DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:I have the pleasure of informing you that we have just had a great spiritual feast. The Nov. double number of our most welcome semi-monthly visitor came, loaded with good things. Oh! how glad I am that our Father in heaven gave you thoughts on the Law question so satisfying, encouraging and strengthening to his children; for I have long waited to have a solution of these subjects from your pen. I feel very thankful indeed.
Just as we were enjoying these blessed truths, Brother McPhail came. We had a blessed time. The Brother spoke from the Chart. The following night we had a grand meeting, which closed with many questions, well answered. Bro. M. is the right man in the right place, according to my judgment, and I pray that he may do all of the congregations as much good as he did us. I consider him sound in the truth. On Sunday we had two meetings. The three o'clock meeting lasted until dark, and the eight o'clock meeting until nearly eleven o'clock. I think all were benefited.
We hope that Brother M., or some other brother as well posted will visit us again soon. He gave me a satisfactory solution of every text brought up, except Psa. 49:19, which he says he will speak to you about.
[REPLYPsa. 49:19,20 must be interpreted in the light of its connections and in harmony with all the declarations of Scripture. These who "perish like the beasts"hopelesslyand who shall never after "see light," are not men who have died in ignorance of God, as the heathen (at home and abroad); they are specially declared to be such as when "in honor" appreciate it not.
Father Adam, when perfect, was "crowned with glory and honor" (Psa. 8:5), but lost this in sin and degradation by disobedience. Restitution to "honor" and life in God's favor was redeemed for all by our Lord's sacrifice, and this honor and life are reckoned as offered or given back to a man when he is brought to a knowledge and opportunity of regaining them: and those thus reckonedly honored again through Christ, who do not appreciate it so as to accept it, are subjects of the Second deathwill perish as the beasts and never see light. Or the "they" of verse 19 might be understood to refer to the earthly riches and "glory" of verse 17; these will never more be seen as his. Any other views would seem to conflict with verse 14, which distinctly says, of mankind in general, that "the righteous shall have dominion [rule] over them in the morning,"when the Millennial Day has dawned. This agrees with the Bible as a whole which assures us that "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" with the gracious knowledge and opportunities of the New Covenant, when "the saints shall judge the world."EDITOR.]
DEAR FRIEND:I take the liberty to enclose a couple of clippings from the San Francisco Examiner, as showing that the promised light is breaking. People are beginning to see as they never saw before; and by and by their hearts will have to confess the power of Christ. Oh! that they would give in willingly, and sooner. My infidel friends keep me supplied with their literature, well written and powerful, but so misleading, so false. I return the compliment with TOWER, tracts, etc., and so the battle goes. I read the DAWNS over and over again, they are ever fresh as their fountainhead, the Bible. How welcome are the TOWERS; they deal with living questions, and are always good.
Twenty years yet remain. It seems to me a long time. I cannot imagine any one wishing it to be million of years hence. The reign of injustice, of sin, has already been full long. Let us welcome the new Day, and cry, as the saints under the altar, "How long, O Lord?" (Rev. 6:10.) The hard times here in this truly Golden State would be hard to describe. The people have been driven to the verge of revolution. Starvation stares the once happy and prosperous farmers in the face. So little money circulates that it may be said to have disappeared. The future has no ray of hope for the worldly. Yet this cannot be the end, and prosperity after a fashion on a lower scale no doubt will return by and by. I find this a good opportunity [R1762 : page 23] to start the DAWNS and TOWERS where during prosperity there would have been "no time" to read them, and I think some fruit will yet come of it.
I enclose a clipping containing an account of the strange death of a spirit-medium. This phase of Satanic power is surely on the increase. I am ever on the watch on this line. Work on the Second Tower of Babel is also progressing; viz., the coming together of rulers, Church and State, and various plans for the salvation of man by man. The signs are multiplying; for, verily, is it not a deluge of blood that is coming?Rev. 6:10.
How I have longed since a youth to take up the sword and fight for the oppressed; but the teachings of your books are against such a course, and I am forced to admit you are right; for history stands as a proof that none of the patches put on Governments are lasting: ultimately oppression again comes to the front, if possible in a worse form; and the last revolution to right the wrongs of the nations must end in anarchy worldwide. How I pity the brave and earnest men who will go into it! How great will be their disappointment! Yet my whole bent has been that way. This is the point where your books hit me hard. How much we owe to those who of yore took up the sword and fought for the rights of man; yet it seems now we must not do it. In the near future I hear "the thunder of the captains and the shouting," and the "cause" on the surface, no doubt, will appear as right as any ever fought over. It will be impossible to show others what we see and know; and I hear the word "coward!" It is a hard thing. Perhaps I am climbing a hill in advance. My friend, Capt. H., feels about the same as I do on this subject. He does not think he could help but go.
