[The following letter from a Brother who is a minister and the editor of a prominent religious journal will be read with interest. As it was not written for publication we withhold the name of the writer and his journal.—EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—For the first time in my life have I found my own views so forcibly presented as you present them. In so far as I have this day read MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., I certainly will want Vol. II. I have with an open Bible figured out substantially the same Plan of Salvation, as set forth by your felicitous pen and warm hearted intelligence. I may write you more fully when I have gone through your entire course. To tell you plainly, I have hesitated about advocating my views, though clear to me, for so great difference exists as compared with the received theology, and the mass of the nominal church, that I have hesitated, needing more light, backbone or perhaps spirit, to declare fully what I believed I saw as the Plan of God.
I have not read enough of your book to really now know that we are together, but such have been my own exercises, yea, I might say, ordeals as this most captivating system beautifully unfolded to my mental, moral and spiritual vision, as I studied Holy Writ. Excuse haste; I am on the eve of leaving home for a few days, but felt I must write you.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Last winter I read a copy of ZION'S WATCH TOWER and found it so interesting that I at once subscribed for it and sent for a copy of THE PLAN OF THE AGES. I found what I had been seeking for, the truth in regard to the real purpose of God. Now I see that in Adam we lost all and through Christ, the second Adam, we regain "that which was lost." I see the present position and relation of man toward his Creator, the real object of the present dispensation, as well as the time and object of the second advent. Also in regard to eternal torment, the present accountability or free moral agency of man, the fate of those who die in infancy, the insane, the heathen and the unbelievers; also why there is so much indifference manifested in regard to the religion of Jesus Christ, and how to account for the disgraceful, hypocritical and inconsistent conduct of many of those who profess to be Christians. I had long since suspected that there was something wrong in so-called Orthodoxy, but owing to religious impressions inculcated in early days, the opposition manifested by the clergy and professed Christians in general, when explanation was demanded or doubts expressed in regard to the correctness of the doctrines as formulated in their church creeds, and the want on my part of sufficient light on these subjects, I could not find my way out of Babylon, but was left groping in darkness, till it pleased God through your instrumentality to lift up the veil, when, behold! old things of darkness passed away and all things became new.
To-day I feel as a new man, free from the spirit of sectarianism and formalism, emancipated from all bondage to the creeds and traditions of men. Hence all things are looked at from a different standpoint. Society in all its ramifications, whether it be considered in a religious, political or social sense, has an entirely different aspect from what it formerly had. A flood of light has been thrown over the world, and though darkness yet covers the earth, those who are watching can see that "the morning cometh." All who earnestly desire to know the truth and abide therein who read THE PLAN OF THE AGES and THE TIME IS AT HAND, receive such blessings and partake of such joys as tongue cannot express.
TOWER TRACT SOCIETY:—Fortunately I got hold of the little tract on The Wages of Sin, and I find it contains more good sound sense than I am used to hearing. I wish you would send me something else equally good, and prices. I will order the PLAN OF THE AGES soon. J. R. S__________.
BRETHREN—THOUGH STRANGERS:—By mere accident, or providentially, I have just met your Tract, "Old Theology," on CALAMITIES, and I hunger for more of this bread. I am an old pastor of the M. E. Church and am packing up for a journey near at hand, being 75 years old. I am sorry I had not met you or your Old Theology years ago. Pray, who are you? Some of like faith I met in London and in Paris a year ago and admired much.
Can you send me your two Tracts (a copy of each) Nos. 1 and 2, with any other short publications that will tell me of your faith? Do you publish a paper? If so send me a sample copy, and I will try to extend your list.
TOWER TRACT SOCIETY, FRIENDS:—On last Sunday morning as the writer was boarding the street car, a pleasant looking gentleman handed him a little tract—The Old Theology—"CALAMITIES, AND WHY GOD PERMITS THEM." It was read with very much interest; and I drop this line to inquire what particular sect it is that is spreading this interpretation of the Scriptures? I am not a member of any church, unless a birthright in the Hicksite Quaker Church would make me one; but Jesus is the adoration of my soul, and the perfect ideal of my conception. How strange that the Church in main understandeth him not, and how strange that the Bible seems to be a sealed book to most of its members.
[The above three letters are given as samples of letters continually coming to hand, which show that the Old Theology Tracts are reaching some who have ears to hear the good tidings. Tract No. 2 seems to give the best results with new ears. All who have not seen it should order a sample copy, free. Tract No. 3—"PROTESTANTS, AWAKE!" will be ready shortly.]
At Frankfort my box on the street (pulpit) was below the level of the side walk and over this high curb which lined the walk one man laughingly remarked, how the people with bright, open eyes and eager manner stretched their necks to hear, not losing a word. Who could hesitate to preach with such listeners? No doubt you would like to be out in this preaching field also—How I wish you could be. It quickens me greatly to see an interest so keen. Some think me a powerful preacher, but I am not; but the truth has made me free, and the poor sheep are so hungry.
I shall make an effort to sell more of DAWN, Vol. II. I see with Bro. Rogers how much we need a few who have the whalebone effect of the two DAWNS. I sold two Vol. II. to-day on the merit of Vol. I., and to such we do a great service, a double service, as Bro. Rogers also says.
I think many might find old or young colporteurs to represent them, and ought to do so. I have one lady agent here who has sold some. If we had many agents and each sold but a few the aggregate would be large.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—As this is a day of rest, I have a little leisure to write. I must let you know that the words of the holy Scriptures (1 Pet. 4:1-7) which you proclaimed on the first Lord's day of this month [Sept.] are still stimulating me for the service of the Anointed.
I met two brethren at East Liverpool who were at the Passover last April. We had of course an "Emmaus" talk together, conversing about the things which are being brought about through the invisible parousia of the Chief and Head Reaper—the King of kings and Lord of lords—our glorious Spirit-Bridegroom! O what a privilege to be in the great harvest-work that is now going on. I also met a distant relative of yours, a physician, and had a short conversation with him. Before I got through he bought the first and second Vols. He read several chapters of Vol. I. before I left the town. I met him again just before leaving, and he said that he was well pleased with the contents of the work so far. I then recommended the Z.W.T. to him.
I also met a certain Israelite, a God-fearing man, who upon my introduction of MILLENNIAL DAWN was all ear to hear, especially when I told him about the "restitution," and that the God of heaven through their Messiah was about to "set up" the long-promised Kingdom as foretold through Daniel, the prophet, and all through the Holy Writings. I asked him whether he believed what God had declared. He answered very emphatically—"Yes!" He also believed in the restoration of the Jewish race to Palestine, and I was surprised to find him well informed and versed on these topics according to the Law and the Prophets. After the conversation with him, he bought the first and second Vols. and said: "If I like it, I will also get that journal," which I meanwhile had recommended to him. And leaving him he said, "I am glad that I have met you," to which I responded and wished him the Hebrew-departure.
I also met an old soldier who was much taken with name and contents of MILLENNIAL DAWN. He bought the first Vol., and as my lodging-place was near his home I had opportunity to talk to him several times and he was willing to hear.
Monday, the 9th of this month, I left L__________, and arrived safely at Steubenville. I went right to work, beginning at the depot, and sold the remainder of that day 18 copies of DAWN; Tuesday 22; Wednesday __________; Thursday 32; Friday 18; and Saturday 31. On Wednesday I toiled all day, a long day, too, but I "caught nothing." It reminded me of John 21:3. But on Thursday I did well, as you see.