DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Many thanks for your note of the 5th inst., just received. March and January 1st copies of WATCH TOWER also came to hand. The latter is particularly rich. "In Our Day" is convincing. I have now finished all three volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN; and more and more clearly, as I read, do your positions appeal to my judgment. It is, of course, difficult to break away all at once from opinions that have been held for years, but with me the work is done in large measure. I cannot think other than that your clear-cut expositions of Scripture and interpretations of prophecy, harmonizing as they do with present day occurrences, are of God. I have read theology (mostly Arminian) to some extent, but always with more or less dissatisfaction, because of its failure to answer many questions that would not down; while Calvinism has been to me an unthinkable system. Yet I have continued preaching and working in the hope that light would come. It has come, but not in the way expected.
I sincerely believe that in what I have thus far learned I have been led by the Divine Hand, and feeling this shall trust implicitly as to the future, although leaving the pastorate of the church which I have long loved, and in whose work and fellowship I have realized much joy, would be no small thing.
MR. C. T. RUSSELL, DEAR SIR:—After having been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for about twenty years, I have to-day sent to the pastor a letter of withdrawal. I have hesitated long to take the step, as it is a coming out from pleasant associations, and fellowship with many who are apparently perfectly honest in their belief; but it is also a coming out of Babylon or confusion. My prayer has been, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do;" and now, with an honest desire to do God's will, and to walk in the footsteps of our Lord and Master, I have taken the step.
The teachings of the several volumes of DAWN and the WATCH TOWER have been food to my soul. From a child I have read the Scriptures, and all other books that I thought or hoped would make plain to my understanding the truth, as I was hungry to know and anxious to teach it; and now, as the day dawns, and the Sun of Righteousness arises with healing in its beams, the clouds are being dispelled, the blind are receiving sight, and by confessing the new light, or, rather, the "Old Theology," men are again being put out of the synagogues; but the refreshment which comes to the believer makes us rejoice in hope, knowing [R1503 : page 78] that the day of our redemption draweth nigh.
I preach the truth wherever opportunity affords; and if circumstances would permit, I would gladly go out into all the world and preach the gospel to all having hearing ears; but it is not my privilege so to do. Occasionally I have the opportunity to teach it to individuals.
I ask that you will remember me at the throne of grace, that I may be led by the spirit of Christ into all truth, that I may be enabled, by his grace, to walk worthy of the gospel wherein we are called, that my will may be fully submitted to God's will and that I may soon be buried with him in baptism; and, being filled with the spirit of Christ, that I may be permitted to go forth bearing the precious seed (truths) of the Lord.
GENTLEMEN:—I have been a Christian, and a member of an evangelical church, for twenty-five years, but I could never bring myself to believe the doctrine of everlasting torment for even the worst of mankind; though I saw clearly that there could be no salvation out of Christ. The plan presented in MILLENNIAL DAWN so completely solves the difficulty, and the hitherto insoluble problem of God's permission of evil in the universe; and it is so grand and beautiful, so reasonable, and so worthy of God, that I am convinced it must be true. What light and glory it throws upon the Bible! I have always maintained that God would give every human being a fair opportunity for salvation, thought I could not tell how it was to be brought about; and now that I know, I rejoice in it every hour of the day. I now wish to qualify myself to answer objectors, for I intend to do what I can to spread these glad tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people. The Lord bless you and your work, F. E. HALE.
The Presbyterian church session, here, refuses to release me, upon the ground that it cannot do so without a trial for heresy; and it will never consent to that. Had I asked for a letter to another denomination, it would have been given; and if I insist upon leaving that body, my name will be put upon the "retired" list. Nevertheless, I have fully determined to do what seems to be the Lord's will, and I will not be argued out of doing my duty.
The most prominent elder has begun to study with a view of convincing me that I am in error. He is a physician, and is sure that I have overworked my brain upon these subjects until I have become skeptical. He says, truly, that if there be anything in my views, it is time that the church began to investigate the matter. Yours in the bonds of Christian fellowship, L. HAMILTON.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Although somewhat tardy in the renewal of my TOWER subscription, I heartily thank you for its continued visits up to date. There is nothing I look forward to with so much hungering as its regular portion of meat and drink for the truth-hungry. There is no other publication that has been so satisfying to my mind; and to do without it would be out of question so long as it continues to supply this demand. Surely one that has received the anointing of the spirit and the eye-salve of the truth perceives the work, the strange work, that the Lord is working, not only in the nations but in the lives of his consecrated children, as each is quarried and chiseled and polished by the various workings together of the circumstances of his life, and thus made ready for his respective place in the great Temple—his body, his Bride—according to the plan of the great Master Builder. Lord grant that none of us come short of this through conceit or neglect.
