furniture.
A FRESH ATTACK IN 1903
By 1903 Mrs. Russell had laid by in bank a little sum of money which evidently was consecrated to the injury of her husband. The opportune time for its use came, and with it she published a new kind of tract—not
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to stir up the pure minds of God’s people, but the very reverse. It was an endeavor to misrepresent me, to slander me. It purported to give letters which I had written to Mrs. Russell and copies of her replies. It was declared therein that I ill-used her, would not speak to her, and wrote her these unpleasant epistles. I remembered well the time when she was with me when she would not speak despite my every effort, and I remembered another time in which she did everything to hinder my work, when I was obliged to tell her that my time could not be used continually “discussing affairs.” To save time I wrote her several replies on my common manuscript paper.
The tract as a whole was a gross perversion of the facts, and written expressly to injure the interests of the cause which I represented. These were sent to all the WATCH TOWER addresses she could secure, and bundles of them were sent to ministers in different towns where Pilgrim services were announced in the WATCH TOWER columns, and a letter accompanying each bundle requested ministers receiving it to get the tracts, to look up the meeting of the MILLENNIAL DAWN people, and to have some person circulate these tracts at those meetings. It was expected that ministers of various denominations would be so antagonistic to MILLENNIAL DAWN and their author that they would take pleasure in this scurrilous work; but to their credit be it noted that not many of them accepted the proposition. Some wrote back declining the service and characterizing the request as mean, despicable, insulting to their manhood.
This was in the beginning of 1903, and led me to conclude that my endeavor to help my wife was being taken advantage of by the adversary as a means to do injury to the Truth to which I have consecrated life and all. I concluded that assistance from me must stop, and put my sister in charge of the residence, reserving however a room for Mrs. Russell and arranging for her boarding. The result was a commotion, Mrs. Russell, her relatives and roomers, created such a disturbance that my sister was obliged to call for the protection of the police, while Mrs. Russell and her friends misrepresented matters through the public press to the extent of their ability.
Since then, under the direction of the court, Mrs. Russell has received from me $40.00 per month for her maintainance, and her suit for divorce from bed and board with alimony has just come off. She has been as separate from me as could possibly be imagined for years. No advantage could accrue to her from a monetary standpoint that she did not already possess. I must presume therefore that the motive back of this suit is revenge: to have an opportunity of defaming me and scandalizing the Truth, as a retaliation for my refusal to permit her all the liberties she desired in the columns of ZION’S WATCH TOWER.
THE COURT RECORDS
Mrs. Russell’s bill of complaint admitted that there had been no cohabitation between herself and her husband, and her attorney attempted to make out of this that she was deprived of one of the chief pleasures of life. The Court would not permit this. The fact is that the matter was in Mrs. Russell’s own control. She did understand that her husband preferred to live a celibate life, but she agreed and expressed the same as her preference. She knew his teachings on the subject, as now expressed in DAWN, VOL. VI., chap. 12—that neither the husband nor the wife may “defraud” the other of reasonable marital rights.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, Mrs. Russell on the witness stand and through her attorney attempted to give the impression that her husband was very amorously inclined, “like a jelly-fish floating around,” “embracing all who would respond.” She said that some one had told her this thirteen years ago. Hear-say testimony is not admissible in Court, but the precious object to be obtained was the public branding of her husband as a “scalawag,” so her attorney smuggled this in by having Mrs. Russell swear that she had told it to her husband ten years ago.
When the next day the husband took the witness stand and swore that he had never used the language (and never had heard of it before) all reasonable people concluded that only an idiotic person would make such an uncomplimentary remark about himself. They concluded, too, that even an ordinary woman, seeking a charge against her husband for thirteen years, could imagine wonders and create the living and real in her own mind. This is the most charitable view possible of such an oath. The Court ruled that the testimony be stricken from the Court records.
Mrs. Russell charged an improper intimacy between her husband and “Rose,” who became a member of the Russell household in 1888. The attempt of Mrs. Russell and her attorney to give the inference of criminal intimacy was so manifest that the Court interrupted to inquire, if criminal intimacy were charged, why it had not been made part of the plea and why “Rose” had not been made co-respondent in the suit? Then both Mrs. Russell and her attorney disclaimed any charge of criminal intimacy, but meant that “Rose” had sat on Mr. Russell’s knee and he had kissed her. Mrs. Russell also swore that one night she entered “Rose’s” room and found Mr. Russell sitting near her bed and holding her hand. The attempt of Mrs. Russell was not to state “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” but conversely, to state a part of the truth in order to give seeming foundation for evil surmisings, that would injure her husband’s influence among those who do not know him.
