LETTERS EXPRESSING SYMPATHY AND LOYALTY
[The Harvest Work, of which Pastor Russell was the leading spirit in the world for more than forty years, was and is the Lord's work. The friends everywhere recognize this. The great number of letters daily received from all parts of the land, since Brother Russell's death, clearly manifest the loyalty of the dear brethren to the cause of Messiah's Kingdom and evidence their determination to press forward along the mark for the Prize of the High Calling. The Society greatly appreciates these assurances of full cooperation in the Lord's work. What a great incentive to renewed zeal, courage and faithfulness! We give a few samples of these letters below. Others will be published from time to time in THE WATCH TOWER as space will permit:]
AT THE GRAVE SIDE
DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST:--
Upon a hillside, sloping towards the south, we gathered round about upon that hallowed ground to pay our last sad tribute to the one we loved, the greatest man on earth in these last days--and great because he was approved of God! How ineffable the beauty of the scene! So peaceful and so still! The gently rolling hills, far as the eye can reach, reminding us that, "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth, even forever." A violet mist creeps softly through the valleys at our feet, and faintly dims the City's distant lights.
The sacred silence is broken only by the singing of our choir, like angel voices floating out upon the evening air:
"How vain is all beneath the skies!
How transient every earthly bliss!
How slender all the fondest ties
That bind us to a world like this!"
Above the purple haze, and low within the western sky, the last faint, crimson glow of sunset slowly pales into the silvery whiteness that precedes the night. And lo! the evening star! How like a star was our beloved! And how he shed the rays of Truth divine into the darkness of our minds and changed that darkness to "His marvelous light!"
"The evening cloud, the morning dew,
The withering grass, the fading flower,
Of earthly hopes are emblems true,
The glory of a passing hour."
How exquisitely expressive of all about us! The withered grass beneath our feet, the fading flowers upon the upturned earth, and here and there the bare, brown trees, a few crisp leaves still faintly fluttering on their boughs. Their fruit has all been gathered, and they speak to us of harvest soon to end. "In this is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." Did our beloved Pastor bear much fruit? Ah, yes! How much, he now may know as he hath never fully known before!
"But, though earth's fairest blossoms die,
And all beneath the skies is vain,
There is a brighter age now nigh,
Beyond the reach of care and pain."
And standing there, our hearts rejoiced with joy unspeakable that in His infinite love and mercy the Lord had not permitted that most precious clay to suffer violence, but, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him," and He saved us from the anguish which might have been greater than we could bear! Yet he suffered-- how greatly God only knows, for he never murmured or complained; but he suffered not by hands of wicked men, and so we rendered thanks to God!
"Then let the hope of joys to come
Dispel our cares, and chase our fears,
Since God is ours, we're traveling home,
Though passing through a vale of tears!"
With eyelids closed, and sorrowing hearts, we bowed our heads in final prayer with one who also loved and labored with him to the end. [R6017 : page 379]
And then in silent little groups the friends departed from the scene, and as we climbed the hill to reach the road, the moon shone full upon us. Ah, yes! The full moon of God's favor, and our hearts cried out, "How long, O God, until the night shall come, that night wherein no man can work!"
One last and lingering look upon the scene recalled to mind that wonderful picture, "The Return from Calvary," with its three crosses faintly outlined on the evening sky, and the sorrowful women wending their way towards Jerusalem.
And now it had grown strangely dark, no object was discernible on either side the road, as we, the Lord's still faithful followers of these later days, were swiftly borne towards the city of our beloved leader's birth.
How wondrously appropriate all had been! The suggestion of the Harvest soon to end, the ingathering of the ripened fruits, the softly falling twilight, like a curtain dropped upon the scene, and now the darkness and loneliness of the flock of sheep whose faithful shepherd had been "smitten!"
How necessary now to walk still more "by faith" in the Great Shepherd of us all, the One who is "too wise to err, too good to be unkind;" "who doeth all things well." Be brave, be strong, weep not, have faith in God!
"It is the LORD, let Him do what seemeth Him good!"
"Faith can firmly trust Him,
Come what may!"
