DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I became acquainted with you through reading Zion's Watch Tower publications, some time since, but as I have never given you a very particular account of myself, and endeavors to spread the glad tidings among my fellow countrymen, I do so now, believing that you will be encouraged thereby.
Some time ago finding my Bible teaching one thing and sectarianism quite another, I determined to go out as a lay Evangelist to preach the truth as nearly as I could understand it, among my own countrymen, the Swedes, and in my own language. While traveling and laboring in this way I met a friend in Iowa who had a copy of "Food for Thinking Christians." As he did not fully understand part of its teachings, he brought it to me to know my opinion of it.
In answer to his questions I spent a whole evening trying to explain away its teachings, and afterwards retired to spend much of the night in thinking over the subject. The next morning I got the "Food" and my Bible, and began in earnest to compare the two to see if these things were really true—after careful study of the Bible I came gradually to see the beauty of this real glad tidings.
I began in my preaching to introduce the teachings; yet to avoid reproach and secure the favor of men, I was tempted to limit or explain away these glorious Bible truths. Once on a text involving Restitution I had begun to explain it in the old manner, but the Spirit cut me off; I then thought to avoid saying anything to the point, but God did not forsake his Jonah-like servant. I saw at once the evil of so doing, and conquering the tempter, I did plainly preach "the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets since the world began." I have never since compromised with error.
I find many who will listen for hours [R488 : page 2] with close attention. Some reject the truth, but many hear with joy. Some that I thought slow to receive it were only trying the foundations thoroughly, and some of these are becoming its most firm and able defenders, many of these humble teachers with their Bibles in hand, are able to overthrow the wise and learned preachers of traditions.
For nearly a year I have preached this truth with more or less fullness as I gradually came to a knowledge of it. I have suffered much reproach and some trials and persecution for the truth's sake, but never since the time mentioned have I faltered or mixed truth with error to make it palatable to formal Christians. I find some infidels who, hearing the truth, are beginning to think the Bible is true, and some have accepted the truth and are telling the good news to others, showing that the Bible is reasonable when understood.
As an incident of the work, I mention the fact that in my congregation at one place were two noted infidels, who doubtless came from curiosity, but they listened and evidently had an ear to hear, for the next morning they came to see me very early. I asked them, Well, now do you want to have anything to do with Jesus? They said, Yes, since we have heard of these glad tidings of God's love we do want to have some interest in Jesus. We prayed together, and since I have received a letter from one stating how he had gone to the infidel club room and told them of the new Jesus he has found.
Some places, the preachers coming after the people have heard these glad tidings, find it hard work to interest them again in the terrible and unscriptural doctrines which bound us and blindfolded the eyes of our understanding for so long. In one place a brother got up after the service and advancing to the desk said, You did not tell us the truth, your sermon was unscriptural; hereafter when you preach we want you to give us God's Word and quote it from the Bible.
The established ministers, called orthodox, sometimes oppose me and would hinder me from preaching if they could, but the Lord opens up some place, and the truth hungry are fed and rejoiced. Leaving one such place recently, several brethren bade me good-bye, and with tears in their eyes said, Bro. Seagrin, whatever happens let nothing hinder you from boldly proclaiming this glad tidings, that others may be blessed as we have been.
Many of our nation seem to have an ear to hear, and "He that hath an ear to hear let him hear." I urge my Swedish brethren who have been favored with truth, that has brought such joy and strength to them, to try to explain to others that they may rejoice and be strong also; searching out those saints who can discern truth and comforting and stimulating them to run well for the rich prize before us.
Pray for me, dear brother, while I try to labor among our Swedish brethren, and if it shall please our Lord to send the Swedes the October number of the Tower in our own language, as you proposed some time ago, I shall be so glad. If we could have Food in Swedish also it would be of great good under the Lord's blessing.