Sectarian missionaries and their agents are very active, yet the glad tidings appeal to the hearts and minds of the poor, and they gladly hear the message and accept it heartily, and soon they themselves become preachers of the message to the aristocratic clergy.
You will be glad to know, dear Brother, that the Present Truth which the Lord has given to longing hearts everywhere through your instrumentality (though it seems "devilish" and "anti-Christian" to nominal Christians), is making great impression in the hearts of even orthodox Hindoos and Mohammedans.
I wish you could have heard the preaching by one of the latter who is interested in the Truth. He spoke of the coming Kingdom of Christ in such a way that I could hardly believe my own ears and eyes. There were some Orthodox Hindoos also present in the meeting.
Many of the Mohammedans ask me why they are not mentioned by you in your writings. They claim that they are the descendents of Abraham through Ishmael. They want to know particularly whether they, as a nation, will have any special message from you on a Scriptural basis. I don't wish to say anything until I hear from you about the same.
I am very sorry to say that the $200 you mentioned in your last letter has not reached me yet. This has put me into much difficulty, as all our Pilgrims and Elders are to be helped. I admire their loyalty to God and the Master; though they starved, they went and preached the Gospel without murmuring. I borrowed 200 rupees in order to help me carry on the Lord's work. I am very anxious to hear from you, dear Brother, in regard to this.
Every week we have new congregations added. People from far and near beg me to go and present the Truth to them. Already they are well informed that our society does not pay any salary to anybody, yet they do want to hear the Message. What shall I do? Truly the Harvest is great!
The Friends all send their love to you, dear Brother, and they all pray that if it be the will of God they may be permitted to see you in person in due time. With my love and prayers, Your brother and servant in the Lord,
I am sure you will be pleased to learn that there are good results in evidence from the last meeting you held here. Two persons have become deeply interested and others are investigating. The class here numbers from 25 to 30, with bright prospects of an immediate increase.
The attendance was good for a week night, particularly when taking into consideration that the meeting was not very extensively advertised. The hall was not large enough to warrant very extensive advertising. We used the hall in which the class now meets regularly; which is, indeed, a very suitable room for the purpose.
Our opinion is that the Lord's work will advance considerably in northern Ireland during the next two or three years. The Irish people, like the Welsh, are naturally religious. Prejudice against the Truth has been, and still is, very strong in Ireland, but it has begun to give way. We strongly believe that many religious people in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales will be prepared to accept the Truth as a result of the labor troubles, which are prevailing so generally in these countries. There are three Colporteur sisters canvassing here and they informed me that the situation above mentioned has already been beneficial to their work.
The unrest and dissatisfaction in Great Britain are terrific, and the people seem on the verge of general anarchy. But we are sure the Lord will continue to "hold the four winds of heaven" until the harvest work shall be consummated. Apparently three years will be quite sufficient to bring on the awful climax of trouble in Europe. The more severe the "spasms" of trouble grow, the more favorable seem to be the opportunities for prosecuting harvest work.
Prior to my visit to Britain it was my opinion that the climax of trouble might first be reached in America, but my opinion has undergone a radical change since traveling in Britain. In America the working people are paid "living wages," and many of them own their own homes, and have money in the banks, while over here the working people are nearly all wofully underpaid and own no property.
In America many of the working people would be heavy losers should anarchy prevail; while over here they have practically nothing to lose. Think of men performing hard dock work for 17 shillings ($4.08) a week, and people working in factories for from 8 to 15 shillings ($2 to $4) a week! These poor people have no real incentive to preserve the present order of things. The distress resulting from poverty over here is appalling. Praise God for the blessed Restitution work soon to begin.
The cost of living is only about 25 per cent. less than in America. Rents, clothing, shoes and a few other things are cheaper here than in America, but luxuries and most necessities, in the line of groceries, are as high here as in America, and some are higher. Most meats, as well as butter and eggs, are higher than they are in the United States. Am pretty sure [R4896 : page 383] that on the whole the cost of living here is not more than 25 per cent. cheaper than in America. This is doubly offset by the great difference in wages, which are from two to three times greater in America than they are in Britain.
The striking spirit has become epidemic all over Britain. Even the rag-pickers of Belfast are striking. They want a penny more per stone (14 pounds) for their rags. The striking newsboys and "hoodlums" created a riot at Dublin recently. A large number of striking newsboys paraded the streets of Belfast. They resembled an army of "ragamuffins." Poor creatures!
Dear Brother, I am so glad that the dear Lord permitted me to visit Europe at this time, because it has greatly increased my appreciation of the Truth generally. You have warm, noble friends here in Belfast who dearly love you. And the writer loves you more than ever, and more than ever esteems the blessed privilege of association with you in the Lord's work. Much Christian love to all.
Many thanks for your letters safely received and which have careful attention. I have been north for a short tour and stayed a little to rest my body through the kindness of Brother and Sister Tait, of the Glasgow Church. They have the use of a country house about 40 miles from Glasgow. We had some meetings in the neighborhood, one for the public in Rothesay, which seemed to arouse some interest. The work in the country goes on well, and the friends generally are quick to seize opportunities of service.
You will have heard of the sharp time we have had of late; the transport workersrailway men, dockers, carters throughout the country"struck" work. Then there came a sort of fever in many different branches of labor, and a general desire to strike for better wages and lesser hours; and the recognition of unions was manifested. For a few short but very lively days the country seemed on the verge of an internal war which would have been far more disastrous than an invasion by the Germans. At present things are quieted down, but there is no telling how soon they may be again inflamed. All this is sharpening not only the brethren, but others who know something of our literature, and I believe the Lord will use this to the benefit of the work. The books continue to sell well, though just now the holiday season is on and sales are not quite so brisk as during the past few weeks.
The strike has delayed our work considerably, and the shipment of sewn sheets was held up quite a time. We hope soon to get quite up to date with the binding, for we have now succeeded in getting delivery to Aylesbury. The work in the office goes all right.
You probably have my letter about the financial position. I hope it demonstrated to you just how we have been short of money. I am glad you are soon to be with us. The Lord continue to bless you in all your ways to His praise and glory!
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:In a WATCH TOWER of fourteen years ago, after giving the Syriac rendering of Heb. 10:22, you say:
"Here the Apostle mentions five conditions: (1) Honesty of heart; (2) an undoubting faith; (3) a blood-sprinkled heart (Heb. 9:14), a heart, or will, that has been justified, not merely through faith [tentative justification*], but also through the application of the blood [vitalized justification*], the virtue of the ransom given once for all by our Redeemer; (4) a clean conscience; (5) washed, or purified, bodies, i. e., with the outward man in the process of cleansing by the purifying Word of Truth and grace.
"The purifying, or cleansing, of the heart, through faith in the precious blood, seems to be much better understood by Christians than the purifying of their bodies, their flesh, through obedience in the application to themselves, in daily life, of the promises, precepts, warnings and illustrations of Scriptureas water, or cleansing truths, etc., etc."
Brother Russell, I thought until I read this that the two justifications were something that you had never seen until very recent years. Truly, as another said in regard to some similar discovery over which we were wondering and rejoicing, "Brother Russell has been years ahead of us all the time; and when he would tell us things, none of us ever saw but half, and when various things came up we considered them new, because we had not been able to assimilate them when they were first given to use," or words of similar import. I am so glad.
The first thing I ever read was old "Food for Thinking Christians." I had forgotten all about the Three Covenants; but when you began to write about them it seemed all right, and as if I had always had that idea; though I could not explain it, nor say where I got it until I re-read that old pamphlet. I. P. W.