Friday, March 30, 2012

Today on the private blog ...

Jerome has written a well-researched article on the interplay between Adventists, Age to Come belief and Russell's place in the Age to Come movement.

We are open to requests to read the blog, but mere curiosity will not get you access. We're sorry that this is so, but bad experiences from both sides of the isle have made some caution necessary. Tell us who you are, why you want to see it, and if you think you can contribute something beyond curiosity.

The prime rule is that what is on the private blog stays there. You may not copy it to your web site, use it in your book, article or controversial post. You many not link to it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Today ... on the Invitation Only Blog

I've posted the first section of Chapter 2 of our work in progress. It defines the broad influences on Russell's theology, pointing to Age-to-Come belief as promoted by the Wilsons and others through The Restititution, a newspaper published in Indiana.

We find that the quality of research is often reflected by the footnotes. An educated eye can distinguish research into secondary sources  in the guise of primary sources. When we research we check what others claim and we check their sources. You have no idea how often the footnotes found in books that purport to be serious schollarly efforts betray the writer.

Here are the footnotes from our chapter two. I think they show the quality of our research. Do not expect us to post this chapter on the open blog (this blog.) Unless you are member of the other blog, you won't see it until publication. But I will let you see the footnotes:

[1]           C. T. Russell: Harvest Siftings and Gatherings, Zion’s Watch Tower, July 15, 1906, page 229.
[2]           Russell self-identifies as a pre-millennialist in an interview published in the December 26, 1878, issue of the Indianapolis, Indiana, Sentinel. The review from John O’Groat Journal is copied in the March 1, 1898, issue of Zion’s Watch Tower, page 80.
[3]           Emma Doolittle: Millennial Dawnism, later reprint by Faith Publishing House, Guthrie, Oklahoma, no date but originally not earlier than 1914.
[4]           Hatchet: Destiny of Man in the Ages to Come, The Millenarian, February 1887, page 1. Vitringa (1659-1722) was professor of Oriental languages and later professor of Theology and sacred history at the University of Franeker. His major prophetic statement was Anacrisis Apocalypsios Johannis Apostoli, published in 1719.
[5]           Institutio Interpretis Novi Testamenti, 1761.
[6]           J. Piscator: Commentarii in Omnes Libros Novi Testamenti, 1613.
[7]           Modern Millenarianism, The Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, January 1853, page 68.
[8]           J. V. Himes: The Rise and Progress of Adventism, Advent Shield and Review, May 1844, page 92.
[9]           For a helpful article see David Graham: The Age-to-Come Influence of Elias Smith, Church of God General Conference History News Letter, Summer, 1984, page 1. The claim that Elias Smith was the first to preach Age-to-Come made in the Editorial accompanying the article, (see page 10) is, of course, false.
[10]          The resolution is reproduced in full in L. E. Froom: Prophetic Faith of our Fathers, volume 4, pages 617-618.
[11]          G. Storrs: The Return of the Jews, The Midnight Cry! February 17, 1843, page 1. (Pages are not numbered in this issue.)
[12]          J. V. Himes: The Rise and Progress of Adventism, Advent Shield and Review, May 1844, pages 47-48.
[13]          The Story of Chicago in Connection with the Printing Business, Regan Printing House, Chicago, 1912, page 203. Rowell’s American Newspaper Directory, 1872 edition, page 31.
[14]          Rowell’s American Newspaper Directory, 1873 edition, page 53. Marturion is the Greek word for Testimony. Wilson’s conception was of a society of witnesses to God’s word and work.
[15]          David Graham: The Old Union Church and the Church of God Abrahamic Faith in Indiana, Church of God General Conference History Newsletter, Autumn 1984, footnote 8 on page 7.
[16]          Thomas Wilson wrote in Our Rest: “I have been for some time prayerfully engaged in the study of that greatest wonder of earth (The Great Pyramid), 'the witness,' and the Lord has at last blessed my investigations by revealing to me what I sought after, viz., a perfect chronology, reaching back to the beginning of the world. I have felt impressed for some time with the idea that this building of His, so perfect in all other respects, would not fall short here, and so it has proven. The testimony is gradually being given, and in every instance it witnesses for the truth of that good old book, the Holy Bible.” – Quoted in B. W. Savile: Anglo-Israeliteism & the Great Pyramid, London, 1880, page 102. Wilson wrote a series of articles on the Great Pyramid in the 1880s. Two of the most significant are found in the January and November issues. These were picked up and commented on by The International Standard: A Magazine Devoted to … The Great Pyramid. See the May 1884 issue, pages 117, 124.
[17]          Jan Stilson: Editorial, Church of God General Conference History Newsletter, Autumn 1984.
[18]          J. W. Houghawout: Report of Labors, The Restitution, August 14, 1878.
[19]          Amos Sanford: Controversy, The Restitution, June 12, 1876.
[20]          AC Times as quoted in H. V. Reed: Doubt Castle Invaded, The Restitution, December 16, 1874. Characterization of Age-to-Come as “trash”: AC Times, July 18, 1877.
[21]          David Graham: A Short History of Anti-Sectarianism in the Church of God, Church of God General Conference History Newsletter, December 1992/January 1993, page 1ff.
[22]          Mary Bush” Letter to S. A. Chaplin in the January 22, 1879, issue of Restitution.
[23]          Abby A. Perry, Letter to S. A. Chaplin in the April 16, 1879 issue of Restitution.

