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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
Ellenton, April 29, 1885.
C. T. RUSSELL, DEAR SIR: I wish to ask a question on a subject that does not appear quite plain to me in the TOWER. I have been a member of the Presbyterian Church for twenty odd years, having joined that Church at my old home, St. Louis, Missouri. I am quite certain that I joined the Church with a sincere desire to become one of Christ’s followers, and I fully understood the nature of the vows I took, and experienced great pleasure in reading the Bible with its commentaries; and this for a number of years. I either expected too much in this new relation I had placed myself in, or else I had never experienced a change of heart, for in spite of my earnest desire after a Christian life and holiness, I was continually breaking God’s Word in some way or other. This caused me so much trouble that finally I grew cold, and of late years have taken very little interest in religion, thinking that I must long ago have been out of its pale, and might just as well let myself drift along with the masses and take my chance with others. At no time, however, has my belief in the fundamental truths of the Bible been lost, nor do I think they ever will be. I simply found I could not live up to its teachings so considered myself out of
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the race. When I first read your paper, however, and afterwards “Food for Thinking Christians,” I became greatly encouraged and had reason to believe that I might yet have a chance of reaching the class of them enjoying perfect human nature. This is the point, therefore, that I am not clear about from reading in the TOWER. What I wish to ask is, Does “Food for Thinking Christians” teach that persons in my condition have yet an opportunity of being brought back into closer fellowship with the Lord, and finally partake of the divine nature and become spiritual new creatures? If so, when will that change take place? And how shall one know whether he belongs to this class [the spiritual] or will only be able to attain to the “perfect human nature”? You will confer a great favor upon me by answering these questions.
Yours truly, __________.
DEAR BROTHER: We are glad to know that the truth in your case has been doing its quickening work. In answer to your question I would say that I judge you to be eligible to the high calling—”the divine nature”; but you can very soon decide that matter for yourself. If you ever gave yourself entirely and unreservedly to the Lord, you may be sure on the strength of the promise, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out”—you were accepted of him. And those new desires after and appreciation of heavenly things are an evidence of your adoption and sealing.
Though you became discouraged, and therefore grew cold in your love and service, because of your ignorance of our Lord’s bounty and kind consideration for our frailties since covered with our Redeemer’s righteousness, He has now sent you such a thrilling message of his wondrous grace as to quicken you into new life, and to remind you of your covenant and of the necessity of fulfilling it, and thus making your calling and election sure.
If you never so consecrated, of course it is your privilege to rise to human perfection; but I think from what you say, the former is your case.
I should add, that while it is possible for those who have consecrated, to so run as to obtain the great prize; it is of course possible to come short of it, “Let us therefore fear,” and so run with care. EDITOR.
Nebraska, April 8th, 1885.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: I come to you a new reader of the TOWER. I am not of those who have come out of “Babylon” as have not been “defiled” in that way. The Lord took me out from the world as “a brand from the burning,” and has been training me in the way of truth. It has been here a little and there a little. I was free from prejudice to start with, and, with God’s help, have kept so. I am always ready to accept of truth and light, no matter by whom it is presented. I saw from the start that I could never join any of the different denominations and remain with them. This work has been going on in me now about five years. I have believed in the return of Christ that length of time.
Some time over two years ago “Food for Thinking Christians” was handed me by a dear old man, whose feelings I respected. So I accepted of it, took it home and laid it away,—counted it as rubbish without giving it a hearing. It went to Jerusalem and back among my other books in the year of 1883. Going and coming I sold and gave away some of my little stock of books, but somehow this little no-account affair stuck to me. Well, for over a month now I have been pleading with God for light on the “Times of the Fullness of the Gentiles.” What is to mark that event? While looking to the Lord for light on this and kindred subjects, I took up this little work, and—well I give God thanks. His mercy is for all, and endureth forever. After feeding on this for two days, I started to look up my old friend to see if he had anything more for me. I got a year’s numbers of the TOWER. I want the whole truth, and pray to the Father of mercies to keep me free from error. Enclosed please find $5. Send me Young’s Greek, Hebrew and English Concordance; put me on your list for the TOWER, and the balance in the Lord’s treasury. I can use some extra numbers of the TOWER to good advantage.
Perhaps it may interest you to know something of my plans for the future. I have none. I have closed up my business account with the world, and, as I believe, have made a full surrender to the Master. My only desire is to be led by him, that I might devote the remainder of my time for this age, as well as the age to come, in His service. Yours, hoping to be made ready for his appearing, __________.
Glasgow, Scotland, April 4th, 1885.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: On Sunday night, March 29, at 7 o’clock, the anniversary of the Lord’s Supper, the night on which he (Jesus) poured out his soul unto death for the sin of the world, twelve of the WATCH TOWER readers met in my house.
After prayer and singing, together we read articles from the TOWER, when all joined in reading the Scripture proofs, and then partook of the bread and wine according to the Word (1 Cor. 11:23). We were blessed with a sweet communion, and were sorry to separate at 10 o’clock. One brother remarked there were thirteen present, Jesus being in the midst of us, blest us and did us good.
Thank God for the light we receive through the WATCH TOWER. The article on “Two Baptisms,” which appeared in the TOWER seems to have taken hold of the readers here.
I baptized four into Christ on April 1st., and others are wishing to be immersed into truth, which will be done, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Gal. 3:27.
Yours in Christ, __________.
Plainview, Neb., March 1, 1885.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: For two years I have been a reader of ZION’S WATCH TOWER, and have looked anxiously for it each month. I should like to tell you how providential were the circumstances that first brought the September (1881) number to my notice, but it would be too long a story. I read it carefully and compared it with the Scriptures, and felt in my heart that it was the truth. And although I have been a member of the Baptist Church for twenty-five years, and have tried to do the will of God by his help, doubts would often drive away trust; but the TOWER came as a shining light, and led me to exclaim with Thomas, “My Lord and my God.” And it is my daily prayer that He may send abroad his light until all the world shall know and do his will.
Your Brother in Christ, __________.
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER: I began working with you two years ago, and I am sorry to say I have not been able to send you but 50 cents in money. I am so poor in this world’s goods that I can hardly support my family. And yet I shudder when I think of the many hidden pitfalls into which I would have stumbled but for the TOWER. Quite a number with whom I labored have become subscribers of your paper. I do not want you to forget me, and yet, if I am eating food which by right belongs to one more worthy, do not permit me to stand in the way. I am still teaching whenever an opportunity is afforded, but meet with the opposition promised by our Saviour. A few days back I was in a Quaker congregation. When they asked the question, “If Christ died for all, then why are not all saved?” I replied, “Paul says, How can they hear without a preacher,” &c. The elder of the church asked what I would do with the heathen. I replied, “It shall be testified unto them in due time.”
Your Brother in Christ, __________.
— May, 1885 —