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MY DEAR BROTHER:—I wish to thank you for your kind letter. Before receiving it and knowing what you thought, I had concluded that Satan was the instigator of that Mormon report; and since you think so, too, I am all the more sure of it. The way I look at it is this:—You know I feel I ought to be baptized right here at home, and you know why I feel so. Satan doubtless, in some way I do not understand, knew it also, and he determined to prevent it, if he could, from having the desired and desirable effect; and to make it work against the truth; but he has not
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succeeded. He may have thought also that he would turn me aside from my purpose, but He who is with me is mightier far than Satan. The rite was performed at the appointed time, by Dr. Staley, in the presence of a large congregation, many of whom went for a frolic, but they, together with Satan, were disappointed. It was a solemn and impressive service, and the feeling pervading the congregation was such that those who went in a spirit of levity found no sympathy, and were constrained to behave themselves properly. I attach no undue importance to any ceremony, anything merely external, but I will say that God has been pleased to give me sweet rest since, more than ever before. Last night in my room, alone in the dead hours of the night, I had sweet, delightful communion with him. Nothing ecstatic, nothing emotional, but I was able to put myself wholly in his hands and rest there.
I am misrepresented, I am losing work; but none of these things move me, and I am fully persuaded that He is able and willing to keep that which I have committed unto him. Praise the Lord, O my soul!
It will be only a little while longer, and then, then, the eternal weight of glory! Who, that can see, understand and appreciate God’s gracious plan would not give up all for Christ? I shall praise Him as long as eternity endures, because He has called me into this wonderful grace, and condescended to reveal His plan to me, who am indeed the least of all saints. My soul magnifies the Lord, and rejoices in the God of my salvation. The thought that so far as I know, I am the only one in this whole town who accepts fully his gracious plan, makes me wonder with astonishment at his kindness to me, and at the same time humbles me.
His richest benedictions be upon you and yours and all his faithful ones.
Your brother in the faith, __________
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—How hard are the barnacles over the understanding of the people. Indeed, “gross darkness has covered the people,” but to us has been given a great light. Praise God!
We here in S. find no seeming interest in the truth. At one of the church prayer meetings a woman rose and said it was her duty to warn people against us, that any one who believed as we did would surely go to hell, and in fire and torment repent when it was too late. One of our bitterest opponents, a man who stood and looked at us in a church prayer meeting, said, “There are some folks who are believing and preaching another chance after death, but I warn all against such doctrine, for the Bible says death ends all, and I have the Scriptures to prove it, and to back up what I say.”
This was another public assault, and I, knowing the people had heard me say many times that I stood upon the Word, felt as if it was my duty to reply and define my position; so I said, “No doubt this brother has made his assertion after a careful study and comparison of the Scriptures, but as I have been studying too, and have reached an opposite conclusion, and as the brother has said he has the Scriptures for proof, I would call on the brother for some of his proofs, being able to give him many, many passages in support of mine. But he never peeped, and last week at a church prayer meeting I spoke on the 1st chapter of Ephesians and said, that predestination was of a class not to individual salvation; spoke of the dispensation of the fullness of times as I see it; of what our inheritance is to be; what the earnest of our inheritance is; what Christ really did redeem; what it means to emerge from blindness, superstition and ignorance of God’s plan in the nominal church; and of the hope of my calling, giving my Scriptures for my belief. I had liberty.
He rose to his feet and said, “I thank God that Brother M. ever came to this meeting. I have never seen, before his explanation of this chapter, how many good things God had provided, and I have never understood the Bible so well as to-night. His explanation has opened many other things that were dark to me and I cannot tell how glad I am to know something of these, which to me have always been mysteries;” and he went home and told his wife how I had opened for his benefit the Scriptures, and that I had been much misrepresented to him.
We are as ever, Yours in him,
F. U. and N. C. MELLEN.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Greetings from this house—Mrs. Gillis and myself. Your presentation of 1 Cor. 13 exceeds expectation and will certainly prove an answer to the prayers of the faithful asking assistance to put on the character of our Lord. I am glad of the proposals you therein make; with the Lord’s presence among us there is no doubt of the helpfulness. I have been assisted the past week since adopting your suggestions. Will endeavor to gratefully read and worship in unison with you and all to-morrow, reading 1 Cor. 13. May we all grow in grace and knowledge. [We have many hearty responses to the suggestion, and blessings are already reported.—EDITOR.]
I was led to search how it came that charity got into Paul’s letter to the Corinthians from the word agape, and find the word Charity is coined from the pure Latin word caritas. The h being inserted to make it appear as if the Apostle had used the Greek charis. The translators having the disadvantage of “corrected” (?) MSS, it seems accepted charitas as Latin for Greek charis—charity. Caritas is from caras, dear, costly; and careo, to want (dear-th, scarce). The only sense in which there is even a remote equivalent in caritas for agape is the love we have for things dear, scarce, costly.
Two or three times out of four issues, the County paper, Journal, gives me privilege of a column or more on first page. It does not publish Talmage’s sermons. Our town paper here does publish Mr. T.’s eloquence, but its Editor is in sympathy with the truth as far as he has learned. It was to him you sent a set of DAWNS in cloth some time ago,—he was then on the Journal.
May you be encouraged in every trial and come off more than conqueror through his grace who loved us and gave himself for us. Remember me at the times of prayer that I may develop the new nature—Love.
Yours in Christ,
H. L. GILLIS.
P.S.—Love to Sister Russell. I connect you both in my mind.
— September 15, 1897 —