Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
outsiders could come to the meeting with profit. We did not consider this as a promise to give a public service, but merely thought that our talk, whose subject we had not yet selected, would be on general high calling lines. That night, Feb. 16, Brother Russell's birthday, however, it was announced to the meeting that as we had just spoken on "that Wise and Faithful Servant," we would the following afternoon give a lecture on "that Evil Servant," if the brethren desired it. A unanimous vote requested us so to do. Most of the feeling against that discourse at Philadelphia was worked up by objections from Society sources, some of whose supporters were present at the meeting, or by the fear of the effect on them. Both R.G. Jolly and ourself assured the Committee, after I.F. Hoskins' speech, that Society agitation was in part back of the feeling, and most of the rest was due to fear of it. The discourse was delivered as kindly and as wisely as we knew how. March 17, both sisters as well as others, before the Church apologized for what they did, acknowledging that the discourse was edifying and meat in due season and, excepting one contrary vote, the Church unanimously passed a resolution approving of the discourse. Doubtless several, including S.N. Wiley, lacked the courage to vote against it in the face of the sentiment at that meeting. Seven months later eight members of the Philadelphia Church, under the influence of the predominate P.B.I. Committee, voted disapproval of the discourse, all the others voting approval. Seemingly these eight would in all likelihood have voted approval or disapproval of anything, accordingly as their P.B.I. partisanship dictated, as they unanimously did for months on every matter affecting the
To return to the Feb. 23 Committee meeting: For three hours in the Committee meeting that afternoon, with many recriminations aimed at us, the question was discussed as to whether Committee members
were to preach on any new matters not approved by the Committee. Then the meeting adjourned for supper. Supper finished, F.H. McGee presented a resolution stating that nothing—especially types, prophecies and symbols—not interpreted by that Servant should be preached by Committee members on pain of being out of harmony with the Committee. Another discussion of at least three hours then set in. During this discussion I.F. Hoskins affirmed the following propositions: that the Committee had all the power in the work that that Servant had had, and that for any member of the Committee to preach things not approved by the Committee proved that that person acted as head of the Committee! He then said that he would resign from the Committee, if anyone of its members preached things not sanctioned by the Committee. The doctrinal clearing house proposition in his mind was very apparent, therefore, Feb. 23; and the claim that the Committee had all of that Servant's powers explains why I.F. Hoskins faulted in his letter of Feb. 21 (quoted above) the Philadelphia Church for presuming to arrange for a Pilgrim to preach to it without consulting the Committee. We would, however, say that before we accepted the invitation to speak to the Philadelphia Church, we in R.H. Hirsh's presence spoke of it to I. F, Hoskins, who was then making the Committee Pilgrim appointments, and obtained his sanction, a thing that he failed to state in his letter. Our course therein was not due to our thinking that a Church could not in good order ask a Pilgrim to serve it without the consent of the P.B.I., but out of a proper courtesy to the body of whose Pilgrim staff we were a member. I.F. Hoskins, I.L. Margeson and J.D. Wright wanted F.H. McGee's resolution made so strong as to forbid answering questions on such subjects, even in private conversation or by letter! Four disapproving of this, it failed to pass. Finally
the Group, near midnight of Feb. 23, just about 16 hours less than seven full weeks from the time of the Committee's appointment Jan. 6, passed the resolution that they thought put, as far as Committee members were concerned, controllership of the Lord's Word in their hands, a papistical resolution that unanswerably proves that they were seeking headship and not ourself, as they continually charged.
A resolution fraught with greater evils, actual and potential, against the Little Flock has scarcely ever been passed! I.L. Margeson cried out immediately after its passage: "Now we are safe!" They claim that our course in the Committee on this matter and on several others, which in each case was resisting their clericalism and not foisting a policy on the Committee, proves that we wanted headship. Our answer is that their course on this and on the other matters that they claim prove that we wanted headship, unanswerably proves that they wanted a headship that set aside our Lord's headship! We desire to say that what they read (surmised) in our conduct to be headship, i.e., insisting that the proclamation of God's Word must be free—was not headship, but was such a loyalty to God, His Word and His people as every faithful servant of the Truth has had to exercise against clericalists throughout the whole Gospel Age! Our attitude on this matter is one of the things which F.H. McGee, according to his "Letter of Importance," "viewed with growing concern." Let the impartial reader judge whether he had a right to feel a growing concern on this and kindred matters. Truthfully the Committee can point to nothing in our conduct that proves to a sober mind that we sought headship. They cannot point to even one act, where there was no principle involved, in which we did not accept and cooperate with the voted resolution of the majority, even though before the passing of the motion we advocated something else. While on the Committee,
and being continually reproached for wanting to control it, we asked them to point to anything that was not forbidden by the Word and that was passed by the majority of the Committee, even though we had spoken or voted against it, that we did not support after it was passed. They were unable to point out even one, whereas we pointed out a number of things in which we cooperated against our vote with the majority's decision, a thing that cannot truthfully be said of I.F. Hoskins and I.L. Margeson, and of the editorial committee, except R.H. Hirsh.
