Greetings and love in our Redeemer! The interest in connection with the PHOTO-DRAMA at the London Opera House continues, so that a further fifteen-days' exhibition has been arranged for. The enclosed card gives the figures to date.
This is proving by far the most economical exhibition held in London. Owing to the great interest in the DRAMA we have no need to spend a penny on advertisements for the repetition; we issue a plentiful supply of tickets, and leave the people themselves to do the canvassing, and they are glad to do it. The electrical equipment belongs to the House, so we have no charges on that account; the profit on the sale of Scenarios pays for the electric current, and we have only the rent to find; on this last occasion even this was provided by one of the audience. Brother Tharratt, who is acting as floor manager, had an envelope put into his hand by one of the crowd passing out—a perfect stranger to him. To his joy when he opened the envelope, he found twenty L5 notes ($500.00), which is just the amount required for rent for a further fortnight's presentation.
You can well understand, dear Brother, how our hearts rejoice in this manifestation of the Lord's approval. It is heartening to see with what eagerness the crowds press forward to their seats and listen intently to the message from the Lord; they show further appreciation of the DRAMA by frequent applause. We wish the House were larger that all might be enabled to find accommodation; night after night we are packed out, and great numbers are turned away.
We think of you, dear Brother, and often wish you were here to see for yourself something of the wonderful results of your noble service for the Lord and His precious Truth. How London would delight to see you at this time!
Concerning the DRAMA work in German Switzerland, I can give you good news; since I wrote last, we had very good exhibitions in Zurich, Basle and St. Gall. Altogether 40,000 visitors and 60 exhibitions at the expense of 50 francs [about $12] per exhibition, rent and everything else included. In all these places we found remarkable interest, and a large number of letters of appreciation came in, which I turn over to you, dear Brother, as the author of the DRAMA. We got over 3,000 addresses of such ones, who express a special interest in Present Truth, and we are anxious to lead them on further. All this keeps me exceedingly busy, and therefore I hardly find time for correspondence. I lecture nearly every night and Sundays two or three times publicly and always crowded halls. Present conditions have very much to do with it, as people are wakening up. We sell much literature, but there are many who cannot even afford to pay ten or twenty cents for a booklet or a volume. To these we loan one after another, in order that no one who has interest is hindered from getting the Truth.
As we are nearing Christmas and a new political year, we naturally ask ourselves: Will it be the last one? The Lord alone knows, and we are glad to wait patiently this side of the Veil till He calls us thither by such or other means. Our times are in His hands, and He cares well for us. What can we ask more? His name be blessed!
The many difficulties are growing fast, and people begin to become more and more afraid about the things to come. It seems hard to believe that the Church should gain more influence yet over the state. Everything we hear goes to the contrary, and shows how little influence the Church really has today. In Germany and German Switzerland most of the pious people say, "If Germany loses the war, then we will not believe any longer in the existence of a living God. It would prove that there is no such Being, for Germany fights for a just cause."
On this occasion I transfer to you, dear Brother Russell, the heartiest Christmas and New Year wishes from Sr. Lanz, myself and children and all the dear friends over here, who do not forget to thank the Lord every day more for the blessed Truth we got by your mediation. May the Lord be your great Reward, and help us all to become partakers of His blessed Kingdom, which ere long will be established.
As yet, I am a trifle bewildered by the magnitude of the outlook. In all modesty and reverence, I feel as though the Almighty had taken me into His confidence and solved problem after problem that I had always thought insoluble. Often I have tried to read and understand the Bible (both Testaments), and the statements have appeared involved, incoherent, and unintelligible. Now it would seem impossible to misunderstand; the whole Book seems to blaze with information.
Formerly I had just grasped a point here and another there; but there was no connection between the points, and I had come to the conclusion that—in my case, at any rate—the connections could not be made during life.
I feel devoutly thankful for one thing, though, which now—in this fuller knowledge—would be impossible; and that is, I am thankful that I had fully made up my mind to pay God the only compliment possible in my so-recently unenlightened state—to trust Him and to believe that He was infinitely better than His ordinary servants made Him out to be.
This letter is therefore an attempt to put in words the feeling of a colossal thanksgiving due to the teaching of the I.B.S.A. and the direct blessing of God in leading me to it. [R5610 : page 14] I have never wanted wealth before; but I want it now to help on, to the utmost of my power, the Holy work of this real man of God—Pastor Russell.
In the Master's name, Greetings: I feel constrained to write to you today, because it is the anniversary of a day which marked the opening wide of a door of opportunity to labor effectively in the Lord's service.
Though having been associated with Present Truth since 1900, it was only three years ago today that, kneeling at my table, I wrote out and signed the Vow—a solemn reminder of my personal covenant with the Lord, and sealed it with tears which, like "The Cup," were mingled sweet and bitter. Daily my desire has been, "May Thy rule come into my heart more and more, and Thy will be done in my mortal body"; and whilst praying for you and all at the Bethel Home and everywhere, I have tried to scrutinize more carefully my thoughts, words and actions that I might be of more use to the Lord and His dear people.
So fortified, and encouraged repeatedly by our Father's smile, time passed in joyous service, and then that beautiful Resolve you commended to us appeared in THE TOWER. There was no waiting this time. My heart leaped to take advantage of this further fortification, and as I took up "The daily round, the common task," I said, "I will, this day, as a saint of God, fulfil my vows, continuing the work of sacrificing the flesh and its interests," and I tried to be humble, gentle and true to all; and then, when the anxieties pressed sore, and my "old man," naturally a mutterer, was tempting me to worry and fret, I remembered the closing lines and sought God's grace to "Repel all anxiety, all discontent, all discouragement."