The next section should go up in a few days. It profiles Jonas Wendell in detail not found anywhere else.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

J. T. Walsh

Walsh and Storrs associated for a period in the 1840s and 50s. A biography of Walsh is found here:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rose Ball

Do we know the name of Rose Ball's father?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Roberto ...

Some of your questions may be answered by the new post on the private blog.

Charles Taze Russell and The Restitution

by "Jerome"

(Note: The article below was first published on the closed blog in June of last year. Since there has been some recent debate over whether CTR’s theology was mainly influenced by Adventist or Age to Come belief, it seemed relevant to republish it here. The Restitution was the main paper for Age to Come believers in the last three decades of the 19th century. The amount of space they gave to CTR, and the increasingly unfriendly tone of their comments as CTR’s theology developed, is a strong indication of where he had come from, and then – in their minds – deviated from. This writer suspects that researchers would be hard put to find a similar level of fixation in Adventist publications of the era, which tells its own story.

There is also a postscript at the end detailing what further research has uncovered since the article was originally published)

One of the key Age to Come papers of the 19th century was The Restitution. It started life as a successor to journals edited by Benjamin Wilson (of the Emphatic Diaglott) and his nephew Thomas Wilson. The title Restitution ran from 1870 to 1926.

It originally represented scattered autonomous groups that used terms like Abrahamic Faith, One Faith, Age to Come, Blessed Hope and Church of God, and originally allowed a wide range of views, as well as debating with what one writer called “half brethren” (July 28, 1880, page 2) such as Adventists and Christadelphians. Regular hot topics included the Second Advent, the resurrection, Jesus’ pre-human existence, a personal Devil, and what current events with literal Israel might mark the close of the Gentile Times.

Contributors in the 1870s included familiar names such as George Storrs and particularly George Stetson. Between 1876-1878 Stetson may possibly have written more for The Restitution than for Adventist journals like the Times and Crisis.

We know that Charles Taze Russell (hereafter abbreviated to CTR) associated with Storrs and Stetson, and also attended meetings with G D Clowes, who is listed preaching at Quincy Hall, Allegheny in the Restitution’s Church Directory in its issue for November 5, 1874. When George Storrs visited what he called a “little group in Pittsburgh” in the mid-1870s, he met both Clowes and Joseph Lytel Russell, CTR’s father. (See for example, Storrs’ Bible Examiner for November 1875, where both G D Clowes and J L Russell write to Storrs about the same meetings). Although CTR is not mentioned here, he obviously associated with Clowes because ZWT for March 1889 carries an obituary where CTR refers to “our dear Brother Clowes” (see reprints page 1110).

So when CTR began his own publishing ministry, The Restitution was an obvious place to send his material.

This article is going to look at CTR’s connections with The Restitution over a ten year period. During this time, in addition to his own periodical, CTR published four main works, Three Worlds, Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return, Food for Thinking Christians, and The Divine Plan of the Ages. All were featured in The Restitution, and in a sense, they illustrate how the relationship between CTR and this One Faith group deteriorated as the years went by.


An advertisement for Three Worlds in found in The Restitution for May 30, 1877, on page 3. Three silhouetted globes surround the title Three Worlds. It may well have been a paid advertisement, and it would be interesting to discover which other papers also printed it. It gives the publisher as C T Russell, Rochester, NY. The by-line reads – should be in the hands of every Bible student. No actual review has been found in surviving issues of The Restitution.

