PREFACE TO 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.
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
His second visit was in 1903, this time on
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