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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
DEAR BROTHER:—Your letter in answer to „Physical Functions,” at hand.
I must thank you for your kindness and promptness in helping me out of a difficulty.
Now I don’t want to bother you, but I have completely „faced about” in the last year, and I want to tell you how it happened. Eight years ago, I began to practice medicine, and the study of medicine I believe has a tendency to infidelity, if the study of the Bible be neglected. I depended on the preachers for spiritual food, and they mixed it up so, it disgusted me, and I came near starving, and presume I would, if my wife had not come to the rescue. All through the „dark nights,” my wife was on her knees, begging for bread for me. My confidence in my wife as a true and noble woman is replete, and biting my lips, I would yield to her request, and go down on my knees with her, sympathizing with, and pitying her delusion. But the crisis came. Hypocrisy in the churches, clashing of creeds, etc., all claiming a Bible basis, „boiled me over,” and I said, what I pleased, even to the detriment of my profession. I affirmed this question in a debate, „That man is the author of God, and a spiritual future.” But you know what I want to tell, so I will not bother relating all. I commenced the study of the Bible last October a year ago. First dismissing all creeds and notions of men, as well as prejudice, and with my wife on her knees asking divine guidance, I commenced the study of the New Testament. When I finished, the result was: I admired the pluck and tact and intelligence of Paul; but when I went to Genesis, all was dark, and like the „sow and dog,” I was about to return, when I struck the prophets. This gave me a key to the whole thing. It was the hind site on the gospel gun, the New was the fore site, and Christ the mark, and before winter closed, I looked upon the Bible as a great store-house—an ocean, the springs of which are hid in the mountains of God’s eternal love. I came to this conclusion: If I want to build a house, I take the tree and use it as I find it, for if I should wait to learn the origin of the first oak, or acorn, I might freeze before I build my house. So, with the Bible, I accept the material at hand, and use it.
After I was convinced, I wanted to be about my father’s business, but not being willing to take passage on any of the boats, concluded I would swim over, and have been swimming around, doing all the good I can.
The „Dawn” came into my library just when I needed it. Since then I am giving to my patrons the „Plan of the Ages;” but I am not as popular as when I was an infidel, for they will not endure sound doctrine. I don’t belong to any church, therefore could not get a hearing, if I undertake to preach, nor a house either, but I am going to lecture at a schoolhouse, and continue Christian work. But I must say it is a great comfort to know my Methodist wife who has suffered and agonized for me at a throne of mercy, joins heart and hand in helping me to promulgate the „Plan of the Ages.”
LATER.—I have just been telling the good news to a Universalist, who wants DAWN. He is anxious to know more.
I rejoice to know that there is a thirst for knowledge, and the world is clamoring for more light. I sometimes feel like launching out in the world, giving up my profession, and doing my little in lifting from the slough and cesspool of ignorance those over whom I have an influence. I never was an enthusiast in anything, and always aimed to take a stand, after reaching it by intelligence. But all the faculties of my soul are enlisted in this enterprise. I never experienced such a longing to go forth and „gather in the sheaves.”
I was an orphan thrown upon a cold world early in life, and have fought the battles of life alone, but God has blessed me, and I am coming out on the tidal wave all right, I hope.
If I can hold up a beacon of light, or point to some friendly star that will guide some poor shipwrecked soul safely to shore, gladly will I do it.
Excuse me for writing so much. I have unbosomed myself to you in a way that my pride almost condemns, but I can write to you feeling that our hearts beat in unison. May God bless and prosper you in all your efforts to do good.
Your brother, G. P. M.
MR. C. T. RUSSELL. DEAR BRO.:—I write to inform you, I have not yet received this January number of the TOWER, but as I did not send the number of my residence, that may account for it. I find it so precious, I can not afford to lose one number.
I have been a member of M.E. church for nearly a quarter of a century, sometimes rejoicing, but more of the time doubting. But blessed be the name of Christ, I have received some of the light that will erelong, I trust, shine to the perfect day. Through the kindness of Bro. P., I received a copy of Millennial Dawn, and I treasure it more than I ever did my Bible before receiving it, and my Bible is now more precious than ever before. May the blessed Father help you to spread the glad tidings, is my prayer. S. T. B.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Recent experiences have made exceedingly precious the word of the Lord through Peter—”Rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings … [and] if ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye, for the spirit of glory resteth on you.”
