We are all prepared for a new campaign. At a meeting held Sunday p.m. Brother A. M. Graham was chosen "Captain" for 1901, with instructions to make requisition for necessary ammunition. I send you a copy of the New Volunteer roll-call of 43 names—21 brethren, 22 sisters. We think the above report a good basis; we will certainly need as many as 36,000 as there is little doubt of our being able to accomplish as much as last campaign, as shown above. We did more last year than in the previous one, covering more territory and giving out more TOWERS. We have reached every suburb within 10 miles, and in some directions going 14 miles out. It is 20 miles from extremes of this territory (Boston). The enthusiasm and zeal was inspiring; there was no grumbling and no shirking. Our last day's work was done with the thermometer at 3 above zero, some of the friends traveling 16 miles to get to the field.
The fact that this work is "doing with our might what our hands find to do" has stimulated the zeal of us all. No other service has ever seemed so fruitful in blessings to the Lord's flock. It was grand to note the tact and skill some of the Volunteers learned to use in managing the "rams" and "goats" in the Babylonish flock, who made trouble occasionally. Generally the "soft answer turned away wrath." We received many a "God bless you," and met many who had read and enjoyed the DAWNS. We found our Brothers Sherwood [R2805 : page 143] and Jones in the Babylonish camp. Both withdrew—Brother Jones becoming a Volunteer. On one occasion a Bible class teacher came out and asked for TOWERS to give to his class, saying, "I want every one of my scholars to have one of those papers." Again, on another occasion, the Pastor of a church came out and asked to see the TOWER, and after looking it over said, "Stand right there on the steps; I will be glad to have my people read that paper." There is scarcely a week that we do not meet some one who read that TOWER and was blessed in the reading. It has been a blessed work, every way and no doubt the present healthy spiritual condition of the Church here may be considerably attributed to this work—its influence is sanctifying.
Our yearly meeting on Jan. 2 was a love feast, and gave evidence of spiritual growth on the part of all. All hailed the news of another tract for distribution with joy and responded to the call heartily. During the past year Brother and Sister Black and Sister Mason, and quite recently Sister Mower, have entered the Colporteur service, and we still pray the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers into the field. The past year has been one of spiritual growth and blessing under our dear Lord's leading, for which we praise him and gather fresh courage and confidence for new battles, and we trust, new victories—both within our hearts and without, as he may be pleased to send. Dear Brother, pray for us. Your brother in Christ,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I write to express, as well as I may in words, my thanks and love to you for this grand message of helpfulness to the Church in the April 1 WATCH TOWER, on Rev. 3:10. It came to us in the "nick of time," and O, how it has cheered and strengthened our souls. It is a companion piece to "Pressing Toward the Mark," and I wish we had the two articles in pamphlet form together. I have been [R2806 : page 143] thanking our heavenly Father and you over and over again (nor do I consider it a vain repetition) for those helpful, solicitous words. I am so rejoiced to believe that the Lord is directing your mind to the upbuilding of the "little flock," and we are getting in each issue of the TOWER just what each individual case requires. I read with pleasure and profit often those hymns in "Zion's Glad Songs."
We are still having severe trials in a business way, and also on account of the Truth, but we have plucked from the orchards God's precious promises, hope, love and patience and, as a result, thank God, are still pressing on toward the mark of love, the perfection of character which is most pleasing to our Lord. My prayer for all the saints is that nothing shall hinder or separate us from the love of God, but that we may come off more than conquerors through him who hath loved us.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Many, many thanks for your very kind letter of encouragement to me last October. I am the one of whom Brother Henninges wrote, telling you of my dismissal from the Farnsfield Wesleyan School, Notts., because of my loyalty to King Jesus. There was not one other thing they could find against me, and they admitted I was the very best schoolmaster that had ever been there, but my religion they would not have. My testimonial from the chairman of the managers says, "His moral character is without reproach."
With care, and God giving us (my wife and myself) a comparative measure of health and strength, we have been enabled to save a few pounds, and thus I have been enabled to go into the Harvest Field, "Gathering Sheaves for Jesus," [colporteuring] and doing whatever I can for the dear Master who has done so much for me.
My dear wife is also trying to do the same, but she is not as firmly grounded as I am, and therefore, dear Brother, pray for us, that I may stand firm, and that I may help her along the pathway. I find the work very profitable as regards growing in love for the groaning creation, in the same sense that God so loved the world. I hate the sin, but love the blinded ones for whom Christ died, and would gladly do anything that lies in my power for their benefit, my enemies as well. Praise the Lord, it is my enemies that are keeping the fire under the sacrifice, and therefore I cannot be angry with them for it.
There is a great apathy amongst the people for religion, and they would much rather talk upon any subject than Christ. Several people have refused to listen to me on the DAWNS, because of the free WATCH TOWERS which we have been distributing at the doors of the different places of worship on Sunday mornings, but on the other hand there are instances where they have been the means of selling DAWNS. Last Thursday I had the grand opportunity of witnessing for the Master to two ministers of the Gospel, one a Baptist and the other a Mission minister. The former said he had not any time for reading them, but the latter after some little talk took a book—Vol. I., and I pray the Master may open his eyes to the glorious light. My whole time is now devoted to gathering the "wheat" from the "tares." I am glad to be doing this work, and prefer it to teaching in school, if I can only make a simple living. L.1 per week in the Saviour's army is more to me than double the amount in secular work.
