ZION'S WATCH TOWER'S Editor realizes that his friends far and near have been caused intense pain through the publication of malicious falsehoods respecting him. Few of the papers which published the falsehoods were interested to publish the refutations of the same. Thus we have confirmed the old adage that "A lie will travel around the world before the truth gets its boots on." Under the present reign of "the prince of this world" error, falsehood, slander, can be easily circulated—need but to be whispered to travel far and near, aided by willing tongues and pens. Truth and Justice, on the contrary, appeal less to the majority of the fallen race, and at the present time are at a discount and disadvantage. The time is coming when He who is the Truth as well as the Way and the Life, will reign, and all these influences pertinent to the curse will be changed. "Behold I make all things new."
The Lord's people differ one from another as did the disciples of old. To any who, like the Apostle Thomas, need further evidences as a basis for continued faith, we say in the Master's words, Stretch hither thy hand: write to us. We will not be offended. Be not faithless, but believing. To the uncharitable, ever willing to believe evil and doubt the pure and good, no answer would be satisfactory. To the majority of the pure in heart, and especially to those who are acquainted with the Editor personally or through his writings, it will probably be all sufficient to state in general terms that the news-paper reports above referred to are unjust slanders which wholly misrepresent him. He assures you now in these few words that, born of Christian parents in relationship to the Lord, he confirmed that relationship by an individual faith and consecration at the age of 15 years: that since then he has endeavored to live in all good conscience toward God and his fellow men, without exception. His teachings are recognized by those familiar with them as belonging to the very highest plane of Christian ethics; and he hereby assures you all that in all his relationships of life he has diligently sought to live as nearly up to these high Christian ideals as possible, trusting in the merit of the Redeemer for the covering and forgiveness of blemishes which he realizes, as well as of others of which he is ignorant, but which the Lord might see. He believes that not a soul in the world can point to a single act of cruelty or unkindness or injustice or lovelessness on his part toward any of the human family, nor even toward any of the brute creation. His consecration vows to the Lord doubtless did guide his course of conduct somewhat differently from what it otherwise would have been, and in consequence the worldly have misunderstood, misinterpreted him, even as they did the Lord and various of his faithful followers throughout the age.
The Editor's foes have uniformly been those whose ambitions have led them step by step in their opposition. He blames them only partially for the evil they from time to time have sought to do to him and indirectly to the cause he serves and to some extent represents. His conviction is that the Great Adversary and his "wicked spirits in high places" are the real adversaries of the harvest work, who seek to use as many as they can gain control of through envy, or pride, through ambition or vainglory. Our Master forewarned us saying, "It must needs be that offenses come." The Apostle endorsed the same sentiment when he said, "There must needs be divisions amongst you that the approved may be made manifest." Again, it seems not unreasonable to suppose that the Lord permits reproaches to come upon his cause today, as he did in times past, for the purpose of making the Truth unpopular, to the intent that only those who love the Truth above all else and who are fully consecrated to its service should be willing to bear the reproaches which the Adversary would be permitted to bring against the Lord's cause and those who stand prominently connected with it.
To all such we say, Be of good courage, God hath not cast off his people and never will. The trials and difficulties of the journey will all be understood fully, completely, when we reach the end of the way. Our Father planned it all—the narrow and rugged way by which the Master and his "little flock" of faithful followers shall finally reach the heavenly goal. Then, perfect through sufferings, copies of God's dear Son, they shall share with him in the glorious work of dispensing the blessing of life to all the families of the earth. So high a calling by so gracious a God is worthy of our love and loyalty even unto death. Faithful is he who has called us, who assures us that he will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able and has promised us that "all things shall work together for good to them that love God—the called ones according to his purpose." The Editor sorrows especially because he is the unwilling agent of suffering to so many of the Lord's dear flock, whereas it has usually been his privilege and endeavor to bestow comfort and to scatter blessings on every hand to the extent of his ability. "If one member suffers all the members suffer with it."
At the beginning of another day a very earnest, fervent prayer has reached our heavenly Father's listening ear in your behalf, that he may be especially near you in these days of the bitter cup of experience. Dear Brother, our hearts ache for you—(the shameful slander, why permitted?) But I know your loving heart would answer, "My Father planned it all." We do love you, dear Brother, more than we can ever tell this side of the vail, and try to appreciate in some measure at least the labor bestowed for us. Sister S__________ joins with me in sending these few lines. Mother wishes to be especially remembered to you with much love and sympathy.
May the richest blessing of the Lord be yours to comfort and sustain you in the hours of trial. We know you are his servant, giving meat at this time to the household of faith, so we also know that this terrible time of testing which has come to you can only result in his glory, your good and the good of all who are with you in the Truth. Through the wicked do come [page 150] upon you "to eat up your flesh" they will stumble and fall, for the Lord is your light and your salvation, so whom have you to fear? We are praying for you and believing in the integrity of your Christian character, and even though false witnesses may rise up against you, we trust you and know that you will be brought off more than conqueror. Personally I am joyfully thankful each day for the light my heavenly Father sent me through you.