Nelson Barbour of course was the main author of Three Worlds, CTR’s role here was as publisher.


The Restitution for February 27, 1878 on page 2 made the following announcement: The Restitution supplement, as was noticed last week, was furnished by the writer C T Russell, to the readers of our paper, at his own expense both for the printing and mailing. (end of quote). Unfortunately it does not give a title and the issue from the previous week which probably did give a name is lost. Editorial comment suggests that this was Object and Manner which would be the logical thing for CTR to send out at that time.

It illustrated that CTR, as a successful businessman, had one advantage over many others – he could afford to send out material at his own expense both for the printing and the mailing. By contrast, The Restitution was always concerned about lack of funds and asking for donations. It is interesting to note that CTR chose this journal for the purpose.

The results must have been mixed. The review has a friendly but condescending tone. Rather magnanimously it states “we do not wish to prejudice our readers as it is a present to them which has been quite an expense to the writer”. However, readers must “prove all things” and the reviewer certainly had different views on resurrection and the Second Advent. Still (to quote again) the “fair chance” part of the supplement will probably please some of our readers. (end of quote).

Assuming that this February 27 freebie was Object and Manner, when others had time to assimilate its contents, they were not prepared to be so charitable. In The Restitution for June 26, 1878 one Restitution stalwart, J. B. Cook, had read it through thoroughly and did not like it one bit.

Cook’s review took center stage on the front page – The Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return by C.T. Russell, noticed by J.B.Cook.

Cook starts by saying the pamphlet had been circulated both directly and indirectly and he received his copy with Herald of the Morning. The suggestion that Christ’s return had already taken place invisibly did not sit at all well with Cook. And as for the “second chance” gospel from H. Dunn, this was “another gospel”. Cook’s review is peppered with expressions like – delusive - utterly fallacious - the phantom of an excited brain... He concludes his attack with the words: (quote) It is in deep sorrow for them that I write. Brother R is spending his money for that which is not bread, and the brethren are scattered by “uncertain sounds, yet I rejoice. “The Lord knoweth them that are his”. Amen. “The half has not been told” to these brethren, but adieu. (end of quote).

There is a hint of theatrical flourish in the final “adieu” with perhaps a suggestion of 1 John 2 v.19 about it – “They went out from us, but they were not of our sort” (NWT)


CTR’s next publication for mass distribution was the 160 page pamphlet Food for Thinking Christians. Ultimately, over one million were circulated. This could hardly be ignored by The Restitution, although they really tried.

It was general policy to include cuttings from exchanged journals as fillers, and the November 2, 1881 issue of The Restitution, page 2, quoted from a letter J. C. Sunderlin sent to Zion’s Watch Tower from London. Sunderlin gives a little homily on running the Christian race, prompted by an engraving seen in a Fleet Street window. (The original is found in Zion’s Watch Tower for October-November 1881, reprints page 292.)

Sunderlin’s whole point in being in London was to organize the distribution of Food for Thinking Christians, but you would never know that from The Restitution. One wonders why they even quoted what they did.

The silence about Food continued for a year or two, by which time many Age to Come groups were familiar with the publication and it could no longer be ignored. The June 13, 1883 Restitution finally devoted four long columns on its back page to the problem, in the article A Brief Review by regular writer Wiley Jones. In a critical and not particularly brief review, Jones studiously managed to avoid mentioning either the name of the book, the publisher, or the author. He even makes the point that (quote) the name of the writer does not appear on the title-page (end of quote) – which was true but the implication appears deliberately misleading. All Jones would admit to was that (quote) a pamphlet of 160 pages, published in 1881...has been handed to me with a request that I would say something against its errors. (end of quote).

Wiley Jones obligingly referred to specific page numbers as he presented his criticism. His pen was not quite as poisonous in tone as J.B. Cook’s, but his view was much the same. The idea of the “second chance” for many dead did not appeal, and the chronological speculations on the timing of an invisible presence and the start of the resurrection were definitely not something for Restitution readers. By his amnesic approach to title and author Jones no doubt hoped to prevent further readers checking it out for themselves – even if just out of curiosity. But those who had seen the Food booklet would have no doubt what was being criticized.


CTR’s next major work, and ultimately the one that received the widest distribution of all was the first volume of Millennial Dawn, entitled The Divine Plan of the Ages.

