DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—We had for our lesson last Sunday, "On Trial for Life." Can it be possible that if I do not attain the high calling, I shall die the Second Death? I had always supposed that if I failed to attain the prize of the high calling I would get the spirit nature; that is, so long as I remained under the ransom. Is there not a second prize, or is there no other life for us?
My life has not always been an overcoming one, in the warfare between the new and the old natures; and I have had no assurance that I would attain the reward of the high calling; but I did receive some comfort from the thought that I would be with the "great company;" and now you have taken that from me. But though I have not always walked as obeying the high calling, I do love the dear Lord with all my heart and love his truth and all his saints, and would give my life for any of them; yet for all that I have not assurance that the dear Lord would give it me, and it would be too bad, after serving the Lord for so many years, to be at last a castaway. The thought makes my heart fail within me, and I have again covenanted with the Lord that with his help I will be a better man, and I have resolved to live nearer the fountain of divine grace and to pray without ceasing. Pray for us here, as a church. We all feel a desire, as never before, for a more consecrated life and to walk in the spirit. We will all be more careful to walk in the narrow way. Your Brother, ADOLPH FOYEN.
[REPLY.—You have correctly understood the article in question. The human nature once consecrated to the Lord a sacrifice—exchanged by his grace for the new nature, the spiritual,—is gone from our grasp entirely and forever. Whatever life we gain thereafter must be spiritual life or none. Hence the Lord and the apostles always present the matter as a race for life, and declare that the gospel is to us, either "a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death;" and speak of those who draw back, not as drawing back to an earthly hope of restitution, but as drawing back unto perdition—destruction.
But our Heavenly Father's plan has so safeguarded us that none will be total failures here, except those who would also fail of life there,—in the Millennium. While the way to joint-heirship is very "narrow," as the prize to be gained is very valuable, yet the Lord's provision for the "great company" of the consecrated, who fail as "overcomers," his arrangement for their special scourging as sons and for bringing them through great tribulation for the "destruction of the flesh" which they did not overcome and "sacrifice" as they had covenanted to do, will be so complete that all who would be worthy of life at all will be purified and made white and tried, and be "saved so as by fire," though their works shall suffer loss—the loss of the great prize of joint-heirship with Christ. See the letters and answers in last issue. See also again the article to which you refer and one in our issue of Feb. 15th—"The King's Highway;" also, "The Scape Goat Class" in TABERNACLE SHADOWS OF BETTER SACRIFICES, pp. 59-63.
These are good resolutions, dear Brethren: Any who run for anything less than the great prize of our high calling are making a great mistake. God's way is not only the best in the end, but the best all the way to the end. Those who, though loving the Lord and righteousness, cling to the desires of the world and the flesh, and endeavor to drag these along in the race, are never satisfactory to the Lord nor to themselves. And they find "the destruction of the flesh" a much more severe ordeal than its "sacrifice" would have been; for the Lord's smile is upon those who joyfully sacrifice what they can in [R1790 : page 75] his service. Go on, dear Brethren, the King is your Brother as well as your Lord, and his "grace is sufficient for you." He says, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Faithfulness means to the extent of your ability: and none of us should expect to be owned at all of the Lord unless willing to do according to our [R1790 : page 76] ability in his service. The love of Christ constraineth us to do no less than this.]
Relative to meetings to be held at Carroll: It will give me pleasure to lead them whenever I can, and I have so informed Bro. Goodbury. Bro. Allport is also desirous that I should start a class at W__________.
During last year a considerable number of tracts (No. 12) were distributed at church doors on Sunday mornings, and we have reason to believe that some good has been accomplished. As a consequence a number of DAWNS have already been sold. Our meetings have also been held regularly. The attendance has been good, sometimes as high as twenty.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: We have had another splendid meeting to-day, although the number present, owing to bad weather, was not so large as usual. Yet all who did come seemed to feel the power and presence of the Lord, and held sweet communion with him and with one another. There is one brother, who is now a regular attendant, in whom I feel a great interest. He is sixty years old or more. Many years ago he read himself out of orthodoxy and withdrew from the Lutheran church, finally becoming an atheist, then a spiritualist of the most pronounced type, which belief he has held for a number of years.
About a year since, I loaned him DAWN, but he did not get much interested until two months ago. He has now read all three volumes, the first volume three or four times, and says that after reading many systems of theology this comes the nearest "holding water" of any of them. He used to be a great Bible reader; but believing that the churches were the authorized exponents of Bible doctrine, and seeing their sham and hollowness, he turned his back on it all, despaired of ever getting any satisfaction out of it, and latterly seemed to take delight in fighting the Bible and was looked upon as a great blasphemer.
Now that he sees the harmony of God's great plan, he says, "I thought I had been fighting the Bible all these years, but I see now, that I have been fighting the hypocrites and liars instead." How many honest skeptics are doing the same thing to-day. Our old brother has given up his spiritualism and is as teachable as a child. In this particular, at least, the truth has wrought a complete change in him. He wants the TOWER.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL AND WIFE:—Your last communication to me was in answer to an inquiry as to whether a person who had read the DAWNS and accepted their teaching as the plan of God, but who because of his inevitable surroundings could not see his way clear to accept and run for the high calling, would have an opportunity for the earthly phase of the Kingdom. I need not restate your answer. You know what it would be.
As you know I have been a reader of the TOWER since '92, and have never had a doubt as to the correctness of your interpretation of God's plan; but it pointed out the way so narrow and difficult, that I thought that with the responsibilities of a large family and some other difficulties, I could never attain the end. Hence I was really making no effort in that direction (a delusion of the enemy of all souls). Your answer to my inquiry, and the coming of Brother Bohnet about the same time, showed me that the very things I had supposed to be insurmountable obstacles were perhaps the very things I needed to fit me for the Kingdom honors. Hence I am determined to run for the prize, notwithstanding I know I still have much to overcome. But the Lord has promised to be with me in six troubles and will not leave nor forsake me in the seventh. Praise his dear name for ever! I am so glad, too, to accept him as my substitute; for it is only in and through his imputed righteousness that I can hope to stand.
In conclusion will say, pray for our little number here, that the very God of peace may sanctify us wholly, and keep us against the evil day. May God bless you and spare you long to give meat in due season is my prayer.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—I desire to congratulate you on the beautiful "new dress" of the WATCH TOWER: it is very striking. How firm a foundation the tower stands upon, while those waves and storms beat upon it. The entire design is excellent.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—In reading the article in TOWER for Feb. 1, on "Seeking Fellowship with Rome," I am reminded of an editorial in the N.Y. Evangelist, Jan. 31, which shows how the contagion is spreading amongst all the "daughters" who seem to be developing so much "love" for the old "mother." The editorial in question was upon the Pope's recent American Encyclical. Among other good words for the "old mother," the Editor says:
"There is neither weakness nor corruption in St. Peter's chair to-day, and there is much of wisdom, much we may be glad to recognize without any disparagement to Protestant principles, which is worthy of respect. Why should we not rejoice if the prospect is that, by virtue of this necessity to accommodate itself to the American spirit and American institutions, such a change may be brought about in the ancient church as may be tantamount to an internal, if not an external reformation? The church of Rome, with all its faults and all its errors, is a part of Christ's Church. It has done a glorious work, in some periods of the world's history. We should not be Christians if we did not hope that it may yet have a glorious work to do."
I have underscored some of the most notable words. How it must make the "faithful" smile to read these words of love—especially when they recall those "glorious periods" past,—the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Massacre of Bartholomew, the slaughter of the Hugenots and Waldenses, the fires of Smithfield, and all the other "glorious periods" when noble men and women were horribly tortured and put to death, simply because they loved God and his Word of truth!
How clearly passing events in the "ecclesiastical heavens" go to show the truth of our view of God's plan,—that he has "spewed" the systems—Babylon—out of his mouth. Truly the "voice of the Bridegroom and the Bride is heard no more in her." They "know not the time of their visitation."