I am thinking of that blessed season of soul refreshing which the good Lord permitted so many of us to enjoy to so full an extent at St. Paul. I wish I could have each countenance clearly impressed upon the tablet of my memory as I saw them there. I wish I could remember all their names, and recall all the kind words they uttered. But I can't, and therefore I realize that, good as it was, it was not quite the thing we are expecting; and when I think what a good thing it was, then I wonder just what we are expecting anyhow, and I confess that my lips cannot describe that upon which my heart is fastening its hope. But I know that I shall see my Lord face to face and be with him and like him.
Among the many things that impressed me was the thought that our dear Master was there, and all the glorified saints with him. The thought that very soon, if faithful, we, too, would be on the other side of the vail; and then that "if" impressed me, and I said deep down in my heart,—
We thought of the thousand or more of the Lord's little ones there, and we tried to comprehend the sum of their trials, and we tried to multiply it by 144, and we failed; and then we tried to add it to the trials and suffering of our dear Master, and failed again. Then we tried to subtract it from the sum of all our joys when we shall be glorified together with our Lord, and the remainder was beyond our comprehension; and then we thought, Oh, how glad we will be when we [R3897 : page 367] know as we are known, when the dear Master will divide the spoils with the strong.
We thought of the progress these dear friends had made, as we looked into their beaming faces and saw the beautiful lines traced there by the divine artist; lines and coloring that told of the beauty of thoughts, desires and hopes stored away in each bosom, and we seemed to hear the heart-throbs utter,
"But are there no scars and wrinkles to mar this beauty?" our ungenerous flesh asked, and the Spirit gently replied, "Doubtless there are scars and wrinkles, but not to mar this beauty—oh no, no! for there were no eyes there to behold the scars and wrinkles, only the beautiful." "Love hideth a multitude of sins." It was literally love before you, love to the right of you, love to the left of you, love above you and love within you.
Then we thought of it as a rally—a rally around our invisible Standard-Bearer and his unseen army. And then we noticed lines and features that indicated discipline, hardness as good soldiers, firmness, decision, patience, etc. And we were impressed, and at once tightened our armor a little more and grasped the weapons of our warfare a little more firmly, and faced about a little squarer and stood a little straighter, and our hearts responded, "Yea, Lord, we are ready to follow even unto death."
We remembered that we were an army in camp, feasting on food such as loyal soldiers needed, and that we were doing so in the face of the enemy, and that soon the orders would be to break camp and march. Yes, "To the front, to the front!" would soon be the call to the battle. And may we all "Fight the good fight of faith," and be able to say with the Apostle, "I have fought a good fight."
Some matters have taken a different turn since he spoke to you of loaning the Society a sum of money this fall. We have again decided to make the enclosed amount ($1,000.00) a donation instead of a loan. We find, somewhat to our surprise, that in the Lord's providence we are about as able to give the amount as we were to give the same amount a year ago, so feel that it would be pleasing to the Lord to do so. Kindly place the amount to our credit on the "Good Hopes" fund for 1907. We thought it as well to pay "cash in advance" on the Lord's account and reserve the "hopes" for our own!
Personally, Brother Russell, I feel that I would like to tell you that I find much peace and comfort from the clearer understanding of the Lord's will in reference to woman's place in the Church and home. I began to seek light on the subject before we came "into the Truth" and I presume I received as much light as I was able to walk in at the time. I can see how it must have cost you some "crucifixion of the flesh" to declare the whole counsel of God on the subject—even as it is in some cases contrary to the natural heart to receive it. But when we see the Lord's will in reference to any matter and submit our wills to his what rest of heart it brings!
Brother __________ and I found the double TOWER of last July a blessing, although we had never been disturbed in mind over your private affairs. We realize it must have caused you sorrow, pain, to be required in the Lord's providence to so lay bare your heart's secrets, but we trust it has not been without a measure of compensating blessing to yourself as it has without doubt been a blessing to others.
DEAR SIR,—It has never been my good fortune until the past few months to read any of your works on Bible common sense, but am pleased to inform you that within the past three weeks I have had the use of your work, and so far my reading is quite satisfactory. You are certainly led by the Spirit of God to write the simplicity of his expressed will in plain words.
I had read some of your writings previous to reading these volumes, and was impressed with your reasoning and conclusions. I am a seeker after Gospel information, and have some crude ideas, but a firm believer, and get my opinions from my Bible reading, but never go to the Bible with an opinion of my own. I never believed in "torment" or "torture," but in a just punishment—the law of cause and effect, as it were.
I have some pulpit work to do—not a "preacher," however—just talks, as Superintendent of this Home for paroled and discharged prisoners who would start new and honest in life. I practised law for twenty years, but retired, and am now giving my time and talents to this work.
We are now on board, all three of us, off to the "Old Country." About a dozen of the New York friends were at the pier to see us off. We have had a very pleasant and helpful sojourn in this country and have met with so much kindness everywhere that we don't know how to thank you all sufficiently. We know that you will say to this that we are to thank the Lord, and we do, dear Brother, for without the Lord we should not have known you all. We are glad that we and so many others have received such marvellous light. All we have met have shown the same spirit, the Spirit of our dear Master.
We shall always look back with thankfulness to our visit to America, and we hope the many lessons we have learned—for we have been keeping our eyes and ears open—will help us to be conformed to the image of God's dear Son. We shall try with God's help to impart to others the blessings we have received.
We desire to thank you, especially, dear Brother, for the kindness we have received from you. We know that a great deal of the hospitality we have received has been due to you. We trust that you will be sustained throughout the rest of your life's journey on this side of the vail. We shall continue to pray for you. Convey our love in the Lord to all the Bible House friends. We love you all because we see in you so much of the Spirit of Christ.