DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—It is with much pleasure that I inform you that the truth is spreading in our neighborhood. I feel that the Lord is leading me: that I have more patience now than hitherto—which I greatly needed, and for which I often prayed. Of five first Volumes of DAWN, given to such as I thought truth hungry, I have as yet heard from only one. It has opened the light and truth to two Presbyterians, and I am daily expecting to hear the same good news from the others.
But notwithstanding these encouragements, I often fear that our knowledge has outgrown our love and piety, that some of us have imbibed a spirit of debate, and are not wise enough to know just how to speak the truth in its season.
Should we reason upon the Scriptures with those who appear to be insincere, and yet have a zeal to contend for their theory? I have seen on our streets Bible students arguing Scripture from different views, the bystanders hallooing for the side which suited them best, and neither party seeming to have the proper [R1468 : page 335] reverence for the Word of God. The truth would seem to suffer by this conduct, because I saw none who seemed to be truth hungry; and I thought it best to keep silent, and to try only to heal the sick. And yet I am afraid to [R1468 : page 336] settle down on this opinion, for I know that I am not a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and am sometimes surprised to see some, for whom I did not hope, receive the truth, while others, apparently more hopeful, reject it.
The opinion I have of the success of Colporteurs is this: It depends upon the spirit in which the book is presented. I believe that, when one is clothed in the imputed righteousness of Christ, and made pure and clean, whiter than snow, it modifies his manners, making them so loving and kind, that it is hard for any to refuse to purchase so cheap a book on such an important subject. Those who would serve the Lord acceptably must have clean hands; and could I always feel myself thus qualified, I would be still more eager to go out into the field.
It seems to me that all believers need to be forcibly reminded that all knowledge and faith, and many great victories in our warfare, will amount to nothing, if we fail to have the spirit of love, meekness and child-like simplicity. Oh! that my longings for these necessary qualifications were satisfied. The Lord grant that I may be able to put them on; and will you pray that I may be thus endowed.
[REPLY:—I am glad, dear Brother, that you see so clearly what sort of persons in holy conversation and godliness all the colporteurs, and all who have obtained the hope of the gospel, should be. But you should not wait until you are perfect before giving your time and strength to the Lord's service. You have the proper conception of what the ideal colporteur should be. Now start, and in the strength of the Redeemer work, as nearly as you can, up to that standard. Those who so run shall never fall, but shall have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord.—2 Pet. 1:11.
You are right in not bandying the gospel on the streets. We are instructed to be ready at all times to give a reason for our hope to him that asketh; but neither the Bible nor sound judgment dictates street quarreling for the Truth's sake.
Our great Master did "not cry aloud nor lift up his voice in the streets;" nor did he seek the boisterous and profane for his followers. The spirit of God led him to "preach the gospel to the meek"—to the truth-hungry wherever found—to those who have "an ear to hear." (Isa. 42:2; Matt. 12:19; Matt. 11:15; Isa. 61:1.) We cannot do better than follow the great Teacher's example.—EDITOR].
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—The great cause is advancing, and I preach at my DAWN-selling with great freedom and power. Think of busy infidels letting the shop go, to hear the gospel for a half hour, and then urgently requesting further talks! Many of this class, formerly God and Bible rejectors, listen to the plan of redemption and restoration, and say promptly that it is both reasonable and just; and that they are willing to love and obey God, and to receive the rewards of righteousness, under conditions so just and wise.
I must visit some of the interested, not before seen, this afternoon. I am much gratified to see the advance of truth among "just and unjust" here. The Lord be praised! Mrs. A. joins in greetings to you and Sister Russell.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Believing that you love to hear occasionally from those who have been awakened to a livelier hope (than they had in the nominal systems of Christianity), both for themselves and for mankind at large, I will say, as I have often heard it said by brothers and sisters in class-meeting, that I am "not tired of the way" in which I have been led through your ministry. No! I have a joy, peace, confidence, love and knowledge that I did not have when I followed those who are supposed to be religious guides, but are really themselves blind. Oh, I am so glad that we are now in the dawn of the Great Day; and, such are the signs, that we can lift up our heads for our redemption draweth nigh! We are truly, as I have just read in a secular paper, living in an age distinctively one of research and advancement, and men are no longer content to accept blindly the theories and conclusions of others on important subjects; but are becoming students for themselves on the high seas of religious principles and beliefs! It says further: "No little sadness attaches to the piteous state of those who want to believe the Bible just as it stands, but are tormented with doubts believed to be honest ones. May a ray from the throne of God send convincing light to all so harassed and troubled!" And I would add: May we, who have been blessed of God with greater light than others, humbly and meekly offer it to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that they may rejoice with us.