SOME INTERESTING ITEMS
PARIS BRETHREN MEET REGULARLY
Extracts from a Letter of Brother Joseph Lefevre, main Elder of the I. B. S. A. Class in Paris, France, to Brother Louis F. Ruel, of New York.--Translated.
Please, Brother Louis, openly tell our Beloved Pastor Russell, and through him all the dear brethren over there, of the cheerfulness and perfect peace which I derive daily from "My Morning Resolve" (especially the last part of it), in my long exile from my home in Denain (invaded territory), and from separation of my wife and other dear ones there. Also, the added blessing that I find, when at times my courage would fail me, in recalling the words:
"Faith can firmly trust Him,
Come what may,"
I do not write to the dear Pastor, because being unable to express myself properly in English, I think better to sacrifice my own satisfaction than to divert otherwise too much of his attention from the interests of the many. However, I know how much he loves also the brethren of Northern France-- and these, too, know it. Therefore, daily, from every heart of our people, ascends to the Heavenly Throne a fervent prayer beseeching for Brother Russell, our Pastor, an ever-increasing measure of the Spirit of grace, wisdom and understanding. Be sure and tell him that despite the keenly hard and long trial they are undergoing, all our French brethren and sisters, whose sentiments I am here voicing, are his "glory and joy" (1 Timothy 2:20), by their faithfulness, faith and perseverance.
The Lord has made His Truth known here to some new hearts by my humble voice and despite my poor health. We have a class now of about forty-five, and every week new, thirsty souls come to the spring of the New Life. A number have known the beauty and privilege of consecration, and they are making large strides in spiritual progress. Nearly all the members attend the weekly testimony meeting. Three evenings during the week there are meetings (one at the other end of Paris), for Berean Studies or to discuss the Epistle to the Romans, with an average attendance of twenty.
Until lately I have had to take personal charge of all the meetings, with the preparatory study that each entailed, which fortunately could be done owing to some leisure left by my working only eight hours daily at the office [an Insurance Company]. But now the Lord has given me a competent assistant in my dear Brother Theophile Leguime [formerly a Deacon at Denain], also physically weak, but strong in faith, who since the invasion was living with the friends at Auchel, Pas-de-Calais [a few miles from the battle front], and who has just been compelled to leave that place because the military authority became suspicious of his large correspondence with the brethren at the front and elsewhere, in the interest of the Truth and for their edification and comfort. The experience and ability of this brother will much avail, so that several things will be thus better cared for, under God's providence, answering my prayers that "He would send forth laborers into His Harvest."--Matthew 9:38.
SHARP P. O. CENSORSHIP
An Exchange asks: How far can a government department go in censoring printed matter committed to the mails?
Will the Postmaster-General bar the following extract from a speech made by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany in 1891 to recruits?
"Recruits! before the altar and the servant of God, you have given me the oath of allegiance.* * * Only one enemy can exist for you--my enemy.
"With the present Socialist machinations, it may happen that I shall order you to shoot your brothers or even your parents--which God forbid--and then you are bound in duty implicitly to obey my orders!"
If the Postmaster-General permits the above to go through the mails, why should he object to the little article by Jack London, reading in part:
"Young man, the lowest aim in your life is to be a good soldier. The good soldier never tries to distinguish right from wrong. He never thinks; never reasons; he only obeys. If he is ordered to fire on his fellow citizens, on his friends, on his neighbors, on his relatives, he obeys without hesitation.
"A good soldier is a blind, heartless, soulless, murderous machine. He is not a man. He is not even a brute, for brutes kill only in self-defense. No man can fall lower than a soldier--it is a depth beneath which he cannot go."
Postmaster-General Burleson does object to the above. When it appeared on post-cards circulated by a peace society, he issued an order barring such post-cards from the mails.
THE NEXT POSSIBLE STEP.
To say that a newspaper carrying this text should be barred from the mails would be the next logical step. The distinction by the department is that such matter on a post-card is "openly displayed." In a newspaper it is not.
The censorship is based on section 212 of the criminal code, which excludes from the mails all matter which carries openly any reflection on the character or conduct of any person. The department, however, has construed this to mean any class of persons.
Leaders of the various peace societies are indignant over what they call this usurpation of power on the part of the department.
EUREKA DRAMA WORK
DEAR ONES IN CHRIST:-
With the closing of the year 1915 we find that our activity in the EUREKA DRAMA work must close also.
We have been working continually nearly all summer, showing almost every night. We traveled by wagon, and camped out, making our expenses very light; but as the cold weather came we found that the rental of halls and board and lodging were more than we could handle, so we have decided to discontinue our efforts until Spring, except in a few towns we can easily reach by rail.
We have the DRAMA on the loan plan, and would like to keep it, hoping to start again as soon as the weather permits. We completed four counties in the past year. We showed, on an average, to one hundred and fifty persons each evening, and much interest was aroused.
We did not specially encourage the signing of the cards, but merely mentioned it, and we think by so doing we received [R5841 : page 31] the names of those most interested. When we first started with the DRAMA we would pass pencils and encourage the people to sign, but we found that we could get those most interested by merely drawing their attention to the subject of the free booklet. All of us were blessed in the service and by the experiences we passed through, some of which were not the most pleasant, but we believe they were for our good.
We have shown in many churches, and on two occasions we showed on Sunday evening after the preaching service. We also found some towns bitterly opposed, and the ministers would write articles for the local papers condemning Brother R. and the DRAMA. This only helped to increase interest, and two of these articles we were privileged to answer through the same columns. We did this in as kindly a way as possible.