REGULARLY ELECTED PASTOR 34 YEARS
We, the Pittsburgh Congregation of Associated Bible Students, deeply mourn the death of our Beloved Pastor, who has lovingly and faithfully served us for so many years. In loving consideration of his high honor and noble Christian character, his untiring labors on behalf of the Lord's people both here and elsewhere, his many noble sacrifices and patient endurance of much persecution on behalf of the Lord's Truth, his devoted faithfulness to the Lord and to the Lord's Word under every condition of trial; therefore, be it resolved,
That this Congregation bear witness to Christians everywhere of our deep appreciation of the patient watchcare, the wise counsel, and the helpful and loving guidance of his thirty-four years as the regularly elected Pastor of this Congregation, both in the Word and work of the Lord. We have full confidence of faith that, his work finished, he has now entered into that blessed "rest that remaineth for the people of God." "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them." Be it further
Resolved, That these resolutions be printed in the Pittsburgh newspapers, and that a copy be sent, with fraternal love in Christ, to the New York City Temple Congregation, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Congregation, the London Tabernacle Congregation and through them to all members of the International Bible Students Association, as an expression of our sympathy in our mutual loss, and of our prayer that the Lord's continued blessing be with them.
We, the undersigned Chairman and Secretary of the Congregation herein named, do hereby certify that the foregoing was unanimously adopted by the Pittsburgh Congregation of Associated Bible Students, at a meeting held November 19, 1916, at the Bible Students Auditorium, 305 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pa.
W.E. SPILL, Chairman,
R.H. BRICKER, Secretary.
LETTERS OF RESIGNATION FROM EDITORIAL COMMITTEE
MR. W.E. VAN AMBURGH, MR. H. CLAY ROCKWELL, 13-17
Hicks St., Brooklyn, N.Y.
I have received and read with interest and care your valued letter of the 9th inst., and thoroughly appreciate the spirit of fellowship and consideration manifested.
I am in full harmony with the judgment of the Editorial Committee and the Board of Directors that all the Editorial Staff should be in close personal touch, and not being situated so that I can take up my residence in Brooklyn, I hereby tender my resignation from the Editorial Staff to be effective at once.
It is a matter of great satisfaction to me that there are able brethren on the ground, and nominated by our dear Pastor, who are probably more fully equipped than I to carry on the work outlined in the Will.
I know it is unnecessary for me to say that I am in the closest and warmest head and heart sympathy and fellowship with all the work delegated to the various departments of the Society, and shall hold myself in readiness to respond to every opportunity for service that I can discern or you can designate. Yours in our Redeemer, W.E. PAGE.
To A. I. RITCHIE, Vice-President W.T.B. & T. Society, Brooklyn, N.Y.
DEAR BROTHER RITCHIE:--
In harmony with the Will of our dear Brother Russell, a copy of which I received, together with your letter of the 3rd inst., I am addressing you and through you the other members of the Editorial Staff of THE WATCH TOWER.
While I love the Lord and His people devotedly, and while I would greatly appreciate the privilege of serving as a member of the Editorial staff of THE WATCH TOWER, I am compelled because of conditions to decline to accept such place. As you know I was a member of the Bethel Family at the time Brother Russell added my name in his Will to the Editorial staff; that for more than a year past I have not been a member of the Bethel Family and am not now, because it became necessary for me to take a position in the world to earn a living for my family. After prayer and due consideration, I believe it to be in harmony with the Lord's will that I decline to accept the position assigned to me by the Will of our dear Brother Russell, and I therefore decline to accept the same.
I offer my resignation, humbly awaiting the Lord's leading. Should you at a later time, by reason of vacancy in the Editorial staff, understand it to be the Lord's will and in harmony with the provisions of Brother Russell's last Will that I serve, I hope and pray, by the Lord's grace, that I will be ready to respond fully and promptly. Again craving an interest in your prayers,
Your brother and servant by the Lord's grace,
REDOLENT OF RICHEST PERFUME
At a meeting of our Church this evening, I was requested by a unanimous vote to express to you as best I can the sorrow of heart under which we are laboring, because of the death of our faithful and Beloved Pastor; and to assure you of our desire and determination to cooperate heartily, in our feeble way, with those who shall have the privilege and responsibility of supervising and directing the Harvest Work during what we believe will be but a brief period before the coming storm shall burst upon us in all its fierceness and fury.
As to our deep sorrow, let us say that it is not an unmixed sorrow; for while we shall no more see his dear face, and no more hear his wise and loving words of godly instruction, his exhortations to holiness of life, and his fatherly counsel, yet we rejoice that his sufferings are forever past, that his unremitting toils are over, and that the scorpion-tongue of vituperation, slander and vilification can never again reach and give pain to his great, loving, tender heart.
His example of self-sacrificing loyalty to God, the Truth and the Church, his patience, perseverance and indefatigable zeal, the sweetness of his spirit, his freedom from animosity and resentment under the most cruel and malignant persecution, will ever remain an incentive to us to emulate him in the attainment of these fruits of the Spirit.
Truly the memory of him is most precious, and redolent of the richest perfume. Truly may we, without irreverence, apply the words of the poet to him:
"Long, long be my heart
With such memories filled,
Like the vase in which roses
Have once been distilled;
You may break, you may shatter
The vase if you will,
But the scent of the roses
Will cling to it still."
