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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
Blackburn, Eng., Jan. 13, ’85.
DEAR BROTHER:—I am happy to be able to give an evidence of the hope that is in me. I had been a teacher for fifteen years in the Sabbath school in connection with the Church of England, but I had taught myself fast; in fact I taught things I neither believed nor understood, but like the majority of weak-minded Christians, I tried hard to persuade myself that the clergy were more likely to know than me. And so my reason overcame my belief, and I should have been an infidel, but I thought this and other planets could not work as they do, without some first cause. I was deeply perplexed, and often prayed If there is a reality may the First Cause of all things reveal it to me. In this state of mind „Food for Thinking Christians” came to me. I need not explain the result.
My friends who have received the teachings of „Food,” etc., have had a similar experience. But those who are asleep in Zion have not an ear to hear, and look on us as fallen from the faith (?). But we count it as nothing if we may only gain the favor of Christ.
Spiritism is gaining a good hold on the people of Blackburn (our market town.) They are building a large (shall I say) church, to hold meetings in. They have hired the Science and Art School nearly two years, but it is becoming too small. The nominal system has laid the foundation and they build thereon.
The WATCH TOWER has scarcely been heard of in this part of Lancashire. I have no doubt many would gladly accept its teachings, if they only had them explained, and I can do but little in this matter. Pray for me and my brother in the faith here. Please send me eight copies of WATCH TOWER hereafter regularly, as I can use them to advantage, I think. I hope I shall soon be able to use twelve as the good news spreads.
Yours, etc., __________.
Ambia, Ind., Jan. 28, 1885.
DEAR BROTHER: I sent you fifty cents about the first inst. intending it as a contribution, but I find that my subscription to the TOWER expired about that time, so here is twenty-five cents more, as I want to do something in the good work of disseminating truth. Wish I could make it as many dollars, but „Silver and gold have I none.” Such as I have I will give. If I lack in contributions I will try to make it up in service.
I will no longer spend my money for that which is not bread by giving it to the Nominal Church to be used for worldly display and rivalry in the mission work, pretending to desire the spread of the gospel, when in reality they only care to increase the power and influence of their own particular denomination. Hereafter, what I may be able to give will be given for the spreading of the „glad tidings, which shall be of great joy to all people.” At present I know of no other way to do this other than to help support the TOWER in its good work of „breaking the loaves” for the disciples, who then receive of the broken, prepared bread and distribute to the fifties
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(and the ones and twos) that the multitudes may be fed. I know a few good people who are not satisfied with the husks of orthodox preaching who I think would gladly receive the „true bread” if presented to them. There are a good many Swedes here, among whom I know two or three families that are religious; indeed, exemplary Christians. In order that these may be fed, I would like two or three copies of the TOWER in Swedish, and I would like a few copies in English.
I will just state that since my withdrawal (January 1) the Sabbath School has been reorganized, and my successor to the superintendency is a non-professor, and an admirer of Ingersoll, and the owner of a Skating Rink and Dance Hall, a society man, „popular.” „To the work; to the work,” is a favorite song, but the kind of work: getting up entertainments and benefits ostensibly to pay the bills, but really to gratify worldly pride! Deplorable indeed!
Although „straightway commended” by the head of the council (the presiding elder) „not to teach” my doctrine, I was chosen by the worthy (?) superintendent to teach the Bible class in the U.B.S.S. I accept, feeling that „the angel has opened the prison doors and bids me, Go, stand and speak in the temple all the words of this life.” This I will do, the Lord helping me, until „Jerusalem shall be filled with this doctrine,” or until the „council be called together and I am sent for.” Pray for me that I may be „counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” (Acts 5.) Yours in Christ, __________.
Mead, Saunders Co., Neb., Jan. 30th, ’85.
DEAR BROTHER:—I am highly interested in the teachings set forth in ZION’S WATCH TOWER, and I am studying the Bible as much as my time allows me to see if these things are so, and I must confess that the truth of God is growing more and more simple, plain, effective, harmonious and estimable with me in the light of the REDEMPTIVE PLAN of God, which seems to be the corner-stone of your teaching. I thank God that he brought light to me on these subjects. I am a Swede, and regret very much that the publication of the Swede’s Tower had to be discontinued, but I hope that God will in the near future provide for its continuance. These truths, considered new, have caused a sensation among the Swede congregation at this place, and persecution in the form of ridicule and slander have already fallen on me from the more reverenced among them.
Your brother in Christ. __________.
Thank God for the privilege, my brother, and that you are counted worthy. See Acts 5:41.—EDITOR.