CTR’s Divine Plan was widely reviewed. J B Rotherham for example, in The Rainbow for December 1886 was to give it over nine pages. The Restitution regularly quoted from The Rainbow, and no doubt some of its readers subscribed. And these journals had other journals in common. The writing was on the Age to Come wall - you cannot avoid mentioning a book that everyone else will mention. So The Restitution’s own review appeared on October 13, 1886.

And here we hit a problem. The extant Restitution file was put together from several church collections in the 1980s and unfortunately the poor quality paper used, along with imperfect storage conditions over a century means they are incomplete. Frustratingly a key chunk of the Restitution’s review – what THEY actually thought about CTR’s book is missing. The main section that survives is quotes from other reviewers. As such these are secondary sources – where you have to take on trust that they have been quoted correctly and in context. However, in reviewing CTR’s links with The Restitution, it does seem worthwhile to document here that they did, in fact, review The Divine Plan of the Ages.

What survives of their review is reproduced in full below:

“Millennial Dawn – The Divine Plan of the Ages, by Charles T. Russell – (Pittsburgh: Zion’s Watch Tower). The Inter Ocean has before made mention of this work. It is the first of a series of volumes, each complete in itself, and designed to expound and make clear “the plan of the ages” in the salvation of man. It is strong writing, showing much research and excellent arrangement and method in its treatment of its subjects. Upon the opening pages is a chart marked “the chart of the ages,” which divides the periods into three dispensations. First to the flood – 1656 years; second includes the Jewish or gospel age, and third, yet to be fulfilled, the millennial age under the reign of Christ. “For this end Christ died and lived again that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” There will doubtless be many exceptions taken to the theology of the writing, but none will doubt the honesty or earnestness, or the intended devotion to truth of the author. Christian readers may find teachings in the book to combat, but they will find much more to commend. From a scholarly standpoint the book will be marked as one of merited literary excellence.”

On the contrary the New York Independent says: - “Millennial Dawn, Volume 1, The Plan of the Ages, throws no light on our mind, and only adds to the old perplexities. It is hard to classify either the book or the author. He is a fifth monarchy man, and talks in a wild and dangerously anarchic way of the authority of governments and of social order. He seems to belong to the wing of the Adventists, known as “Sleepers” on account of their belief that all men, good and bad, sleep in Jesus until their “restitution” at the pre-millennial coming of Christ. At all events, he believes in the restitution at the second and pre-millennial advent of the entire race to an earthly life under the reign of Christ, and with Jerusalem as the world’s capital. The mild reign of the Prince of Peace hardens in his hands to a “rule of iron,” which, with evident relish of the anticipation, he asserts will not be at all to the liking of a very considerable portion of the 142,000,000,000 of the restored dead. So far as we can disentangle the confusion of the book, it is a ludicrous mixture of restorationism, pre-millennialism of the more or less orthodox type, and a large portion of adventism of a kind which we must leave to those who believe in it to say whether it is orthodox or heretical. To us it falls into the large but simple class of well-meant fooleries.”

Thus our readers will see how the “doctors disagree.” While there is no paper that comes to our office that we more highly esteem than the Independent, we think the literary reviewer, who wrote the above critique, has been too caustic in some of his expressions, and somewhat unfortunate in a few of his leading objections; inasmuch as these very objections seem to conflict as much with positive Scripture language as with statements contained in the book reviewed. See Ps ii. 9; Rev. ii. 26,27.

Human destiny is a problem of immensely solemn importance. Ontology, Soteriology, Eschatology, - the doctrines of Existence, of Salvation, of Last-Things – are the irrepressible questions forcing themselves upon the attention of all the thoughtful in this age of critical investigation. It has become apparent to many theologians – though painfully so in many instances – that the old creeds are about so many concentrated formularies of extravagant error on eternal retribution. To speak for ourselves, we like some chapters of this work. Of other chapters we must say that the themes discussed are open questions. To those...

(at this tantalizing point nine lines are missing, and then the last four lines are incomplete)

....woman (?) what.....saved, and obtain....of glory that fadeth not away.

(end of review)

It would be nice if – somewhere - a copy with the complete review could be found.

So, looking back one can see the distance growing between the Age-to-Come people and the fledgling Bible Student movement – although any attacks on conditional immortality would provoke a mutually defensive position.

In 1902, it must have been extremely galling for the Restitution office, who had stocked Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott for decades, when CTR obtained the plates and took over the role of publisher.

If their new people wanted a Diaglott, or if older members wished to replace one, now they had to go to The Watch Tower. Which probably meant they would read a copy of The Watch Tower. Horror of horrors! They might even choose to become Bible Students instead.


