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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
MY DEAR BROTHER:—The enclosed has been waiting the opportunity of my writing for some days past. I wanted to write a long note, but you will at any rate be saved the trouble of reading and answering a lengthy epistle, as I have not time to say all or ask all I should like, and I should not be surprised if, among so many, I had by this time slipped out of your memory altogether. However this may be, I have been diligently studying and searching the Scriptures.
I was most unwilling to give up the old belief, but I am not anything less than forced to do so. Every day’s reading and study convinces me that you have the truth on your side. Indeed I am astonished at the amount of light shining and showing up the old sparkling diamonds among the accumulated rubbish of so many centuries. God’s word is more sweet and precious now than it ever has been. Am doing my work in a quiet sort of way. Am no orator or speaker, but I can talk privately with thinking and sincere Christians. The real Bible students I can get along with best. The nominal Christian cannot argue from the Word; he can only say, „Well, I believe this and that,” simply because others have done the same. Of course it is not worth while giving the time to such, but the more thoughtful will hear you again. I am more convinced every day that the time is very near when the musty dogmas must go down, and the truth as it is in Jesus prevail.
Very faithfully yours, __________.
Michigan, June 29, 1884.
DEAR BROTHER:—You may have wondered why I have not written you more often. It is not that I have felt no interest in the ZION’S WATCH TOWER and its teachings; on the contrary, I have been much enlightened through its instructions. Since my first acquaintance with the TOWER I have felt its magnetism of truth so powerfully that whenever it comes I can hardly lay it down until I have read it through and through. No paper of my life has given me such thirsting for Bible truth, and respect for it, as the TOWER. I held a connection with the Methodist Episcopal Church for over forty years. While there is much in it worthy of respect and imitation, yet I much regret the errors into which I have fallen through her teachings and doctrines. To-day she, in my estimation, sustains very much the same character as the Jewish church at Christ’s first advent. My observations of her practice and teaching (though professing faith in Christ) compares with the Jewish quite well. True, she openly declares for Christ, but makes void much truth through her traditions. How millions of those who have died through Adamic taint are to come to a knowledge of the truth by the mode indicated in their teaching is what I can’t comprehend. I have had many conversations with members of various denominations, nearly all expressing much surprise at what I say to them. While some are inclined to accept the truth, others shake the head and move on in ignorance. While I do not as yet feel that my knowledge is complete, still under the TOWER light I am able to see much more clearly than heretofore. Many passages with my former training meaningless are made plain and harmonious by the TOWER light. In a sense, I feel cut off from associations of Christians, since I find myself alone in my views, and the TOWER becomes my only companion and associate. I regret that I do not have some one to talk with personally who is in sympathy with us. I am fighting alone and single-handed, and thus far have met none sufficiently qualified to overthrow what to me seems clearly the truth. I see much in others good, and much that needs correction, and as I am subject to good and evil influences myself, and a partaker in common with others of their effects, my sympathies go to all suffering conditions of humanity. The thought that some powerful agency in its correction will be used, strongly impresses me. Since the nominal church is faulty and can exercise but a feeble power for good, and that she is the Image of the Beast, and the Babylon of Scripture, that some other agency must and will be used to bring about the needed reform, seems clear. How many in the days of Noah, before the flood, recognized the gathering storm? How many in the Jewish age recognized that their house was left desolate? How many in the Christian age realize a gathering storm? How many houses are now on a rock foundation? How many will stand the coming tempest? I see the gathering storm, and hear the muttering thunder. The forces are organizing for the conflict, and I must set my house in order. In Christian fellowship, __________.
Alabama, June 18, 1884.
MR. C. T. RUSSELL:—Dear Sir:—Some of your papers and a little book („Food for Thinking Christians”) have fallen into my hands. I find them decidedly interesting and instructive indeed, throwing light on hitherto seemingly unfathomable mysteries. I desire to further consult them because I have not yet seen enough of your views to indiscriminately endorse them, but I must say, how plain! how very reasonable your explanation of the Scriptures! Calvinism teaches that God is a tyrant. That everything is transpiring according to an eternal and fixed decree. In short, it might be called eternal fatality, while Arminianism teaches that God is trying to save the world, but can’t do so without our help, and can only partially succeed with it; that he is neither all-powerful nor allwise. Each seems to leave out a link in the golden chain of truth, for a God that is not possessed of all these attributes in connection with others is not fit to be worshiped. They call your doctrine a „new doctrine,” yet I’m persuaded that it is not entirely new to non-sectarian Bible students. I think I can distribute a dozen or so of each of your tracts to advantage. Of course I could distribute many more, but they will do the prejudiced no good, for they have a fixed opinion, and you know there is no use in „casting pearls before swine.” Yours, etc., DR. __________.
Iowa, July 18, 1884.
DEAR BRO.:—Please find enclosed $1, for which please continue to send the TOWER, by which I have been so blessed in knowledge of the Lord’s doing. It seems to me that at the rate the clouds of darkness are drifting from off the pages of that great book, the Bible will stand clear of every questioning point. Well, I am doing the best I can to spread the true Gospel, and to help others to see the light. Must say a word of praise in regard to the article on the flood in the June number, showing that God had an object in the flood besides furnishing an example to all who would live afterwards, the crooks are being made straight. Yours resp., __________.
DEAR SIR:—About twelve months ago your pamphlet entitled Food for Thinking Christians came into my possession. It has been rich food to me and to others to whom we explain the truths contained therein. There are some who accept the truth and their faces lighten with joy at the perfect plan of salvation which is to all people; others reject it and me, like a pestilence. This we can bear for Jesus’ sake. In my estimation the little book is next to my Bible. It has shown the grace of God in a clearer light, and with greater beauty than we ever saw it before. On the last page of food, there is the promise of more to follow, if we ask for it. We claim the promise and ask. Will you please send two or three copies of the Tabernacle and its teachings, for which we shall wait, with great desire, to be fed with more food from our Master’s table. Will you please send also another copy of Food, because the one that we have is getting so much worn, that we have to paste some of it together. If we had many copies of it we could
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judiciously give them away. We pray that the Lord will bless you more abundantly.
Though strangers in the flesh, we can say we are one in the bonds of the Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Yours faithfully, __________.
East Troy, Pa.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I herewith send 50 cents, for which please send the TOWER to __________. This brother has been reading your publications the past year, and he says he has learned more real theology from them than he ever found before. He stands firm for the truth whenever opportunity offers. He and I are quietly working to scatter light, not without some hope of success. The ignorance of the masses of even the nominal church is truly surprising.
Very truly your brother, __________.
DEAR MRS. RUSSELL:—Your card is at hand. Thank you for your kind wishes, and remembrance of me before God, for I am sorely persecuted by my best friends; yet I have a sweet, deep peace beyond all comprehension, feeling nothing but pity for the blind and deaf. I am told that I am taking slow poison; that on peril of my soul I must burn all your papers; but I would burn my daily bread sooner. How much that sounds like Catholicism! I have been one of those who worked without ceasing in the nominal church, hence they are determined to try to bring me to my senses. The deacon has refused to take my name from the church; but I have written a second time telling him from henceforth I stand with you and your company. Since I have taken a stand for the truth, God has revealed to me plainer than ever that this is the way in which I should walk. I feel at times like a rock, and as though my life were the forfeit. I will not dissemble in spite of all opposition. The seed is taking root in Kansas, my former home. I expect to return in about one year, then I hope by the grace of God to be able to lead some out of bondage, and strengthen the weak. I must not let what talents are entrusted to me rust out.
Yours in Christ, MRS. __________.
— August, 1884 —