Notwithstanding many discouraging circumstances and the severe trial of faith which has been, and is still testing the household of faith, we rejoice in the assurance of our Father's Word that "The Lord knoweth them that are His," and we know that all things shall work together for good to them." His Word repeatedly assures us that in the days of the Son of Man—during the presence of Christ—we must expect that He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver to purify and purge of all dross. We have before seen that this purifying relates to all things—to questions of governments and subjects, capitalists and laborers, masters and servants; in a word it is the purifying of all things, political, social, scientific and religious. Scripture affirms that this testing and purging commences with the Church—God's Temple." (Read carefully Malachi 3:1-4.)
If then, we are living in the transition period which closes the Gospel Age and introduces the Millennial Age, called "The day of the Lord," should WE be surprised at these tests of the Refiner, whom we recognize as being now present? "Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ (not as evil doers) happy are ye, for the spirit of glory and of God resteth on you... The time is come that judgement must begin at the house of God." 1 Peter, 4:12-17. (The word judgment sometimes refers to the process of trial, and sometimes to the result of trial—the sentence. In the first sense the judgment of the church began with the beginning of the Gospel Age; in the latter sense it belongs to the end or harvest of the age. This testing now going on separates the true and the false, the wheat and the tares in the nominal church, and already the welcome "well done" begins to be realized by the faithful, who even here begin to enter into the joy of their Lord as the light of His Word reveals the glorious future.)
We should be arming ourselves with the whole armor of God's Word, and bracing ourselves for our own final testing, by girding up the loins of our minds with the girdle of truth, that we may be able to withstand in this evil day, For "a thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand." (Eph. 6:13; Psa. 91:7.)
And some of them of understanding shall fall to try and to purge and to make white. (Dan. 11:35) This will shake loose from all earthly supports and confidence in man's wisdom. It will have the effect of binding some still closer to the Master's teachings, and to a more close inspection of every thought advanced or received to see whether it be God's teaching they are building with, and whether they are firmly built upon the foundation-rock that Christ died for our sins.
In the midst of this testing time however, the Lord sends many encouragements for which we praise Him. Among others are many encouraging words from the faithful in Christ Jesus, telling us how they continue to grow up into Christ; how they daily become stronger and better able to overcome the allurements of Anti-christ and the spirit of the world.
"It was on an occasion in which his audience was supposed to be entirely of strangers, and we were very gently led to suppose that possibly if we were not brought to the light in this age, there might be a chance in another, but that after all it is better to be converted at once so as to make sure of it. This man has vastly changed in regard to what he preaches since I have known him. He has evidently read the book "Food" and is breaking it gently. It may be bias, though I think not, but I fancy that the "Food" must have been read in many thinking quarters, because I very distinctly recognize in many of the leaders of pulpit thought, the spirit of the work. I believe that the fruit is ripening.
Another from Titusville, says—he thinks the influence of this truth now permeates to a greater or less extent, every pulpit in that region. We mention these things that you may be encouraged, for often we might feel like Elijah that we are measurably alone; but like him should know that there are others who do not bow either to Baal or Babylon.
Many letters must go unanswered, and many must wait a long time. If the letter does not seem to need an answer, or if some printed matter will answer its queries, we simply read, fill its orders, and omit special answering. You will not be surprised at this when we inform you that of this present edition we print 20,000 copies, and that the letters received have for some time past, averaged from 500 to 600 per week. To answer every one would be impossible. There are at present four persons engaged in answering letters, besides what the Editor answers personally, and even then we can only attend to the most important ones.
We published 200,000 copies of the last number of the TOWER, and issued them from New York City for the sake of economy and dispatch. On our return to Pittsburgh we met much to encourage us—kind words and donations, etc.,—some small sums, and some larger. The Master knows, not we, which were the largest, for sometimes he reckons a widow's mite as more than the larger offerings of those who have more abundantly.
One German brother who sent $100 did not sign his name; we hope he will send his address that he may receive the paper regularly. These things gave encouragement, which doubtless the Lord saw we needed, and we at once made arrangements for an issue of another 100,000 edition of the same October number, which will hereafter be without date, as a missionary number. When these have gone out upon their mission, carrying to God's children "Glad tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people," which will be in about a month, we hope to be ready to send forth still another 100,000.
We wish that those especially who have contributed to the "Tract Fund," could read some of the letters which come from children of God in whose hearts there has for a long time been pent up the flame of ardent love to God—almost smothered by false ideas of his justice as viewed from an unscriptural standpoint.
There are thousands of saints preaching the glad tidings by loaning the TOWER, and reading and explaining it to others. We have plenty of the October number, and you may order all you can use judiciously, without charge.
DEAR BRO.—The "Foods" you sent me have been distributed and are doing good work for the blessed Master. A number have been brought to the light through reading them. The truth is setting us free in this section, and we feel in our hearts that it has been instrumental in God's hands in doing much for us.
The question with me has been how to present this truth to others in the most effectual manner. I am trying to speak to the people every week two or three times, but I feel my incapacity to such an extent that the cross is heavy at times. I have often thought I would not speak any more in public until I was better qualified if I could have my own way about it. What shall I do, who is sufficient for these things?...Praise the Lord for his mercy endureth forever.
DEAR BRO.:—Please try and publish a German tract, setting forth the "glad tiding of great joy;" thousands are waiting for such a tract. I could distribute thousands of copies with advantage. Yours, __________.
(We would be very glad if some German brother with necessary ability, would volunteer to translate Oct. Z.W.T. into German. A Swedish translation is also much called for. Would be glad to hear a similar report from some capable Swedish brother. Here is a place in the harvest field for some one.—ED.)