"LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED"
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Of course you know that you have enemies and warm enemies as well as warm friends; and that the former manifest an evil, slanderous and back-biting spirit is only what we might expect, for thus we were forewarned of the Lord. I write you respecting one of these malicious endeavors to injure you and discredit the Lord's work which you are doing. The slander is that you inveigled a large sum of money, in some fraudulent manner, from a brother named Hope Hay. Indistinctly I remember some years ago the statement published in THE WATCH TOWER that Brother Hay had donated to THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY $10,000, and I infer that this is the transaction they have in mind.
I am sure, dear Brother Russell, that this is merely another endeavor of the Adversary to poison the minds of some against you and against the Truth, of which you are the prominent representative. I am not, therefore, asking on my own account, but merely seeking advice as to what reply I should make to those who thus slander you. I know very well that you never so much as solicit money of anybody; and hence, that nothing could be further from your course than to obtain money under false pretense of any kind. In strong bonds of Christian love,
Your brother in the dear Redeemer, C. A. OWEN.
BROTHER RUSSELL'S REPLY TO THE SLANDER
DEAR BROTHER:--I am glad to have your letter. How sorry we feel for those enemies of righteousness who in bitterness of spirit lend themselves as tools to the Adversary in an endeavor to oppose the harvest work! I presume that the Lord permits such things as tests of faith and loyalty to him, and tests to his people as to what spirit they are of. Anyway, dear Brother, you will be glad to know that the more my enemies assail and falsely charge me with evil, the more the Lord blesses me and his work under my care. I am reminded here of the words of St. Paul respecting the thorn in the flesh which the Lord permitted him to have, but which he assured him would do him no injury, saying, "My grace is sufficient for thee." I answer, therefore, with St. Paul, "Most gladly will I rather glory in my afflictions that the power of Christ may rest upon me."--2 Cor. 12:9.
Your recollection that the matter of Brother Hay's donation to the Tract Fund was published in THE WATCH TOWER years ago is quite correct. Dear Brother Hay called upon me personally, saying that he had received a legacy of $20,000 and that, as he had a pension from the Canadian Government, he thought he could not do better than donate the entire legacy to the Lord's cause--as a donation to the funds of THE WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY.
I replied that I appreciated very highly his generous spirit and that as the President of the Society I would not feel at liberty to refuse any gifts voluntarily tendered to it. However, as he had not yet made the donation and had asked my opinion respecting it, I gave that opinion. I said that if I were in his stead I would prefer to give only one-half of the sum at the time, and to retain possession [R4661 : page 253] of the remainder, with a view to using it so as to permit greater personal activities in the harvest field. Brother Hay thanked me for the advice and said he thought it to be good and that he would follow it.
The Society's books show that from time to time subsequently he sent to us in all $9,500. They also show that this donation was specially used in harmony with Brother Hay's knowledge and wishes for the relief of some of the hundreds of Colporteurs who had gotten into debt in their endeavor to serve the Truth. Credits were given to these harvest workers in Brother Hay's name and many of them, we know, acknowledged the matter directly to him. The entire matter was published in THE WATCH TOWER columns that all of the dear friends might know of Brother Hay's generous course. Since then we have abandoned everything akin to publicity in respect to those who make donations to the Society's funds, deeming this to be the wiser course--the Lord's will.
Brother Hay has been an invalid for several years. And we understand that he lost in various ways nearly all of the remainder of his legacy. Since we have none of Brother Hay's money in our possession, having expended every dollar of it in harmony with his wishes, we have not felt it to be our duty to take money contributed by others for the promotion of Christian knowledge to reimburse Brother Hay's losses. The Society has felt content in assuming the full responsibility of Brother Hay at a Canadian Sanitarium--selected by himself and his wife--paying all the charges of the same. This we did, not on the score of his donation to the Tract Fund, but on account of his having served in the Pilgrim work. We have assumed that his government pension, the amount of which we do not know, has been sufficient for the maintenance of his family, and that possibly the amount of the pension has been increased on account of his more serious illness.
We are glad to make these explanations, dear Brother, but you can readily see how useless it would be for us to [R4661 : page 254] attempt to chase after all the mean and contemptible slanders and misrepresentations which the Adversary could find people mean enough to scatter. To chase slanders would waste our time and hinder the Lord's work --the very thing the Adversary would like to accomplish. We have given ourself fully and unreservedly to the Lord. This includes not only all of our powers and talents, but also amongst these our reputation.
Yours in the love and service of the Redeemer,
C. T. RUSSELL.