More and more the Group advocated suppressing everything that would likely stir up any opposition. They were constantly like politicians, on the lookout to see what was popular, and then cater to those that wanted that thing; while whatever was unpopular, like pointing out from the Lord's Word the meaning of the trouble in the Church, they wanted hushed. This spirit of compromise led to the resolution above discussed, though every member on the Committee believed J.F.R. to be "that Evil Servant" of Matt. 24: 48-51. It is utterly untrue that we promised not to speak on this subject, or on Elijah and Elisha, either before or after the Philadelphia discourse of Feb. 17. There were some typical matters of which we spoke to the leading brethren only, and which we at their suggestion agreed to withhold for the time being from the brethren in general; but they were not among the things mentioned by us.
After Feb. 23 we had no Committee meeting until April 13. In the meantime J.F.R.'s article on Elijah and Elisha in the Feb. 15 Tower began to stir up a number of weaker brethren, and influenced some of them to return to the Society. Among other Churches feeling the effect of this article were two in which we served as Pilgrim between the above dates. At other places we did not preach on any subjects coming within the scope of the Group's resolution, because
there seemed to be no need therefore, though we did privately speak of Elijah and Elisha, etc., at Boston and elsewhere. But when at Jersey City and Newark we learned that some of the brethren were disturbed by J.F.R.'s article, and when we were requested by the first, and by the elders of the second, Class to discuss this subject, feeling that the interests of God's flock were to be put above an unscriptural resolution passed by a spirit that gave prima facie evidence of not being the Lord's, we hesitated not a moment to "feed the flock," as commanded by the Lord, and to disregard the traditions of men forbidding our obedience to this charge.
The Committee's Secretary and others of the Group were quickly informed of this, and at the next meeting, i.e., April 13, we were severely reprimanded; and then we made a solemn protest in the name of God, our Father, and Jesus Christ our Savior against the resolution on which these strictures against us in particular were based, asking that our protest be formally entered upon the minutes, a request that J.D. Wright wanted disregarded. At this meeting the editorial committee was elected. Against no other's candidacy was anything said, though several Committee member candidates failed of election, except against our own. I.L. Margeson, speaking for the Group, urged that we be not elected an editor, because it would prove that we controlled the P.B.I. Committee! F.H. McGee objected to our election on the ground that he feared we would control the editorial committee! During the course of his speech he said that he believed that we were better equipped with ability as a Scriptural interpreter than anybody else in the Truth, yet he believed that we, with what he called our stronger mind, would over-influence the others on the Committee if elected! We know, of course, that such was the Group's policy respecting us, and therefore did not expect to be elected. We assured the Committee
that if it were the Lord's will for us to be one of the editors, He would see to our election; if not, He would prevent it; and in either case we would be content, and were; never intimating anything to the contrary. We were defeated, every one of the Group, of course, voting against us. They also sought to justify their course by our preaching on Elijah and Elisha contrary to their resolution. After the election we told the Committee that we accepted the result of the election as an indication of the Lord's will for us, and said not a word to the contrary, despite F.H. McGee's contrary statement in his "Letter of Importance," where, judging our motives, and perverting our statement of April 29, to which we will refer later, he makes it appear that we did; and where the central thought of its first few pages is to prove his evil surmises to the effect that we wanted to control the Committee, and that we became resentful, because we were not elected an editor, and because he claimed we thought that I.L. Margeson had our place as an editor! All of his propositions on this subject are false, and are evil surmises, even as he indicates in that part of his letter: "I feel certain." Evil surmisers usually "feel certain." But they feel more certain than they know.
In the meeting of April 13, after the election of the editors, I.F. Hoskins advocated what before that meeting several times he sought unsuccessfully to make us believe was proper; i.e., that the Committee do not wait for word from foreign brethren in response to our letter, as to what the brethren thought to be the Lord's will on the Committee's furnishing a Pilgrim and Periodical service, etc. He brought up this matter just after the editors were elected, urging that the Committee decide that the paper be forthwith published. We and others objected on the ground that the Fort Pitt Convention instructed us to get the thought of the "Opposition" Truth people the world
over on these matters; and that to go ahead without waiting for the responses of the British and Australasian brethren was a discourtesy to them, as well as contrary to our instructions, and running ahead of, instead of waiting for, the Lord. We suggested, therefore, that the editors get the first number ready for the press, so that the copy could be given to the printer as soon as we would hear favorably from these brethren, from whom, on account of the distance and censorship, it took at least from seven to twelve weeks to hear. This thought prevailed, as all unpartisan minds will recognize it should have prevailed. We can account for F.H. McGee ambiguously using this incident as a proof that we on one occasion held up the paper from being published on no other ground than that of poverty of materials from which to construct substantial charges against us.