Your brethren and sisters in our dear Redeemer,
[R6017 : page 380]
HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THE LORD'S ARRANGEMENT
DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST:--
We are glad, dear Brethren, that through the providential leading of our dear Heavenly Father, in the affairs of His Church, an opportunity of service has been placed in our hands, respecting which we desire to take full advantage.
Realizing the added responsibility which the Lord of the Harvest has seen wise to place in your hands at this time, through the removal of our dear Pastor from our midst, and anticipating your mingled feelings of loneliness and sorrow, and the loss which you, possibly more than any others of the Church still this side the veil have sustained, we hasten to extend to you our sincere, fervent love, and warmest sympathy in this your hour of special and peculiar trial.
We wish to assure you, dear Brethren, of our full confidence in the wisdom of the Lord's arrangement, in that He now desires that the great work so faithfully and wisely [R6018 : page 380] introduced and carried on until the present time through the supervision of our Beloved Pastor, shall be continued without interruption through you as His chosen servants.
We wish also to state that our earnest desire is to continue to cooperate with you in every possible way, in whatever work our dear Heavenly Father may yet have for His Church who still remain in the flesh.
We pray for you, dear Brethren, that the Lord may pour out upon you very richly the spirit of wisdom and understanding in the knowledge and favor of the Lord, that you may be granted a knowledge of His will, together with the grace and strength which He has so graciously promised to all His faithful children.
"The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace."
SORROW GIVES PLACE TO JOY
DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST:--
Our hearts join yours in sympathy at the taking away of our beloved Brother and Pastor Russell. How sorrowful it is to be separated from the one we love so dearly! Our hearts cannot help being filled with sorrow for the loss of this faithful servant of the Lord, who so much loved us as to lay down his life in our behalf.
But we "sorrow not as others that have no hope." When we think of his many years of toil and suffering patiently endured for the sake of his Master, when we think of the bitter persecution by relentless foes inside and outside of the Church, the befouling of his good name, and the besmirching of his good reputation, we rejoice greatly to know that his great tribulation has forever ended.
In fact, our sorrow is displaced by joy when we contemplate the glorious exaltation that is his. We know that he is not "asleep" in death, but "changed" and "raised incorruptible" --"caught up" "to meet the Lord," and so shall he ever be with the Lord. Yes, we acclaim, "Blessed" are you, dear Brother; you are at rest from your labors and your work follows with you."--1 Cor. 15:51,52; 1 Thes. 4:17; Rev. 14:13.
How we all the more long for the time when we shall similarly have finished our course with joy and been ushered into the presence of our adorable Lord together with His saints! Meantime it is ours to press on with renewed zeal until the work be done and we at last receive the crown.
We anticipate your increased responsibilities, dear brethren, and we pray the necessary increase of the Lord's Spirit upon you in carrying on the work of the ministry.
TWIN FALLS ASSOCIATED BIBLE STUDENTS.--Idaho.
WORDS OF COMFORT AND CHEER
TO THE WATCH TOWER:--
WHEREAS it has pleased our dear Heavenly Father to call our Beloved Pastor home, and inasmuch as our hearts have been made sad because we may no longer hear his kindly voice nor behold his dear face in the flesh, we nevertheless rejoice in the spirit, being confident that he has experienced his glorious resurrection change, having heard the sweet "Well Done," and is now counted worthy to see our Lord as He is;
Resolved, That in the death of our Beloved Pastor, Charles T. Russell, we have sustained the sorrowful loss of a wise and efficient Pastor, a true and noble Christian character, a kind and loving friend, a safe adviser and counselor, a masterful preacher and author, a true and faithful interpreter of the Scriptures and an ambassador of Christ appointed of God the Father to bring forth things new and old from the Storehouse of knowledge for the enlightening of the people and for the perfecting of the saints in this, the Laodicean stage of the Church; and
Resolved, That inasmuch as the work of this loyal man of God has been completed on this side of the veil and as a result he has inherited glory, honor and immortality as a reward of faithful self-sacrifice even unto death, we, the members of the Richmond Class, having been influenced by his noble life and Christian character, and appreciating the perfume exhaled therefrom, feel constrained to renew our efforts to press on with vigor toward the Heavenly goal; and be it further.
Resolved, That we will cooperate with our brethren at the Bethel Home, and others of like precious faith elsewhere in harmony with the W.T.B. & T. Soc'y and its various auxiliaries, in the promulgation of the gems of Truth so precious to our dear Pastor; and we solicit Pilgrim visits in the future as in the past.
