CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL, known the world over as Pastor Russell, author, lecturer and minister of the Gospel, was born at Pittsburgh, Pa., February 16, 1852; died October 31, 1916. He was the son of Joseph L. and Eliza Birney Russell, both of Scotch-Irish lineage. He was educated in the common schools and under private tutors. Author of “OBJECT AND MANNER OF OUR LORD’S RETURN,” “FOOD FOR THINKING CHRISTIANS,” “TABERNACLE SHADOWS,” “THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES,” “THE TIME IS AT HAND,” “THY KINGDOM COME,” “THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON,” “THE ATONEMENT BEWTEEN GOD AND MAN,” “THE NEW CREATION,” “WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT HELL,” “WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT SPIRITISM,” “OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS,” “THE PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION,” et cetera, et cetera.
He was married in 1879 to Maria Frances Ackley. No children blessed this union. Seventeen years later they disagreed about the management of his journal and a separation followed.
Reared under the influence of Christian parents, at an early age he became interested in theology, uniting himself with the Congregational church, and became active in local mission work. The doctrine of eternal torment of all mankind except the few elect became so abhorrent to him that at the age of seventeen he was a skeptic. He said, “A God that would use his power to create human beings whom He foreknew and predestinated should be eternally tormented, could be neither wise, just nor loving; his standard would be lower than that of many men.” He continued to believe, however,
in the existence of God, but was not willing to accept the commonly understood teachings as God’s revelation of himself to man. He turned his attention to the investigation of heathen religions, only to find all of these unsatisfactory.
Naturally of a reverential mind, desiring to worship and serve the true God, he reasoned, “All the creeds of Christendom claim to be founded on the Bible, and these are conflicting. Is it possible that the Bible has been misrepresented? It may not teach the terrible doctrine of eternal torment.” Turning again to the Bible he determined to make a careful, systematic study of it without reference to creeds of men. As a result the remainder of his life was wholly devoted to teaching the Bible, writing and publishing religious books and papers, lecturing and proclaiming the message of Messiah’s kingdom. He was the greatest religious teacher since St. Paul, and did more than any other man of modern times to establish the faith of the people in the Scriptures.
He was not the founder of a new religion, and never made such claim. He revived the great truths taught by Jesus and the Apostles, and turned the light of the twentieth century upon these. He made no claim of a special revelation from God, but held that it was God’s due time for the Bible to be understood; and that, being fully consecrated to the Lord and to his service, he was permitted to understand it. Because he devoted himself to the development of the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit, the promise of the Lord was fulfilled in him: “For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—2 Peter 1:5-8.
He clearly taught and proved his teachings by the citation of Scriptural authority—that man does not possess an immortal soul, that he is a soul and is mortal; that the wages of sin is death—not eternal torment; that death came upon man as the just penalty for the violation of God’s Law; that death means the destruction of man; that God, in his goodness, has provided the great ransom-price whereby man may be delivered from the bondage of sin and death; that God’s beloved Son, Jesus, became a man and grew to manhood’s estate, was put to death as a man and raised again from the dead a spiritbeing, possessing the divine nature; that by his death and resurrection Christ Jesus provided and produced the ransom-price for man’s deliverance and restoration; that Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man; that every man in God’s due time must, therefore, have a fair trial for life, and to this end there shall be a resurrection of all the dead; that Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and must come the second time; that the period of time elapsing between the first and the second coming of the Lord is devoted to the election of the members of the body of Christ, taken from amongst men; that the requirements for election to that exalted position are, full faith in the shed blood of Jesus as the ransom-price, a full consecration to do the Father’s will, and a faithful continuance in obedience to the Father’s will even unto death; that all who thus are consecrated and begotten of the Holy Spirit and are overcomers shall have part in the chief resurrection, and be exalted to positions in the heavenly kingdom of God and participate with Christ Jesus in his millennial reign for the blessing of all the families of the earth; that during the thousand-year reign of Christ all of the dead shall be awakened, and given a fair and impartial trial for life or death; that under said reign the wilfully disobedient
shall be everlastingly destroyed, while those obedient to the righteous rule of Christ shall be fully restored to human perfection of body, mind and character; that during this Millennial reign the earth shall be brought to a state of Edenic Paradise and made fit as a place habitable for perfect man; that man, fully restored to perfection, will inhabit the beautiful earth in all the ages to come.
Seeing that God has such a wonderful Plan for the blessing of mankind, Pastor Russell gave all of his power and energy to making known these great truths to the world. He never took a vacation; he worked until the day of his death.
Like other Christians he was looking for the second coming of Christ. Between 1872-6 he discovered that the Scriptures clearly teach that the Lord would not return in a body of flesh, but would return as a spirit being, invisible to human eyes, and that his second presence was due in the autumn of 1874. This led to the publishing of a booklet entitled, “The Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return,” which had a phenomenal circulation. Many students of the Bible throughout the United States and Canada responded to the information derived from that book, and his correspondence became voluminous.
Realizing the necessity of keeping the truth before the minds of those who had begun to investigate, in 1879 he began the publication of THE WATCH TOWER AND HERALD OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE, and was its sole Editor to the time of his death.
This journal is issued semi-monthly; it never publishes advertisements, but is devoted exclusively to religious topics. Among the English speaking people in the United States, Canada and Great Britain, its semi-monthly circulation is 45,000 copies. It is also published in Armenian, Dano
Norwegian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Roumanian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish and Ukrainian, reaching a large number of subscribers in America and Europe.
