On pages 263-4 of Volume VI., MILLENNIAL DAWN, you express these thoughts: "Honesty to the Truth is a prime essential to progress in it; to oppose what one believes to be true and to even temporarily uphold what one believes to be error, for...any reason, will surely be offensive to the Lord," etc., and, "Next to the Lord, the Truth is the most precious thing in the world; it is not to be trifled with, not to be played with; and whoever is negligent along this line will himself sustain injury."
You can imagine, dear Pastor, better than I can describe how happy I am, therefore, in the fact that God guided me not to oppose what, from the time of your debate with Dr. Eaton (which was my initiation into the study of Present Truth), appealed to me as the Truth. Every influence of my past religious experience (a happy one, because I then knew none better) held me to my old associations, where my pastor assured me I might hold your views and yet remain in Methodism, which opinion I for a while rejoiced in as correct.
But oh, how I have since rejoiced, and continue to rejoice, that God led me to come out of error simply for love of the Truth as God's Word teaches it, and as I came to see plainly through your teaching. So far from there being anything in the past to attract, I find the love of the Truth increasing daily. It has taken a little over one year to read the full course of MILLENNIAL DAWN—counting "Tabernacle Shadows," TOWER, tracts and sermons as part of the course, and a most delightful, as well as inestimably profitable, course it has been, I acknowledge with inexpressible gratitude to the Father and to you.
I was visiting a relative in B__________, and in looking over their book case I saw the "Divine Plan of the Ages" and I took it up to see what it was. After noting some of the headings of chapters, I just sat down to devour as much of it as was possible before I had to leave. I inquired of the lady who bought it, "What book is this, and where did you get it?" She explained that she bought it of an agent for 35c., but had not read it and did not really know what it was. I only had time to read two or three chapters and I tried to explain to her what it was.
I went from there to D__________, to visit an aunt, and I told her of the book I had seen and that I was going to have one as soon as possible. My description of the appearance of the book led her to think that she had bought one like it some time before, but as she could not understand it she had taken it to her sister. The latter was a good Baptist, and after a brief examination she pronounced it an Advent book and would not read it. I secured that copy and read it through, and was so [R3799 : page 191] taken up with it that I just had to talk about it to nearly everyone, and lent it to my father-in-law, who is a great Bible reader. He read it two or three times, but can hardly "fall in" with "future probation," although he admits it to be the most reasonable and sensible theory he has ever read.
Next I brought up the subject to a brother member of the M.E. Church. When I was trying to explain the chart in the front of the book, he remembered that he also had purchased a book like it, but had only read a little of it as he could not understand it—and it was an Advent book anyway. I could not see how he could start to read it and not go on. However, he is not a very devout member of the Church.
As for myself I was always in the Sunday School, but for 10 or 12 years I have been a railway mail clerk, and must confess I have hardly kept the dust off my Bible covers in all that time. Since reading the "Divine Plan" I have had the Bible in hand at every brief opportunity. I find a difference between reading the Bible and searching the Scriptures. I have read Vols. I., III., am reading Vol. IV. and am sending for Vol. II.
Oh, it seems such a revelation to me, and it seems also very plain. I would like to see you and grasp your hand. There are lots of questions I would like to ask you, but I don't feel that I should impose upon your time.
Tonight I am in M__________. I have attended the preaching service in Wesley M.E. Church this evening. The preacher read the book of Jude and in commenting on the 9th verse said that what was meant by it was a mystery. It never had and never would be explained by man. His principal theme was in verse 23, applying it to the Church's duty to snatch sinners out of the fire of hell. It all seemed so weak and childish to me.
My Vol. I. is now in the hands of a fellow-clerk on the road. He is a Universalist and I am waiting patiently for his verdict. I assure you that I will keep my books in the hands of some who will read them and that no time will be lost. The messages which you wrote ten or fifteen years ago are being most remarkably emphasized in the last two years.
Greetings in the Lord! I received some time ago, through our Brother Hemery, a little token of your love, together with a letter containing your greetings and words of encouragement. These, my dear brother, are very highly appreciated indeed, and be assured they are reciprocated by me.
I feel, dear Brother Russell, that I owe you a real debt of gratitude for help and blessing which, under our heavenly Father's providence, by your instrumentality, I have received and am still receiving. The Truth, my beloved brother, is more precious to me today than ever it has been. I love it and hold it as priceless, and I am determined that my boast shall ever be in Him who is the Truth.
I am glad of the privilege of being a Colporteur, even though, on account of home affairs, I cannot get going as far afield as I would sometimes like. However, the work is the Lord's, and how and by whom it has to be accomplished is his business, and his will be done. I could tell you a lot in my affairs to the praise of my Redeemer, of his wonderful care, of his patience, his mercy and his loving forbearance. Oh, when I think of his goodness I feel ashamed of myself, of my waywardness and of the very poor service I have rendered him. Oh, for grace to serve him better, and to bring every thought, word and action into subjection to his perfect mind and will.
I frequently remember you, my dear brother, at the throne of heavenly grace, as I know your trials must be many. It has always been so with the prominent teachers of the Lord's flock; the Adversary seems to have a special eye to their downfall, and your case cannot be an exception, but he who is for you and whose cause you serve is greater than all that can be against you.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Your very kind letter expressing Christian love and greetings was received. Thanks for all your kind remembrance of me, not only in this letter but during the more than four years of Pilgrim service in which the Father permitted me to engage and for which I shall ever be grateful to him. While these years have been full of toil and travel, and sometimes the flesh has grown weary, and while the enemy has sometimes greatly vexed the soul, yet as I look back over more than three score years of life, these four years are the best, brightest, sweetest, happiest years of them all, and it is with regret that I must for a time—I do not know how long—drop out of the regular work to look after some other duties that present themselves. While I would have greatly preferred to continue in the work, yet I bow obediently to what seems to be the Father's will, knowing that he knows best and that he always gives to his children what is best for them. I wish to say to you, dear brother, that while I may not be in the regular work, I will endeavor at all times to do what I can in a local service for the spread of the Truth. It is not my purpose that there shall be any break in the service; having closed my last Pilgrim service last Sunday evening, I am engaged to speak for the Boston Church again next Sunday p.m. I expect to spend the next Sunday with friends in B__________, and other places have spoken for services, so that I see no cause for me to be found in idleness.
DEAR BROTHER:—I have noticed in several cases recently, when consecrated brethren have died, not one of them has seemingly expressed a wish as to burial according to our service, with enough force to have it used; (this of course applies to places where there is no class and elders to serve). I therefore decided to copy my service [see Vol. VI., p. 328] and file it away, as my last request, and I feel sure it will be recognized by my family. In copying it I see how remarkably clear it is, and feel as though our dear people miss a great opportunity for service in accomplishing our mission as the feet members of the body of Christ if they neglect it, for, as you remark, "hearts are then tender," and the fact that the hands lying cold before them copied the service while still in the earthly tabernacle would add force to the message.