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MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I desire to make humble confession, to as many of the household of faith as I may, that I have long been as a sheep going astray in that I have laid such stress upon the example of our Lord Jesus Christ as to lose sight of, and even to disallow, the essentially vital redemptive work in his sacrifice unto death. But I have now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness. That I have not sinned wilfully, in the sense of Heb. 10:26, I am conscious of very strong two-fold evidence. First, my desire has been earnest and continuous to know the truth, to have my will conformed to God’s will, and—latterly at least—I have again sincerely desired this at any cost whatsoever to the flesh. Second, in my just concluded reexamination of “the whole counsel of God,” as contained in the Old and New Testaments, and in the light of your publications, I have with docile mind and joyous heart found myself giving ready and glad assent to the one way from death unto life, and from the life human (of the called and accepted and faithful few) unto life divine—Immortality.
Some months ago I had an earnest desire to re-read “Tabernacle Shadows.” I had loaned my copy long ago; so long in fact that I had little expectation of recovering it, and I thought it might possibly be out of print. When I wrote your Society recently for a set of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series for the local library, I was strongly impelled to inquire about the earlier work. But not being in a position to purchase it, I refrained. I had not noticed your announcement regarding March TOWER, so that when, a few days later, I received the very book above all others that I wanted, it seemed to me most striking evidence that God had put the desire in my heart, and another blessed proof (added to almost countless proofs he has given me) of his steadfast faithfulness to him who trusteth in Him. Nor was this impression lessened, but rather increased, when I discovered that every TOWER reader was to have a copy. Verily, it is “meat in due season,” a most rich and timely banquet for the “Royal Priesthood.” If all who received it read and studied it with the same eagerness with which I did, and concluded their study of its pages and its Scripture references with a like thrill of joyous confidence that they “are all parts of one sacrifice,” our blessed Redeemer’s heart, in this day of his parousia, must have rejoiced as it can scarcely have done since Pentecost.
After this study came a careful perusal of the four volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN, drawn in their order from the library. The reading consumed many days, because of frequent silent meditations and constantly recurring references to the Law and to the Testimony. I could write much of this experience. But suffice it to say that I believe that these volumes present the only interpretation of the Holy Scriptures extant, that discovers the teachings of those sacred books to be at once harmonious and logical, symmetrical and complete, scientific and rational, satisfying alike the exactions of the intellect and the yearnings of the heart, and likewise offering the persistent disciple achievement of such exalted glory as to infinitely transcend the highest conceivable aspiration of the spirit—the new creature.
This testimony is deliberately, freely and gladly given after having been instructed in the strictest school of the Pharisees, and after having made diligent study for many years of the multitude of systems of religion, philosophy and science, ancient and modern, oriental and occidental, which essay to solve, or prove insoluble, the mysteries of man’s origin, nature and destiny, life and death.
Christ, and Christ only—my Lord, my Savior, Head, High Priest and King—”hath brought Life and Immortality to light,” and that only “through the Gospel,” and “the Scriptures testify of Him.” He hath indeed left us an example that we (the royal priesthood) should follow his steps, but as surely the one entrance to that pathway of joint-sacrifice is through acceptance by faith of Jesus’ obedience unto death, in order to render our sacrifices acceptable and efficient.
I rejoice with joy unspeakable in the confidence that my crown is still attainable, and in firmness of purpose to be faithful unto death that I may receive that crown of life.—Phil. 3:7-14.
Yours in the hope of this calling,
SAMUEL I. HICKEY,—New Jersey.
— May 1, 1899 —