Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Muddying the Waters


by "Jerome"

Since the introductory essay published in a post below strongly attacks the concept so favored by many writers, that CTR’s Bible Students were an Adventist offshoot, it seemed a good idea to republish an article that originally appeared on blog 2 about eighteen months ago. This is featured below without any revision or updating.

 Today, with all the documentation available to us, we can see more clearly the connections and differences between various developing views in the 19th century. If you lived at the time – particularly if you were an onlooker – it would be very easy to lump a number of disparate groups together under one label. Sometimes the groups in question didn’t help matters by the terms they used. The article tried to illustrate the problem, which can cloud judgments today.

 
At the outset, I must warn readers that this has little to do with CTR’s actual history. If it supplies anything at all to the project it will only be a footnote. However, it has often been erroneously stated that CTR’s main inspiration came from Adventism, whereas it has now been established on this blog that the Age to Come movement was far more influential. In view of this, it is interesting (to this writer at least) to see how the distinction between Adventist and Age to Come both evolved, and yet at times was blurred, in the latter 19th century – long after CTR had gone his own way.

Even researchers who acknowledge Age to Come believers have lumped them together as Adventists. A typical example is the thesis by the late David Arthur of Aurora University, ‘Called Out of Babylon,’ which discussed people like Marsh and Storrs under the chapter title ‘Age to Come Adventists.’ Storrs would not have approved.

As the Advent Christian Church became a denomination with a specific statement of belief, so Age to Come adherents found associating with them more problematic. Ultimately, people who had fellowshipped together – albeit uneasily – increasingly divided into separate parties.

A letter in The Restitution for July 28, 1880, called Adventists “half brethren”. Reading through some Restitutions for the 1890s, they weren’t even being awarded that backhanded honor by then.

And yet...

 
On the ground, there remained some confusion in the public consciousness as to who was actually who.

However, first – to illustrate how feelings within the Age to Come community became increasingly anti-Adventist, a few choice quotations from the Restitution from the 1890s:

From the pen of W.H. Wilson in Restitution for July 8, 1896, page 1: “There is a marked distinction between Adventists, and true members of the Church of God, who believe and obey the gospel of the Kingdom. With regard to communing with Adventists, I would say, what fellowship can obedient gospel believers have with those who destroy the gospel? We must be firm in the faith, yet kind and gentle to all men.”

Being a little more specific, one Ira R. Hall wrote in Restitution for August 12, 1896, page 1: “I had rather go into a place where they have never heard anything, than to go into a Crisis’ Advent community.”

A Crisis Advent community would of course be their former associates, the Advent Christian Church.

Such negative feelings were mutual. Another complaint from The Restitution for May 20, 1896, page 2: “We have a church here. They style themselves Adventists, but do not fellowship (with) us, so we cannot worship with them. They reject the glorious doctrine of the age to come.”

And yet...


For the public not directly involved with the protagonists, Age to Come people were still often lumped together with Adventists. A report from evangelist A.H. Zilmer preaching in Indiana in The Restitution for March 2, 1898, page 3, makes the comment “there is much prejudice against the Adventists, AS WE ARE TERMED (capitals mine).”

It may be that just preaching about the return of Christ was sufficient to confuse the masses, but there was also the problem of nomenclature. Surprisingly (for this writer at least) some Age to Come congregations still chose to call themselves Advent Churches into the 1890s.

A letter from J.S. Hatch in The Restitution for April 15, 1896, page 2, bemoaned the plethora of names in current use amongst Restitution readers: “I find in my travels in one locality they call themselves the Advent Church and in some the Church of the Abrahamic Faith, and in another Church of the Blessed Hope, and still another Soul Sleepers, the name the enemies of God call us, and some take the name of the One Faith. Is that right, brethren? Come, let us have one uniform name in all localities.” Hatch then makes a vigorous argument for them all to stick with the title Church of God.

What was this? Age to Come congregations calling themselves the Advent Church? Yes. One such congregation might have been one based in Philadelphia that was regularly advertised in The Restitution in the latter 1880s as The Church of the Second Advent. (For example, see The Restitution for December 5, 1888, page 4.)

Another culprit (if that be the right word) was a familiar name to this blog, John T. Ongley, who had been active in CTR’s home area in the 1870s. Ongley received a special mention in The Restitution in 1897 (August 4, page 4) in a letter from the Leader and Secretary and Treasurer of a newly established group. The letter reads in part: “We had the pleasure of a visit from Elder J.T. Ongley of Crawford Co. Pa....Before leaving he organised us in a body of ten members under the following rule of faith: - We the undersigned...identify ourselves as the Church of God, called SECOND ADVENT, in Batavia NY, organised this date, July 2, 1897, by Elder J.T. Ongley (capitals mine).”

Funeral reports from this era sometimes have Age to Come preachers speaking in what is called The Advent Church, but whether this was their own fellowship or as guest speakers for the occasion in Advent Christian Churches is not made clear.

Ultimately, time took care of the confusion. The different titles for congregations thinned down – at least slightly – and “Advent Church” slipped off the Age to Come radar. By 1903 The Restitution for January 28, page 1, could use the term Advent Church and define it with the comment “whose views of Bible teaching, is voiced, in the main, by the World's Crisis and Our Hope” – clearly now referring to the Advent Christian Church alone. The term Advent would be left with those who had embraced it from the start. As the Evangelical Adventists faded away, Advent without a Seventh Day prefix would generally refer to the Advent Christian Church and its papers like The Crisis and Our Hope.

During this time, CTR’s movement continued to grow – drawing fire from his former Age to Come associates, with any connections long since overlooked and forgotten. And CTR’s background was obscured by a lack of biographical information in his own writings. So, being charitable, perhaps some of the past researchers who did not have The Restitution paper available for consultation can be forgiven for missing out on the nuances of the situation.
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mr. Schulz's introductory essay

This is, of course, first draft and unrevised. But I like it, and he said I could post it as is. Comments welcome


Introductory Essay 

            It was once the fashion to introduce books similar to this one with an apology for adding another work to an already well-covered topic. We offer no such apology. The Watch Tower movement is one of the most controversial and most written about religious movements of the last two centuries. It is also one of the least understood and most miss-represented movements. There is no accurately presented history of the Watch Tower movement’s foundation years. This book exists because neither the friends nor the enemies of Charles Taze Russell have produced anything approaching a reasonably well researched and accurate account of the Watch Tower’s early years.

Despite a persistent mythology to the contrary, the emergence of the Watch Tower movement as a cohesive and separate religious identity owes far less to Russell personally than it does to the adoption of mutually agreeable doctrines. This process filled the years from 1871 to 1886. No one doctrinal choice marked Russell and a growing body of associates as unique. The collective did, resulting over time in a separate religious identity.

