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I desire to make a suggestion regarding the Volunteer work and have little doubt but that it would add many opportunities for serving the Truth by some of our brethren, besides carrying light to some hungering souls in Babylon's darkness. It has often occurred to my mind that there must be some method whereby the scattered country folk could be reached by the Truth literature, and yet 'twas out of the question to think of sending colporteurs to them. Last Thursday I think the question was partly answered. On that day I found hundreds, it might have been thousands, of vehicles being driven into town, and learned that they belonged to country people who were going to the State Fair. Found but very little interest in F__________ and no meetings arranged for, and having done what I could and still having some hours at my disposal, I took my tracts and went out to the fair grounds. There I found on the various adjacent streets hundreds of vehicles of every description, while inside the grounds were hundreds more. My supply of tracts was not sufficient to go around among all carriages outside, so I did not go within. I found it was quite easy to put a tract in each conveyance in such a way that it would not blow out, and yet so that the owner would not be likely to find it until he reached home. With the buggies one could readily raise the little oil cloth cover behind seat over body of buggy and drop tract in. Probably not one of these belonged to town people who would be reached by regular Volunteer work. In the middle west State Fairs and Chatauquas are becoming more numerous each year and they both draw large numbers from the country. Of course it is too late now for adoption this year, as the season is about over, but why not take advantage of these occasions next year? I think it is also better than to put the tracts in their hands, as in the excitement of sight-seeing many would drop the tracts after a glance. There are also some towns where the vehicles about the market place on market day would afford a similar opportunity.
I have written at some length, as I was not sure the suggestion had been considered before, and this brings another thought to mind also. There is an increasing number of brethren who are neglecting Volunteer work, etc., with the idea that the work is about done and all the wheat in their town has been gathered. I am afraid that in many of these cases the brethren are not desirous of doing their part and are merely using this as an excuse, trying thereby to soothe their consciences and to deceive themselves into believing this neglect is pleasing to the Lord. If some of them are not soon quickened I fear they will have to hear the "slothful servant" condemnation. If they could only realize it, the door will not be shut until they cannot use such opportunities, and as long as there are such opportunities to be used the door is open. When we can get no more literature to circulate, and when our effort to speak orally will deprive us of our liberty, then it will be time enough to conclude the door is shut, the work is done.
Under the Lord's providence and blessing the work here has prospered far beyond what we had hoped. Indeed, as far as visible results are concerned, the past few months, I believe, will outweigh all of our past experience. We have had parlor meetings thus far at eight different homes, with varying attendance. At the last meeting sixteen were present, some of whom had been previously interested, but had not been meeting regularly except at Pilgrim services. Thinking it might be of interest to you, will say these meetings were conducted as a "reading circle" (or DAWN Circle) beginning with chapter IV. of Vol. I., and using the large wall chart for illustration. When a new place opened up for meetings we would start them on Chapter IV., and after three successive weekly meetings invite them to the general DAWN Circle meeting on Sunday.
In making our deliveries we keep a list of names of those who give evidence of being "wheat" and express the desire to have us call again after they have read the books. This always insures a cordial reception when we return, and [R4142 : page 62] paves the way for a discussion of the Truth as far as they have read. We aim to devote at least one evening a week for such calls. The class has now progressed so that outside help seems quite superfluous. Among the newly interested ones is the superintendent of one of the local Sunday Schools, who is contemplating his escape from "Babylon" in the near future, and who has already led several of the meetings in our absence, with good results.
We have thought that perhaps it would not be presumption on our part, since the dear Lord has already favored us to the extent that he has, if we should turn to another field in which no regular meetings are being held, and we have thought of S__________. I remember that, while doing Volunteer work at that place about two years ago, the dear friends there did not have meetings except when the Pilgrims came. If there is still no gathering of the Lord's people there, and if the territory has not been canvassed just recently, we would like the assignment of that territory. Or, if you have any suggestion to offer, we shall be glad to have the same. We have taken the matter to the Lord in prayer, and trust for his guidance in this as in all matters.
