DEAR BROTHER:—I have refrained from expressing to you the joy and gratitude that I have felt for the light thrown upon the Scriptures by your writings, through fear that I would appear to give glory to man rather than to God, from whom I am sensible that the light really comes. Still I realize that it is due you, as God's willing agent in distributing the light, to know something of the joy it has brought me.
I had long been an earnest student of the Word, but because of the many false doctrines that I had been taught from infancy to believe were supported by the Bible, I was like one groping in darkness. About four and a half years ago, through the merest accident (as some would say), I saw a reference to Millennial Dawn in a secular paper. I at once ordered the book and shall always thank God for that accident. It "opened my eyes to behold wondrous things out of his law." Since then I have eagerly read every thing I could get from your pen: I subscribed at once for the TOWER, and could scarcely wait for volumes two and three to be out of press before ordering—in fact ordered them before they were out. Oh, the joy and delight they have given me! Words cannot express it!
But with the sweet has also come the bitter. It has compelled me publicly, in the church in which I was a member, to renounce the false doctrines that I had previously held in common with others. This, of course, brought upon me much that was painful in the sundering of pleasant associations and in misunderstandings and isolation. But through it all I have been wonderfully supported and strengthened, and have verified the promise, "I will give you a mouth and wisdom that none of your adversaries can gainsay or resist." I have tried earnestly and faithfully to present the truth to others, and have distributed much of your writings among my friends; but have been greatly disappointed as to results, as few have shown any special interest, none have confessed a belief in the new (old) truths, and some of my nearest and dearest friends have been greatly shocked and grieved by my heresy.
But I leave all in the hands of the Lord and accept every trial and disappointment as a part of my testing, and, by the grace of God, I will be faithful to the end. But enough of this. You are familiar with all the trials that are common to those who would, in this evil day, be faithful to the truth. I have not accepted the truth as presented by you without questions, but have diligently searched the Scriptures upon every point; and in almost every instance I have been able to agree heartily with you. And oh, the joy of believing! It has changed the whole tenor of my life and thoughts. It has made the study of the Scriptures my chief delight. I truly meditate upon them day and night. Like one of old, I feel like saying, "I have esteemed the words of thy mouth more than my necessary food."
DEAR FRIENDS IN CHRIST:—I cannot tell you how much benefit my mother and myself have derived from MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vols. I., II. and III. I have found that in whatever company I have mentioned our faith it attracts attention. So many have grown restless under the old creeds that they hail with delight any reasonable explanation of God's dealings with the race. For myself, I am thankful that I have a God who is both to be loved and to be respected. As long as I believed in a Calvinistic hell, there lurked in my heart a feeling that a more effective and a less cruel way of dealing with humanity would be perfectly consistent with the idea of a just judge. I thank you for showing me the way. The chapter on the Pyramid in Volume III. will eventually attract the attention of many scientists. A consistent explanation like yours will be appreciated in time.
The fact that the doctrine of the inherent immortality of the soul is not true was a new idea to me. But I traced it back carefully and found that it was the foundation doctrine of the religions of Egypt and Babylon. Then, and not till then, did I realize how the Jewish faith differed from the esoteric religion of the priests, and why the Jews were prone to wander into idolatry. Truly, all Buddhism, Theosophy, etc., originated in Eden. "Thou shalt not surely die" has been believed, not by Eve alone, but by most of her descendants. Pardon me for taking your time, but you do not seem other than friends to me.
I know that the time to reap has come, for in obedience to him who gave the command, I have lifted up mine eyes (of discernment), and [page 256] behold, the fields are white for harvesting. And I know that he that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life eternal. I pray the Lord of the harvest that I may be among that favored number; and that I may have such success in this last harvest reaping of earth as will redound to his honor and glory.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I have read all three volumes of DAWNS three times through, my interest increasing with each reading, and have found it a means of opening up the Scriptures to my understanding. I was brought up by Methodist parents, and was consecrated twenty years ago, and joined that church. Since I have been out in this country, I have labored hard for the upbuilding of Methodism in this place, and have watched the growth of the church here with pride and pleasure; and it was with a good deal of hesitancy on my part that I withdrew my name and membership from the church. It is causing a great deal of talk among my brethren with whom I have worshiped for the past eight years. But I have never enjoyed so much of the presence of the Master, or had such peace and joy in the spirit of truth, which leadeth into all truth and teaches me things to come, as I am now enjoying.
Reading the Scriptures with the thought in mind of the Coming Kingdom seems to open up to the light many passages that I never could understand; and I cannot begin to express my thankfulness for the benefit I have received in studying the Word of God from the standpoint which you have pointed out in your messages.
C. T. RUSSELL, DEAR SIR:—You will no doubt think me very slow in acknowledging the generous bundle of Tracts sent me. Sickness has prevented my writing before, but I wish to thank you very much for sending them, and thus giving me an opportunity to do a very little in the good work. I had them distributed quite thoroughly, although I was unable to superintend the distribution personally. I pray the Lord will bless some of the seed thus sown.
For myself I would like to say that the past three years have been years of great trial, and I have been so overburdened with household cares and ill-health that my spiritual nature would have been utterly crushed were it not for the blessed TOWER, that always comes with food just suited to my needs.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—To-night I do say with all my heart, "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, praise his holy name," for the grand and, I trust, saving blessing he has bestowed upon me through the MILLENNIAL DAWN series.
I have more or less, ever since I was about fifteen or sixteen years of age, been trying to serve God and to walk uprightly, but found so often that I had most terribly back-slidden. When I tried to reason with myself as to why I had so fallen, I could not explain it, but felt that I needed some stronger meat than I had been to that date receiving. I never thought of not believing the Word of God; but the explanations I listened to from different ministers of my own church, as well as of other churches, never seemed to be logical or satisfactory. No doubt I have been very prone to wander from the narrow path and too weak to live before the increased light and knowledge of the present day. Thank God! however, I do believe that I am now in the right company to serve him more faithfully. It has always been a mystery to me how so different creeds as are advanced by our many nominal Christian churches could be recognized by our Lord.
The theory of the Methodist church, of which I have been at least in name a member, the eternal torment of the unjustified soul and the utter hopelessness of those who pass out of this life stained with sin, seemed to destroy the idea of the endless love of God and the justice of judgment; but as I come more and more fully into the knowledge of the plan of the ages as set forth by God in his Word my heart fills with joy.
I am distributing the fifteen sets of Vols. I., II. and III. which I received a few weeks ago. Hoping I have not taken too much of your valuable time in this expression of my thankfulness to you, as God's agent (through another believer in MILLENNIAL DAWN), for the meat in season, Yours in God's cause,