Again, we further resolve, that having profited by his life of self-sacrifice, which has brought to us untold blessings and growth in Christian character, we will continue to raise our voices in heartfelt gratitude and thanksgiving to our dear Heavenly Father and blessed Redeemer for the privileges and favors which have been ours through his untiring zeal and loving ministry.
Praying that the Lord's abounding grace may continue to abide with, and the influence of the Holy Spirit may over-shadow and guide in love and humility all those in charge of the work at the Bethel Home and elsewhere, and trusting to be remembered at the Throne of Heavenly Grace by all who have passed from death unto life, and especially those upon whom the mantle of our Beloved Pastor has fallen,
With fervent Christian love, RICHMOND ECCLESIA.--Va.
"BE STRONG IN THE FAITH"
OUR DEAR BRETHREN:--
With the passing of our dearly Beloved Pastor beyond the veil, and with the realization of all that this means to us, comes the thought of our dear Brethren at Brooklyn, who were so closely associated with him in the work, and on whom will now fall the heavier responsibility. We hasten to extend to you our loving sympathy, and to assure you of our confidence in you as you attempt to carry on the work to its completion, praying for you the Lord's special guidance and direction as you seek to know and to do His will.
What a comfort we find in our Heavenly Father's Word! How doubly precious are the Promises, and with what special force they come to us in this hour, as though written especially for us at this time. It is written, "The Lord will not forsake His people," and we know "He is faithful who promised." Therefore "let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering." (Heb. 10:23,24.) How fitting is our text for the year: "Be Strong in Faith" --faith that will trust Him where it cannot trace Him!
And while the sense of our great loss comes to us with crushing force, yet how we do rejoice for him that he has gone to his reward and has entered into that glorious rest promised to the faithful ones. Surely he was faithful in all that the Lord gave him to do; and we can lift up our heads and rejoice, knowing our deliverance must be drawing very near! How this thought, together with his loving example, should spur us on with doubled zeal to make our own calling and election sure. Brethren, let us all strive more earnestly to be faithful--even unto death!
Your Brethren in Christ, BOULDER CHURCH.--Colo.
IMPLORING HEAVENLY GUIDANCE FOR THE WORK
DEARLY BELOVED IN THE LORD:--
Whereas it has, in the determination of our great, all-wise and loving Father, pleased Him to suddenly take from our midst our Beloved Brother and Pastor, C.T. Russell, and, as we believe, give him a share of joy and service in the spiritual phase of the Kingdom, we hereby humbly bow before His unerring decision in taking from us that "faithful servant," and render thanks for the many blessings received through his ministrations; for the light upon God's Word that has come to us, and the joy of life and hope for the future that has been brought to us through his services.
We realize and appreciate the great responsibility that has so suddenly been cast upon those who are directly associated with the central executive part of the work still remaining while we are here in the flesh. In the midst of these conditions we turn to our loving Father, to whom we can come courageously through our blessed Lord and Savior, asking [R6018 : page 381] that wisdom may be granted you to continue the work as would be most pleasing to our dear Lord.
We will daily continue to pray for God's blessings to go with the members of the Brooklyn Tabernacle and Bethel, and every member of our Father's family.
CONFIDENCE IN SOCIETY'S REPRESENTATIVES
It was with mingled sorrow and rejoicing that we learned of the decease of our dearly Beloved Pastor. We sorrow because of our great loss, but rejoice as well because of his abundant gain.
How we shall miss his wise counsel and helpful admonitions, the benediction of his radiant countenance, and the sympathetic touch of his hand! Yet our Heavenly Father has seen fit to remove him in the midst of his work to the place prepared for the saints beyond the veil, and we would bow humbly before that decree. Surely to be with Christ is far better! He had fought a good fight, he had kept the faith, his course was finished, and in obedience to the summons he is now with his Lord. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
We would express our confidence and harmony with the Society's representatives at Headquarters, and our undivided sympathy and cooperation with those brethren and colaborers of the Bethel and Tabernacle who have stood so loyally and faithfully by our dear Brother. [R6019 : page 381]
We would unite our prayers with those of other Ecclesias for the Heavenly Father's guidance in every phase of the Harvest work. TRURO ECCLESIA.--Nova Scotia.
PLEDGE LOYAL SUPPORT
DEAR FELLOW-MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST:--
We desire to convey to you our deep Christian love and sympathy in the loss which all have sustained in the death of our Beloved Pastor, C.T. Russell. While we "sorrow not as do others," nevertheless we believe the dear family at Brooklyn will in a special sense miss our beloved Brother. We greatly rejoice on his behalf, believing that he has passed beyond the veil, has experienced his resurrection "change," and with the others of the faithful will henceforth be forever with the Lord.
