Pastor Russell explains the history that led up to the starting of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (R5909 : page 170)
MANY are the inquiries relative to the truths presented in the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and THE WATCH TOWER, as to whence they came and how they developed to their present symmetrical and beautiful proportions. Were they the results of visions? Did God in some supernatural way grant the solution of these hitherto hidden mysteries of His Plan? Is the author of these writings more than an ordinary being? Does he claim supernatural wisdom or power? Or how comes this revelation of God’s Truth?
No, dear friends; we claim nothing of superiority; nor do we aspire to exalt ourself in the estimation of our brethren of the Household of Faith, except in the sense that the Master urged it, saying, “Whosoever will be chief among you let him be your servant.” (Matthew 20:27.) Our position amongst men of the world and of the Nominal Church, is certainly far from exalted; for we are everywhere spoken against. We are fully content, however, to wait for exaltation, until the Lord’s due time. (1 Peter 5:6.) In the words of the Apostle, we therefore answer, “Why look ye upon us, as though by our own power we had done these things?” We also are a man of like passions with yourselves, of like infirmities and frailties, earnestly striving by overcoming many besetments, discouragements, etc., to press along the line toward the Prize of our High Calling, and claiming only, as a faithful student of the Word of God, to be an index finger, as we have previously expressed it, to help you trace for yourselves upon the sacred page the wonderful Plan of God–no less wonderful to us, we assure you, than to yourselves.
No, the truths we present, were not revealed in visions and dreams or by God’s audible voice; nor were they revealed all at once, but gradually, especially since 1870, and particularly since 1880. This present unfolding of Truth is not due to human ingenuity or acuteness of perception, but to the simple fact that God’s due time has come; and if we did not speak, and no other agent could be found, the very stones would cry out.
We give the following history, not only because we have been urged to give a review of God’s leadings in the path of light, but especially because we believe it to be needful that the truth be modestly told, in order that misapprehensions and prejudicial misstatements may be disarmed, and that our readers may see all along the way the Lord has helped and guided us. In so far as the names and views of others who have parted company with us may be associated with this history, we shall endeavor to bring forward only such points as are necessary to an understanding of our position and of the Lord’s leadings. Nor can we name all the little points of Divine favor to which was tested, prayers were answered, etc., remembering that our Master and the early Church left no such example of boasting faith, but admonished otherwise, saying, “Hast thou faith, have it to thyself.”
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