The next day Mr. Russell on the witness stand explained that “Rose” and her brother “Charles” were members of the family and office assistants—the former at Mrs. Russell’s request. “Rose” was quite childish in appearance, wore short dresses, and looked to Mr. Russell to be about 13 years old. He did not know her age, but another who knew her guessed that she was then only 10 years old. She may have been older than 13 in 1888. The brother came first, and shortly after “Rose’s” coming he died.
It was some months later that Mr. Russell in the WATCH TOWER office, hearing sobbing, turned to find “Rose” in tears. Inquiring the cause, “Rose,” still weeping, came over and sat on his knee, and complained that Mrs. Russell had worked her too hard before she started for the office; and that she felt weary and friendless. He told her that all that was a mistake. He defended Mrs. Russell as not intentionally unkind or unreasonable, and told “Rose” to do what she was able to do, cheerfully, and then to explain her weariness, and that he was sure nothing unreasonable would be asked. Then, suddenly drying her tears, “Rose” kissed
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Mr. Russell. Although surprised at all this Mr. R. did not resent it nor reprove it; but rather reproved himself for not having been previously more fatherly. That very night he talked with his wife about “Rose,” and pointed out that she was surely lonely since her brother’s death, and that it would be a duty to look after her interests more carefully.
Mrs. Russell agreed, and it was mutually arranged that “Rose” thereafter should be considered and treated as an adopted daughter. “Rose” was so informed in the presence of the three, and invited to spend her evenings in the large study and reading room with the Russells. This course was followed; and when “Rose” retired, usually at 9 p.m., Mrs. Russell kissed her good-night and told her to “pass the kiss along” to Mr. R. also. This custom continued several years, until Mr. R. said to “Rose”: “I think it best that I should discontinue kissing you; you are now wearing long dresses and looking more womanly, and Mrs. R. might get to feel jealous;—although she has never said a word to that effect, I would not wish to give her the slightest reason for so feeling.” Mr. Russell declared that it was quite a while after his discontinuance of his proper fatherly conduct toward “Rose” that Mrs. Russell (having become alienated on account of not getting all the liberty she desired in the WATCH TOWER columns) upbraided him for kissing “Rose.” As for Mrs. R.’s claim that she found her husband in “Rose’s” room
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one night, sitting near her bed and holding her hand, Mr. R. said that he had no recollection of the occurrence, but that as he has a slight knowledge of medicine he was called on by all the members of the family in cases of illness: Mrs. R., her mother, her sisters and her sisters’ children all were accustomed to apply to Mr. R., who kept a free medicine chest, referring serious cases to a regular practitioner. Mr. R. presumed the case in question was an emergency call, and that he was counting “Rose’s” pulse. The entire “Rose” matter had a different appearance when the light of truth was turned on it. The Court ruled out the “Rose” testimony, and ordered it stricken from the Court records.
Mrs. Russell mentioned a person named “Emily,” a sister in Christ, who served as house-help in the Russell family about 14 years ago. With her attorney’s assistance Mrs. R. brought out with dramatic effect that, Once she found Mr. R. in “Emily’s” room with the door locked! Again the whole truth was sacrificed under oath, and a partial truth with false inferences went to the public.
On the witness stand next day Mr. R. explained the entire matter. One morning “Emily” was sick, and he was called on to see her and prescribe medicine. “Emily’s” room contained a sink and a pump used for the second floor refuse and water. The noise from the pump made it difficult to hear, and Mr. R. turned the key in the door to prevent confusion until he could hear what “Emily” had to say about her condition—certainly less than a minute, probably not half a minute. “Emily,” now married, put upon the witness stand, swore that she had no knowledge that the door was locked even for a moment, and that then and at all times Mr. R.’s conduct toward her had been most exemplary.
Mr. Russell declared that he had no knowledge of his wife’s notice of the matter until years afterward (when endeavoring to coerce him to grant her all the liberty she desired in the columns of the WATCH TOWER) she mentioned it, saying that it would not sound well if told. Even then, however, Mr. R. could not believe that at heart she meant it, or that she would lend herself to so diabolical a misrepresentation, falsification, of “the whole truth.”
Mrs. R. claimed bad treatment from her husband, but produced no evidence to substantiate her claim. Her husband’s principal crime was that on one occasion (during 18 years of married life) when he was going to Denver he neglected and refused to kiss her “good bye.” Next day, on the witness stand, Mr. R. corrected the statement, saying that his journey was to New York City instead of Denver, and that he had explained to his wife that her conduct at the time did not justify any special exhibition of affection, and that he did not believe in giving hypocritical caresses.
