Charles Taze Russell: Full text of “To Readers of Zion’s Watch Tower: Attention!” Zion’s Watch Tower and Millennial Dawn

Full text of “To Readers of Zion’s Watch Tower: Attention!” “Zion’s Watch Tower” . AND . , ” Millennial Dawn”


“And judgment is turned away backward and justice standeth. afar off; for truth is fallen in the streets and’equily cannot enter. Yea, [ruth faileth and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey. And the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judg- ment.” Isaiah 59:14, 15. “”

Without note or comment from some of like precious faith with you who are preparing and sending out this circular letter, we invite you to a careful comparison of the following extract from the editorial columns of “Zion’s Watch Tower” with some other extracts ‘from letters of the editor to his wife against whose Christian” character the attack of this item is manifestly aimed. The item evidently is intended as an answer to many inquiries of her friends abroad as to the reason why she is no longer heard from through that journal.

Read for yourselves and draw your own conclusions.

“Zion’s Watch Tower,” Nov. 1, 1902, fourth column bf first article:

“As an illustration of a misguided conscience and its baneful effects in social affairs we mention the case of an editor’s wife. She at one time took pleasure in assisting him in his work, By and by a deluded and misguided conscience told her that God wished her to be editor-in- chief and publish what she pleased. When the editor demurred that he dare not abandon his stewardship the deluded conscience told its owner that she should no longer co-operate; but more, that she should break her marriage covenant in deserting her husband and home, and that she should say all manner of evil against him, falsely, until such time as he would yield to her the liberties of the journal — which her conscience told her was God’s will,”

Compare this with the following clear statement of the editor of “Zion’s Watch Tower,” Mr, Chas. T. Russell, in a letter to his wife dated Sept. 26, 1896, he oddly pre- ferring to write rather than speak to her — providentially, we believe, so that this testimony can be verified in his own handwriting, which Mrs. Russell has carefully pre- served, together with her replies.

Quotation; — “I understand you to request that, instead of being associate editor of the ‘Tower, 1 you be treated as a contributor to its columns, whose name shall appear with each article, and that any article offered not acceptable as a whole shall be treated as the article’ of any other contributor, viz., either published and.publicly criticised, or rejected.”


Mrs. Russell states that this was exactly what she

requested — nothing more and nothing less. He under- stood her perfectly. But observe that, instead of demand- ing, either directly or indirectly, that she should be editor-in-chief, she had, as his own words show, refused longer to be called even the associate editor, preferring to be merely a contributer to the columns of the “Tower,” whenever her articles were acceptable as a whole to the editor.

The point she sought to guard against by this measure was the mutilation of her articles often to make them express sentiments which she couid not endorse, and the claim of the editor that he had a right to do this because she was an irresponsible associate and had no signature to her articles.

So much for the testimony of his own hand and pen against himself in the matter of the editorship.

Now here is more of the same kind of testimony bearing on the other matters— a mere sample of. the voluminous testimony on hand in his own penmanship,

July 8, 1896. “I decline a discussion. I am convinced thai our difficulty is a growing one generally— that it is a great mistake for strong-minded men and women to marry. If they will marry, the strong-minded would far better marry such as arc not too intellectual and high-spirited; for there never can, in the nature of things, be peace under present lime conditions where the two are on an equality.”

July 9, 189$. Mrs. Russell’s reply to the above:

“My dear Husband; — After my request of Sunday evening for an interview concerning the difficulties between us and my urging the same in view of the Lord’s words, — ‘If thou bring thy gift to the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy wav, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then, come and offer thy gift; and again, ‘Agree with thine adversary quickly” (and if with fhine adversary, then certainly with thy friend, thy brother or sister or wife); and ‘Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,’ etc. — I received your letter of Monday evening, and what a revelation it is of the real cause of your opposition to me— that it is envy, jealousy.

“This you freely confess, saying, ‘I am convinced that it is a great mistake for strong-minded men and


women to marry. If they will marry, the strong-minded would far better marry such as are not too intellectual and high-spirited; for there never can, in the nature of things, oe peace, under present time conditions, where the two are on an equality,’

“Is it possible that you are so full of envy and vain- glory, so desirous of out-rivaling every one else, so full of that spirit of ‘which shall be greatest?’ which the Lord reproved in his early disciples, that you cannot brook being among your peers? Is it indeed possible that ‘the nature of things’ in your heart forbids your living at peace with one on an ‘equality” with you, even though, as you confess, you never met as nearyour ideal?

