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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
Corry, Pa., June 29, 1886.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: Since I saw you last week I had quite an interesting meeting at Greenville, Pa. As I got there late on Saturday night, I hardly knew how to advertise it. Finally a bright idea struck me. I bought a piece of chalk, and with it wrote on the sidewalks near the churches and elsewhere, “Gospel Meeting at the School House at three o’clock.” This had the desired effect. I had the best and most intelligent audience I have yet had. I spoke for about four hours with but little intermission. You must know they were interested, when most of them stayed for three hours, and delicate looking ladies kept on their feet all that time. You see the Lord supplies with power to make known the “unsearchable riches of Christ.” Is it not wonderful how the Lord uses even the weak ones for his glory? for you know I am no speaker or orator, but blessed be his name, he knows I hunger and thirst to do his will. My one great desire is that every faculty and every power of which I am possessed may be used for his glory. So far the days I have intended to preach I have not felt very well bodily and have been nervous, but notwithstanding this, I have gone forth in the strength of the Lord. I was recently asked by a brother if I did not sometimes lose my interest. I assured him I did not. How could I when the Lord continues to fill me with riches of his grace?
I don’t expect to be idle during my vacation. I have no reputation to be afraid of, having sacrificed all to Christ.
I think I might have use for some of those missionary WATCH TOWERS while I am away. With love to your household,
I remain yours in Christ,
S. O. BLUNDEN.
[Brother B., a Commercial Traveler, thus and in many other ways improves his opportunities for the spread of the truth.]
DEAR SIR: I have been reading the book entitled “Food for Thinking Christians, Why Evil Was Permitted,” and I see you offer to supply copies free. My husband is a clergyman, and we have a large boarding school for boys, as well as a part of the parish which we are responsible for. Several have seen your book, and I am quite surprised at the desire they express to have one themselves. We had no idea that these views were held by any one around us, but it is not the few but the many ripe Christians that would gladly see the circulation of this book. I shall be glad to use as many as you can spare me.
Very truly yours, __________.
Mich., July 5, 1886.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—It seems a long time since I wrote you, but the delay has not been in consequence of any abatement of interest in the TOWER and its teachings. On the contrary, my appetite for the truth it proclaims has constantly sharpened. I can hardly wait its arrival. When it is received, it is anxiously opened, and usually read through before stopping. The outlook from the TOWER columns is like the index hand of the clock dial showing the number of the hour.
It numbers passing events that give knowledge of approaching night to the civil and ecclesiastical world, and the overthrow of all systems of error in all of them. Like Noah warning the people in his days of the impending deluge in consequence of their sins, so is the TOWER. It is the Observatory and Telescope from which may be seen the passing events of the present culminating in the great day of the Lord.
But, as in Noah’s day, so in the present, but few seem to comprehend that the Lord is present. Nor is it strange that so few understand the present times. Since, like the Jewish Church in the time of Christ’s first advent, men are so thoroughly trained in the traditions and teachings of the elders, as to prevent now, as then, their seeing the plan of God in the final restitution of all things.
This is more clearly seen and apparent from the opportunities in connection with others in various localities. Scarcely one member of any of the nominal churches seems to have a clear idea of the teachings of the Scriptures bearing on the present and future.
They seem as much puzzled to understand what is taught as Nicodemus did, though teachers like him in Israel. The standpoint from which they have been taught to look leads them into error, and hence confusion.
Having dropped into a Bible class not long since of one of our great churches, its teacher (one of the professors in a great institution of learning) confessed that he had put much study on the lesson, yet it seemed to him that there was something taught in it which he did not understand. This was frank, and opened the windows for the admission of light from all quarters. There were some present, whose age and qualifications in a knowledge of several languages, was appealed to to shed the necessary light. After much discussion and the truth no plainer, a few passages were quoted to remove the perplexity and suggestions made to change the stand point of interpretation, and the truth and harmony would appear. But results seemed much like the man, confused, who repeated constantly that “once one is two.”