Mrs. R. also claimed that her husband had opened her mail. Mr. R. explained that by mutual consent this had been so for years—their mail had been treated as common property, until (about six months before she deserted him) Mrs. R. requested that she receive mail addressed to her unopened. Her request was promptly thereafter complied with, much to her inconvenience; for many TOWER readers used to write to Mrs. R., thinking to save the Editor’s time, their letters containing questions that needed to come to him in the end.
Another of Mrs. R.’s complaints was that she was asked to give an account of her use of moneys. Mr. R. explained that for eighteen years he had asked no reports or explanations regarding money matters, until about six months before Mrs. R. left him, when he asked her what she was doing with moneys received from him other than for usual expenses. Was she starting a bank account, or what? When she refused to tell him, he told her that if she refused to report after using the money his only recourse would be to inquire what she wanted the money for when she asked for it.
Another complaint was that Mr. R. had treated Mrs. R. unkindly during a spell of sickness in the Spring of 1897; and that he had cruelly told her that she was suffering a chastisement from the Lord. Mr. R. explained that he surely did so consider her illness; but that knowing Mrs. R.’s general opposition to him and anything he might say, he did not mention it to her. However, fearing that Mrs. R. might miss a blessing from the illness, he did hint his thought to her very special lady friend and confidant who assisted in caring for her. As for his treatment of his wife during that sickness, Mr. R. assured the Court that it could not have been more kind and considerate. He explained that Mrs. R. had a contagious erysipelas that covered every inch of her body from head to foot; that this required the aid of an assistant in the day time to perform three processes of dressing the eruptions (and who caught the disease); but that at night the ailment was much worse, and, others being afraid, he himself performed the three-process treatment twice every night. He thus spent four to five hours each night, and handled his wife with extremest tenderness, hoping to win back the affection which her ambition had crowded out.
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Another fault charged by Mrs. R. against her husband was that he would not speak to her for weeks at a time, but wrote her letters. Some of those letters were put in evidence. Mr. R. explained that his conduct was wholly misrepresented—that he uniformly treated his wife with the utmost courtesy—that no wife in the world could have been better treated. He explained that about the time Mrs. R. stopped reporting his discourses for the WATCH TOWER she seemed bent on hindering him in his editorial work, and would have wasted his entire time “discussing” her ideas, etc., if he had permitted it: that to save his time he was obliged to write, because her discussions were so unreasonable and interminable. One of these letters, selected by Mrs. R. as the strongest against her husband, we quote below from the Court record.
THE OBJECTIONABLE LETTER
Mrs. Russell’s attorneys introduced a number of letters which were really against her case, for they proved that Mr. R. had tried in a variety of ways, as before stated, to recover her to her former good self. The first of these which is here quoted is one from which Mrs. R. extracted a few sentences for the pamphlet which she sent out in 1903. The portion she quoted then is italicized here, that it may be seen how grossly the quotation misrepresented the letter as a whole. It was written without the slightest thought of it ever being used again, and no copy was kept by Mr. R. The following is a copy of the original put in evidence in court:—July 8, 1896.
My Dear Wife:—In reply to your proposition for “a further discussion” of the matters which have recently been alienating our affections, I reply: I must decline such a discussion, for two reasons, (1) It probably would only lead to a still wider breach, and (2) As I told you before, I have no wish to discuss new grievances with one whose judgment after 17 years of acquaintance is—”a lack of confidence,” and that I am devoid of love and justice.
For the past three years you have been gradually forcing upon me the evidence that we both erred in judgment when we married—that we are not adapted to each other, not capable of making each other happy, as we agreed to do, and supposed we could do. The last month has fastened this conviction upon me much against my will. I am convinced that our difficulty is a growing one generally—that it is a great mistake for strong-minded men and women to marry. If they will marry, the strong-minded would far better marry such as are not too intellectual and high spirited, for there never can, in the nature of things, be peace, under present-time conditions, where the two are on an equality. This all the more convinces me of the wisdom of God’s Book.
The convictions forced upon me during the past month have been an extremely severe trial to me, for I have enough manhood to make me crave the sympathy and love of true womanhood, which in many respects you well represent, but by God’s grace I feel strengthened to continue in the “good fight of faith,” upheld by his sufficiency.
You need not fear a transfer of my heart to any other woman! As I have often told you, I never met as near my ideal as yourself, and I never expect to. I conclude that I am adapted to no one, and that no one is adapted to me—except the Lord! I am so thankful that He and I understand each other and have confidence in each other.
