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VIEW FROM THE TOWER
The interest still continues over the entire Zion. Letters expressive of very deep interest come in daily in great numbers, and show that the people are being stirred to an examination of the Scripture as never before. We append a few letters for your benefit. Many of the best are too personal to admit of publication.
These expressions of gratitude to God for heavenly food and spiritual strength, received through a discernment of his plan and better understanding of His Word, are from consecrated children of God in various social stations, but not many, though some from the ministers of churches. It is strange indeed, that the ministers and people do not seize the joyful tidings and carry it with one glad shout of praise to God, o’er all the earth—wherever christians dwell.
But while they are well aware that the various sectarian creeds contradict each other, and that many parts of Scripture are not in harmony with any of them, yet they are unwilling to examine these things which God is now opening up—because it is now due time for his plan to be understood by his children—and shun them as though they were poison instead of FOOD.
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Poor things, they are afraid to read lest they should be unsettled; but the whole difficulty is, that they are already unsettled and their faith being built on the sandy foundations of human traditions instead of on the rock, they are in constant danger of the floods of skepticism and infidelity sweeping their little all, away.
Meanwhile, ministers seem to become alarmed, because the best elements in their flocks, give heed to and relish the „Food” now being provided the sheep by the chief Shepherd. Many of these ministers seeking „honor one of another” and the approbation of the worldly element of their churches, are far less prepared for this „meat in due season” than some—more humble—of their flocks. Even some good men in the ministry feel so confident that the Great „Babylon” that they have builded is all right, that they, without giving the subject study, join with others in saying: „Stop thinking,” „Don’t read it,” („Food for Thinking Christians,”) „Burn the book.” How strange—how pitiable, that men—christian men—ministers of the Word of God, should treat thus, anything based solely on the Word of God and manifesting only the spirit of Christ.
Those who read and think are convinced, not by any confidence in the teachers of the „TOWER,” but by the Word of God; and when such meet the Doctors of Divinity, their Scriptural knowledge is more than a match for the earthly learning of the latter. And thus „a little one may chase a thousand.” See how fully Isa. 29:9,14, is being fulfilled in this, our day.
How much the present methods remind us of the way in which Papacy treated all Protestants and their writings. As the priests once claimed that none should have the Bible, because only the priests could understand or expound it; so Protestants now say: yes, read the Bible but you can understand only such small parts as we can expound. And even that small part each denomination construes differently, to the amusement of infidels and dismay of all thinking christians. Yet so great is the reverence for CREEDS and traditions of men, that each party would prefer to see an opposing creed succeed rather than that truth should step in and furnish the connecting link, which would not only harmonize the creeds with each other, but also with the Bible.
Why this opposition? As seen from the TOWER, it appears to be because of a love of sectarianism. All are sectarian who love a christian specially or more, because a member of their sect or division of the church, and whose time and interest is in the upbuilding of their division and not in the cause of truth. Such oppose our teachings because they realize that it opposes some features of their creed. And it is for this cause that we are hated of all men, (not new creatures) for Christ’s sake, because our teachings are in opposition to some features of every sect. The world also hates us, because we are still more separate from it than the nominal church. But this is our work—”To bear witness to the truth.” And blessed are those who are beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the Word of God, and who worship not the BEAST neither his IMAGE, but God only.
Another laborer goes into the vineyard this month, a Bro. Tackabury, of Ohio, a member until now of the M.E. Conference. Should he come your way bid him God-speed. God grant to use him much in his service and for the blessing of the household. We may expect occasional notes from his pen in the TOWER.
Favorable reports come from Lynn, Mass., and Ft. Edward, N.Y., where Bro. Keith has been preaching during the last month.
Bro. Sunderlin is nearly well again. (He has been laid up for nearly five months, by reason of over-exertion, incident to the arrangements for the distribution of the „Food” in Great Britain and Ireland.) He is busy in the vicinity of his home, to the extent of his present ability.
KEOKUK, Feb. 20th, ’82.
„ZION’S WATCH TOWER”—Dear Friends:—Sample copies of the „TOWER” received, together with the „Tabernacle,” and I assure you their contents pondered over and over, each time with increasing zest and delight. I cannot find language to express my thanks to the gentleman who, apparently in an accidental way, met and handed me a copy of „Food for Thinking Christians,” at the same time asking me if I would read it if he gave it me, thereby exciting my curiosity to know its contents. May God bless him and all of you in the holy work of Love. To me it has been a feast—”Food” indeed. So much Bible truth, so many of its precious promises and utterances have been explained and brought into requisition that I never before had any use for, or appreciation of. Enclosed find „TOWER” subscription. Yours truly, __________.
ZION’S W.T. TRACT SOC’Y—Brethren:—I have read with much pleasure the little book, „Food for Thinking Christians.” I am indeed grateful to you for the manner in which you have explained several of the most difficult points in theology. God in His infinite goodness must have opened your eyes to see these wonders of His divine plan, and I am thankful that I have lived to see this day. I may say that I fully indorse a great deal of the new teaching, and shall adopt it for the future. I pray God to abundantly bless you for your great philanthropic resolve to bless the world by giving away these pamphlets.
I always reverenced the Bible as the Word of God—but since I have read your publications, I look upon it as my most PRECIOUS POSSESSION.
Yours most sincerely, __________.
MANCHESTER, KY., Feb. 20th, ’82.
ZION’S WATCH TOWER—Dear Brethren:—I received the September No. „Food for Thinking Christians,” and read it through four times and loaned it. I am much pleased with it and think the views correct as far as I am capable of judging. Recently, by request, you sent me the same in pamphlet form, which I keep loaned out. I also received a copy of the „Tabernacle and its Teachings,” which I have read through three times, and can truly say, that I am more than pleased with it; also WATCH TOWER, for which I subscribe—am waiting to see if I can’t get others to send with me. Please send me three copies more of „Food”; I will see that they are placed with those who will read them, and give the contents serious consideration.
Geo. O. Barnes, the Kentucky evangelist, held a series of meetings here last spring; he preached in part your views—”Love of God,” first and all the time, and perhaps the mind of this community is better prepared to accept this Food than it otherwise would have been. May the Master speed and help in your work. Yours, etc., __________.
CHARLESTON, S.C., Feb. 20, 1882.
ZION’S WATCH TOWER:—I wish to express my appreciation, of the value of the two tracts—both of which I have perused with no little interest and pleasure. Their broad views and clearness on these glorious themes are equally as clear to the simplest understanding, as to the most metaphysical mind.
The „second coming of our Lord,” has been a subject of the deepest interest to me for a long time; and the pamphlets (in their humble guise) contain to me the most Godly and enlightened views I have yet met with.
With the earnest wish that they might fall into the hands of all christians, who may be walking in the narrow way, yet who may be like myself, often in the darkness, and longing for more light—to such I would say, „read, and ye shall find that for which ye seek.”
Enclosed please find a contribution of two dollars for the Z.W.T. Society. Please send me two copies of „Food,” and two of the „Tabernacle.”
— March, 1882 —