Friends of the Watch Tower and of Charles Taze Russell, the founder of Zion’s Watch Tower, have seldom passed beyond an uncritical reading of a biographical article published first in 1890, but a wealth of detail is available. A Russell-centric view overlooks the interplay of personalities and the debates that molded the loosely connected group a distinct religion. Russell’s friends have separated the spiritual from the mundane. Compartmentalizing history leaves no room for an accurate narrative. Worse, one recent writer whose book presents a largely favorable picture of Russell manufactured out of his or another’s imagination an entire narrative, almost none of which is correct.

Russell’s admirers put him in a historically untenable position. Even when presenting reasonably accurate narrative, they tend to create or perpetuate a myth. For many of them, Russell was God’s special instrument to restore vital truths. This apotheosis disconnects Russell from the realm of critical history. It presents a false picture of Russell, his associates and opponents. Even if one believes Russell was favored by God, no person of faith should pursue myth-building at the expense of carefully researched, accurate history. If God’s hand directed the Watch Tower movement in Russell’s day, would that not best be shown by a reasonably well-researched presentation of events that reconnects Russell to his environment? If Russell had a place in God’s work, mythologizing him hides it.

Opposition writers also manufacture, distort and misrepresent events. This is especially true of former adherents. Several examples come to mind. Some suggest Russell plagiarized Paton’s Day Dawn. One frequent though seldom accurate writer suggests that Russell stole the Herald of the Morning subscription list. One former adherent has turned himself into an Internet “troll,” posting in the comments section of any news article about Jehovah’s Witnesses that Russell was an Adventist. The claim of Russellite Adventism is common. Aside from the fact that this claim is wrong, we are at a loss to explain how having been an Adventist would tarnish Russell’s character. Russell was baptized a Presbyterian; he was a Congregationalist; he became a One Faith Millenarian with Age-to-Come views. He was never an Adventist. Only the intellectually lazy would associate him with Adventism.

Almost none of the published material meets an academic standard. Of those few books that do, none of them consider the founding period in any detail. All of them derive what little they say from a single article from the 1890 Zion’s Watch Tower with some additions from Alexander Hugh Macmillan’s Faith on the March. There is a consequent failure to grasp key events in the growth an independent religious movement. And there is a significant misdirection, because of the very narrow and contracted view of Watch Tower history found in the Russell’s 1890 article.

            Without looking further, writers have uniformly suggested an Adventist origin for Watch Tower theology. There were undeniable contacts with Adventism, and many of the early adherents came from the fractured Adventist movement. Researchers tend to focus on what became the Advent Christian Church, ignoring interchanges with other Adventist bodies, including the Life and Advent Union, independent Adventist congregations and Sabbatarian Adventists. The focus has been on the development of Watch Tower doctrine from Millerite Adventism. This is a mistake.

            As commonly told, Russell was introduced to Millerite Adventism by Jonas Wendell and other Adventists. Some suggest a Seventh-day Adventist connection, which is laughably ignorant. Russell is supposed to have adopted much of Millerite theology. Though he denied ever having been an Adventist he was one.  

This is wrong. None of Russell’s doctrines owe their origin to Millerism or any of the descendent Adventists organizations. Russell’s belief system, with a few key exceptions, was developed while in association with Age-to-Come believers, especially those in the One Faith Movement. This movement was most closely associated with The Restitution, a newspaper published in Plymouth, Indiana. Russell’s closest associates were connected to One Faith or some form of Age-to-Come belief. This includes George Storrs.

            Storrs was an independent Age-to-Come believer, abandoning Millerite Adventism in 1844. You will find some of that history documented in this book. Storrs and those loosely associated with The Restitution avoided organizational structure. The movement spoke with conflicting voices, but they held some key doctrines in common. They believed in a restored paradise earth without the fiery destruction predicted by Adventists. They believed that the prophecies, indeed all of scripture, should be taken as literal. The Jews would be restored because the plain literal sense of Scripture suggested they would be. They were divided on other issues. Storrs taught a Fair Chance doctrine that some called Second Probationism. A significant minority of One Faith believers followed this path. We will detail other differences between the two movements.

            There are several reasons why this part of Russell’s history is miss-represented.. Many of Russell’s contemporaries, particularly those outside the two movements, lacked a clear understanding of what Adventism was and how it differed from Age-to-Come and other pre-millennialist beliefs. One finds One Faith and Christadelphians described as Age-to-Come Adventists – a name they rejected. Because Adventists, Millenarians, and Christadelphians believed that Christ’s return was near, outsiders lumped them under the one name.

            While some of Russell’s contemporaries and some academic writers today confuse Age-to-Come belief with Adventism, the two parties did not. They saw themselves as distinct doctrinally. The decade of the 1870s was a transitional period for the Advent Christian Association. It was rapidly transitioning from a lose association having belief in the near return of Christ and good Christian conduct as the sole standard of association into a Church with more closely defined doctrine. Some who associated with them were ostracized and found new associates among Age-to-Come believers. George Stetson was one of these, though he died before a decisive break between the two bodies occurred.

            The division between Literalist and Adventist belief affected Watch Tower adherents. Subsequent tensions between Russell and Adventists derive from his Age-to-Come (also called Millennairan) belief system which was derived from British Literalism. These differences would serve as a sieve that would catch and remove from fellowship those who accepted other systems. Paton and his followers, many of whom had been Adventists, rejected Literalism, and this rejection of “plain sense” exegesis accounts for many of their differences. Arthur Prince Adams plainly says that his differences with Russell are based on his rejection of Literalist belief. Adams sought the “hidden meaning” behind the Bible’s plain words. He explained this in the introductory article to the first issue of his magazine: 

By Spirit of the Word I mean its real and intended meaning, in contradistinction to its apparent and surface meaning, or the “letter.” It is a common mistake among Christians to suppose that the Bible is written in very plain and simple language, and that the correct meaning is that which lies upon the surface – the most obvious and apparent sense. If I err not, the truth is just the opposite of this. The Bible often means something very different from what it says; there is a hidden, mystical sense that is like the pearl hid in the depths of the sea, the real jewel.[1] 

            This stands in stark contrast to Russell and his associates. They sought the Bible’s plain words. It is not our purpose to suggest he succeeded in that quest. That determination is best made by our readers. But we state the difference in theological perspective. It explains much.

Another reason Russell is seen as a closet-Adventist derives from un-reasoning opposition to his teaching. The name Adventist was seen as a pejorative. Adventists were uniformly seen as on the fringe of American religious life. Newspapers noted every passing and failed prediction, every supposed and real extreme among Adventists. The described as “Adventist” those who were not such. They manufactured events. Adventism became a hot-tar soaked brush for editors to use when news was sparse. Painting Russell with the brush of extremism is a fad among opposers.  There is, however, a real story behind the myth. One of our goals has been to tell the real, historically verifiable, story.