I notice through the secular press that your enemies have again assailed you. I take this opportunity of extending you my heartfelt sympathy and of assuring you of my unshaken confidence in your integrity and Christian character. Praying that heaven's richest blessings may attend your every step, I am
Your Brother in the Lord (Isa. 54:17),
Knowing that the great Adversary is just now seeking to injure you in the eyes of them that believe not, and knowing that no tribulation for the present seemeth joyous, but grievous, I take this opportunity of telling you of my deep sympathy and love for you in this hour. I am persuaded that this will neither move you nor any whose hearts are set on things above. What can separate us from the love of God! With deep sympathy and assurance of my Christian love for you, I am as always,
We have just learned, through the New York newspapers, of the severe trials that have recently come upon you. We hasten to assure you of the continued love of the friends here, and of our heartfelt sympathy. You do not need to be reminded of the fact that all over this world the prayers of God's consecrated people are being offered up continually in your behalf. We as members of the one body all suffer together.
Recent TOWER articles seemed to indicate that you felt that trials were approaching. I had begun to marvel over the free course with which the Truth has been progressing of late and wondering how long such favorable conditions would continue. Therefore we are not surprised over these fiery trials as though some strange thing had happened, but are inclined to accept them as the to-be-expected or looked-for things.
In this time of your severe trial and affliction, we desire to express to you our heartfelt sympathies and to assure you that you have lost none of our esteem and love. We pray for you, dear brother, and ask that the Lord will strengthen you and bring you off more than conqueror. Again assuring you of our love and sympathy, we beg to subscribe ourselves,
May the God of all comfort comfort you with these words: "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." (Deut. 33:27.) "Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."—Isa. 41:10.
There was a time when storms of trouble, threatening destruction to earthly joy, burst in fury upon me. I thought my heart would break. I cried out, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful." Sister T__________ repeated these precious words to me and I was comforted: "When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flames kindle upon thee." (Isa. 43:2.) God was true to his Word. I was uninjured and my faith was greatly increased.
Tressie and Laurice join me in sending Christian love and sympathy to you, and we would assure you of our perfect confidence in you as the servant whom God has chosen to give the "meat in due season to the household."
I have never taken much of your time, but am going to intrude just a little now. I do this to assure you of my personal love, and continued faith and trust in your honor, integrity and purity of life and conduct as a man, and besides this I have the fullest confidence in you as that servant whom the Lord has so highly honored as to place him as steward over the truths now due the "household of faith." Not in the least has my faith been shaken by the events lately transpiring.
You may rest assured that we who know you best will but the more besiege the "throne of the heavenly grace" that you may be granted an unusual supply of help and strength, so that even this severe trial may but increase the work of preparing you and all the Church for the Kingdom honors and glory. While we know we cannot enter into the secret recesses of the heart with you, we do want you to know that your sufferings are in a sense ours, and we want you to know that we share them joyfully.
We deeply sympathize with you in this hour of persecution, but are comforted with the thought that it has been written and is everywhere shown that the Lord knows how to take care of his own. No doubt many things scandalous and untrue will be published, but
Again these words come to us: "All who would live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution, and we are determined that nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ our Lord; not even bitter persecution, famine, peril or the sword. We will not forget to pray for you.
We spent the morning in mingled thought, prayer and sympathy, and we both wish to remind you that all our people know your character and the fruits that your life has brought forth in abrupt contrast to the fruits of selfishness on the side of your opponent. "By [R3776 : page 151] their fruits ye shall know them," said our beloved Master. God had not forsaken him. He has not forsaken you. He never will forsake you—you have his own Word for that! "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward." Never was there a more applicable expression than is that to your especial case! Also the beautiful text from Brother Paul for April 28 ("Heavenly Manna") and your own beautiful and fitting comment upon it—the text for tomorrow and that for the following day also. What a comfort these must be to you—and how I praise the dear heavenly Father that it is so!
Dear Brother Russell, what a magnificent joint-testimony is yours for the asking, or for the willingness to receive it from us publicly—from all your colporteurs in the field and from your own household, if we may by some means have the great privilege of making it known. Tell me, if you need or desire mine, how it may best be given in order to be of the greatest help to you.
I want to try to thank you for the wonderful and beautiful sermon of last Sunday, "Risen With Christ." It seems to me that every sermon is the most beautiful one I ever read or heard, but oh, this one appealed to me so deeply! My "heart burned," as did the disciples' hearts on the way to Emmaus, as Jesus talked with them. Truly, as you say in closing, "So many of us as can see this glorious plan have a blessing and a privilege which is hidden from the eyes of many others!" How glad I am that through yourself this great blessing and privilege is mine.