DEAR BRETHREN:—I have read carefully Bro. Russell's five volumes of DAWN, most of it the second time, and parts of it three and four times. I am satisfied Bro. Russell is correct on the general plan and application of God's Word, and the study of the Bible under his instruction is made easy and fascinating. It has been a great blessing to me and I can go about my daily business now with a prayer of thanksgiving in my heart continually, and can hardly wait to get through the cares of the day, so I can read God's Word and find out more about it.
I had been a member of the M.E. Church here for about fifteen years, ten of which I was superintendent of Sunday schools, trustee and steward. I never was satisfied, tho I tried to do my duty as a member. I had no "plan of the ages" in my head, and all was confusion. The church was full of envy, deceit, hypocrisy, lies, malice, etc. I plead for months with the members for "better living," but did no good, so two years ago last August I severed my connection with same, and was inclined to drift into unbelief, till I got hold of your works about six months ago; and thank God! I have more confidence now in God's Word than I ever had before, and can see the beauty, justice, wisdom and love of God as it is therein manifested to poor human souls.
I have five full sets of MILLENNIAL DAWN (five volumes each) now in circulation in this town where we think the parties will investigate and be benefited. I have lived in this place 24 years and when I was a member of the M.E. Church and paying them from $50 to $75 per year was considered by them at least a good man; but now the preachers devote a good deal of their time to denouncing me and "the devil's work of DAWN" as they term it. They denounce awhile, and then they pray for me awhile. Well, that is something they did not formerly bother about much, I think. I get their prayers anyhow, whether it does me any good or not.
We now have about twelve believers in this neighborhood and others reading and thinking. I especially want to mention one brother, who has been reading your works for 20 years. I believe he is the best Christian, and most devoted, practical liver in Christ I ever saw, tho church members say he is crazy. I wish myself as crazy as I know him to be. [So our Lord and the Apostles were said to be "beside themselves."—EDITOR.]
DEAR SIR:—I take the opportunity to write to you, in manifestation of my sincere and heartfelt approval of your magnificent works, now in my hand. Your volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN I must hold and confess to be a veritable Bible Key, justly deserving the appellation they bear—Helps for Bible Students. I have in my possession volumes one to five, in addition to What Say the Scriptures About Hell? and Spiritism. Sir, before offering any opinion or remarks, permit me to say, first, that with regard to your little work on What Say the Scriptures About Hell? I do a little Greek reading. I know nothing of Hebrew, but I must confess that it puzzled me beyond measure to find out where our early interpreters of the Scriptures found the substance or foundation of that horrible doctrine. And gaining much, very much knowledge on the subject by reading that little work, I have to ask the question, "What was their motive for establishing this hell torment doctrine?" The only answer I can find is that it was from some selfish end, to frighten men into Christianity, a plan the Almighty never intended, having made man a free agent to choose for himself. But these "devil doctrines" will soon [R2638 : page 160] have to give way to the light of present day truth. My profession being that of Christian work—a catechist and schoolmaster—in the latter position I sometimes find it difficult indeed, after choosing a text, to know where to begin or where to end; not because words fail me, but from the fact that the doctrines I have been brought up in were so twisted and distorted that I did not know where was solid ground. I am not ashamed to confess that many passages appeared so difficult that I preferred to leave them to themselves. But thanks to your invaluable helps, many such confounding passages are now as clear to me as daylight. Sir, I hold that Almighty God himself has raised you up to be the purveyor of heavenly food for his famishing children; so that I need not say anything more than wishing you a fair share of his divine blessing. I am still reading and studying my volumes. At first there were some things that seemed to conflict with my views and opinions, and where disagreement crept in, but that, I hold, was because I did not grasp the full purport of the subject, for no sooner than grasped, disagreement disappeared, leaving the approval to remain. I never quickly agree to a special subject or point, before I thoroughly sift and strain and pry into it to find its foundation and harmony. I came to this country in November, 1898, under the appointment of the Bishop of Jamaica. Before I left my island I once had the opportunity of seeing the first volume of DAWN, which a friend possessed, but partly destroyed—back and inside leaves were gone. I determined to find out the authorship, and was gratified in having my wish supplied. Mr. A. M. Brownfield is the man from whom I obtained all. He is my constant visitor since. There is also another brother who has written me from Colon, after learning I was a reader of DAWN, Bro. Isaiah Richards. Sir, I am your disciple, I can assure you; and I hope one day to find myself where you are. This, I hope, is but the first of the many letters I expect to write. Yours in Christ, H. E. WYNTER,—Isthmus of Panama.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Many thanks for the kindly words and token of your letter of Dec. 25th. The gracefulness of your action manifests an imitation of him who was the embodiment of grace. (Psalm 45:2.) Oh, to get nearer to him in thought, word and deed! The Christ-like spirit is so very rare, but the genuine article so very precious. I trust you will always bear in mind how very much we treasure up your many labors of love, and how our unceasing desire and prayer is, that Jehovah's richest blessing may constantly rest upon you and the great work committed to your care.