            We believe our research restores detail. In doing so, we believe that a clear understanding of events emerges. We examine the roots of Russell’s theology, tracing his doctrinal development to various individuals and publications. This dispels the myth that Russell and his early associations studied in a vacuum, independent of the commentary or exposition of others. We explore the doctrinal disunity among early adherents. How Russell and his associates addressed this explains the transition from mere readership to an ecclesiastical unity.

            There is a startling lack of perspective in most “histories” of the Watch Tower movement or of the antecedent and cognate groups. Advent Christians liked to claim there were thirty thousand adherents world wide. We could discover no valid basis for that claim and believe the number was much smaller. One Faith believers played a significant role in Watch Tower history.[2] They counted about four thousand adherents in 1880. Russell sent out six thousand copies of Zion’s Watch Tower’s first issue. Numbers dropped precipitously as real interest replaced hoped-for subscribers. Yet, by 1883 Russell could report fourteen thousand subscribers. The belief system reached England before Russell first published his magazine. There was an adherent in France in the 1870s. The message reached Germany in 1885, perhaps earlier. It reached Norway about 1880 via personal letters. This represented a social shift not just among millennialists but in American religion, and that makes this story important.

            The actors in this religious and social drama are archetypical. Of special interest to us is the self-view of the principal and many of the minor players. You will find N. H. Barbour who saw himself as God’s spokesman even if almost no one else did. He died with fewer than a thousand adherents by his claim, and realistically probably had fewer than two hundred truly-interested followers. You will meet Frank Burr who believed he heard Christ’s voice. There is John Paton who saw himself as divinely chosen, the recipient of divine revelation. There is Russell who believed himself divinely led, as God’s “special agent for special times.” We find Elizabeth [Lizzie] A. Allen who agonized over her life choices. We meet J. C. Sunderlin who because of war wounds became an opium addict, seeking relief in religion and a quack cure. Which of these you sympathize with will depend on your approach to this story.

            We leave issues of faith largely untouched. We’ve taken a historian’s approach. We will tell you what Russell said of himself and others. We will tell you what his associates said and did. We will not tell you that all this was guided by Holy Spirit or God’s own hand. That’s not a historian’s place. We will leave that analysis to your own their prayerful (or skeptical) estimations of themselves and others. We have avoided the trend among modern historiographers to analyze motives. We’ve borrowed our approach from 19th Century historians who told their tales in detail, but with little commentary. So we owe much to Francis Parkman, H. H. Bancroft, and Israel Smith Clare, historians who within the limits of available documentations gave their readers detailed, largely accurate, narratives.

            However, we cannot entirely escape addressing motives. When required to do so, we limit ourselves to presenting them in the words or by the unambiguous acts of those involved. Russell is overly kind to Albert Delmont Jones. Jones was a disreputable man, a thief, a fornicator, a religious fraud. We tell that story here as much as possible from public record and his own words. Other scandals will appear. (We humans are prone to stupidity.) So you will read about William Henry Conley’s faith cure house, its pastor, his relationship to the women and girls associated with Conley’s faith-cure belief. There are others you won’t read about because we cannot verify to our satisfaction that there was real scandal. Suspicion attaches to one of Russell’s early associates and a young teenage girl. We tell as much of that story as we can verify. We leave the unverified gossip to the ebay posters, the Internet scandal mongers, and the conspiracy theorists and inept wikipedia writers.

            As perverse as it seems to say so, the endless divisions that we chronicle here resulted in doctrinal unity. They were key to the formation of an ecclesiastical unity centered on Zion’s Watch Tower and its editor, Charles Taze Russell.

 

***

           

            Watch Tower history as it has been written resembles Greek mythology. As with Greek mythology the stories are often told in conflicting ways. If you have ever read the myths of Pan’s parentage, you understand what I mean. In the Russell mythology there is Russell the saint and there is Russell the devilish, religious fraudster. We have limited ourselves to Russell the man. We deal with unfounded claims in each chapter. In the process, we probably offend everyone with a personal commitment to the myths. We have enjoyed bursting bubbles. Watch the footnotes carefully. We detail false claims in footnotes where we do not always do so in text. We’ve been even handed in this. You will find us faulting claims made by true believers and by opposition polemicists.

            The first chapter considers Russell’s youth. Several key ideas and some minor statements fall to research. Unlike a Bible Student writer, we do not chronicle Russell as the modern-day Samuel, destined to be God’s special servant in the last days. We do not question his belief. This is not about belief. It’s about accurately told history. So, while we recount what his mother said, we keep it in the context of real, verifiable events. Others can put these events in the context of their belief systems, and we may hold to belief systems of our own. But we only tell the story as we can verify it, and we do that largely through Russell and his contemporary’s own words supplemented with documentary evidence.

An endless amount of incorrect material is out there. That it exists is a personal irritant. In many ways, writing this history has been a salve to my irritation derived from the misguided, sometimes purposely incorrect, and incurious approach of others. I do not care if you hate or adore Russell. I do not care if you see any of the descendant religions as God’s authoritative voice to humanity. We’ve written this book to present accurately research history that meets academic standards. Our goal is to tell the history in detail so that all the trends, events and outcomes make sense.

            Mythology replaces history when lack of curiosity is coupled by lack of thorough research. Among Russell’s modern-day friends this is especially pronounced. A number of letters passed between us and institutions representing descendant religions. In a nearly uniform way, they focus on Russell, express lack of interest in anyone else, and simply do not look for detail. This distorts the history. Russell did not function in a vacuum. He was influenced by his friends, by his enemies, by what he read and experienced. These details are recoverable. The biographies of his early associates are available to a determined researcher. The “brothers” Lawver, Hipsher, Tavender, Myers, and a host of others who receive more or less mention in Zion’s Watch Tower were living people who had a physical and spiritual presence in Russell’s life and an effect on his beliefs. There are many others, some of considerable but forgotten prominence, who significantly contributed to Watch Tower history and to the development of a unified body of believers. But where are Aaron P. Riley or the small group in West Virginia who withdrew from the Church of Christ to form a congregation? Not in any history of the Watch Tower of which we are aware. Why is Calista Burk Downing a name without biography in histories of Zion’s Watch Tower?

            Probably there are several reasons why the Watch Tower story hasn’t been told with nay sort of depth. Lack of curiosity is a prime one. Past exchanges with interested parties elicited comments such as, “Thank you for the photocopies. We’re only interested in Russell himself.” This approach is part of the Saint Russell myth. Time and circumstances have wounded this approach so that some who sustained it in the past are no longer able to do so.

The other major problem has been lack of resources. The resources we use to reclaim the biographies of Russell’s earliest associates and to restate their place in Watch Tower history have always been out there. They are somewhat easier to find now than they were twenty years ago. But individuals and organizations with more resources than we have could have found them if they had the curiosity to pursue the matter.

