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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
Callington, Cornwall, Eng.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Your card received, also June number of the TOWER. I read and re-read the various articles, and compared them with God’s Word, and I find it bears the test as far as I can see, and I am building with it upon the old rock; and it seems to be standing all right so far. I have had a few storms, but not a stone has moved, and I am, thank God, still finding plenty of good building material through your assistance from God’s Word. I do not want to have to remove any of the building this time, for I am perfectly aware that if I get any of the devil’s rubbish in, it will be sure to cause trouble. I wish to be very particular this time.
I may just say, by the way, that I found the good old rock about 14 years ago, and I at once began to raise a building. I continued to build on, up to the time I began to read the WATCH TOWER, and true I had raised a high building. I had gained a good name among most people that I was associated with; but when I through the TOWER was led to view the structure from bottom to top, I found I had made a lot of mistakes, and it did not look near so well in a clearer light; in fact I was ashamed to see it.
This was my mistake, I had put into my building, any kind of material that was presented to me, if it came from a good man. I did not ask the quality of it, but piled away, feeling confident it was genuine, and that if it was fit for these good men to build with, I might rely on it too. Thanks be to God, I see my mistake, and although my structure was standing all right up to this time, I saw from the clearer light, that it was doomed to destruction, and by his help whom I love, I took it all down; and my good name and high esteem, with many other things, is all gone, and I am now raising a new building. My name is Noah, and like Noah of old, I am building an ark to save myself, although laughed at and persecuted and counted a heretic; by God’s help I shall go on with it. I feel rather lonely sometimes, having none save my wife that I can talk with freely on these subjects. Some say they would like to have a talk, and others are afraid, and I feel perplexed what to do, and grieved at heart to see the superstition and prejudice that prevails.
I trust that the dear Master may make my path clear, although it may be rough. I hope to be found among his jewels, when he gathers them. My prayer is that the good Shepherd may continue to lead us into green pastures and to living fountains of water. Your brother in Christ, __________.
DEAR BROTHER:—I received the papers you sent me, and am distributing them where I think they will do the most good. I have been a Bible reader—a Methodist—for forty years, and I thought I understood the Bible, and yet I was not satisfied, and was hungry for something that I had not. I made a consecration of myself to God, and promised by his grace to live to his glory; still I was in the dark, and prayed earnestly for light—for truth. It came at last. The first food I got was from a copy of the TOWER, and I began to “see men as trees walking.” I continued searching and kept on reading the TOWER in connection with the Word of God, I also read “Food for Thinking Christians”; my eyes again being touched, I see now clearer, and now I am hungry and will search for food until I am filled. I thank God for the TOWER and little book. My wife is one with me, in searching for the bread of life. I am an invalid, have been for nineteen years, was wounded badly in the war. Please send the Tabernacle Tract, or anything you please to give me. I intend to work now for the Master. Your brother,
St. Louis, Mo.
DEAR BROTHER:—I am no longer young, but have a strong desire to do something in the Lord’s vineyard. If I were of middle age, if competent, with the present light I would devote probably most, if not all, my time to making known the glad tidings. I believe, after due reflection, that many years ago I consecrated myself to God, but not understanding it, could not realize it as now. I have made a great deal of money, but have not so much of it now; it has mostly vanished. I never was a worldly man, but a hard worker, much devoted to my profession, which is now secondary. I may have some means to dispose of for the cause of truth, but cannot see clearly how it should be done. I think if your Tract Society had a charter, donations and bequests might be made with more freedom.
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Sectarian preaching here is so insipid that I can have no patience to hear it. All seem to be busy worshipping the god of this age—the devil—in some form or other. Pray the Lord of the harvest that he will send more reapers. Please make some suggestions, if you can, and may God bless you in your labor of love.
London, Sept. 2, 1884.
TO THE PUBLISHER ZION’S WATCH TOWER—Dear Sir:—While listlessly looking over an old book stall I met with a small pamphlet, published by yourself, “Why is evil permitted,” &c. I have read and re-read it, each time with increasing interest and delight. It affords an advantageous standpoint from which to view old truths in a new light, and, as it seems to my mind, puts the natural and unstrained interpretation upon the plain gospel declaration. It now seems difficult to understand why Christendom should for so long a time have distorted the full view by introducing many side lights, all tinged with formulas, creeds and traditions. I write to know where, in this country, I can obtain further publications upon which I and, I am glad to say, not a few friends might follow up the great train of thought which the little book has already been the means of producing. How fully would I bear out the assertion that the more we know of our great Father’s plans the more our hearts glow with devotion to him, the more life’s burdens seem lightened, the more manfully can we face a scoffing and incredulous world, and the greater our power for influencing for good those enthralled in the chains of sectarianism and those steeped in indifference. The more these views are enunciated the greater the possibility of obtaining ground upon which all who love our Lord in sincerity can meet and, by united efforts, work for the Master, and instead of sectarian strife, so unedifying to themselves and so hindering the influence of the good news to outsiders, they can unitedly press on and win the world for Christ. If you don’t mind sending me a line or two about the expense, and also about the medium for getting more light, I shall be grateful to you. With my best respects and every good wish, I am, dear sir,
Your faithful servant, __________.
Milford, Conn., Sept. 3d, 1884.
MR. C. T. RUSSELL:—Dear Sir:—I am more than pleased with the copy of “Food for Thinking Christians” which you so kindly sent me. I wish all my friends here could read this excellent little book. Think I could dispose of half-a-dozen copies to very good advantage if you could spare them. I should also like for myself other reading matter, such as is referred to in the book already sent. Have never seen the way so clearly presented, and shall look for further light.
As you advertise these little works to be sent free, may I not ask, is there not some way in which friends may assist in this good work?
Respectfully yours, __________.
[DEAR BROTHER: As you will see by this number we have a Tract Fund, to which any who may desire are welcome to give. The spirit of your letter—desiring and seeking a way to give is akin to that of the Lord, and is one indication that you partake of the spirit of those for whom the Lord prepared the present feast. As the Master sought the sheep and ransomed them unasked, so those who partake of his Spirit are ever on the lookout for opportunities to do and bear.—ED.]
Hot Springs, Ark.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Will you be so kind as to send me the WATCH TOWER again? Circumstances have been so hard against me that I am not able to pay yet, but I am still wanting more truth. In my young years I was for a time a student in the Missionary College of Basel, Switzerland. While there I began to see into the inconsistencies of creeds. I therefore grew dissatisfied and studied a great deal. But finally meeting with so many apparent discrepancies, I gave up all study. For many years following I regarded the Bible as a structure of man, adapted to the wants and wishes of all sects and the gratification of one class, the clergy. Pre-election and predestination seemed to be the chief teachings. Yet I had consecrated myself to the Lord, and I would occasionally pray for light and faith. At last Food for thinking Christians arrived and passed through me like an electric current, bringing me to see the glorious harmony of God’s plan. Possessing no Bible, I could not study Food and WATCH TOWER by references, but only by the remembering of former reading in German and French text.
Being desirous to do some good, I let my cup of “Food” pass from house to house until I at last lost sight of it. The last person who had it was a Campbelite preacher. I would therefore be very thankful for another one, also the “Tabernacle and Its Teachings.” Could also use, say six or eight, to good advantage among inquiring friends. I hope the Lord will bless you and all his people, and enable me to proclaim his name and praise wherever occasion presents, but I am full of fears lest my garments have become so soiled through indifference and neglect that another may be about grasping my crown. But the Lord can extend his helping hand to me as once he did to Peter. Yours in the love of Christ, __________.
— October, 1884 —