By this time and henceforth the Group, when unable to unite on any one proposition, could always be depended on to rally to the slogan, "Brother Johnson is seeking control!" Whenever some of them could not rally enough support for some of the measures that the fertile conspirators, I.L. Margeson and I.F. Hoskins, had concocted and were trying to work through the Committee, and that we were opposing, they would declare that if our thought prevailed, it would be sure proof to the brethren that we were "controlling the Committee!" This argument always convinced J.D. Wright and F.H. McGee; and they rallied to the formers' support. For example, a good house and lot were offered as a gift for headquarters at Philadelphia, and we were given powers of attorney over the property. Until late in March the Committee was unanimous for establishing headquarters in this city. Then certain influences began to work for New York as headquarters. Gradually all of the Group, two for unjustifiable reasons, except F.H. McGee, were won to favor New York, the others continued to
favor Philadelphia. F.H. McGee was won over to the Group as follows: The motion was about to be put establishing headquarters at Philadelphia, and four had spoken in its favor. Then I.F. Hoskins, supported by I.L. Margeson, said: "If we establish headquarters at Philadelphia everybody will say that Brother Johnson controls the Committee!" As though given an electric shock, F.H. McGee straightened up in his chair, saying, "That is so; I had not thought of that; we would better table this motion for further consideration!" Said and done! And somewhat later F.H. McGee was nicely lined up with the Group in favor of New York as against Philadelphia for headquarters! Time and again questions that should have been decided on the principles of the Lord's Word and indications of His Providences applicable to them were decided by the simple formula that became the Group's ultimate axiom: Everything must be done or left undone, as the case might require, to prove that Brother Johnson does not "control the Committee." The scarecrow thought of our "headship" sometimes became a veritable bugaboo to the Group, and at other times affected them as a red rag does a pugnacious bull; and many a time they tossed us on their horns at the cry, "Brother Johnson is seeking to control the Committee!" Seemingly I.F. Hoskins, whose conduct proves that he was seeking controllership, made use of this "stop-thief" cry to divert attention from himself to us; and he always found I.L. Margeson a ready helper, and between them they manipulated with almost undeviating success the other two members of the Group into harmony with their will. Despite the seriousness of the situation it had its comic aspects!
Is it any wonder that we who must, figuratively speaking, be knocked down before we can think brethren capable of trickery, finally through the events of the meeting of April 13 were completely disillusioned, as we began to be disillusioned by the events
of Feb. 23? In unmistakable ways the Group repeatedly showed that our room was more welcome than our presence on the Committee. Their habitual reproaches and naggings made things far from pleasant. We were faulted for practically everything that did not succeed as the Committee desired. In our relations with them we were undergoing a set of experiences that were at least as disagreeable as those that we had had with the British managers and the Society leaders. It usually took us several days to recover from the shocks experienced in the Committee meetings. Some Epiphany Scriptures were beginning to become clear to our mind, showing that it was the Group that were desirous of controllership contrary to Scriptural principles, as their acts repeatedly showed this to be the case. Not desiring to be where we were not wanted we decided to withdraw from the Committee; and noticing that R.H. Hirsh and R.G. Jolly usually, and that without any prearrangement, or even discussion, viewed matters of teaching and practice as we did, we communicated to them our thought of withdrawing from the Committee. This was between the meetings of April 13 and 29. Both of them, though appreciating our feelings and recognizing the continued injustice and unbrotherliness of the Group toward us, nevertheless advised as against this step, as that course would lead to the election of a member favored by and in sympathy with the Group, which by this time was quite a compact party, and thus leave the Church all the more to their mercy. Moreover, they reasoned that our experience with the General Church's problems, contrasted with the Group's inexperience with these, made our remaining on the Committee all the more necessary in the interests of the General Church. These arguments induced us to change our mind on the question of resigning, being willing to endure the continued and ever-increasing mistreatment of the Group in the interest of Christ's
Body. Therefore, we did not resign as we expected to do at the next Committee meeting, April 29.
