Looking out in every direction, we note like a grand panorama, the changing affairs of Church and State fulfilling the "sure word of prophecy." Every development in the affairs of the nations or the nominal Church systems, or the true saints seems to confirm the teachings of Scripture, that we are living in the Day of the Lord. The saints seem to be having a more thorough sifting and testing, which eventually shall separate every tare and garner every grain of wheat. The nominal systems are in distress at the spread of intelligence and thought among their supporters; and the nations in uneasiness are endeavoring not only to form alliances of power, but to protect each other's dominion from revolutionists.
Wonderful things are spoken concerning this dark day—this "Day of the Lord" in which we are living. The student who will take his concordance and reference Bible and search out what is said of "that day" will be astonished. Note the following as an example and see if you can find the application, and whether you think the description begins to fit the facts in passing events:
"As I live saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and fed not my flock; therefore, O, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: Thus saith the Lord God; behold I am against the shepherds, and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to CEASE from feeding the flock. Neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more, for I will deliver MY flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
"For thus saith the Lord God, Behold I, even I, will both search my sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in THE DAY that he is [present] among his sheep that are scattered: so will I seek out my sheep and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day" (Ezek. 34:8-12).
This is having a fulfillment in the gathering of the sheep of both folds—the natural and the spiritual Israelites—out of their respective bondages and dispersions, and how pointed and applicable are some of the references to shepherds—they shall feed the Lord's sheep no more—they cannot. This is due too at that day—into which we have already entered some nine years.
The report from Bro. Seagrin, who for some six months has been travelling among his fellow countrymen, the Swedes, preaching the "Glad tidings," will be of great interest to you all. Our brother has only seen these beauties and harmonies of the Word about a year, but the seed seems to have found good ground—prepared—in which it is bringing forth much fruit, as already he has been instrumental in helping about two hundred out of darkness into this marvellous light, wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Of course this means two hundred preachers of "this way" among that nationality.
All this goes to demonstrate the necessity of some tract issues in the Scandinavian tongue and the German, but especially the former, who are a more religiously inclined people. We know that it will surprise many of our readers to learn that there are in this land nearly two millions of people (Swedes, Norwegians, etc.), who speak the Scandinavian language, and of these there are very few indeed who can read or understand English. We shall not give up the hope of issuing the tract papers for these as proposed some time since, but must wait until the Lord provides the means. Our regular Tract Fund is still behind, and the special SWEDISH TRACT FUND, started some time since, has not flourished thus far and contains less than thirty dollars. It would require about three hundred dollars to issue a proper edition. Our Master is rich—he owns the cattle upon a thousand hills, as well as the hills themselves, and all the gold and silver are His. If he deems the work necessary he will make the necessary provision. The German Fund has made even less progress, but as the interest in that direction is less we shall for the present be most interested in the Swedes. We deem it proper to thus inform the household of faith and especially the contributors to the Tract Fund.
We here give you extracts from a few of the many good letters which continue to come to our office. May they [R488 : page 1] strengthen and encourage each of you as they do us, is our prayer.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:—For sometime I have been thinking of writing to you. I found in the March number of Zion's Watch Tower, for 1883, a communication under the caption, What is Duty? which answered my inquiry satisfactorily—perfectly. I have been a searcher after truth from youth up. Joined the Baptist Church at the age of 22 years, am now 49. I have been preaching over 20 years, but everything seems new to me since I have read your books. Why is it that such light has not been revealed by some of the so-called wise and great before this? I suppose the time for it had not come. I have not language sufficient to express my gratitude. May the Lord increase you in strength physically and mentally to go on in this great work until thousands like myself shall be able to see the light and beauty of the Bible.
I am determined to heed the words of Paul not to confer with flesh and blood, but to go out of Babylon lest I be partaker of her sins. Last Sabbath I preached from John 6:68, "Lord to whom shall we go?" I expect to preach my last sermon for them as their elder, from Numbers 22:18, as my course is beginning to be talked of among my friends. I don't know what they will say more, but they will not say worse of me than they did of our Saviour. They said He had a devil. I rejoice that I am accounted worthy to be reproached, and to bear stripes for his (Jesus') sake.
DEAR BRETHREN:—The "Z.W.T." is a great blessing, there is spirit and life in it; it is not like the dead theology that abounds; it helps and strengthens me wonderfully. But it would make my heart leap to meet a brother in this hope, for I am all alone, and what is precious wisdom to me is foolishness to all my brethren here, yes, an unknown tongue to them. How wonderful it seems to come out into the sunlight, to feel the mind and heart expand under God's love and truth, and to realize that we have an unassailable position, not dependent upon the wisdom of man for its defence. Truly that which can bring heart and mind into perfect unison, so that they shall work together as one, instead of antagonizing one another, must be the wisdom and the power of God. How we ought to thank God that he has so led us out of the mists and fogs of Babylonian theology. It is a great privilege to preach these things, and I count that man thrice blessed who can do it, but we can't all be preachers in a large way; and not every man's lips are "touched with fire." But as God wills, if the Spirit shall lead me to leave my work here—a quiet and humble one—and go elsewhere, to any large work I trust he will give me the necessary strength.
DEAR FRIENDS:...From seventeen to the present time, sixty-seven years old, as I look back my spiritual experiences, all the varied relations in life, locations and interests, seem to have opened my spiritual vision, aspirations and longings, for the coming of our dear Lord, our Beloved.
Though a member of the Presbyterian Church in New York City, carefully taught in its doctrines by a most faithful elder in one of the oldest churches, I never could acknowledge the interpretations of divine truth, as just to God's great character and purposes, as truth demanded. So with all the formulas of our orthodox churches, but the cornerstone was there, and I thought the wood, hay, and stuble would be replaced by the living light coming from the same Divine source as the corner-stone, on which the church was built. Patiently I have been watching, and of late I have been filled with joy and ardent expectation, and have wanted to proclaim the blessed news, though I am a retiring woman. I recognize our Lord by the description His herald gives us. His name is called the Word of God, and out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations. That is our Beloved: that sword is the one the dear searchers of the Word are aided by. Soon the truth will replace the wood, hay and stuble of creeds. This continual searching is to bring forth golden nuggets never dreamed of. Heretofore this searching has been committed to ministers, and too frequently men paid them for doing the searching, while they bowed to the shrine of mammon and unquestioningly assented to whatever conclusions their ministers suggested. Now all must for themselves search for the truth. I have studied for years the Bible by reference, always for fear the pure truth would be watchful, diluted by human reasoning. Now I seem so filled with its light and truth, I long and pray the Holy Spirit with mighty power to open all eyes to the glorious light of God's word.