DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:There is nothing special to narrate at present, but I shall drop you a line on general principles. The 13 cases came on Friday about 6 P.M. By Saturday evening at 10, they were all opened and the contents properly stowed away, thanks to the fact that they were so far as possible packed in parcels, and thanks also to two brethren who came in to helpone on each evening.
The outlook for DAWNS is good this year, and if the 5,000 last ordered are sent via Baltimore I think they will not be here much in advance of the time they are needed. The lot just received came in the nick of time, so far as cloth and leatherette are concerned. I think we will not at present go very deep into the matter of Volunteer work by secular hands, as a more excellent way seems to be available; i.e., moving the Colporteurs into some of the territory where at present we have no readers, and thus getting Volunteer as well as Colporteur work done there. They all do Volunteering on Sundays, so it will be no new thing to them.
The Church in E. London had their annual business meeting last Tuesday. They unanimously requested me to serve as pastor for the coming year (from March 1), and at my request as unanimously requested Bros. Bull (A. C.), Guard and Lightfoot to serve as assistants.
Some time ago you gave it as your opinion that the twentieth century would not have advanced far without showing some great "sign." I reckon you hit it pretty close, if the Morgan-Rockefeller-Hill Trust be taken as a "sign." The papers in England talk about Mr. Morgan "syndicating the world." What do you think of Isa. 5:8 in this connection? If the parable be taken as a representation of "Christendom," which was foreshadowed by the first "house of Israel" (v. 7), we see that God gave Christendom the advantage of the "choicest vine" (Christ, John 15), and when he looked for justice and righteousness as the fruits (Gal. 5:22), behold oppression and a cry. The combine seems to be losing no time in seeking to acquire control of the world's interests in various lines (Mr. Morgan is coming to Germany this month to combine his crowd with the German steel combine), "that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth," and may make great profits out of it. But verse 10 should be a warning to them, and a comfort to God's people, for one bath equals only eight gallons, and one ephah is but a tenth of a homer. "Great will be the fall thereof" in anarchy, I presume.
Spoke last evening on Matt. 6:33, showing that the Lord here puts God and the things of this world as possible "masters" of his disciples. We cannot serve both, "therefore I say unto you," etc. If we serve the things of this world, as the nations do (cares of this life, etc.), God's word will be unfruitful in us; but if we serve God, seeking first his Kingdom and righteousness (if we seek and find his righteousness, we shall also find his Kingdom, 2 Pet. 1:5-15), all these things shall be added to us, and in fact shall be OUR servants, instead of we in bondage to them.
Notwithstanding the course of this world being opposed to those who seek God's righteousness, the Father will overrule in the affairs of his people that [R2804 : page 138] those who seek first his Kingdom, etc., shall not be deprived of the necessaries for an honest living. Godliness has "the promise of the life that now is," etc. Showed how some misunderstand this passage to authorize an idle waiting for the necessaries of life to fall down on them, because they take the wrong thought from the Lord's reference to birds and lilies. It is true that birds do not sow or reap, and that lilies do not toil or spin, but also true that birds do not know how to sow and reap, nor do the lilies know how to spin. But the birds get their food in God's appointed way for them, and the lilies get their glory in God's appointed way for them. So man must get his food in God's appointed way for him, and any Christian who seeks to get it in another way is "disorderly." (2 Thes. 3:7-11.) [R2805 : page 138] The idea was to show that this passage does not authorize begging or idle waiting for the Lord's people to supply one's needs. Would you think these views correct?