DEAR FRIEND IN CHRIST:—I received your card, the Tracts and two numbers of "Zions Watch Tower," for which favors please accept thanks. I did not know that there was any such line of thought in publication, until I acted as scribe for a friend in ordering "Millennial Dawn;" but I have been reading the Word very studiously for some years, with the heart and will surrendered to God, and the body presented a living sacrifice. I sought to know God only in this search after truth; for Jesus, in his beautiful prayer, said, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
I have read many publications, getting some food from each and all; but I have never found the liberty which you advocate, and which undoubtedly is of God, made practical; and I can accept nothing less than the liberty wherewith Christ has set me free. What need have we of man's sanction or ordination, since to come under man's dictation is to cut off spiritual communication with God. My continual aspiration to God is, Fashion me as the potter fashions the clay. Fill me with the knowledge of thy will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. I am glad that I may be his child without subscribing to any rules according to the wisdom of man, which is foolishness with God. I am sure we may have Jesus dwelling in us, we may be baptized into his death (and so put on Christ), and his life may be sustained in us, as we eat of his broken body and drink of his shed blood.
Praise the Lord, O my soul; be glad in the Lord, and rejoice! Oh, how unkind not to believe him and live; for he delighteth not in the death of him that dieth. Yes, he died to deliver us from death. He took the flesh, that through his death he might destroy him that has the power of death, that is the devil, and deliver us.
TOWER PUBLISHING CO.:—I received the three volumes of "Dawn" and several numbers of the Tower. They are indeed a helping hand to one who has been struggling to get into the light but dimly seen, standing outside of the Babel of confused tongues for nearly twenty-five years, and waiting for the Lord's coming since 1844. I now stand on the verge of three score years and ten, and pray, "Thy Kingdom come;" and with the ardent desire of the souls under the altar I inquire, How long, O Master, how long?
How almost overwhelming is such a flood of light as the Lord is now giving through you and others of his chosen messengers! How inexpressible and exultant the joy of such light! [R1461 : page 320] I have often remarked that wherever there is an earnest, persistent seeker of the truth, it will finally come to such an one; and that if there should be no other way, a special messenger would be sent.
I am thankful for the opportunity now offered to do some little service for the Master, by circulating your publications wherever I find a hearing ear or a waiting soul. Our Lord said, "Ye are my witnesses;" and I fear that I have not been a faithful witness, although I taught many of these truths privately for some years. Standing outside of all human organizations, and in a very dark corner of the earth, and knowing nothing of the TOWER movement (or work), I felt alone and fearful. But my moral courage is now greatly strengthened by the knowledge of the fact that there are so many and such strong laborers in the field. May the Lord ever guide us, and teach us when and what to speak, and when to be silent.
TOWER PUBLISHING CO.:—I received the third volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and I was well pleased with it, as with the first and second volumes. They have given me great light on what seemed dark and mysterious passages of the Bible; and they have created in me a new interest in the study of the Old as well as the New Testament—not for mere curiosity, but because I see a new beauty in all their teachings, in all God's plans and purposes. We are made willing or unwilling instruments to accomplish his will. What a blessed thought, to be willing workers in his vineyard, and to be waiting with glad hearts for the Master's return to secure his own.
DEAR FRIENDS:—I am sincerely grateful for the generous gift of the WATCH TOWER. I enjoy it beyond my power to express, and I read it, as I do the DAWN, with the Scriptures open beside me. The beauty and value of your publications lie in the fact that every statement is so completely fortified by Scripture references. I sometimes read the whole chapter, where one verse or more is referred to, and I am conscious of a much clearer comprehension of Bible teachings than I ever had before; for I was much troubled by skepticism. I did not then know how to study the Scriptures, as many of my teachers were also partially blind.
I am very thankful that our blessed Savior so ordered the late events of my life that I was permitted to obtain some of the true light, and I trust some of that wisdom that maketh wise unto salvation. I believe it was his grace that caused some Tracts to be sent to me, and that led me to obtain Volume I. of DAWN. By the time that I had carefully read Chapter vi. of that work, all my skepticism and doubts disappeared. To me the Scriptures are not contradictory, nor is our loving Creator unjust, unwise, or lacking in power. Yea, he is infinite in all his attributes.
I intend to use all means and opportunities in my power to aid in spreading the light that has so mercifully been extended to me. I desire to consecrate all my abilities, and the remainder of my life, to the circulation of literature that tends to a knowledge of righteousness, the truths of Scripture, the wonderful plans of our Creator, our Father, and his infinite love, wisdom and justice. May the Lord grant abundant success to our labors for the spiritual help of mankind. Gratefully yours in the Lord, B. G. BARTO.
The following letter, just at hand, indicates that there are some truth-seekers in the pulpits too: a fact that one might be inclined to doubt, from the number of ministers who seem determinedly opposed even to investigating anything approximating "good tidings of great joy for all people"—hating the light, neither coming to it; but, like their prototypes in the Jewish "harvest," stopping and in every way hindering all who are longing for the dawn of the Millennial morning. Let us not despair of the ministers: there are some honest ones among them. Let us remember that it costs them more than others to embrace present truths. One of them (a Presbyterian minister in Pittsburg), after admitting privately that he believed much taught in the Dawns, was asked, Why [R1462 : page 320] then do you not preach it? His candid reply was: "My bread is not buttered on that side."
BRETHREN:—If you have anything Biblical in "The Plan of the Ages" which will lift the awful load of depression from mind and heart, and harmonize natural and "revealed" religion, in the name of mercy send it to me by return mail. Find thirty cents inclosed.