At this meeting J.D. Wright objected to our protest against the resolution of Feb. 23 being continued on the minutes. We claimed it as a right that it be kept there. At this juncture F.H. McGee asked us, if we would be satisfied to have the protest taken off the minutes, provided the resolution was rescinded. We replied affirmatively. He then moved and I.L. Margeson, we believe, seconded the motion to rescind the action, all except I.F. Hoskins and J.D. Wright voting for its rescinding. Several events had conspired to change the views of the former two on the resolution. They found that something had to be done to counteract the influence of J.F.R.'s article in the Feb. 15 "Tower" on Elijah and Elisha; that not a few were falling away through it to the Society; that the only weapons available against it were our understandings of Epiphany truths; and that the latter had effectively been used against "the channel" argument, etc., at not a few places, notably the week before at Providence, where in the presence of the bulk of that Church, not yet separated by the troubles in the Society—I.L. Margeson being also in the audience—we delivered three lectures: (1) Fiery Trials, (2) Five Calls, Six Siftings and Slaughter Weapons, and (3) The Final Related Experiences of Elijah and Elisha. Before we came the Society supporters, under the influence of "Headquarters," were forcing matters to a division, which was to be voted on the night after our last lecture. R. E. Streeter and I.L. Margeson concluded that it would be most advantageous for "the Opposition," if we were to deliver several lectures giving the Scriptural view of the difficulties among the Truth people during 1917. Accordingly, our appointment for April 21 was changed, so that we could serve Providence the nights of April 21-23. On our arrival R. E. Streeter told us that if we would be especially
careful, our side might be able to reduce the Society's majority somewhat, though they would doubtless still retain a majority in the division. The majority of the extreme "Societyites" remained away from our lectures. After the last lecture R. E. Streeter, whose praise of the clearness and convincing power of our presentation was warm, unmodified and generous, assured us that nine of those who had been "on the fence" told him that they were now on our side, and that doubtless others who had not expressed themselves were for us. As an illustration of how partisanship can warp the candor of one even so mild as R. E. Streeter, we would here remark that at Asbury Park he sought to disparage the effect of the Lord's Word at our mouth at Providence by saying that only one person was convinced at that time! April 24, the night after our course of lectures closed, the division came, and we had a majority of three on our side in the test votes. And the next Sunday over 25 more came to our meeting than to the Society's meeting. After hearing these lectures I.L. Margeson, who was the main objector to our presenting such views, remarked that if they could have had these lectures at Boston, when the division was taking place, they would have gotten larger results as against the Society.
The results at Providence undoubtedly had much to do to change the attitude of F.H. McGee and I.L. Margeson on the effectiveness of "Epiphany Light" as we gave it against the Society's position. Undoubtedly this and the conviction that our presentations were Scriptural, moved them to vote to rescind the papal resolution of Feb. 23, though to a less degree their desire to have unity in the Committee was doubtless also active therein; but sad to say, in part their doctrinal clearing house proposition and partisanship caused them later to rechange their opinion. At the Committee meeting April 29 the Group sought to elect F.H. McGee chairman, having at a previous meeting
failed to elect I.L. Margeson. Convinced that their whole policy was to gain controllership in the interests of partisan ends, and not in the interests of the Truth, R.G. Jolly, R.H. Hirsh and ourself (not, however, by prearrangement, not even discussing it) voted against him, and, of course, a tie resulted, F.H. McGee not voting. Before the vote was taken for the first time we expressed to the Committee our disapproval of the (for months continued) naggings with which we were being regaled by the Group, saying that until we saw a change of conduct for the better on the part of the Group, we believed it a mistake to go ahead on further elections in the Committee; that we were convinced that the Lord would withhold blessing from the Committee, unless certain evil qualities at work in its midst were put away; and that as soon as we saw these put aside, we would gladly vote for F.H. McGee for chairman, but not before, since conditions demanded this course.
At this meeting we brought up the matter of I.F. Hoskins and H.C. Rockwell (who was present as a guest, and who had just before abused the Committee's hospitality by sharply rebuking us) preaching against us in ways that the friends understood them to mean us. Both said they did not mean us, the latter even appealing to God as his witness. During the discussion at Philadelphia, Aug. 25, the former finally admitted that he did mean us; and the latter, denying that he meant us in his sermon at Asbury Park, where those present who understood the conditions did clearly understand him to mean us, many said they did not believe that he told the truth on either occasion, but rather he seems to have perjured himself on this subject, April 29. At that time, while giving instances of such preaching against us, we forgot to mention a special particular on this point in his talk at Philadelphia in April, i.e., his warning the congregation to be on their guard against anyone who
would advise them to keep the Memorial on a different date from what the Jews kept, we having done that very thing to his knowledge in that Church but a few weeks before! Whom could he have meant but us? However, we charitably accepted (April 29) his and I.F. Hoskins' statements and apologized. We herewith withdraw that apology as having been prematurely and unwarrantedly given, since falsehoods accepted as truth occasioned it.
At that meeting, April 29, before, and as the occasion of our bringing up the matter of their preaching against us, H.C. Rockwell, to the pleasement of several of the Group, made a sharp attack on us before the Committee for preaching on types, etc., not interpreted by Bro. Russell. By this time I.F. Hoskins had already begun his propaganda against us before brethren not on the Committee on what he was pleased to call our "fanciful interpretations and wild speculations." H.C. Rockwell's attack on us without naming us before the Philadelphia Church in April, and now before the Committee, was one of the fruits of this unbrotherly propaganda. But worse was to follow.
