DEAR BRETHREN—Tardy though it may be, it is nevertheless with the greatest pleasure that I am writing you an expression of my appreciation of your thoughtful courtesy to me during my visit to New York City early in 1910.
I was a stranger and you took me in, and to your kindness to me (not only then a stranger, but a sceptic as regards Present Truth) is, under God and His grace to me, due the glorious fact that I am now in the Truth.
Last January, while prospecting in the Yukon delta country, I made my consecration, and while in Nome this summer I received from Brother Bayne a copy of The Vow, and after consecration and prayer I made "My Vow to the Lord."
And, bless His name, He has been very gracious to me, as I have stumbled dreadfully time and again; but still He gives me assurance that I may yet be worthy to serve Him in some humble way. And I will earnestly pray daily that I may have the strength and the grace to renewedly endeavor to keep my Vow to the letter, to the end that "His rule may come into my heart more and more" until the glorious day when I can keep the old man under all the time and do God's will and His alone.
From Brother Bayne I also received a few copies of "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES" and other of our literature. I believe it has pleased God to give me opportunities to place some of these in the hands of those who "hunger and thirst after righteousness."
Many times it has been a source of much pleasure to me to tell my friends and acquaintances of my visit to the Tabernacle and Bethel and what "manner of men" you all are. You may have forgotten that your kindness to me included the privilege of having tea with the Brothers and Sisters, with our dearly beloved Pastor Russell at the head of the table. The atmosphere there—of clean simplicity, earnest humility, old-fashioned virtue, quiet strength, brotherly love and true reverence—is one of my most fragrant memories.
And I want you to know, too, that each day brings home to me more and more what a special privilege it was, after tea, to meet Pastor Russell personally, and feel the magnetism and loveableness, and (though then not in the Truth) to sense the Spirit of God in this man who has labored so long and steadfastly and to such wonderful purpose in the vineyard.
No one who has read of the Man Christ Jesus, and His marvelous life, could, I believe, meet or hear Brother Russell speak without feeling that in him, at least, the world has one man of God, who, like the Savior, is "touched with a feeling of our infirmities."
I remember one dear Brother there telling me (in answer to a remark of mine that the sacrifice of himself and family of the good things of this world to be colaborers at the Brooklyn Bethel was at least worthy of surprise and perhaps commendation) that he had gained joys and pleasures of life far beyond what he had experienced in work-a-day business and conventional home.
I could not see it then, but now I know it. Just to serve Him is life itself. What joy it must be to feel and to know that "They that be 'teachers' (margin) shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever."
Dear Brethren, it would please me very much if at some suitable time you would recall to Pastor Russell the fact of our having met, and tell him that I am now striving to travel in the "more excellent way."
I have prayed for you daily grace for your every need, and that peace and joy and love be your portion. But I want to express to you, my dear brother, my very deep love for you. I have followed you through THE TOWER and the public press as you have gone from one nation to another with the "good tidings" which delights your dear heart and ours. God bless your every effort to glorify His name.
God has greatly used you this last year in helping us to have our faith increased and our holiness stimulated. Now that another anniversary of your natal day has come, we pray that the Lord will continue to use you as that "Faithful Servant," and that His blessings upon you, dear brother, may also reach us.
I wish to thank you for sending me THE TOWER. A year ago I requested that you send it on credit, promising to pay for same later. I found it impossible to fulfil my promise, but will again promise to meet my obligations as soon as I secure a position. I am at present unemployed. Please continue sending THE TOWER, for to me it is worth its weight in gold.
I could not have said this awhile ago. I must confess that during the past couple of years I have been very unfaithful. I was anything but a humble, faithful follower of the dear Lord. I was serving sin and self. I had no desire for "Present Truth," still I had enough respect for it to not combat it. I did not meet with the dear brethren. In short, I was very nearly trapped beyond hope of regaining freedom, in one of Satan's most successful devices, viz., Spiritism. I was induced to purchase a "ouija" board, "just for amusement"; but I dare say that that "amusement" almost cost me my "crown."
I spent all my spare time in operating the "board," and became so skilled in its manipulation that it would perform rather difficult feats with the least solicitation. A neighbor, having become fascinated upon seeing what the "little thing would do and say," purchased one for his own use. After trying to operate it (without success, however), he came to me, requesting that I "try my hand." Strange as it may appear, it did all I asked of it, and told me that it was a cousin to my board, and would "do anything" for me.
