The number of Infidels heard from, converted to faith in the Bible through the instrumentality of MILLENNIAL DAWN and the WATCH TOWER is truly remarkable. Below we give communications from three prison convicts, two of whom were Infidels but a short time ago. The doctrine of everlasting torment which they had all heard for years neither drew nor drove them to the Crucified One; but the "good tidings of great joy for all people" has conquered them.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I acknowledge at this late day the receipt of your last very kind favor, knowing that you will, in the circumstances of my incarceration, find apology for my delay. My report to you now is full of encouragement. Our chaplain recently perfected arrangements whereby all who desired (with the exception of two who were inadvertently deprived the opportunity this time) partook of the Lord's table. The number actually partaking was fifty-two. A very large percentage of these are men who have never before made any profession of Christianity. All—I know of only two exceptions—have begun reading the Bible in prison. Many have given up idle habits and evil ways, and are pressing on to know the Lord, determined [R1611 : page 15] to become "sanctuary" Christians; and a very respectable number—say fifteen or twenty—are sanctuary Christians. The noon prayer-meeting has never faltered, but has continued to grow in grace and number until, in point of number, we have reached a limit beyond which we cannot go.
Taking every thing into consideration, Brother, do you not think the Lord is bestowing upon us blessings of a marked character? Among those who have come to the Lord are two Jews, one of whom, I believe, intends writing to you.
The two sets of DAWN and VOL. I. (which I found and which led me to correspond with you) are all continually in service. They have proved a great blessing to many. The copy of TOWER—a most invaluable help—is also on the go, and highly appreciated; and some of us in the edition containing the paper on "The Church of the Living God," were impressed to find how opposite was the teaching to our own way of worshiping. "Surely this is the house of God." I doubt not you will hear in person from several in this place who have derived great benefit from the DAWN series and TOWER; for they hold you and Sister R. in very high esteem, in Christ.
I enclose to you herewith two poems, written by one of our number. If they meet your favor, we will hope to see them in the TOWER when space affords. They are original, and the author does not object either to the use of his name, or the mention of the place from which they are written, his desire being that they may be used in the most effective manner, for the glory of our beloved Lord and Savior.
Speaking for myself, I am, by the grace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ, enabled to say that I have walked daily in close communion with him, ordering my ways by his written Word, under the guidance and teachings of the holy spirit. I am resting now in his keeping power. The conflict, in which the spirit of the old man had to be broken, was long and severe; but, thank God, I was strengthened daily by his grace, to the end that in my weakness his strength was perfected. I love the brethren, yet do I realize that this same love is to be made perfect. I cannot tell you, dear friends, how much I feel indebted to you for a perusal of the helps which you are [R1611 : page 16] sending out into the world; but of this you may be assured, that both yourself and Sister R. and all of your co-laborers are carried before the throne of grace in my prayers night and morning; and I am confident that my prayers are heard. God willing, I am due to be discharged from this place next summer, after which I may meet you; but I lay no plans. Henceforth I belong to Jesus, and he is not only able, but willing, to direct my efforts, abilities and time; and to him I am now fully and wholly committed.
Praying that you may be continued in the service and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ until he is ready to bestow the crown, and the approval, "Well done, good and faithful servant," upon you, I subscribe myself Christ's, and yours in Christ unfailingly,
I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to you both, and I take this opportunity to convey to you my expressions of love and esteem, for your fearless and noble attitude in DAWNS and TOWERS, which I have had the good fortune to read, through kindness of our brother [writer of the above letter]. I had, previous to reading them, accepted Jesus as my Redeemer, but was beset by doubts and fears on account of the differences in my views from those of others I knew, and felt I was wrong, until (Praise the Lord) your works came to hand, and gave me fresh courage; and now I am determined that nothing shall separate me from Christ. This testimony will, I hope, be all the more acceptable because it comes from one to whom the very name of Jesus has been one of antipathy, from the fact that I am a Jew. Though a young man of only twenty-four years, I have been all but an open infidel—a "fatalist."
I have read and re-read each page of DAWN with increasing interest, and I thank God for leading me into his secret—that the things spoken by the prophets are now fulfilled, and that we are drawing near to that day when all things shall be revealed. I have read your article in the TOWER on Baptism, and I thank the Lord for letting me have light on that subject. I have been in doubt how I could be baptized without assenting to some of the creeds and dogmas of the day, which I never could believe, and have felt that I must always be beyond the pale of the church. But, praise the Lord, your views are approved by my judgment—reached from the same source, the Word. Then I was fearful, lest I was being led away by pride; but now I shall, at the first opportunity, be immersed into Christ. What a beautiful symbol it is of a complete surrender of self and a resurrection in Christ. It is not a mere empty form, but an actual surrender and living.
Will you kindly send me some information as to the work? also a few tracts, for here are souls hungry for the bread of life. I wish to know all about the work, that I may fully determine my attitude now; and if the Lord can use me, I am ready. There is a mighty work going on within these walls, and each day sees another soul step out into the glorious liberty of Christ Jesus.
Dear Brother, my time here is drawing to a close, and soon I shall begin the battle against the world. I wish you to keep me before the throne of grace, as I do you and your work. May the Lord bless and keep you, is the earnest prayer of
There is nothing within me that ever I might
Give as reason why Jesus should wash my soul white.
I had mocked at his mercy so often before,
He might have forsaken my soul evermore.
But still in his wonderful mercy so free,
He had room in his heart for a sinner like me.
I would not attend, though so often he cried,
"Son! look at my hands and the wound in my side;
Oh, think of the love that could bring thy Lord down
To buffeting, hate and a brow-piercing crown.
I bore all that anguish to set thy soul free."
But Christ's love and mercy were nothing to me.
He bore with me long, and he followed me far
O'er the way where allurements and lusts ever are:
He brought me to bay, and he led me to think,
With my feet slipping fast o'er the terrible brink
To destruction and death, put the devil to rout.
Then I came, and he never has since cast me out.
He is ever the same; and his Bible declares,
There's rejoicing above o'er a penitent's prayers;
That sins, red as scarlet, can be white as the snow,
If o'er them the blood of the Savior but flow.
He is pleading and calling, poor sinner, for thee:
He'll not refuse you, since he saved one like me.