“Then if this later statement be true, and you recog- nize me as a sister in Christ, you must have discerned m me the spirit of Christ, which of course, should be the Christian’s ideal. Very true, while you have discerned the spirit of Christ, you niust also have observed the imper- fections to which the flesh is heir, and which you must also realize in yourself, and against which we must all war a good warfare,

“You have known my manner of life now for seven- teen^ years. You have observed my faithfulness to God, — to his truth, his cause and his righteousness; you have seen how faithfully and studiously 1 have endeavored to know and do his will and to teach it by precept and example; you have known my loyalty and devotion to you and my efforts to assist and uphold you and to second all your efforts in the good work of the Lord by every means in my power.

“You must also have noted how I have shunned the world and things pertaining to its spirit that I might devote myself entirely to the Lord as, in my imperfect way, I have done in all these years. And now what? You have observed that the humble talents thus employed have somewhat increased, and you are displeased, envious, because the comparison between us does not show a difference sufficiently wide to satisfy your ambition to be much the greater. ‘There never can, in the nature of things, be peace where the two are on an equality,’

“0 my husband, beware of this spirit of pride, of strife and vain glory. I beg of you to fight against it or it will ruin you. You seem to be getting into a position


now where I can do but little for you except to pray, and this I do without ceasing. When the disciples came to Jesus, saying, who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Jesus called a little child unto him and set him in the midst of them and said, ‘Verily I say unto you (you who have believed on me and have left all and followed me, you who are longing for the kingdom of God and who hope to inherit it, verily, I say unto you), except ye be converted (from this envious vain-glorying spirit of rivalry) and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’

“Let me urge you therefore my dear, to resist this spirit and to ‘humble yourself under the mighty hand ol God that he may exalt you in due time.’ • I want to see you win in this battle and Satan vanquished under your feet; for the hosts of sin are pressing hard to- draw you from the prize. You are a mark for the adversary and you are being besieged by the powers of darkness at an unguarded place. Satan hath desired to have thee that he might sift thee as wheat; but I have prayed for thee and will continue to do so.

“I must add that I cannot admit the claim of your second note that the barrier between us is of my raising, and that therefore it devolves upon me to make all ‘the advances in the way of social amenities, such as, good morning, good evening, etc., for, though I sincerely wish you good mornings and good evenings and every other blessing, you have placed me in a position where I cannot now tell you so because it would be misconstrued as an admission on my part that the barrier is of my raising, which, in my estimation, is not true.

“With many prayers and great anxiety for you

Your loving Wife — though ‘only in a legal sense’ you say. Yes, so it seems: in heart you have deserted me because of envy and vain glory; but nevertheless, I am still legally — according to t he laws of God and man — your wife, deserted thus for the s i en pie reason that there is too much of an equality. This re mmds me of that which was prophetically said of our j rd, ‘They hated me without a cause;’ and also of the o ds of Solomon, ‘Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrage- w -■ but who is able to stand before envy?’ ” = .July 9. 1896. Mr, Russell’s reply to the above: —

fide nee is the only ground of co-operation, love and

harmony. You wish me to discuss the matter and to ‘prove myself worthy of yourconndence. I refuse to diSr- cuss and will always refuse to discuss and refute the groundless imaginings and misunderstandings which’ you and some in whom you have confidence delude yourselves with.”

Replying to this Mrs. Russell wrote to her husband as follows:

July 10, 1896, “Perhaps you do not realize it, but you are actually asking a moral impossibility when you demand perfect confidence in all you do and say. That would be almost clothing you with infallibility. The fact is that, while 1 most earnestly desire to have perfect con- fidence in you, there are some things in your course of conduct which 1 cannot reconcile with the principles of righteousness expressed in the Word of God, and there- fore, in all honesty and candor and love, 1 must say that, the ground of my confidence having been impaired, my confidence in you has been somewhat weakened, much to my regret and sorrow. But to repair the foundation and make it good and strong again, is your part, not mine.

