Last Will and Testament of Charles Taze Russell
Having at various times during past years donated to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY all of my personal possessions except a small personal bank account of approximately two hundred dollars, in the Exchange National Bank of Pittsburgh, which will properly be paid over to my wife if she survives me, I have merely love and Christian good wishes to leave to all of the dear members of the Bible House Family-and all other dear colaborers in the Harvest work-yea, for all of the household of faith in every place who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus as their Redeemer.
However, in view of the fact that in donating the journal ZION'S WATCH TOWER, the OLD THEOLOGY QUARTERLY and the copyrights of the MILLENNIAL DAWN SCRIPTURE STUDIES Books and various other booklets, hymn-books, etc., to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, I did so with the explicit understanding that I should have full control of all the interests of these publications during my life time, and that after my decease they should be conducted according to my wishes.
AN EDITORIAL COMMITTEE OF FIVE
I direct that the entire editorial charge of ZION'S WATCH TOWER shall be in the hands of a committee of five brethren whom I exhort to great carefulness and fidelity to the Truth. All articles appearing in the columns of ZION'S WATCH TOWER shall have the unqualified approval of at least three of the committee of five, and I urge that if any matter approved by three be known or supposed to be contrary to the views of one or both of the other members of the committee, such articles shall be held over for thought, prayer and discussion for three months before being published-that so far as possible the unity of the faith and the bonds of peace may be maintained in the Editorial management of the journal.
The names of the Editorial Committee (with such changes as may from time to time occur) shall all be published in each number of the journal-but it shall not in any manner be indicated by whom the various articles appearing in the journal are written. It will be sufficient that the fact be recognized that the articles are approved by the majority of the committee.
As the Society has already pledged to me that it will publish no other periodicals, it shall also be required that the Editorial Committee shall write for or be connected with no other publications in any manner or degree. My object in these requirements is to safeguard the committee and the journal from any spirit of ambition or pride or headship and that the Truth may be recognized and appreciated for its own worth, and that the Lord may more particularly be recognized as the Head of the Church and the Fountain of Truth.
Copies of my Sunday discourses published in the daily newspapers covering a period of several years have been preserved and may be used as editorial matter for The WATCH TOWER or not, as the committee may think best, but my name shall not be attached nor any indication whatever given respecting the authorship.
Those named below as members of the Editorial Committee (subject to their acceptance) are supposed by me to be thoroughly loyal to the doctrines of the Scriptures- especially so to the doctrine of the Ransom-that there is no acceptance with God and no salvation to eternal life except through faith in Christ and obedience to His Word and its spirit.
If any of the designated ones shall at any time find themselves out of harmony with this provision they will be violating their consciences and hence committing sin if they continue to remain members of this Editorial Committee- knowing that so to do would be contrary to the spirit and intention of this provision.
The Editorial Committee is self-perpetuating, in that should one of these members die or resign, it will be the duty of the remainder to elect his successor, that the journal may never have an issue without a full Editorial Committee of five. I enjoin upon the committee named great caution in respect to the election of others to their number-that purity of life, clearness in the Truth, zeal for God, love for the brethren and faithfulness to the Redeemer shall be prominent characteristics of the one elected.
In addition to the five named for the committee I have named five others from whom I prefer that selection should be made for any vacancies in the Editorial Committee, before going outside for a general selection-unless in the interim, between the making of this Will and the time of my death, something should occur which would seem to indicate these as less desirable or others more desirable for filling the vacancies mentioned. The names of the Editorial Committee are as follows:
- WILLIAM E. PAGE;
- WILLIAM E. VAN AMBURGH;
- HENRY CLAY ROCKWELL;
- E. W. BRENNEISEN;
- F. H. ROBISON.
The names of the five whom I suggest as possibly amongst the most suitable from which to fill vacancies in the Editorial Committee are as follows: A. E. Burgess, Robert Hirsh, Isaac Hoskins, Geo. H. Fisher (Scranton), J. F. Rutherford, Dr. John Edgar.
The following announcement shall appear in each issue of THE WATCH TOWER, followed by the names of the Editorial Committee:
ZION'S WATCH TOWER EDITORIAL COMMITTEE
This journal is published under the supervision of an Editorial Committee, at least three of whom must have read and have approved as TRUTH each and every article appearing in these columns. The names of the Committee now serving are: (names to follow.)