He was President of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY from its organization in 1884 until his death. He was also President of the PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION, organized in 1909, and the INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION, incorporated in London, in 1913, both of the latter corporations being adjuncts to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. Through these religious corporations, as well as by word of mouth, he promulgated the Gospel of Messiah’s kingdom. He was the author of the following publications, issued between the years 1881 and 1914, each having phenomenal circulation, as given below:
Food For Thinking Christians 1,450,000
Tabernacle Shadows 1,000,000
Divine Plan of the Ages 5,532,500
The Time is at Hand 1,878,500
Thy Kingdom Come 1,792,500
Battle of Armageddon 714,000
The Atonement 663,500
The New Creation 646,500
What Say the Scriptures About Hell? 3,000,000
He was also the author of WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT SPIRITISM, OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS, et cetera, et cetera. He was the author of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, which had been exhibited prior to his death to more than nine million persons. He wrote and published the SCENARIO of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, which has had a very wide circulation. His publications were translated into thirty-five
different languages. At the same time he was Pastor of more than 1,200 congregations of Bible Students, in different parts of the world. These he visited and taught as often as possible.
He organized and conducted a Lecture Bureau which constantly employed seventy Bible lecturers, who traveled and delivered lectures on the Scriptures. He organized and managed an auxiliary lecture bureau of seven hundred men who gave a portion of their time to lecturing on Bible teachings. Each year he wrote practically all of the copy for the BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, the annual distribution of which amounted to approximately fifty million copies.
His weekly sermons were handled by a newspaper syndicate. More than 2,000 newspapers, with a combined circulation of fifteen million readers, at one time published his discourses. All told, more than 4,000 newspapers published these sermons.
The Continent, a publication whose editor often opposed Pastor Russell, once published the following significant statement concerning him:
“His writings are said to have greater newspaper circulation every week than those of any other living man; a greater, doubtless, than the combined circulation of the writings of all the priests and preachers in North America; greater even than the work of Arthur Brisbane, Norman Hapgood, George Horace Lorimer, Dr. Frank Crane, Frederick Haskins, and a dozen other of the best known editors and syndicate writers put together.”
Pastor Russell adhered closely to the teachings of the Scriptures. He believed and taught that we are living in the time of the second presence of our Lord, and that his presence dates from 1874; that since that time we have been living in the “time of the end”—the “end of
the age,” during which the Lord has been conducting his great harvest work; that, in harmony with the Lord’s own statement, this harvest work is separating true Christians designated as “wheat,” from merely professing Christians, designated as “tares,” and gathering the true saints into the kingdom of the Lord. It is here interesting to note that Jesus said, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when He cometh, shall find so doing! Verily I say unto you that He shall make him ruler over all his goods.” Thousands of the readers of Pastor Russell’s writings believe that he filled the office of “that faithful and wise servant,” and that his great work was giving to the Household of Faith meat in due season. His modesty and humility precluded him from openly claiming this title, but he admitted as much in private conversation. For a more detailed account of his work, reference is made to THE WATCH TOWER of June 1st, 1916.
In 1910 Pastor Russell visited Palestine and Russia. He there orally delivered lectures to thousands of orthodox Jews on the regathering of Jews to Palestine. In 1911 he was one of a committee of seven who made a journey around the world and especially examined into the conditions of missionary work in Japan, China, Korea and India. On the same occasion he again visited the Jews in Palestine and Galatia, explaining to them that the prophecies teach that the Jews at an early date will again be established in Palestine. On his return to America he was given a great ovation at the New York City Hippodrome by thousands of Jews, his discourse on this occasion being published by Hebrew papers both in America and in Europe.
During the 42 years of Pastor Russell’s Christian work he never directly or indirectly solicited money.
No collection was ever taken at any meeting addressed by him or by any of his associates. He had faith that the Lord would supply sufficient money to carry on his work; that the work was the Lord’s, and not man’s. The fact that voluntary contributions
were liberally made by many persons throughout the world proved that his conclusions were correct.
He devoted his private fortune entirely to the cause to which he gave his life. He received the nominal sum of $11.00 per month for his personal expenses. He died, leaving no estate whatsoever.
Thus closed the career of a most remarkable man. He was loved most by those who knew him best.
Pastor Russell’s Will and Testament
Having at various times during past years donated to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY all of my personal possessions except a small personal bank account of approximately two hundred dollars, in the Exchange National Bank of Pittsburgh, which will properly be paid over to my wife if she survives me, I have merely love and Christian good wishes to leave to all of the dear members of the Bible House Family—and all other dear colaborers in the harvest work—yea, for all of the household of faith in every place who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus as their Redeemer.
However, in view of the fact that in donating the journal, ZION’S WATCH TOWER, the OLD THEOLOGY QUARTERLY and the copyrights of the MILLENNIAL DAWN SCRIPTURE STUDIES Books and various other booklets, hymn-books, etc., to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, I did so with the explicit understanding that I should have full control of all the interests of these publications during my life time, and
that after my decease they should be conducted according to my wishes. I now herewith set forth the said wishes—my will respecting the same—as follows:
AN EDITORIAL COMMITTEE OF FIVE
I direct that the entire editorial charge of ZION’S WATCH TOWER shall be in the hands of a committee of five brethren, whom I exhort to great carefulness and fidelity to the truth. All articles appearing in the columns of ZION’S WATCH TOWER shall have the unqualified approval of at least three of the committee of five, and I urge that if any matter approved by three be known or supposed to be contrary to the views of one or both of the other members of the committee, such articles shall be held over for thought, prayer and discussion for three months before being published—that so far as possible the unity of the faith and the bonds of peace may be maintained in the Editorial management of the journal.
