INTERESTING LETTERS.[page 334]
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--
Enclosed find order for WATCH TOWER. It is indeed a welcome visitor. I only regret not having learned of its true value sooner; and am sure that I cannot be without it again so long as I live and it is published.
It is beyond my power to express my appreciation of the fact that God, through your instrumentality, has called another poor, weary, Truth-hungry soul out of darkness into his marvelous light. Realizing that your work is stupendous, I know your time is very valuable, yet I cannot but trust that you will bear with me while relating some of the instances in which a gentle, unseen hand has been leading in my case, hoping in that way to let you know something of my deep gratitude to our loving heavenly Father and yourself for the truths set forth in DAWN publications --"meat in due season for the household of faith."
At the age of fourteen my Christian life began, and almost immediately the impression came that my life work must be that of a missionary, but I knew not whether it would be in a home or foreign mission field; would trust the Lord's guidance in that particular later. But this I knew, that my life must be devoted to the study of his Word and the service of the same. Preparations were then made for me to continue my school work, and in connection with this I tried to take advantage of every opportunity to aid in the different works connected with the Methodist church, believing that to be the first effort of what I then thought would be my life work. I was permitted to attend and aid in several revivals also, and was asked to aid in another when the president refused to excuse me from my school work. This I could hardly bear, especially when the pastor returned from the meeting and remarked that perhaps a great many more would have been saved had I, or some one else, been there to help him. None save God knew the weight of those words upon my poor heart. For, to view God's plans for the salvation of the world as I did and as most of those in the nominal churches do, causes a burden that our loving Savior did not intend for us to bear when he said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." On the contrary, Babylon teaches that all who are not saved during this age are doomed to eternal misery, and that, if they are not saved, we, to some extent, will be responsible for them; at the same time realizing that hundreds are dying daily without so much as hearing the only name whereby we must be saved, while great congregations in our own civilized country listen, unmoved, to sermon after sermon on the everlasting misery prepared for all except the saints.
Soon the burden of these souls became so great that I could hardly take time to eat and sleep for fear that I would lose an opportunity to warn some one of this horrible place. I could not understand why those who knew of it could refrain from talking about it all the time. But, thanks be to God, he hath recently shown me that his plans for their salvation are far above ours. It required some time and many trials to reach the place where I could lay aside my impatient zeal long enough to hear the "still, small voice," one of the greatest trials being that of failure of health to such an extent that my school work could not be continued even at home. I could not understand why I should be losing (as I thought) so much valuable time, so I first prayed for a restoration of physical health, but no relief came; rather, I grew worse. The burden upon my heart increased daily also until, in utter helplessness, I once again fell at the feet of Jesus longing and pleading for an understanding heart.
How comforting it would have been to have appreciated at that time the following words of our Lord, uttered a short while before his ascension, "Father, I pray not for the world, but for those which thou has given me out of the world."
In a short while a dear sister in Christ who had previously given me some of the DAWN literature (though I was unwittingly postponing my own joy, waiting for God to show me by some miraculous power whether or not I should read it) told me of the chapter in the third volume of the DAWN series on the "Great Pyramid in Egypt" and at the same time called my attention to the fact that the words of our Lord as recorded in Luke 19:40are now being fulfilled; that while many of his professed living witnesses fail to recognize his second presence and power, therefore are dumb, the very stones of this Great Pyramid [page 335] are "crying out" in no uncertain tones. This being the first beam of light upon my dreary pathway, and proving such a wonderful blessing, I immediately began to read the "Plan of the Ages," and now, having read all five volumes and the first and second ones twice, suffice it to say that its teachings are far more to me than my daily food. Though the way has been difficult and the trials severe, they are nothing when compared with the joys and comfort of the present, and then there is "more to follow"-- "when we shall be like him and see him as he is." O, "Haste along ye ages of glory!"
While feasting upon the fat things of God's Word, as harmonized in MILLENNIAL DAWN, the burden that had been such a weight upon my heart disappeared. Now, how thankful to know that in "due time" all the precious promises contained in the blessed Book, which none save the Lamb is worthy to unseal, shall be fulfilled!
Remember me at the throne of grace that I may yet be prepared as a missionary in the truest sense of the word, --that I may have power to proclaim the "good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people," briefly summed up in these words, Behold the Bridegroom, King and Reaper!
