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Pittsburgh, Texas, March 3, 1884.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—I am always thirsting for the literature of the TOWER before it comes to me every month. Having been excluded from the nominal Church about eight months ago for endorsing the doctrines as advocated by you, my comfort is in reading the Bible with the helps published by yourself.
As a young minister of the Baptist Church, my preaching was very acceptable until I saw the glorious doctrine of restoration, and preached it, when I was excluded from the Church which I was serving. I pray earnestly, „Thy kingdom come.” May God bless you (as part of the new mouth-piece, the old being spewed out) in your effort to spread the glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. I get a very clear view of the glorious teachings of the shadowy service, believing its glories. „The Tabernacle” tract is unsurpassed as an explanation of the Bible on that subject. Still I have doubts of my being among the priesthood—the way is so exceedingly narrow. Yet I often rejoice when my doubts temporarily remove with joy inexpressible and full of glory. I think I love my Bible better since the light of the „due time” begins to shine on its sacred pages, than ever before.
My humble prayer and burning desire is that I may be among that immortal band. I praise the name of God for the possibility of such.
Yours in brotherly love, __________.
DEAR FRIENDS:—Having picked up one of your little books on the street, called „Food for Thinking Christians,” and „Why Evil was Permitted,” I became deeply interested in it. It seems very good for thinking sinners as well as Christians. I am a reformed man now, having been down in the gutter many a time through intoxicating drink, though I have not tasted any now for over a year, may God help me to keep from it. Having just read the little book, I see that you will send others, and by so doing you will oblige me. I would like to lead a better life, and become a Christian. I cannot see fully into the reality of religion, but may the Lord open my heart and eyes to the great love he has for them that fear him. I will try to make good use of anything you send. __________.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:—I thank you for sending me the TOWER. It has given me much light and comfort. I presume my time for reading will soon close, as I have entered my eighty-fifth year; but if you will be kind enough still to send it, I shall be much pleased, and will pray for God’s blessing to attend you in your labors of love.
I would gladly circulate tracts or leaflets that you may have on hand if sent, as I have not much to do at present, and would like to work a little in the Lord’s vineyard while here, by circulating that light which is so freely offered. If you have any tracts on hand, I should like much to get a few. I have lent and given away all that I had to parties that will make good use of them, and there are others that I should like to have read them. I always use caution „not to cast pearls before swine” to trample on or destroy.
I am, dear sir, yours truly, in the bonds of Christian love. __________.
DEAR BROTHER:—I feel very thankful to God for the light of the truth I received from the TOWER and FOOD you sent me. I bless God I can rejoice in the truth, but we had a struggle to go through. I had been a Methodist for forty years, and my wife and daughter members of the Baptist Church. We have withdrawn our names from them, and are now forming a little true church in our own family. The Baptist minister came to see us, and denounced it as all wrong. I gave him my „Food” to look at. He said he wanted to get some points out of it. Some of my Methodist friends will not speak to me since I withdrew. I do thank God for the comfort I feel. I have been for many years trying to live wholly to glorify God, but I can now feel an assurance I never knew before. My companion is happy in the truth. I shall from henceforth work to bring other bound ones out into the large pastures. Pray for us, and may God bless you, and make you the means of setting many free. __________.
DEAR SIR:—I am rather late in ordering the TOWER for another year. The reason is, we have had sickness and death in the house, and I have been almost dead myself. You may reckon that I am dead, when you cease to hear from me once a year. But I hope some of my friends would let you know in that case for I should wish to thank you at the last minute for all the light and joy and comfort I have received through you, and those who have helped you.
If I gave up the „Tower” views I should also let you know that and the reason why, but I am still so interested in it that I always pray for its safe arrival, and not one has missed in two years, and each one has brought some fresh light. Since I prayed at all, I have always prayed that I might understand the Scriptures, and now the windows of heaven are opened and there is such a blessing being poured out that I have not room to receive it. He said „prove me now herewith,” and I say it is actually a fact.