The names of the Editorial Committee (with such changes as may from time to time occur) shall all be published in each number of the journal—but it shall not in any manner be indicated by whom the various articles appearing in the journal are written. It will be sufficient that the fact be recognized that the articles are approved by the majority of the committee.
As the Society is already pledged to me that it will publish no other periodicals, it shall also be required that the Editorial Committee shall write for or be connected with no other publications in any manner or degree. My object in these requirements is to safeguard the committee and the journal from any spirit of ambition or pride or headship, and that the truth may be recognized and appreciated for its own worth, and that the Lord may more particularly be recognized as the head of the church and the fountain of truth.
Copies of my Sunday discourses published in the daily newspapers covering a period of several years have been preserved and may be used as editorial matter for The WATCH TOWER or not, as the committee may think best, but my name shall not be attached nor any indication whatever given respecting the authorship.
Those named below as members of the Editorial Committee (subject to their acceptance) are supposed by me to be thoroughly loyal to the doctrines of the Scriptures— especially so to the doctrine of the ransom—that there is no acceptance with God and no salvation to eternal life except through faith in Christ and obedience to his word and its spirit. If any of the designated ones shall at any time find themselves out of harmony with this provision they will be violating their consciences and hence committing sin if they continue to remain members of this Editorial Committee— knowing that so to do would be contrary to the spirit and intention of this provision.
The Editorial Committee is self-perpetuating, in that should one of these members die or resign, it will be the duty of the remainder to elect his successor, that the journal may never have an issue without a full Editorial Committee of five. I enjoin upon the committee named great caution in respect to the election of others to their number—that purity of life, clearness in the truth, zeal for God, love for the brethren and faithfulness to the Redeemer shall be prominent characteristics of the one elected. In addition to the five named for the committee I have named five others from whom I prefer that selection should be made for any vacancies in the Editorial Committee, before going outside for a general selection—unless in the interim, between the making of this Will and the time of my death, something should occur which would seem to indicate these as less desirable or others more desirable for filling the vacancies
mentioned. The names of the Editorial Committee are as follows:
· WILLIAM E. PAGE
· WILLIAM E. VAN AMBURGH
· HENRY CLAY ROCKWELL
· W. BRENNEISEN
· H. ROBISON
The names of the five whom I suggest as possibly amongst the most suitable from which to fill vacancies in the Editorial Committee are as follows: A. E. Burgess, Robert Hirsh, Isaac Hoskins, Geo. H. Fisher (Scranton), J. F. Rutherford, Dr. John Edgar.
The following announcement shall appear in each issue of THE WATCH TOWER, followed by the names of the Editorial Committee:
ZION’S WATCH TOWER EDITORIAL COMMITTEE
This journal is published under the supervision of an Editorial Committee, at least three of whom must have read and have approved as TRUTH each and every article appearing in these columns. The names of the Committee now serving are: (names to follow.)
As for compensation, I think it wise to maintain the Society’s course of the past in respect to salaries—that none be paid; that merely reasonable expenses be allowed to those who serve the Society or its work in any manner. In harmony with the course of the Society, I suggest that the provision for the Editorial Committee, or the three that shall be actively engaged, shall consist of not more than a provision for their food and shelter and ten dollars per month, with such a moderate allowance for wife or children or others dependent upon them for support as the Society’s Board of Directors shall consider proper, just, reasonable— that no provision be made for the laying up of money.
I desire that the OLD THEOLOGY QUARTERLY continue to appear as at present, so far as the opportunities for distribution and the laws of the land will permit, and that its issues shall consist of reprints from the old issues of THE WATCH TOWER or extracts from my discourses, but that no name shall appear in connection with the matter unless the same is required by law.
It is my wish that the same rules apply to the German, the French, the Italian, the Danish and the Swedish or any other foreign publications controlled or supported by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY.
I will that a copy of this paper be sent to each one whose name has appeared above as of the Editorial Committee or the list from whom others of that committee may be chosen to fill vacancies and also to each member of the Board of Directors of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. This shall be done immediately on my death being reported, so that within a week, if possible, the persons named as of the Editorial Committee may be heard from, their communications being addressed to the Vice- President of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY—whoever may be holding that office at that time. The answers of those appointed shall be to the point, indicating their acceptance or rejection of the provisions and terms specified. A reasonable time shall be allowed for any one mentioned who may be absent from the city or from the country. Meantime the remainder of the committee of at least three shall proceed to act in their capacity as editors. It shall be the duty of the officers of the Society to provide the necessary arrangements for these members of the Editorial Committee and to assist them in their duties in every possible manner, in compliance with the engagements made with me bearing on this matter.
I have already donated to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY all my voting shares therein, putting the same in the hands of five Trustees, as follows: Sr. E. Louise Hamilton, Sr. Almeta M. Nation Robison, Sr. J. G. Herr, Sr. C. Tomlins, Sr. Alice G. James.
These Trustees shall serve for life. In event of deaths or resignations successors shall be chosen by the WATCH TOWER SOCIETY Directors and Editorial Committee and the remaining Trustees after prayer for divine guidance.
I now provide for the impeachment and dismissal from the Editorial Committee of any member thereof found to be unworthy the position by reason of either doctrinal or moral laches, as follows:
At least three of the Board must unite in bringing the impeachment charges, and the Board of Judgment in the matter shall consist of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY’S trustees and the five trustees controlling my voting shares and the Editorial Committee, excepting the accused. Of these sixteen members at least thirteen must favor the impeachment and dismissal in order to effect the same.
