Dear Brother Russell:After a thankful and (to me) blessed perusal of the last issue of Watch Tower, I want to state that I have truly come out of Babylon, since I read the very first Tower that ever came into my handsMarch 15 and April 1, 1900. So powerful was the impression made upon me by it that I was then, and have been ever since convinced of these great truths, and all my former doubts are satisfied forever. Now I realize what the blessed Master meant by the words, "The truth shall make you free." Regarding churches in general, when I think of the good, conscientious Christians, many of whom I would fain emulate; and think of seeming to be better than they, I feel very much troubled and very humble. Nevertheless, I can never believe their way again. I often think of the church at Allegheny, and wish I might enjoy the blessing of meeting with you all at times.
The lesson on "Patient Endurance," and that on "Duty-Love" in May 1 Tower, are my constant study. I was a member of the Episcopal church. Our minister has called time and again and kindly solicited my return. I have deferred telling him of my change of views only out of consideration for him, as he has been deep in affliction the past year, and when I look at his kind face and think how I may hurt him, I cannot but forbear. This is my standpoint at present. Do not think I am ashamed to own my Lord; O, no! I am watching my opportunity, which will be soon, I believe. I have distributed tracts to many, having myself enjoyed the blessed truths revealed in them; truly God assisted you to write them. I thank you for their precious lessons. When I think of my unworthiness, and humble station, and realize what great things the good Lord has called me to, can I do aught but press onward to the attainment of the high "mark"?
[I am glad, dear Sister, to note that you are "tender-hearted" and trust that when, in withdrawing, you announce your present position to the minister and members of the church, it will be worded kindly, inoffensively. See the "Withdrawal Letters" which we supply free for this purpose,sufficient for all the church membership. But, dear Sister, when you feared to cause pain and disappointment to an earthly minister and friend, did you forget the Friend above all othersthe Lordand his smile of approval? Remember the poet's words,
Dear Brother Russell:Our "Volunteer Rally" yesterday was a success every way respecting the amount of work done and the spiritual blessings received. The Lord was evidently with us paving the way, and the interest manifested by the friends from surrounding towns who came to help in the Harvest work was certainly strengthening and encouraging to us here, and the meeting together of all after the day's work was edifying in the extreme. That our hopes and aims are one, was beautifully brought out in the testimonies, praise, prayers and thanks; and it was manifest that the Holy Spirit was in our midst. It was "spontaneous combustion," so to speak, and the afternoon was not half long enough to give all an opportunity to voice their gratitude for blessings received, and for being privileged to do something for Jesus in the "Volunteer" work. We realized how we had been called and thus far led; and that if we continue to walk faithfully nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God. Bro. Russell and his helpers, and all of the Lord's children everywhere were remembered in our prayers.
The number engaged in tract distribution was seventy-nine, as follows: From Tiffin, 19; Ft. Wayne, 6; Auburn, 1; Ypsilanti, 3; Battle Creek, 1; Pt. Clinton, 5; Detroit, 3; Fostoria, 2; Bowling Green, 1; Ottawa Lake, 1; Findlay, 1; Toledo, 36; total, 79. Tracts distributed about 5,000; churches served, about 55. The weather was extremely hot,harvest weatherjust the sort to ripen wheat, and the volunteers proved themselves veterans, and turned up smiling [R2889 : page 319] and content, receiving ample pay in the mysterious blessing that comes over one when handing out tracts. Certainly the Lord is our strength in all our ways!
Dear Brother Russell:Just a line to thank you for the Gospel Truth as I believe Christ would have us know it, and which I have received at your hand. I think I have made good use of the tracts sent me a few months ago; since that time I have learned of the meeting-place of the brethren in Liverpool and got a blessing. My family are members of the Methodist church, to which I am attached, but now I see the Gospel in a different light, thank God! With the help of prayer I am trying to do a little of the Lord's work among my shipmates, many of whom are skeptics; I am trying to convince them of a living God and a future judgment. Please let me know if there is a meeting-place in or around Boston that I can attend while my ship is in port. I am willing to be at your service in delivering God's Word, in the shape of tracts or magazines at church doors or meetings of any kind in Liverpool or Boston.
My contract in the business indicated above (insurance) will expire in November next; but I want to be wholly occupied in a better work long before that time. In fact, I can't hold my tongue now, I must declare the light I have found (through your help) in the Scriptures; these are now my delight, where before they were uninteresting, though I have been a member of the Missionary Baptist church for twenty-three years, and a deacon fourteen years, but I will send in my letter of withdrawal soon.
I have been a leader in the Reform Party in politics, in this State, for ten years, and have held many positions of trust; but have found that a failure, and will give it up. Have been a drawing speaker, but my voice is nearly gone, hence I will have to supplement it with literature in spreading this "good news" so little known in these parts. I am willing to take a very humble place in the ranks because of my extreme unworthiness and the lateness of the hour.