Attachment to a religious mythos in preference to accurately told history has stifled curiosity. We have encountered a certain amount of fear and resentment while writing this book. A university professor who is writing a competing book strongly objected to our consideration of One Faith belief because it undermines his premise. Another writer fears that we will refute a story they wish to tell. A Bible Student expressed considerable discontent that we do not present Russell as the God-directed Faithful and Wise Servant. We’re writing history, not religious commentary. One person of considerable talent as a writer, though he is published anonymously, suggested that this history might show his religion as other than the Truth. Truth rests with God. Truth is never embodied in his human servants simply because they are human.

            Another issue we address, though on a limited scale, is the disconnect between the lives of Russell and his associates and the world they lived in. The only redeeming feature of a recently published biography of Russell is the author’s attempt to reconnect to contemporary history. Russell was born into a world without flush toilets. In court testimony someone tells of carrying “the slops” through Bible House to drop them down a drain. I’m old enough to remember my stay in a forty room mansion in Ohio where the only facilities were a two-door wooden outhouse. Most of our readers aren’t that old. Russell was born into a world of no garbage collection, where the streets were rank with filth. He walked down streets littered with the leavings of draft animals and their owners. He was taught by teachers who were outnumbered by students one hundred to one, who had little education of their own and few resources to improve what they had.

           We are disconnected from the social issues of Russell’s day. Allegheny City and Pittsburgh were by reputation better, more peaceful cities than some of the more easterly American cities. Yet, they were filled with prostitution (we give details) and violence. A gruesome murder took place just doors from the Russell’s home. The Western states were subject to Native American uprisings and brutal repression. The period from the 1870s to the 1890s was one of re-occurring financial depression. Shoeing the feet of children was a major concern and a major expense. Scandal was the norm in politics. People were willing to see the period as “the last days” because it was violent, politically unstable, and seemed very much to be exactly what Jesus had predicted.

            An English writer described Allegheny City and Pittsburgh in terms of the industrial area of Staffordshire. Writing in 1859 he said that “there are the same red brick housed and workshops, the same smoke, the same uneven streets – from the heavy weights drawn over them – and at night, the glare of the iron furnaces at work.” The houses were built “close up to the very tops of the hill-sides, and presenting something of the appearance which the old town of Edinburgh does when viewed from off the Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat.” Pittsburgh and Allegheny City were large, rambling, ill designed places. In 1853 the combined population was about one hundred ten thousand. It was an area of churches. We detail Russell’s associations with several denominations.

 

***

This was the era of Louisa Alcott’s Little Women. Read it. It will help you connect to the age we consider. Pay attention to the details. Note the cold, rat-infested house; consider the poverty, the infant mortality, the approach to morals and religious infidelity. The era in which these events transpire is both familiar and alien. This was an era of invention. The telephone was a marvel. Cities were electrified, but most homes were without electricity. They had gas if there were fortunate, oil lamps or candles if not. Few saw a telephone. The Penny press and letter from friends connected one to the outside world.

            The American west was still the Wild West. The year Russell met Jonas Wendell the first transcontinental rail tracks were joined at Promontory Point, Utah. New and more powerful steam engines were marvels. Indian wars replaced the Civil War. When the Allegheny Bible Study Class was re-examining old belief, grasshoppers plagued Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, eating varnish off furniture, paint off houses and peaches to the pits.     War and rumors of war were everywhere. The Franco-Prussian was altered the face of Europe. Russia and Turkey fought, both brutalizing civilians, especially women and little girls. Fears of a general European war found a place in newspapers. Discontent and abuses in the Reconstruction South led to talk of a second Civil War. The United States had unsettled claims against the United Kingdom related to the Confederate raider the CSA Alabama. There was talk of war. An English parliamentarian suggested a test of arms. Cooler heads within the British government noted that while America maintained a severely reduced army, it had a million men trained to arms and baptized in blood. Any war with America would in high probability cost the empire the newly formed Canadian Confederation.

            Disasters beyond human control brought with them a sense of impending or wrought Divine judgment. Currency and credit manipulation by European banks, prominently the Bank of England, amounted to a quiet war against the United States. Credit manipulation brought consequences beyond those foreseen in boardrooms. Labor issues, oppressive working conditions and issues of social equality led to riot and insurrection. The year of Barbour and Russell’s grand missionary tour saw Pittsburgh burned and Federal troops engaged in battle with railroad workers. A large segment of Americans embraced protectionism. Depressions swept America and Europe. “Banker,” always a ‘dirty word,’ became a blacker pejorative.

            A pope died and another was elected. Many Protestants (and interestingly, some Catholics) saw the popes and the Roman Catholic Church as the embodiment of the more negative prophetic images. American Protestants watched Catholic affairs in that light. The pope was variously seen as the Biblical “man of sin” or the Anti-Christ. The Roman Church was seen as Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots. By the last quarter of the Nineteenth Century, a significant number saw Protestant churches as the Harlot’s Daughters. Interactions with Catholics were suspect and scrutinized as a possible fulfillment of prophecy. Otto von Zech, a German-born Evangelical Lutheran clergyman was expelled from the Ohio Synod in part for refusing to characterize the Catholic Church as Anti-Christ.

            Our ancestors were not (taken as a whole) stupid, nor were they more gullible than our contemporaries. But their frame of reference was different. While the shift to a secularist society had begun, most were still profoundly religious. Religion was a social and political power, influencing –sometimes irrationally – public decisions. If they were ready to believe what might seem to us irrational doctrines, we should note that the same tendency exists today, though more often expressed in conspiracy theory, political polemic, or ill conceived private and public policy. We haven’t improved; we have only changed focus. The characters in this history deserve a sympathetic consideration.

***

            This is a far different book than we envisioned. We anticipated a slim volume somewhat like our biography of Barbour. We believed the basic facts were known, though as presented by most writers the story lacked detail. As our research evolved, we made format decision, some reluctantly. Among the decisions we hesitatingly made was that leading us to present more or less extensive biographies of the principals. You will find most of those in volume one. We believe these biographical excursions are necessary for a comprehensive understanding of the Watch Tower movement’s early years.

 

B. W. Schulz

           

 

 

 



[1]               A. P. Adams: The Title of the Paper, Spirit of the Word¸ March 15, 1885, Finley Reprint Edition, page 6.
[2]               Most of our readers will be unfamiliar with the term. We explore One Faith/ - Age-to-Come belief in chapter two.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Edward P. Woodward

A some-time associate of Barbour's who later opposed Russell.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

If you were at the Cedar Point Convention in 1919 ....

you may have come home with this

The Emphatic Diaglott and the Watch Tower Society (revised)


by "Jerome"





(Note: I have been advised by the blog owners that an influx of new readers recently showed some interest in an old article of mine on Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott,, first published here back in 2011. That article was actually abridged from an original that only appeared on blog 2. So I am reproducing below the complete article. It has also been updated to document a known discussion between Wilson and a ZWT adherent that came to light since the original article was written.)


