The following letter, from his brother in the flesh, was recently received by Brother J. A. West. What joy it must cause him to receive such a testimony to his faithfulness to the truth! How much he would have lost, both for time and for eternity, had he put the Light under a bushel from fear or shame or policy or other selfish motive.
Brother James is still in the harvest work, and although with him, as with all, much of the effort shows no fruit immediately, he and all of us must go on our way rejoicing, leaving the results to our Lord.
Dear Brother:—We daily invoke our Heavenly Father's blessing upon you, you who have been used by him in our blessing. We are feasting, rejoicing, drinking at the fountain of truth, and yet we each now have even a higher privilege than this. It is the joy of taking the glad tidings to others, and seeing them blest as we have been. We meet some of them everywhere. At E__________, Brother P__________, who was considered the best Bible scholar in the city, and the most consecrated and spiritual-minded man, received us kindly. We had just what he needed; and though restitution, the plan of the ages, etc., were new to him, he readily accepted them; and we left him rejoicing in present truth. Another brother and sister also gave us a hearty welcome, and happier souls you never saw than they were. This book we sell, dear James, is certainly a child of Providence—a bearer of "meat in due season," simply and truly. Praise the Lord!
Our problem is solved: We have demonstrated the fact that we can sell DAWNS, and make a living. We economize and work hard; and with God's blessing we can and do succeed. Accept our united love, and remember we think of you every day—especially when with the blessed Lord in prayer.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I wish you to send me forty-five volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I. These I shall distribute in Canada, enclosing a printed slip, a copy of which I send you herewith. The circular reads as follows:—
DEAR FRIEND:—I commend this volume, The Plan of the Ages, to your careful reading. It is the best commentary on the Scriptures I have read. I value it next to the Bible. It develops love for the truth, an eagerness to "search the Scriptures," an independence in Bible study, a reverence for God's Word and a refreshing liberty of mind. It is not written in the interest of any religious organization: its author is not a member of any sectarian body, but simply a Christian. Because of its rich helpfulness to me in the unfolding of the wondrous truths of the Bible, in the clear presentation of God's own gracious plan for the blessing of "all the families of the earth," in the brightening of my own life by dispelling the conflicting doctrines of denominationalism and giving the sweet hope of a better and everlasting life, possible to every one of my fellow creatures, and in heralding the dawn of a glorious and lasting day for the whole creation, I present it to you with the request that you read it twice and examine all the references. If, when you are through with it, you will send it to other truth-seekers, I shall be grateful.
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:—We think it very kind of Sister R. to take the time from what we have known must be her very arduous duties, to write us so fully concerning the matter of which we inquired, especially when we remember how many others are seeking information at your hands.
Loss of sleep is a part of the price I have to pay for the truth. It is so precious, and sometimes so all-absorbing, that I cannot quit thinking about it long enough to go to sleep. My present sleepless condition was brought about through my efforts to do some missionary work among the members of a religious gathering in our city.
They have no organization, and in many respects are like us. I have enjoyed their meetings and Bible readings very much, and I think that they are the Lord's own children; but they are handicapped in their search for truth by the horrible, blasphemous doctrine of eternal torment. I cannot tell you how I longed to lead their minds out into the clear sunlight of God's truth, and I have done what I could to this end. But oh, how Satan uses this horrible impeachment of God's character to blind the eyes, even of those who love him. How subtle the arch-enemy is—whispering as he does [R1456 : page 303] to them, This is no concern of yours. You are not going to Hell. Why bother your brain about the matter at all? Ah, well does he know that so long as he keeps this veil over their faces they cannot apprehend the truth. If there is any thing for which I entertain an able-bodied hatred, it is this hydra-headed relic of the dark past; and my experience with it in the past week has been anything else than pleasant.
Although I have been painfully conscious of the fact that the outward man is perishing, yet during the past week I have been most blessedly conscious of that other fact, that the inner man is renewed day by day. It seems to me I have never before so fully realized the simplicity and security of our refuge in Christ as I do now. I am sure I have never before fully comprehended Paul's description of it, as we have it in Romans 8.
In comparing the various translations of verses 33 and 34, I discovered a marginal note in the Revised Version which says that some ancient versions read, "Shall God that justifieth," "Shall Christ that died," etc. Notice that the words "it is" are in italics. This is the same sense given to the verses in the Diaglott and Rotherham translations. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? Shall God that justifieth? Who is he that condemneth? Shall Christ that died? yea, rather, that is risen again—who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us?" No, blessed be his precious name, we know that our Advocate is too true to our interests to condemn or accuse us in the presence of the Father. Oh, no: he constantly says to the Father, They have been judged in me. I have borne their sins; by my stripes are they healed. Lay nothing to their charge. I have met all the demands of justice against them, and they are free.
Oh, how blessed to know that "the past is under the blood," as well as the present, if we abide in him; and thus John says, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him;" and then he adds, "Perfect love casteth out fear." Ah, yes: when we begin to comprehend the perfection and measureless depths of God's love to us, as manifested in the gift of his dear Son as our ransom from death, we are lost in amazement; and the testimony of his spirit with ours, that we are his children, clears all our doubts and fears away, and there is no torment.
