To The Readers Of "The Herald Of The Morning"
"I have been a Bible student since I first had my attention called to the second coming of our Lord, by Jonas Wendell, a Second Advent Preacher, about 1869, who was then preaching the burning of the world as being due in 1873. But though he first awakened my interest on the subject, I was not a convert, either to the time he suggested nor to the events he predicted. I, in company with others in Pittsburgh, organized and maintained a Bible class for the searching of the Scriptures, meeting every Sunday."
"We reasoned that, if Christ’s coming were to end probation, and bring irrevocable ruin upon ninety-nine in a hundred of mankind; then it could scarcely be considered desirable, neither could we pray with proper spirit, "Come, Lord Jesus, Come quickly!" We had rather request-much as we should "love his appearing"-that he remain away and our sufferings and trials continue so that "if by any means we might save some." Not only so, but great masses of scripture referring to the Millennial glory and teaching that "All nations which thou hast made shall come and worship before thee," &c., &c., would be left unfulfilled if at His coming there should be a wreck of matter and a crush of world."
"We first saw Millennial glory-then the glorious work which is offered us as His Bride; that we are by faith the "seed of Abraham;" and as such, heirs of the promises, &c., in whom "all the families of the earth shall be blest." (Gal. 3) This most certainly points to a probation in the future after He has come. Thus, speedily, steadily and surely God led us to recognize the second coming of our Lord as being not the sunset of all hope to mankind, but the rising of the Sun of Righteousness with healing in his wings."
"The Lord gave us many helps in the study of His word, among whom stood prominently, our dearly beloved and aged brother, George Storrs, who, both by word and pen, gave us much assistance; but we ever sought not to be followers of men, however good or wise, but "Followers of God, as dear children." Thus growing in grace and knowledge for seven years, the year 1876 found us."
"Up to this time we persistently ignored times and looked with pity upon Mr. Thurman’s and Mr. Wendell’s ideas. (the latter was preaching the same time as Bro. Barbour; viz: The burning of the world in 1873.) We regarded those ideas as unworthy of consideration, for though we believed the event "nigh even at the doors," yet we recognized the fact that the church will be withdrawn-translated-before there would be any open manifestation to the world, or, in other words, the two stages of Christ’s second advent, viz: coming for his saints, and coming with all his saints."
THE WATCH TOWER, JULY 15, 1906
"Among other theories, I stumbled upon Adventism. Seemingly by accident, one evening I dropped into a dusty, dingy hall, where I had heard religious services were held, to see if the handful who met there had anything more sensible to offer than the creeds of the great churches. There, for the first time, I heard something of the views of Second Adventists, the preacher being Mr. Jonas Wendell, long since deceased. Thus, I confess indebtedness to Adventists as well as to other denominations. Though his Scripture exposition was not entirely clear, and though it was very far from what we now rejoice in, it was sufficient, under God, to re-establish my wavering faith in the divine inspiration of the Bible, and to show that the records of the apostles and prophets are indissolubly linked. What I heard sent me to my Bible to study with more zeal and care than ever before, and I shall ever thank the Lord for that leading; for though Adventism helped me to no single truth, it did help me greatly in the unlearning of errors, and thus prepared me for the Truth."
"I soon began to see that we were living somewhere near the close of the Gospel age, and near the time when the Lord had declared that the wise, watching ones of his children should come to a clear knowledge of his plan. At this time, myself and a few other truth-seekers in Pittsburgh and Allegheny formed a class for Bible study, and from 1870 to 1875 was a time of constant growth in grace and knowledge and love of God and his Word. We came to see something of the love of God, how it had made provision for all mankind, how all must be awakened from the tomb in order that God’s loving plan might be testified to them, and how all who exercise faith in Christ’s redemptive work and render obedience in harmony with the knowledge of God’s will they will then receive, shall then (through Christ’s merit) be brought back into full harmony with God, and be granted everlasting life. This we saw to be the Restitution work foretold in Acts 3:21. But though seeing that the Church was called to joint-heirship with the Lord in the Millennial Kingdom, up to that time we had failed to see clearly the great distinction between the reward of the Church now on trial and the reward of the faithful of the world after its trial, at the close of the Millennial age—that the reward of the former is to be the glory of the spiritual, divine nature, while that of the latter is to be the glory of restitution—restoration to the perfection of human nature once enjoyed in Eden by their progenitor and head, Adam."
Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, 1993, WTB&TS
The twig, though, had been trained by God-fearing parents; it was inclined "in the direction of the Lord." While he was still searching for truth, one evening in 1869, something happened that reestablished Charles’ wavering faith. Walking along near the Russells’ store on Federal Street, he heard religious singing coming from a basement hall. In his own words, this is what took place:
"Seemingly by accident, one evening I dropped into a dusty, dingy hall, where I had heard religious services were held, to see if the handful who met there had anything more sensible to offer than the creeds of the great churches. There, for the first time, I heard something of the views of Second Adventists [Advent Christian Church], the preacher being Mr. Jonas Wendell . . . Thus, I confess indebtedness to Adventists as well as to other denominations. Though his Scripture exposition was not entirely clear, . . . it was sufficient, under God, to re-establish my wavering faith in the divine inspiration of the Bible, and to show that the records of the apostles and prophets are indissolubly linked. What I heard sent me to my Bible to study with more zeal and care than ever before, and I shall ever thank the Lord for that leading; for though Adventism helped me to no single truth, it did help me greatly in the unlearning of errors, and thus prepared me for the Truth."
That meeting renewed young Russell’s determination to search for Scriptural truth. It sent him back to his Bible with more eagerness than ever before. Russell soon came to believe that the time was near for those who served the Lord to come to a clear knowledge of His purpose. So, in 1870, fired by enthusiasm, he and a few acquaintances in Pittsburgh and nearby Allegheny got together and formed a class for Bible study. According to a later associate of Russell, the small Bible class was conducted in this manner: "Someone would raise a question. They would discuss it. They would look up all related scriptures on the point and then, when they were satisfied on the harmony of these texts, they would finally state their conclusion and make a record of it." As Russell later acknowledged, the period "from 1870 to 1875 was a time of constant growth in grace and knowledge and love of God and his Word."
IN MEMORY OF ELDER JONAS WENDELL
THE WORLD’S CRISIS
Wednesday, September 10, 1873 G. W. STETSON
He was born December 25th, 1815, and fell asleep August 14th, 1873. Age fifty seven years, seven months, and fourteen days. He experienced remission of sins in Syracuse, N.Y., about 1843, and united with the M.E. church. About 1845 he came into the truth of life and immortality in Christ only, of his soon coming, and reign with the saints on earth renewed, and the everlasting destruction of the finally impenitent wicked. He began preaching these views at Syracuse, in 1847, and was instrumental in bringing Bro. C.B. Turner into the faith. HE was committed to what has since been called, "the 1854 movement," and was very sanguine in the correctness of the chronological data given, as reaching to "the end of the days," and the time of the promised blessing. The time passing without a realization of the expected event, his "faith failed him," as a result of overweening confidence in human computations of time, and human misapplication of data divinely given; and he turned aside from "the word," and got out of "the way," and for several years "went astray."
Bro. Turner becoming acquainted with these facts in his life, moved with true Christian philanthropy, came to Edenboro in the winter of 1864-1865, and proved instrumental in Bro. Wendell's recovery and restoration. He resumed "preaching the word," and his labors were owned and greatly blessed in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and New England, from 1865 to 1871; since when he has been in failing health. I had particularly noticed that, for the last year especially, his powers of life, and memory seemed to be failing him rapidly; but during the same time his faith, love, purity of life, and spiritual mindedness, were as markedly and correspondingly increasing. He had settled on 1873 as the year in which "the hope of seeing Jesus and being made like him" should be realized by a waiting and expectant church, and set forth the reasons for his hope in a little work entitle, "Present truth," or "Meat in Due Season," to which Bro. E. Wolcott (of Keysport, N. J.), has added an essay on "The End." (I have a supply of these, for free distribution. Send stamps with orders for mailing.)
