Reading the Word of God continually, also many publications on the blessings and need of an absolute surrender, the Lord not only made me willing to consecrate myself fully to him, but same time prepared me to receive the present truth. (I must count it a real wonder, a special grace of the Lord, that I was able to read most of the time, as the nature of my illness, according to man's knowledge, makes reading impossible.) About this time a tract came to hand warning all Christian people against a publication called "MILLENNIAL DAWN,"—denouncing same as a dangerous and anti-Christian work, and quoting numerous Scriptures in proof of this assertion. Carefully reading same I soon noted that most Scriptures quoted were given a different interpretation than I was led to understand them so far. This naturally awakened the desire to read the very publication mentioned and compare notes, but how and where to get these books was more than I knew. All I knew was the name, and this subsequently proved all sufficient, because only a few days after, two books were left in our house to be given to a party living near. Sitting in my chair near the table, and noting the paper on this package badly torn, I reached out to do it up better, and—oh, wonder!—MILLENNIAL DAWN was in my hand. Dear Bro. Russell, had it not been for the torn wrapper these precious books, which proved to me a source of instruction, joy and happiness for years, would have passed out of the house and I not any the wiser. Surely this was the Lord's doing. I was hungry for the truth, longing for more light, and true to his promise he provided. Glory to his name!
This was three years ago last winter and often almost overwhelming blessings received in the study of God's dear Word in the additional light presented, frequently makes me cry out: "Oh, Lord, I am utterly unworthy of so much grace. Grant that I, like clay in the potter's hand, may rest in thy Masterhand, to be prepared and molded into a vessel ready for thy use and honor only."
The books which, by the grace of God, you have been led to write and publish, have been an inestimable blessing to me, and some of my dear ones, and I cannot thank my dear Redeemer sufficiently for having directed my attention to them.
I read them over and over again; indeed, I may say I read nothing else but these and my Bible, and much as I loved the Scriptures before, they are doubly dear to me now; because, I have the key which opens up to me much that was mysterious and therefore not properly understood. Now, since through you and the other dear friends who labor together with you I have received this "present truth," the whole Scripture is illumined—God's plan, in Christ, for the glorification of the Church, his body, and the salvation of the world, is grasped as never before, and I say, reverently, that I rejoice even with a joy unspeakable and full of glory. There are of course many things that I would like to talk with you about, with the hope that I might see more clearly than I do: but it is wonderful how the holy Spirit enlightens—as one reads, ponders, prays, and compares the statements in the DAWN series with Scripture, endeavoring to rightly divide the Word of Truth, how the mists clear away, and the light of the truth fills the soul, and one gets a faint idea of what it is to be filled with the Spirit. I try, as I have opportunity to do, some harvest work, and have frequent chances for conversations. One is astonished at the various ways in which different people, many of them professed Christians, receive the truth. Some turn a deaf ear entirely, and change the conversation as quickly as possible; others are indifferent—the truth as preached is sufficient for them; they do not wish to be any wiser than their parents, etc.; still others are startled and state that the signs of the times indicate that some great catastrophe is approaching they know not what. Others, and these are the ministers and learned men I talk with, admit that we have fallen upon evil times; but that brighter times are coming, that an age of greater faith is approaching, etc. Pity they cannot see just how it is to be brought about! But, thank God, there are a few who have the listening ear. With those I earnestly talk, as aided by the spirit of God, and generally get them to promise to read one of the series of books, DAWN.
You will not be surprised when I tell you that I am about to withdraw from the Presbyterian Church here. For some time I have been studying the Confession of Faith, and of course I am not in accord with it, and for this reason cannot loyally remain. There are two other reasons why I must withdraw—one is that I deplore the spirit of destructive criticism, and the evolutionary theories that not only exist in the Church but are tolerated and approved. Again, while in the Church I am bound, if loyal to its creed, to be silent about present truth; but I must speak, and therefore my course is plain.
I always appreciated the work being done through the colporteur service, but this appreciation has grown wonderfully since entering the pilgrim field, as coming in contact with the various little classes I have learned how some colporteur—often unknown—sowed the first seed which gave the work in that place its start. If each colporteur could know how often we hear of such things discouragement would be unknown amongst them.
For instance, about two and a half years ago, I was at Savannah, Ga., and during my visit a sister told me how that city had been canvassed with apparently no results,—books had been sold but no fruit could be seen. Two months ago, I went to Chauncey, Ga., for the first time, and in the course of my drive into the country I asked the brother how he first learned of these things. He said that some years ago his sister was working in Savannah, and one day a colporteur came to her employer's home. She answered the door bell, and found a colporteur there from whom she purchased "The Plan of the Ages." That book brought her and her two brothers into the light, and now, a hundred miles or so from Savannah, a grand little company is laboring and rejoicing because of the seed dropped by a colporteur.
