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We are sending you a list of names to be recorded as having taken the Vow. This list is our entire class. We enjoyed Brother Sullivan's visit very much. All the class seems to be growing in knowledge and love.
I want to tell you that the colored Ecclesia here, numbering fourteen in all, partook of the emblems of our dear Redeemer's flesh and blood. We felt it a very solemn occasion, more especially as we looked at the shortness of the time when we shall drink it new with our dear Redeemer in our Father's Kingdom.
"Meat in due season," "things new and old" from the storehouse are indeed served through your sermons, WATCH TOWER and magazine articles to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness and a knowledge of the Divine program.
In sending you this list of brethren and sisters who wish to signify their appreciation and approval of the Vow as a means of drawing them closer to the Lord and to each other—as well as those of our class who have previously sent in their names—we thought you would be pleased to know that the attitude taken toward the Vow and toward each other from the first has been of such a happy character that all have taken the Vow, except one, without the slightest sign of friction over differences of opinion regarding it. And the one who did not sign it refrained from doing so, not because he was opposed to it, but merely because he thought he was not ready, as yet, for the advanced position he seemed to think the Vow implied. This fortunate outcome has been accomplished by the wisdom and tolerance of those who first took the Vow, in that they did not wish to press their convictions on the others. The others, noting this, were led to a closer and more favorable attitude of mind toward the Vow and toward those who took it. We believe if this attitude had been taken by classes generally much needless friction would have been avoided.
I am sure you will allow one who loves you to intrude a little on your time. How I would love to have an hour's talk with you. I would have told you long ago of my sympathy in the siftings of late, but knew your time was fully occupied.
I want to say that I stand by you with my sympathies, and mention you at least twice each day at the throne of grace. I hope I shall never forget what the Lord has done for me and thousands of others at your willing and faithful hands. My own bodily condition is expressed fairly well in Job 7:3,4.
I have been receiving scores of letters and cards from the dear friends from all parts, and would be glad to answer them all if I could spare the time to do so, but I can do so little in the way of work, that it seems to require about all of the time I can put in to accomplish the little.
I am glad to say that by the Lord's kind favor I have been, and still am, able to earn as much as is needful. I want to tell you also that I still take my stand by "the Vow," and fail to see how any brother or sister in the Truth can find any reason to oppose; also your articles on the Covenants. I am sure you remember me in prayer. May the Lord's blessing ever be with you.
I am writing to assure you that for the last year, or year and a half, the dear heavenly Father has continued to manifest his love toward me by one scourging after another, and now I realize at last what his lesson is for me. The rod has been applied harder and harder until at last the wisdom from above is beginning to penetrate this old, thick head of mine. On my bed of sickness I plead earnestly for instruction. And thank God and the dear Saviour the instruction came.
I am very weak yet, and can scarcely pen this, but I am so glad that the precious privilege and joy of contributing to the spread of the harvest message, has not been taken from me entirely, as my lack of appreciation of it deserved. And now, dear brother, I am enclosing you a draft payable to the Tract Society. I desire that this be used in any way that your judgment may deem best, guided by the Lord, as I know you are. Dear brother, I attribute the precious blessings I am receiving, first of all to my God and my dear Master, and then to "the Vow." Praise God, may I be able to sing as never before, "None of self and all of thee."
I humbly ask your forgiveness for the harsh things I have said and written of you. I regret them from the bottom of my heart. I know the dear Master delights to honor you. Surely I can do no less. I can write no more this time. God bless you. M. D. HARPER.
It is my privilege once more to write you concerning the celebration of the Memorial Supper. Seven of us met last night in a quiet room apart from the world, to meditate upon that eventful night, nearly nineteen hundred years ago, when the great sacrifice was offered up to Justice—"Christ our Passover, slain for us"; and we rejoice that we are still "in the house" and that the blood is upon the door-posts. The preciousness of the "Lamb of God" grows upon us and we delight to feed upon it, even though it means that we must also swallow some of the bitter herbs of persecution and sorrow. "Soon the shadows, weary shadows, will forever pass away."
We were impressed also with the thought of our being broken with him as part of the "one Loaf," and of our covenant to drink of the cup of which he drank, "filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ," and willingly and gladly renewed our vows to be "dead with him," for our experience with the blessed Lord has taught us that to follow him means gain a "hundred fold," even in this present time, and a calmness and serenity of spirit. His peace, "My peace I give unto you."
Often the flesh shrinks when we come to the bitter part, but it is our earnest desire that the mind of the [R4392 : page 143] flesh have less and less control of the new man—that the "same mind may be in us which was also in Christ Jesus."