This letter is not meant to be unkind. If anything in it seems unkind please excuse it as not so intended. By and by we will know each other better. Let us hope that it will reveal fewer rather than more blemishes that now vex each other. With fond remembrance of every kindness, and with very best wishes for your temporal and eternal future, I remain
Yours truly, C. T. RUSSELL.
Another charge made by Mrs. R. against her husband was, that he had isolated her from her sisters and friends and had sent them insulting letters. Mr. R. explained that this prohibition was made in Mrs. R.’s interest, when she had become his active enemy in cooperation with them, in hope thus to reclaim her from her wrong course. He sent such letters on two occasions: the first set in September were negatived by the reconciliation. The second set, also filed by Mrs. R. as part of the Court’s record, we quote below:—ALLEGHENY, Pa., Nov. 9, 1897.
My Dear Wife:—I think it but duty toward you to give you a copy of a letter sent (yesterday) to four of your friends who clearly manifest that they are my enemies. No one has knowledge of the matter except
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Brother Bohnet, who knows confidentially—because he prepared the letters on typewriter.
As I have prohibited these persons from having intercourse with you, I must, and now do, prohibit you from having intercourse with them in any manner.
My hope, Dear, is that freed from this bad influence you may “come to yourself” and take right and sensible views of matters; peradventure the Lord may bless us again with happiness which we once enjoyed together in our home life, and in our Christian fellowship and cooperation in God’s service. It gives me great pain to deprive you of what seems to be your only pleasure, but my hope is that you may become weaned from the love of those who hate me; and that not only to my comfort, but also to your own present and everlasting welfare. Should these later manifest a change of heart, I shall be very glad to have former relationship restored all around, but until then it cannot be otherwise than mischievous, and cannot be permitted. I have carefully weighed this matter for now about a month, and believe that my course is the wise one, and in conformity with the Lord’s will and Word; as I will show you if you desire.
Permit me to add for your comfort that your conduct last night and this morning is much more kind than formerly, and had this manner been commenced sooner I would have waited still longer before writing to your friends—my enemies.
With sincere love and sympathy,
Your husband, C. T. RUSSELL.
ALLEGHENY, Pa., November 8, 1897.
Mrs. __________:—Some time ago I addressed you in regard to your influence upon my wife. I have since had some ground for hope that both you and she had come to view matters in a different light, and that your mutual conspiracy to do me injury had been repented of and
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abandoned. And acting in good faith I made no further objection to your intercourse.
For a month past, however, I am reluctantly forced to the conclusion that the great adversary is deluding your clique to take some other lines for mischief—hoping for better success than last time. I have been praying for you each and all, earnestly, that the Lord would open your eyes to the enormity of your course; but I now conclude that it is my duty toward my dear wife to isolate her from your pernicious influence; for such it is, whether you are aware of it or not; and I hope and incline to believe that you are not wilful, but blinded, in the matter; but that there be no chance for misunderstanding, and that this notice shall be in every way a legal notice, I must use great plainness of speech, and tell you that your influence, however intended, is a wicked influence; for it has a wicked effect upon my dear wife. So far from being a “peacemaker,” as all who bear the name of Christ should be, you are a mischief maker—a disturber of the peace. You have already alienated from me the affections of my dear companion, who I believe was given me by the Lord, so that she bears no resemblance to her former loving, generous self. You have incited, or helped to incite in her, an evil, selfish disposition, as contrary to the Scriptural definition of the spirit of love and the character of our Lord, as it is contrary to her former beautiful character under the influence of Divine grace. The laws of our State, not to mention the higher laws of God, deprecate all such conduct and pernicious influence as seeks to alienate and separate between husbands and wives.—”What God hath joined let no man (nor woman) put asunder”—either actually or in spirit of mind.
Very reluctantly, therefore, I hereby give you notice that you must not continue this baneful influence; and that to this end you henceforth abstain from all intercourse with my dear wife—either personal or otherwise—that you shall not receive her into your home, nor visit her at my home, nor meet her elsewhere, nor correspond with her either directly or by proxy through others.
As it is with pain and reluctance that I thus write to you—and only as a last resort in the defense of my home and in hope that under Divine blessing my dear wife, being freed from such false sympathy and evil encouragements, shall regain “the spirit of a sound mind”—the holy spirit of love,—so, I shall be most glad to recall the restrictions here placed upon you with reference to my wife. But nothing shall be construed as revoking this notice except it be given in writing over my own signature. And failure on your part to conform to this notice, absolutely, will justly lay you liable for such heavy penalties as the Courts of Allegheny County may prescribe.