[If Brother H. grows strong in faith he will gain strength thereby to be an "overcomer" of this spirit which is part of the spirit of the worldof the natural man. Besides we see a more excellent way of dealing with these mattersGod's way; and as we receive of his spirit we prefer his way and will follow it, at any cost.EDITOR.]
On another subject. In his answer to Job (Chapters 38-41), God was speaking of actual things throughout; and I think that the snow and hail (38:22,23) indicate actual snow and hail. If this could be sustained, would it not point to the actual (literal) fulfilment of part of the prophecies and revelations?
[We consider that a number of symbolic prophecies are intended to have both a literal and a symbolic fulfilment; but the above expression by Job seems to us to be figurative language and not prophetic.EDITOR.]
I have been meeting with the friends, and preaching, at different places in this vicinity for some time past, as you know, and find many who appear (and some are) interested; and I want to continue to advance the cause. God bless the truth, and prosper it in 1895. S. WILLIAMS.
DEAR MR. RUSSELL:I am thankful that I have another opportunity of writing to you. I am glad to say that I am still making a little advancement. With this I send an order for seven subscriptions. Some are now beginning to read both DAWNS and TOWER, who a short time ago would not hear anything of the sort.
I find your notes on the International S.S. Lessons most useful in helping me to present the truth, especially in my Bible class, as they help to elicit questions, and also to give answers, and frequently open the way for further talk on the subjects; in fact, I often wish you could insert your notes a month in advance, so that we could always get them beforehand. [It is our intention to do this during the present year.ED.] If you could see some of my old copies, it would give some idea how their contents have been studied: many of them are in small pieces, completely worn by use. I lend many out with the object of getting new subscribers.
DEAR BROTHER:Quite an affecting incident occurred at the last meeting held here by Brother McPhail. A poor, decrepit old Jew edged his way up to Bro. M., and in a feeble voice asked, "What had, or would, become of all the sons of Jacob who died this side of the cross?" He seemed to be satisfied that those on the other side of Calvary were safe and would be duly restored during the Times of Restitution. When Bro. M. read to him the prophecy about their being taken up out of the graves and sent back home, the old man received the message with a beaming countenance, and simply said, "I am so glad to hear that."
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:I had hoped to get a letter of respectable proportions to you a month ago; but good intentions do not always come with fitting opportunities. And now we must be content simply to forward subscriptions and to tell you that we have abundantly proved that our God is faithful and keepeth his own. We are sometimes tempted to mourn over the small outward fruitage of our work, but we have the better fruitage of the Lord's work within us, which gives us peace and joy in spite of surrounding and ever closing-in troublea meek and quiet spirit of trustfulness that he will enable us to endure. We see that the nominal church (the Christian world) is more and more forsaking Christ in spite of so much religiousness and zeal in really good work (temperance, purity guilds, Christian Endeavor Societies, etc.): they will not hear the voice of the Shepherd. Verily, though they think they are doing God service, they are working only their own wills.
We have been greatly helped and blessed of late by realizing that God's thoughts are not man's, and neither are man's ways God's; indeed, they cannot be. We are very prone to set ourselves some "good thing" to do, and then to conclude that is what God would have us do; and although I do not quite unconditionally accept the preaching of one of the great preachers who says in effect that "a Christian is one who does what he does not like," or "he mostly finds God's way the very reverse of his own," yet I do believe that if two courses are open to us we shall often be safest to choose the most unpleasant.
I have just been laid aside a little through sickness, and it has prevented me from getting round or writing to librarians; so that the matter I spoke of, respecting supplying free libraries with sets of DAWN, is no nearer completion. [Brother Riley has been supplying public libraries with a set of DAWN each.ED.] But another thought has occurred to me. If you think the plan worth anything, how would it be to insert a notice in TOWER, setting forth the scheme, and asking readers to see the librarians in their own districts, and so get the interest spread?
I have just been refreshing my memory and strengthening my faith by reading history, and it has mightily confirmed me in the belief that Christians, and the saints specially, have nothing to do with either the good or the bad methods of governments of this world; that we are not only to be quiet and submissive to good rulers, but to be in subjection to every ordinance of man; to suffer indignities, imposition, the spoiling of our goods and the taking away of name or life; for our God will not allow this unless it be for our good. I am amazed to find so few who are not swallowed up in politico-religious (!!) broils. The whole of nonconformist churches are given over to this delusion of bringing about Christ's Kingdom. The Lord's people must leave themselves in his hand, and he will deliver them from worse than Egyptian bondage, but he will never submit to be helped by man. The image (earth's governments) is not only to be destroyed, but carried away, so that no trace of it can be found. We must not be deceived into thinking that this or that or the other good cause is God's way of improving matters. Christ's Kingdom will not grow out of the best of earth's governments: it is not of this age at all, and so nothing but utter destruction can clear the way for it.
We always remember you in our prayers. We very much appreciate the Nov. TOWER. Indeed, this year has given us some of the best. May the light increase more and more. With heartiest love from all here,