I went to one place in Michigan where a brother and his wife were full of joy over the light which had come into their hearts and home. The brother told me that when his wife ordered the book he thought, "There's another one of those fake book agents," and tried to show the colporteur brother just how he felt about it. But he said to me, "Oh, Brother Barton, I only wish I knew who that brother was. How glad I would be if I could only show him how different is my feeling now, and could take back what occurred then."
Do you not think the Lord purposely keeps results from being seen by those who do the work in order to give room for the exercise of faith? They should believe their "labor is not in vain in the Lord," whether they can see its outward fruit or not. Our heavenly Father wants us to work for him, [R3644 : page 303] not for results,—work from principle, not from a mere desire to see our efforts prospering.
Should we not also esteem the fruit borne in our lives of more consequence than the results of labors in the harvest field? Does not 2 Tim. 2:6 teach this?
So even if there was no fruit from the colporteur labors except the fruits of patience, humility and fortitude borne in our own lives, it would more than pay to be in that work, but there is other kind of fruit too, and we pilgrim brethren would like to tell of that for their encouragement.
I am so thankful to the Lord for having brought my husband and myself out of that awful darkness into the light of Present Truth, that I want to write you a few lines in regard to same. We were spiritualists for five years: In fact I was a trance medium, although I could never bring myself to take any money for it, as I regarded it altogether too holy to use it for earthly gain; yet for the past few years I was not satisfied with it and its teaching, and I prayed to the Lord to show me whether it was his work, as I had always remarked to the spirits if it were God's work I would be very thankful for the gift and to be his instrument to further his truth; but if it were the Devil's I did not wish for any of it. Whereupon they always replied, "There was no Devil," and that it was God's work. I gave up friends for their sake, and for two years I lived in a haunted house suffering untold agony, doing, as they told me, what God had ordained me to do, to release an earthbound spirit, the spirit of a man that committed suicide by cutting his throat from ear to ear.
Many times I suffered the horror and agony of having the sensation of a razor cut my throat from ear to ear. This they told me was to be a proof when that spirit was near me: Time upon time I suffered dying agonies to bring tests to friends. Prior to my coming into the Truth last fall, I had a very severe trial, which I thought I could not bear, and when I prayed to die a beautiful little form appeared assuring me God would forgive, and I would suffer no punishment if I committed suicide, which I had intended. But, thank God, my husband watched me until I became more calm, and could reason again. That was just one week before the booklet "What Say the Scriptures on Spiritualism" was placed in my hands. When studying that for two hours, and fighting the great battle all night, I knew who I had been serving, and so you can probably gain a glimpse of why I say awful darkness. In fact I could write many more experiences, should you think they would be any benefit to God's people.
I rejoice in the Lord and pray he may keep all. I desire to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Lord and to you, for the DAWNS—as Bible Keys. May the Lord continue to bless you and use you as that faithful steward, is our earnest prayer.
Much love and greetings in the name of our dear Redeemer. May our Father continue to bless you richly in all your efforts to serve his cause. The Cleveland Church has requested me to inform you of the rich blessings derived from the Niagara Convention, not only by those who attended, but also by those who did not attend. We had a convention echo meeting last Sunday, and all who attended the Convention echoed the blessings they received to others. We had a delightful season of refreshing, so much so that we had to let you know about it. It was, indeed, good to be there, among so many of the Lord's people. Such a happy people, all so full of love and the spirit of unselfishness. If this is a foretaste of the heavenly joys, what will it be to have gained the crown and be forever with the Lord? It was a means of drawing those who attended closer to the Lord and a fresh endeavor to run the race set before us more patiently. These conventions, dear brother, are a great spiritual uplift and, as you said, the money expended was not wasted, and we think could not be spent better. The Niagara Convention was, by far, the most blessed convention we ever attended. We are so happy and thankful that you intend continuing them. May the Lord preserve you, to continue to give us such refreshing seasons of fellowship.
I am still rejoicing in the light, and appreciate the strong and helpful words in the WATCH TOWER and DAWN. You certainly lift the standard high, higher than any other religious teacher I ever knew, but none too high, and I rejoice in it. I am greatly enjoying the new Bible Studies, and as I am not where I can meet with others, I have pretty long lessons. Am not doing as much personal work as I could wish, but hope to be able to do more sometime.