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It is a real pleasure to me that I am permitted to write to you as one interested in the Truth and the harvest work. I praise God that he has found me worthy enough to understand those glorious truths revealed through you to us.
I began my reading after Thanksgiving Day and found that I was prepared to receive instruction as I went from book to book, and, consecrating myself, I have taken my place in the ranks to do whatever he requires.
I was very much surprised today when a friend told me that one of my acquaintances wondered if I had become a Christian Scientist, as my health seemed so much improved of late, and was glad she was informed that I am a follower of the humble Jesus, and that the wonderful peace that follows the knowledge of our God's real love for the world, silencing all my questions, is responsible for my improved physical condition.
Some of my friends are chagrined that I do not now hustle for the church society. If they could only experience the happiness that husband and I find in the pure, simple Christian life they would understand. I pity them and they pity us. They think so much physical suffering has weakened my mind along religious lines.
I am leaving the request for Pilgrims for an older member of our band to look after; but I must tell you that Brother Johnson's visit here did a vast amount of good. Am sure we can get a larger number next time. We under-laborers can tell the story, but you can tell it so much better and so much more thoroughly.
I thank you for the spirit you are manifesting in this testing time; it is quite a strength to me, and no doubt to others who are noting your stand for Truth while manifesting the right spirit of Love. Our Brother Paul also had many trials, and we see in 2 Cor. 1:14, that as he was rejoicing, those who were noting his trials and how he walked in them, were themselves stimulated to do likewise. As he said in another place, "Follow me, even as I follow Christ."
Many of the churches that I visit are in trials of one kind or another and I am rejoicing with them, for I know the Lord is dealing with them and that these trials are such as we all need to put on brotherly love and all the Christian graces.
May the blessed Lord enable each of us to be rightly exercised thereby (Heb. 12:6-13), and endure the corrections in doctrine and in character, that our heavenly Father may still deal with us as with sons.
After due consideration and prayerful thought on the matter, I want to register my name as one having taken the Vow, as I do not see anything in it that I cannot heartily endorse; and I also want to add my thanks to what has already been said to you for all the light I have received through your works; and I also want you to know how much I do enjoy the TOWER, especially the little helps you give to us who have made this sacrifice.
While riding on the subway train one day recently, a young man handed me your paper, "THE PEOPLES PULPIT," and as I am a Christian and trying to live as God would have me, the little paper seemed to make me feel as though I could help others through it. Therefore, please find enclosed 20 cents for two subscriptions to be sent to me.
I again send you the little poem which I composed and sent to you about fourteen years ago, when I was located at Guttenberg, Ia. I little thought at that time that the ability to "receive" it would prove a sifting of those who had once been enlightened.
Wondrous mystery, long concealed,
Unto us has been revealed.
Herald wide the gracious story,
"Christ in you, the hope of glory!"
Christ in you, the world's sore need,
Christ in you, the promised Seed.
Canst receive it? Then thou art
Of the Christ, indeed, a part.
My new route sheet has been received, and I am looking forward with much pleasure to resuming my pilgrimage after this brief period of rest. I never get tired thanking the Lord for the wonderful privilege that has been granted me the last eight years of spending all my time in such a direct form of service. And should it be his will nothing could give me greater joy than to continue to seek to glorify him in this way to the very end of my course.
It has been a source of pain to me to note so many inclined to put such extreme and unscriptural interpretations upon some of your recent statements, especially on the subject of the Covenants. I have given the subject a most thorough investigation and am satisfied, perfectly satisfied, that you are right in applying the New Covenant to restitution times.
The consideration of the Covenants from this standpoint has brought me one of the greatest blessings I have had since coming into the light of "present truth," while probably a score or more of passages which were rather vague have received an illumination which has meant much to me. Other passages which were always quite clear have taken on new depths of meaning; for instance, the typical value of the recorded history of Abraham has had depths of significance added to it that we once never dreamed of.
It has assisted me to see why the Word of God so frequently speaks of God's promise to Abraham as a "Covenant." When God says death he means death, and [R4450 : page 238] yet it always seemed that when he said Covenant he did not mean a Covenant at all, but merely a promise. I had frequently wondered at this, but it is all clear now. I see it was a Covenant; but, as you have always expressed it, an Unconditional Covenant, since God attached no conditions to it for Abraham or for us to observe. But he determined what he would do under that Covenant, and then left it with Abraham as to what he would decide to do in view of such a promise on the part of God. It was one of the respects in which this Covenant differed from the Law Covenant, for that was a Covenant of bondage (Gal. 4:24), saying, You must do this, or you must not do that. But this Abrahamic Covenant was a Covenant of liberty, it being left to the liberty of each as to what he would do in view of God's oath-bound promise. But only those who are willing to sacrifice all are accepted of the Lord as joint-covenanters with him. This is why he says in Psalms 50:5, "Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a Covenant with me by sacrifice."
Likewise I can now understand how that Covenant was barren for over two thousand years. It was barren as respects producing anything in Abraham's life that would not have been produced anyway. When God made that Covenant with Abraham his loyalty to the Lord had been so decided that we have no reason to suppose that God's agreement prompted Abraham to do anything he would not have done even if this Covenant had not been made. But beginning with the Lord Jesus, a result followed the coming into covenant relationship which had never occurred before; a begetting to a new nature. At last the barren state of that Covenant was past, and, in the words of Isaiah and of Paul, we hear that Covenant personified and called upon to rejoice, "Sing! O barren, thou that didst not bear."—Isaiah 54:1.