Although the Emphatic Diaglott and its publication by the Watch Tower Society come a little later than the period being researched on this blog, this translation had a major role to play in the early history of the Society.

This article will review that history briefly, but is mainly written to reveal who actually obtained the plates and gave the copyright to the Watch Tower Society in 1902.

Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott was first published in one volume in 1864 after being issued as a part-work starting August 1858 with Wilson’s journal The Gospel Banner. The version published by Fowler and Wells of New York was widely used by various Adventist and Age to Come groups, and the main Age to Come newspaper The Restitution partly grew out of The Gospel Banner. Wilson had been a friend of John Thomas, founder of the Christadelphians, but the two ultimately had doctrinal differences and split. While Thomas founded the Christadelphians, Wilson – although strongly anti-organization - had a major role in the founding of the Church of God of Abrahamic Faith. Today, the descendants of his group are usually called the Church of the Blessed Hope or Abrahamic Faith – a faction who did not join the Church of God General Conference in 1920.

Its connection with our history starts when one of Nelson Barbour’s readers, Benjamin Keith, hiupon Wilson’s translation of the Greek word “parousia” as “presence” rather than “coming”. This set minds working on an apparently failed prediction for Christ’s second coming in 1874. If the coming was an invisible presence (although that was not how Wilson would understand the matter) then their expectations had actually been fulfilled – but invisibly. This view ultimately became a major part of Charles Taze Russell’s belief system. (Hereafter abbreviated to CTR).

Once established, Zion’s Watch Tower Society highly endorsed the Diaglott. In Old Theology Quarterly for April 1893 “Friendly Hints on Bible Study and Students’ Helps” pages 9 and 10, the Diaglott is highly recommended as “another of God’s special blessings for our day...While we cannot say this work is perfect, we can say that we know of no other translation of the New Testament so valuable to the critical student – and this includes all to whom we write.”

Early copies had a note pasted in the front entitled A Friendly Criticism, which detailed some doctrinal differences between CTR and Wilson. While praising the work highly, the note drew attention to certain issues such as a personal devil, the pre-human existence of Jesus and his resurrected state - where the actual interlinear and Wilson’s own English version were not thought to harmonize.

At the same time, The Restitution paper carried an advertisement for the Diaglott each week for several decades.
 
Wilson died in 1900. Shortly after, in 1902, the copyright to the Diaglott was obtained for the Watch Tower Society, and they became its publisher for the next one hundred years. Anyone who wanted to obtain a Diaglott now had to contact the Watch Tower Society.

The journal “Christadelphian Tidings of the Kingdom of God” for January 2009 in its article “Reflections” commented on how some erroneously thought the Diaglott to be a product of Russellism. It explained that “the confusion probably arises because the copyright for The Diaglott was purchased in the early 20th century by an anonymous buyer who then donated it to the Watchtower Society.”

The article viewed the Watch Tower Society’s publishing the work as “a sad, ironic twist of history.” It stressed there was no evidence that Wilson ever came in contact with Millennial Dawn.

This conflicts with a claim made in Consolation magazine for November 8, 1944, page 4 which states “Mr Wilson knew of the truth, and it is reported that he at one time attended some of the meetings of Jehovah’s people, but disagreed on certain fundamental issues.” It must be said that this is unreferenced information written decades after events, and the words “it is reported” do not necessarily bode well.

What CAN be easily established today is that Wilson would certainly have known of Millennial Dawn and CTR. Wilson wrote for The Restitution almost up to the time of his death in 1900, and The Restitution regularly reviewed CTR’s works and activities. Wilson was also a special contributor to The Millenarian when it reviewed CTR’s Divine Plan of the Ages in February 1887. And a nephew of Wilson wrote a booklet attacking CTR’s theology.

There is also an account of several meetings between Wilson and ZWT Pilgrim J A Bohnet in 1892. Bohnet wrote up the experience many years later in an article on the front page of the St Paul Enterprise for April 4, 1916. He described how CTR had provided Wilson’s address, and how Bohnet visited Wilson several times at his home in Sacramento, California. Amongst other things they discussed CTR’s Friendly Criticism paste-in mentioned above. It was obviously amicable, but there was no meeting of minds – they remained divided on a number of issues including their understanding of the ransom and the pre-existence of Christ.

What does come out from their conversations as recorded by Bohnet is that reports that Wilson objected to CTR using his work so extensively were denied by Wilson. He was also asked point blank whether he was a Christadelphian? His answer was, “No, I am a member of no organized denomination.”
 
Much misinformation has been circulated over how the Watch Tower Society obtained the rights to the Diaglott.

The book “Jehovah’s Witnesses – A Comprehensive and Selectively Annotated Bibliography” published by Greenwood Press in 1999, is one such example. On page 61 it relates how Benjamin Wilson (or as it calls him, Professor Wilson) wanted to sell the rights to the Diaglott because he got into serious financial trouble, but blocked CTR’s attempts to buy them. CTR then used a third party to keep his name out of it, so that Wilson couldn’t stop him. When Wilson discovered CTR had obtained the rights by such a devious method he publicly claimed there were numerous errors in the Diaglott anyway and he was going to produce a revised edition. No supporting references are given for this story, there is no record of anything of the sort in The Restitution – as already noted above, this was a paper with plenty to say about CTR on other issues - and history records that Wilson had been dead for a couple of years when the rights changed hands. We can safely discount such anecdotes as fantasy – with an obvious agenda.

Returning to the above quotation from “Christadelphian Tidings”, their reference to an anonymous buyer harkens back to the Society’s own description of the event. The Proclaimers book on page 606 made the comment: “That same year (1902), the Watch Tower Society came into possession of the printing plates for The Emphatic Diaglott...Those plates and the sole right of publication had been purchased and then given as a gift to the Society.”

The original reference comes from the back page of the Watch Tower for December 15, 1902 (which is not in the reprints). In offering the Diaglott as part of a list of available publications, the blurb stated:

For several years a friend, an earnest Bible student, desirous of assisting the readers of our Society's publications, has supplied them through us at a greatly reduced price; now he has purchased the copyright and plates from the Fowler & Wells Co., and presented the same to our Society as a gift, under our assurance that the gift will be used for the furthering of the Truth to the extent of our ability, by such a reduction of price as will permit the poor of the Lord's flock to have this help in the study of the Word. REDUCED PRICES.--These will be sold with ZION'S WATCH TOWER only.”

So who was this earnest Bible student, anonymous friend and benefactor?

The answer was established in a court hearing in 1907. And it is not rocket science to guess who it really was.

In 1903 Maria Russell initiated court proceedings against CTR for what ultimately resulted in a divorce from bed and board – an official separation, but one where neither she nor CTR were ever legally free to remarry. Much hinged on the issue of financial support, and in April 1907 testimony was taken on CTR’s financial situation. Maria tried to establish that CTR still had considerable funds, whereas CTR testified that, bit by bit, he had already donated his assets to the WT Society. CTR was questioned at length about his financial affairs over previous years.