I am able to report a little progress for the last twelve months.
Our meeting is the most liberal that I know of; brethren who are expelled other meetings for change of belief find refuge amongst us.
I have gained the attention of two young men, who live near me, and they visit me two or three evenings a week, to enquire „what is truth?” One comes oftener than the other and makes more progress. He goes and spreads the good news as a steward of the manifold grace of God. These two enclose subscriptions with me for the TOWER.
Some time ago I heard read in my presence in a most solemn manner 2d Pet. 2:1, in condemnation of „Food for thinking Christians.” If I had not seen the TOWER explanation of the „image of the beast” I should have been frightened out of my wits.
Your publications have removed more difficulties from my mind than any thing else has done. I never could understand why some Christians had no appetite for spiritual things, and didn’t want to know any more truth than that Jesus died for sinners, and why to deny themselves for the truth sake, or love a Christian because he was a Christian, seemed to be out of the question. I thought if we all fare alike in the end, we are „fools for Christ’s sake” indeed, and got nothing for it. But now it is as clear as daylight.
Your brother in Christ, __________.
DEAR FRIENDS:—I hope to find in some of the papers that you send, when our Passover anniversary will occur this year. I expect to keep it all by myself. The wine I can buy, and I can make unleavened bread myself.
I am very lonesome sometimes when I cannot find any one to converse with me about the glorious news proclaimed in the Bible and made plain in ZION’S WATCH TOWER through the Holy Spirit. Pray for me, that I may be ready when the Lord gathers his jewels. Sometimes a fear fills my heart lest I might be left, but I love the Lord, and he will not forget me. __________.
MY DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:—We have taken the WATCH TOWER during the past year, and I am glad to tell you that it has been to us meat in due season. I value it more, very much more, than all the preaching and reading I get from any other source. No paper or book is read by me so carefully and repeatedly as it is. Nothing I read seems to satisfy like it and the „Diaglott.” I am compelled to believe its teachings in the main, although I cannot grasp fully all it contains. How often do we (myself and wife) wish we could hear such things from the pulpit! I often read from the TOWER or DAY DAWN, and hunt up the references, instead of going to church, and I am sure we are blessed in so doing.
How easy it is, to see the true condition
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of the Church with the light as it now shines! I am trying to understand what it is to be a truly consecrated Christian. I earnestly desire to belong to the body of my blessed Lord. I am watching and hoping; but, oh! the promises are so great! the reward so glorious! I fear I can never reach it, so unworthy and so unfaithful have I been all these years. The battles of life have been hard to fight, many of them. But if my beloved Master will give me the very lowest place in his kingdom, the reward will be exceedingly great and glorious. I pray to be kept humbly watching and waiting for the time when he shall call me.
I often see the answers to questions I would ask, having been asked by others. Please make me a subscriber for another year. I would not be without the paper for ten times its cost. Enclosed please find $5 to help to spread the glad tidings.
Yours in Christ, watching and waiting, __________.
Mt. Lookout, Va.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—I have been reading the WATCH TOWER about one year. I believed some of its doctrines before I read, and I have adopted some since; but it advocates some that I am not fully prepared to accept.
I am a Baptist preacher, and live in a Baptist community. I have been circulating specimen copies of the TOWER and „Food” among thinking Christians, with a request to take the Bible for the standard of truth. Many have done so—two are Baptist preachers—and they are all astonished at the new revelations of the Bible. With this class I have no trouble; they are sincere Bible students. But there is another class among us who are so certain that they are right, and that these teachings are wrong, that they will not examine the Bible. This class is in the majority here, and is troublesome. I am alone, or have been almost alone, for one or two years past, but the Lord has helped me very recently by opening the understanding of a few of my brethren. I was once blinded with denominational prejudices, but I think I am clear of that now. I am determined to seek for the truth, and follow it whithersoever it leads me.
Will you please continue to send the WATCH TOWER to me, or anything else that you may think proper? May the Lord bless you and guide you in your work. Fraternally yours, __________.
— March, 1884 —