DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I had a very enjoyable meeting with the brethren at Rapid City, including Brother Zink. At Shoal Lake I had one public meeting, when I gave a two hours' explanation of the chart.
I was specially pleased with the brethren at Shoal Lake on account of the plain improvement in their characters. Once before I mentioned to you a noted infidel of a most blasphemous character who had come into the truth. It was just grand to see the gentleness and humbleness which have taken possession of this former blasphemer. Whilst I heard him talk, I felt all the time like shouting, "Hallelujah! what a Savior!"
Perhaps it would be interesting to see how I sum up my work. I have been here just 16 weeks. Population of the district worked is about 50,000. I rented a furnished room for $1.00 per week—a small hall room, in front, up two flights, in center of city, two electric lights from the street shine into my one window, a very pleasant room.
Cash on hand,..............
$7.30 Expenses,.............. $32.27
289 books sold,............ 116.60
———Sent home,............. 20.00
Total Receipts,............ 123.90 Paid for books,........ 49.16
Balance on hand,........... $22.47 Total outlay,......... $101.43
[The above letter gives some idea of the self-denial practised by some of the colporteurs, in order that they may thrust in the sickle of truth ere the harvest is past; and our Brother has been well rewarded for his labor, for the peace of God has kept his heart and mind, and he found many ready to listen to the glad tidings. In addition to the regular colporteur work, he has done considerable "weeding" to remove prejudice and induce candid study, and has also "watered" the seed which gave evidence of having taken root.
We are sure all the friends of the truth will join his prayer and ours for more laborers. "He that reapeth receiveth wages [even in the present time—joy, peace, and the pleasure of seeing the joy of others], and gathereth fruit unto eternal life." Let us all be faithful and zealous in doing what our hands find to do. EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I notice what you say in a late TOWER concerning our Lord's words to the thief, "Verily, I say to you to-day, thou shalt be with me in paradise," and in addition suggest the following:
Grammatically, "to-day" is an adverb of time; and the question arises, Does it qualify the verb preceding or succeeding it? i.e., Is it "say to-day" or "shalt be to-day?" In this and all kindred cases we must be guided by the sense or context. Now we have several parallel grammatical constructions to this.
Note Deut. 8:19. "I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish." Mark that the translators did not punctuate this at all. Why did they punctuate Luke's passage? The context here shows the adverb of time, "this day," to qualify the preceding verb, "testify;" i.e., the testimony is given this day, and not they would perish this day; for they were to go on trial as to their walk, etc.
Deut. 15:15 is another fitting example of qualifying a preceding verb. Also Deut. 30:16—"In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God," etc. And why did not the translators punctuate this as well as the passage in Luke? Does it not seem as if the translators expressed a preconceived idea by their use of the comma? Would it not have been better unpunctuated, as they left the other passages?
In evidence that the translators had a preconceived idea about our Lord's words to the thief and that it was not because they lacked grammatical knowledge on this point of an adverb qualifying a verb preceding it, see Acts 26:29—"And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost," etc. The Apostle surely did not mean, I wish you were like me for this one day, but I wish that all who hear me this day were like me, Christians, consecrated even unto death.
I would like your opinion on Jno. 5:39—"Search the Scriptures." I do not understand this to be a command. The context to me seems to convey this idea: Jesus referred to a few witnesses regarding himself—verse 31, his own testimony, a true one; verse 32, "another" true one; verse 33, you sent to John, and he also testified of me; verse 36, greater than John's testimony, the works; verse 37, the Father also, but, of course, you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, but that would not matter if you only had his word remaining in you. Why, see here, you search the Scriptures because you think by them to obtain everlasting life and these very Scriptures you are searching also testify of me. Thus our Lord's words were more of reproach than command or invitation. Yours in our Redeemer, F. B. UTLEY.
[We agree that the last suggestion was probably the intent of our Lord's utterance; but it is undoubtedly the duty as well as well as the privilege of the sons of God to search and study their Father's Word,—that they may know all that he would reveal to them. The entire suggestion above is good and interesting. EDITOR]