DIRECTIONS FOR FUNERAL
I desire to be buried in the plot of ground owned by our Society, in the Rosemont United Cemetery, and all the details of arrangements respecting the funeral service I leave in the care of my sister, Mrs. M. M. Land, and her daughters, Alice and May, or such of them as may survive me, with the assistance and advice and cooperation of the brethren, as they may request the same. Instead of an ordinary funeral discourse, I request that they arrange to have a number of the brethren, accustomed to public speaking, make a few remarks each, that the service be very simple and inexpensive and that it be conducted in the Bible House Chapel or any other place that may be considered equally appropriate.
MY LEGACY OF LOVE
To the dear “Bethel” family collectively and individually I leave my best wishes, in hoping for them of the Lord his blessing, which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow. The same I extend in a still broader sweep to all the family of the Lord in every place— especially to those rejoicing in the harvest truth. I entreat you all that you continue to progress and to grow in grace, in knowledge, and above all in love, the great fruit of the Spirit in its various diversified forms. I exhort to meekness, not only with the world, but with one another; to patience with one another and with all men, to gentleness with all, to brotherly kindness, to godliness, to purity. I remind you that all these things are necessary for us, necessary that we may attain the promised kingdom, and that the Apostle has assured us that if we do these things we shall never fail, but that “so an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
It is my wish that this my last Will and Testament be published in the issue of THE WATCH TOWER following my death.
My hope for myself, as for all the dear Israel of God, is that soon we shall meet to part no more, in the first resurrection, in the Master’s presence, where there is fulness of joy forevermore. We shall be satisfied when we awake in his likeness—
“Changed from glory unto glory.”
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL.
PUBLISHED AND DECLARED IN THE PRESENCE OF THE WITNESSES WHOSE NAMES ARE ATTACHED:
· MAE F. LAND
· ALMETA NATION
· LAURA M. WHITEHOUSE.
DONE AT ALLEGHENY, PA., JUNE TWENTY-NINE, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND SEVEN.
Oration at Evening Service
BY J.F. RUTHERFORD
Charles Taze Russell was loyal to God, loyal to Christ Jesus, loyal to the cause of Messiah’s kingdom. He was loyal to the core—yea, loyal even unto death. God has declared in his word that loving loyalty to him is the price of greatest riches. Pastor Russell has received his great reward. It is a wonderful thing to receive the approval of God, the great and mighty Creator of the Universe, the all-wise, all-powerful and allloving One. In his Book, the Bible, God has made favorable mention of certain men; and in every instance that favorable mention has been because of their loving loyalty to him and his cause of righteousness. When God’s record concerning the church is fully written, the people will find that Charles Taze Russell not only has received favorable mention from God, but has been born in Zion—a member of the royal family of heaven. (Psalm 87:6) The Psalmist has assured us that this is especially true of those who are faithful unto death. What a wonderful privilege it will be for the world to have the real truth concerning martyrs to the cause of righteousness!
We who have come into closer contact with Pastor Russell, and who knew him as he was, are privileged by the Lord to know these things in advance of the world. Happy is our lot to thus be favored of God.
Lives of great men stand as monuments in the earth. Silently they beckon to those who are hurrying on in the mad rush of human affairs, and say, “Stop and learn wisdom.” The greatest man that has lived since the Apostle Paul has passed from the earth. We have come aside this evening from the busy rush of this great city to pay tribute to the memory of Pastor Russell. Let us in calmness and sobriety seek to know why this man was great, why we say with such assurance that he had the approval of God.
God’s laws are fixed and unchangeable. To all of his intelligent creatures he says, “Obey My Laws, and receive My approval and blessing. Take a different course, and you will fail to receive My blessing.” Pastor Russell walked with the Lord in harmony with his law.
PASTOR RUSSELL’S SEARCH FOR TRUTH
Nearly sixty-five years ago, a child was born in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. his parents christened him Charles Taze Russell. His parents loved God and sought to obey him. The parental influence was good for Charles. They trained the small twig; and it grew in the direction of the Lord. Early he became a Christian.
But like other good, honest, conscientious Christian men and women, his parents had been taught the man-made creeds of the church nominal. Young Charles was taught that God is great and good, yet that He had made all men inherently immortal, and had provided a lake of fire and brimstone in which he would eternally torment all except a few whom He had predestinated should be saved. The honest heart of the lad revolted against such a horrible thing; and he in substance said, “I cannot believe that there is a just and wise God who would do such a thing to a poor, unfortunate human being.”
Forthwith he forsook the religion of the creeds; but while he was investigating other religions, his mind was turning to the Lord in an inquiring manner. Then he said, “I will study the Bible, and see whether or not it teaches that God has such an arrangement.”
True to his inborn character, he honestly and prayerfully searched the Scriptures. To his astonishment and joy he found that the Bible is God’s great word of truth; that God has a great Plan of Salvation, provided by him before the foundation of the world, which shall ultimately result in the blessing of human-kind. From the Bible he learned that God created the father of the human race—Adam, the first man—a perfect being, gave unto him a perfect wife, placed him in a perfect home under perfect conditions, and advised him that obedience to the divine law would enable man to maintain this condition of perfection; that Adam violated
the law of God and was sentenced to death; that he was then driven from his perfect home into the unfinished earth; that God permitted him to live for 930 years after he had been sentenced to death; that while undergoing this sentence, Adam for the first time exercised his power and authority to beget children; that by the law of heredity all of his children were born in sin and shapen in iniquity, and hence all came under the effects of the just penalty that had come upon the father—”that as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, so death has passed upon all men, for all are sinners”; that ultimately the whole human race would perish from the earth (death meaning destruction;) that man is a soul; that he does not possess one; that the soul consists of the body and the breath of life—the life principle—and these being separated, the soul is dead.