I can now see that before November 11, 1911, I was not in an attitude which invited the utmost blessing from the Lord, but since that time I have realized the promised one hundredfold in this present life, and now look forward with full assurance of faith to that deliverance which soon shall swallow up our present hopes in wondrous realization.
May the Lord bless thee, dear Pastor. I thank Him continually for your able and faithful ministry, and esteem very highly the privilege of association with you in the dissemination of the Harvest Message, particularly in these closing days, when we have the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION.
At Pell City, Ala., a holiness revival meeting was in progress, and they had been praying that the Lord would close up the motion-picture house which had started recently—the only one in town. The revivalist lost his congregation when the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION was opened up, so he closed his meetings and came, too. This incident ought to appeal to the owners of motion-picture houses.
At Cairo, Ga., the ministers decided to fight us, and one of them, apparently more fair-minded than the rest, decided to come and see Part 1., so that his opposition might be intelligent. The result was he came to see all the parts and was much impressed.
At Sylacauga, Ala., the electric lights are furnished by water-power, but a continued drought had closed down the electric light plant and, of course, the motion-picture houses, too. So the Opera House was offered to friends at the low rate of $10 for four days. It seemed the $10 was to be wasted, but a day or two before the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain descended, and they had plenty of power for the PHOTO-DRAMA.
For many years not a few parents have expressed the desire to have something additional to the Bible Talks for the instruction of their children in Truth matters. The thought has struck my mind just lately, as I was advising a mother regarding doctrinal instruction for her children, that the Scenario of the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION would be just the thing to give instruction for children, that would be far better than that of the Bible Talks, and yet as necessary for their capacity, simpler in style and contents than the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. While you may not have intended such a use of the Scenario while preparing it, yet it seems that it is well adapted to the purpose of giving such general instructions on the doctrines, precepts, exhortations, histories, types and prophecies, as well as such promises of the Scriptures as would be adapted to the capacity of many of the children of the Truth people.
During my visits in various homes I have, among other things, given the parents help for their children's instruction; but have felt that we needed something beyond the history of the Bible, as necessary and good as that is, for the instruction of the Truth children. The Scenario, I think, will be a most excellent thing to fill this need.
The PHOTO-DRAMA, with its trials and blessings, has come and gone, but I hope it has not been in vain; for it has left its mark here as nothing else has done for a long time back. The trials it brought us were considerable; but the blessings so far outweighed and exceeded the trials that the latter passed into insignificance.
We are truly thankful to you for giving us the opportunity of showing the DRAMA here. And we can never thank and praise our dear Heavenly Father enough for giving us this grand and wonderful privilege of helping in the work of presenting the DRAMA to the people of this town and vicinity. It is truly a marvelous witness for the Truth, and we trust that much good has been done here that will bear fruit in God's due time. And we are so glad and thankful that we could have a share in this, that the cost to us has seemed not worth mentioning. I am sure I speak the sentiments of all the class here.
Many are the favorable comments. One man said, "The DRAMA did the town more good than a four weeks revival." Another, "It is the finest thing that ever came to town; bring it again." Another, "It did me more good than anything I ever saw or heard." Many pronounced it the finest thing they had ever seen, even in the largest cities. So far, six have ordered complete sets of the books; one of them is an infidel.
I saw the DRAMA at the Clinton, Iowa, Convention, but never realized what a wonderful and powerful witness for truth it is, until it was shown here. It has been such a blessing to me and has filled my heart with such an overflow of joy that I could not contain it all. The joy comes largely from having the privilege of serving it to others.
I feel I must write you a note of thanks for the greatest blessing that has come into my life, through the blessed promises of the Divine Plan of the Ages. I feel as though God had taken me into His very presence by giving me a glimpse of the glory of His love.
Last May, when the PHOTO-DRAMA came to Birmingham for a month it was my privilege to see it, and through its influence I was led to purchase the SCRIPTURE STUDIES. I have read and reread with growing delight those precious pages with the Bible at my side.
This has brought sure peace and contentment, answering the "Why?" that has been for years tugging at my heart-strings. How good God is to be so tenderly patient, and how I want to appreciate His love for us and do everything I know to please Him!
I have just learned that a record is kept at the Tabernacle office of those who have sent in their names as having made the Vow their own. I recognize it as the deeper significance of my consecration vow, and have reverently asked God to help me make it and keep it my own, desiring that my name be added to the record.
We have noted the paragraph in November 1st WATCH TOWER re the name "ASSOCIATED BIBLE STUDENTS" in place of the one we have been using, "INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION." We can see some reasons why we are not entitled to use the latter name and we think the new one a very good one.
Shall we take down the signs that now appear on the Temple and change our stationery? (The signs over the doors now read, "PEOPLE'S TEMPLE, LOCAL HEADQUARTERS INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION.")
The words "ASSOCIATED BIBLE STUDENTS" on a religious-notice page of newspapers seems a very good name. We therefore use it in advertising local New York Meetings. This does not mean that we have abandoned the use of the words INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION in connection with all literature, conventions and general affairs. As respects the friends everywhere, if they think it best to continue the use of the name INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION they may do so; but we would like that it be used only as you have used it in Los Angeles; namely, "Local Headquarters (or Local Class) INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION."