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MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Your letter announcing the visit of “Pilgrim” Bro. Hay just received and I write to assure you I will attend to arrangements to make his visit as profitable as possible and will write again as soon as arrangements are made, notifying Bro. Hay of same.
I am happy to be able to report that the Church at Muskegon is in better condition than ever before. We have succeeded in holding all interested ones since meetings were recommenced, two and one-half years ago, and occasionally add one to our number. Just lately a brother has joined himself to us—Bro. Stanfield, who bids fair to be a great acquisition. One or two others, very lovable brethren, are just beginning to come within the range of our influence. We have one great advantage over other meetings in ability to attract those who love the truth. We never make any attempt to catch any one; when strangers come into our meetings we go right on as tho they were not there and are merely cordial, trusting that the truth will attract those who love the truth supremely, and I tell you that is all the bait necessary to catch those whom it is desirable to retain. And it is gratifying to see how members of that class are attracted by the simple truth. At first while enjoying our meeting and being interested they are not usually prepared to assent to many of our propositions, but they come again. Somehow or other, they do not understand why, as they become familiar with present truth other meetings fail to interest them as formerly,—they associate themselves more and more with us and if they be fully consecrated to the Lord, finally accept present truth in toto.
The brethren honored me with a reelection to the position of leader for the ensuing year. I feel entirely incompetent but as the brethren insist and are so kind as to say that they have benefited by my leading in the past I do not feel able to decline. I can truly say my greatest ambition next to a desire for personal righteousness is to serve the brethren, and though I frequently feel overcome with a sense of my unworthiness and incapacity to stand up before the brethren as an expounder of the blessed gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, still it seems to be his will as nearly as I can discern it, and I dare not shirk. I prepare myself as well as I can and then when the meeting hour comes I endeavor to throw the responsibility all onto the Lord, just turn myself, the meeting and all right into his hands, strive to forget myself entirely and to think of the truth and that only. And the Lord seems signally to own and bless our meetings. I can surely say, because I can see it in the brethren and in myself, that we have made great gains in the past two years. Of course by God’s blessing one of the greatest, I believe I should say the greatest, factor in our progress is the truth brought to us through the DAWNS and TOWERS. I do not believe they are more keenly appreciated anywhere than here; nothing so excites our interest as the TOWER. We read it together; we exchange impressions drawn from it; we refer to it in argument as the authority next to Sacred Writ, with which it seems to be invariably in harmony; we prove its editorials by references given and by others which occur to our minds. Do not think us unappreciative if we are not as frequent correspondents as others.
We have pretty thoroughly canvassed Muskegon and adjacent country with evolution tracts but are planning to carry the work into nearby cities and to follow up with the new tract in the Spring. You will hear from us later.
Meanwhile, with love, Yours,
ELWIN C. SMITH,—Michigan.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I received the fifth volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN and have finished the first reading. I thank you for it very much, and cannot tell you how much good it has done me. The subject is one of very great importance, and the more it is studied and thought upon, the more every true Christian is desirous of becoming a copy of God’s dear Son. I cannot tell what part interested me most. Some questions came to mind when I commenced it, but I found them all answered before I finished the book. The way is opening up wonderfully before me, and new truths are continually being unfolded. Surely the Lord’s doings are wonderful in our eyes, but as we grow in grace and knowledge we find ourselves more and more separated from the world, and more and more running against its practices and opinions, like one pushing his way through a crowd, going in the opposite direction. How joyful is the thought that we are so near the time when restitution privileges are due to begin, when the vail will be taken away and the world come to understand the things that are now spiritually discerned!
I have waited before writing this letter of thanks, to be able to send something more tangible than sentiment, but the needs here are so pressing and numerous that I cannot get beyond them, so thought I would wait no longer.
Yours in Christ,
MARTHA E. SHERMAN.—Illinois.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—The truth grows more precious to me as the days go by. God only knows how I love it; words would fail to tell. At the last Memorial Supper my prayer was that I might grow in grace, knowledge and love from that time on, and the dear Lord has surely answered my prayer, but I want to keep on growing. I have been tried and tested more than ever in the last year, but with the dear Lord’s help, not in my own strength, I am still in the “narrow way.” And how I have enjoyed the fifth volume of DAWN! It has made so many things clearer to me,
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especially the witness of the spirit. And as I study and learn more of God’s truth I love him the more. Thank God for the Truth! May he still bless and keep you faithful to the end!