“Most gladly will I step out on the planks when you have shown them to be secure, if (hey are so ; or if they are not, then when you have recognized the fact and made them so. This is my reason for requesting an interview and a very plain, candid consideration of those difficulties in my mind which at present constitute a barrier which I cannot remove.”

Replying to this Mr. Russell wrote:

July 10, 1896. “You have declared yourself a douoter, and that without a cause, — merely some evil surmise or suspicion. I take God and Christ for my pattern in deciding that I will never be pleased with doubters, nor choose them for my confidants, nor con- sider them my true friends. To the queries of the /rtiVAful I am ever attentive, as is the Lord, but he that doubts without cause is the wavercr who is unstable and unreasonable and who is undeserving of confidence or friendship.”

Mrs. Russell understands that t/te lordship of Christ js not to be patterned after and thus assumed by any of his people. “One is your master and all ye are brethren.” But being anxious to bridge over the chasm and thinking perhaps- he had dwelt upon this matter of her Jack of


confidence until it had assumed undue proportions in his mind, she wrote him as follows:

July 12, 1896. “Dear Husband, I have been thinking over this matter of confidence in the light in which you have put it, and I can say that I have confidence in the integrity of your heart and purpose.

“I am glad to be able to tell you this and to learn that on this basis you are willing to consider our difficul- ties, that, as nearly as possible, we may see eye to eye. I greatly desire to fully realize the oneness of spirit in the body of Christ so that there may be no schism between even two of its members, all of whom should be knit together in Christian love and mutual confidence. I am ready at any time that-suits you.”

To her note to this effect Mr. Russell appended the following reply:

July 13, 1896. “Under all the circumstances this treatment of the subject is not calculated to establish my confidence in you, I must wait for some evidence of a true repentance in a full and hearty recantation, or else 1 must hold you at a distance and doubt your object and meaning and look for some solution of the meaning and object of your attack as I would with any other attacker and traducer.

“I hope you will express yourself very freely and say just what you mean. I leave no one in doubt as to whom I esteem my friends, and wish to know all my enemies,— not to hurt them, but to withdraw all my confidence from them. If your pencil has told of the full measure.of your feelings I reject it with shame, contempt and pain.”

Non Support.

These letters were followed by withdrawal of support, except upon humiliating conditions to which he knew his wife would never descend, and when he refused her even her clothing, claiming that it belonged to him, and she took the wife’s privilege of supplying herself from the stores at his expense, he published the following notice in the Pittsburg daily papers:

“Notice. — The public is hereby cautioned to give credit to no one in my name except upon my specific written order, as I will not be responsible for such debts nor pay them,

“Charles Taze Russell, “No. 58 Arch St., Bible House, Allegheny.” 3

Then, to conceal from the general public the fact that this was aimed at his wife, the following statement appeared in the evening papers of the same day. See “Pittsburg Times,” February 7, 1898, first page, A copy is on hand here.


“The Credit of an Allegheny Pastor used to get Goods without his Knowledge.”

“Charles T. Russell, pastor of the congregation known as Christians, holding services at No. 58 Arch St., Alle- gheny, has been fatten advantage of by some of the benefactors of his charitable work, During the recent cold weather, Mr. Russell, for the congregation and in a spirit of charity, relieved considerable suffering among the poor of both cities. Toward the later part of last week Mr. Russell began to receive bills from grocers, butchers and others. Several persons who had been helped, and others who had heard of his distribution of food and clothing, took it upon themselves to order goods and have them charged to the account of Mr. Russell. None of the amounts were large and Mr. Russell paid them. Hereafter, however,” neither the Christian’s congregation, nor its pastor, will stand good for anything bought in their names unless a written order is presented by the purchaser.”

We know of no such charitable work ever under- taken by either Mr. Russell or the congregation, and they are taught that the. greatest and all-comprehensive charity is the distribution of his literature. It is quite unlikely that, that winter was any exception to all the winters before and since. None of Mrs. Russell’s bills were from butchers or grocers, but from dry goods mer- chants only, and in all amounted to less than two hundred dollars.

Hjs Idea of Marriage.