Our loving sympathy is ever with you, beloved Brother, in all your many trials and straining of tender ties, and we are so grateful that in it all you continue to bear us (the Lord's people in general) upon your heart, and are so concerned for us, that no harm comes to us. God keep you, dear Brother, and strengthen you unto the last. Your sister in the Lord,
Thirteen of the dear friends "assembled themselves together," and one brother, who was ill, was served at home, making fourteen in all participating. Our hearts were saddened as we remembered what "Christ our Passover" endured "for us," and were filled with joy at the other thought of "That day when I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom." How this event increases in importance to us as we near the Kingdom, and very properly so, as the light of the dawning day sheds its radiance more and more clearly on the path of the just.
Some, whom we loved dearly as brethren in Christ, who have assembled with us in former years, did not meet with us this year, and this fact lent an added tinge of sadness to the occasion, but with our dear Saviour, we say, "Thy will be done."
We cannot help but feel that they missed a wonderful privilege, which in the very near future they will regret. We thank our heavenly Father, that another year finds us still loving the Truth, and with desires to be in harmony with it, and with our God. We thank him also for the precious little "Vow." We know that we have been blessed by taking it, but just how much it may have aided in keeping our hearts in a condition of loyalty and sympathy and obedience to the Truth, we may not know this side the vail. We do know, however, that Satan has gotten the advantage of some who have not taken it, and we learn the lesson of humility and watchfulness and prayerfulness, lest the great Adversary trip us, and stumble us, over some such plain, reasonable and simple requirements as are contained in this "Vow."
I fear that if the "Vow" had been a vow to do some "great work," some of those who have stumbled would have been eager to take it, but since it was a "Vow" to prayer and watchfulness of thought and word and action they stumbled because of its very simplicity. If the dear Lord can use this little "Vow" to make manifest the heart condition of some of these who claim to be his; what may the next test be? Perhaps it may be something seemingly more simple and of less importance than the "Vow," and who shall be able to stand? And the Psalmist answers, "He that hath clean hands and a pure heart." The "heart" is the all important thing. "Keep thy heart with all diligence." "Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you, should seem to come short of it."
We are glad to say that we are striving daily to keep every feature of the "Vow," and this means that we remember you and all the Brooklyn Bethel family at the throne daily. With Christian love to all,
I have been rejoicing in Present Truth since March, 1908, and would have written you sooner had not the greater part of my thirty-six years been spent in the [R4393 : page 143] newspaper, printing and publishing business, which enables me to draw a fair idea of your burdensome duties while serving the Lord in so many different capacities. However, I am impressed that it would be unwise on my part to further delay writing you, hence this letter.
We have a small class here which elected me teacher. Will you and the Bethel family remember me daily at the throne of grace? I want more of the holy Spirit and the spirit of a sound mind. I want to teach with understanding.
Fifteen years ago I joined my wife and the Methodist Church. I knew at the time my wife was the principal magnet, although I firmly believed the Lord would come my way and in due time make me as happy as my brethren professed to be. My blessed Redeemer did not give me the sweet assurance I expected, and after two years I withdrew with more noise and confusion than I commenced with. I resolved to never enter the building again and that resolution has not been broken. I took up Darwin, Hume and Ingersoll. These were later discarded for Confucius, Buddha and Mohammed. None of these things satisfied my hunger for Truth. Then came the Book of Mormonism, which I read with considerable enthusiasm and finally passed it up to a Baptist preacher. About this time Mrs. Eddy made her little bow in my community, beginning with my wife's mother, a very bright and well-disposed lady, whose wealth and social prominence added no little to the Eddy Idea at this place. I studied the proposition hard, but was not permitted to see the point. One day one of the Lord's faithful, Bro. C. S. Livingston, of Enterprise, asked me if I would take pleasure in the Truth if I knew it was Truth. I told him I would. Then he gave me Volume I and asked me to go to my closet and pray for help to understand that book. If there was a God I wanted to know it. Besides I was in the middle of a campaign for an important county office and the election was only six weeks ahead, and I wanted to please Brother Livingston and get his vote. I went on to my closet and tried to pray. It was the first time I had tried to communicate with the Lord in ten or twelve years. My petition was short and remarkably stupid, but the Lord certainly looked at the spirit in which I approached him and not the eloquence or multiplicity of words. One week later I retired from politics forever, thank the Lord. My friends urged and threatened, but I retired from the race. Five weeks later I had read the six volumes, Tabernacle Shadows and several WATCH TOWERS. I went out on the streets and wrangled with every preacher and Sunday School teacher I could find. I thought I was going to be a power among my friends and political followers. But alas, it is sad to relate. They say, and believe, "Much study has wrecked his mind, for a truth he has paresis!"
I have been zealous for the Lord and the doctrine of the Kingdom. On every suitable occasion I pour out all the hail at my command; but they won't listen. If they can't slip away they will try to change the subject—sing, do anything except listen. Not one grain of wheat can be traced to my energies. The real pillar of the Baptist Church at this place for twenty years, Brother J. J. Morris, accepted the Truth four months ago and Babylon charges me with his ruin and destruction. Would to God they told the truth, but they do not; as usual, they err; the Lord did it. And now, since he is not grinding at their mill, they say "he always did have cranky notions."