London, W. England, Jan. 1885.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:—I have much pleasure in ordering the „TOWER” for another year (1885). I continue to enjoy it much, am very grateful to you, and all those whom the Lord is pleased to use for the blessing of others through ZION’S WATCH TOWER.
I thought the past year was going to be unfruitful with me, and it seemed to be so till August. Then I had the pleasure of finding a man preaching in the Park, who had been a member of a chapel 8 years, and had left it and despaired of finding a church what it ought to be. He was preaching against the hypocrisy of the Church of England, and the oppression of the poor. Two or three views from the WATCH TOWER was what he wanted and he was so delighted after about two hours conversation, you would think he had had a fortune left him. He preached TOWER views the following Sunday, read parts of Food for thinking Christians to them, showed them the plan of the ages, and quite interested the people generally. „The Christian Evidence Society,” sent out to oppose him, but they had no good news for the people, and as he had, they were anxious to hear it. He was about emigrating to Australia, so we did not have his company more than three weeks. He told the people how he would spread the „glad tidings” in Australia and borrow a barn or shed to keep the rays of the sun off himself and his hearers. As soon as he is settled there he will write to you and order the WATCH TOWER. Unfortunately I cannot preach so as to attract out of doors, nor assume sufficient authority against noisy opposition. We have interested another in the TOWER, who is now in Liverpool. He has ordered and received it. We have some profitable times, about a dozen of us, but have not yet begun to preach or lecture to the public, although our hall will hold about three hundred.
As I am out of employment for the second time since this time last year, I am sorry I cannot send a donation for the „Tract Fund.”
With Christian love ever yours,
Liberia, Africa, Dec. 23d, 1884.
MR. C. T. RUSSELL:—Dear Sir:—About twenty-eight years ago I became a Bible reader, and preached for twelve years, but I never understood it so clearly and plainly as I now do, when reading it with „Food for Thinking Christians,” etc. I would be under many obligations to you if you would be kind enough to send me half a dozen copies of the following: „Zion’s Watch Tower,” „Food for Thinking Christians,” „The Tabernacle and Its Teachings,” or any of your periodicals that may have been recently published.
Very truly yours, __________.
We are glad to hear that the „Food” has gone far off to Africa’s sunny land. May the Lord enable you to let the light so shine there as to honor His name by making known His glorious plans.
Latrobe, Pa., Jan’y. 20th, 1885.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Some of my experience recently reminds me of Brother Paul’s anxiety and astonishment as indicated by his earnest words to the Galatians, Corinthians and others.
I think I am beginning to realize, at least to some extent, the patience which not only Paul, but all saints, have had and still have need to exercise toward others of the household of faith, who are just beginning to throw off their yokes of bondage.
We also have reason sometimes to feel both anxiety and astonishment at those who, after having received with joy, the truth through Christ, become dull of hearing and turn away, some even perverting the Scriptures, and accepting some other gospel (which is not another) than that taught the Apostles, through a revelation from Jesus Christ and preached by them. Says Paul, „though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you let him be accursed. Gal. 1.
Most assuredly those who accept any other set of doctrines than that delivered to the Apostles, are being deceived. Sad indeed when those whom the truth has made free, turn back, becoming again entangled with the yoke of bondage; becoming followers of false teachers by reason of whom the way of truth is evil spoken of. (2 Pet. 2.)
But how very easy it is for any of us to become overcharged with the cares of this life; (Luke 21:34) and how very easy to become unskilled in using the „two edged Sword” if we do not continually exercise our senses in the daily use of it.
It is useless for us to pray „Give us this day our daily bread,” whether for natural or spiritual bread, if we do not use our senses, and make effort to obtain that for which we are hungry. Then we need daily to partake, not alone of the natural, but also of the spiritual bread, that we may be able to walk according to the Spirit; that we may be able to overcome „through him who loved us” and bought us, keeping ourselves in subjection to his will, not stumbling at affliction or persecution on account of the word, nor letting anything separate us from that love of God which is in the anointed Jesus our Lord.
Since writing the above I have received, and have been reading the January number of the TOWER. You therein mentioned what seems to you an unvarying rule, viz.: „that light and opportunity afforded by the truth must be used, or these talents for service will be taken away. We must let our lights so shine as to glorify our Father in heaven, else it will become darkness.”
Yes, Brother, this also has been a part of my experience. Truly we all need to heed the warnings given, that we may not be found „asleep” nor „drunken” (intoxicated with the spirit of the world). Therefore, let us watch and be sober.
Your brother in Christ, __________.
— February, 1885 —