In our work here we are striving to do what we can. We are not realizing all we desire, for our hearts are so human, that, battle as one will, the prevailing spirit of indifference brings at times a keen sense of disappointment. The truth is so glorious that one is saddened at the reception it meets from the vast majority. But then, of course, God's "due time" is the grand refuge and sweetener; the "lamps" of the "ten virgins" are not intended to take the place of the sun, but to light their individual pathway. Each must have his own lamp and oil in it. The great bulwark of error is leaning upon others: true faith must be individual, endurance likewise. A mob of sheep rushing after a leader of their own nature is the general position; the Good Shepherd leads his sheep and calls them each by name. The body of Christ is to be one, as a collective number (John 14:21-23), but this oneness is contributed to by each individual.
How the truth isolates! It demands a strong individuality in each. Surely the life of Christ shows this most clearly. He was a reflex of the Father; he was the Father's great and perfect representative. "I seek not mine own will, but his that sent me." And yet what a wondrous personality! His was not a passive service, he was not a machine (holy spirit does not destroy personality) but an active, willing, responsive being, God's "vessel unto honor." Christ's moral nature responded to the touch of God like a bud to the rays of the sun or a grand organ to the fingers of a musician, but he was alone, in the most complete sense, so far as this world was concerned. His motives, ideals and practices were so different. "He dwelt amongst us." Fellowship with God was his only source of companionship, "God was with him." Why? "Because I do always those things which please him." Surely this is our pattern: individual fellowship and service is the one means for individual strength. "Study to show thyself approved unto God." The bride of the Lamb when gathered into one is plural, but its building up is in the singular.
What a grand prospect the "truth" presents as the goal of this individual discipline! A perfect nature, "satisfied when I awake in thy likeness;" the goal of human creeds is paltry, absurd,—a future state of locality merely—going to heaven, missing "hell!"
There is beautiful scenery on earth, but it does not give rest or peace or happiness. Our restless nature is like a troubled sea, nothing outside can calm it; the trouble is in man; that is where it started, and that is where the reform must be made. The chief value of heaven is because of God's presence and nature, "it is his throne;" so with the earth: far greater planets roll in space, but Christ places this planet as next in importance to God's throne, not because of its intrinsic value, but because of God's promises, purpose and presence. "The earth is my footstool," hence Jesus says, "Swear not by it." "Forever with the Lord," in his nature, throne and work is the perfect goal.
But surely this perfect goal embraces even more; it is not merely for the individual believer and overcomer. "What shall they do, that are baptized for the dead?" etc. The joy set before Christ embraced more than his own perfect bliss. His glorified body is not only perfect, but it is a conquering one, "according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself." Preeminently this feature separates the "truth" from all human conceptions. Something to do, something to realize, "to show forth the praises of him who hath called us," etc. "The glory that shall be revealed in us." Service is the grandest law of God's universe. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." His angels are ministering spirits; perfect happiness and rest will only be realized by a perfect nature performing perfect service. May it be ours more and more to enter now into the true glory of service to see its lofty standard, its eternal basis, and by and by to see his face and enter into his joy.