Feeling sure that the Committee's majority was hostile to us, and would oppose almost anything that we presented, we decided not to advocate any new measure, unless it was absolutely necessary, and let those who now were fairly solidified into a partisan Group direct matters with less objection from us than formerly, unless they should embark on an unscriptural course involving the Church or ourself. Hence we ceased to urge going ahead with the paper. Judging our motives, F.H. McGee in his "Letter of Importance," by evil surmising, gives his readers to understand that this was in resentment at our not being elected an editor! At the end of the April 29 meeting F.H. McGee, the usual spokesman of the Group, wanted to know whether we considered ourself as the
Committee's controller, as Bro. Russell was that of the Board. We replied, "No." Then he asked what we thought our powers were. We replied that apart from moral suasion our power on the Committee was represented by one vote, just like that of every other member. Then he said, "I do not think that it is necessary that you should be at the head, or on the Committee at all." Believing that our previous answer sufficiently covered the first part of his statement, we answered the last clause only—"or on the Committee at all"—to the effect that we did not know about that. The reason for our so answering was: the Providence of the Lord putting us there, we thought there was some necessity for it, i.e., that as the Lord put us into a position where He revealed to us the evil doings of the British managers and the American Society leaders, in order to enable us for Epiphany purposes to defend the flock, so He had, we concluded from certain Scriptures, placed us on that Committee for the same reason. This conviction prompted our answer, which lawyer-like and characteristically F.H. McGee perverted into meaning that we confessed to wanting to be head! Why did he not in the connection tell our preceding remark, which disproves the impression that he aimed to make? So, too, by telling only a part of our remarks about the Group becoming sorry for their combining to keep us off the editorial staff, he misrepresented the whole import of our remarks. Several of the Group said that they voted to keep us off the editorial staff, because a number of brethren desired it. We answered that for one that thereby they would please, they in all likelihood would displease five, and that this fact would probably result in their being made sorry for their course in not electing us. We still believe our remark will ultimately prove true. But Lawyer McGee characteristically in motive reading and evil surmising twisted this statement into meaning that we in
resentment would make the Group feel sorry for not electing us to editorship! The Lord seems in this to have taken the wise in their own craftiness: their seeking to squelch us not only in this particular, but in many others, He has manipulated into making us the editor and publisher of a journal as a channel for Epiphany Truth (whose proclamation they would not permit) entirely free from the control of other human beings! This ought to be a lesson to the Group not to seek to "set" or unset anyone "in the Body as it hath pleased" them! God, not man, "sets" such.
After that meeting some of the Group, as well as R. E. Streeter and H.C. Rockwell, suggested that we furnish articles for "The Bible Standard." In harmony with the decision that we had reached before, i.e., that it would be better all around if those who were aspiring and attaining to partisan controllership be permitted to learn some needed lessons, and that these could be best learned as far as we were concerned, by our leaving them largely to their own resources—we told them something to that effect, declining to submit manuscript. Immediately our evil surmising F.H. McGee exclaimed, "So, if you cannot rule, you will ruin! That is just like you." Surely our not writing for the paper would not ruin it! We replied that we would without any counter effort at all let them learn some needed lessons; and since they had only too plainly given us to understand that we were not a person acceptable to them, we would without helping directly on the paper let them do their own will! This, like other things, F.H. McGee perverted into our being resentful at not being elected an editor! Their evil surmisings only prove the more strongly their spiritual ill health. The Group's nightmare about our seeking control seems to be an example of some foibles of our fallen human nature—suspecting others of desiring what one wants for himself, and judging others by oneself.
Our suggestion of April 13, that the Committee prepare the first number of the paper, was not heeded, apart from an article that I.F. Hoskins prepared, and which was published as the first article of both "The Bible Standard" and "The Herald." The spirit of fear, instilled by I.L. Margeson, prompted the Group to hold up the paper after the Society leaders were arrested, before which sufficient responses from our foreign brethren had arrived to warrant going ahead, they claiming that the P.B.I. might become involved with the Government. We in harmony with our resolution previously stated made only a slight objection to their course. Then they blamed us for holding up the paper; we denied this, giving them the above explanation, which they knew to be the truth. The spirit of fear also prompted I.L. Margeson to seek to set aside the name Pastoral Bible Institute. It is unnecessary to give here again the particulars that were given in our Feb., 1919, issue, as to how the Group, during five Committee meetings, through F.H. McGee, tried to force a corporation on the Committee, against the Scripturally enlightened consciences of R.G. Jolly, R.H. Hirsh and ourself. Our stand against this, as against the papistical resolution of Feb. 23, was charged against us as wanting to "control the Committee." In both cases we simply resisted their wrong course, and did not try to foist a policy on them. Their papistically forcing (for the Little Flock) unscriptural policies they do not see to be the real effort at lordship. Brethren whose spiritual vision is keen will have no difficulty in recognizing who were the real aspirers for lordship.
The Group was more and more becoming filled with the idea that we must be gotten rid of. This spirit prompted them more or less in their whispering campaign against us to follow a course calculated to undermine our influence with the Church. We have sufficiently above exposed their reputation-assassinating
tactics, working up sentiment against us among credulous brethren, who ought to have been aroused against this reputation-assassination by the nature and quality of their acts. We gently remonstrated individually, and in the Committee against this wrong course, especially of I.F. Hoskins and I.L. Margeson. The former claimed early in July that the Boston and New York elders and Churches were solid against us, and others were becoming so, the Providence Church being mentioned as one. We plainly saw the nature and the logical effect of their unbrotherly and unChristian course; but apart from remonstrating with the Committee members, kept silent all the while on their deeds. For these remonstrances in the Committee meetings we were told by I.F. Hoskins, the main offender, that we were surmising evil; that the brethren were turning against us because of what we were preaching on Elijah, etc., though before the Philadelphia Church, Aug. 25, he was forced to admit that he had warned various Churches against us without naming us publicly, but doing so privately.