This Ecclesia, by a unanimous vote, pledges their loyal support in every way possible to those who shall continue to direct the affairs of the Society. We assure you, dear brethren, of our hearty cooperation so long as the Glad Tidings of the Kingdom shall be advanced in the same manner and spirit as during the life of our beloved Pastor. To this end you have our prayers.
With mutual sympathy and Christian love,
ASSOCIATED BIBLE STUDENTS.--New Brighton, Pa.
PRAYERS FOR WISDOM, COURAGE, GRACE
WHEREAS, The news that our dearly Beloved Pastor, C.T. Russell, has been suddenly taken from us, has filled us with deep emotion, which we know is shared by all who have received the benefit of his faithful teachings of Present Truth, and, although our hearts are filled with sorrow for our loss, yet we rejoice for him that he has gone to be forever with the Lord.
We are thankful for the untiring faithfulness of his service for us, to build us up in the most holy Faith and for his example of personal purity. We realize that his loss will be sadly felt by the brethren left in charge of the work and upon whom great responsibility will fall.
RESOLVED, That we extend to our dear brethren at the Bible House our heart-felt sympathy and condolences, assuring them that our earnest prayers will be for them, that they may be given the needed wisdom, courage and grace to continue the work which Brother Russell has left in their hands, until the due time comes for closing it up.
We desire further to express our confidence that their service in the work will be actuated by the same loving spirit of self-sacrifice, which has been so beautifully expressed in the life and labors of our dearly Beloved Pastor and Brother.
"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them."
THUNDERBOLT THROUGH SOUL OF THE CHURCH
May the Lord greatly strengthen and bless the hearts of every one of you in this hour of great bereavement! Surely the Lord has sent a thunderbolt through the very soul of the Church! His hand is as visible in dear Brother Russell's death as it has been in his life. Our very nature is shaken and we think it will surely be blessed to the good of us all, in keeping with the Lord's promise.
Be assured, dear brethren, you have our prayers, our sympathy, and our love as never before; and we shall esteem it our highest privilege as well as pleasure to cooperate with you to the fullest extent of our ability.
May God bless you all in your loneliness! We feel lonely; but it must fall much heavier upon you than upon us. May we all be aroused by his noble example, and may we meet where partings are no more!
It was not our privilege to be with you in person, but we were fully with you in spirit.
On Sunday, Nov. 5th, we held a Pastor Russell Memorial service at Millville, N.J. The forenoon was given to praise and testimonies, using this subject: "The effect that Pastor Russell's life, and now His death, has had upon me." In the afternoon I addressed them upon this subject: "The Truth as applied to the Life and Character of Pastor Russell." We enjoyed blessed fellowship and hope good was done.
DEAR BRETHREN AT BROOKLYN:--
Greetings in the name of our dear Lord and Redeemer! Whereas the death of our dearly Beloved Pastor has caused grief and sadness to come into our hearts; and realizing our great loss in that we are now deprived of his loving counsel and personal supervision over the Harvest Work, nevertheless we rejoice in the assurance that he is now with our glorified Lord and Master, and like Him.
We desire to express to the Bethel Family, and to all of the Bible House associates of our dear Pastor, our loving sympathy and assurance of implicit confidence and hearty cooperation in carrying on, if such be the Father's will, the great work in which our Beloved Pastor so faithfully sacrificed his all, even unto death.
Our prayer is that the Father of all mercies will bless your efforts in behalf of His cause; and that His grace may sustain and comfort you in this hour of sorrow, and be found sufficient for the added responsibility which now rests upon you.
Your Brethren of the LOUISVILLE ECCLESIA.--Ky.
UNQUALIFIED SUPPORT PROMISED
DEAR BRETHREN IN THE LORD:--
Needless to say, the announcement of our Pastor's passing beyond came to us with a measure of surprise. We are, nevertheless, rejoicing in the thought of his having entered abundantly into the reward promised to the "more than overcomers," and that he has received the "Well done, good and faithful servant." "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be the name of the Lord." We are glad that, by His grace, we are enabled to bow our hearts and minds in humble submission to the will of God, and to wait His good pleasure toward us in His own time and way. "It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good."
We would like to take this opportunity of expressing to you our earnest and willing cooperation and unqualified support in carrying on that which remains of the Harvest work, in whatever manner the Lord would seem to indicate as being His will for us all. Should you require at any time our services in Western Canada, we would esteem it a great privilege to assume any responsibility entrusted to our care. Our desire in this is to express our continued loyalty toward, and willingness to serve the Lord, the Truth and the Brethren.