The Bible House had been turned over to the Society in 1898 and other properties subsequently – including the house Maria had lived in up to 1903. Now they were in 1907, CTR testified he had a small bank balance and an arrangement for board and lodging for the duration of his natural life.

However, the court testimony shows quite clearly that, back in 1902, and for a little while thereafter, CTR still retained direct control of funds in his own name. And in the details of this testimony he explained quite openly just how the Society obtained the Diaglott.

He stressed that the aim had been to allow as many as possible to obtain the Diaglott, and so had made it available on a not for profit basis.

Quoting from pages 204-205 of the transcript of the April 1907 hearing, CTR said (and CAPITALS MINE):

“We publish also a brief New Testament, with an interlinear translation in English, and the marginal translation. It was published originally and for many years, for 30 or 40 years, by Fowler and Wells, of New York. THE PLATES WERE PRESENTED TO THE SOCIETY BY MYSELF. The Society had certain corrections made in the new plates etc., as they were considerably worn, and the edition which Fowler and Wells retailed at $4.00 and wholesaled at $2.66 – 2/3 the Society is now publishing at $1.50 per copy, and it includes postage of 16 cents on this, and as they are nearly all purchased by subscribers to the Watch Tower it goes additional with each volume, and in his subscription to the journal; that is to say, that the Watch Tower for the year and this book that was formerly sold for $4.00 go altogether, with postage included, for $1.50, WITH THE VIEW OF INTERESTING PEOPLE IN THE WATCH TOWER PUBLICATION, and permitting the Watch Tower subscribers to have the Diaglott in every home possible.”

So before CTR donated his remaining assets to the Watch Tower Society, he was able to donate the plates personally to the Watch Tower Society.

The repairs to the plates extended the life of the Diaglott, and the new price made it more accessible to the public. In addition, throwing in a year’s Watch Tower subscription as part of the deal was adroit proselytizing. For instance, any newcomers to the world of The Restitution who wanted a Diaglott (or wanted just to replace a copy), now had to approach the Watch Tower Society for one. It was perhaps not surprising that attacks on CTR’s theology intensified in The Restitution in the early 20th century.

However, this leaves us with the question: Why did CTR chose to remain anonymous, referring instead to a nameless benefactor?

It is here this writer is on shaky ground, because we have no direct way of knowing. But I can suggest two reasons why CTR might have done this.

First, there are his comments in the booklet A Conspiracy Exposed and Harvest Siftings published in 1894.This detailed CTR’s recent difficulties with certain individuals. One was an Elmer Bryan, who made certain accusations against CTR and brought two other brothers (H Weber and M Tuttle) to see him to apply the steps of Matthew 18:15-17. As recorded in the booklet, Brothers Weber and Tuttle heard both parties out and came to the conclusion that Bryan’s accusations were ridiculous. One involved the use of the pseudonym Mrs C B Lemuels (of behalf of Maria Russell) in advertising material some years previously. In dispatching this criticism, CTR said on page 45: “Besides, I bring my own name as little into prominence as possible. This will be noticed in connection with everything I have published – the O(ld) T(heology) Tracts, the DAWNS, etc.”
 
Looking at the tract series and early editions of the Dawns (Studies) one would be hard put to discover the author. CTR indeed kept quite a low profile. In some respects this was to change when the newspaper sermon work got off the ground. Newspapers wanted personalities and CTR reluctantly became one. But that was further down the line.

But that basic desire to keep a personal name out of matters may have influenced CTR’s decision to donate the Diaglott without claiming personal credit.

A second related reason may be tied to another comment from A Conspiracy Exposed, this time page 40. In connection with a business matter, CTR made the comment that he “preferred to avoid any unnecessary notoriety.” Had the world known that CTR had bought the plates and the rights from Fowler and Wells, there could have been uproar in certain quarters. This writer would theorize that if various Age to Come groups who used the Diaglott knew for certain that CTR had personally brought their baby under his control – and now would only make it available with a year’s worth of his journal – promoting his brand of heresy as they saw it – then cries of “Foul” and “Unfair” would ring out loud and clear.

There would be rumbles whatever happened, but no name – no direct blame. An anonymous benefactor leading to a publishing organisation generously providing the volume at reduced cost to all was far better P.R.
 
In fact, CTR did the public a great service. He rescued the Diaglott from potential oblivion with the state of the plates as they were. Then that reduction from $4.00 to $1.50 was well worth having. And for around a hundred years thereafter, the Watch Tower Society made this translation readily available to all. Ultimately the copyright expired and the Society’s inventory dwindled. Since 2004, groups like the Abrahamic Faith Beacon Publishing Society published their own version and viewed the translation as “coming home”. Interestingly, the modern versions published have retailed at a far higher price than the Watchtower Society ever charged, even when they did have a fixed contribution for literature.
 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

How John Paton told it...




A transcription of a four page supplement issued with The World’s Hope for February 15, 1890. (Volume 8, number 4).

THE EDITOR'S EXPERIENCE AS A PUBLISHER.