On last Sunday forenoon I took my stand in front of Grace M.E. church, Harrisburg, Pa., and proceeded at once to give out the Arp tracts. This had the effect of making the rulers of the high places angry, two of them going so far as to threaten to have me arrested, and when I would not obey and go away, one caught me by the collar to hustle me off. Whereupon I told him to take his hand off me, or I could have him arrested. Then he stood between me and the people and told them not to take them, but they took them anyhow. His next move was to send in hot haste to the mayor’s office for a policeman to arrest a man who, he said, was hindering the people from going into church. The officer came, and on their charge arrested me and brought me to the mayor’s office, but by this time I had the entire congregation supplied with slips. Without any hearing or trial they were preparing, they said, to send me to jail; when I told them, I was well known by a number of prominent business men in their city, with whom I had done business as a traveling man for a New York house for years, and requested them to send for one gentleman near by who, I thought, would go my bail. They did so and the gentleman soon made his appearance and with a look of astonishment shook hands with me in the prisoners’ box, inquiring, Why, how is this? The matter was soon explained and he immediately became my bail for $100.
At the hearing next day, they appeared against me. They well knew, however, that to charge me with giving out tracts that taught the people that an orthodox hell was a delusion, and that there was hope for all mankind, would be regarded as bigotry. That this was their real grievance, there can be no doubt. But they trumped up another charge that would take better and not expose them to ridicule, charging me with advertising a book and hindering the people from going into church.
The strange decision was, that I was the offending party, but should go free this time, upon paying the costs, which amounted
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to $1.50. Of course such a decision on such pretences could soon be proven unjust if brought into court, and I could claim heavy damages as against my personal rights and business interests, for being escorted through the streets as a common criminal, when I was violating no law of either God or man; but being a traveling man I have no time to attend to it. How it reminds me of the experience of Peter and John recorded in Acts 4:1-21. And how like them we feel like relating these experiences to each other for mutual sympathy, as we thus have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings—yet „light afflictions” indeed in consideration of the glory to follow. (See verses 23,29.) I expect to see you soon and tell you more, and how I expect this circumstance will redound to the glory of God. Blessed be God. My joy is indeed great in the Lord, and I realize my oneness with Christ as partaker of his suffering.
I remain yours in the one hope in Christ, S. O. BLUNDEN.
P.S. In consequence of this affair, I have had a number of opportunities which I could not otherwise have had, for explaining my position and preaching the glad tidings to interested hearers—in the mayor’s office, several newspaper offices, and among business men of my acquaintance. And it has created quite a little stir and talk both among these and members of that church, some saying they must get that book and learn further of this matter. The Lord be praised.
DEAR FRIEND:—I have read the book Millennial Dawn. It is grandly beautiful, yet so different from the interpretations of the various churches, to which I have been so long accustomed, that it almost frightens me to think of accepting it as God’s interpretation of his own word, notwithstanding the fact that it does present a perfect chain of evidence more in harmony with the divine character than anything I ever read before.
I say to myself, What if this should be one of those „teaching new and strange doctrines?” But then, I reflect, it comes hand in hand with the Word, and is fighting against the errors that have crept into the church, and not against God.
From early childhood I have been a Bible reader, and often wondered that ministers of the gospel almost entirely ignored the prophecies of both Testaments relating to the Millennial age, and confined their remarks to the doctrines of repentance, baptisms, etc., when it seemed so plain to me that such did not cover the whole ground of prophecy. The doctrine of Christ embraces so much more than they attempted to explain. I never could bear the idea of setting the Old Testament aside just as though it had already performed all its part in the great plan, seeing, as I thought, so many grand prophecies pointing to a time beyond the Gospel Age. I could not tell when, where, nor how they would be fulfilled; but still clung to the belief that they must come in somewhere, because of the divine declaration that God’s word shall not return unto him void, but shall accomplish all that he hath purposed. But, as I now begin to see, what more fitting time than the Millennial Age could there be for finishing all things pertaining to the Plan of the Ages? Now, the words of the prophets and apostles seem to stand out, like real living things. By faith I can see holiness to the Lord written upon the bells of the horses, the desert blossoming as the rose, the Lamb that was slain opening the sealed book, and everything that hath breath praising the Lord. I can see it all as if in a grand panorama passing before my eyes.