HIS SEARCH REWARDED
Then he learned that God had lovingly provided a Plan of Redemption of man from this condition of death—that God so loved the world that He gave his Only-Begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in him should not perish, but have life everlasting—that Jesus, having a pre-human existence as a spirit being, was made human and grew to manhood’s estate, in order that He, by the grace of God, might give his own perfect life whereby the purchase price would be provided for the redemption of Adam and all his race—that He died upon the cross and provided this price— that He was raised from the dead, no longer a man, but now divine, and that He ascended into heaven, there to use the merit of his human sacrifice according to the will of God —for the blessing of mankind.
Furthermore, he learned from the Scriptures that the Lord Jesus would return and establish a kingdom for the blessing of mankind; that in the interim between his resurrection and his second coming, God has been and is holding an election for the purpose of selecting from amongst men those who shall be associated with Christ Jesus as members of the royal family, and who, together with their head and Master, will be the instrument through which Jehovah will
bless all human-kind with the privileges of life, health and happiness; that the terms of this election are that everyone who desires to run for such a Prize must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and consecrate his life—his all—to the service of the Lord; that those who would prove faithful, true and loyal unto death would participate in the first or chief resurrection, and be made kings and priests unto God and unto Christ and reign with Christ for the blessing of mankind.
This wonderful story of the love of God thrilled the heart of young Russell. He readily and joyfully consecrated his all to the service of the Lord, and continued faithful in that service even unto death.
Charles Taze Russell loved his fellow-men. Seeing the great truths contained in the Bible, he said, “I must preach these to my fellow-creatures; I must use all my power to lead the people out of darkness, that they may see the love of God.” Vehemently he declared, “If the Bible does teach that eternal torture is the fate of all except the saints, it should be preached—yea, thundered from the house-tops weekly, daily, hourly; if it does not so teach, the fact should be made known, and the foul stain dishonoring God’s holy name removed.”
With a strong physique, a fertile brain, and a brave heart, wholly devoted to the Lord, he consecrated and used all of his power to teach man the great Message of Messiah’s kingdom and the blessings which it will bring to the world.
Early in his manhood he possessed a fortune of no mean size. He spent it all that the minds of men might be enlightened and their hearts made glad. Early in his battle for righteousness he spent, out of his own private fortune, forty thousand dollars in this great city of New York for the publication and free distribution of a booklet setting forth clearly the truth concerning the doctrine of the Hell of the Bible, that all might learn that Jehovah is a God of Love.
Other Christian people, sadly aware of the fact that they were not receiving spiritual food in the various churches to which they had attached themselves, had the eyes of their understanding opened by reading their Bibles in the light
of the explanation thereof given by Charles Taze Russell. Gladly they began to support him and the righteous work in which he was engaged. Without solicitation or invitation, they joyfully brought forth their money and said, “What can we do to have part in this glorious work which you have begun?”
More than thirty years ago, a congregation of Christian people formed at Pittsburgh, Pa., selected Charles Taze Russell as their Pastor; and he served that congregation continuously as Pastor to the end, being able, however, to visit them only occasionally since the removal of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY headquarters to Brooklyn several years ago. He wrote and published a series of books— STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES—in six volumes, which turned a great flood of light upon God’s word. Millions of these have gone into the homes of men throughout the earth, bringing gladness to their hearts. For more than thirty years he edited and published a semi-monthly journal, THE WATCH TOWER AND HERALD OF CHRIST’S PRESENCE, wholly devoted to the cause of Messiah’s kingdom. Be it known that this is the only publication on earth that has ever announced the presence of our Lord. The Lord Jesus promised that at his second coming, which should be invisible to human eyes, He would have one wise and faithful servant whom He would make ruler over all his goods to give meat to the Household of Faith in due season. Christians throughout the world who are familiar with the work of Pastor Russell readily recognize that he has long been that wise and faithful servant of the Lord.
The work grew to great proportions; and desiring that it might be conducted in a systematic manner and perpetuated after his death, he organized the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY—a corporation, the charter of which was written by his own hand and is admitted, by men who know, to be a most remarkable document.
Through this channel he has promulgated the message of Messiah’s kingdom to all the nations of the earth. Branches of this Society have been established and are maintained in the countries of Great Britain, Germany, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, France, South Africa,
Australia, and in many other parts of the world. his publications have been translated into thirty-four different languages, and millions of copies have been supplied free to the people by means of money joyfully contributed by those with him who love the Lord and his cause of righteousness and who are looking with joy to the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom.
Pastor Russell traveled and preached to the people throughout the world. He was elected Pastor of the Congregation at this Temple, and of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, of the London Tabernacle, of the Temple Congregation at Washington, D.C., the Congregation at Pittsburgh, the Auditorium Congregation at Chicago, the Congregation at St. Louis, Los Angeles, and those in many other parts of the world. These he visited at regular intervals, to encourage and comfort and help them. During the past few years his sermons have not only been heard from the platform, but have been published in approximately four thousand papers; and in practically every home of the United States and Canada Pastor Russell is known. He did a greater work for the cause of Messiah’s kingdom than did any other man that ever lived on the earth.
HIS DYING HOURS
A few weeks ago he started on a trip to the Pacific Coast, preaching every evening, and traveling throughout the remainder of the night and of the day. His last sermon he preached to the Congregation at Los Angeles; and being too weak to stand, he sat throughout the discourse. He left Los Angeles Sunday evening on his return to Brooklyn, and rapidly grew weaker. Seven hours before his death, addressing his traveling companion, Brother Menta Sturgeon, he said, “Make me a Roman toga.”