ASSURANCES OF COOPERATION
DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST:--
We desire to convey to you our sincere Christian love and sympathy in this dark hour of bereavement. Seldom have joy and sorrow been so sharply intermingled; for while we truly rejoice with you in the fact of the deliverance of our dear Pastor in the First Resurrection, and in the further evidence of the end being near, we as truly and sincerely share with you the natural sorrow so keenly felt in this trying hour. Language cannot express the love of our hearts for our dear Brother.
Yet, dear Brethren, in humble and loving submission we say, "Thy will be done"; and as we stand beside that open grave, let us resolve that, come what will, we, too, will be found ready and willing at all times to lay down our [R6019 : page 382] lives as meekly and as unselfishly as did he in defense of the Cause we all love so well. We assure you of our continued support and cooperation in the spreading of the Glad Tidings, and may we also hear the loving Father's "Well Done." NIAGARA FALLS, ONT. ECCLESIA.
HEARTY DESIRE TO CONTINUE SUPPORT
At a special meeting called for the purpose of taking action on the death of our dearly Beloved Pastor, Charles Taze Russell, the following resolution was passed and unanimously adopted:
RESOLVED, That inasmuch as it has pleased our Heavenly Father in His infinite wisdom to take from our midst "that Servant," our Beloved Pastor and Brother, we desire to convey to you, the dear ones of the Bethel Home and Brooklyn Tabernacle, a full assurance of our loyalty, our confidence, our love and our prayers, and a hearty desire to cooperate with you in the faithful continuance of the defense of the Truth and of the Harvest Work so nobly and loyally carried forward by our dear Brother Russell.
FAITH HAS REASSERTED ITSELF
DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST:--
We were shocked and grieved to learn of our dear Pastor's death! For a time we were so shaken and unsettled that we did not know which way to turn, but that feeling has worn off, and faith has reasserted itself.
We rejoice that our Beloved Pastor has gained "the Crown of Life," and we would not wish to have him back to endure pain and weariness. We have faith that the Lord of the Harvest, who raised him up to do such a wonderful work, is still able to carry forward that work, through other agencies, to its completion. We extend to you our love and sympathy [R6020 : page 382] in this hour of trial, and assure you of our fervent prayers in your behalf--that the Lord's will be done and His name glorified, no matter what new conditions may arise.
We pledge you our hearty support in any way we can render it, and assure you that it is our aim to follow you, as you follow Christ.
We pray that no divisions may arise to distress and separate the Lord's flock, but that we may all be drawn into a more complete oneness in Him. Above all, we pray that the Lord's Spirit may rest richly upon those who shall in any measure take the place of our dear Pastor.
Your brethren, by grace Divine,
RENEWED DETERMINATION TO HOLD FAST
DEAR BETHEL FAMILY:--
We desire to convey to you all an expression of our love and sympathy, as was expressed unanimously by us in the following resolution:
"That we convey to the Bethel Family and those so closely associated in the Society's work, our sincere sympathy and Christian love, assuring you of our renewed determination to hold fast the profession of our faith to the end, and to be loyal to the Truth, the Brethren and the Society, esteeming it, as the Lord's servant, in carrying on the work so nobly and faithfully conducted by our dear Brother Russell; and that with our Heavenly Father's help and guidance, we will remain loyal to the memory of him who laid down his life on behalf of the Brethren and in the Lord's service."
Yours in the best of bonds,
WHAT MORE CAN HE SAY?
We decided unanimously to continue our relationship as in the past with the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. By the Lord's grace we will cooperate with you to the best of our ability until we shall have finished our course, when by the power of our God through our Lord and Savior, we shall enter beyond the veil, where our labors shall cease.
We extend our heartfelt sympathy in this hour of special trial which is upon you. As the dear brethren carried the silent form of our Beloved Pastor past us at the Carnegie Hall (Allegheny), yesterday, he seemed to say to us in hushed silence, "What more can I say than to you I have said?"
We pray the Lord's continued guidance over you as you endeavor to finish the work. We ask an interest in your prayers. ECCLESIA AT SHARON.--Pa.
The death of our dear Pastor, Charles T. Russell, created in us a state of gloom and sorrow that will long linger with us.
We are unable to express our sorrow and the loss we feel in the death of our dear Brother Russell.
We thank the Lord for this servant and for the message of Truth he has brought to us; and further do we thank Him that we were in that condition of heart and mind to receive that message.
Dear Brethren, we desire to extend our sympathies to all who are engaged at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, and to express our appreciation of your resolution to continue in the service of the Glad Tidings of the Kingdom. We assure you of our cooperation. We will therefore continue to look to the Lord, to cast our cares upon Him and to pray for you, as we have for our Beloved Pastor.
