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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—The Lord has graciously provided me with a „companion.” It happened in this wise. I was staying for a week at a „convalescent home.” There were sixty inmates; but my way was not opened to do work until the day before I came away I put a copy of „Food” into an old gentleman’s hand, asking him to read it and if he liked it to send to me his opinion upon it. A week or two after I was made aware that the seed had been dropped in splendid ground. The old gentleman cannot tell his thanks; says it is what he has been looking for for many years. He has seen much of the „Behind the Scenes” life of the churches—Methodist, especially; he was sick at heart and almost an infidel. The only hope he could hold out to himself was that there must be a God: but he couldn’t see that God was a loving Father. Now if you could see the joy and gratitude that lights up his countenance you would be repaid for all the labor you have been privileged to perform, and yet I doubt not he is one of a goodly number. His life he says is lit up with a new light. He can feel the Rock underneath his feet at last—he has been trying to find this for many years. Now he is fully satisfied that the Lord is good, that „God is love.” He sorely wants to get hold of Young’s Concordance, and so do I. Can’t you send them over? If they cost a dollar postage it will be much cheaper than we can get them here. If you can, please do so. Enclosed you will find P.O. If they cannot be sent you must put the money to anything you think well. Only please send word what can be done, if you possibly can.
Now we want very badly to know what „plan” you have in hand for those who have time on their hands. Brother __________ has all his and wants very much to get to some definite work although he has not by any means been idle since reading „Food” and „Tabernacle.” I have loaned him my papers for back years. He will write to you himself directly when we hear from you.
I am so thankful for a companion to correspond on points dealt with in TOWER, &c. It is a grand means of establishing one, almost all has had to be done by letter so far, but D.V. we hope to have a week together soon. I bless God and pray for you and the brethren daily. Also for the dear ones who are still in Babylon, for there seem to me many whom the Lord loves and favors, still in sectarian bonds. I am thankful to say I’ve not had it all smooth since resigning all membership and office in the old church, but I trust the Lord will keep me humble. My faith in God’s present power to heal has been greatly enlightened and strengthened by reading the articles in last TOWER. Cures are being wrought in England. I am fully convinced that we are in the „day of the Lord.” Oh! may he keep us, and may we having put on the whole armor of God be able to use it and having done all to stand. The Lord bless you and use you ever more and more for his glory. With heartiest love, I am dear Brother, yours affectionately in Christ. __________.
Howel Co., Mo.
BRO. RUSSELL:—I enclose 50 cents for the WATCH TOWER for one year. I have already received four numbers. I see in Vol. 7, No. 1, your suggestion to the consecrated. My dear Brother, I have not been in possession of this new light long enough to know hardly what I am. I am like a man coming out of black darkness into a brilliant light (suddenly). I can’t discern clearly as yet. I was raised in the M.E. Church, at twenty-five went off into infidelity, at thirty I got a book teaching annihilation to the wicked. In 1879, I became a member of the Missionary Baptist church; am one yet, but have been dissatisfied on account of the scarcity of spiritual food. I have at times wondered if any would be saved; and at times have thought we were all wheat; but never thought of the millennium as a day of joy only to those yet alive in the flesh at our Saviour’s coming. Of course have wished that I could live until that time, but then I supposed we would all see him with the eye of flesh. I mean those alive. I can say and believe differently now. Standing on the TOWER, the whole Bible is in harmony. God is just and merciful and greatly to be loved, and our Saviour is a success—not a Saviour to just a few, but to all, by the resurrection of the dead. Redeemed from the curse upon Adam for disobedience, each and every man is resurrected and put on trial for himself, and not for another. I feel that I can thank God with my entire soul or being for this teaching. If the world could only realize this, the knowledge of such goodness and mercy on God’s part towards men would cause all men to love and serve him. My prayer for two years past has been for more light, and for humble and willing submission to God’s will. I have tried to be as potter’s clay in his hands, to be moulded by his pleasure, and I thank him now that my prayers have (I believe) been answered. I am very much interested in the Tabernacle Teachings, but have not a clear understanding of half of it yet, though I hope to before I stop. I do not see any stopping place; in fact it appears to be Plus Ultra all the time. But my letter is now very much longer than I would have written to any other Editor unless I was writing for publication, which I am not now. I feel great love and esteem for you and yours, and may our Master uphold and sustain you ever, is my earnest prayer. __________.
