DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:I did not sign the free will offering or "Good Hopes" sent me last year because I could not promise as much as I would like for the cause; but as I have put aside a little each week, I send it to you to day, and will continue the same plan for next year, only hoping to do better.
When I read in the TOWER of the Brother who was wandering, I tell you, my dear Brother, it struck me hard. I love the dear Savior, but I often feel cold and distant, that I am cast off. When I go to prayer my mind wanders, and my heart becomes full of evil thoughts. I do not want to have such feelings, but it seems I cannot rid myself of them. I know I have a strong self-will which I try to overcome, but it seems I cannot. I feel all the while that something is saying to me "You need a change of heart;" and yet the more I try to do and be good, the more evil is present with me. Oh, how I would love to feel free and be rid of this feeling that troubles me so! I would love to come out boldly and work for the Master. Oh, I hope I may yet be able to overcome, and that my soul may yet enter fully into his rest.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:As you know, I am engaged during week days in examining titles to real estate, and from this I [R1496 : page 31] derive my only income. I have for a long time desired to enter the ranks of the colporteurs, but circumstances have prevented me, and I have been obliged to await the Lord's due time. The door of opportunity for greater service seems to have opened now, for I have been enabled to effect an arrangement whereby I can use three days each week in spreading the truth, and devote the other three days to business. This will involve a considerable reduction of my income from the latter source, but I have no doubt that the Lord will provide sufficient for my expenses. Pray that I may be used always by him according to his will.
The work is progressing very satisfactorily in New York, and interest in the truth now due is growing very perceptibly. Wishing you, Sister Russell and all the dear members of the Body at Allegheny a happy new year of joy and peace in Christ, I remain, Yours in him, E. C. M__________.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:I enclose a letter which is an evidence that the good work is quietly but surely going on. The writer is one of six who have become interested through Brother Benner, who himself has seen the light only about twelve months. If all would go to work as those dear Brethren the work would go on just as it should. Yes, let us all be constantly watching for opportunities to bring the truth to the attention of all having ears to hear.
While there is a good number of our brethren and sisters giving their entire time to this great work, yet there are many of us who are so situated that we cannot give all our time, yet we can all do something and so help the cause alongespecially since we know that the "harvest" day is rapidly passing, and the night of confusion and trouble approaching, wherein no man can work. It will soon be too late to share in the good work; and, knowing the time, "It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." (Rom. 13:11,12.) Yes, let us assist those who are willing to cast off the works of darkness (false doctrines), and help them to put on the armor of light (truth), in which we have been rejoicing, and which will enable us to stand in this evil day.
F. Benner, Esq., Dear Brother:I received the package of tracts, for which accept many thanks. Will use them in the best way I can. You may have the books sent to J. S. W__________ as soon as you can, as he is anxious for them. I would indeed like to meet Brother Weber, as you suggest; but cannot say when, as I am now here only at night. I hope to meet him soon. I am very much interested in this new light that has come to us, and hope and believe that it will be shed abroad throughout the entire world in God's "due time."
But how hard it is to get people to turn away from the creeds of their various churches that are keeping them in old ruts, while the light is shining on more and more unto the perfect day. I have not heard yet what my father thinks of "The Plan of the Ages." I am expecting to meet him soon. Am anxious to get his idea of it, and if he is not convinced, I want to prove its truth to him. I would like to see you and have a talk.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:The arrival of the TOWER reminded me to forward to you the dollar for the year '93, for I should feel sad without the wholesome food it gives. Never in the experiences of almost half a century have such blessed views of God's great and grand designs so filled my soul with joy. I studied "theology," and graduated in 1858; and as I now look back upon those years they appear very unprofitably spent. Oh, such a jumble as my soul brought from the Institution! calling it faith, and trying to steady myself upon it, and calling on others to accept the same and risk their eternal interest upon it. But thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! I now can and do rest wholly upon the blood of Jesus. I feel exceedingly unworthy, and I am quite sure the feeling can never become greater than the fact of unworthiness; but our blessed Lord is worthy, and through his merits we are called children and heirs. God is dealing very tenderly with me and mine.
I am trying to induce my Christian friends to read MILLENNIAL DAWN, and some of them seem to enter into the spirit of the books, while others, after reading till some superstition is exposed, return them with some disparaging remark. But it matters not. Indifference to God's truth will not destroy its vitality, or it would have been dead long ago. I stated in a recent social meeting my belief in a present Christ, and called attention to some of the huge errors that burden honest souls and hinder their prayers. Some appeared reflective, but incredulity sat graven upon most faces. My soul loves and rests on the glorious truths that our Lord is present, and that the sealing process is in progress.
I have no language to describe the beauty and majesty of the truth as it now stands forth; and I hope to be able to do something to aid the work of the TOWER TRACT SOCIETY this summer. God is greatly blessing me in spirit, while in temporal things I suffer for nothing. Blessed be his name!
It is well for us to remember, dear Brother, that milk is for babes and strong meat for those of full age, as the Apostle expresses it. (Heb. 5:12-14.) Was it not pretty "strong meat" for your newly interested friends, for you to tell them of our Lord's presence and the harvest work now in progress? I suggest that the simpler forms of truth be given first, and the "deep things" of the divine plan as your hearers develop interest, and capacity for them. This will be following the example of the Great Teacher, who told the plan of God only as it became "meat in due season," and who once said to his disciples, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now." It will also be obeying his instructions to us to be "wise as serpents, but harmless as doves."
The part of the plan best calculated to arrest and interest an error-blinded child of God will be the foundationthe "Ransom for all." He has recognized our Lord's sacrifice as the ransom for the Church only. Show him that it was for ALL and is to be testified to all, in God's due time. (1 Tim. 2:4-6.) Next show the effect of the testimony in this and the next agenow a justification by faith, then an actual justification (or making perfect), by restitution process (Acts 3:19-21), for all who accept that ransom and its concomitant blessings.
Next your hearers will be prepared to learn of the Gospel age "high-calling," by route of the "narrow way" of self-denying sacrifice, to joint-heirship with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom which, by God's arrangement, is to "bless all the families of the earth."
Next show your hearers what the Scriptures teach concerning our Lord's resurrection-body and the manner of his second comingthat it will not be as a human being but as a spirit being; that flesh and blood has no part in the spiritual Kingdom of which he is the head; and that even the saints "must be changed" (1 Cor. 15:51) from mortal to immortal, from animal bodies to spirit bodies, before we can be like him and see him as he is. (1 John 3:2.) Not until all these points, with their Scriptural proofs, have been clearly seen by your hearers will they be ready to hear appreciatingly anything about the Lord's parousia (presence) and the harvest work now in progressand this may require days or weeks or months, according to the receptiveness of the student and his previous familiarity with the Word.
However, unless very skilful as a teacher, it is generally best to call attention to reading matter bearing upon the plan, as for instance the successive volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN. After they have read carefully, then talk on the subjects, helping them over any parts misunderstood or not clearly seen by them. Every one who attempts to teach, in any capacity, represents the Lord, the Head and teacher of his body, the Church; and, as such representative, should feel his responsibility, and should continually seek divine wisdom that he may "speak as an oracle of God." Go on, dear Brother, and God bless you! I desire by the above comment merely to increase your usefulness and that of other readers by counseling wisdom in the handling of the sword of the spiritthe Truth.EDITOR.