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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Benjamin H. Barton (1874 - 1916)

Brother Barton was trained as an architect but gave up his trade for the Lord’s work of building his own character and assisting others in attaining the full stature of Christ. In June of 1906 Brother Russell arranged for him to travel to the British Isles on a Pilgrim trip. After that he served continually in the Pilgrim ministry mostly in the United States and Canada until his death on June 24, 1916 in Portland, Oregon at the home of Bro. W. A. Baker.

The Portland Ecclesia considers it a fitting tribute to share the ministry of this noble brother whose earthly ended here more than seventy years ago. It is our wish that this work be considered as supplementary to the harvest message as presented through that "faithful and wise servant."

It is our belief that these "echoes" of a ten year ministry will only stir us to greater faithfulness in our journey toward the kingdom.

Brother Barton’s style of speaking and writing are not as polished as we are used to in the reading of Brother Russell’s writings. Except for a few cases of misspelling or typing errors we have left the grammar as we found it. Nevertheless you will see in his style, the heart and mind of a saint of God.

Brother Russell delivered Brother Barton’s funeral service in July 1916 (just five months before his own death), and we have included that service in this book. Some remarks by Brother Russell and Brother Baker’s report can be found in the Tower of July 15, 1916 (R5930). We have made an effort to assemble all of Brother Barton’s writings known to us. Some of his letters and articles were printed in the Towers, and we have not attempted to reprint these again as they are readily available to those wishing to read them there (R3644, R3818, R4101, R4141, R4450, R4695, R5865). A short synopsis of the source of each lesson is included with the table of contents, which we have arranged as much as possible in chronological order.

Brother Barton died before his father. His father found this consecration card among his effects:

Consecration Card

I disclaim all right to myself from henceforth to my soul, my body, my time, my health, my reputation, my talents, or anything that belongs to me. I confess myself to be property of my glorious Redeemer. I dedicate myself to Him, to serve, love and trust Him as my life and my salvation to my life’s end.

Signed, BENJAMIN H. BARTON May 19, 1895.

- Pilgrim Echoes,

On Sunday, June 18, the Philadelphia Friends were called to order at the close of the evening service and informed that our dear Brother Barton had suffered a complete breakdown. Prayer was offered in his behalf. On the Sunday following, the Friends were informed that our dear Brother was on his way to Portland, Ore., to take two weeks' treatment from a physician there, after which he was to make his way home by slow stages. On the next Sunday, the Friends were informed that Brother Barton had indeed arrived "home," having passed beyond the veil the day before, Saturday, June 24.

All that was mortal of our dear Brother arrived in Philadelphia in the latter part of the next week and arrangements were made to have the funeral on Monday, July 3. The body was on view during the evening of Sunday, July 2, and on Monday at 12:30 p.m. was taken to the hall at Fifteenth and Chestnut streets, where Brother Russell was to deliver the funeral address, where there was also an opportunity given the Friends for a last look at the tenement of clay our Brother had left behind him.

There were three large floral designs and many sprays of flowers. One of the designs, an open Bible, was the loving remembrance of the Philadelphia Ecclesia. Another design, a floral cross, was broken up at the cemetery, after the casket had been lowered into the grave, and each of those present presented with a flower. These were cast into the grave as the Friends passed by. The burial was described, by one of the Friends present, as the "cleanest" he had ever witnessed. The grave was lined with evergreen branches, and the earth that had been taken from it was covered in like manner.

All the members of the Philadelphia Ecclesia who could possibly arrange to do so were present during the funeral service at the old Y.M.C.A. hall, as well as a number of the Friends from classes in Camden, N.J.; Chester, Pa.; Norristown, Pa., and Willmington, Del. Brother Russell spoke for about forty minutes.

- Notes taken at Pilgrim Brother's service in Philadelphia by Brother J.W. Gilbert on Monday, July 3, 1916.

BROTHER BENJAMIN H. BARTON has been on the Pilgrim staff of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY for quite a good many years, and is widely and very favorably remembered by our readers. Although always apparently frail, Brother Barton had a strong voice, and by the Lord's grace was able to do very efficient service up to about June 1st. We then heard from him that he had not been very well and was obliged to cancel future appointments in Oregon. He was kindly entertained by the friends, and everything possible for his comfort was attended to, but he continued to grow weak and, without special pain or suffering of any kind, so far as we have learned, passed away on Saturday, June 24th. His remains were shipped to the residence of his parents in Philadelphia, where they were interred Monday, July 3d.

The Editor has most kindly remembrances of dear Brother Barton, not only as a faithful servant of the Lord, of the Truth, of the brethren, but also as a personal friend. The knowledge of the Truth, heart-abounding grace, the spirit of a sound mind, all contributed to the development in Brother Barton of a very noble character, highly esteemed amongst the friends in general, and especially amongst those who knew him best. We will miss him greatly; nevertheless we also greatly rejoice on his behalf, believing that he has passed beyond the veil, has experienced his resurrection change, and with the others of the faithful will henceforth be forever with the Lord. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." --Revelation 14:13.

As one by one the number beyond the veil increases and the members this side correspondingly decrease, the great privilege of being servants of God and being found faithful as such looms larger and larger before our mental vision. We know not which of us will next be called to enter into the joys of our Lord in full, but we trust that all of the truly consecrated are in the waiting attitude, expecting, hoping, longing for the resurrection change, which the Apostle assures us is necessary, because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom," shortly to be established.--1 Cor. 15:50.

It is remarkable that as we near the consummation of this Age, and the completion of the Church, the opportunities for serving the Household of Faith seem to increase. And while old, active servants are passing beyond, new, loyal, zealous successors are being found by the Truth. Thus the work on this side the veil is going grandly on.

Well did the Apostle write that the Lord's true people, enlightened, encouraged and fortified by the promises in the Divine Word, "sorrow not as do others" in the presence of the great foe--DEATH.


This morning, June 24, at Portland, Ore., Brother Barton passed to his reward at 1:15. His end came suddenly, even though his low vitality and weakness gave evidence of his grave condition. Friday he appeared somewhat brighter than usual, sitting up for twenty minutes, after which he asked to lie down to sleep, as he felt tired. That evening he ate a hearty meal (for him), and talked hopefully of starting home soon. The Brother's mind was apparently clear until the last, but he could not articulate well, owing to trouble due to a slight stroke of paralysis about four weeks ago. As death approached the cares of his season of illness seemed to vanish and his features relaxed, and, with a smile on his lips, he passed into the Kingdom. Friday afternoon he expressed to Sister Baker his love for the brethren at the Bethel and particularly for dear Brother Russell, and that it was his hope to see them again. His only care has been his mother. The desire to see and comfort her again probably did much to retain the slight hold he had on life for some weeks.

The opportunity of serving the Brother has been a great blessing to all here, and while individual privileges of service were limited for obvious reasons, the privilege of serving his spiritual interests through prayer has greatly blessed all. His cheerful, patient endurance of his physical disability, his desire to please and his efforts to keep himself from being burdensome to those about, will prove a lasting lesson to all. Our loss has been his gain. How appropriate today's MANNA TEXT!

- July 15, 1916 Watchtower, WTB&TS