I've Got a Christmas Present Given by Pastor Russell

by Seeker4 17 Replies latest jw friends

  • VM44
    It's inscribed thus: "Eleanor A. Shires - A gift from Pastor Russell - Xmas 1911"

    I wonder who Eleanor A Shires was, it would be interesting to know.


  • Seeker4

    Hey Steve,

    You have a remarkable memory - word for word - which makes me wonder.

    Theh poem, on page 13 is "The True Church," and is exactly as you say. It covers about 5.5 pages. No author is credited, but it says pretty much what you mentions.

    Among the authors mentioned: GW Seibert, (as in Gertrude W..), Alice James, JG Whittier, Bishop Hebner, and a bunch of others - but no Ms. Russell.


  • stev

    from ZWT jan 1, 1913 NEW POEMS OF DAWN Our attention was called to the fact that many of our readers do not know that the Book of POEMS OF DAWN recently published is quite different from the old edition. It does, indeed, contain the choicest poems from the old edition, but it includes many entirely new. We believe that every WATCH TOWER reader would be desirous of having this new edition if thoroughly aware of the contents. Its beautiful verses are very restful and helpful, well adapted to the various experiences of the Lord's people. As a part of His staff for His weary ones to lean upon they are a present help in time of need. The prices are extremely low and include postage--cloth-bound, 25c.; Karatol-bound, 35c.; India paper, leather-bound, 50c. [page 2]

  • stev

    freeminds lists the 1912 edition at $400 retail.

  • Seeker4

    The cover on this is not in great condition, though the pages are perfect.


  • stev


    ONE Sabbath morn I roamed astray,
    And asked a Pilgrim for the way:
    "O, tell me, whither shall I search,
    That I may find the one true Church?"
    He answered, "Search the world around;
    The one true Church is never found.
    Yon ivy on the abbey wall
    Makes fair the falsest Church of all."
    But, fearing he had told me wrong,
    I cried, "Behold the entering throng!"
    He answered, "If a Church be true,
    It hath not many, but a few!"
    Around a font the people pressed,
    And crossed themselves on brow and breast.
    "A cross so light to bear," he cried,
    "Is not of Christ, the Crucified!

    ::page 14::

    Each forehead, frowning, sheds it off:
    Christ's cross abides through scowl and scoff!"
    We entered at the open door,
    And saw men kneeling on the floor;
    Faint candle, by the daylight dimmed,
    As if by foolish virgins trimmed;
    Fair statues of the saints, as white
    As now their robes are, in God's sight;
    Stained windows, casting down a beam,
    Like Jacob's ladder in the dream.
    The Pilgrim gazed from nave to roof,
    And, frowning, uttered this reproof:
    "Alas! who is it that understands
    God's Temple is not made with hands?"

    We walked in ferns so wet with dew
    They plashed our garments trailing through,
    And came upon a church whose dome
    Upheld a cross, but not for Rome.
    We brushed a cobweb from a pane,
    And watched the service in the fane.
    "Do prayers," he asked, "the more avail,
    If offered at an altar rail?
    Does water sprinkled from a bowl,
    Wash any sin from any soul?
    Do tongues that taste the bread and wine
    Speak truer after such a sign?"
    Just then, upon a maple spray,
    Two orioles perched, and piped a lay,
    Until the gold beneath their throats
    Shook molten in their mellow notes.
    Resounding from the church, a psalm
    Rolled, quivering, through the outer calm.

    ::page 15::

    "Both choirs," said I, "are in accord,
    For both give praises to the Lord."
    "The birds," he answered, "chant a song
    Without a note of sin or wrong:
    The church's anthem is a strain
    Of human guilt and mortal pain."
    The orioles and the organ ceased,
    And in the pulpit rose the priest.
    The Pilgrim whispered in my ear,
    "It profits not to tarry here."
    "He speaks no error," answered I,
    "He teaches that the living die;
    The dead arise; and both are true;
    Both wholesome doctrines; neither new."
    The Pilgrim said, "He strikes a blow
    At wrongs that perished long ago;
    But covers with a shielding phrase
    The living sins of present days."
    We turned away among the tombs--
    A tangled place of briers and blooms.
    I spelled the legends on the stones:
    Beneath reposed the martyrs' bones,
    The bodies which the rack once brake
    In witness for the dear Lord's sake,
    The ashes gathered from the pyres
    Of saints whose zeal our soul inspires.
    The Pilgrim murmured as we passed,
    "So gained they all the crown at last.
    Men lose it now through looking back,
    To find it at the stake, the rack;
    The rack and stake are old with grime;
    God's touchstone is the living time!"

