The World's Redemption


PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION

The author has traveled over the greater part of the United States and Canada for fourteen years setting forth from the platform, the glorious truths of the Bible. Many in many places have expressed a wish to have his lectures in print for careful and frequent perusal, and to help in their efforts to bring their friend and neighbors to the light of the glorious gospel. Since the author always in his public efforts speaks extemporaneously it has only occasionally been possible to publish a lecture verbatim, when it happened that a reporter would be present. In response to these wishes and that he might do what seemed to be his part in the good work in which he sincerely hopes this book will assist, he has reduced his public addresses to chapters in which to a large extent, the matter and method are the samie as in his extemporaneous lectures, much of the book having been dictated to a stenographer.

The author does not feel that he owes any apology for the seeming presumption of adding another book to the world full of books already in existence, because he does not regard this as of the worlds books. It is not of the world, and is intended as an earnest appeal to its readers to come out of the world. It is therefore not one of many books but one of few; and if apology be necessary for adding to the few, it is not to be found in a claim on the authors part of superior or equal ability in a literary sense or to go more profoundly into the important subjects deal with: but rather in the need for a simplicity that might the more effectually reach the only class which we can hope to reach in this evil age the "poor of this world" capable of becoming "rich in faith.' It is a consciousness of having the faculty of making himself easily understood that has given the author the courage to send out THE WORLDS REDEMPTION to the perishing masses of our times, in the hope that it may rescue a few, whom God grant, he may be worthy to meet in the kingdom of God, and with whom he may be blessed with the power of endless life free from the pangs of sickness, sorrow, pain and death.

1898 THE AUTHOR.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

THE Author of THE WORLD'S REDEMPTION was born April 7, 1847 "probably in Parkmill," a small village not far from Swansea, Gower Peninsula, Glamorgan County, South Wales. The death of his mother deprived him of her tender care when he was two, and he was taken into the home of a good old grandmother, who lived not far from the coast near the town of Llagadranta. When he became old enough, he was apprenticed and taught carpentry - in Parkmill. Acquiring skill in that trade he went to Mumbles to work, and there came in contact with William Clement - also a carpenter - his prospective father-in-law. Mr. Clement was a disciple of Dr. John Thomas, and an ardent Christadelphian. It was not long until there was a new disciple, as Thomas Williams embraced the Faith at the age of seventeen. He had been christened according to the practice of the Established Church, in irresponsible infancy; and he used to say, in after-life, that his godfather had repudiated the devil for him as a child, but that as a man he had repudiated the devil for himself in a way his sponsor never dreamed of. It was not long before he and Elizabeth Clement were joined in marriage, as he remarked near the end of life, "for the better without the worse." By the time the family had grown to five, the magnetic attraction of the New World began to draw them. In 1872 they packed their bags and embarked for the land of opportunity. They traveled first to Chicago, which was bustling with building activity as the result of the devastating fire of October, 1871. They did not, however, remain there for long, but went farther west, to locate in Riverside, Iowa. They made friendships among the Believers in Chicago that were to endure stedfast until the end. In Riverside; he engaged for a time in farming, the lumber business and construction business on his own account.

Eight children were born to the couple, altogether - Clement, William, Katherine, in Wales; and Gershom, Fred, May, George and Bessie, this side the ocean. Gershom, their first-born after reaching these shores, was so named, because they felt themselves to be "strangers in a strange land." (See Exod. 2: 22.)

Thomas Williams' superior ability as an expounder and defender of the Faith was very evident from the first. Arrangements were soon made for him to devote his entire time, with pen and voice, to this work. Removing to Waterloo, Iowa, he began in 1885 the publication of the Chrisladelphian Advocate, for "The Promulgation and Defense of 'The Things Concerning the Kingdom of God and the Name of Jesus Christ'... with a view of assisting in the work of taking out a people preparatory to the coming of the Lord." His services as a lecturer and debater were soon in demand throughout the United States and Canada, and he devoted himself to this work with great energy. The unusual character of his Bible expositions often brought the challenge to meet the exponents of popular and traditional doctrines in public discussion. Such invitations were never declined, when details could be satisfactorily arranged. Mr Williams always insisted that some part of the debate be conducted on the Socratic method of direct questions and answers. This was necessary to make the issues plain and bring the discussion to a focus; but not every opponent was willing to meet this condition. Mr Williams' training no doubt aided a naturally keen and logical mind to give him extraordinary skill as a debater. He took the platform with church leaders to debate the subjects of the Nature of Man, Punishment of the Wicked, Scope of the Resurrection. Location of the Kingdom of God, and the Time of its Establishment, Universal Salvation, the Sabbath Question, and Anglo-Israelism. On separate occasions he met two infidels, a Col. Billings in Riverside, and Mr. Charles Watts, of London, England. Several efforts to arrange a discussion with "Pastor" Charles Taze Russell, author of the Millennial Dawn series, were not successful.

