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VIEW FROM THE TOWER
There is nothing special to report. The outlook is much the same as at last writing, hence we shall give the more space to extracts from letters, as they furnish news from various pickets of the Lord’s camp, of the welfare of the “little flock.”
In the TOWER office every spare hour is being devoted to the promised “Millennial Day Dawn”; but such a work, to be comprehensive and clear, must not be too much hurried. We know your need for it, and many inquires show your desire for it; and we are doing all, that the necessities of other features of the work will permit, to hasten it.
The following extracts from correspondents will cheer and encourage you, we trust:
Macon Depot, N.C.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—The three numbers of “ZION’S WATCH TOWER” have long since been received, and several times read with much interest, for which I thank you heartily. I also received the “FOOD.” This I have studied carefully, I think for about four months. Its doctrines and teachings I fully endorse. With the aid obtained from it, the study of the Scriptures is more interesting, its teachings plainer, and its truths perfectly harmonious. In its doctrines, however, I meet with opposition from ministers and nominal Church lights; but they, in every instance, fail—while maintaining their creeds—to harmonize the Scriptures.
I have been trying to preach the Gospel for some time, but have not been able to preach this year except by the fireside, but I hope, God willing, to commence soon to preach the doctrine and views taught in the Scriptures as shown in the “TOWER” and “FOOD.”
Yours in the work, with brotherly affection, __________.
DEAR BROTHER:—Through a good brother, I have been reading “ZION’S WATCH TOWER” for nearly a year. I am so much edified that I cannot think of doing without it. I am nearly seventy-eight years old, and have been in the service of the Lord for fifty years; and, through misfortunes, I am one of the Lord’s poor, but I rejoice that you have made me welcome to light and truth through the WATCH TOWER. If you will send as many copies for distribution as you can see proper, I will do what I can in this way.
Yours in Christ, __________.
Sterling, Fla., June 4, 1883.
C. T. RUSSELL:—Dear Sir and Bro: I am a Baptist minister, young, comparatively, “in the cause;” have been preaching about three years. Yesterday, at meeting, a friend handed me a couple of copies of “ZION’S WATCH TOWER.” I brought them home and have been reading them. I am amazed! I am delighted! Can such, indeed, be true? Yet you have Scripture to sustain you.
Please send me right away “FOOD FOR THINKING CHRISTIANS,” and any other reading matter. I want to investigate. I am not satisfied with so-called orthodoxy. I pray constantly for light, and it seems to me my prayer is about to be answered. I am astonished to find some things in your paper which I have been preaching, it seemed to me, alone by myself, with none to sustain me but God’s Word. I am poor, very poor, but I must have your valuable paper. If you can, you can send it now, and in a short time I’ll send you the money. Surely, surely, you must be right.
Yours in love, __________.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—I send you another list of names for the TOWER. In my work last week I was called upon to explain the teachings of Z.W.T. publicly. After doing so, a lady remarked that the plan was so very plain that she feared to accept it, thinking that God’s plan must be more obscure than the “Chart of the Ages” in “Food” teaches.
I explained to them, that there are two reasons why many of God’s children are not able to accept the truth. First, early training; and second, denominational pride and fear. Had their parents been Roman Catholics, and taught them in that faith, in nine cases out of ten they would have been Roman Catholics. For the same reason, many cling to the Baptist and Methodist sects and the thousand isms of to-day. When we come to any of these sects and present a truth from God, the first thing they do is to inquire if it is the teaching of their church. When they are satisfied that it is not, as a general thing they at once stop their ears and determine not to heed it.
In a meeting, just a short time ago, after I was through preaching, one of the leaders of the people exclaimed, “I’d rather go to hell than not be a Methodist.” Surely he was very zealous—For the Bible, or the truth of its teachings? No; he was zealous for Methodism. See what denominational pride and fear is driving people to do in these days. They only know each other by their colors, not by the spirit of the Master displayed in each other.
Jesus Christ only established one Church—one body. The Church of 1800 years ago was not known as Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. Our Lord gave us our creed and discipline—the Bible—which is profitable for doctrine, for correction, for reproof, etc. But it is in these closing days of the Gospel Age, as it was in the last days of the Jewish Age, the mass of the nominal Church reject the commandments of God that they may keep their own traditions. Now, when we read from the Bible that the world’s resurrection will take place when our Lord Jesus comes, as foretold by all the holy prophets, and, by turning to the prophet Ezekiel, we read that he will bring Sodom and her daughters to their former estate, whom God took away as he saw good; if, in view of these plain statements, we stop our ears to the fact, we are not worthy of so great salvation.
Thank God some were convinced and persuaded to walk in the Lord’s footsteps and not with a worldly church. O Bro. Russell, if the dear Lord has only used your pen to bring me into light, it is worth ten thousand worlds to me. You are dear to me. I am running for the prize. It is hard work for me. Pray for me that I might crucify myself and keep humble.
Your brother in Christ,
G. A. ROSE.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—By a kind Providence a number of the “WATCH TOWER” fell into my hands, and it met my views so well that I sent for it for one year. Then you sent me “FOOD FOR THINKING CHRISTIANS,” and it was very rich food indeed. I have read it through three or four times, and it seems richer every time. I cannot express the thankfulness I feel. I am now sixty-three years of age. For some time I was a minister of the Protestant Methodist Church, but the study of the Scriptures led me farther from their creed. I finally withdrew, and for the last eighteen years I have stood outside of the nominal Churches. They have desired me to unite again, but I could not join with any sectarian organization. I felt and still feel called upon to come out from among them and be separate.
I can’t think of parting with the WATCH TOWER. There are a number here who are waking up to the truth. If I had sample copies to distribute among them, I think it would do good. My heart is filled with strong desire to spread the good news.
Yours in patient waiting for the full development of Christ’s kingdom and glory, __________.
— July, 1883 —