Dear brother, I must tell you of the kindness I have received from several of the brethren on this side the water. Our Brother and Sister Smedley of East Kirkby, Notts., said to us before leaving the district, that "so long as Tom and Mary Smedley had a home" we could share it with them; and since I have been here (300 miles away), I have received a letter from them asking whether I needed any financial assistance.
Again on New Year's day there was a convention at Manchester (I was the speaker in the morning, taking for my subject 2 Tim. 2:15), and when I was coming away, Brother Hodge, with whom I was staying, said that if ever I was short of money I must let him know and he would gladly give me some, as he only [page 144] holds what he has as a steward. I just mention this to let you see the spirit that pervades the whole family.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL AND ASSOCIATES:—My visit to the "Bible House" has been a blessing to me. It has let me into an experience that adds a significance to life. If I know myself I have made a full surrender of myself and of the powers of my being to God in every sense of the word, and I do hope I shall be kept faithful to my present attitude. I am ignorant, but I have realized this,—that full consecration to God brings the blessing, and won't you remember me in your prayers for all the dear brethren and sisters that I may be kept and that my life may be spent in God's service? I had despaired of ever coming to a knowledge of the truth; but surely if you have come to a satisfactory understanding of the Bible why may not I? I feel that I have hope of becoming grounded in the truth, but it is this experience—this realization of full consecration to God and of my acceptance in the Beloved—that I am most anxious to maintain.
Excuse my writing, I can scarcely write for attending to my flowing tears of joy. Oh, what an experience has come to me! I ask myself, will it last? For if it does I shall indeed be a changed man and my life will be a changed life.
I am so glad I went down and found such a devoted company of brethren and sisters. I have the card "To-Day" hung up by my desk; I am committing it to memory, and want it to be the rule of my daily life. I wish I was nearer the Bible House so that I could get strength from Christian fellowship. It was like a heaven to me being amongst the brothers and sisters there. I had no idea there was such a work being carried on.
I have been greatly exercised long—indeed all my life with varying interest—but especially for some years back, over questions which I realize it is for my highest welfare to have settled. I hope my visit to the "Bible House" will lead to this end; I shall spare no effort to accomplish it. While amongst you an influence took hold of me that I believe will have a lasting effect upon my life. Last night while reading "Tabernacle Shadows" and looking up a reference in 1 Peter, I read the epistle through, and felt that it was all for me. There is a oneness of spirit between me and the Bible now, that seems to make doubt of its authority impossible. Evidence of the divinity of the Bible comes, I believe, through the spirit of God upon the heart, and not through the intellect from outside testimony. By my visit to Allegheny I have been led to consecrate myself and all my interests to God, and I do hope I shall be a faithful follower of the leadings of the spirit.
As you know, my visit in its inception was purely a business one, and came about in rather a strange manner. I had no idea I was going amongst such a devoted and deeply interested people, among whom there is such brotherly love as of one family and one spirit.
Surely God will keep me from this time on and forever if I only continue to trust, and not fall into my own way, and my own desire that my life shall be so and so; but be willing from moment to moment to accept my task and my burden and rejoice that I am counted worthy to suffer—to suffer for what shall I say?—for God? for Christ? for the truth? I don't know what to say for fear I may say wrong, and this is for lack of a knowledge of the truth. But I don't want to wait till I read anything before beginning to live and experience what I found your people living and experiencing. Your brother in the spirit,
Nearly four years ago, while en route to Hayne from the preceding appointment, it was necessary to lie over at Selma an hour or two, while waiting for a train. During this time I distributed "Do You Know?" tracts amongst the business houses of that town (as I had done before, and have done frequently since, while waiting for trains); Brother Hare, proprietor of a drug store, receiving one, and becoming interested, sent for DAWN, and reading it, became deeply interested. He then presented the work to Brother Homer, who also became deeply interested, and later he presented it to another brother, who also became very much interested. By one tract these three brethren are now TOWER subscribers, and two or three others are becoming interested.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—We have been reading the DAWNS and TOWERS for over five years and have never written to thank you, but we can assure you they have been appreciated, and have established us in the precious faith. We thank God continually for being so good to us in sending us such help for the study of his Word. It was but a few months after we started in the Christian way that the dear Lord sent them to us. We have been so glad that we got no further into Babylon. We joined the Methodist church on probation, but when we got the truth we saw we were in the wrong place and quietly dropped out.
We tried to convince some of the brothers and sisters of the truth of this glorious doctrine, but only one seemed to have "ears to hear" the good tidings, and he seems to have a hard time to overcome his love for popularity, and until lately has made but slow progress; but thank God, he is beginning to see more plainly now. We attended the Chicago convention, and what a wonderful feast it was to us to see so many of like precious faith, and feel the hearty shake of their hands, and hear the words of love and wisdom proceed out of their mouths. And now may the dear Lord grant you wisdom day by day to carry on the good work he has intrusted to you. Pray for us that we may endure to the end. Yours in the love of Christ,