DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—How grateful I feel that the Lord has brought me the precious "meat in due season;" and, in common with many of the other dear ones of the household, I love to feast upon these inspiring truths. But I am beginning more and more to see the grave responsibility connected with the entrusting of the Lord's truth to us in this testing time; and what a testing time it indeed is! How some are falling away on the right hand and on the left! Well might the prophet, referring to this day—the day of his wrath now beginning—exclaim, "Who shall be able to stand?" But, praise the name of the Lord, if our feet are planted squarely on the Rock, Christ Jesus and his ransom, none of these things will be able to move us; and though a thousand may fall at our side, it shall not come near us, for the "everlasting arms shall be underneath us."
The Lord has graciously brought us "out of darkness into his marvelous light;" but unless our dying in the Lord is complete, with self and selfish ambitions buried, the tendency will be, as it too often is, to think we know even more than God has revealed, and to go beyond the limit of his Word and his glorious plan. "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip."—Heb. 2:1.
But it can be only a little while longer before our time is ended. Let us pray the Lord to help our feet onward in the narrow way, that we stumble not nor fall, and, being "diligent, may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." Take courage, then! "Let us lift up our heads, for our redemption draweth nigh." Pray for your brother who sometimes is weak and tempted, as I make mention of you in my prayers—"that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him."—Eph. 1:16,17.
—Having withdrawn my subscriptions from all so-called orthodox institutions, I feel that I can give to the "Good Hopes" Fund $25.00 a month, as my offering for the spread of the truth that has done so much for me. Not having many talents in other directions, I want to use this one to my full extent. The "Evil One" tries to make me think that I can not afford it; but as all I [R1507 : page 95] have belongs to him who died for me, it is but giving back to him that which is his.
Occasionally I have an opportunity to speak for the truth, but in most cases find a very deep seated prejudice against it, though from what I, at times, hear about it, the stand we have taken has made many Christian people think. The other day a friend asked me to subscribe to a Methodist missionary box, but I refused to do so, and thus made an opportunity to speak to her about the truth. She seemed quite interested, and said that when she had heard of my course she was astonished, I being the last one she would have thought of as leaving the church; but when she heard the reasons, she was far more charitable, and said that I was much misunderstood.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I am one of the many readers of your valuable paper, and still want it as an aid to help me along the "narrow way;" for it ever comes freighted with sweet ministries of religion, and is indeed "meat in due season"—giving strength to all those who would walk therein with earnest consecration.
I may say that for the last two years it has been a sorrowful way for me; for it has brought me many afflictions. When the bitter cup was pressed to my lips, I found it hard to bring the prayer of my fainting heart to God, and say submissively, "Thy will be done." And lest this situation bring temptations, I feel I must be active, if I would have God still feed my hungry soul with heavenly manna. I have always believed that Christians owe their fullest love and service to Him who gave himself as our ransom-price: but I cannot say this has been my experience, specially in regard to service, for I have been too easily satisfied to sit quietly down and let the spirit of God work in my heart, satisfying myself with ardent expressions and songs and prayers, and have put aside the stern realities of a life with Christ. I often read the experience of Paul as told by himself, and say, This is the school by which he reached that true experience which worketh hope, which maketh not ashamed; while I cannot say I "glory in tribulation," for I have not been "zealously affected always in good things," or "gloried in the cross of our Lord Jesus with humbleness of mind and meekness." And now that a chastening hand has shown me the measure of my weakness and my unproven Christian life, my soul is longing for something better. I do want the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ; I do want to retain that robe of righteousness which Christ gives to all his chosen ones; and I am resting my hope on his finished work and unchanging love.
I wonder if I could be of advantage to the cause of truth as a colporteur. Situated as I now am, I can give all my time to this specially useful service. I do not want to make any mistake, but to make the work a success, and will abide by the judgment of the Tract Society as to whether I would best enter this field of service. I have never done such work, and do not know that I am adapted to it, but I realize the responsibility of this harvest time, and am willing to lay this in God's hand, believing he will guide and give spiritual discernment.
And now I want to say that the truth as set forth in the MILLENNIAL DAWN series is wonderful and glorious to me; and I am glad to acknowledge the strength and grace I have derived from reading and studying the three volumes.
