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Now, dear Brother, I come to you through letter with a heart full of repentance, after having been before the Lord, for having in the past spoken evil and listened to evil concerning you, my Brother. Now, dear Brother, I want first to ask your forgiveness for opposing the Truth you have so faithfully given out, which as I now see, was the true "Meat in due season."
The first thing that started me was listening to evil speaking. Now I see it was disobeying God's holy will, and going against his Word. Secondly, I opposed the Vow most bitterly, which I now see is one of the most essential things of this Gospel Age; that is, at this time—"the time of the end." Now, dear Brother, as soon as I opposed the Vow openly, it was, as I now see, as though a dark glass or film came over the eyes of my understanding, and I could not see the light. I began to disagree on the Covenants, the Sin-offering, and also on the subject of the Mediator, and, in fact, I was going farther and farther away, all because I did not listen to the Apostle's injunction, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be shamed." I got lazy and did not study hard enough. Oh, Brother, if I could only help the others, who are in the condition that I was in, to see how essential it is to keep on studying, and to keep in full harmony with the channel that the dear Lord is using! With God's help I am now doing my best to show others what I have now got, and that it is the Truth which I unconsciously gave up for error. But thanks be to our Heavenly Father, he has brought me to see the error of my ways, by using a dear Brother to [R4490 : page 303] show me and prove to me from the Scriptures that I was on the wrong course.
I took the Vow and made it truly mine on the 29th of July, and went straight to bed. I cannot tell how joyful and peaceful I was when I got up in full harmony with my [R4491 : page 303] Lord and Master, and with all the sons of God.
I ask again, will you please forgive me for all I have done against you? My Brother, I feel ashamed to ask you such a favor, but I know the dear Lord has forgiven me, so with this comfort I also ask you.
A few words of testimony as to the many benefits the Vow has brought me. We thank God for it and for the disposition that enabled us to voluntarily appropriate this newer and fuller definition of our original consecration Vow; and oh, the sweetness and preciousness of the consequent closer fellowship and walk with God is beyond power of expression! Only the new mind revelling in the joys of the spirit can appreciate it.
True, the result of striving to the best of our ability to fulfil its various provisions, and one to be reasonably expected, was an increase of temptations and tests along lines of greatest weaknesses, but rather than yield to discouragement or a repudiation of this sacred obligation, we determined by the Lord's assisting grace to brave the struggle, knowing the effect would be a greater fortification on many weak points, which heretofore had not been resisted as they might have been.
Never before have we appreciated what an active, living, energetic principle the Lord's Word is, "bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." Never before (we say it humbly) have we felt so efficient in appropriating the strength and grace of the precious Word to the overcoming of the fleshly mind with its deceptive, seductive reasonings and restraints upon the noble, pure and good in thought and motive, and thus allowing the holy impulses and promptings of Divine Love to spring forth and more abundantly bud and blossom into the beautiful "graces of the Spirit."
How we yearn and pray that the dear friends may all eventually see the privilege of voluntarily making the Vow their own, in an entire dependence upon the Lord and his assisting grace promised for every time of need! Accept heartiest greetings and Christian Love from your Brother in the Master's service, CARL F. HAMMERLE.
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:—To you it was graciously given on behalf of Christ, not only to believe into him, but also to suffer on his account. (Phil. 1:29—Diag.) I take the liberty, dear Brother, to write you a few lines to express my gratitude and praise to the dear Father for the blessings that have been and still are coming to me through the light of "Present Truth." Surely the Lord has caused us to sit down to a glorious feast!
I was very much impressed with the article, "Wresting the Scriptures," which appeared in the July 15th TOWER; and especially with the position the party referred to took regarding Hebrews 10:29. I do not see how he could take the position he does regarding this word rendered "unholy." I have consulted a Greek and English Lexicon, by Donnegan, concerning this word "Koinos," and he defines it thus, "common," "unclean," "prohibited food," "defilement from eating" such food"; all the definitions, as can be readily seen, contain the thought of "unholy"; not any thought of "partnership," as the party would have us believe.
Concerning our participation in the suffering of Christ, as members of his Body, I think the Apostle Paul shows us a most conclusive argument in Ephesians 5:31,32, where he states, "For this cause shall a man leave his father, and his mother, and shall be joined unto his wife and they too shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the Church."
When we take this verse, together with what Jesus said
in John 6:51, "My flesh I give for the life of the world," we can see the great privilege the Church has, to be counted
in as a part of that "flesh"; as Paul States, "They two shall
be one flesh....I speak concerning Christ and the Church."
Surely it is a marvelous favor to be associated with our dear Lord as members of his Body; as Paul again states, "joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together."—Rom. 8:17.
I have been looking back over the twelve months that have elapsed since my formal registration of the Vow; and feel constrained to write and acknowledge the great blessing it has proved in this time. This last year has been by far more fruitful in its harvest of spiritual blessings and privileges than the previous seven of my association with the glorious Harvest work. I confess, however, that the first perusal of the Vow did not impress me favorably, for the flesh at once put forward the objection that it was a very low moral standard for a Christian. How subtle the old mind; how crafty its sophistries, and what cunning objections it will raise when it discerns some definite action being taken [page 303] to bring it the more completely into subjection to the Divine Will!
Several months ago I was led to still further "mortify" the flesh by adding another feature to my Vow, suggested by yourself at the Nashville Convention, "to never murmur nor complain at any of the Lord's providential leadings." The year has not been without its trials and testing, but the resultant peace, and the confident assurance that every incident was working out the Father's blessed will, has been like oil on troubled waters. "When he giveth peace, who then can make trouble?"
You have my deepest sympathy, dear Brother, in every trial and heartache. How true it is that they who are teachers, even in a small way, must receive heavier trial! But how thankful am I that the Lord has promised to keep all those that trust in him! So I am confident that he will permit you to glorify him by finishing the work which he has given you to do. How glorious to know that the prayers, on one another's behalf, of the consecrated thousands, are now ascending in one grand, uninterrupted chorus to the Giver of every good and perfect gift, for the needed grace to lovingly submit to all the provings of the Lord as he seals our hearts and minds against the day of our deliverance.
Have considered and prayed over the Vow for many months, and at the beginning of the year took it with slight modifications, as a Resolution, continuing to ask Divine guidance. The result has been a further opening of the eyes of my understanding, and I feel I can now take the Vow with a full and proper appreciation. We continue to be thankful for your recent fellowship and help. May the Lord's richest blessings be yours. Pray for me.