DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—I wish to say a word about the Anniversary Meeting, which has just closed—held for the commemoration of our Lord's death, and for Bible study. It is the third one I have been privileged to attend. It was a sweet and precious spiritual feast, as well as a good, profitable investment of time—as also were the two former meetings. "How sweet to my soul is communion with saints."
This meeting was the nearest approach in its character to the New Testament idea of the assembling of the saints, for worship and study ("Search the Scriptures"), that I have ever seen or heard of. How I wish every consecrated child of God on earth could have been present, and seen and heard all that was done and said. It certainly was the most satisfactory religious gathering I ever participated in. We now enter upon a new Christian year. May it be to us all the grandest year of our lives in our dear Redeemer's service. God be with you and all the members of the Church of the Firstborn, till we meet again. Yours in the forefront of the battle, contending earnestly for the faith, JAS. A. WEST.
BROTHER RUSSELL:—We could not remain at the meeting until it closed, for which we were very sorry, as it was of great benefit to me, only six weeks old in the truth. I have been fighting for it to the best of my ability. The nominal church members get offended. Some say we are Infidels, and some think we are studying so hard that our minds are affected. Well, we do study hard, and it is so grand. We have consecrated our all to the Lord and to his service to be used to his glory; and, the Lord willing, I am going to try the colporteur work as soon as I can get things arranged, and if the Lord accepts of my service and blesses me in doing his work, then we will break up housekeeping and both wife and I will engage in the harvest work. We dare not delay long, but will have to work while the "winds" are held, as there is commotion in the elements and it may break out soon and we would be too late to gather any grain into the garner of the Lord. I expect to begin reaping by selling the DAWNS, by the 15th or 20th of this month, the Lord willing. There have been several here to hear what new doctrine we are preaching, and, with the help of the Lord, we have tried to explain it to them. They listen very attentively, and some, before going away, have remarked, This is so different from anything we have ever heard, yet we think you are right. We are beginning to see God in his true character and to worship him in a spirit of love and not of fear. Thanks be to God, we are not joined to Babylon in any sense, having left all secret orders, and on Saturday evening, at prayer-meeting, we publicly asked that our names be dropped from the class book of the M.E. Church. What joy came to our hearts in doing so no one can tell. Write to us and advise us.
DEAR BROTHER:—I greatly fear I cannot attend the meeting in April, although I would like so much to do so. I am settling up my business, with a view to entering the "harvest" work, which I intend to prosecute with earnestness when I am once started and fully equipped for the Master's work. Much light has been let in on me from day to day, which is very noticeable since I was at Allegheny a year ago. And I fully expect more when I am once out giving all my time and talents to our Lord.
The more I study the Master's plan and work, the plainer I see there is no time to "prove oxen," "marry wives," or "go to see land" (Luke 14:19), or to do anything that draws one away from his work; and I hope, as soon as I can "let go" here, to become totally lost in his service.
If I can or cannot attend, I trust the good Lord will bless, guide and direct the whole proceedings to the accomplishment of grand, good and glorious results. Truly the gathering will have my heartiest and best wishes and my petitions for its success.
Remember, dear brother, that as you wield the sword of truth against the mighty foes which we know exist, and, as a result, meet with much opposition and discouragement, that you are remembered by me from day to day, and almost from hour to hour, in a spirit of kindness, co-operation, sympathy and love, and prayer to God for your sustenance, guidance, support and care.
[The Doctor did find it possible, finally, to come to Allegheny, and we had the pleasure of reading in his happy face the joy and peace that filled his heart, as, during those days of blessed communion, we sat together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.—EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Although I was compelled to leave Allegheny before the close of the meetings, I am glad to say it was good to be there. I was much impressed by the spirit of love and brotherly kindness manifested on all occasions. I met quite a number who were there four years ago, and I rejoiced to see evidence of growth in grace and knowledge of the truth. The meetings will no doubt be a source of strength to all. All will go forth with renewed vigor for another year's labor in the harvest field. These meetings are certainly very refreshing oases in the desert. However, there was one man in the congregation who, from his argument in private conversation, was without the wedding garment, denying the ransom, and trying to show some how to climb up some other way. Such are branded in the Word of God as thieves and robbers. I am sure he received no sympathy there. The sheep were on the alert, and he was bound hand and foot by the truth. Let each of those enlightened steadily hold up the standard of truth through opposition, sure that the victory will finally be ours, and looking for the glorious Kingdom of God, soon to be established.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—No doubt many of the brethren have written to you to tell how they observed the Passover Supper, and of the sweet communion they had with the Master upon that occasion; and I feel that I cannot allow this opportunity to pass without also bearing a word of testimony to the same. Three of us, Brother Enbody, Sister Remmel and [R1304 : page 79] myself, met together in an "upper room" in our quiet little home, and, after specially reviewing the events of the five days immediately preceding "that same night in which he was betrayed," we partook of his flesh and his blood, renewed our consecration to him, communed in prayer, and, after comforting one another with his words, departed in peace. It was a glorious hour, and we were greatly strengthened in spirit by his presence. Glory and honor be to his name. As I look out upon the world and see the tottering of the nominal house, the shaking of church, state and society, the gathering of the vast armies among the so-called Christian nations, all giving evidence of the nearness of that "battle of the great day of God Almighty," I humbly lift my heart to him in praise, knowing that "our deliverance draweth nigh." The sifting still continues, and the question of the hour is, "Who shall be able to stand?" May God continue his blessing with you and your labors, and eventually crown you in his kingdom. Your brother in Christ,
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:—My heart is overflowing with joy since the Memorial Supper. I prayed the Lord to be specially present with me, as I must be separated from all of the dear ones, and my prayer was more than answered. I sang hymn 276 and prayed the fulfilment of hymn 277 upon myself. What a sweet privilege, too, to be reckoned with the saints so soon to be glorified with the Head. I am in good hope that I shall be with you at your next annual gathering.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—Your good letter was duly received. I have been very busy, hence have not been able to put in any regular work at canvassing. But now I have my work in shape, and am studying (wife and I) preparatory to the work. When Brother James sent me your PLAN OF THE AGES God had me where I could learn. We have been sorely tried. It was all right; bless his holy name forever! Wife and I have a Bible reading by our fireside every night. Have prayers morning and night, and read a chapter at table after eating dinner. O, what a fountain the blessed Bible is! I do want to pour out my life daily in service to my blessed Jesus. The MILLENNIAL DAWN has saved us from terrible darkness, and has been a wonderful help to us. How could I stand without present truth? O, thank God for his goodness to us! We daily remember you and Sister Russell at the throne of grace.