I have been out of school two years, but no longer regret it; rather rejoice in that I have been permitted to enter the school of Christ and to know that he will cause all things to work together for good to those that love him. My physical health is improving also. Oh, that the way may soon be opened up for me to enter the harvest field to be spent in his service! I long to pass the cup of refreshment on to others.
May our dear Lord continue to strengthen and bless you to the end.
Sincerely, yours in the blessed hope,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
As I have been reading and carefully studying the books entitled MILLENNIAL DAWN for nearly five years, and have never written to you to tell you or to acknowledge my thoughts concerning this wonderful plan, I must say, dear brother, from the purest motives, it is a great and wonderful work, full of harmony and divine grace in every expression. In my estimation it far surpasses and is the crowning work of all I have ever read or studied. The unfoldings of this beautiful plan, as it gradually reveals its heavenly splendor, is almost beyond our feeble comprehension, and yet it is made so clear and plain in MILLENNIAL DAWN that all may understand. When I read it I felt sometimes almost dazzled with exceeding rapture, yet conscious of deeper humility than I have ever before experienced, and I have long wished to express my humble thanks to you for revealing to me through these books what is in every way "meat in due season," and for being the instrument through which God has given me the joy and happiness of seeing his word correctly interpreted. From the first I ever read of this wonderful work my interest has deepened every day, and new joys unfold themselves as I understand more clearly our heavenly Father's goodness and love for mankind.
I have been for many years a member of the Christian church at this place, but must confess that there were some subjects on which I never felt entirely satisfied, but since studying God's teachings as set forth in MILLENNIAL DAWN I have become entirely satisfied and am no longer in harmony with the doctrines as taught in our nominal churches. Consequently I have withdrawn my membership from that church, and intend to devote myself to this blessed truth.
I might write for hours and yet be unable to express the pleasure the Truth has given me, so I will not take any more of your valuable time.
Your sister in the Present Truth,
(MRS.) C. R. BUSBY,--Virginia.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--
In one of our Bible study meetings some time ago, some one expressed the thought that it is the duty of the saints to distribute their back numbers of the WATCH TOWER, instead of keeping them on hand unused. Thereupon I began giving them out, one by one, as I had opportunity. In doing this I generally re-read each number before giving it to the person selected; and thus it came about that in nearly every case I would find something that I wanted to keep. Hence the fact that I have quite a stack of old WATCH TOWERS on hand, but not "unused." No, they are very precious to me. Sometimes a number ten years old contains something that just exactly fits my case, and I read it as though I had never read it before--and, in a certain sense, that is really the fact, for ten years-- yes, even two years--ago, I did not understand what consecration meant, and was satisfied with the prospect of "human perfection." Well, the other day WATCH TOWER No. 11, '99, fell into my hands and I read again your article under the title, "The New Life in Christ." I read it very studiously twice, before laying it aside. It is indeed food in due season to me. I have already written to a very dear brother directing his special attention to it, and I am sure he will be blessed in the reading of it.
"Finishing Touches of Christian Character," No. 20, 1901, is another "nugget" I have just found--grandly instructive and edifying.
Referring to a remark contained in one of your letters of a year ago I wish to say: Yes, dear brother, I am learning --slowly but surely--and can assure you that I am more willing now than a year ago to serve to the utmost of my little ability, even unto death. And my daily prayer is that I may be used of the Lord as one who has no will of his own, and therefore no disposition to dictate terms, time, place or kind, as to the work the Lord may be pleased to direct me to.
Your brother in Christ our Lord and Redeemer,
J. D. GEHRING,--Kansas.
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MR. CHARLES T. RUSSELL:--
Dear Sir: I have had the pleasure of reading one of your books and have become very much interested in it. I am a young man who, having lost both father and mother at the age of 4, was sent to a Catholic institution in New York State. There I had the fear of hell so pounded into me that often I was afraid to go to bed for fear the devil would take me by the leg. That may sound simple, but it is a fact. After being there ten years, they gave me one dollar and sent me on to New York to make my living. I did not have a friend in the world and could not get work, so before I would starve I stole, and was sent to the penitentiary. When I came out I had no money and nowhere to go, so I went back to prison. That went on till at the age of 21 I landed in Sing Sing prison for five years. Now if I had had some one to tell me how Jesus loved me and would care for me, I would have been a different man; but my life has been blasted and today I am an inmate of an ex-convicts' home; but as I said in the beginning I have read one of your books and it has given me a clearer and a brighter view of God and a better hope in life.
I remain, your brother in Christ,