The heavens are fast "rolling together like a scroll" in our midst: all the denominations represented here, ignoring differences among themselves, have united with the Catholic temperance society in a grand rally for temperance, and in a general boom for the society of the "mother church." So naturally and quietly do these things come to pass, that no one seems aware of the fast approach of the time of trouble. Blessed is he who has learned to lean on the arm of the strong Deliverer, and not on an arm of flesh.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Enclosed you will find a small order for Tower publications. I desire to be used in the Master's service, and do what I can in spreading the truth. I have been a reader of DAWNS and Tower since January last—proving all things by the word; and I must confess that it has given me a joy and comfort that the world knows not of. I have been seeking to know the truth for about five years. Two years ago I came to the conclusion that the Baptist church was nearer to my views than any other denomination, as it claimed to take the Bible as its creed. So I joined that church with the understanding that I would take nothing for my guide but the Bible. I let my name remain until a few weeks ago, when I told the pastor to drop my name from the church roll. He expressed great surprise, but I told him that it was not that I had any enmity against any [R1503 : page 80] one, but that I felt a plain conviction that I could serve the Master better out of it, and by holding a membership in only the true church which Christ founded.
It is a painful thing for me now to hear the unsupported doctrines as taught by the various creeds, but what a joy it is to view the glorious glad tidings from the standpoint of the "Plan of the Ages." What wonderful harmony! Now I can see how "God so loved the world," and it has begotten in me a new hope and a desire to tell the good news to others. Oh, how I love to read the Tower. Do not fail to send it to me for 1893. It has food for me that I cannot find elsewhere. I must tell you, my dear brother, that you seem very near and dear to me, as do all the dear brethren in the Anointed One. I feel so glad to hear from any of them. I am almost alone here.
I have several DAWNS in circulation, and quite a number are interested. Two or three are rejoicing in the light, but as yet have not renounced their creeds. My health being poor, I am not able to be out much, and consequently I feel that I am not doing the work that I would love to do. I feel so unworthy, and long to be able to do much good in the Master's name. I need your prayers in my behalf, that I may be filled with humility and love, to the Master's glory. I desire to have my name on the Colporteur Roll, even if my work should seem small. I will endeavor to do all to the honor and glory of God. May the Lord's blessings rest upon us all in such a way as to bring us in contact with those that are hungering after truth. In hope, I am truly yours, J. T. MILLER.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Three years ago Vols. I. and II. of the MILLENNIAL DAWN were placed in my hands. I read, re-read and studied the wonderful books, and to my own astonishment they began to break the seals of the Bible, and the hidden mystery was revealed to me. I then gave up the ministry and stepped out of Babylon. Since then I have been grieved, because I have not been able to enter the harvest work: for, being a Norwegian, I think it is of no use to try to sell English Dawns; but I intend to enter the work as soon as the Dawn is published in that language. Meanwhile I am trying to establish in the truth those who have already received it.
I recently visited a few saints in R__________, and was quite interested in learning how the truth reached them. About eight years ago a copy of the Watch Tower came into the hands of Brother M., and it made a deep impression on him. He brought the copy home and let some of his neighbors (Baptists) read it. After some time they sent for more numbers, which they read with increasing interest, and their faith in eternal torture was soon shaken. But as they had adopted some erroneous ideas of the atonement advocated by one of the leaders among the Swedish Baptists, the ransom was almost a stumbling-block to them. However, they have since been convinced, through the Tower, of their error, and now believe fully that Christ died in our stead.
When the Swedish Tower was discontinued, some of the friends subscribed for the English Tower. But as they could not read English, their progress was slow. However, being truth hungry, they have tried to dig out some of the gold and precious stones from the English. One, in particular, looks at every word in his lexicon in order to get the meaning of a sentence.
The cross is becoming more and more a rock of offence to the Swedes. Many in recent years have laid aside the paradoxes of the old German reformers, and are following in the footsteps of their own favorite leaders, who are "denying the sovereign Lord that bought them." But there are still many humble ones among Scandinavians, waiting for the truth, who will be glad to have the Swedish and the Danish Dawn.
I myself cannot express how grateful I am to you who have been the instrument in God's hands to lead me out of darkness into light. I know what it is to be in darkness. I was brought up in a very dark corner of the earth, in the darkest of Lutherism, and in full faith in the horrible doctrine of eternal torment. When I reached maturity, I received some light and peace, which I thought I could increase by preparing for the ministry. But while studying theology I encountered skepticism and disappointment, and was soon as discontented as ever. But now my skepticism and the former things have disappeared, and light and peace are streaming in upon me from the channel of truth, and I can praise the infinite, wise and loving God, whose ways and plan are so full of blessing to all his creatures.