Using the bed sheets, Brother Sturgeon made a toga, which Brother Russell put on himself. He stood erect for a moment, and then lying down on the couch in his Pullman drawing room, closed his eyes, thus in symbolic language speaking of death. A great deal of the Bible is written in symbolic language, and it was quite appropriate that he should speak his last message in symbols. It is interesting here to know what a
Roman toga symbolizes: Augustus’ Poet Laureate, said, “It is by the toga that the royal nation is recognized.” The word toga means a covering garment (white robe). It was the official robe of higher magistrates, priests and of persons discharging vows, and was worn on special occasions, such as celebrating a triumph.
We are reminded of the last experiences of the Apostle Paul, who traveled with his beloved companion Timothy, whom he called his son—not a natural son, but, as St. Paul stated, he had begotten this young man in the spirit. Likewise Pastor Russell begot Brother Sturgeon in the spirit, in that he brought Brother Sturgeon to a knowledge of the divine plan. Shortly before St. Paul’s death he wrote, “I am now ready to be offered up, and the time of my departure is at hand; I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8) Our dear Brother Russell not only loved the appearing of the Lord Jesus, but above all men on the earth he declared the presence of the Master. Brother Russell was a very modest man and never exalted himself. It was exceedingly difficult to get him to speak of himself.
He chose, therefore, a symbol which we could afterwards interpret to speak practically the same thing spoken by the Apostle Paul. By wearing the toga Brother Russell in effect said, “I have fought the good fight; I have triumphed and shall be received as a member of the royal family of heaven.”
What a wonderful example and inspiration for the other members of the body of Christ this side the veil to earnestly strive to receive the approval of the Lord! This evening we see here lying, silent in death, the body which he so faithfully used to the last. But he is not dead! St. Paul wrote, “Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” (1 Cor. 15:51,52) God’s word points out that the resurrection of the saints would take place at the presence of the Lord and before the inauguration of his kingdom; and the Scriptures clearly teach
that this resurrection is now in progress; that our dear Brother and Pastor sleeps not in death, but was instantaneously changed from the human to the divine nature, and is now forever with the Lord—glorious reward for a true and faithful servant. It has been announced that he was to speak in this Temple tonight. God had directed otherwise!
Brother Russell had prepared a sermon to preach to you, and I am sure you will be glad to hear it. The lips of the body he used on earth are silent, but his words yet are spoken. By God’s grace it is my privilege here to be used, and to speak forth to you the message which he left. My friends, give heed, if you please, while I read this message to the church and to the world. Behold, how appropriate the subject:
PASTOR RUSSELL’S SERMON
“THE MORNING COMETH, AND A NIGHT ALSO”
The Night Was Long–Its Sorrows And Tears Were Many–God’s Promises Alone Illuminated It–The Morning Here At Last–A Wonderful Dawning–The Day To Be Still More Wonderful–Proofs All About Us Considered–A Brief Night–Of Trouble Settling Down–Already Begun In Europe–After It A Glorious Sunburst.
“Watchman, what of the night?…The morning cometh, and a night also.”–Isaiah 21:11,12.
“The literature of the world shows that intelligent men have refused to believe that the divine Purpose in the creation of our earth has yet been attained. Continually we find references to ‘the morning of the new day,’ to the ‘Golden Age,’ etc., etc. Yet not to the longings of men’s hearts, but to the promises of our God, do we look for real instruction on this subject. The Bible most emphatically declares that the entire period of human history thus far has been a night time.
“The Prophet David explains, ‘Weeping may endure for a Night, but joy cometh in the morning.’ (Psalm 30:5) Thus prophetically we are assured that there will be a morning whose glory, brightness and blessings will fully
compensate for all the dark shadows of the Night time past. Our text is another prophecy along the same line. The message of the Lord is, ‘The morning cometh.’ St. Paul writes that up to his time the world had been under a reign of sin and death, not under a reign of Righteousness and Life. (Romans 5:21) He points out also that the day of the Lord will come, and will come gradually, stealthily, taking the world unawares— ‘as a thief in the night.’—1 Thessalonians 5:1-6.
“All of the Apostles assure us that it is not God’s purpose to permit the reign of sin and death to continue forever. They tell us that the divine program is that Messiah, in the Father’s appointed time, will take to himself his great power and reign King of kings and Lord of lords—putting down sin and every evil thing, uplifting humanity and granting a divine blessing where for six thousand years there has been a divine curse.
The Bible writers explain that this does not signify a change in the divine purpose, but that God had planned this thing in himself from before the foundation of the world; and that although He had permitted sin to enter and death to reign, He had made fullest provision for the Redeemer to die for our sins and eventually to become the Restorer and Life-giver to Adam and his race—to as many of them as will accept everlasting life on the divine terms.
“The Apostles tell us that during the ‘night time,’ since Jesus’ death, God has been doing a special work— selecting from mankind a special class, a saintly few— ‘the church of the first-borns, whose names are written in heaven.’ These are not taken from any one nation or denomination. This ‘little flock,’ to whom it is the Father’s good pleasure to give the kingdom (Luke 12:32), is composed of all the saintly followers of Jesus, who walk in his steps in the narrow way during this Gospel age. Their experiences are to qualify them for association with their Redeemer in his Messianic kingdom. Their trials, their obedience and their sufferings for righteousness’ sake are to work out for these a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Suffering with the Master for the truth’s sake in the present life, they are to share his glory, honor and immortality in the
life to come. They are to be his joint-heirs in his kingdom. –Galatians 3:29; 2 Timothy2:11,12.
