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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Yours of Feb. 15, explaining Isaiah 40:3, etc., was received. Many thanks for your help to me. May the Lord richly reward you! The truth grows brighter and brighter every day, and though there is much darkness most everywhere, yet the glorious truth of Jehovah’s love as revealed to us through Jesus Christ doth illuminate my heart, and cause me to rejoice, yea, even more and more, so that my delight is to do God’s will at any cost.
I desire the prayers of the saints; and I want to keep so meek and humble, that any lesson which I need to learn may be quickly understood; for, above all things else, my heart’s desire is to learn and to do the will of our kind heavenly Father, who doeth all things well.
My prayers continually ascend to God for your blessing—that you may be blessed yet more and more in the giving out of truths both “new and old.” O! what blessings are already ours: reconciled to God, accepted in the Beloved, given exceeding great and precious promises, and sealed in our foreheads with the truth—the present truth, the wonderful plan of redemption, and the knowledge of our Lord’s presence. Surely, it is a joy to know these things; and I pray that I may be loyal and faithful as a true follower of our blessed Master.
I am glad to say that we have found a few who are much interested in the truth, so far as learned, and it appears that they are wheat, or else will become such, as soon as they know what the Lord requires of them. I will not trouble you for an answer to this, as your time is very valuable. Again I thank you for your brotherly kindness; and we both send Christian greeting and love to you and all the brethren and sisters at Allegheny. May the Lord bless Sister Russell also.
Your brother in Christ,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—We are still striving daily to make our calling and election sure; and we can do this only by God’s grace. Praise him for his great grace manifested in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Our meetings during last Summer were hindered somewhat by not having a convenient place for them, but we have held a few meetings out of town, and we trust some good may have been done. We have commenced our meetings again here. At one time we spoke on the subject, “What manner of persons ought we to be.” (1 Pet. 3:11.) We realize more and more that it is not safe to neglect the assembling of ourselves together, but to be more diligent in this matter as we see the day approaching. We find that we need each other’s prayers, encouragement and help; especially in the present hard times the cares of life bear down heavily upon some of us; and the enemy takes every advantage. In reading again the chapter on the “Times of the Gentiles,” in DAWN, Vol. II., I have been more forcibly struck than ever with the thought of the shortness of the time. And while I am led to rejoice that the struggle will soon be over, I am also led to renewed energy in the use of all my consecrated powers in the blessed Master’s service. God help us to be faithful to the end!
The TOWER continues to be a great help. Each number seems better than the one preceding it. Please send me a few dozen tracts for free distribution. I send greetings on behalf of the Church here.
Yours in the Lord,
JOHN N. LATHWELL.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Brother Florey (colporteur) thought I ought to write to you and let you know how great a blessing to me has been your MILLENNIAL DAWN series. I published in a recent number of my paper a favorable review of the first volume, a copy of which paper Brother F. sent you. Since then I have read the second and third volumes, and have given the first two as close a study as my duties will permit. I am already quite satisfied that you have the exact key to the “Plan of the Ages,” and the more I study the subject with the aid of that key, the stronger and more completely satisfying the evidence becomes. The second volume I regard as a complete mathematical demonstration of the time features of the Plan.
Having had, in my student days, a special delight in Thomas Dick’s works on Astronomy, I am prepared to say that I can surely discern in the complex yet beautiful harmony of the divine plan in reference to man the same Architect who adjusted the motions of the planets in their orbits and made the starry systems of the “heavens declare his handiwork.”
The Colporteur found me in the ripest condition possible to accept and appreciate the truth which is now “due” to be revealed. I had considered and rejected, one by one, all the creeds and theories of the churches and the scientists as wholly speculative and unsatisfying. I could see abundant evidence of an all-wise God in everything but the affairs of men. There all the harmony of creation was reduced to “confusion worse confounded.” My observations as an editor revealed to me an irrepressible conflict between the contending elements of society which threaten the near destruction of the whole existing order of things. That selfish and shortsighted man is incapable of controlling the destructive forces, or of properly distributing the
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blessings which modern invention has called into existence, has been long so clear to my mind that, without the intervention of a higher power, I could see no possible escape from utter collapse. What to expect beyond, I knew not.
At this critical point of my threatened descent into pessimism your MILLENNIAL DAWN series turned a flood of blessed light upon my benighted mind. It has given me a new and glorious lease of enthusiasm, where every hope for myself and the world had been abandoned to despair. My only regret is that I cannot yet see my way clear to reconciling my duties as editor of a local paper, and in the support of my family, to any active work in this new field of the “harvest.” I trust, however, that, with divine assistance, I may.
