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Ever since, about two years ago, I was led back to the Word of God and found the Glorious Truth, through the reading of the volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES, I have been wanting to write and let you know how I love you, and how grateful I am to the Heavenly Father that I am one of those permitted to see the Plan as revealed to the Household of Faith through "that faithful servant." I have been deterred from writing only by the knowledge that you are very busy in the Master's service, so that I have felt it almost an imposition to write you even of these things.
For about six years I was an Episcopal minister, and was reasonably "successful." I was supposed to have the gift of speech, and having been favored with a good education, I was able to put this gift to work so as to bring some glory to myself as a pulpit orator. But that was all empty honor, as I felt even then. In the course of time, and as my study advanced and I began to think for myself (a crime for a minister of a denomination), some of the doctrines of the church (for instance, those of the Trinity and the Incarnation as held by that denomination), became to me unreasonable and impossible of belief. "He descended into Hell," of the Apostle's Creed, so-called, also became a very serious stumbling block.
After much fighting against my conscience and strenuous endeavor to keep down reason and avoid thoughts antagonistic to the creed and to those doctrines I was supposed to believe; and after trying vainly to take the advice of my Bishop that I should confine my preaching to those things I could talk about conscientiously, with the suggestion that I might still repeat the Creed with mental reservations, etc. (you know the arguments), I found that my natural contempt of hypocrisy and an innate honesty of thought compelled rebellion. And so, in the course of time, I gave notice of withdrawal from that ministry.
Eventually I withdrew altogether from that denomination, and, being blinded by the very thing I had taught to others, namely, that the Bible set forth those absurdities, I forsook the Bible also. Then, these foundations being removed, I became intensely worldly and came very near wrecking not only my own life and prospects, but also the life of my dear wife. Perhaps my experience in this regard was not very different from that of others in like case.
From early childhood I had been a dreamer and somewhat of a thinker. My earnest, compelling desire grew into a necessity to learn the Truth, the meaning of human life and death, the solution of the probability of, and the nature of a future life. And so I searched in every field—the philosophies, the oriental religions—in fact everywhere in what seemed to offer help. None came. It was all unreasonable, it was all "vanity." Finally came a settling down to the conclusion that while there must be ultimate Truth, it was impossible for man to know it. That is a despairing, hopeless condition to arrive at, and I knew it. For ten years, almost, I had not prayed. I knew not what to pray for nor to whom to offer prayers. Simply, I concluded, that one must only await the end, and then one would find the solution if there [R5477 : page 175] were one. And so I waited and bothered no more to find the Truth that I decided could not be found.
Then, about two years ago a friend sent me the first two volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. Years before that I had received the first volume, entitled then MILLENNIAL DAWN. But I disliked the title—thought it was in line with the other fulminations of sectarian writers, and had not read. Indeed, the book was lost or destroyed. But somehow I was led to read the last two sent. At first I was not impressed—the first volume did not make any impression on me. But when I had read the second, and saw the wonderful correspondencies between the chronology and the Time features, and saw how all of those laws and prophecies harmonized, the conviction was forced upon me that only the Spirit of the One God could have done this, and that the Bible that I had rejected, was indeed the revelation of Jehovah. And I rejoiced! O, how I rejoiced! Since then I have read and reread them all. I have studied the Scriptures, and the Book has become my dearest possession; the Truth has become so real to me! Later, my wife, who at first opposed the Truth, was "acknowledged by God." Recently she symbolized her consecration. And so, dear Brother, I thank God first, and then I thank you. God bless you!
Now I want to ask your advice in regard to a matter that is puzzling my wife and me. It is in regard to my twelve-year-old boy. He has recently taken a decided interest in the study of the Scriptures, and he loves the Lord very dearly. He unhesitatingly accepts every word of the Bible. He understands the significance of the Ransom and knows about Restitution. We believe that he takes in a little of the thought of the High Calling of the Church. Should we urge him to make his consecration? He is a restless boy, loving play and entering into it with all his mind, as he does into everything in which he is interested. How much knowledge ought we to see in him before it were well for him to make the "covenant by sacrifice"? Is it your thought that his consecration would not be apt to place him in any more dangerous position than it would one of maturer years and judgment?