So to me it is as clear as day that we are not under a New Covenant, but under a Covenant as old as the days of Abraham, far older than the Law Covenant; but which has at last been redeemed from its barren condition.
And when the Covenant that was typified in Sarah has finished its travailing, and has brought forth the Isaac class, Christ and the Church (Gal. 4:28), then the people of Israel, the Ishmael seed, will be regathered for their blessing. (Micah. 5:3. Note preceding and following verses also.)
I fear that I am making my letter too lengthy, but my heart is filled with gratitude to the gracious Lord who not only sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins, but who has additionally taken us into his confidence and revealed to us so much of the wonderful arrangements he has for the blessing and uplifting of our race.
Trusting that the Heavenly Father may ever find you in that same faithful and humble attitude as of old, so that to the end of the harvest season he may use you in the edifying of his people, and assuring you that, in harmony with the sentiments of our Vow, I remember you specially at throne of grace every day. I remain,
I had thought to write you before you left on your trip abroad, but was prevented. I am taking this, my first opportunity, to write you and let you know that you had our prayers and sympathy while away. We feel thankful to our heavenly Father that he has permitted you to return. We all miss you when we know you are away from headquarters. We feel so thankful that we know and can see how the Lord has used you and is still doing so. The Truth is becoming clearer and more precious to me. My sincere desire is to keep very close to the Master. When we see so many that once loved the Truth walking no more with us it makes us want to be more careful and watchful.
My husband and I have noticed since we have been here that so many that are confused on these subjects have not been reading as they should. I am so glad that there has been just one source from which we can get pure food. Otherwise how much confusion there would still be for the true child of God. We would still be as we were in Babylon.
Our meetings with the Allegheny Church are very helpful. There is such a good spirit. We all miss you and all the office force so much. There are many friends here; some that have always been of the quiet kind seemingly, but loyal to the Lord and to you as the servant of God. We have been with you in your late trials and have suffered with you. We rejoice that you have been victorious so far. We feel that the Lord is on your side and our side.
I am longing for the time when we shall be united to our Living Head and begin the blessing of all. I am trying to embrace every little opportunity, and it seems I can be a help to some that are in need. I want to be ready always to be of any service that I can. May the dear Lord continue to bless and help you is my prayer.
Being one of the Lord's poor, and, noticing on date of wrapper of "Watch Tower" (June, '09) that my time has expired, I ask you to send me "The Watch Tower" for another year. I am now in my 64th year. About eight years ago I broke down from hard overwork as a traveling salesman and was discharged as an honest, faithful man, but too old ("we want younger men") and ever since they have refused to employ me, and I have not been able to secure remunerative employment since.
On my way home on July 5, 1901, the tract, "Do You Know?" fell into my hands. Although I had been a member of the Baptist Church since November, 1877, and in good standing, too, I was not fully satisfied and had investigated about everything sectarian. Nothing satisfied me so much as the light revealed in this tract. It is as full of truth as an egg is full of meat, and the deeper I have investigated Present Truth, the better I love it, and while I am poor in this world's goods, health, etc., I am doing what I can for the Lord's cause, both within and without. Have distributed over 30,000 tracts during the last eighteen months. It was a Tract that led me into The Truth.
I am becoming convinced that some whom we have counted "of us" (who seem to be drawing back unto perdition) have never been begotten of the Spirit at all, but are simply justified. Although claiming consecration they seem never to have completely consecrated, but to have harbored a "hope" that somehow God would not accept their offer and restitution might still be theirs. These say they do not believe any one can really know he is begotten of the Spirit. To me this explains an otherwise inexplicable situation. Having never been "begotten again" they cannot see some of the mysteries of the Kingdom. This relieves me greatly—for if they had seen and fallen away into blindness, their condition would seem hopeless. I am happier than I was, for I was secretly grieving—contrary to commandment.
Every word of opposition I have read or heard in regard to "Tabernacle Shadows" has served to make your presentations clearer to me. For years I have read this precious, priceless little book just before Passover time. This year I read it twice. I am now more convinced than ever before that you, as our shepherd, by the Lord's grace, are leading us in green (nourishing) pastures, beside still waters—where the peace of God rules in our hearts—predominant over the tribulation in the world that confronts us. For sixteen years I have read and rejoiced in the marvelous truths brought out in "Tabernacle Shadows"—and now my soul magnifies the Lord as my faith rests on so sure and steadfast a foundation—God's holy Word.
Again (although it seems needless) let me express my confidence and trust in you and assure you of my abiding love and appreciation along with my continual prayers for you and the great work you represent. I thank our Father for the clear exposition of the Covenants which he has enabled you to make.
After the singing of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text for the date is read and questions and comments considered. Finally, just before leaving the table, the MANNA comment is read. Desiring that all share the blessings, we commend the plan to others. The hymns for Sept. are indicated below to permit all who so desire to join with us:
(1) 280; (2) 147; (3) 130; (4) 224; (5) 72; (6) 240; (7) 312; (8) Vow; (9) 25; (10) 152; (11) 114; (12) 131; (13) 324; (14) 12; (15) 255; (16) 29; (17) 95; (18) 328; (19) 167; (20) 208; (21) 300; (22) 333; (23) 307; (24) 235; (25) 231; (26) 79; (27) 61; (28) 197; (29) 136; (30) 199; (31)—