FROM the year 1875 to 1879 my time was given to proclaiming in several states the principles of Bible truth as later developed in DAY DAWN. In the autumn of 1879, Bro. A.D. Jones, then of Pittsburg, urged me to write the substance of my lectures and have them published in book form, He said, “We need such a book, to give people who hear these lectures the evidence in permanent form, as well as to reach many who have not the opportunity of hearing; and I am convinced that you are the one to write it. Have you not thought of writing such a book?”
I confessed that I had thought of it, having realized the need of it in my work, and having often been moved in spirit to write these things, but had never ventured even to speak of it, because, for certain reasons, it seemed impracticable.
“Are the reasons of a financial nature?” he asked.
I admitted that such was the case; that being dependent on the fruit of my labor for the support of myself and family, I had no means to invest in publishing.
“Well,” he said, “I am willing to publish such a book, paying all the expenses, if you will write it.”
It seemed to be of the Lord, and after further deliberation, I decided to make the effort. I left off traveling, except to fill my regular Sunday appointments, and devoted myself five days in each week to writing for the book, and in about seven weeks, DAY DAWN was ready for the press. Then followed the care of proof-reading, while it was being printed.
The book was completed and ready for circulation about the month of May, 1880. This was the first edition of which 4,000 copies were printed. It was arranged that I should have all the books I could sell, and that we would give them to the Lord’s poor – those unable to pay. I disposed of five hundred copies, but always found it easier to give, than to sell. The book was freely advertised in Zion’s Watch Tower, for which I was then a constant writer, but for some reason my Post Office address was not given, so that orders for the book did not come to me as a result of that advertising.
The first edition was mainly all disposed of in less than two years. My publisher came to Almont in August 1881, and said that we should soon need another edition, and offered to publish it on the same terms as before. To this I consented, as I was still unable to publish it myself. He suggested that I should revise the book, making such changes as seemed best to myself. Since sending out the first edition, by a careful examination of the Word, my mind had undergone a change as to the nature of Christ’s sacrifice, and the Atonement. I did not deny the Ransom, as some have positively affirmed, but only denied the correctness of their, and my own former theory of the matter. I now saw that the idea of Substitution, or that Christ died instead of mankind, was unscriptural and untrue, as we all die. The unity of Christ, as the Second Man, with the whole race, I saw to be the Apostolic idea, so that all died and rose in him. So this fundamental and vital union with Christ, as the basis of a practical and experimental at-one-ment with, or reconciliation to God, took the place of substitution in DAY DAWN, when revised. Out of this Scriptural idea that Christ is the “Head of every man,” and that all were reconciled to God in him, grew the idea that every man would, indeed must, in due time, be personally and practically reconciled to God through him. These two ideas, related to each other as cause and effect, and clearly sustained by many Scriptures, constitute the chief, if not the only, difference between the first and second editions of DAY DAWN. Those who understand the position taken, can see that so far from ignoring or belittling Christ as the Redeemer of men, it emphasizes his work as the Life-Giver, so that, “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
About the time of the revision of DAY DAWN, my articles, on account of the change above noted, were excluded from the columns of Z.W.T., its Editor regarding the doctrine as a dangerous and “damnable heresy,” and those who accepted this change as unpardonable sinners, and therefore doomed to annihilation at death. I personally endeavored to disabuse the brother’s mind of such a great misconception of the idea; but it seemed of no avail.
About the same time, for some other reason, my publisher had also been shut out from the pages of Z.W.T., and the publication of Zion’s Day Star had commenced. Its Editor requested me to write for his paper. This I did for a few issues, but to my great surprise, an article on the “Atonement,” was rejected and returned. What counsels led him to such a conclusion, I did not know. But I could feel that a crisis had come. It was not pleasant to be misunderstood, and thus treated by brethren, but having the assurance that I was right, none of these things moved me, and I quietly awaited the issue.