Lancaster, N.H., Oct. 31, 1885.
DEAR SIR: I remember not long ago that one of your correspondents mentioned the disappearance of the books, „Food” and „Tabernacle,” saying that they were apparently mislaid, but indicating that they might be mislaid on purpose. My experience is very similar. I have had twelve „Food for Thinking Christians,” and I have but one left, and I am entirely unable to get any of the others, although I have asked for them repeatedly. Perhaps you will be interested in the history of one of them. I sent a copy of the „Food” to a Methodist minister, formerly stationed here. He read the book because I asked it as a favor, but all the result that I ever knew was the remark that „I must be losing my mind.” However, the young girl who was the bearer, took it away with her to one of the large mountain hotels where she was to act as waitress. There were also a great many other young men and girls there, and strange to say, many of them were interested. It attracted their attention, one in particular, a Romanist; another a young man who, if I remember rightly, was to enter the ministry. He was so entirely carried away with the book that he knew parts of it by heart; but at the close of the season he begged to have it left with him, and he has it now. So if the minister did not appreciate it these did. It is discouraging to have some prominent orthodox Christian say to one, „I do not see what you find in that book so very interesting;” and that is what they say sometimes, and of others, they think the whole thing is a delusion and a snare. I know one has to think over it, but to many it seems of such unfathomable depths that they give it up after trying for a little to comprehend. If you will send me one more book, „Food,” I will make one more attempt to interest some one. I know the books have been read, more or less, in every case except one—a Unitarian. I do not know in this case. I have long thought I would write you and give account of all the printed matter you have sent me from time to time, but did not really think it worth while until I read from last paper where you speak of being encouraged by „the thousand postal cards;” so perhaps you may find something in this letter to encourage you somewhat. I have reached a good many after all, as I think it over.
Yours respectfully, __________.
Topeka, Kansas, Nov. 2, 1885.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: Some of my letters and remarks may sound as though I was discouraged, but I assure you that I am not discouraged. I expect to work on, and not to sit down at ease nor think the victory won till I have obtained my crown. I believe that if my work and efforts are to make known God’s truth to his honor, glory and praise, I shall be blessed at least, if not others, if I am faithful. I greatly rejoice in the hope that soon with Jesus and those who shall be heirs with him to the kingdom, I shall not only see many convinced of the truth in its purity, but that we will behold all systems of oppression and error crumble and fall through its mighty power. For this joy set before us we endure the cross and despise the shame. Yours in this blessed hope, __________.
Cairo, Mich., Nov. 3, 1885.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: I have not been able to do much in the Master’s service. I just got a number of samples of Z.W.T. when diphtheria became epidemic in this place, and two of my children were taken sick, but they have both recovered. One family here lost three children, another two, and some one by the scourge. We were quarantined for a while. Since I am allowed out I have gathered up some of the samples. I traveled all one day in the country, where I had twenty samples out, and only took one subscription; and on my way home at night, weary with my day’s walk, and trying to take a kind of an inventory of the visible fruit of the day’s labor, the adversary tried to discourage me. Well I soliloquised like this: If I were working for dollars and cents I should have a poor showing for the day’s work, but thank God I was not looking at the things that are seen, neither was I seeking to lay up treasures in a bag with holes in it. The Lord blest me with these words—Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap—upon this condition—”that we faint not.” Oh, I am so glad that we have such a good Paymaster and a Captain who is able to lead us on to certain victory. I am glad that God reveals himself to me as an Almighty God, and one whose mercies are over all his works, and that the groaning and travailing time of creation is soon to be followed by a time of rejoicing. I find that the spiritual pulse beats very feebly among the people. I find people of the world and professors in general the same—interested more in everything else than they are in the subject of religion. The great mass will not read anything on the subject, but there is now and then one who has a spiritual appetite, and is strengthened by the truth. I am hoping soon to get out and hold some meetings, and by the grace of God to stir up the minds of the people, so that they will be inclined to search and see whether these things are so. On the whole I am greatly encouraged in regard to the work here. Praying that God may strengthen us more and more to carry on the war against the powers of darkness, I remain your brother in Christ, __________.
— December, 1885 —