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THE friends are getting the correct view of the recently suggested "Vow," and their names are coming in freely. Some tell us of the blessings experienced, as they realize that all the features of the Vow were really included in their original consecration "even unto death" in the service of the truth and the brethren; the special features merely representing their appreciation of the strenuous times at hand and the need of safe-guarding themselves and all the dear brethren, against our wily foe, Satan.
One dear brother is curious to know who suggested to us the "Vow" and who formulated its phraseology. We reply that no human being suggested "the Vow" or its phraseology to the Editor. He believes that the Spirit of the Lord guided him to lift up this high "standard" for the protection of the Lord's people, by showing him that the enemy is about to "come in like a flood," and that the specializing of several features of our consecration will enable many to "resist the devil that he may flee from them." (See Isa. 59:19,20.) The only modification to the Vow was the inclusion of brothers and sisters as exceptions, at the request of a "Pilgrim," who claimed that otherwise his conscience would hinder his kissing his sister, but who desired to join with the others that took the Vow. The Editor explained that there is nothing in the Vow to hinder the kissing of a brother or a sister, a nephew or a niece, because no one need be ashamed so to do before a congregation of the Lord's people who know of the relationship; and that any familiarity more than that would not be advisable. However, fearing that others might misunderstand the matter similarly, these exceptions were made before the Vow was printed in the TOWER. Be it understood, however, that only brothers and sisters of blood relationship are meant and understood—the very intent of the last clause of the Vow being to erect a helpful barrier between brothers and sisters in the spirit.
Two or three have written asking if it would be right to take the Vow with certain other exceptions and reservations. We reply, that it is each one's own business whether he takes the Vow as published or modified or not at all. Our advice is that it be taken as published. The very fact that anyone feels fearful that he or she might not be able to fulfil its provisions would mean to us that such are the very ones who specially need the Vow in its very strongest form. It is the weak that need the fortification. Probably by far the majority of those who have thus Vowed had little or no need of it, but joined in lifting this high "standard" in the interest of the less strong brethren, and also for the worldly.
The long lists of names coming in caution us that the printing of these in the TOWER will consume too much space. We are therefore discontinuing this method of publicity, purposing (D.V.) that with the close of the year we will publish an Alphabetical List of all who advise us that they have taken the Vow.
Continue to send in your names as classes where convenient, and continue to address these Vow letters to the Editor. He is specially pleased to receive them and to know of the great joy so many are experiencing in connection with this movement in the narrow way. He would be pleased to acknowledge each letter, but this would be beyond his strength, even if the other interests of the work permitted, which they would not.
The dear Lord's hand was indeed very evident in the wording of that "Vow." It indeed seems to include all the channels through which our great Adversary is [R4237 : page 270] at present seeking to overcome the Elect. I had so earnestly prayed that the dear Lord would in some way make manifest his protection and care over his own, and caution them against the subtle ways of the enemy; for the dear Lord has seen best that I should be made painfully aware of the fact that some associating themselves with the children of God are seeking to take unauthorized liberties, clothing themselves as angels of light, and claiming to be of great assistance.
Words would fail me to express my joy and gratitude when I read the "Vow" and saw how indeed the Eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. How evident again is the care of our God in that this "Vow" has been published, and all may read and know our attitude.
With joy I say the taking of "the Vow" has brought blessing upon blessing, and such an increase of love and joy in the Colporteur work. I ask an interest in your prayers, dear Brother Russell, that I may prove faithful unto the end. Thanking you again for all your kind helpfulness, I am,
"Grace unto you and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thess. 1:2.) Although a little late I write to tell you how very much I appreciate the article in June 15th TOWER, "Pay thy vows unto the Lord." It appeals to me as being a very timely warning, as I have been so situated in the last two years as to understand the importance of such a warning. The Lord in his wisdom has seen best to place me where the Adversary has been busy trying to make the Lord's people believe that if they love one another, as the Word says we should (I John 3:16), they should show it outwardly. When spoken to about it the dear friends would say that we were evil surmising or perhaps had a great deal of false modesty which we must overcome. I had taken a similar Vow before the Lord, but have now taken this one, and feel that it will help me greatly in keeping the sacrifice on the altar, and while I realize my inability to keep it, yet I trust in him who has promised, "My strength is made perfect in weakness."
Now, dear brother, I realize that the greatest test is more love for the brethren and less for self, and I ask that I may be remembered by you in prayer that by the Lord's grace I may stand these tests and fulfil my vows, that by so doing I may be the more able to glorify my dear heavenly Father, which is my chief desire in life.
"Now, our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your heart and stablish you in every good word and work."—2 Thess. 2:16,17.
At first reading I could assent to all the conditions of the Vow; yet I have not until today found time to consider them carefully and prayerfully. Having done so, I wrote out the Vow and on my knees registered it as my Vow before the Lord. I have placed the copy where I can see it the first thing in the morning and the last at night. I am sure that all who have taken it will realize that "oneness" that is so pleasing to the Lord and for which he prayed.
I have always remembered all of the Lord's dear people in prayer, but especially those at the Bible House, and realize that the Colporteur work and workers are very dear to your hearts, and I more and more appreciate the great privilege which has come to me, "even me," which is just the training and discipline I need.
I write to tell you that I have taken the Vow given in June 15th TOWER, and I ask an interest in your prayers. I consider it a very timely precaution against the wiles of the Adversary, especially the various "New Thought" deceptions which are being promulgated with such subtlety, befitting one whose house is about to fall. I consecrated at the age of fifteen, and, realizing how little time I had to give in the service of the Lord, while under obligations to no one, decided I would never increase my obligations by marriage and expressed as much to the Lord in my consecration Vow. I have since received so many blessings and profited in so many unexpected ways by this Vow that I do not hesitate to strengthen it by the one given in the TOWER.
After very carefully weighing "Vow" stated in June 15th TOWER, with earnest and thankful heart I desire to have you enlist me as having entered into further covenant with the Lord, through the Vow. I shall only delight to remember daily before him all the stipulations contained in the Vow.
I have been thinking of writing you for some time; now that I have made "the Vow" to the Lord I shall write. I am so rejoiced for the article in June 15 TOWER it certainly will be a great blessing to the blessed cause. The Father is so thoughtful of our every need, calling our attention to the snares of the Adversary, and bringing forth meat in due season; so we never lack.
In addition to any action as individuals that we may have or shall take in reference to "the Vow" proposed in the June 15th TOWER, as Elders of the St. Louis Church, we desire to unite in an expression to you of our hearty endorsement and approval of your presentation and suggestions in this regard, as being in our estimation, valuable means of safe-guarding the members of the Lord's flock in a time of particular trial and testing. We would state that we have each, individually, taken the obligation.
I want to express my appreciation of the timely letter in June 15th TOWER. My heart overflows with joy and gladness for all the dear Lord's leadings. [R4238 : page 271] Every word in the letter and all of the article, "PAY THY VOWS," was read by me with very deep interest. I want to tell you I have gladly and reverently made this Vow to my heavenly Father and trust in his grace and strength that I may fulfil all his good will concerning me. May the dear Lord's richest blessings rest upon you, dear Brother Russell.