Your first letter was unanswered, not because of any discourtesy, but through pity. But now that you have written again respecting the disappointment of my expectation mentioned Nov. 29, 1911, that "within three years I shall have been joined to the Bridegroom," I have concluded to answer your letter, conceiving that after you have read my reply, my past, present and future faith may not seem so distressingly funny to you.
Twenty years ago you and I believed in infant baptism; in the Divine right of the clergy to administer that baptism; that baptism was necessary to escape eternal torment; that God is love; that God created and continues to create billions of beings in His likeness who will spend the countless ages of eternity in the strangling fumes of burning sulphur, pleading in vain for one drop of water to relieve their agonies; we believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; we believed that we should be followers of God as dear children; in baptizing our infants we believed that God saved some and did not save others, or else we believed in the salvation of all infants, except those poor unfortunates to whose parents the Gospel had not been preached; for such, we believed, no salvation was provided outside of baptism into some one of the hundreds of sects into which Christianity is divided.
We believed that after a man dies, he is alive; we believed that Jesus Christ never died; that He could not die; that no Ransom was ever paid or ever will be paid; that Jehovah God and Christ Jesus His Son are one and the same person; that Christ was His own Father; that Jesus was His own Son; that the Holy Spirit is a person; that one plus one, plus one, equal one; that when Jesus hung on the cross and said, "My God, My God, why hast Thou Forsaken Me," He was merely talking to Himself; that He was raised in the flesh; that He still bears, and will forever bear, His scars; that He alone of all mankind will have to go scarred and marred throughout eternity; that He will come again in the flesh; that the Day of Judgment is a Day of horror; that the literal earth is to be burned up with literal fire; that all human beings who are saved become angels; that Paradise is Heaven; that the crucified thief became an angel the day he died and went to Heaven; that Christ did not become an angel, but was raised from the dead as a man three days later than the thief, but did not ascend to Heaven until forty days afterward; that all the Ancient Worthies went to Heaven when they died, including David; that present kingdoms are part of Christ's Kingdom; that the Devil has been away off somewhere in an unlocated Hell, instead of exercising dominion over the kingdoms of this earth; that the Antichrist is to be a literal man; that sectarianism is a good thing and will be perpetuated forever; that one can be born of the Spirit while he is still in the flesh; that a resurrection from the dead is impossible because none are dead; that it merely means in the case of the saints the taking back of the poor bodies that they had, in place of the perfectly good ones they secured when they died.
We believed that sanctification means sinlessness, not self-sacrificing devotion to the will of God; that the expression "Bride of Christ" means nothing; because everybody who is saved will be the Bride of Christ; that the expression High calling means nothing, because everybody who is saved, will be saved to the High calling; that the "prize of the High calling," therefore means nothing; that the Time of the End will never come in your day, in my day, nor in anybody else's day; that present running to and fro, means nothing; that there will never be any end of the "Times of the Gentiles"; that there will never be any special "Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation"; that there will be no "Restitution of all things"; that the Jubilee arrangements signify nothing; that the "abomination of desolation" signifies nothing; that there never was and never will be a great [R5629 : page 47] falling away; that there never was and never will be a great Mother Apostate Church, and she never had and never will have any daughters; that the expression "Royal Priesthood" means nothing, because everybody who is saved will be of the priesthood; that there can never be a Second Death, not even a first one; that a human soul once born, lives on forever; that the Tabernacle signifies nothing; that there is no witness to the Lord in the land of Egypt; that the Memorial Supper can be properly observed any old time; that the Christian Sabbath is not a rest of faith, but merely a formal observance of one day in seven; that the literal heavens will be literally rolled together as a literal scroll; that at that time men will pray for literal mountains to fall on top of them.
I praise God for the day that brought Present Truth to my door. It was so wholesome, so refreshing to mind and heart, that I quickly left the humbug and claptrap of the past and was used of God to also open your blinded eyes. We rejoiced in the Truth together, working side by side for fifteen years. The Lord greatly honored you as a mouthpiece; I never knew anybody who could make the follies of Babylon look so ridiculous. In your letter you ask, "What next?" Ah, now comes the pity of it! The next thing is that you permit your heart to become embittered against the one whose labors of love and whose blessing from on High brought the Truth to both our hearts. You went out, and took several of the sheep with you.