In my earlier days, before the cares of the world dragged me from my first love, I found peace in the Master, and had an era of joyous meditation on his promises. Whether, since my backslidden state, I may yet be counted worthy of the high calling is not now clear to my mind, though the facility with which I have been led to see the truth when properly presented, and the boundless desire I feel of witnessing its fulfilment, I am thankful to construe as a favorable indication. With a lively hope and faith in the continued success of your work, I am
Sincerely Yours, C__________
[Yes, dear Brother; the fact that the Lord has counted you worthy to see the light, coupled with the fact that you love it and are anxious to serve it, argues that your “backslidden state” was largely, if not wholly, the result of prevalent misrepresentations of the divine plan of the ages. Ah yes, our Lord’s words, “Sanctify them through thy truth,” is pertinent: sanctification through error and fear tends to backsliding. Ten thousand WATCH TOWER readers rejoice with you as they read your letter, and we join in prayer that, as you see the great privileges of service in the Lord’s cause and the obstacles in the way, you may have grace and strength to overcome them and at last have an overcomer’s reward.—Rev. 2:7,11,17,26-28; 3:5,12,21.—EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I will write a few lines to-day in answer to your kind letter which reached me at—almost three months ago. I am still rejoicing in the Lord and present truth, and am still “looking unto Jesus” who is the author and who will be the finisher of my faith,—if I submit fully to him, as it is my desire to do. Because of my poor success at colporteuring I have sometimes thought that the Master did not want me to serve in this way, but I now seem to see the matter in a different light. I think it is for my good that I am not more successful. It seems that the Lord would teach me a lesson of confidence and trust in him. If this be so, then I can rejoice in poor success; if it be part of the “fire” that is to try my faith, I can say, Amen. I desire the transforming work to go on to the end of my race, and want to submit cheerfully to whatever our wise Heavenly Father sees best for me, for—
“God knows—not I—the devious way
Wherein my faltering feet must tread,
Before into the light of day
My steps from out this gloom are lead.
And since my Lord the path doth see,
What matter, if ’tis hid from me.”
I certainly would be glad if I could put out five thousand DAWNS a year, as I know that those who read them will be blessed thereby; but if I can put out only five hundred a year, it will still be a little mite for the Master, and it may cheer some weary pilgrim along the rugged way. I wish to continue in the work as long as possible, for this favorable time will evidently not last many years longer.
I was much pleased with the Tract Society’s report. I felt a little solicitude for the Society, as money seemed so very scarce; but the Lord does surely provide, and we praise his name for the funds so graciously provided through Bro. Hay and others. I trust that the present year may be better for all lines of the work. It seems impossible for me to realize the great importance of the work as I would like to do. And I feel that I need above all things more burning zeal and love. Oh! how I long for such zeal, devotion and love as characterized so many of the Lord’s dear saints all the way down the Church’s history to the present time. And I know that there are some to day just as zealous as the Apostle Paul.
May the Lord bless you abundantly in the great work that he has committed to you, is my earnest prayer. I trust that 1897 may be a grand year for the spread of the truth, and for the upbuilding of the prospective members of the Christ.
With Christian love to you and Sister Russell and the Church at Allegheny,
R. H. BRICKER.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—It gives me much pleasure to report an increasing interest in the truth and in opportunities of telling the glad tidings. We have now four Bible classes in friends’ houses, one every week, one every fortnight, and two once a month. Beside this, a small mission hall work is becoming a general centre for the saints of like precious faith to meet together on Sundays—morning and evening. Bro. Ashton, one who has been abundantly honored by the Lord, was the beginner of it.
This dear Brother is a remarkable man: converted from Romanism at Oakfield Mission shortly before your visit there. He has made astonishing progress in the truth and has been a constant witness in that place. Last month he had given him an opportunity of speaking upon the second parousia [presence] of our Lord, in the Mission, and he spoke freely—on two occasions. His testimony, however, was not received nor in any way supported.
How careful we all should be to hold fast the faith once delivered to the saints, and, being established, to “walk by the same rule.” Would like a supply of tract No. 1, when convenient to send them. With good wishes for a bright and successful New Year in the Lord’s work, to Sister Russell and yourself, in which my wife joins,
Yours in the Master’s service,
— March 15, 1897 —