The central point of interest during this month was the commemoration on the night of the 8th inst., of the death of Christ our Passover—slain for us. This has always been an interesting occasion, and this last was no exception, as indicated by our own experience here and the letters received from every direction from those of like precious faith.
In some places only two or three assembled, in others more, and some isolated individuals alone, but the general testimony is that the Master was present at least in spirit; and for aught we know was personally present. All seem to have felt, "It is good for us to be here."
The church at this place had a precious season, several from other parts making it convenient to be with us. The little company numbered about a hundred, and while we partook of the symbols of the body and blood of the Lamb of God—"our Passover"—we called to remembrance the import of the ceremony—the necessity that whoever would be of the first-born must be under the blood and must eat or appropriate the slain Lamb. The thought was impressive, too, that we not only partake of Christ Jesus' merit, but that, as shown in the supper, we commune with or share with him as members of the body broken, being made members or parts of the same loaf. We heard his words to those who asked for a place in the kingdom, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?" And with them we answered, By the help of God we are able; and we heard the Master's response, "Ye shall indeed drink of the cup"—ye shall indeed share in my sufferings and be privileged to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ: "Drink ye all of it."
We tried to realize the privilege we enjoy during this Gospel age, in that we are permitted to share in the sacrifice without which we could not hope to be accounted worthy to sit with him in his throne. (Rom. 8:17.) After supper we sang a hymn and went to our homes remembering the scenes and incidents of the night and following day over eighteen hundred years ago, and rejoiced to realize that the sufferings of Christ are nearly ended and the glory to follow almost begun.
Many letters recently received ask for preaching, and truly the laborers are few. Pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his vineyard, and as you earnestly pray you will come to the point where you will say, Lord cannot I do something?—Lord send me. Whoever seeks will find, and to those who knock a door of opportunity will open. Unwillingness to serve in an obscure and small way is the trouble with many. In the Lord's army as in earthly ones there are more privates than captains and corporals needed. Let us fall into line, put on the uniform of a Christian life, and engage in whatever branch of the service we find opportunity. If faithful in lesser things we may be advanced to service requiring still greater self-denial and sacrifice. Let each seek to put into active service whatever talents he possess; thus he will prove himself a good and faithful servant, and enter the joys of his Lord.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—Your welcome letter received. I lecture twice Sunday and expect large audiences. Have made more visits and acquaintances than usual, and as usual found a few willing to listen, if not to hear.
Mrs. A. celebrated the Passover with me, using the elements, bread and wine. Although such a celebration had always greatly affected both of us as used in the nominal church, yet the two alone using Christ's words and symbols on the anniversary, enjoyed the feast as never before. We are so glad you suggested the observance even to the ones or twos. Our experience is, that upon proper preparation so as not to partake "unworthily" (not discerning the Lord's body) great benefit is received. For a day previous we read the proper Scriptures and ZION'S WATCH TOWER comments, and while communing we read, gave thanks, and conversed on the subjects connected. I hope none of the saints are so poorly instructed that they cannot think the thoughts, utter the thanks, and speak of Christ's work and glory in proper words. We are strengthened and rejoiced, having partaken of the bread—truth; and of the wine—the cup the Lord offers us.
As a result of the examination that the celebration calls up, I shall endeavor to be more fully alive to every opportunity to preach the gospel—even to the ones or twos. I thank God that I am willing to use the talents entrusted to me. A minuter search for the few grains of wheat in the mass of chaff I have often resolved to make. I must do more visiting and feeding of saints. It cannot be so very hard to part with the deaf and sightless, saying, "Nevertheless the kingdom of heaven has drawn near unto you." A few more rebuffs daily I can bear and I MUST.
—Dear Sir—I am learning more and more of the plan of our Creator for the redemption of the world, and I am so glad that you sent us "Food for Thinking Christians," for it was what I wanted. I was a member of the Congregationalist church but not in sympathy with its teachings. I longed for something better. I thank God that I have it now. I am resting in Jesus and I am trying to let others know of the better way. My little book has been out a good share of the time, and it has been the means of setting some to thinking. I am all alone in this way of thinking, not even my husband sympathizes with me, and I suppose that I am considered very singular, but I am willing to suffer for the truth's sake. The papers that I received for distribution I have sent to those I thought would read and think too. Being an invalid, I seldom get away from home, so I do not know what effect they had. After having done all that lies in my power I am willing to let it rest in God's hand. I am nearly sixty years old, and am glad that I have found the truth even at this late hour. I ask an interest in the prayers of God's people, for I do believe in prayer. I want to be found among the faithful, not only on account of a future reward, but for the joy it gives me here to know that I am doing God's will.
DEAR BRO.:—The WATCH TOWER for this month has not reached me, and I think the subscription may have expired. Sister__________ paid it last year, I think, and it seems I ought not to be among "the Lord's poor" when I have the comforts of home, etc.; but I am flatly refused the amount for a paper that has been the means of my withdrawal from the M.E. Church, and even my postage and change are watched so closely that I have not been able to save even the small price of the subscription. However, I have the prospect of some change by washing, which I will send as soon as accumulated, with that of an acquaintance who is reading my "Food" and will be a new subscriber. Meanwhile please continue sending the paper, for it furnishes me more food than any reading matter I can get, explaining to me Scripture, and increasing continually my interest in God's Word. And in almost every case where I become puzzled or troubled over some text, the next paper (by direction of God I am sure, not chance,) furnishes the solution. I was troubled about "Let not your hearts be overcharged with the cares of this life." My cares are so numerous, my hands so busy, my head in such a state of confusion often, that Satan vexed me with the text; but your paper emphasizing "hearts" brought me such comfort that I was filled with praise that my heart is not in these things, though I find I have great need to watch. I am compelled to suffer much because of my non-relation to the nominal church, being accused of self-righteousness, etc., but I endeavor to count it all joy, treading alone, like Jesus, the wine-press. Pray that God may keep me in all humility, making my calling and election sure. Yours in Jesus, __________.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I thank God that you sent or rather that he sent me your publications. Through studying them God has shown me my position before him. I can look back on my past life and see how he has been preparing me for this very day, and O how my heart does swell in loving gratitude to him for his loving kindness towards me. I have not been connected with any church for the last twenty-five years, but when your publications came along I recognized the Good Shepherd's voice and you know how sweet that voice is to them that love him. I rejoice to know that he counted me worthy to be numbered with the flock; and this was a great surprise to me that he should call on one seemingly so unworthy. It was a long time before I could get to understand how I had consecrated before 1881 but it was made clear to me at last, and when I had this settled then I found that I had oil enough in my lamp to go to look for the Lord's second coming, and I have found him....