If the dogmas which have been long embraced by many were thrown away, their perplexity would cease at once. One minister confessed to me that he had a Commentary that cost him $65.00, and the more he read it the less he knew of the Scriptures. That’s confusion confounded; and so it is; the very source of light is hid, by passing error before the sight. I feel that almost all have passed the center of truth, and are on the extreme, like the clock pendulum, and though strongly attracted by the truth at the center, are held in the extreme position by the cohesive attraction of the dogmas of their long honored creeds.
Many Christian teachers are loudly proclaiming that the world is getting better. They tell us $7,000,000 were appropriated to the Missionary cause last year for the spread of the Gospel among Heathen nations, while the city of New York paid $100,000,000 for the privilege of burning tobacco, and in the United States $100,000,000 for liquor drank. While in the very city in which it was proclaimed, about 10 Christian churches existed and 44 saloons are patronized and sustained in some manner by the masses.
The picture drawn suggests that the affirmative of the evidence lies on the other side, and loudly proclaims that some other power than human is absolutely needed to bring around truth and righteousness.
Satan seems to be training his forces for a day of thick clouds and darkness.
Dear Brother, for six months past, severe sickness and final death of my wife, has prevented me from sending money to aid in the spread of Gospel truth. I enclose $1.00, all that it seems to me I can spare now. I hope to be able to appropriate oftener. Would to God I had the means to give liberally. If you can spare a few copies of Tower and Food in German, I think I can place them where some good can be done.
[We have not the “Food” in German, but expect to have a German edition of Millennial Dawn ready about January next. Brother Von Zech is now engaged in translating it.—Editor.]
Bay View, July 23, 1886.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—The WATCH TOWER just received states that “Millennial Dawn” is ready for distribution. Please find enclosed five dollars ($5), payment for three copies; balance for “Tract Fund.” I am still trying to follow in the footsteps of the Saviour. I find much opposition, and sometimes feel lonely and sad, and led to wish the conflict was over. Nevertheless, my strength is renewed, and although the night is dark, “joy comes in the morning.” The WATCH TOWER always cheers me, edifies me, and strengthens me. I anticipate a feast in the coming book. I realize more and more every day, and am thankful to my Saviour for the WATCH TOWER. By its teaching I have been led to a good understanding of God’s Word, so that it is not possible for Satan or his emissaries to delude me or lead me from the truth.
Your Brother in Christ, __________.
[Glad to know of your pleasure in the truth. Let your light shine. Be on your guard, too, for when realizing a dependence upon God for strength, we are best prepared to stand complete in his strength. “The hosts of sin are pressing hard to draw thee from the prize.”—
Sand Hill, Va., July 26, 1886.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—It was with pleasure that I received the announcement, in the July TOWER, that our new book, “Millennial Dawn,” is about ready. At the time, I was finishing a chart, which I have enlarged from the one found in Food, and have put it in a nice frame and hung it in my parlor. Already it has been useful in instructing others in God’s great plan. I am much pleased to know that the forthcoming book will be a help in the understanding of the same great plan, and also that it will be divided into volumes, which will make it very convenient.
Yours affectionately, __________.
White City, Kan., Aug. 1st, 1886.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I have been anxiously looking for the long promised book and am now very anxious to receive it. “View from the TOWER,” in July number, has been very interesting to me, and I have re-read the non-Ransom Theories there presented and am astonished. The chart also has been very interesting. I am more and more conformed to the TOWER’S view of the Bible so that that book I value far above rubies.
Your Brother in Christ, __________.
Lackawanna Co., Pa., July 28, 1886.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I am so glad to learn that “Millennial Dawn” is complete. I am sure it is just what I shall want both for myself and for loaning. Brother Adamson told me of it while here last winter laboring for the Master in this part of the vineyard. Please send me fifteen copies and find enclosed money order for ten dollars for same and my subscription to the TOWER. I shall ever be grateful to our Heavenly Father for the precious truths learned through Brother Adamson’s ministry and the WATCH TOWER publications.
Gratefully yours in Christ, __________.