    ::page 16::

    We passed where poplars, gaunt and tall,
    Let twice their length of shadow fall.
    Then rose a meeting-house in view,
    Of bleached and weather-beaten hue.
    Men, plain of garb and pure of heart,
    Divided church and world apart.
    Nor did they vex the silent air
    With any sound of hymn or prayer.
    God's finger to their lips they pressed,
    Till each man kissed it and was blessed.
    I asked, "Is this the true Church, then?"
    He answered, "Nay, a sect of men:
    And sects that shut their doors in pride
    Shut God and half His saints outside.
    The gates of Heaven, the Scriptures say,
    Stand open wide, by night and day.
    So, then, to enter, is there need
    To carry key of church or creed?"

    Still following where the highway led,
    Till elms made arches overhead,
    We saw a spire and weathercock,
    And snow-white church upon a rock--
    A rock, where centuries before,
    Came sea-tossed pilgrims to the shore.
    My sandals straightway I unbound,
    Because the place was holy ground.
    I cried, "One church at last I find,
    That fetters not the human mind."
    "This church," said he, "is like the rest;
    For all are good, but none is best."

    ::page 17::

    Then far from every church we strayed--
    Save Nature's pillared aisles of shade.
    The squirrels ran to see us pass,
    And God's sweet breath was on the grass.
    I challenged all the creeds, and sought
    What truth, or lie, or both, they taught.
    I asked, "Had Augustine a fault?"
    The Pilgrim gazed at heaven's high vault,
    And answered, "Can a mortal eye
    Contain the sphere of all the sky?"
    I said, "The circle is too wide."
    "God's truth is wider!" he replied.
    "Though Augustine was on his knee,
    He saw how little he could see;
    Though Luther sought with burning heart,
    He caught the glory but in part;
    Though Calvin opened wide his soul,
    He comprehended not the whole.
    Not Luther, Calvin, Augustine,
    Saw visions such as I have seen."
    While yet he spake, a rapture stole
    Through all my still inquiring soul.
    I looked upon His holy brow,
    Entreating, "Tell me, who art THOU?"
    But such a splendor filled the place,
    I knew it was the Lord's own face!
    I was a sinner, and afraid!
    I knelt in dust, and thus I prayed:
    "O Christ, the Lord! end Thou my search,
    And lead me to the one true Church."
    He spake as never man may speak--
    "The one true Church thou shalt not seek,

    ::page 18::

    Seek thou, forevermore, instead,
    To find the one true Christ, its Head!"
    The Lord then vanished from my sight,
    And left me standing in the light.

  • stev

    I posted this poem "The True Church". It is probably the longest poem in the book. The churches visited are not stated, but I am concluding from the description of each that the first church is likely Catholic, the 2nd Episcopal, the 3rd Quaker, and 4th Congregational. The Pilgrim does say regarding churches that "all are good, but none is best." I am perplexed by the message of the poem, and not sure what action is being urged by it. Perhaps the poem is meant to be thought-provoking only. It does not answer the question of what church to join. Some could conclude that no church is needed. Russell taught that all churches were Babylon, which all should flee from, a radical message, which perhaps this poem was used to support. However, unfortunately, the movement that he started later developed the same evils as the churches that he denounced. The message "the one true church is never found" and "seek Christ its head" and "all are good, but none is best" is correct, but yet does not tell us how to live in this world with the inevitable mixture of good and evil, even within the church. Russell, localized the evil in the churches and the human organizations without, due to collapse soon in Armageddon. But this might have caused his followers to be ignorant and blind to the evil that was within in their midst. Steve

  • rebel8

    It actually said "XMas", not "Christmas"? Don't tell hibiscusfire, LOL.

    I have a copy of a Christmas card sent by the WTS, complete with a cross.

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