Brother, we pray for you every day, and several times a day, that the Lord's strength will be with you in all your great trials, to sustain and keep you; and that His Spirit will always dwell in you richly and His love uphold you.
I greatly rejoice with you and your wife and your little son that the Lord's grace has been extended toward you. It constitutes a further confirmation of the conviction which has been for some time growing upon me; viz., that the only thing in us commendable in the Lord's sight is honesty—sincerity. Because of this sincerity the Lord has led you and is willing to continue to lead all of us who are of this character to the end of the journey. His grace is sufficient for us.
I trust, dear brother, that the Lord is granting you opportunities for service. "He that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit." "Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the Harvest that He will send forth laborers into His Harvest."
In respect to your little son: If I were you, I would not press consecration upon him, but I would hold it up before his mind as the only proper course for all intelligent people who have come to a knowledge of God and His gracious purposes—"your reasonable service"—everybody's reasonable service. Nothing else is reasonable when once we see the Truth. The whole world will be given the opportunity of consecration eventually. Without consecration none will ever gain everlasting life on any plane.
Your son cannot be injured by consecration, but may be greatly helped. If the Lord sees him incompetent in any sense or manner for the High Calling He will not accept him to that, but to the earthly favor in due time. But who shall say that a child of ten may not very fully and completely come to an appreciation of full consecration in thought and word and act? Looking back I can see that my whole consecration was first made at a little advance—beyond twelve years of age. With Christian love,
I beg to state that I purchased one volume of "Bible Keys" recently, entitled, THE DAY OF VENGEANCE (now entitled, BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON), of Mr. O. Magnuson, Middletown, Conn. I have read and reread carefully, and cannot express in words the deep interest I feel in the spread of these great and vital truths. I must have the other volumes at an early date.
Never before has such a flood of light been thrown upon the sacred pages for me. I am a Baptist minister, in my fortieth year. In earlier life, I served quite awhile in the Colporteur work of my church. I write to ask for information regarding this work by your Society.
We have yours of the 25th inst., and are glad to learn from it that the Lord has found you with the Truth, and that you are rejoicing in as much of it as you have read. Since you have appreciated the first volume, we feel sure that you will appreciate the other five in an increased measure. Being a clergyman, we think you will specially enjoy Volume V., which discusses THE ATONEMENT in detail with all its incidental questions.
We shall be pleased to hear from you from time to time and to know of your progress in the Narrow Way; and will be glad to render any assistance or suggestions which may be in our power. Praying for your Divine guidance and wisdom, we remain,
THE HAPPY MAN was born in the city of Regeneration, in the Parish of Repentance unto Life: he was educated at the school of Obedience, and now lives in Perseverance: he works at the Trade of Diligence, notwithstanding he has a large estate in the country of Christian Contentment, and many a time does jobs of Self-Denial: he wears the plain garment of Humility, and has a better suit to put on when he goes to court, called the Robe of Christ's Righteousness: he often walks in the valley of Self-Abasement, and sometimes climbs to the mountains of Heavenly-Mindedness: he breakfasts every morning on Spiritual Prayer, and sups every evening on the same: he has Meat to eat which the world knows not of, and his Drink is the Milk of the Word of God. Thus happy he lives and happy he dies.
Happy is he who has Gospel Submission in his Will, Due Order in his Affections, Sound Peace in his Conscience, Sanctifying Grace in his Soul, Real Divinity in his Breast, the Redeemer's Yoke on his Neck, a Vain World under his Feet, and a Crown of Glory over his Head. Happy is the life of such a man; to obtain which, believe firmly, pray fervently, wait patiently, work abundantly, live holily, die daily, watch your hearts, guide your senses, redeem your time, love CHRIST, and long for GLORY!