F.H. McGee admitted the wrong being done by himself, at Freehold, his home. Of course, I.L. Margeson would admit nothing. This unholy campaign of reputation-assassination they continued, until by the opening of the Asbury Park Convention they had convinced many brethren that R.G. Jolly, R.H. Hirsh and particularly ourself were attempting to divide the Church, while it was they by their "political campaign" who were doing this very thing. They were by talking against us among the P.B.I. supporters creating sentiment among them against us, and then they pointed to this sentiment against us as a reason why we were a dead weight on, and a hindrance to, the Committee! To what injurious evils will envious grasping for power and lording it over others lead their possessors! Now that we are exposing their wrong-doings and teachings, they quote against
us from that Servant's writings statements on evil speaking. These apply to their course, not to ours. As Jesus (Matt. 23) publicly reproved the Pharisees; as Paul reproved Peter publicly (Gal. 2: 11-15); as the Prophets in innumerable places and the Apostles in many instances as God's mouthpieces spoke against the wrong acts of evil-doers, even mentioning their names (2 Tim. 3: 8; 1: 15; 4: 14; 1 Tim. 1: 20; 2 Pet. 2: 15; 3 John 9, 10; Jude 11); and as all Reformers, e.g., our dear Pastor, spoke against the clericalists, frequently mentioning their names, so in cases like the present, where guarding the flock against leaders who are "deceiving and being deceived" is necessary, it is not only not wrong, but our bounden duty as servants of the Truth, to expose the clericalists in our midst.
That Servant's view reproving their slanderous course against us, and justifying our exposures of their wrongs against the Church and their three colleagues on the Committee, is found in the Manna comment for July 14. If we should keep silence, God would raise up another servant to warn His people against their false teachings and wrong practices. Let no one think, as F.H. McGee surmises and then imputes as our motive, that resentment at our not being elected an editor (!) or on the Committee at Asbury Park (!) prompts our exposures. The desire (1) to guard God's Flock, (2) to preserve the Lord's arrangements given through that Servant, (3) to rescue eventually the P.B.I. and their supporters from their wrong course, a thing that private and loving admonition failed to achieve, and (4) to discharge the duties of our office, are the leading motives that prompt our course. The P.B.I. are responsible for the motive reading that assigns other motives for our actions in this matter. By this forbidden act of motive reading they have also defiled many in the Church of God.
Without at the time informing us of their motives
for desiring a General Convention, the Group, apart from J.D. Wright, through F.H. McGee, June 8, advocated holding a General Convention. Accordingly, his motion on this point was carried. After this session, I.F. Hoskins and I.L. Margeson told us that one of their objects in wanting a Convention was to have the brethren elect a new Committee, thus giving the Church the opportunity of deciding whether it favored the Group's course, which they called a conservative policy, or whether it favored our course, which they called a radical policy, the reverse, of course, was the case.
Of course, their widespread preaching, teaching and agitation against us was now, according to their plans, to yield them the fruits for which they had so long plotted, and so grossly misrepresented one of the "Secondary Prophets." R.G. Jolly, R.H. Hirsh and ourself understood now the reason for their desire for a Convention! Then before these brothers and I.L. Margeson we warned 1. F. Hoskins that, if he did not change his wrong course the Lord would surely take him in hand and deal with him! An hour later we repeated this warning to him privately. The gross wrongs of this brother who, declaiming against us as a "lord," was most pronouncedly grasping for power and lording it over God's heritage, as in great detail we pointed out above, made him more than anyone else responsible for the troubles in the Committee.
