To-day I have been confined to the house, and a Seventh Day Adventist has been with me nearly all day, talking on the plan of the ages and reading the DAWNS. He can find nothing in the DAWN to object to, and he is now reading the TOWER, of Nov. 1-15, '94, which I think will clear him on the subject of the Law. I have met him often, and we have had many talks and prayers together.
I placed several DAWNS in the East End when I first came here, and a group of six now meets once a week at a private house for prayer and the reading of the DAWNS. Pray for us, that we may all remain faithful and do all the Lord would have us do.
[This city in Mississippi was threatened with small-pox and cut off from communication with other cities. The colporteur was unable to get away and the people were too excited to be canvassed for DAWN; so he sought out some who had already purchased and read, started a meeting and introduced the WATCH TOWER. God is ready and willing to make all things work together for good to his people, if they are but willing, obedient and faith full.—Editor.]
I heartily thank you for the concern you seem to have for me, and also for the help and encouragement that you have given me in the past. My brother, you do not know how anxious I am to serve the Lord in an acceptable manner. I realize that the Lord has been very gracious in leading me out of Babylon; and the fact that I was glad to withdraw from the Presbyterian church and the Y.M.C.A. shows that my love for the truth is pure and that I greatly appreciate the call to run for the glorious prize that is to be rewarded to the Church of Christ. I believe I know now what consecration is, and daily I strive to be [page 171] an overcomer—to please the Lord in all things. I remember that it is one thing to be called, but quite another thing to be chosen. The Lord says—"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne." It is the faithful overcomer who is chosen. And then I want to be more zealous in the Lord's work—in disseminating the truth. I realize that now is the time to work, because the dark night is fast approaching when no man can work.
Well, praise the Lord! He has yet his people, filled with his spirit of love and peace, left in the world, though they are but few. Then it is a comfort to know that one is not entirely alone yet; and I am so apt to think so, sometimes, when I look around me and find only such a little handful who care to walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit—so few who want to be fully the Lord's and to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, in the narrow way to life; so few trusting in the great and glorious promises of God, or believing in so great and blessed salvation as we do.
I am glad that the Lord has not left his children in darkness concerning his plan, but has made everything so plain for us, even informing us of the appointed times and seasons for the accomplishment of the different features of his wonderful plan. It would indeed be a gloomy thing for us, if God had left us entirely in uncertainty and darkness now, so we could see nothing of the impending great events, the time of trouble, the harvest work, the Lord's presence and the soon establishment of his Kingdom, "the restitution of all things spoken," the Jewish question, and all these important truths now so clearly seen and so much appreciated by God's saints. I am glad we are yet in the path that is shining more and more for the just and the faithful children of God, being led by his spirit to see and understand the promised "things to come."
In answer to your inquiry about the number of Danish DAWNS disposed of in Denmark up to date, I am pleased to say that five hundred of the books are already among the Danes, most of them in good hands, I believe. The English lot is nearly all sold; but as yet I have sold only a few single copies of the German, and about half a dozen of the Swedish translations.
The Swedish brother here, Bro. Holm, would be very happy to engage in the work, but is hindered now; he will write you a letter soon. The Danish brother, who I mentioned to you was canvassing around in his neighborhood, has opened his house for meetings where the truth can be freely proclaimed by voice. I was there on Easter Sunday, and about twenty intelligent people were present to listen to the discourse on the plan of the ages. Many questions were asked and answered.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—I went up to Wesson on Sunday, and talked on the Scriptures to a little gathering there. Had a good delivery of DAWNS on Monday. What a stir the books have made there! Some oppose it very bitterly, while others defend it fervently. Some are searching it just to find something to criticize, and they accuse it falsely of many things, but their accusations do not agree. Even this I believe results in good, for the few who defend it read it with the more care. God is able to make the wrath of men to praise him. One brother said that he had heard much against it, and read it carefully to find the statements attributed to it, but he read it through without finding them. He said it cost him a few cents, but he would not take five dollars for it.
[Yes! the truth is a sword in the present harvest, as it was in the Jewish harvest. (Matt. 10:34.) As the Apostle declares, it is either "A savor of life unto life [tending toward life eternal], or of death unto death [tending in some toward the second death, as they array themselves, in prejudice, in opposition to the truth]."
DEAR BROTHER:—Brother McPhail's visit has stirred up the people of our little village more than anything else has done for years. Both believers and infidels say, "What new doctrine is this? This restitution is something we have never heard of." Although we have been talking about this truth and distributing tracts and lending TOWERS and DAWNS for years, they do not seem to grasp the idea until they receive an object lesson such as the chart is capable of giving. One infidel neighbor, who attended one of Brother McPhail's meetings, was deeply impressed. At the close of the meeting he asked a very reasonable question, and our good brother answered it satisfactorily to all present. Previous to that he could not be induced to read anything but Ingersoll; but now he is investigating the truths contained in the first volume of DAWN. May the Lord, by his wondrous truth, open the blind eyes!
The Church here also has been awakened to renewed energy and closer fellowship as a result of our dear brother's visit and ministry. Much of the misunderstanding has been removed, for some existed as a result of early training and preconceived notions. A neighbor, who is an unbeliever, kindly offered us the use of a vacant room in his house in which to meet for worship and study of the Word, and we meet once a week.
Our desire is to keep close to Christ and let him lead us in all things, and to grow in grace and knowledge of the truth. Of course we are misjudged and evil spoken of by some; but we expect that; and we are endeavoring by his grace to show the true spirit of Christian love toward all. May the good Lord help us to stand in this evil day against all the wiles of the enemy!