The article above had to assume that the supplement sent out with The Restitution for February 20, 1878, was CTR’s Object and Manner, because regrettably this particular issue is not extant. This can now be confirmed from George Storrs’ review in Bible Examiner for March 1878, page 167. Storrs writes about Object and Manner (quote) The author is one of my very dear friends, and is a sincere lover of truth. I have not the slightest doubt of his stern integrity...his sacrifice of time and money shows his faith (end of quote). But Storrs cannot accept the second presence concept and that it has already happened, and quotes approvingly from a current Restitution review, which queries invisible presence, and is critical, albeit in a kindly fashion.

Volume 2 of CTR’s Millennial Dawn series, The Time is at Hand, was given a kindly review by A J Eychaner in The Restitution for February 4, 1891. Eychaner disputes aspects of chronology (quote) I wish in this paper simply to call attention to an error in the count of Bro. Russell, which I think is fatal to his whole time argument (end of quote). However, this review is quite friendly, it calls CTR “Brother” and ends with “Submitted in all charity”.

By The Restitution for December 12, 1894, comments on Volume 2 were far more vitriolic. CTR has been (quote) blinded by his own invention...we squarely charge the author of Millennial Dawn with setting aside the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and representing his as deceiving the apostles by creating a body and clothing for that purpose. A man who would represent him in whose mouth was no guile, as capable of such abominable trickery in order to sustain his own, or some borrowed subterfuge, ought to be closely watched...All this folly grows out of want of faith in that great and glorious truth – justification by faith (end of quote).

What had probably not helped the writer’s blood pressure was the previous issue for December 5, 1894, detailing how a Bible Student had been giving out copies of the Old Theology Tract no. 21 Do You Know outside their place of worship. Restitution readers were being targeted! In the words of the writer (quote) evidently the Christ Mr Russell expects to reign with, never died for him....we admit there is a fraud, and as between the Lord Jesus and Mr. Russell, we decide it is the latter (end quote).

As noted at the end of the original article, CTR obtaining the plates for the Diaglott must have been the last straw.

Friday, March 9, 2012

It occurs to me ...

That most of those who read this blog pronounce B. W. Keith's last name as Keeth. It's a German name. It's pronounced Kyte, K eye t.

J. A. Seiss isn't Seesz. It's S eye sz.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Who wrote this?

It's signed E.B. It's probably from about 1920.

E. W. Brenneisen often signed correspondence using his initials E.B.
This is a suggested answer? Any thoughts?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

On the Invitation Only Blog

I've posted a near final draft of Chapter One of our next book. It details the Russells' lives from immigration to 1870 with some spill over into later years. Many new things find their way into this chapter. We know the name of the Presbyterian Church the Russells attended, the names of its two pastors, the name of the Congregational Church C. T. R. joined, the names of its two pastors. We have a photo of one of them. We explain Russell's claim to "private tutors."

We correct the record in significant ways. Statements that find ready, uncritical acceptance from other writers are significantly wrong. We point out the errors and present original source documentation to support our claims.

One section of this chapter remains unwritten because we're waiting for a collection of documents from a church archive. Without that section (which should be brief) the chapter is fifty-two pages long formatted as it will be for publication. It's documented with 233 footnotes, almost all of which come from original sources such as immigration records, letters, financial documents, obituaries, and extracts from Russell's own words. There are many seldom seen photos and illustrations.

Want a sample of the footnotes? Here are some from later in the chapter:

Woodward & Rowlands’ Pittsburgh Directory for 1852, page 9.

Russell transcript, page 118; Diefenbach’s Directory: 1882-1883, page 869; In the Superior Court of Pennsylvania Western District: No. 202, April Term, 1908. Maria F. Russell by her Next friend Emma H. Russell vs Charles T. Russell, Appellant. Paper Book of Appellant, pages 7-8.

Russell transcript, page 43. Appellant’s Paper Book, page 8.

Charles Tays Russell’s will is on file at Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Apparently no one repeating the outrageous claim of one individual has bothered to check the original.

Document dated September 2, 1886, relating to Mary Jane Russell’s inheritance found in the probate records of Charles Tays Russell, Allegheny County.

Bill of Sale between C. T. Russell and Bernard M. Block dated February 27, 1896, found in the archives of the *** Center of the *** Archives [We need some surprises, right?]

This sample should be enough to show that this is serious, well-documented history.