I can easily see that Satan, the chief operator of all "ouija" and planchette boards, was only trying with all his might to get me more firmly into his clutches. My good morals were not entirely destroyed, however, and the Adversary, knowing this, advised me not to neglect my brethren or my Bible. I then asked whether the DAWNS are a correct interpretation of God's Word. To this the reply came, "Yes; the DAWNS are correct, not only in doctrine, but in chronology as well." I then asked by what power the board was operated. It answered, "By evil, spirit power." It further confessed to me that the spirits who operate the board have no other mission than to hinder all of the Lord's people. It further stated that they took "special delight in buffeting, hindering and endeavoring to ensnare Brother Russell and his colaborers at the Bethel Home."
After thus confessing, I concluded to destroy the board, which I finally did. Before the destruction it pleaded for mercy and tried every way to work on my sympathy. It told me that it would much rather be given away or sold.
Before closing, I wish to add that, shortly after I bought the "ouija," I asked it if there was any possibility of my ever becoming as accomplished as "Hermann the Great." The answer came, "No." This answer rather surprised me, and I wanted to know why it answered me thus. I used untold persuasion before I received the reason for the "No." And when I did get the answer, I got it a word at a time. The answer in substance follows: "Because God will not permit it." In order that I might not be mistaken I inquired as to what "God" was meant. I was informed that it meant "the Almighty."
I need not explain that such a reply shocked me. It bewildered me to think that Satan had to confess thus. If Satan, or any of his force, ever told the truth it was then. Yes, dear, beloved brethren, I am a miracle of the dear Father's grace, through the wonderful merit of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Oh, how my yearning heart [R5024 : page 155] goes out to Him for His love to me!—I, the least of the least!
Dear ones, pray for me that I may stand all the tests that will come upon me to try me from now on. And if this letter should reach the remainder of the Lord's fold, I solicit all their prayers. I feel I need them. I feel my nothingness. I feel my need of a Savior now more than ever. And while I begrudge all the time I wasted in foolishness, I thank the dear Father for the lessons learned. I tried to write you several times during the past wasted years, but it seems as though it was not the proper time to do so. The battle was not yet completed. I feel that I have at last broken away from the Adversary, and, trusting to God's grace, I expect it to be final. I am sorry I consumed so much of your needed time by writing so lengthy a letter, but I could not keep quiet any longer.
In closing, I will request that you continue THE TOWER, for I need it, I want it, and I will pay both years' subscription as soon as possible. Thanking you for all past favors, and always making mention of you all in prayer since I have taken the blessed "Vow," I remain,
In reply to the postal received today, I am so happy to say that just three years ago today—after much prayer and thought—I took the Vow, and wrote Pastor Russell that I had done so. I had not, however, withdrawn from the nominal Church at that time, so considered myself merely as one of the Household of Faith, although I had read and was studying the SCRIPTURE STUDIES, and had ceased to attend Church. I went to every meeting of the friends and was earnestly praying for and seeking the light. The particular Church of which I was a member was feebly struggling along and I hesitated about withdrawing, knowing it would be a still further weakening, and thinking it best to wait till circumstances would take us away from Bangor, where I then resided.
On coming to Worcester, as soon as a new pastor was installed at Bangor, I sent the letters provided by your Society for that purpose, with a few words of explanation to the pastor and deacons and various members with whom I was acquainted. No notice was taken of them except by a few personal friends, who regretted my action, but declined to discuss the matter with me. Since then the Church building (First Baptist of Bangor, Me.) was burned in the great fire which swept clean a large section of the city.
I am unable to express the joy and thankfulness I feel that I have been delivered from "darkness into this marvelous light." I am glad to have the opportunity to say how great a blessing the Vow has proved. As I awake each morning it is my first thought, and it becomes more significant and precious as various testings and trials show me how weak I am, and force me to lay hold upon the "precious promises" more and more firmly, as the way proves steeper and more dangerous, nearing the end. I have much help in the thought that everywhere the "very elect" are praying for each other, whether they have met in the flesh or not, and that our Great Head is with us in all our joys and sorrows in a closer, more personal way than at any time before since He walked among men in the flesh. Our dear Pastor celebrated his birthday among strange people in a foreign land, testifying as he is "to many peoples and nations and tongues"—giving them the message which has made so many call him "blessed of the Lord," and has excited the bitter animosity of such as are too occupied with the cares of this world to "rightly divide the Word of Truth."
May God bless him and daily strengthen him till his great task is done. "Now are we the sons of God, and it hath not yet been seen what we shall be" when we gather at the "Great Convention," the "General Assembly of the First-borns." We know, however, that when "He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." How we will praise Him! And as we gaze in rapture and wonder perhaps He'll say, "O, ye of little faith, wherefore did ye doubt?"