Sorrowfully yours, etc. C. T. RUSSELL.
Other letters of similar import are parts of the evidence, but the above will suffice as fair samples of the others.
JUDGE’S CHARGE—JURY’S VERDICT
The judge in the case as well as the auditors in court, attorneys, etc., perceived clearly that Mrs. Russell’s charges were trumped up, that she had suffered no indignities at my hands; and the charge of the judge was about as strong as it could have been made in my favor.
The jury was out about two hours and returned with a verdict granting the divorce—much to the astonishment of all concerned. In explanation of the verdict some of the jurors said, “We concluded that there would be no hope for reconciliation, and that we would be doing a kindness to both parties to decide in favor of a divorce.”
My attorney has made a motion before the Court that the jury’s verdict be set aside as being opposed to the law and to the evidence in this case. The court I am told may not reach a decision in the matter for months; even then we all know a judge dislikes to so arbitrarily deal with a jury’s verdict, although the law gives him a right to do so in such a case. I am not unwilling that my wife should have a divorce, but opposed it because her plea was a false and slanderous one.
“THE CUP WHICH MY FATHER HATH POURED, SHALL I NOT DRINK IT?”
Whatever the Court may decide, however untruthful, malicious, and paltry the evidence, the accusations have been scattered broadcast through the land, the public know the untruth, and the great majority will not know the truth in the present life. My conclusion is that these things could not have happened: that so far as the Lord’s consecrated ones are concerned not a hair of their heads can fall without divine notice and power to prevent. Hence, it seems quite evident that for some reason it pleased the Lord to wound me and put me to shame. My principal grief is on account of my friends; and yet we sorrow not as others who have no hope. “We know that all things are working together for good to them that love God—to the called ones according to his purpose.”
How this bitter experience will work for good we may not clearly see, but we can firmly trust. Perhaps it is intended as a part of the shaking and sifting which is to separate everything that is shakable from that which cannot be shaken. (Heb. 12:26-28.) The unshaken ones undoubtedly will be drawn nearer to each other. We have every confidence that though Satan desired to sift us as wheat and to discourage us and to discredit us as the representative of the Lord, he shall not succeed beyond what the Lord sees would be to his own glory or for our profit. As the Master prayed for Peter we may be sure that all who are truly his have his sympathy and backing. From numerous letters received I am sure that I have the prayers of the Lord’s dear flock, and I assure you all that my prayers ascend for you and that I fully realize that it is your hour of trial also. May the Church come forth from the furnace brighter and stronger and purer every way.
Respecting the influence of this matter upon the world: it is hard to tell just what it may be. I have heard from many, previously somewhat opposed or non-committal, whose indignation has been aroused on my behalf, as they see in the testimony that my treatment of my wife was most considerate under adverse conditions, even according to her own testimony, when the facts were explained. Some of these have been brought into closer sympathy with the Truth. However, as respects the mass of the world, we know that they love not the light, and long for any excuse for opposing it, and quite likely therefore a general effect may be the arousing of
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a greater opposition than before on the part of some who will strive to use the malicious statements and false charges of this case as though they were true—thereby to crucify the Truth and all who stand firmly by it. Believing, as we do, that the Harvest work must come to a close now within a few years, we recognize that some experiences will be permitted to gradually narrow down and finally end the opportunities for service of the Lord and the proclamation of the Gospel call of the present time. We are expecting of course to suffer somehow. We have pledged ourselves to the Lord to be faithful unto death. It is not for us to determine in what our trials shall consist, nor how they shall come, nor through whom. The Lord’s grace is sufficient for us. His promise is, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,” even though he assures that in this Harvest time the Adversary would deceive, stumble, if it were possible, the “very elect,” but it will not be possible, because “Greater is he who is on our part than all that be against us.”
We cannot undertake to publish all of your many precious letters, in which sympathy and confidence have been so liberally expressed, but we are preserving them all and can here give you a little taste. We have heard from many others less directly—as congregations or
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through the Pilgrim brethren or through a few words injected into business correspondence. We have not had time to answer these precious letters as they should have been acknowledged. Please accept this statement as my personal reply to your communications, with my love and best wishes.