Subsequently he wrote to her: — “I may explain why I never address you as ‘wife’ and why I think it strange that you should address me as ‘husband.’ My reason for not calling you ‘wife’ is that you have broken the mar-


riage tie. What does the word ‘wife’ mean? Does it not signify a helpmate? What does the word ‘husband’ mean? Does it not signify a caretaker? Since you have left me, I certainly have not taken care of you; you have no husband so far as I am aware. Nor have I had a wife for some time. You were certainly not a helpmate to me for quite a while before you left.

“To call you a wife under such circumstances, would be to discredft our English language, and for you to call me a husband under the circumstances is equally inap- propriate.”

Insulting Letters to Her Friends,

After a deep plot and wide endeavor, by intrigue, insinuation and falsehood, to alienate all the friends which the years of her work had gathered, Mr. Russell, not willing to stop there, addressed letters to her intimate friends and relatives and even to his own father, warning Litem, under threat of legal proceedings for alienating his wife’s affections, not to harbor her in their homes or to have any communication with her by letter or other- wise, and copies of the same were given to Mrs. Russell. But neither she nor any of her friends either replied or heeded them.

These letters were so insulting in their character as to be unfit for publication. They were not sent by mail hut were delivered in person by his employees 10 the office of “Zion’s Watch Tower,” they, in each case, having read the contents before delivering.

So much, briefly, for the testimony of his own hand and pen us to who broke the marriage covenant, as he will have it. More might be said here, but Mr. Russell himself is the only witness summoned at this hearing. When Mrs. Russell left the house in the fall of 1897 to seek legal counsel of her brother it was with full intent to return in a few days. And this was a very necessary prudential measure 111 view of a report he was causing to be circulated to the effect that she was of unsound mind, and of measures that were manifestly being taken to deal with her on this pretext.

To this danger she felt she was exposed unprotected. This measure, which she wisely took for self-protection, has resulted, unwittingly on her part, in permanent sepa-


ration, with little hope, as the reader may judge, of any peaceable settlement.

This, however, could never be construed as “breaking the marriage covenant.” According to the Word of God that covenant can be broken only by one thing, vii„ unchastity. Mrs. Russell is too well known in the vicinity of Pittsburg and Allegheny, where she was born and reared and has spent all her life, for any such claim to be openly made; and if this remark is intended as a covered attack, an insinuation to this effect, there is testimony Irom his own pen on this line also.

This was given in reply to a letter from a lady then in his congregation to whom Mr. Russell had spoken thus slightingly of his wife. We append extracts from both these letters:

Pittsburg, Nov. 14. 1897, “Dear Brother Ruutil:

“My heart condemned me for not replying to you when you said you were sorry to say your wife had not been faithful to you.

“What may seem unfaithfulness to you may prove to be faithfulness to her God,. A wife can come to that point where, though her husband may be a Christian, she may have to choose between him and Christ. For though they are one flesh the individuality is not lost, nor can personal responsibility be set aside.”

To this Mr, Russell replied as follows:

Nov. 17, 1897. “DtarSiittrC:

“Your favor of the 14th inst. is at hand and contains one statement which I wish to correct as quickly as possi- ble. You say that I said I was sorry to say that my wife had not been faithful to me.

“I beg to say that you must be mistaken, and I trust that you will not circulate such a slander upon my wife’s fair name. This may have been the shape my words took before your mind, but I ant confident that I use language too carefully to permit any such slip. To speak of unfaithfulness on the part of married people has a special and peculiarly evil significance. I am positive that I did not use that language.

“Moreover, if I said anything evil respecting her 1 request that you consider it retracted and withdrawn.”


An Open Door.

After a year and a half of quiet residence with her sister and without support from her husband, Providence pointed Mrs. Russell to an open door which she might enter and establish a home of her own. A house of theirs vacated by a tenant was lawfully taken possession of by Mrs. Russell, and the dilemma was before her husband, either of quiet acquiescence or else prompt legal proceed- ings, for Mrs. Russell had determined to static! on her legal rights. The former measure wns preferred, although various efforts were made to intimidate and dispossess lier. And since the eyes of the public and of his congre- gation were upon him, some famishment of the house was seen to be a necessity of the sitimlion and was also pro- vided.

The following is her note to him informing him of this step.