While favoring the submission of the question of the election of a new Committee to the whole Church, we were not in favor of doing this to a packed and politically campaigned convention. Therefore, at our next meeting, June 22, we proposed that in the first number of our paper an announcement should be made calling for nominations, in which all of the Committee's supporters could participate; and that nominations be not closed until the foreign brethren had time to offer nominees by mail; and that then the
candidates' names should be published; and that following this the voting be done by mail. This would by Jan. 1, 1919, provide a Committee elected by the whole Church. Against this fair proposition, I.F. Hoskins and F.H. McGee, especially the former, strenuously objected. I.L. Margeson, not then present, made known his objection later. Finally, all except I.F. Hoskins agreed on the following compromise that the nominations should be made at Asbury Park and the election by mail as we proposed. Further, it was agreed in the interest of peace and good fellowship, that the Committee's troubles should not be brought up in the Convention, we telling the brethren that we would make a candid exposure of what had been done in the Committee, if they would bring up the trouble. Both of these agreements were violated by the Group, particularly by I.F. Hoskins, even as all at the Convention know that he after H.C. Rockwell's attack upon us, brought up the trouble and denounced the course of R.H. Hirsh, R.G. Jolly and ourself, even mentioning our names and that he and those on his side by "playing politics" created such a situation at the Convention as morally forced the Fort Pitt Committee to resign. Therefore, in harmony with our warning to the Group that, if they would bring up the trouble at the Convention, we would make an exposure of Committee conditions, we very mildly uncovered some of its more crying evils Sunday morning, July 28. This exposure undoubtedly began to change the predominating influence of the Group over the convention; our debate with I.F. Hoskins that night on the question of whether the Little Flock could Scripturally do its work through a corporation or Society undoubtedly added to the further undoing of the Group's control over the Convention; and on Monday morning the Group's control was not only broken but they were so completely discredited that their whole program, not yet voted on, in part was
disapproved almost unanimously, and for the rest was almost unanimously put on the table for six months. We believe that had the dismissal of the new Committee been proposed then, this would have been carried almost unanimously, even as the proposal that their unauthorized election of an editorial committee be rescinded was carried almost unanimously. The Group left that Convention sadder, if not wiser than they came. They sought to counteract their defeat by their misleading Aug. "Bulletin," which, according to A Brief Review, was delivered to them by their printer before our "Another Harvest Siftings Reviewed" came to them, Aug. 22, and by F.H. McGee's three publications; but as surely as we are in the Epiphany, so surely will they, the wrongdoers and misrepresenters, fail in this; for strong and all knowing is the Lord that is now subjecting their works of wood, hay and stubble to the fires of this apocalyptic day (1 Cor. 3: 11-15). O! how earnestly did R.G. Jolly, R.H. Hirsh and ourself try to help them while yet with them; but we could not! "O Jerusalem! Jerusalem!" "How oft would I … but ye would not"!
It is not necessary for us to describe beyond what we have done above the events of the Group's course in turning in our absence brethren, elders and even Churches against us months before we ceased being a member of the Committee, nor will we describe here the details of the proceedings in the meeting of July 18, and the course of the four editors and the Group on that day. That last Committee meeting is unforgettable. As we left the meeting room I.L. Margeson assured us that the Committee's trouble would not be mentioned to the Convention, though it might be mentioned to some of the leading brethren there in a private way-for propaganda!
It never was the policy of R.H. Hirsh, R.G. Jolly
and ourself to force matters, nor to obstruct matters, where there was no principle involved; rather we waited as far as possible on unanimity. All the forcing came from the Group! For example, we did not force establishing headquarters at Philadelphia when a clear majority favored that city. But when the majority changed and favored New York, we proposed establishing temporary headquarters there; and this was immediately carried. F.H. McGee, R.H. Hirsh, R.G. Jolly and ourself not only passed that motion (in the absence of two of the Group, however), but also passed on the same date (June 22) the motions to publish "The Bible Standard" before the Asbury Park Convention, and to put I.F. Hoskins and R.H. Hirsh on a stated salary, so that they could give their whole time to the Committee work; and to rent an office for headquarters. These things were done to carry out the purposes of the Committee's election, a course which the entire Group hindered after the Society leaders' arrest, until they were sentenced; and even then I.F. Hoskins and I.L. Margeson, later reinforced by H.C. Rockwell and R. E. Streeter, tried to block the appearing of "The Bible Standard," though I.F. Hoskins early in July agreed to the making of the plate for the first page of "The Bible Standard" and to the printing of its first number, if it would not be circulated before the next Committee meeting, which proved to be its last meeting, i.e., July 18. With their plan completed, at this meeting the editors (except R.H. Hirsh), speaking through H.C. Rockwell, made a number of insistent recommendations, one being the election of a new committee at the Asbury Park Convention, in order to get rid of R.G. Jolly, R.H. Hirsh and ourself. F.H. McGee offered to oppose this proposition and to adhere to the one agreed to by all except I.F. Hoskins (I.L. Margeson being absent June 22), if R.H. Hirsh, R.G. Jolly and ourself
would agree to the formation of a corporation, which the three refused to do. Nothing was done July 18 in the way of rescinding the motion of June 22 (nor did the Committee without voting come to an understanding not) to publish "The Bible Standard" before the Asbury Park Convention. Therefore, R.H. Hirsh, who was elected Managing Editor, June 22, and whose duty it therefore was to go ahead with publishing the paper, faithfully carried out the order of the Committee of June 22 to publish the paper before the Asbury Park Convention. We, of course, favored his going ahead, because the commission from the Fort Pitt Convention and the Committee's motion of June 22 to that effect warranted it. The complaints of the majority of the Group against this only furnish corroborative evidence that they did hold up the paper, however much F.H. McGee, who before the Convention in and out of the Committee charged two of them with it, tries lawyerlike by false accusations and insinuations against us to hide this fact, which, of course, is against his client. Seemingly the majority of the Group wanted to get rid of the three before publishing a paper. Later developments favor this view.