Your Brother and Servant in the Lord,
C. T. RUSSELL.
SAMPLES OF INTERESTING LETTERS
At a special meeting of the Church at Scranton a letter was read informing us that the jury has granted Mrs. Russell a verdict of divorce, contrary to the instructions of the presiding Judge. Newspaper clippings were also read showing that one of the charges against our dear Brother was that of loose morals as regards the weaker sex. With these clippings we had read to us a statement written by Mrs. Russell, printed in the WATCH TOWER of June 11, 1894, in which she unsparingly condemned similar charges made by another defamer at that time. Her defense of her husband at that time, made after a dozen years of celibate wifehood, was surely not without mental, moral and physical proof of his absolute supremacy to any weakness of the kind mentioned.
A letter was also read, signed by Mrs. Russell, addressed to the Church at Allegheny, Sept. 12, 1897, withdrawing all claims of grievances, real or imaginary, then existing between herself and husband, and stating she would never again say an unkind thing against him. With this was also read a letter over her signature, dated six days later, addressed to a sister in this city in which she flatly contradicted both of these statements, and showed that her promises of six days previous were quite false.
At our meeting we were informed that Mrs. Russell at about this time stated verbally to this same sister that the only real grievance she had against Brother Russell was that he would not permit her to use the columns of the WATCH TOWER as she desired, and that if he would just give in on this one point all their differences could be settled immediately.
We are neither surprised nor grieved at the success of this latest and most successful effort to blacken the good name of our beloved Brother Russell. We remember that for six thousand years demons and men have not ceased to misrepresent the character of our loving Father in heaven and that their treatment of him has been characteristic of that of many of his most honored servants. We remember how Miriam and Aaron slandered Moses, the conspiracies of Sanballat against Nehemiah, the false charges of Haman against Mordecai, the unfounded accusations of Job’s friends against him, and the distress of David when he said, “I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbors.”
We remember the misrepresentations which led to the imprisonment of Jeremiah, the conspiracy against Daniel, the false accusations which led to the death of Paul and the false testimony which led to the crucifixion of our Lord as a malefactor, in spite of the fact that the presiding Judge found no fault in him. We have not forgotten the word of our Lord, that “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household;” nor his further message, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
Understanding, as we do, that Mrs. Russell’s only real grievance against Brother Russell was that he would not surrender the WATCH TOWER to her control, and blessed as we have been by the ministrations of our dear Brother during the eight years in which Mrs. Russell has had nothing to do with the work, we rejoice with him that he is counted worthy to suffer as he now does. We are sure that this suffering is for Christ’s sake, and remind our dear Brother that “If when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God; for even hereunto were ye called.” Again we remind him, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.” And again, “Our hope of you is steadfast, knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.”
We rejoice in our present privilege of becoming companions of our dear Brother just now, “whilst he is made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions,” and our only hope is that we, like him, shall be so faithful to our Lord in this present time as to receive our full share of the persecutions which he has promised, that in a little while we, with him and all the faithful overcomers, may rejoice in the light of the Lord’s presence forever.
THE CHURCH AT SCRANTON, PA.
TO OUR BELOVED PASTOR:—
Realizing that you were passing through trials severe, being publicly and falsely traduced, and learning through the press that a verdict in favor of Mrs. Russell had been rendered, though the presiding Judge in charging the jury indicated that her allegations were not established by the evidence, the Church at St. Paul last evening voted unanimously that an expression of sympathy and love be sent you. We realize that the nature of your ordeal is what is to be expected, that false charges, false accusations will be laid at your door. Was it not so with the great Head of the Church? And has he not warned us that as he was so are we in
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the world. On the other hand we realize that “Greater is he that is for us than all that are against us.” Dear brother, he will not give you one trial too many. He is too loving to cause you a single unnecessary pain. Again it is demonstrated that your loving words of caution are timely, that at this season of the year our great Adversary is specially active in heaping trials in various ways on those who are endeavoring to walk in the footsteps of the Master.
You have our prayers, dear brother, that you may rise above these afflictions a yet brighter vessel, “meet for the Master’s use.” May he strengthen you through every experience and be your wisdom in every action.
With fervent Christian love,
ST. PAUL (MINN.) CHURCH.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
As I was going over one of the morning papers I saw an article respecting the long-anticipated attempt to put you in a wrong light before the world. My heart made quick response in a petition to the throne of grace that the heavenly Father would direct your cause and your course. I cannot fully realize what a trial this must be to you, but when I think how I should feel if in a similar position, it enables me to measurably gauge the intensity of your present bitter experiences.
It seems natural to find people questioning the correctness of your interpretations, but when it comes to such a slandering of your character and motives there seems something so diabolical about it that my heart is almost overwhelmed. You have my prayers and my sympathy and my love and co-operation in this trying time.