From June 15 to July 5th, Bro. Wendell was with the N. W. Pennsylvania mission tent, conjointly with Bro. Sweet and Ongley, and thence to July 10 at the "Time Conference," in Rochester, N.Y. From there he came home to adjust some pecuniary matters preparatory to his return to the Mission Tent. On Aug. 7th, he called to see Bro. Goodwin at the pump factory in E., and as he was about to pass form the upper to the lower story, made a misstep at the head, and was precipitated headlong to the bottom of the stairs, by which he received severe internal injuries, from which he never fully recovered, and which probably, hastened his dissolution. But on Wednesday evening, Aug. 13, by request, in absence of the pastor, he led the prayer and conference meeting, and much edified all present by his unusual fervency in prayer, exhortation, and singing. "What a friend we have in Jesus" was the last hymn he ever sung with us. On Thursday the 14th, he went to the Sabbath School picnic in most excellent spirits, and seemed to be very happy in the Lord. When time for adjournment arrived, he got out his horse to return home, but seeing a lad in trouble from a fickly horse, he went to his assistance, where he overtaxed his physical strength, and returned to his own buggy quite exhausted. But he got in and took the lines from his niece, to start home, but immediately loosened his hold, dropped them, and fell over backward in his seat, dead. He gave but two slight gasps for breath, and all was over. "He had shed his last tear, and fought his last battle, his warfare was over, and life's agonies ended."
On Saturday, Aug. 16th, at 2 P.M. his funeral was numerously attended at our chapel, when all the clergy of our village came to observe his obsequies, sympathize with his bereaved family, and participate in the services of the occasion. The writer endeavored to impart instruction to eager listeners, and comfort for mourners by discoursing from Psalm 27:13014. Medical opinion is divided between apoplexy and heart disease as cause of death.
THE WATCHMAN'S CRY
West Meriden Conn. Oct. 1, 1873
S. W. BISHOP, EDITOR
DEATH OF ELDER JONAS WENDELL
When the report reached us that our dearly beloved and highly esteemed brother in the Lord and in the ministry of the gospel of the kingdom of God immediately near, had fallen asleep, we could hardly believe it true.
When, however, that report was so confirmed as that we could not doubt its correctness, we were made sad beyond the power of language to express. We saw Bro. Wendell for the first time at the Fairport camp meeting. That meeting was our last, but during the few days we were with him at that meeting, we learned to esteem him very highly as a genial, kind spirited man, and to love him as a devoted, faithful Christian. He was an earnest lover of the appearing of our Great King, and was therefore deeply interested in those prophecies which treat especially of his glorious advent.
By a thorough and prayerful study of those prophecies he became fully convinced that our Lord will return to earth this present year, 1873; and, as many of our dear brethren know, sent out a synopsis of his faith in this great truth in a printed essay, broadcast through the land. He fell asleep ere the great consummation day had dawned, but in full confidence that all the beloved of our Father will enter on an endless existence before this present year shall end.
It has seemed strange to us that so good a man, so faithful and efficient a minister, should be cut down by the fell destroyer in the midst of his usefulness, and at a time when his labors are so much needed. But God's providences are inscrutable, and there must be some good reason, understood by the infinitely wise disposer of all events, why he suffered the shaft of death to strike down one so noble, so good, and so useful in the church. While our hearts are bleeding in this great bereavement, we are comforted in the knowledge that he has fulfilled a noble mission, and if he is called to lay off his armor a little sooner than his peers, it is because his work being better done he is more thoroughly ripened for the great harvest day. We shall see him in a few weeks, beyond the reach of death, at the appearing of our great Life giver, when she shall come to bestow immortality on all the good, both dead and living. God grant we may all be ready. May our loving Father give abundant grace to comfort the hearts of our dear brother's deeply afflicted family, and enable them to be all prepared to meet the loved and lost one where
"Death enters not, and not one sigh
E'er ladens zephyrs wing;
Is stamped on everything."
Elder Jonas Wendell (December 25, 1815 - August 14, 1873) of Edenboro, Pennsylvania, was a zealous Adventist preacher following in the spirit of William Miller. Following the "Great Disappointment" Wendell experienced periods of weak faith, as did many Adventists. He eventually recovered his faith after renewing his study of Bible chronology (historic and prophetic) and began to preach extensively throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, the Virginias, and New England. By the late 1860s he had been studying the chronology of the Bible, and was encouraged by conclusions showing Christ's return would occur in either 1868 or 1873/4. In 1870 Wendell published his views in the booklet entitled The Present Truth, or Meat in Due Season concluding that the Second Advent was sure to occur in 1873. Unknown to him, attendance at one of his presentations [in 1869] restored Charles Taze Russell's faith in the Bible as the true word of God, leading to Russell's ministry. - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2009