Filled with horror at the wrongs of the Group, culminating in the Asbury Park Convention, and fully persuaded as to what the Lord wanted us to do in the situation, we published "Another Harvest Siftings Reviewed"—a paper that is throughout true—while the "August Bulletin" and F.H. McGee's three published replies contain in the neighborhood of 100 misrepresentations. How could he have lent himself to such a course, a course so contrary to all that we would have expected of him? Our answer is: Partisanship and evil surmising, combined with the lawyer's jugglery of truth, when necessary in the interests of his clients. These qualities overcame his usual honesty and candor; and then the Lord let him choose his own
way. To this day, despite his denial at Asbury Park, we cannot believe of him other than that he was a deceived agent, entrapped in the devious schemes of I.L. Margeson and in the ambitious toils of I.F. Hoskins and used by them as a catspaw to pull their chestnuts out of the fire! People of his usual kindness, fairness and candor are especially liable to be the unsuspecting instruments of others' schemes. Most deeply do we sympathize with these four for the great calamity that has come into their lives! Doubtless the prominent part that we took in the Committee's deliberations, in part by their suspicious dispositions or selfish ambitions, as the qualities of each may have been, influenced him to think that we wanted to control, as also their ambition to control matters partisanly, and their inexperience contrasted with our experience in dealing with general Church matters, blinded them to our real motives. They had not in practice learned, among other lessons, that the Lord's mind must always be decided from the standpoint of principle and not of compromise and selfishness. The low spiritual plane on which they were living left them undefended against the temptations that our Lord in the wilderness repelled by "A thus saith the Lord" faithfully obeyed. As we write this our heart aches for them! O how have the mighty fallen! We cannot forget that for awhile we had sweet fellowship with them! How unutterably sad the whole affair is! What lessons of watchfulness and prayer it contains!
But we imagine some will say how is it possible, Brother Johnson, that you can love them, and yet expose them so pointedly before the Church? Our answer is: It is our love that causes it. We would explain: Num. 8: 5-20, in its Epiphany aspect, seems now to be fulfilling: We believe the Law's exposures of evils among God's people are the razor (v. 7) that their conduct "causes to go over all their flesh" for their cleansing. In due time many of their supporters
will recognize this and feel differently about our course. How glad we will be, when such will be cleansed, and then we will no more have to write of the evils of their leaders; but will be able to instruct them in the good things that the Lord wants them to learn and do. In the meantime we will, as occasion arises, have to furnish the sharp razor which their leaders' wrongs of envy, of grasping for power, of lording it over God's heritage, of the spirit of fear and compromise, of evil surmising, of bitter accusations, of assassinating slander, of contentious partisanship, of injurious arbitrariness and of legalistic worldliness "cause to go over all their flesh" for their cleansing. If the brethren would look upon our exposures as parts of this razor, and realize the ultimate good for all concerned, our course will appear in its true light, and will be recognized as being expressions of faith hope, love and obedience. These and these only are our motives in doing as we have in this whole sad affair. Let us pray for our erring brethren that they may be rescued from the snare of the Adversary, into which they have gone with measurable wilfulness. "Alas, 'tis sad, 'tis true!"
Some may ask, Why is it that so many of the leaders have turned against Brother Johnson, and attacked him so publicly, both in Britain and America, and in their attacks question his motives, and without furnishing Biblical proof assign evil motives as the wellspring of his acts? Our answer to this question is the following: Satan knows that the Lord has given us much of the Epiphany Truth. This Truth is opposed to certain schemes that Satan is working against the Lord's people; he therefore must discredit it to prevent its general acceptance—knowing that an efficient way of discrediting a message is to discredit its mouthpiece, Satan has been discrediting us to prevent the Epiphany message from gaining a proper hearing at our mouth and pen. He finds in the ambition and
envy of certain leaders qualities that are responsive to his evil suggestions against us, and to the schemes that he is seeking to work out among God's people, and works on these qualities, and thus elicits their possessors' service to caricature us before the brethren, that the Epiphany Truth be prevented from having a proper hearing! Their ambition finds in us an obstacle to its gratification; and their envy, a supposedly dangerous rival who must be overthrown, if their plans and ambitions are to succeed: in a word, Baal worship backed by "the devil, your adversary" causes the opposition of Levite leaders to us (1 Kings 19: 18; 1 Peter 5: 8, 9).
This is a long chapter dealing more or less with the evils of the P.B.I., particularly of four of its leaders. This chapter shows the progressive development of the main evils which the Group has committed. In view of all of these things, many of which are in their own publications, can there be further any reasonable doubt that the Group, and the present P.B.I. Board and Editors, siding as they do with the Group, have been side-tracked by Satan, just as J.F.R. and his associates were a year before? A negative answer to this question seems to be the only one possible in the light of the Scriptures, of Reason, of the Facts and of their own publications. "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee," saith the Lord! If other proof of this were required, the P.B.I. since shortly after 1918 going wrong on many doctrinal, chronological and prophetical matters furnishes it; for these errors prove that their leaders as sifters have by God been cast off and are by Azazel led into outer darkness. Such results, combined with our retaining the Truth and being used to give its advancing aspects, prove that we followed the Lord's will and they their own and Azazel's will in 1918.