I expect to commence canvassing soon. Will commence at home, and then canvass towns near here for the present. Will let you hear from time to time. I know I shall have your [page 80] prayers continually. Yours in the love of the truth, EDWARD R. WEST.
I am rejoicing as never before. The light keeps coming, and O, how glorious it is! I cannot tell you how very precious the blessed Bible is to us. It rejoices my heart to see how some of our citizens take hold of your books. I have sold about sixty of them in this little town of four or five hundred inhabitants. They are creating quite a stir. Wife and I are studying together, daily and happily. We are rejoicing in the Lord.
MR. & MRS. RUSSELL:—Dear brother and sister in Christ. A short time ago I had the pleasure of visiting with a much esteemed friend (Mrs. E. M. Garrison) who gave me a copy of the WATCH TOWER, and also told me of you and your noble work. Now I love the image of my Master wherever I find it, and I love to be in communion with God's workmen, although I may not understand much. If wrong I am anxious to be set right, but I always tread carefully and prayerfully upon new ground for fear of being led astray. I do not wish to make any mistakes, for I wish to "come again with rejoicing," and not that my works shall be burned.
I have a great deal of confidence in Mrs. Garrison's judgment concerning Christian work and workmen; therefore on her recommendation I enclose twenty-five cents to pay for your work, entitled MILLENNIAL DAWN. I am one of the Lord's poor, but he often gives me a little surplus to purchase some good thing or to assist some good cause. On account of poor health I cannot do what I would be glad to do for the dear Master. Will you kindly remember me in your earnest prayers. May the Lord bless you and your work is the prayer of yours lovingly,
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Just a few lines whilst sending subscriptions for TOWER. A few here are enjoying the precious truth, and are being helped by the TOWER as it comes month by month. We pray that you and it may still be kept in the narrow way to Life. Truly the Day shall declare what otherwise would be hidden. I believe with you that the kingdoms and governments of the world have nearly run out their time. How thankful we should be that we are the holders of the Lord's promises. I am glad of the stand the TOWER makes for the ransom by our blessed Master. I never have had any doubt about it, but I have seen of late that there is great necessity to hold that truth firmly and clearly.
My wife, with Brother Sharples, Brother Watkins and Sister Upjohn, join with me in wishing you much joy in the Lord, and you have our prayers for your continued usefulness in the Master's work. Yours affectionately in our one Lord, JESSE HEMERY.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Times are still very hard with me, but as I must have the TOWER, I enclose remittance for it. I have tried to use it in the spread of the "Glad Tidings," but I find so few whose hearts are open even to read. I feel, dear brother, that the pathway grows brighter and brighter. Through suffering I am being perfected. The last year's study of the life of our dear Lord has brought me into closer fellowship with him. He is the one altogether lovely. I am not idle. I have two large Bible classes on Sunday: one in the town, and the other two miles in the country. Two evenings in the week I meet a class of large boys, and talk to them about Jesus. My greatest desire is to be about my Master's work. O! the preciousness of the Gospel. May God's richest blessings rest with yourself and wife in spreading the glad news. Pray for me. Yours in the love of the Master, G. C. HITCHCOCK.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I enclose to you a money order for $25.00, for which you will send me tracts numbers one, two, five, six and seven; also about three thousand Arp slips, and one thousand envelopes, and $3.00 of this goes to Tract Fund. I feel as though I must supply the neighboring towns and villages with tracts, to prepare them for DAWNS. The Anniversary was held at Bro. R.'s house, with love and joy. God bless you all! Pray for me, that I may be more fervent in spirit, and that I may go with willing steps for the Lord. I would love to lay in a larger supply of tracts, etc., but as my family expenses cut this off I must make this suffice at present.