May God bless you all for showing the religion of Jesus Christ in so cheering a light—the hopes and promises it sets before all, the patience and resignation it inspires under affliction. I believe it is Scriptural to request the prayers of God's people, and I need this help. Pray for me, and for all the afflicted ones.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Owing to a combination of circumstances it has been some time since I last wrote you. As soon as I received the five sets of DAWNS, I began to distribute them where I thought they would do the most good. So far, there has not been a dissenting voice among all who have read them. One friend was so pleased with Vol. I that he asked for Vols. II. and III., and said that, if he were a minister, he would sever his connection with all ecclesiastical organizations, and preach the doctrine taught in those books.
In a prayer meeting recently the question was asked, "What penalty did Adam and Eve suffer for their sin? or, were they eternally damned?" A physician present, who [R1507 : page 96] also has been reading, replied in the sentiment of DAWN, causing no little confusion, which did not end there, nor has it ended yet.
The pastor was informed of the episode, and inquired of the physician where he got those books, and was told that I put them into his hand. This raised a war-cloud against me, but I have already committed myself, and, unless shown that I am wrong, I will never retract a single word. I do not know what it will cost me, but I am satisfied that, whatever the cost, the good Lord will foot the bill.
DEAR BROTHER:—My report for the week ending to-day is fifty-two DAWNS, fourteen Booklets and five Bibles, No. 307—a little better showing than last week. My work here has not been very profitable financially, yet I trust that I will receive my reward in "that day," that every thing done (though little) will result in good to the Master's cause, and that the great Reaper will be pleased with his servant's work.
DEAR BROTHER:—Enclosed please find $1.00 for the TOWER. The "Old Theology" is ever new! In the middle of this day and the crotchety utterances of "advanced theological thought" (?), how blessed to have a gospel that is bolted, riveted and clinched—by divine truth—to the eternal throne! "Behold, I thought," said Naaman; and so it has been with many: They "think"—but to what purpose? They continually say, "Abana and Pharpar are better than the waters of Israel." Better or not better is not the question. Obedience is the subject in hand—not metaphysics, not philosophy, not speculation! Platonic religion is not Christianity.
MY DEAR BRETHREN:—In December last I received through your colporteur the three published volumes of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series, for which I desire to express my deepest gratitude. Since then they have been my constant study. They came in due time to a mind prepared by the spirit for the reception of the great light therein contained. The outlines of the first two volumes were grasped as quickly as the facts could be verified from the written Word of God, and now they are proving, together with the precious third volume, truly a "helping hand in Bible Study." The requirements in the remark of Ralph Waldo Emerson, that "The value of a principle is the number of things it will explain; and there is no good theory of disease which does not at once suggest a cure," are most fully satisfied in these volumes. The truths now due illuminate every page of the Holy Scriptures, and the plan of God daily becomes clearer.
For some years the Lord has shown me that the nominal church had become a great social organization, filled with the spirit of this world, in which the truth-hungry soul sought in vain for growth in the knowledge of Christ. My friends and relatives (with the exception of my dear wife) have been greatly distressed and very angry with me for expressing my belief that the nominal church was not the body of Christ, that her days were numbered, and that very shortly she would become a thing of the past. I did not see the prophecies relative to this matter, but the fact became firmly established in my mind.
For some eighteen months past I have been patiently waiting, watching and praying for a message from on High; and during this time the conviction was deepening that more light would be sent, together with a message to go to work in the vineyard. I thank God that this light has now come and with it also the message looked for. My only desire now is to be permitted to help spread the glorious tidings that "the Lord reigneth," to be one of the "feet," to give my life to this most important of all work. I observe in Mr. Russell's preface to the third volume of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series that you make arrangements to send out colporteurs, and I wish to have the opportunity of being one of them. Every day I seem to hear the Lord saying to me, "Give yourself entirely to me and my work. What have you to do with the things of this world? You are not of it, you have now no interest in the aims and ambitions of worldly men that you should be found in their service." My wife is one of the covenanted ones and is also desirous of working for the Saviour. I observe that your conditions for this service are just what our Lord Jesus himself requires of his own, of those who would be his disciples indeed, namely, entire consecration to do his work, even unto death. It is unnecessary to say that I am willing to go wherever I may be sent, and to carry the message in the way that your experience suggests. The whole matter now rests in the Lord's direction; for "without me ye can do nothing."