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We append a letter from a missionary in China, received while this volume is on the press. It serves to illustrate how, under divine providence, the message of present truth is being sent to the truth-hungry in every quarter of the world. Evidently the Lord of the harvest is so directing the work of the reapers that not a solitary one of his wholly consecrated saints will be left in darkness.—I Thes. 5:4.
My Dear Mr. Russell:—It is now several years since an apparently incidental conversation on some religious topic led my good friend, Miss Downing [also a missionary, and for some years a Tower and S. Study reader] to place a number of The Watch Tower in my hands. Above I say incidental — I will now correct myself and say providential; for this I most firmly believe it to have been, inasmuch as from that day to this I have been, not only what the periodicals call a “constant reader, ardent admirer,” etc., but one who has been truly blessed, comforted, enlightened and strengthened, yea, and spiritualized, too, by the seemingly entirely new (but really the old and true), the fearless and dignified (yet humble and Christlike), the indisputably orthodox (yet reckoned heterodox) expositions of divine truth, which you and your helpers have been privileged to publish, and I, together with so many others, have been privileged to read in its monthly addresses.
But if all this can be said of its serial outcomings, what shall I now say when we are placed on the higher vantage[page 378]ground of the two volumes of the Scripture Studies, in their compact, methodical, chapter after chapter extending view of these divine mysteries, now given to the Church for the mere trouble of reading them as they issue from a sacrificing Church and a loving God. Truly does it seem that but a few more steps remain ere we reach the very top balcony of the Watch Tower, and see spread out before our wondering eyes, in rich panoramic undulations, all the glories of the day of God’s unfolding: all the startling promises relating to earth's harvest fulfilling: the descent of the crowned Reaper, the numbering of the jewels, the sifting of the Church, the binding of Satan, Jehovah’s account with the world settled, earth’s turmoil over, the way of holiness opened, glimpses of the bright age beyond, even to the age of perfection and glory, when God shall be all in all.
Is it not wonderful to observe the ways and means which God, by his Spirit, has been employing (more emphatically during the last twenty years) in bringing numbers of his people into a clearer understanding of Bible truths, cleansing the Word, as it were, from the dust of centuries, bringing out things new as well as old to the forefront for examination, clinching and dovetailing its various books so that it can be seen that not a single one can in anywise be done without, and causing the whole Scripture to shine forth in all its undimmed glory as the one great, glorious, all-sufficient, perfect Word of God to our fallen but Christ-redeemed world? How truly can we watchers see, not merely the promise of the morning which has gladdened the Church through the past eighteen lingering centuries, but the actual dawning of the Sun; not the forefulgence, merely, but the actual body of the great luminary himself; and this not on a level with—or just above and beyond— but a good way up above the horizon.
On the plain, perhaps only the light before the dawn may be visible; but ascend the ladder, mount the watch-tower, use the telescope, apply the sextant, then take your bearings and see if it is not the very sun himself. To be further convinced of this, let us just get to where his rays focus a bit, hold up the Bible to its light, and see how it causes every page to shine forth with the divine effulgence[page 379]of truth; how its foundation doctrines stand out aglow to whiteness of brilliancy, clearly revealing to the humble ones the hitherto hidden purposes of God; laying bare, as it were, the mind of infinite love; yea, in a manner disclosing those very mysteries that angels desired to look into, and were not able.
The world may be in darkness still, and will probably remain so till the more open display of his power discloses the fact of his presence; but to his Church, to the really watching ones, to those who look for his coming in the manner in which he said he would come—what do these truths say to them? What is the meaning of this supernatural glow, this focusing of prophetic truths on these few latter days of the earth’s harvest, this intensifying of light, this increase of knowledge, this ardent longing of the soul, this breaking asunder of creed bonds, this spiritual discernment? Sir, to me the one word, parousia, explains it all. Christ is present, the King of glory is here, the time is fulfilled, the divine Jesus, the Anointed of God, the exalted Bridegroom, is already amongst us, arranging the preliminaries of his earthly reign. In all probability the first resurrection of the saints who slept is an accomplished fact, and in some important measure it may be due to their sweet influences—the impetus which we experience, the constraining, spiritual, forcing power which we feel and which leads us, as it were, to look and long for Christ, may be the offspring of their early efforts in their divine Redeemer’s cause. Soon the living saints shall all have received in their foreheads the mark of their King; soon every jewel shall be numbered, the last consecrated life shall be completely offered, the victory of all the saints openly asserted, the momentary change from human life to divine glory effected. Then the whole Church, with Christ at its head, shall be revealed in power, the kingdom shall be given to him whose right it is, the mighty One shall marshal his hosts for battle. A short but sharp, a hand-to-hand but effectual, conflict with the powers of darkness takes place. And then, O happy thought, the fallen–human order of things on earth shall give way to the divine. O blessed hope, O glorious consummation, O happy, happy day, O joyous heaven, O gladsome earth, O infinite Son of God, O worthy exalted[page 380]Savior! Who that feels anything of these powers of the world to come would not reiterate, in the closing words of the Book of God, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
I crave your pardon, dear sir, if, in my overflow of thanks, I have obtruded too much on your valuable time. I had no intention of doing so, but when I began to write I found the subject was a widening one, and I desired to express recognition and thankfulness to my Heavenly Father as well as to yourself. The fact of the matter is, I am a believer in the great truth you enunciate; viz., that we are in the time of the world’s harvest. By God’s grace I am a watcher, and can therefore see the dawn for myself; and what is more precious still, I can feel it, and do not hesitate to say I know it is true. Can I therefore but be most deeply interested in all subjects (and they are many) radiating around Millennial Dawn?
In my humble opinion, your works, the volumes of Scripture Studies and the issues of The Watch Tower, furnish the very best commentaries and helps I have met with, on the Scripture texts and prophecies relating to the second coming of our Lord. I read them again and again with ever increasing pleasure, and my writing is simply the embodiment in words of a sense of obligation which has long urged me to write an acknowledgment, thanking you, as the human instrument, for the good I have derived from them. I trust, therefore, that, though I am an entire stranger to you, you will receive my epistle as the outflowing of a grateful heart, from one who not only feels, but desires to express, his obligations for any help and enlightenment received and appropriated, on what is to him the first of all subjects, the coming or actual presence of our divine Lord and Savior.
I remain, dear sir, yours in the love of Christ,
W. R. Fuller.
March 2, 1891.