But since the good Lord allowed this case to be put off so long he evidently intended the brethren should have time to be strengthened to bear it; and by allowing Brother Weber to die meanwhile and Brother Hay to be confined to hospital, you might be deprived of your witnesses and your case thus make as poor a showing as possible before the world, and so those who have accepted the Truth would be the more thoroughly tested. I believe the Lord is seeking such as would unwaveringly cling to the Truth even though the worst possible reproach might be cast upon it, and the greatest possible persecution brought to bear upon its advocates. This may be the Lord’s method of shaking out some who are unworthy the Truth; so be patient, dear Brother. Naught can harm his cause, and in a few more years the whole world will understand you aright and your undeserved shame and dishonor will be turned into joy. With Christian love,
Your brother and servant in the narrow way,
B. H. BARTON,—Pilgrim.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
May the dear Lord “comfort thee with the comfort wherewith thou hast comforted us” so often. And while the sentiment expressed in both the text and comment in “Heavenly Manna” for February 16 seems to be your present experience, nevertheless I feel sure the Father’s loving care is over you now; and though we trust it is not the due time for Zech. 13:7 to be fulfilled, yet, “Thy will be done.”
Be assured, dear brother, of our prayers in your behalf. In a way perhaps obscure to some not versed in the Truth, but quite clear to the latter, your trial seems similar to that of our Head. And the Father is “able to make all grace abound” toward his under-shepherd. See 91st Psalm.
God bless you and keep you even unto the end of earth’s stormy journey, and grant you and us all an abundant entrance into his heavenly Kingdom is the
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earnest prayer of your humble sister in the Beloved,
MRS. G. B.,—New York.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
We are in receipt of a copy of the Pittsburg Sun, giving an account of the divorce proceedings entered by Mrs. M. F. Russell, and we wish to assure you of our continued confidence and love. The charges, to our minds, were so ridiculous that they did not have much effect upon us, but no doubt some of the enemies of the Truth will be glad to have them to use against you and the Truth you so loyally uphold.
We are aware, dear brother, that you have long been the target of Satan’s fiery darts, and that he will resort to means, fair or foul, to injure your good name. How glad we are of the assurance that “no weapon formed against you shall prosper,” and that “he that is for you is greater than all they that are against you.” Whatever suffering you may endure as a consequence of this experience is shared by the fellow-members of the same Body: “If one member suffers all suffer,” and we are glad it is so, for we all share with you the joys of the Truth and its service.
Be assured, dear Brother, that we continually remember you at the throne of heavenly grace, and not you only, but all the members of the one Body, for we consider this a test for the whole Church in the flesh. May the all-conquering power of the Lord rest upon you, giving you grace and strength to sustain you in this hour of special trial, and may you learn the lessons he wishes you to learn in connection with the matter.
Assuring you again of our continued confidence and love, we remain,
Yours in the path of loyalty and hope of royalty,
E. R., A. M. AND FAMILIES,—Texas.
RESOLUTIONS OF THE ALLEGHENY CONGREGATION AND OTHERS
At the close of the regular meeting of the Bible House Congregation, held in Carnegie Music Hall, Allegheny, on Sunday, May 6, 1906, the Boards of Elders and Deacons proceeded to the platform and requested of Pastor Russell the privilege of addressing the congregation and conducting the closing part of the service. They were accompanied by representatives of fourteen different congregations from far and near throughout the country, all of whom had come specially for the purpose of participating in the proceedings which were to follow. Brother Russell was wholly taken by surprise, but yielded to the request, backed, as it was, by the presence of forty-five representative brethren.
The Boards of Elders and Deacons then presented to the congregation a set of resolutions which they had previously unanimously adopted and signed, and asked the friends present to express their sentiments on the subject, either endorsing or disapproving the action of the Boards.
The entire congregation of 400 arose in unanimous acceptance and unqualified approval of the resolutions. Following this, the visiting representatives were introduced, and briefly stated, on behalf of their home congregations, that similar resolutions had been adopted, unanimously endorsing and loyally supporting Pastor Russell. These brethren represented the churches of New York, N.Y.; Dallas, Tex.; Washington, D.C.; Columbus, O.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Toledo, O.; Wheeling, W.Va.;
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Washington, Pa.; Butler, Pa.; New Brighton, Pa.; and other places. Telegrams and letters were read from Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Louisville, Ky.; Cumberland, Md.; St. Paul, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Scranton, Pa.; Canton, O.; Youngstown, O.; Dayton, O.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Altoona, Pa.; Brantford, Canada; Hamilton, Canada; Johnstown, Pa.; New Albany, Ind.; Pottsville, Pa., and other places, endorsing the Allegheny resolutions and advising that similar resolutions had been adopted in those places. The text of the resolutions adopted by the Allegheny Church follows:
The Boards of Elders and Deacons of the Bible House congregation desire to place on record the sentiments they entertain in regard to the reflections upon the character and reputation of their beloved pastor, Charles T. Russell, which have within the past two weeks appeared before the public through the trial of the suit brought against him for divorce.