THE KINGDOM SUNRISE NEARING
“Amongst the Lord’s people even, few yet understand that Jesus distinctly teaches that the ‘Sun of Righteousness,’ which will arise with healing in his beams and whose light will constitute the new day, will be composed of the church of Christ glorified— changed from human to divine nature by participation in the first resurrection. Our Lord Jesus tells this in the parable of the Wheat and the Tares. He declares that in the end of this Gospel age all of the wheat class will be gathered into the heavenly Garner, and that ‘then shall the righteous shine forth as the SUN in the kingdom of their Father.’ (Matthew 13:43) We must not think, however that this signifies the church without the Redeemer, but must remember that Jesus is ‘the head over the church which is his body.’–Ephesians 1:22,23.
“How wonderful, how beautiful, how appropriate are the word-pictures of the Bible! No one but the Lord knew of the great divine plan. No one but him, therefore, could give these pictures of its development. In various terms and figures of speech the Bible attempts to give us a little glimpse of the glorious conditions of that day. The new day and the kingdom will be ‘the desire of all people.’ In that day the righteous will flourish, and evil-doers will be cut off from life. During that thousand-year day of Messiah’s kingdom, Satan is to be bound, ‘that he may deceive the nations no more.’ (Revelation 20:2,3) Landlordism will come to an end; for ‘they shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat the fruit thereof,’ but ‘shall long enjoy the work of their hands.’–Isaiah 65:22.
“The earth is to yield her increase. (Psalm 67:6) Streams are to come forth in the desert; the solitary places are to be made glad. The entire earth is to become like the Garden of Eden. It is God’s footstool, and He declares that He will make it glorious. It is not to be burned up with literal fire, as once we supposed. It is to ‘abide forever.’ (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalm 104:5) ‘He formed
it not in vain; He formed it to be inhabited.’ –Isaiah 45:18; 66:1; 60:13; 35:1,7.
WONDERFUL FOREGLEAMS OF LIGHT
“The most wonderful thing that the Bible tells us respecting that new day is that it will bring great intelligence and enlightenment to every creature. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the face of the great deep. (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14) ‘And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest, saith the Lord.’ (Jeremiah 31:34)
Ultimately every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess, to the glory of God. — Philippians 2:11; Isaiah 45:23. “What an enthusing prospect the Bible holds out before the church and before as many of the world as can exercise a measure of faith to believe! The world indeed sees to some extent that great blessings are coming; but just what these are and how they are to come mankind know not; for ‘the world by wisdom knows not God.’ (1 Corinthians 1:21) The worldly wise have rejected the Bible, and do not trust it as a Revelation from God. Thus the wise are caught in their own craftiness. (1 Corinthians 3:19) Their boasted wisdom ensnares them and blinds them to the divine revelation.
“Nevertheless, some of our greatest thinkers—Mr. Edison and others—are rapidly seeing that the world is just on the verge of the most wonderful inventions and knowledge, which will transform the face of the earth and the people thereof. They are corroborating the Bible unwittingly; for they believe it not and know not the character of its messages.
THE DAWNING BEGUN IN A.D. 1874
“Let us not stop now to discuss the darkness of the Night and its weeping. Let us awake, and take note of the fact that the dawning of the new age is already here. For the past forty-two years we have been in it and enjoying many of its blessings. But those blessings came so stealthily—’like a thief in the night’—that few recognize their import.
Some few have been calling attention to the fact that we have been in the millennial dawn ever since 1874.
“Bible chronology quite clearly teaches that the six thousand years since Adam’s creation have ended—six great days of a thousand years each, mentioned by St. Peter— ’a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.’ (2 Peter 3:8) Now the great seventh day, also a thousand years long, has commenced. We have been enjoying its dawning. It is to be a grand day! What wonder if the dawning be remarkable!
“It may surprise some to be told that the past forty-two years mean more to the world in increase of education, increase of wealth, increase of all manner of labor-saving inventions and conveniences, increase of safeguards and protections for human life, than did all the six thousand years which preceded them—many times over. The world has probably created a thousand times as much wealth during these forty-two years as during the entire six thousand years preceding. Yet these changes have come so gradually that few have noticed them.
FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY EVERYWHERE
“Forty-two years ago man labored from sun to sun; today we are rapidly approaching an eight-hour day. Forty-two years ago nearly all the labor of the world was done with sweat of face; today it is nearly all accomplished by machinery. Forty-two years ago the sewing-machine was just reaching perfection; today it is everywhere indispensable. So with the thousand household conveniences. So with nearly all of our sanitary and plumbing arrangements. So with farming implements. Reapers and binders, mowers, automobiles, gas engines, etc., etc., all belong to these forty-two years. In our cities the modern conveniences are wonderful. Solomon in all his glory never even dreamed of such things as the poorest human being in America may enjoy!
“Prophecies respecting streams in the desert and the wilderness blossoming as the rose are having fulfilment— not miraculously, but in harmony with the divine order of an increased intelligence amongst men. Artesian wells are being drilled, irrigating canals constructed, not only in the Western part of the United States and Canada, but also in
far-off Mesopotamia. The results are marvelous. Land previously not worth fencing is valued at $500 per acre today. The increase of knowledge has been supplemented by governmental arrangements for the distribution of that knowledge amongst the people.
The soils of various localities are being analyzed at public expense; and the tillers of the soil are given knowledge as respects what kind of fertilizers are required to bring satisfactory results.
“Under these conditions it does not surprise us to know that as much as 156 bushels of corn have been raised to one acre, and that 600 bushels of potatoes and over are not an uncommon record. Is not the Bible being fulfilled? Who can dispute these facts? What do they signify? We answer that they exactly corroborate the divine declaration which describes our day: Many shall run to and fro; knowledge shall be increased; the wise of God’s people shall understand; and ‘there shall be a Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation.’—Daniel 12:4,10,1; Matthew 24:21.