Please send a copy to my sister, and oblige Your sincere friend, M. F. L.
DEAR BROTHER:—Please send me 120 copies paper bound Dawn, and find enclosed money order for eighteen dollars—amount less ten cents each expense allowance.
About three weeks ago, I distributed a few of the „Arp Tracts,” in a car bound for Chicago. A man of Buchanan found one of them, while on his way to Chicago, and it so interested him in DAWN, that he inquired at nearly all the book stores there, and also at „Y.M.C.A.” headquarters, without success. On his return home, not finding any trace of the book, he sent to you for two copies.
On Friday I sold about 40 copies of Dawn, in Buchanan, Michigan, a village near here, where a great many isms are doing their evil work. Yours,
S. D. RODGERS.
[Brother Rodgers is doing a great work in the vineyard. You will recognize him as an able minister (servant) of the truth, when you learn that during January he sold 620 copies of DAWN. Reckon each chapter of DAWN a sermon, and suppose that each book will be read by at least two persons, and you will see that his is a noble service to our Redeemer and King.
While we all rejoice at the success of those who have many talents, and do great exploits in the battle for truth, let none of the humble, less talented, feel discouraged. The measure of every man’s approval before the Lord, is in proportion as he hath DONE what he could. Some whose opportunities permit less service and less success, will be just as sure to hear the Master’s „Well done, good and faithful servant,” if they do with their might, what their hands find to do. The grace and blessing of our Lord Jesus be upon all the faithful in Christ.—EDITOR.]
TOWER PUBLISHING CO.:—An hour ago I took from P.O. box a copy of ZION’S WATCH TOWER, and within the past month having finished reading the „Millennial Dawn,” and having become so completely engulfed by its wonderful but simplified explanation of the Bible with its hitherto (to me) dark sayings, I had but to glance over the pages of the WATCH TOWER to become at once fascinated with its peculiar beauty. I herewith hand you the sum required for a subscription. Send it along. I may well add that my feet had well nigh slipped into infidelity, but I now thank God that I feel quite free, and well assured of the plan; and I attribute my conclusions to reading your book. It occupies, in my estimation, a position on the apex of all Christian literature, and I hope and trust that its interesting and valuable pages will be carefully and thoughtfully read by additional thousands. Wishing you and your co-workers in the Master’s cause abundant success, I will ask to be remembered as your true, though stranger friend,
C. M. M.
Joliet Prison, Ill.
DEAR FRIEND:—I do not know but that you will be a little surprised at receiving another letter from me, yet I thought it would be proper for me to write to you again, if only to acknowledge your kindness in sending me the book, Millennial Dawn, as I requested. I must confess that I was not quite sure that you would pay any attention to my first letter, as I imagined that most people on the outside would be apt to regard with doubt and suspicion any pretension on the part of a man in such a place as this, to being interested in religious matters, or desiring information or light on such subjects. You may be sure it gave me much pleasure to find that you were not of that way of thinking.
Several other men besides myself and cell-mate are interested, and pretty much to the same extent. I can honestly assure you that no book that I have ever read has impressed me so much, or caused me to do so much serious thinking as Millennial Dawn. It is altogether different in its treatment of the subject of religion, and in the view it gives of the Bible and its interpretation, from anything I have ever read.
However unfavorable my early surroundings, and however evil my early associations, I think I have cause for thankfulness that I have at last reached a point where I can see the right way ahead, and turn my back on the dark and wretched past. I am determined to pursue that way for the remainder of my life. I have been five years in this place, and have still three years and three months to serve. For the last four years I have honestly tried to improve my mind and prepare myself, as far as what facilities I have had would permit, to lead an honest and useful life when I get out. I wish to acknowledge the receipt of two copies of ZION’S WATCH TOWER, and the pleasure and instruction the reading of them has given. I am much interested in them as well as the „Plan of the Ages,” and nothing would give me more pleasure than to have an opportunity to follow up a course of reading, the beginning of which, has been of so much real benefit to me. Hoping that you will not be annoyed at my having written so much, and again thanking you earnestly for your kindness, I remain,
Yours gratefully, __________
— March, 1888 —