RE V.D.M. QUESTIONS
DEAR BRETHREN IN THE LORD:--
We are sorry that no one here could attend, in person, the funeral of our dear Pastor, but we can assure you, all of us were with you in spirit, and remembered you continually at the Throne of Heavenly Grace.
We are indeed glad to know that our dear Pastor had so arranged the affairs of the W.T.B. & T. Society that in the event of his death, the work would be carried on without interruption.
Our hearts indeed go out to each and every one of you, and we can assure you that we will cooperate with you in the future as we have in the past. We shall also continue to remember you in our prayers daily. We pray that you will also continue to remember us daily in your prayers. We also hope we may be served from time to time by the dear Pilgrim brethren, and that we may continue to share in the Harvest work under your direction.
Last Wednesday evening the Class by unanimous vote decided that in the future all Elders and Deacons should answer the V.D.M. Questions, and their answers should be passed upon by the Committee appointed by Brother Russell.
The Elders here have been slow in sending their answers to these questions, not because of not being in harmony with them, but because some have not had the time; others did not have the questions, and others were timid about asking for them, until the class expressed their wish in the matter. All expect to have their answers mailed to you within the next two weeks. HOUSTON CHURCH.--Texas.
FINGER-BOARD AT THE CROSS-ROADS
BELOVED BETHEL FAMILY:--
At our prayer meeting last evening, with crushed hearts and tear-dimmed eyes, all gave expression as to the high esteem and loving appreciation for the many instructive and helpful truths enjoyed through our Beloved Pastor, now entered into his reward. He has stood as a finger-board at the cross-roads of confusion, pointing us the true way as he for many years endured the chilling blasts of persecution from a cold, unthinking clergy and their following. Thank God for his ministrations of love and for the privilege of being associated with him!
To the dear Bethel family, so closely associated with our dear Brother in the forefront of the battle, we send our love, and assure you that we will always remember you at the Throne of Heavenly grace.
NEED TO WEEP FOR OURSELVES
DEAR BRETHREN IN THE ANOINTED:--
Though your loss and ours as well is very painful, yet how we can rejoice to know our dearly beloved Pastor, "That Servant," has finished his course in joy and has heard that "Well Done." A new man has been born in Zion, and the Highest Himself has established him. "It is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth good." Questioning not the wisdom, the love and the power of Him with whom we have to do, we need not weep for the departed, but for ourselves. How kind and loving our Heavenly Father has been to him, by permitting him to pass beyond the veil ere this dark night grows darker, ere the fiery furnace has been heated with sevenfold heat! How thankful we feel! Praise His holy name! How much greater will be the need "for the tie that binds"!
THE PRINCE RUPERT CHURCH.--B.C., Can.
[R6020 : page 383]
THANKFUL FOR PRIVILEGE OF COOPERATING
DEAR BRETHREN IN CHRIST:--
The Associated Bible Students here desire to express their Christian love and sympathy, especially to the dear Bethel Family, in this dark hour of bereavement.
Beloved Brethren, we will, indeed, 'continue to look to the Lord, and be of good courage!" We are most thankful for the great privilege of cooperating with you as in the past, and assure you of our prayers, and also of "our resolution to continue in the service of the Glad Tidings of the Kingdom, by the Lord's grace, even unto death."
We are so thankful our dear Pastor so arranged the affairs of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, and we have full confidence that the Lord will continue to direct the Harvest Work till it shall be fully completed. Oh, what an example we have in our dear Pastor to lay down our lives "in the work of the Lord"!
WHOSE FACE WE SOON SHALL SEE
BRETHREN THROUGHOUT THE WORLD:--
We express our thankfulness to God for the gift of the help and fellowship of our beloved Brother, Charles Taze Russell. We thank our Father for the blessed example of true Christian fellowship manifested in the wise and faithful steward now passed beyond the veil into the eternal blessedness of the Heavenly courts. We thank God for the love of a true brother in Christ, for the spiritual and material aid rendered without thought of self, for the wonderful privilege of being enlightened to know the riches of the inheritance in Christ, to appreciate the hope of the High Calling, to gain a heart knowledge of the love of Christ in its lengths, breadths, heights and depths. We sorrow as over the passing of our best earthly friend and benefactor, but we rejoice with joy unspeakable as we celebrate in our hearts the first Heavenly birthday of our beloved Pastor Russell. And now to God be the glory, the honor and the praise for all that He hath wrought in us all through this much beloved one whose face we all hope soon to see, shining in the light of immortality. In Jesus' name, Amen.
PRAYERS FOR THE WORK UNTIL THE END
DEARLY BELOVED BRETHREN:--
We wish to express to you in this dark hour of bereavement our sincere, heartfelt sympathy, and to assure you that we are praying for you and will continue until the end.