INCREASE OF WORLD-WIDE DISCONTENT
“We are in the morning of our text. Ah, what a glorious morning! How changed the human conditions from those of our grandfathers! How thankful the whole world should be! Paeans of praise should be rising from all the people of the favored lands of civilization; and helping hands should be outstretched to carry the same blessings to heathen lands. But is it so? Are the people happy and rejoicing? Are they appreciative of the new day?—of the gifts of divine providence?
“No! In proportion as the blessings of God have come, the discontent of humanity has increased; and unbelief, not only in respect to the Bible as the divine revelation, but in many instances in respect to the very existence of an intelligent Creator.
Notwithstanding the great increase in the world’s wealth, and the fact that there are some noble souls who are using their share of the wealth in a praiseworthy manner, nevertheless the general operation of the law of selfishness prevails; and all the legislation which has been enacted, or can be enacted, fails to restrain the
giant institutions—corporations —of our day, fails to hinder them from exploiting the masses in the interests of the comparatively few.
“Did God know all these things? What will He do about them? Will He bring in the millennial blessings, and risk that men shall take for granted that they have won the secrets of nature by their own wisdom and perseverance, and forget God entirely? Will they become more discontented? Would a Millennium of discontent be advantageous? What will God do about it?
THE DARK NIGHT ALREADY SETTLING
“According to the Bible, God foreknew the conditions of our day as we are now reviewing them; and in our text He gives a key to the situation—elsewhere in the Scriptures made very plain. Through the Prophet, God tells of the dark Night coming— after the morning dawn had been well ushered in—a dark storm-cloud just at sunrise.
This dark hour is described in the prophecy of Daniel, and also in that of our Lord Jesus, to be ‘a Time of Trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.’
“Bible students see this great Time of Trouble already beginning in the letting loose of the winds of strife in Europe. In the light of the Bible they perceive that the result of this present war will be the great weakening of the nations—of the governments of the earth—and increased knowledge and discontent amongst the people.
“The next phase of the Trouble, according to the Bible, is to be the ‘great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.’ (Revelation 16:18) This is not a literal earthquake, but a symbolic one—revolution.
Then the third phase of the calamity—the darkest of all—will be the symbolic fire of anarchy, which will utterly destroy our present civilization. Then, in the midst of that most awful Time of Trouble, Messiah, the great King, will take his great power and will exercise it, with the result that the raging waves of the sea of human passion will all be quieted, the fires of anarchy will all be extinguished, and the reign of Righteousness and Peace will begin.
MESSIAH WILL “MAKE ALL THINGS NEW”
“Cannot we see the wisdom of the great Creator’s Program? He has determined to permit mankind to convince themselves of their own impotency, of their need of a God, and of the fact that there is a God, and that his glorious purposes for humanity are revealed in his word. Ah, it is no wonder that the Bible speaks of that revelation of the Lord as the ‘still small voice of God,’ speaking to mankind through Messiah’s kingdom!
No wonder the Lord declares that ‘then He will turn to the people a pure Message, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent’!
“St. Peter gives us a vivid picture of the new order of things in Messiah’s kingdom. He says, ‘The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up;…the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved….Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.’— 2 Peter 3:10,12,13.
“The ‘new heavens’ will be the glorified church, consisting of Jesus the head and his bride class, selected from the world during the past eighteen centuries. The ‘new earth’ will be the new social order under the control of the new heavens. There will be no patching of present institutions, but a clean sweep of them by the fire of divine wrath preceding the establishment of the new order, wherein only that which is righteous, just, equitable, true, will be recognized.
“We recognize that such glorious things are coming— even though the world must necessarily reach them through the tribulation of the time of trouble. Happy are those whose eyes and ears of understanding are open now, and who are in such heart relationship with the Lord that he can make known to them in advance something of the riches of his grace, and show them how the coming troubles will work out blessings for the human family.”
PASTOR RUSSELL’S CHARACTER
In this dark hour upon the nations let the peoples of the earth hear this message and heed it as one from the Lord. For forty years Pastor Russell has set forth in his writings that this dark hour would come soon. He reached this conclusion based upon the word of the Lord. Behold, it is fully confirmed by the events we see. Let the Christian people of the earth, therefore, awake to the importance of the hour and heed the message—
”THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!”
“Arise and shine; for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is arisen upon thee.”–Isaiah 60:1.
Enemies? Yes; he had some—God pity them! Jesus had enemies who relentlessly persecuted him. I would not mar this occasion by reference to the enemies of Pastor Russell, but I know that he would be glad for me to speak anything that would help to open the eyes of understanding of those who are blinded to God’s purposes. Blind prejudice, based upon false accusations of enemies, has tended to keep some in the dark.
Truly it can be said that Pastor Russell’s character was and is without blemish. He was the cleanest, purest and best man I ever knew. his enemies sought to make him of no reputation. By insinuation—the most cruel of weapons–they sought to destroy his power and influence, and hence his work. They utterly failed. I feel constrained, under the circumstances, to read to you a paper signed by Pastor Russell.
In the year 1911 he was starting on a trip around the world. At that time the fiery darts from the enemy were coming thick and fast. He wrote out this instrument, made oath to it, and placed it in my hands, saying, “You may make it as public as your judgment dictates.” It reads:
“In view of my soon departure for a foreign shore, and in view of the increasing virulence and threats of my enemies, and under the assumption that they may await my absence to make a fresh attack, by advice of my counsel I make under oath the following sweeping statement; namely, “THAT I never was guilty of immorality toward any person.”