Soon my publisher sent me word that he wanted to see me in reference to the republication of DAY DAWN, and suggested that we meet at Dansville, N.Y. As this matter of republication had been arranged at the time of his visit to Almont, before the re-writing of the book, which was now done, I thought I knew what this proposed visit meant. We met at Dansville in the early winter, in the presence of two others, and after canvassing the situation for about twenty-four hours, I was informed that he could not conscientiously publish the revised edition.
This was a heavy blow; but dark as it then seemed, I have had great reason many times since then to thank the Lord for that decision. I returned home feeling somewhat sad, but not overwhelmed. I said to my wife, “It seems that the Lord does not want me to have the book republished, and if so, I do not want to have it done.” Here the matter rested for several weeks, nothing being said about it by me. Being in Detroit, preaching, I called on a brother who was somewhat interested in my work, and in the course of our visit he said,
“Brother Paton, I understand that you are going to have DAY DAWN republished.”
“No,” I answered, “that has been given up.”
“What does that mean?” he asked, looking up with marked surprise.
I answered, “My publisher has refused to do it.”
“On what ground?”
“On account of my change of view on the Atonement.”
“Then publish it yourself.”
“That,” I replied, “is easier said than done.”
“But why not do it yourself?” he persisted.
The answer was candid: “The want of means.”
Think of my surprise when he replied, “Go ahead and publish it in your own name; I will furnish the means.”
Thinking this might be an impulse of his kind heart, expressed without due consideration, and without knowledge of the amount of money required, and that he might regret it, I said, “You surely do not realize what you are offering; you have no idea how much it would cost.” To which he earnestly replied,
“I do not care how much it costs.”
Still thinking he might be surprised at the amount, I told him it would require a direct outlay of not far from $800.00.
His reply was, “Is that all? Go ahead and do it and I will run all risk of getting it back.”
This seemed another Providential opening, and I acted accordingly. The book was published forthwith. I may say, the brother never seemed to regret his offer. He supplied me with the money as fast as it was needed, but, as two others, learning of the facts, wanted to carry part of the burden, he was only required to furnish half the amount named. He would not even take a note of hand, and refused to take any interest at the final settlement. One of the other two furnished about $300.00, and afterward said, “I do not want you to pay any of it back to me, but let it go to furnish the poor free, and to help support your family as the books are sold.”
This edition was only 3,000, and yet it has taken much longer to dispose of it than the other. This has been partly due to the want of a means of advertising the book among those who knew me, and who were interested in such matters; and, no doubt, in part to the confessed effort on the part of the editor of Z.W.T. to hide the revised edition by publishing a false statement that DAY DAWN was out of print, and by the promise of a similar book, with a similar name; - which promise after several years of waiting was fulfilled. It is not the first time that a strong-willed and earnest man has done evil that a supposed good might come of it, or “verily thought he was doing God’s service,” when persecuting those preaching or holding advanced truth. And God overrules even the wrath of man for good. I rejoice in the assurance that the book with a similar name, Millennial Dawn, as well as Z.W.T., is doing much good, reaching many we could not reach, and leading them to the knowledge of the same general plan as that advanced in DAY DAWN, and causing many to go in advance of their teacher, even to accept the larger hope as proclaimed by DAY DAWN and THE WORLD’S HOPE. I have many evidences of this.
I would not mention these unpleasant points only that they seem so intimately connected with this “Experience,” and show some of the difficulties over which the Lord has brought us.
After the publication of the revised edition of DAY DAWN, in the summer of 1882, many friends urged me to publish a periodical, as a means of spreading the gospel as I understand it. This too was a silent ambition or earnest desire of my own heart, but I waited for the moving of the waters. I wanted to be led by the Lord in the matter, and I have long believed that the Lord in such things often moves through his people. I waited to hear through them in whom I had confidence, what he would have me do in the matter, assured that if he would have me publish a paper, he would through them furnish the means.
Finally one brother said, “Brother Paton, I think you must publish a paper. These things are too good to be kept all to ourselves. And now I make you this offer. If you will go ahead and publish a paper, sending out samples to as many as possible, I will furnish means, if necessary, to the extent of $1,000.00 for the first year.”
Knowing that his heart was in the offer, and that he had the means at his command, I accepted the suggestion as of the Lord, and began at once to make the arrangements needed. But another trial of faith awaited me: for just when the first payment was needed, the brother was laid upon a bed of sickness, and for about four months was unable to do any business, or even to talk about these things.
Again I said to my wife, “It seems as if these plans are to be frustrated.” She answered, “Well, if the Lord wants the paper, he will furnish the mean: and if otherwise, better stop now, than after you have gone further.” To this I agreed, and rested the matter there.
But it was not allowed to rest long. In about two weeks, a letter came from a brother, unknown personally to me, who lived in Illinois, asking me to visit his place and give a course of lectures. Soon after we met, he said,
“Do you know why I sent for you? It was not only to hear you; there is another matter that controlled me. We want a paper, and I think you are the man to publish it. Have you ever thought of such a thing?”
I said I had thought of it, but that it did not seem practicable. And he said, “Why?”
I was cautious in my reply, being anxious to know what the Lord had been doing with him. He was persistent:
“Is the difficulty a financial one? Would you publish a paper if you had the means?”
I finally admitted that I would. He then said:
“I think we must have such a paper as you would publish, and I think there are others who will help; but if it would start you in the work, I have $500.00 for you at once.”
I then told him what had been done, and how the work had been suspended. He had been moved in the matter just in time to help out of the difficulty. From that event, THE WORLD’S HOPE began to be published, and I have never doubted that I was doing the Lord’s will in the matter.
The sick brother recovered, and though it was not necessary for him to give as much as he had offered, yet for years he gave liberally, to support this cause, and to send the good tidings free to the poor. His heart is still in the work, but by a peculiar turn of affairs, he has not, for the past year, been able to give as before. This was another trial of faith; but still the means have been supplied from other sources, and the poor are still being fed.
The HOPE has now been published over seven years. For three years it was a monthly, and the printing was done away from home. Then it was thought best to make a semi-monthly, and to print it at home. The means were supplied to buy type, printing press, paper-cutter and other furniture for the office. And the editor and his family, (with some other help) have learned the printer’s trade, so far as this work requires.
There have been many little incidents of interest, that have been encouraging to faith. Some may seek to account for these things as accidental; but it has become easier to see the hand of the Lord in them. Some of these have been recorded. I will now record another.
The last thing of special importance with which the printing-office was furnished, was the paper-cutter. I had learned that a new one, such as I needed, would cost $80.00. But I found a second-hand one, that could be bought for $55.00. Soon after, a brother said, “Isn’t there something else you need in your office?”
I did not wish to tell him about it, as he had already done so much, so I said, “I think we are pretty well supplied.” But he was not satisfied, and said, “I cannot help thinking there is something else you need, and I want you to tell me, that I may help you.”
I then told him, but that I wanted to obtain the means in some other way. He handed me $37.00, and said I must take it, and I would perhaps get the balance somewhere else. I was a little surprised at the peculiar amount. I would not have thought of it had it been $35.00 or $40.00. On coming home, I received a letter from a brother five hundred miles from the other, and who knew nothing of the facts, and the letter contained a present of $48.00, - just enough, with the other, to make the $55.00 needed.
So many such things have occurred in our experience, that when doubts and fears arise, as they sometimes do, the Saviour’s words seem appropriate, “O, thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
These things are no evidence of infallibility either of doctrine or life. But the Lord uses and blesses imperfect agencies, to lead others into light. One earnest sister said, “I am puzzled to know why the Lord can so bless such a heretic as you are.” Would he so bless one who had committed an unpardonable sin?
For some time the idea has been suggested that another edition of DAY DAWN is needed, as nearly all are gone, and orders for them continue to come. This impression has been growing stronger, and yet just how it will be done, does not appear. The thought, as before, has been, if the work should be done, the Lord in some way will supply the means. Within a few days, the brother in Illinois, who was specially used for starting the HOPE, and who for years has been largely taken up with another branch of work, so that we have had but little correspondence, has again come to the front, to learn as to the need of the work, and proposes to aid in getting out a new edition of DAY DAWN, and also suggests a plan (given below) by which all who desire it, may help toward a larger circulation of the paper and books. And I have just received from a friend in North Carolina, ten dollars to help toward the new edition of DAY DAWN. It will not require as much immediate outlay for another edition as the last, because much of the work can be done at home. The sum of $500.00 will do about as much now, as $800.00 did then.
This, then, is our present attitude. It has been decided to begin at once; preparations having already been partly made; and to proceed with the work as rapidly as the Lord gives ability. We desire and expect his blessing on the effort, and we crave the sympathy, prayers and co-operation of all who believe we have the truth, and who desire a share in the work of making known the “good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people.” We do not dictate as to what any one shall do, or how they shall work, but hope each one will say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” And may he direct us all to his glory, and the blessing of many.
This experience is given by request, and as an illustration of some of the Lord’s ways. Believing that “Thus far the Lord has led me on,” I would thank him, and still go on with courage.
PLAN OF THE WORK
WE will endeavor to describe the plan of work which has been suggested by the brother before mentioned. Its object is to advertise and circulate THE WORLD’S HOPE, DAY DAWN and MOSES AND CHRIST, and to secure to each reader of the HOPE a copy of each book. We have decided to try it, as it seems right, and thinking it more blessed to try to do a good work and fail, than not to try at all.
The plan is to appoint each reader of the HOPE, who desires to co-operate with us in this work, an agent for the sale of the book, MOSES AND CHRIST, urging that each one who has not a copy already, will obtain one. Each agent thus appointed may do the work without even leaving home. To this end, let each one send us a two-cent postage stamp, and we will forward him a package of twenty envelopes and the same number of printed copies of a circular letter, to be signed by the agent and mailed to twenty persons of his own choice. The letter will advertise our works, and invite each one receiving it to send for a copy of MOSES AND CHRIST. If all the twenty respond, the agent will receive as his reward, a cloth-bound copy of DAY DAWN, and credit of a year’s subscription to THE WORLD’S HOPE. Thus each reader will possess both books. If all do not respond, the agent will be supplied with more letters, if he wishes, till twenty do respond; but a credit of nine cents will be given to the agent for each sale he secures, though all the twenty do not respond.
The package of letters sent out will all be numbered, and, in our account book, the number of the package will be marked beside the name of the agent to whom it is sent. Then if each agent will send us a list of the names and post offices to whom he sends the letters, and if each one receiving such a letter, and sending for a book, will return the circular letter to us, we can then give each agent the proper credit.
Each one sending for the book, MOSES AND CHRIST, may also send for a package of letters, and by acting as agent, obtain the reward of DAY DAWN and WORLD’S HOPE, like the others.”
By co-operating with us in this plan, many who have expressed a desire to do something in this cause, but knew not how, will have a good opportunity. Let this statement of the plan be carefully studied, and then let those interested, and who are willing to make the needed effort, send the two-cent stamp for the package of letters.
The prices of the books, postage paid, are as follows: MOSES AND CHRIST, in paper cover, 30 cents; cloth-bound, 50 cents; DAY DAWN, in paper cover, 50 cents; cloth-bound, 75 cents. THE WORLD’S HOPE is $1.00 a year.
ADDRESS: J.H. PATON, Almont, Mich.   (Feb. 15, 1890.)
“Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” – Eccle. ix. 10.