"God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment." This wonderful manifestation of God's love to us, through its reflex action upon the heart, will deepen and broaden our own love, until at last, when we partake of his nature, we shall also possess the perfection and fulness of his love, and become the instruments through whom he will manifest this love to the world, as he is now manifesting it to us, that they may know and believe the love that God has for us, and for them also. Sharing with Jesus the "all power in heaven and in earth," we shall go forth upon our mission of love, lifting up, tenderly nursing the groaning creation back to the moral likeness of God the Father—which, if willing, they may possess and enjoy forever.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I wish I could see you and talk to you as my soul desires. I am so anxious for a pure heart—one from which emanates nothing but purity. As Peter said, not only my feet, Lord, but every thought, word, act and motive of the heart I desire made pure and right. Oh, how I long for this, to be able to resist every form of evil. Is it not possible for me to live without any evil in my heart? I want my environment to be clean; or rather, I want to be clean in my environment. Any help you may be able to give me will be gladly received. Pray mightily to God for me, Brother, that I may be in the procession with the crown and uniform at the great meeting of the elect of God. May God bless and keep you! Yours in Christ,
[Am glad to know that you are desirous of living a pure life; for that is an indication that you already possess to a considerable degree a pure heart. Purity of thought, word and act can result only from purity of motive; and the best way to cultivate purity of motive is to make a friend and companion of the Lord, our Redeemer, who is not only pure himself, but able to give wisdom and grace to all who seek his aid. Then all his desires will become yours, his will and work will be your delight, and you will become more and more impervious to temptation, and able to think and live worthy of his friendship. It will be no longer you that lives, but "Christ in you."—Gal. 2:20.—EDITOR.]
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—It has been some time since I wrote you, not because I am not interested, but I am so busy that I cannot do as I would. However, I meet some interested ones occasionally, and talk with them about the grand things that encourage us so much. Thank God for this privilege, that we can (though in trouble) look to him who is our life; and we are encouraged with the blessed assurance that we (in due time) shall be like him.
I have been traveling a little in the great cause, and I do not think that my humble effort is in vain. Had a good meeting here this summer. It was a time of feast and rejoicing. When I left the Methodists, I had a large acquaintance, for I had been preaching for forty miles around. I have kept up appointments in several places, and have some who love the truth. I can go to these places, preach to them day and night, and not be away from home long; and this is the way I have to do. I love the truth; I am made free by it; and I love to tell it to others; and oh, when I can find a hearing ear it does me so much good.
I have all the reading matter from the TOWER office since 1883, and am still feasting on the precious Word of God. I love the "TOWER" dearly. I love the spirit in which it is written, for I believe it to be the spirit of my blessed Lord. I love to read the few words from interested ones in different places. Surely we are drawn nearer together; and though we are so far apart, yet we are realizing that we are one in Christ Jesus our Lord; and though we are strangers and pilgrims, yet we are made nigh unto each other by the blood of Christ. Oh, the blood, the precious blood, that cleanseth from all sin. Praise the Lord!
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—In a little conversation last evening at the home of two staunch Presbyterians, I was not a little enthused, and was made to see clearer than ever before our position regarding the doctrine of the holy Spirit. They, of course, maintained that the holy Spirit is a person, denying the possibility that the mind of God could be infused into our minds.
I drew their attention to the following, which nearly all must have experienced, namely: When one gets interested in some book, a novel, for instance, and gets wrapped up in the subject, does not the mind of the writer become our mind, until we think the same thoughts, love what he loves, hate what he hates, etc.? Well, then, the same effect follows when one gets thoroughly interested in the Book of books. The mind of God is then infused into our minds and hearts, and it is thus that we are sanctified by the truth—separated from the world and the worldly spirit.
To prove that the apostles named the expression of the mind of God through his Word "holy Spirit," I referred to Heb. 10:15,16, in connection with chapter 8:10-12. The Apostle calls this quotation "a witness" of the holy Spirit, while verse 16 plainly states that "the Lord" is the speaker, as does also Chapter 8, verse 10.
Truly the words that he has spoken are spirit and life. I relish this more fully now than ever before, and am greatly blessed by the Spirit's leading. So you see our controversy was profitable to myself, even if I did not succeed in convincing my opponents. Yours in the Redeemer, CHARLES STRAND.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—The package arrived safely a fortnight ago. I have been waiting to write a letter, but find I cannot work it in just now, so please accept this as acknowledgment of my great indebtedness and gratitude. It is very good of you to so abundantly supply us, and we hope to remit for same shortly. Do not deduct from previous amount sent. The Lord has blessed me very especially, and I shall be well able to cover extra cost in a month or so. I have sent a goodly number of DAWNS and Tracts by a brother going to Australia, who will distribute half of them on board of ship and the rest on landing. He will write you when he has settled down.
Our little band is making its influence felt, though we have never been heard in the streets and squares; but a steady and quiet manner coupled with a consistent life—being led of the holy Spirit—is mighty in reproving the worldliness and political spirit of our time. The churches are now mostly shows, and political agencies. Things are rapidly shaping themselves for the battle of the great day. Thank God, he has enabled us to see it. Accept our united love and a hearty greeting to all our dear brethren and sisters, especially Sister Russell.