As for compensation, I think it wise to maintain the Society's course of the past in respect to salaries-that none be paid; that merely reasonable expenses be allowed to those who serve the Society or its work in any manner. In harmony with the course of the Society, I suggest that the provision for the Editorial Committee, or the three that shall be actively engaged, shall consist of not more than a provision for their food and shelter and ten dollars per month with such a moderate allowance for wife or children or others dependent upon them for support as the Society's Board of Directors shall consider proper, just, reasonable- that no provision be made for the laying up of money.
I desire that the OLD THEOLOGY QUARTERLY continue to appear as at present, so far as the opportunities for distribution and the laws of the land will permit, and that its issues shall consist of reprints from the old issues of THE WATCH TOWER or extracts from my discourses, but that no name shall appear in connection with the matter unless the same is required by law.
It is my wish that the same rules apply to the German, the French, the Italian, the Danish, and the Swedish or any other foreign publications controlled or supported by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY.
I will that a copy of this paper be sent to each one whose name has appeared above as of the Editorial Committee or the list from whom others of that committee may be chosen to fill vacancies and also to each member of the Board of Directors of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. This shall be done immediately on my death being reported so that within a week, if possible, the persons named as of the Editorial Committee may be heard from, their communications being addressed to the Vice-President of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY-whoever may be holding that office at that time. The answers of those appointed shall be to the point, indicating their acceptance or rejection of the provisions and terms specified.
Meantime the remainder of the committee of at least three shall proceed to act in their capacity as editors. It shall be the duty of the officers of the Society to provide the necessary arrangements for these members of the Editorial Committee and to assist them in their duties in every possible manner, in compliance with the engagements made with me bearing on this matter.
I have already donated to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY all my voting shares therein, putting the same in the hands of five Trustees, as follows: Sr. E. Louise Hamilton; Sr. Almeta M. Nation Robison; Sr. J. G. Herr; Sr. C. Tomlins; Sr. Alice G. James. These Trustees shall serve for life. In event of deaths or resignations successors shall be chosen by the WATCH TOWER SOCIETY Directors and Editorial Committee and the remaining Trustees after prayer for Divine guidance.
I now provide for the impeachment and dismissal from the Editorial Committee of any member thereof found to be unworthy the position by reason of either doctrinal or moral laches, as follows:
At least three of the Board must unite in bringing the impeachment charges, and the Board of Judgment in the matter shall consist of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY'S trustees and the five trustees controlling my voting shares and the Editorial Committee, excepting the accused. Of these sixteen members at least thirteen must favor the impeachment and dismissal in order to effect the same.
DIRECTIONS FOR FUNERAL
I desire to be buried in the plot of ground owned by our Society, in the Rosemont United Cemetery, and all the details of arrangements respecting the funeral service I leave in the care of my sister, Mrs. M. M. Land, and her daughters, Alice and May, or such of them as may survive me, with the assistance and advice and cooperation of the brethren as they may request the same. Instead of an ordinary funeral discourse, I request that they arrange to have a number of the brethren, accustomed to public speaking, make a few remarks each, that the service be very simple and inexpensive and that it be conducted in the Bible House Chapel or any other place that may be considered equally appropriate or more so.
MY LEGACY OF LOVE
To the dear "Bethel" family collectively and individually I leave my best wishes, in hoping for them of the Lord His blessing, which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow. The same I extend in a still broader sweep to all the family of the Lord in every place-especially to those rejoicing in the Harvest Truth. I entreat you all that you continue to progress and to grow in grace, in knowledge, and above all in love, the great fruit of the Spirit in its various diversified forms.
I exhort to meekness, not only with the world, but with one another; to patience with one another and with all men, to gentleness with all, to brotherly kindness, to godliness to purity. I remind you that all these things are necessary for us, necessary that we may attain the promised Kingdom, and that the Apostle has assured us that if we do these things we shall never fail, but that "so an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
It is my wish that this, my Last Will and Testament, be published in the issue of THE WATCH TOWER following my death.
My hope for myself, as for all the dear Israel of God is that soon we shall meet to part no more, in the First Resurrection, in the Master's presence, where there is fulness of joy forevermore. We shall be satisfied when we awake in His likeness- "Changed from glory unto glory."
CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL.
PUBLISHED AND DECLARED IN THE PRESENCE OF THE WITNESSES WHOSE NAMES ARE ATTACHED:
- MAE F. LAND;
- M. ALMETA NATION;
- LAURA M. WHITEHOUSE.
DONE AT ALLEGHENY, PA., JUNE TWENTY-NINE, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND SEVEN.