Your sister in our dear Redeemer,
MRS. MARY KITCHEN.—California.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I thought I would drop you a line to thank you for the welcome semi-monthly visits of the TOWER. The assistance and light they shed on our pathway are beyond price, and if the matter is sometimes familiar it serves to refresh our memories and deepen the impressions on our minds. My last trip to New York was a pleasant one. There was a good attendance, a strong interest and a most beautiful spirit manifested by all present. The questions were continued as late as would allow me to catch my train and were clearly those prompted by a desire to be instructed and helped along the lines of truth in the spirit of meekness. Your own visit left a deep and good impression. They referred to it again and again with a warmth of look and voice that evinced their appreciation of the sacrifice you had made. I feel that the movement for a New York meeting is a good one and likely to produce permanent results.
The spiritual health of the Church here is good, so far as imperfect beings may be able to judge, and I trust that such is the case with those of the body in Allegheny. Sister Walker and the children unite with me in love to you and all those associated with you in the TOWER work.
Yours in Christ,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I am thankful to be able to fully endorse Sr. Owen’s report of increased interest and zeal of the church here. The letters from the Washington and Boston Churches “stirred them up,” as nothing else has stirred them for a good long time. So when you have any other good news to publish concerning what others are doing please send it along. It is very helpful.
You cannot realize how the “scattered members,” relish the bits of news that appear in the TOWER from time to time. We had so many out to meeting Sunday morning that our large sitting room would hardly hold them. We are thinking of renting a hall.
Bro. Hall has been advocating the matter for some time, and is quite anxious that we make a more aggressive move “all along the line.” My throat has regained its usual strength, and I am able again to conduct the Sunday services. We are having the best prayer meetings we have had for a good long time. At last meeting there were 16 present,—a very good turn out for our little company, some of whom for business and other reasons cannot get out after night.
As ever, yours in our dear Redeemer and King,
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Enclosed find order for L.5—being L.2 10s. expenses incurred by bringing Bro. Houston to our October conference, which he handed back to us as a donation to the Tract Fund, to help defray the cost of “Bible vs. Evolution.” The remainder is from the Church in Glasgow.
Sister Ferrie will tell you about our method of carrying out the Volunteer movement. Up to date we have given the books at 73 churches, and have distributed 10,093 copies, being an average of about 138. We have been greatly surprised at the smallness of the congregations. We distribute only at the forenoon service, which in most cases has the smallest attendance, but it invariably includes the more earnest portion of the congregation, and we are of the opinion that by this method the ripe wheat will be reached. There have been a few inquiries for further literature, from whom we hope to hear again. We have suffered no other annoyance than an occasional refusal to accept the booklet.
All the brothers and sisters who are able take part in the work, and some occasionally travel a considerable distance in order to enjoy this privilege. A few of us meet in the morning for a season of prayer before going out, and have found it most refreshing and helpful.
We note with pleasure your promise of another pamphlet for distribution at the churches which have received the one on Evolution. The Church here feel very grateful for what you have given us, and deplore their inability to take a larger share in the financial responsibility. We are deeply interested in the work and are willing to do anything in our power to lessen your burdens.
Assuring you of the continued affection of all the members of our little company, and their high appreciation of your noble work, I am
Yours in the one hope,
[The “Volunteer” work in Great Britain naturally commenced later than here, but we are glad to note that it progresses splendidly. Ours is a campaign of blood—”the blood of the cross,” and is far more worthy of time, energy, treasure and our life-blood than any other known in the world. Courage! dear fellowsoldiers. Steady! the eye of our Captain is for victory only by “laying down our lives for the brethren” as he set us an example. We regret that we are out of our error-destroying and new-hope and new-life-infusing ammunition. “Good Hopes” for this year justify us in beginning the work for this year liberally and paper mill already has our order for forty-six tons of paper for “Volunteer” work for immediate delivery. We hope to be able to begin filling orders about April 1.—EDITOR.]
— February 15, 1900 —