A somewhat turbulent affair took place in Toronto, Canada, in 1906. A popular revivalist had been holding meetings in Massey Hall, seating about six thousand. At the close he was called upon to defend his teachings as to the immortality of the soul and eternal torments in public debate with Thomas Williams. This he declined to do, whereupon arrangements were made for a well advertised address by Thomas Williams to be delivered from the platform lately occupied by the evangelist. "Eternal Torments-a Fallacy, a Failure and a Fraud." was the title of this address, which aroused much interest and evoked favorable comment in the Canadian Press.

Not only was the Author of THE WORLD·S REDEMPTION active on the platform, but he was also busy with his pen, and published many tracts and pamphlets, illuminating Scripture teachings, and exposing popular errors as to Bible doctrines. He and his family moved back to Chicago, to build a home and printing plant, in 1892. The following was the year of "The World's Columbian Exposition," in connection with which was to be held a "World's Congress of Religions." A booklet for free distribution was prepared by Mr. Williams, entitled The Great Salvation. - What it is, and How to Obtain it. This summary of Bible teaching has had a wide circulation.

In addition to his activities in the United States and Canada, the Author made four trips to England to lecture and to visit the place of his birth and home of his youth in Wales. In May of 1900 , he and Mrs. Williams, always his faithful helpmate, sailed from Montreal on the S. S. Dominion. The purpose of this journey was threefold: To deliver a series of addresses according to an itinerary planned by co-workers in England; to endeavor to compose differences which were causing controversy and division within the Fraternity; and to visit the homeland and people he and Mrs. Williams had left twenty-eight years before.

His second visit was in 1903, this time on the Lucania. Guglielmo Marconi was a passenger on the same vessel, and wireless messages -quite new at the time - were being exchanged between ship and shore. and between ship and ship. Mr. Williams was naturally much impressed, by this and commented in the Advocate. "A strange feeling came over me when we received the first bulletin of Mlarconigrams. Just think of it! Out in mid-ocean, hundreds of miles from land and from other vessels, and yet receiving news of what was happening on land and sea! If such is possible in the finite sphere, who can doubt the omnipresence and the omniscience of the Infinite. More real than ever are we impressed with the thought that wherever we are the eye of the Almighty is upon us - a pleasing thought if we are walking in the way of righteousness; but a dreadful one if otherwise.... The telegrams were in detail as much as any ordinary telegrams - and if the expense is not too great to interfere with the practicability of the wonderful system, what a revolution it will make! and how closely will the world seem to have become united! Surely we are now living in the time predicted - 'Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase."' He remarks about the youthfulness and friendliness of the inventor, who would be twenty-nine at the time. (May the writer be permitted the observation, that little less wonder had been felt half-a-century earlier at the transmitting of messages by wire. Since 1903, wireless has made possible the radio, the wireless telephone, and now television. Is it not probable that the future holds other great marvels, one day to become commonplace-perhaps in God's Kingdom!)

A third trip across was made in 1907, which occupied almost a year.

After passing his sixtieth birthday, Mr. Williams' incessant activity - began to tell upon his constitution. He was a man of deep and definite convictions, and was ever ready to "give a reason for his Hope." He was sensitive of conscience and fervent of spirit. He had responded promptly - for pleas for his help, coming from the north. the south, the east and the west, in heat of summer and the cold and snows of winter. Train connections were not always according to schedule, and there were the other trials and inconveniences incidental to travel. The very nature of his work often caused him to be subjected to severe emotional stress and strain. Then, how many occasions there were which called for sympathy and condolence! Only a cheerful and equable disposition, fortified by profound faith in God, could ever for so long have sustained him.

Decline of health caused his thoughts to turn to the sunny South. He had been in Orlando, Florida, in 1905, for lectures and to visit old friends and had tarried a while for rest and recuperation. Finding the climate there so much to his liking. he decided five years later to make his home there, moving there in 1910, he continued his publishing work, with travel in the North restricted to summertime.

In 1913, with his faithful companion, he undertook the fourth journey to England and Wales, from which he was not to return. While traveling in England and meeting lecture appointments, his strength suddenly failed, and he returned to Mrs. Williams' old home in Wales where he died within a few days. The end came in the very house where youth's springtime began, with all its joyful promise. A fruitful life was finished.

He fell asleep December 8, 1913 with his hope fixed - not upon death - but upon the coming of the Lord and the resurrection. As for the validity of that Hope, we invite the reader's earnest attention to the pages of THE WORLD'S REDEMPTION.

1951 BERTON LITTLE.