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DEAR PASTOR:—The matter of a topic for the Wednesday evening testimony meeting was brought up at our Board meeting recently. It seems to some of us that it would be fine if we could have a topic suggested in THE WATCH TOWER, so that all would be considering the same topic, and so that, wherever we might be, we would know what the topic is.
Some suggested your sermon-text as the topic, but so many do not get the sermon until after Wednesday, that it hardly seemed best. Others suggested the MANNA text for Wednesday as the topic. We hope that in due time you may have some plan for a general topic, if it seem best to you, and the Lord's will in the matter. Yours in the Redeemer,
We have had many suggestions relative to the advisability of unanimity of topic for these meetings. We take this opportunity of reiterating the counsel offered in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Volume VI., namely, that we know of no meetings more helpful than the testimony meetings, where they are properly conducted, and after the friends have had about a month's experience with them. Testimonies as to one's conversion years before, or as to how one first received the knowledge of the Truth, may be very good in General Conventions, etc., but such testimonies we certainly believe very tedious and tiresome in a weekly class. It would be tiresome also for the friends to tell you what they ought to do and what experiences they ought to have. What is desirable and refreshing is crisp, up-to-date testimonies touching the events and experiences of the preceding week. Such meetings tend to make all of the classes holding them more attentive to note the providences of God and the lessons of life daily and hourly. Thus more valuable experience is gained daily than when such things are passed by with little or no attention.
There is nothing in the nature of a bondage in this suggestion. But those who approve might accept it, and those who do not approve may do otherwise. It is the affair of each class. It would be, however, very nice to know, not only that the Vow and its prayer daily draw all of the Lord's people close to the Mercy Seat, but also it would be pleasant to know that all are thinking of God's providences along the same lines each week.
I have been seeing some of the Truths for about seventeen years, but did not have an understanding heart, I suppose, or else the sacrifices were too great. But our Heavenly Father allowed me to see the imperfection of human love and happiness away from Him, and now the eyes of my understanding are being opened that I may understand His blessed Word.
I symbolized my consecration unto death last month, and we have started a little class up here in Doylestown. I am enclosing some clippings on the use and abuse of narcotics. I gather from I Cor. 8:13, that we should not stumble or offend any of the brethren and that must apply to all matters.
We should be so glad to have an article in THE TOWER on the subject of abuse of such things as coffee: "and every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things." (1 Cor. 9:25.) This seems to me to include even the very small sacrifices of our daily life, if the things sacrificed are in any sense harmful.
Pardon me for taking a few moments of your valuable time to express my appreciation of the Truth. In the four years I have been privileged to have it, it has caused a great hunger, not only for the knowledge of God's Plan, but also that I might be found in the likeness of His character.
The March 15 TOWER was especially helpful in that it searched my heart as to what effect the Truth has had upon me—how much I have permitted it to cleanse me from all "filthiness of the flesh and spirit."
Words fail me to express my thankfulness to the Lord for His goodness in permitting me to be awake to my own condition and to allow the Truth to reveal to me the secrets of my heart, while thousands of Christian people are asleep, not only to their heart condition, but to the marvelous work the Lord is performing in the earth today!
Knowing that your time is much occupied, I have hitherto restrained my desire to write, but as present circumstances forbid my seeing you in the flesh, I trust you will permit me to express my loving sympathy for and confidence in you as the Lord's faithful servant.
May he stand by you and strengthen you, and may his strength be made perfect in your weakness, enabling you to be faithful until death, when you shall hear the "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!"
But now, praise the dear Lord, since getting the "key," which was supplied in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, how I love to read my Bible!—for now I know, to some extent, our dear Heavenly Father's great love as shown in his glorious Plan for the salvation of mankind—first for the Church and then for the world.
I am sorry that I shall not be able to hear your address, as I am confined to bed. But I shall not forget you at the Throne of Grace, nor shall I forget all who are associated with you in the great "Harvest" work—that you may all be abundantly blessed and strengthened in your labor of love, and that the true "wheat" may all be safely garnered.
This is the literature I have been wanting ever since I was old enough to think for myself. It is almost like a glimpse of Paradise to read Pastor Russell's sermons. May God bless and prosper you in your work.
I have been in Present Truth only about six months. But during that short space of time the Lord has taught me many things which have been a great blessing, far greater than I asked or dreamed. I am pleased to tell you, dear Brother, that I am still progressing in the Truth, and striving to keep humble, and thus faithful. But to tell you all this was not the only [page 175] reason that this letter was written. I am pleased to tell you, dear Brother, that I have taken the Vow, and I find it a great help, especially in the keeping of my heart; it keeps me continually on my guard, and thus I am able to gain many victories over self. Now, dear Brother, I pray the Lord will bless you and the great work that he has given you to do. He is faithful and true, and waits for us to prove faithful, so that he can reward us with that crown that he has in store for them that are faithful.
I have been thinking over the article in the January 1 TOWER, "Was the Alarm Clock Right?" Does it really matter to any of those who are striving faithfully to carry out their consecration vow? All I have of real solid truth, I gratefully acknowledge has come through that faithful Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society which God raised up to feed his flock with meat in due season. Who can shut their eyes to the rapidly fulfilled prophecies of the holy Prophets, our dear Saviour and the Apostles? Is not Daniel's prophecy alone sufficient warning to the household of faith to set their house in order? But apart from the vast amount of evidence we have of the near close of the Gentile times, I think the "Shaking [R4834 : page 175] among the dry bones of the House of Israel" would alone be sufficient to prove that the time is at hand. It was necessary that the Lion of the tribe of Judah should be able to take and open the Book and loose the seven seals thereof, for to him was committed the task of carrying out the Divine Plan. But as far as the little flock is concerned, it is not necessary that they should know the exact hour of the closing of the Gentile Times. Surely, enough of the precious Present Truth has been revealed to awaken even the dullest believer.
We are to live by faith, and our faithfulness in this matter may be one of the tests of our faith. Who, I would ask, could read the parable of the Ten Virgins, and not see its application to the time in question? They all slumbered and slept, but at midnight there was a cry made, "Behold the Bridegroom!" Only the five wise virgins who took oil in their vessels with their lamps were ready at the sudden call to follow the Bridegroom, and went in with him to the marriage. Undoubtedly the attitude of every true child of God is one of prayerful watchfulness. The sealing in the forehead has been ample to all who are earnestly seeking to be overcomers through the blood of the Lamb. God's wonderful Plan of Salvation, as shown in the STUDIES, is sufficient for all those who have by Divine love been called and chosen and are faithfully striving through the merit of Jesus to be honored, and we have our Heavenly Father's promise that the Adversary shall not be able to pluck them out of his hand.
Beloved Pastor, may the dear Lord continue to make you a blessing to his Church until your work is finished, and you hear the "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord," is the prayer of your humble fellow-servant in Jesus.
The enclosed $10 is for use in the Harvest Work, to be used in whatever way you think best. It comes in grateful acknowledgment of the blessed hope gained through the STUDIES and the other helps, and with an earnest prayer that our Heavenly Father will guide and strengthen you through the coming year as in the past, and continue to make you a blessing to the household of Faith through our precious Redeemer.
I am writing you because I wish you to have my name as one of those who have taken the Vow. It is some time since I made it my own, but have delayed sending in my name until now. In talking with a dear Brother recently in regard to the matter, I saw that I was neglecting a privilege and am glad now to state my position respecting the Vow. I realize that it has proved a great blessing to me and a constant reminder of the narrowness of the way that leads us upward to the life immortal. It is surely of the Lord, from whom cometh all good and perfect gifts. With much Christian love, I remain,