DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:A few days since dear Brother Norcott was in to call on me, and in the course of our conversation he mentioned you, and that he had often had a desire to meet you in the flesh, but that it was quite improbable now. He is getting very feeble, and it is a great effort for him to get about much, but he is anxious to do all he possibly can. Some time ago he felt a little better and took his horse and cart and went out and sold nine DAWNS. He returned beaming with joy that the Lord had so blessed his work. It is hard for him to write, and he wished me, some time when I would be writing to you, to tell you of his great love for you as a brother in Christ, and his gratefulness to you for all the interest you had taken in him while he was in the colporteur work. He said that doubtless you knew of his love and prayers already, but that sometimes it was strengthening to us if some of the brethren came to us with a message of love, and he was sure you would appreciate the motive with which it was sent. Also that he was remembering you before the throne of favor, that our dear Master would grant you the needed grace to finish the work before you. So I write this to you.
And, my dear brother, I can also add that that is my own prayer on your behalf. I sometimes think we are too apt to hide our love and not express it as we should, and thus others may come to feel that we do not love them. May the dear Lord bless you abundantly, more than you are able to think. We wish to thank you for the strong nourishing food you have been spreading before us in the TOWERS lately.
[We cannot express in words our deep appreciation of the love of the brethren so often expressed in their letters as above. We assure these dear brethren and all that their love is most heartily reciprocated. We love the brethren and take pleasure in laying down our life in their service. We are glad to know that you remember us and the Lord's "harvest" work, which he has been pleased to center here in Allegheny, in your prayers. If we may judge from the letters received, thousands of prayers ascend daily on our behalf. We cannot tell you how deeply we appreciate this: it keeps us humble as we remember our needs, and it strengthens us as we remember the Lord's sufficiency and his willingness to pour out his blessings in answer to your prayers and ours. These prayers and the divine power to which they are attached are to our hearts a bulwark against the many Satan-blinded foes who beset you and us continually because of our loyalty to the Lord and his Word.
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
They shall prosper that love thee."Psa. 122:6.
These words are as true of the Jerusalem the higher and her children of peace as of the earthly Jerusalem. Those who are praying the Lord's blessing upon his cause are seeking to serve it and are proportionately blessed. Those who are indifferent to the welfare of Zion and the Lord's cause now, are standing in a slippery place and are in great danger of falling.
Continue, dear brethren and sisters, to pray for us (1 Thes. 5:25; Heb. 13:18), and be assured that, as the Apostle Paul said, we have a care for all the churches and for the scattered sheep, and continually bear you upon our heart before the throne of the heavenly grace, and watch as well as pray for your interests and welfare.See Heb. 13:17; 2 Cor. 11:28; 2 Thes. 1:11; Phil. 1:9. EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER:Spiritual feasts, comforting, encouraging, instructive and edifying, did all the meetings, conducted by our dear Pilgrim Brother, Frank Draper, prove to be, and our only regret is that his stay with us was of necessity so limited, altho even longer than we had hoped for. The public meetings, of which we had two, in a non-sectarian chapel were well attended considering the inclemency of the weather, fully fifty being present at each. As an immediate result of one of these, it is with pleasure that we announce at least one party was apparently thoroughly aroused and keenly interested, who formerly opposed present truth.
We desire to gratefully thank you and those contributing [R2576 : page 48] to the support of these Pilgrim brethren, for the blessed season we have enjoyed, and can heartily commend to any of the household of faith Brother Draper as an able and loving expounder of the Word of God, doing indeed a noble work for the cause of Truth, as it is in Christ Jesus our Redeemer, Exemplar and Lord, in thus visiting and exhorting to deeper consecration the little scattered groups.
Hearing of the beneficial nature of the recent conventions, it has been mentioned that perhaps much good would result in a similar gathering at this place during the State Fair and Exposition next fall, and we were glad to learn through Bro. D. that hopes of such a meeting were also entertained and mentioned by interested ones he had thus far met in Texas, Arkansas and Indian and Oklahoma Territories, and we therefore take the liberty of mentioning the matter to you for advisement. If so, a cordial, brotherly welcome awaits you and other friends who would be entertained to the extent of our ability.
We put out about 450 of the booklets last Sunday evening. I felt impelled to go out with the others as I had been thinking of the letters in last TOWER and of the blessed privilege thus offered us of sharing in the blessing that surely comes to those who do thus serve Him. I would urge all, in every place to take up this good work of serving God's household of faith (of whom there may be many yet in Babylon) with this "meat in due season."
By a singular coincidence, I went first to the M. E. Church where I was converted 25 years ago. The second booklet I gave out was to a young man who offered to pay for it. Upon being assured that it was freely given to all Bible students, he still urged that I accept a dime and send it to the Tract Society, which I will do quite soon.
How true that "Obedience is better than sacrifice," as it is first, or preeminent, and surely involves the true and acceptable sacrifice. How many we see, especially among the sisters of the Roman Catholic system, and also foreign missionaries who are making great sacrifices, yet not according to a knowledge of his plan, and consequently misdirected.
Jesus said, "My sheep hear (obey) my voice." "We ought to obey God rather than men." I firmly believe that all are doing this, who engage in the Harvest work which is evidently under the guidance of the Chief Reaper.
The Church here has been greatly benefited by the publication of the Washington and Boston letters in last TOWER. This is clearly discernable in the increased zeal of all for the work. May we not reasonably hope that the increase of zeal here and in other places may be prophetic of a larger work during the coming year?
[Two letters have been received from sisters in Christ who are mothers, who are surprised at our advice to Hugo Kuehn in the January 1st WATCH TOWER. One is surprised that we would approve of anything that would bring the boy into touch with sectarianism; the other wonders whether or not all boys' clubs under church auspices are of the kind known to her, and if so she wonders very much that we could advise boys who are seeking to walk in the footsteps of Jesus to have anything to do with them. She says that in addition to the gymnasium for physical culture, they have cigars, cigarettes, billiards, boxing gloves, etc., all calculated to lead a boy far from the narrow way of true discipleship.
We certainly did not suppose that the basements of churches were used in such a manner, nor can we yet think that this is the usual custom; it would seem too extreme to be general. We hope that those known to this sister are rare exceptions. We assuredly would advise all boys who seek to walk in the footsteps of our Lord to shun all such places, and rather to do without the gymnastic exercises, if they could only be obtained under such conditions.
Our thought, in answering Hugo's question, was that the boys' clubs were merely lecture and recreation guilds, entirely harmless and at the same time profitable, and that the only question was whether or not its association with a nominal church system should properly separate from it those who sought to please the Lord. Our answer was along these lines, and we still think that a wide distinction should be observed as between joining a church, being bound with a misrepresenting creed, etc., and joining a boys' club without creed or other bondage except as respects good morals, and not for religious purposes, but merely for cooperation in obtaining the privileges of the lecture course and the use of the gymnasium at a moderate expense. To mingle with moral boys in this way is, in our judgment, merely a business transaction, and the same rules which would hinder a boy from thus associating with other boys in a moral and creedless club would similarly hinder the Christian father of the boy from dealing in any kind of worldly business with sectarian [R2577 : page 48] Christians and others. The Apostle seems to imply this point in 1 Cor. 5:10.
But we would sincerely regret to be understood as advising countenancing or having any sympathy with the kind of boys' clubs described by our sister's letter. Far better that the Christian boy should have no use of gymnastic appliances, or that he should construct some for his own use; far better that he should never mingle with other boys at all, than that he should run the least risk of having his heart polluted: for we remember how broadly applicable are the Apostle's words, "Evil communications corrupt good manners." EDITOR.]