We are very grateful for all the assistance given us and ask the Lord's richest blessing ever to be upon you. We will gladly stand by you; and if there be anything we can do in any way, we will thank God for the privilege of serving. [R6021 : page 383]
We are still firm in the Faith, and our eyes wait upon the Lord our God.--Psalm 123:1,2.
"Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian Love." Push on, dear brethren; fight the good fight of Faith, and let nothing come between us, no matter how severe, that will even scratch the link that binds us together!
REALIZE NEED OF CLOSER TIES NOW
BELOVED BRETHREN IN CHRIST AT BETHEL HOME:--
To you we desire to make known our deep heart sympathy in this hour of mutual grief. We shall miss our Beloved Pastor greatly; nevertheless we also greatly rejoice on his behalf, believing that he has passed beyond the veil, has experienced his resurrection change, and will be henceforth forever with the Lord. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."
We realize, dear Brethren, now more than ever, the need of clinging closer to one another, yet leaning fully on our precious Redeemer.
We assure you, not only of the great bond of sympathy, but our prayers shall ascend daily on your behalf, that our loving Father may guide and direct all those on whom the mantle of responsibility must necessarily fall the heaviest. SAN JOSE ECCLESIA.--Cal.
WILL PRESS WITH VIGOR ON
Last night at our Praise and Testimony meeting a resolution was presented to the Class and unanimously adopted, to the intent that we will, as in the past, cooperate with you in every way we possibly can in the Harvest Work and toward the establishment of our dear Redeemer's Kingdom. In spirit we are with you during your sore trial. It is our determination to press with vigor on, and we surely will remember all of God's children, especially those at Brooklyn, at the Throne of Heavenly Grace.
Hoping that we shall shortly be with our Lord and Master on the other side the veil, we remain,
Your brethren by His grace, EASTON ECCLESIA.--Pa.
LONG STILL MORE FOR THE KINGDOM
Just a line to assure you of our warmest love and sympathy. We did not write sooner, as we knew you must be overwhelmed with letters. Our hearts are sore; but we are determined to press on and finish the work our beloved Pastor so nobly began and carried on to the end of his career. His example is an inspiration to us; his death makes us long still more for the Kingdom. We trust by the Lord's grace to be faithful, so that we may have the privilege of meeting our dear Brother again, in the presence of the King. Be assured of our prayers and cooperation.
J. AND L. HUTCHINSON.--Pa.
GREATEST BIBLE SCHOLAR OF OUR DAY
In the death of Pastor Russell we recognize the departure of the greatest Bible Student of our day, the channel through which God is speaking to His Church and to the world. We recognize in his books and literature an outline of God's Plan of Redemption, and we are determined to stand steadfast in the faith and to bind about us more firmly than ever that wonderful chain of faith in God's Plan of Redemption. We shall go forth in the world in the confidence of that Plan to spread the Good Tidings of great joy which shall be to all people--Resurrection and Restitution--and to do it with diligence to the end that we may make our calling and election sure. LINCOLN CHURCH.--Neb.
WORK MUST BE KEPT ALIVE
We deeply sympathize with you in the great affliction which has come upon you through the death of Pastor Russell, a man whose noble and exalted work in the ministry of Christ has set a shining example to the world, and whose memory will be a lasting spiritual stimulus to his many followers.
Pastor Russell's good work must be kept alive, and the Overland Monthly offers its pages to you for the publication of such articles as may help to this end.
In sincere and deep sympathy with your bereavement, we remain
Yours to command in our line of help,
WILL STAND SHOULDER TO SHOULDER
We wish to give you the assurance that we will stand shoulder to shoulder in this dark hour, and gladly cooperate with you in carrying on the work to whatever extent it is possible for us to lend a hand. Quite a few of the friends have already expressed their determination to be more faithful and some have openly and publicly renewed their consecration before a huge audience in New York City Temple Sunday afternoon, Nov. 5.
We therefore pray that the memory of our dear Pastor may never fade, and that with this in mind you may, with the Lord's grace and assistance, terminate the work which yet remains for the Church this side the Veil.
WORDS FAIL TO EXPRESS
There comes a time to some of us when we realize that we are utterly unable to put into words the expressions we desire to convey, and this is just such an occasion.
The Providence Class desire to express to you their deep Christian love and hearty appreciation for the many blessings they have received through the ministrations of our dear, departed Pastor and colaborers at Brooklyn, and to further state that it is their desire and purpose to cooperate with you in every possible way in the continuance of spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom.
May the Lord's richest blessing be with you as you continue to serve His cause and His brethren, is our prayer.