Inclosed also is a very harmful tract, which is being circulated from Cincinnati. There is undoubtedly an avalanche of this stuff coming now and from every quarter; and every piece of it is aimed directly at the "Truth people." This in itself is very significant. The Adversary has beyond doubt been given more power to discomfort us, and [R4142 : page 63] he is now, in an increasing manner, turning the artillery of the world against us. It is also clearly to be seen that the Lord of the Harvest is endeavoring to remove every "root of bitterness," every sympathy with these various dispositions of the fallen nature, viz., pride, ambition, envy, revenge, self-aggrandizement in any form, from our hearts; endeavoring to bring about that perfect sympathy and love, that care for and cooperation with himself, the great Head, and each other, the fellow-members of the same Body, that exists between the various members of our own mortal bodiesthus producing that perfect harmony and oneness so absolutely necessary. There is no doubt that the most tremendous conflict is going on in every true son and daughter of God. All these things only emphasize to me the shortness of the time and the sharpness of the conflict.
That the work is progressing sharply in my own life and character is clearly observed, for which I praise him. For the privilege of service and fellowship with his precious struggling little ones during this supreme moment I praise him! My constant prayer is for you, dear Brother Russell, and for all the faithful co-laborers at the Bible House, and for all everywhere that trust in the name of the Lord our God in deed and in truththat are praying for and hastening unto the coming of the Kingdom.
I am glad to report the continued progress of the Truth in Glasgow. We have been greatly blessed by dear Brother A. E. Williamson's visit among us, and are looking forward with anticipation to your own visit, which we trust, God willing, will be in the near future.
In the course of a recent newspaper correspondence it was stated by one writer that the Greek word "horama," translated "vision" in Matt. 17:9, means properly a sight or spectacle, and does not signify a vision but a reality. This caused me to enquire into the matter, with the result that I find that the word "horama" occurs altogether twelve times in the New Testament, and that on every occasion the context shows that the thing seen is not real, but is a vision. The instances are: Matt. 17:9; Acts 7:31; 9:10,12; 10:3,17,19; 11:5; 12:9; 16:9,10; 18:9.
To take an example, we read in Acts 9:11,12: "The Lord said unto him [Ananias], Arise and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold he prayeth and hath seen in a vision [Greek- horama] a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him that he might receive his sight." The man seen by the blind Saul was obviously not a reality but a vision. Again, in Acts 12:7,9, we read, "Behold an angel of the Lord came upon him and a light shined in the prison, and he smote Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly....And he [Peter] went out and followed him, and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel, but thought he saw a vision [Greekhorama]." Peter thought that what he had seen was merely a vision, not a reality.
From these examples it is abundantly evident that in New Testament usage the word "horama" signifies "vision," and is, therefore, correctly translated in both the common English versions, and as shown in DAWN-STUDIES II., p. 255, and in WATCH TOWER, '98, p. 111. In using the expression, "Tell the vision to no man," Jesus apparently desired to reassure us that the Bible is not contradictory. To say that Moses appeared in reality on the holy mount would be to deny those Scriptures which state that Jesus was the first to rise from the dead (Acts 26:23; 1 Cor. 15:20), and that the time when the prophets and others will be rewarded will be at the return of our Lord Jesus (Rev. 11:18; Matt. 16:27).
Trusting, dear brother, that the Lord will continue to use you abundantly in his service and for our spiritual profit, I am, your brother in the one hope of the calling and with much love in the Lord. JOHN EDGAR,Scotland.
While you do not know of me, I, through your writings, it seems, am well acquainted with you. I would not infringe on your time to have you read anything I could write you, but I do want to tell you of the joy I have had in reading your books, booklets, tracts and journal. About ten months ago your MILLENNIAL DAWN series with some tracts were given me by a sojourner, who did some Volunteer work. Considering them as Adventist literature, containing doctrines I could not believe, I began to read with much distrust; but I soon became interested and read with increasing interest, until it seemed I could read and never tire of it. I have often wished to express to you my gratitude for the pleasure and profit I have had in the reading. It has filled a long-felt vacancy in my heart, and inspired a joy unspeakable. And now words fail me with which to properly express my appreciation and thanks to you. I think of you as that faithful steward whom the Master made ruler over all his household to give meat in due season, and that you have been strictly true to your charge; for surely no such heaping dishes of the most wholesome food have been set before the Lord's servants since at the first.
Many even of the most consecrated friends, I fear, do not fully appreciate their privilege of the present favorable times for tract distribution and the "Volunteer" work. I have thought, therefore, it might stir some up by suggesting that in addition to the regular "Volunteer" work of next year, each and every WATCH TOWER subscriber might find great delight in distributing at least 100 tracts each month of 1908; that is, hand out three or four every day to individuals sitting next to them in street cars, railroad trains, restaurants, or anyone they may meet on the street, or in a store, etc.