Dover, Ills., June 23, 1886.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—It has been some time since you have heard from me but I am still living and feeding on the blessed truth that you are the means of spreading. The WATCH TOWER is always received very gladly and read and re-read with great interest and profit, but I am standing pretty much alone, but few will listen to me, but I think after all, the truth is getting hold of some minds. I received the TOWER last night and read the notice that your book “Millennial Dawn” is about ready for distribution, so I enclose money order for the book and subscription for paper. Please send me also a few packets for loaning.
Yours in the Blessed Hope, __________.
A gunner in the British Navy writes thus from Singapore, India:
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST: Grace be unto you and peace from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come.
I don’t suppose you remember much about me, but about twelve months ago I wrote to you asking for “Zion’s Watch Tower,” monthly. About a month after, my Battery was ordered out here very suddenly to come and strengthen the defences of Singapore.
I must say that Singapore is one of the most beautiful, fertile islands in existence. It is called the abode of health and garden of India, and so I think it is.
But you will want to know something of the missionaries out here, and what they are doing, and I think my account of them will surprise you. Never in my life did I see such Babylon and confusion and such pretenders. Why they know absolutely nothing of the Scriptures. There is a very dear man here, an American, about the best and most able speaker in Singapore, but in dreadful bondage, always asking for mercy in his prayers, yet calling himself an adopted child of God; so I wrote and asked him why on earth he continued to ask for mercy when he had obtained it long ago?
I have written four or five long letters to a Presbyterian minister here, and he can’t see it at all. Of course I copied from your paper, but he is quite willing to read any of your papers. I have lent four already, and he rather likes them, except Restitution, but he don’t at all like my speaking of Babylon, confusion among the sects. I have also lent another to the Wesleyan preacher, and one to the Baptist preacher here, and a long letter from your paper also, but he won’t have it. He says he can’t preach the gospel if he accepts that.
I have another friend at the Sailors’ Home reading ZION’S WATCH TOWER, and he agrees with it; for he says God would be a monster to create this universe
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of human beings and delight in casting us into hell at the rate of ninety-nine out of a hundred. I have another among the soldiers who has accepted its teaching. I often have a chat with him, and he likes your paper very much. Several of the gunners here have accepted it also, saying that it is sound common sense. I have also put it before a lady here, a dear friend to soldiers, but she is silent about it. I lent her two or three papers to read, and have written several letters. All she said was, “I quite sympathize with you on prophecy.” I often go to her Bible class. She liked your account on the “little flock” very much indeed. I wrote to an officer here the other week, an earnest Christian, and he returned both my paper and letter, and said he had no time for studying such things. I am opposed very much by a representative of the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the Baptists.
I have very much upset several of the preachers here by this doctrine. It is all over Singapore. Of course I keep putting in a word here and there, which brings them to a complete standstill at times, and they seem quite stupefied about it. I am writing letters all over England to people that I know, as I have a great deal of spare time. I have put that beautiful illustration before nearly all here of the diamond in “Food,” and the jewel having its beauty again restored so as to perfectly reflect its Creator’s image again.
I must just tell you how I opposed the Baptists here the other night: They asked God to save the heathen from going to an everlasting hell. I said how could that be when in Psa. 46:10 God says he will be glorified among the heathen and exalted in the earth? and again, a people that were not called a people shall be called the people of the living God, and nations that knew not thee shall come unto thee and worship.
I must just tell you the positions they hold here as missionaries. They are a lot of perfect gentlemen, they ride about in the “gharries” like gods of the earth: for instance, the Presbyterian minister here gets three thousand dollars a year, beside a splendid house fit for any of our noblemen in England. His gardener and “syce” and everything free. Is such the position of a stranger and pilgrim here below, following the Master’s footsteps whithersoever he goeth? And I find, too, that he preaches to suit his congregation, which consists of all the higher class of Scotchmen and other Europeans. One of the Baptists here occupies a large house, and takes in boarders at fifty and a hundred dollars a month. This is another stranger and pilgrim. Please send me some of your tracts for distribution. __________.
— August, 1886 —