“April t, 1899. Husband: — Acting on legal advice from one of the most eminent Pittsburg attorneys I have taken up my abode at No. 79 [new No. 1004] Cedar A>e. Som<” furniture has been provided me and 3 am keeping house here by myself with occasional company of Mabel, I have no fears as 1 have good neighbors on both sides.

“I have taken down the ‘To let* notice and purpose by renting the rooms to secure a little income, aside from which, as you know, 1 have none, H you take this mat- ter kindly and feel like co-operating in it I feel sure it will be for your good no less than mine,

“Your wife, Maria F. Russell.”

To this she received reply as follows;

April 3, 1899. “Dear Mrs. Russell: — Your note of the first itist,, informing me that you had burglarized house No. 79 Cedar Ave. and had taken possession of the same, and intend to hold possession of it, and impliedly requesting that I give my assent, came duly. This is my earlinst opportunity for reply.

“1 regret that you have taken this step, and I now ,ive you formal and legal notice to immediately remove rom the said premises any of your belongings, for I can neither rent you the property nor permit you to occupy it, By giving prompt attention to this matter you will save both yourself and me trouble.

Very Respectfully, C. T. Russell.” 12


Mrs. Russell still resides at No. 79— new No. 1004 — Cedar Ave., Allegheny, supporting herself by her own exertions, not receiving a dollar from her husband, nor from the literary work so largely hers.

She also still holds in the main the doctrines therein set forth, though some points have been greatly modified by the eye-opening experiences throujjh which she has passed. The fact that-some hold the truth in unrighteous* ness does not invalidate the truth now any more than of old. Though the scribes and pharisees whom Jesus described as writ ted sepulchres, full of all manner of unclean ness, held and taught the divine law, that law remains as pure today as if they had never touched it, And so it is of all truth that is God’s truth.

No attempt is here made to enter into details of explanation. Space will not permit that, but candid minds will see that “truth is fallen in the streets and equity cannot enter.”

IE a biased or untruthful reply is made to this through the columns of “Zion’s Watch Tower,” bear in mind that no such medium is open for further explanation and defence. But let us here say in advance that testimony in abundance is on hand to meet any form of defence by any person or persons as against the words of the editor of “lion’s Watch Tower” herein presented.

If “Tower” readers are sincere and honest, and if they would guard against being “partakers of other men’s sins” (l Tim. 5:2a) let them take measures to learn the truth and to act accordingly. True, you have no organi- zation and no arrangements for calling any one (0 account. Consequently you are dominated by one, and that one may be blind to the operations of the principles of righteousness, and following such leading together you may fall into the ditch.

If you would “watch and be sober” here is something to watch against.

“Let hi n: that thinketh he standeth take heediest he fall.”

“Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted ol?”

“Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.’

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord and whose hope the Lord is,”


-We affirm that ‘we have read the original correspond- ence from Charles T. Russell, 610 Arch St. (old No. 58

Arch St.)| Allegheny City, and copies. of replies thereto written by Maria F. Russell, 1004 Cedar Ave. (old No, 79), Allegheny City, and that the. quotations herein are accurate.

Charles L. Cojebett,

7969 Maderia St., ■ *-. Pittsburg, Pa,

F. C Smith,

610 Wood St.,

Wilkinsburg, Pa.

Commonwealth Pennsylvania County of Allegheny, .

On this 10th day of December, A, p., 1902, before me a “Notary Public in and for the said County and State came the above named Chas. L. Corbett and F. C. Smith, and acknowledge the foregoing Indenture to be their act and deed and desire the same to be recognized as such.

Witness my.h’and and notary seal the day, year afore- said.

– “. ‘ Jas. S. Weldon,



it tii6 snut ol two irituascs id

at fte ienUi of liueu wituesK wrier k estobllsta

Chicago, Dec, 2, 1902. To Whom it May Concern :

I have seen and read the original letters referred to in the foregoing and hereby affirm the correctness of quotations from same, as also those from her replies.

Jno. H. Brown, ; ‘ 96 and 98 Lake St, .

The foregoing was signed before me, a Notary Public in and for the County of Cook and State. of Illinois, on this second day of December, A, D., 1902.

L. S. Dickson.