I am reliably informed that when Billy Sunday was in your city you were one of the most prominent workers for "the cause." I am reliably informed also that you are now serving as superintendent of a Sunday School in the denomination from which you withdrew when you accepted Present Truth. You either believe the foregoing "confession of faith," or you don't believe it. If you don't believe it, and are helping to boost the organizations that do believe it, then Doc. Cook, the discoverer (?) of the North Pole, should enlist as your pupil. If you do not believe it, and admit, as you must, that you got all your light on these and thousands of other subjects from Brother Russell, then, by comparison, the boy who wished that his father would die so that he could have his jack-knife, should be considered a model of gratitude and loyalty and faithfulness; and his name should be handed down to posterity as a shining example of the way we should act toward our benefactors.
On the contrary, if you have returned to your belief of [R5630 : page 47] the foregoing "faith," you must admit that it is something you once believed and once vomited forth, and like the Scriptural dog, you have returned to your vomit; I hope you like it.—2 Peter 2:20-22.
With ten of the greatest nations of earth writhing in their death agonies, it seems to me a particularly inopportune time to seek to ridicule the man, and the only man, who for forty years has taught that the Times of the Gentiles would end in 1914.
If you believe these stupid and worse than childish blunders of the past and seek to revivify them, you have a worse job on your hands than Christ had when He raised Lazarus. Pastor Russell's teachings have killed them so completely that they are in a far worse condition than Lazarus was when he had been dead four days.
I presume that when Zedekiah struck Micaiah upon the cheek and ridiculed the latter's confidence in the Lord's Message, he thought it was really funny, and still more so when Micaiah warned him that he would soon attempt to hide himself unsuccessfully from the Syrians in his inner chamber. I doubt, however, whether Zedekiah considered it so funny shortly afterward when he saw the armies of the Syrians in front of his house, and especially when he heard them coming up stairs.—1 Kings 22.
I think you should know of the blessing of the Lord on the service last week, and in making calls on those who handed in their names at Brother Rutherford's meeting. I never saw such interest! The sale of books was reasonably good—450 (all but 50 of which are delivered)—sold in four days. The fine class of business men represented was quite exceptional, although every week there are some.
Three young ladies from the Y.W.C.A. bought the books, and one gives good evidence of coming fully into the Truth in a very short time. A piano dealer said, "This is no denominational work, is it? I have no use for denominations. This man's theory is worthy of investigation." A lawyer said, "That man is a wonder! I never read my Bible, but I am going to begin now. Every reasoning person ought to have those books—I am going to read every word in them."
A merchant remarked, "This is the greatest reformation movement we ever had; we must keep it going." He sent to me twice for more books for his friends; and he is a man who had thrown all religion aside.
A Doctor I called on said, "I was interested to hear he was a Baptist; so was I, and I had the same experience he had—threw the whole thing over in disgust—and I was a preacher." He was glad to examine the work. The cloth books were not fine enough for him; he got the leather-bound.
Recently I resolved to be more diligent in searching for those who might be hungry for the Truth. Accordingly I carried in my produce wagon a supply of BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, displayed more conspicuously than usual.
One thanked me very kindly for a copy. I had known him to be somewhat friendly to the Truth. Another came to the wagon with Bible in hand, and when asked whether a Baptist or a Methodist replied Presbyterian, but had lately begun to read Pastor Russell's SCRIPTURE STUDIES and was greatly interested in them; adding, "I have gone to my Pastor with some Bible questions that he has so far failed to answer." Another asked my purpose in displaying the papers, and said he had two little books which were very interesting that he wanted me to read. They were TABERNACLE SHADOWS and the HELL booklet. He asked me to bring him Vol. I.
"Dear Heavenly Father, reverently, and in the name of Jesus, I approach Thy Throne of Grace to renew my consecration vows today. Not content with having made my consecration years ago, nor even yesterday, I renew it today, and present to Thee my body and all its powers, my heart and all its affections. I give to Thee, willingly and gladly, everything I possess, to be wholly Thine—today. I would not withhold from Thee one single thing.
"Gracious and loving Father and dear Lord Jesus, come in all Your fulness into my heart and life; take full possession and reign there supreme, without a rival today. Dear Lord Jesus, my glorious High Priest and Head to Thy Body, the Church, continue to offer me today upon God's holy altar of sacrifice, and until the sacrifice is completed in death."
After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for March follow: (1) 153; (2) 105; (3) 143; (4) 108; (5) 119; (6) 99; (7) 95; (8) 83; (9) 1; (10) 53; (11) 145; (12) 188; (13) 211; (14) 240; (15) 307; (16) 23; (17) 281; (18) 155; (19) 221; (20) 22; (21) 16; (22) 114; (23) 107; (24) 113; (25) 212; (26) 192; (27) 78; (28) 235; (29) 4; (30) 303; (31) 173.