I must tell you of a remark that was made before Brother McPhail reached us. One of the brethren was speaking of his coming to hold some meetings to some parties, and they replied that they presumed he was like all other preachers—that he would hold a few meetings, take up a collection at every meeting, get all the money he could, and then leave the village. But to their surprise the brother came quietly, without any pomp or show, held four good meetings, and went as quietly as he came, without even mentioning money, and left an influence which no other man has ever left. And they do not know what to [R1843 : page 172] make of it. We thank the dear Lord for sending him to us to help us; and I take the liberty to tender to you, on behalf of the Church here, our thanks for the part you have had in this matter of sending the brother here. We hope that he may find it convenient to come again.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Herewith is a letter from Brother James A. Church, which nearly explains itself. I need only add that Mrs. Church is a daughter of a Presbyterian minister to whom (Dec. 27, '87) I sent DAWN, VOL. I., and (Apr. 27, '89) VOL. II. Some portions of the letter, underlined with my blue pencil, are of general interest, and I would suggest that they be printed.
You probably remember that some years ago you gave my wife's father the first two volumes of M. DAWNS. How long they laid in his library, I do not know, but about five years ago my wife, while at home on a visit, saw the books and became interested.
When we took God's Book and drew our theology from it instead of man's teachings, we find that now we have discarded all the theology that we were brought up on except the Ransom; and how different that is as set forth in the DAWNS and TOWERS from the limited and emasculated doctrine as taught in the theology of the churches.
I write to let you know the results (or some of them), for it is sometimes a pleasure to find after many days the result of the bread cast on the waters; and it is an encouragement that if one only sows the seed that it will spring up somewhere, though perhaps not at the point we intended and hoped to reach. I know that we would like much to hear from some of the seed we have scattered since we made up our minds on this subject. Some fruit (a very little) we can see, but with the majority it is all a matter of faith as to how it germinates or where. Fortunately we are not held responsible for the fruits, all our part is to do the present duty and sow the seed, and leave the results with the Master.
Our old associates in the church regard any one that has cast off human tradition as of course gone to the bad, and their reports as to our views and belief are not much to be relied on, for they class all that do not accept tradition as astrays and out-casts. We would not for the world go back to the views that we were brought up on. I wonder that Christian people can be so blinded by their prejudices that they will not read or examine the subjects. If they did, and took the teachings of the Bible, I cannot see how they could escape coming to our conclusion.
"My desire is to make the things of the 'Kingdom' more and more my care, that I may appreciate more clearly the blessings coming to all in it, and to be infused more and more with earnestness in making my calling and election sure.
"Thank God, his plan is so consummately arranged that in due time it will be fully wrought out without the jarring of one imperfection in the agents he commits it to. Corruption, incapacity, ignorance, envy, strife and every form of sin and imperfection may mar present man-made plans, teaching all the exceeding evil of evil; but when the fulness of time has come, God's elect, selected because they loved righteousness and hated wickedness during the time iniquity abounded, will come on the scene and put an end to the troubles from which no man could escape, if God, even the Most High, did not thus provide a Savior.
"Thus holding, and, as we can, proclaiming God's purposes in Jesus, and using all diligence to add to faith, virtue, to virtue, knowledge, to knowledge, temperance, to temperance, patience, to patience, godliness, to godliness, love, we may know that we will gain an abundant entrance into the Kingdom.
"This course will naturally separate us from those relying on, and working to maintain, present governments, thinking them to be of God, and our views to be erratic and anarchistic; and the more they affiliate with present kingdoms, and try to bolster up their waning powers, and, added to this, the more they understand the trend of our faith, the more surely we must become unpopular."
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:—It is with great pleasure that I am trying in my weak way to do what I can to serve my Master, as I deem it my duty to do. I have been holding meetings every Sunday for nearly two months, though the attendance is somewhat small; but this is because the locality is thinly settled. I can say that the people seem to take great interest and that these doctrines, although new to them, they find when rightly administered are old and reliable. I tendered them my services free of charge, if they were willing to spare the time to come and listen, although it is quite a task for me to walk five miles and back as I do every Sunday and I am getting quite old and crippled somewhat with rheumatism; yet I thank God that I am able to this much. Pray for me, that I may be able at all times to do my Master's will, and that though the road be rugged and steep I may have the strength and ability to climb to the top.
Enclosed you will find a small order for DAWNS. I could not have succeeded in getting any one to subscribe, had I not first got them interested. I think before long nearly all in the neighborhood will have a set.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Please send as soon as possible the Plan of the Ages Wall Chart. Brother Draper wishes to give a lecture on the Chart before going home. I wish you could have seen him yesterday, as he was looking it over with my husband and myself. Tears would fill his eyes and his face light up with a deeper appreciation of God's love and his plan for the Church. It is truly grand!
Some of the people here say of us as a little band, the reason they live such good, pure lives is, they want to reign over some one. Is not that encouraging? I tell you this to let you see how we are holding up the banner of Christ. Praise God for his spirit! It seems strange that back of all their treatment of us they look to us to live a better life than other professing Christians; and I am very glad of it, for it makes us stronger. We long to hear some voice other than our own proclaiming the truth, and would be glad of a visit from one of the brethren sent out by the Tract Society.
[Yes; surely we who have a knowledge of God's great plan should also be "partakers of his holiness," if we partake at all of the spirit of the Truth: and "If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." "What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy living and godliness."—EDITOR.]