LONG BEFORE THE PUBLIC
Brother Russell has been before the public as a preacher and teacher for the past 38 years, and as such has been subject to public criticism continually, without the slightest word being uttered respecting his character up to the present time. We have been ministered to by him, some of us for 20 years, and others for less periods, down to the last year, and have had many opportunities, both through our personal contact with him and through the study of the literature of which he is the author, under God, as we believe, to form an estimate of his character and to determine with far more accuracy than the general public, which receives its information through imperfect newspaper reports and biased court testimony, how much truth lies in the accusations which were recently given publicity. We recognize that very unkind and evil coloring has been given to some of our pastor’s private affairs which has no foundation in the facts as we know them, from the intimate acquaintance with him and his affairs which we possess.
Upon consideration of all the circumstances herein recited we hereby unite in a public declaration of our continued confidence in and esteem for our beloved pastor and brother, Charles T. Russell, recognizing him as the servant of the Lord, whose providence has placed him in the position he has occupied for so many years, and still occupies, for the dissemination of His Truth and the help of His people in the clearer understanding of His holy Word. We highly appreciate the lofty sentiments which withheld our pastor from going into details in public explanation of matters which were dilated upon in the recent action, which would have vindicated his course had he chosen to return railing for railing and evil for evil against those who opposed him. At the same time we recognized with great pleasure the justice displayed by the presiding Judge in the charge delivered to the jury, which, if heeded, would have had the effect of producing a verdict exactly the reverse of that which was rendered, and which would have cleared our pastor of all the aspersions brought against him.
WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
While knowing the steadfastness and continued faithfulness of our beloved pastor, we desire to encourage him by reminding him again of the grace of our Lord sufficient to sustain and refresh him in the entire matter, and to bring the chastening and refining effects out of the ordeal which undoubtedly Divine Providence intended when permitting that he should be subjected to the experience. We remember the assurance of the Scriptures that “these light afflictions which endure but for a moment work out a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen, for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are not seen are eternal.” While for the flesh it is extremely difficult to fulfil the Apostle James’ injunction, “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers trials, knowing that the trial of your faith worketh patience,” we are assured that the Lord will provide grace to carry out that ideal sentiment and to display it more and more fully according as the need arises.
We remind our beloved brother further that, as the Apostle Peter suggests, “Christ hath left us an example that we should follow in His steps,” and that the way which He has marked out for us is one of humiliation, suffering, trial, until the Pilgrimage of this life is finished and we are permitted to enter into the “rest that remaineth for the people of God.” Of our Lord it was said, “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to shame;” and the Master Himself declared, “It is enough for the disciple that he be as His Master, and the servant as His Lord; if they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?”
HIS LOYALTY TO THE TRUTH
The loyalty of our pastor to the truth, and faithfulness in the interpretation of the Scriptures, have drawn out our love to him and stimulated in us more and more the love of the Lord, the love of righteousness, and the love for all who are in harmony with those principles. We rejoice together in holding up the hands of him who has thus brought to us spiritual refreshment, and in encouraging him to press on in the fulfilment of the work which the Lord has committed to his hand, that he be not moved by the various afflictions and fiery darts of the Adversary which may be directed against him, but that
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having complete confidence in the Lord’s ability to perfect the interests of His own cause and His own people he may abide faithful to the Lord in all things to the end.
Dated this 5th day of May, A.D. 1906.
JOSEPH VERO. WM. BROSE.
E. F. ABBOTT. OTTO MENG.
R. H. BRICKER. CHARLES SPRINGER.
GEO. C. GARMAN. A. E. BURGESS.
BENJ. ROGERS. J. L. KIRKLAND.
J. D. WRIGHT. F. L. SCHEERER.
W. E. VAN AMBURGH. J. HUTCHINSON.
A. E. WILLIAMSON. R. H. HIRSH.
F. W. WILLIAMSON. J. H. GIESEY.
J. A. BOHNET. WM. MOORE.
EDWARD MAURER. J. H. BLACKMORE.
The two elders whose names do not appear are those of Bro. M. L. Herr, absent on Pilgrim trip, and Bro. Wm. M. Wright, absent “with the Lord.”
— July 15, 1906 —