Please let us know if it will be all right to keep the DRAMA here and use it during the winter, as we have opportunity. If the work does not close by Spring, we hope to become active again in the service of the Truth.
Wishing you all a very happy New Year and much joy in your service for the King of kings,
Your Brother in Him, L. E. EDWARDS.
FRENCH LETTERS FROM TERRITORY INVADED
(From the French WATCH TOWER.)
I have been happy to receive word that you can again send us "LA TOUR DE GARDE" with the precious teachings of the faithful and wise servant. What a joy and comfort we find in having our eyes opened and being able to understand the Divine Plan! The Lord is permitting evils, mourning and sufferings for a little while still, but soon He will heal every wound, wipe away all tears and reign in righteousness. This is indeed "the vision of glory presented to our faith," in which glory we shall share if we are faithful to the end. And this is the time for us to realize in part Psalm 46, and wait patiently for the fulfilment of the rest.
J. B. and J. TILMANT.--Belgium.[R5842 : page 31]
Accept my best wishes for the dear family of the faith in Geneva, and especially for the brethren and sisters in THE TOWER office. Here on Sunday mornings we have Berean Bible Studies which are very useful, I can assure you, and worship in the afternoon. We frequently give an opportunity to the brethren, urging them to show what progress they have made in the study of the Word of our Heavenly Father. We also have very edifying testimony meetings. In these, twelve brethren and sisters and friends on the average, take part, and you can believe that God's blessings are much appreciated by the little class at Bruay, and we ask you to help us bring them before the Throne of the Father. The wonderful article in the July TOWER was to me a comfort and a blessing. Let our thanks go to the God of all grace for the sweet privilege He has granted us to know the Truth through the channel of him appointed! We keep on our heart every one of you, also our beloved Pastor Russell, to whom please transmit our most hearty greetings in Christ.
E. LARVENT (Department of Nord).--France.
"MY LORD AND I"
DEAR PASTOR:--Enclosed find Money Order to the amount of $25. This is for the Lord's work in whatever way you see best. It represents my little self-denials, sometimes only a penny. I keep a box which I call The Lord's Box, and put in it whatever I can save by denying myself. What a little it is, to be sure, for all the dear Lord has given me! If I had the whole world to give it would be small in comparison.
Each morning I take the Vow and Resolve; and almost every afternoon the Lord and I come together in close communion. I take my DAWNS and Bible, and we have a glorious meeting. I am very much isolated. I have to sneak away and hide everything that belongs to the Truth. I have no fellowship with the brethren. All mail is intercepted and destroyed except my WATCH TOWER, and the Lord has wonderfully preserved that.
I have to be loving and kind to them that persecute me. Every day I am developing more and more of the blessed fruits of Christ's Spirit. What a changed being I have become! I don't know myself. Two years ago I was a most impatient, fault-finding person (professing Christ's name, too). For many years I was in the nominal church. Then I came into Christ's Church, and all is so different.
I am striving to do the best that I can, like Lot in the midst of ungodliness. This is His will, and His will be done for me! I need your prayers, dear Brother, as I pray daily for you; and may He give you the very best place in His Kingdom; for you deserve it.
I am, Yours in Christ, -------
AN INDIAN'S ENTHUSIASM FOR THE TRUTH
ESTEEMED PASTOR RUSSELL:--
I am a Canadian, native-born Indian. A little over a year ago, while in London, Ont., a good friend of mine gave me a copy of BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY--Vol. III., No. 13--saying, "There is a lot of good, common sense reading."
I perused the pages and, thank God, from that time I was awakened to know more of the blessed Truth! I have been a Bible student all my life and I now see why I have so frequently been at loggerheads with my spiritual teachers.
I sent for more of the "B. S. M." and I thank the Lord that with these you sent me also a copy of THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES. After reading this my hope revived, for it was the very thing I had been blindly searching for in the church with which I had cast my lot.
I am so happy now that I fear not death--glory to His name! I take up my cross daily and tell my friends the blessed Truth. Of course, I find the Devil busy with his misrepresentations, but I try daily to be more like my Master and to know more of the Truth which satisfies.
It had been my one desire to see you face to face since the Truth became my stay, and I thank God that He granted my desire: I shook hands with you at the depot, London, Ont., and heard you lecture there.
In closing let me say that I am studying your series, STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, and loaning these and others of your writings to my friends, as I can spare them. I am told one of these burned the papers I gave him; but as for me, I shall die a Bible Student.
With true Christian love to you and all your helpers and all Bible students, I am SAMUEL JOHN.--Ont.
"GREAT WAS THE FALL THEREOF"
DEAR PEOPLE OF THE LORD:--
Enclosed find $1 to cover the difference in expense on the leather-bound "Emphatic Diaglott." And whatever is left over, please use in the cause of the Lord.
We have a class for all here on Wednesday evenings. You ought to see the enthusiasm. We started out with 4; now we are over 30; and our class is only 3 months old. But the "break" in our favor came only 3 weeks ago, just at the close of a four-weeks' "revival" conducted by an "evangelist" of the "Christian Church"--the only church here. Much abuse was hurled at us during those four weeks, but we said never a word. The speaker frequently referred to me as "false teacher," "weak-minded," and "ignorant," but at the last day of his tirade his patience "busted" and he openly challenged me to a debate. I saw my call and promptly accepted. So we hired the M. W. A. Hall for the last evening of his stay here. (It was just the right time, too--for us.) The evangelist contended that Jesus was not a created being, that Jesus' body certainly rose, and that the dead are in "conscious existence," and also that all the dead have nothing more coming to them than what they have already received. Every one in the neighborhood, including most of the cripples, came to attend what they termed "The Great Debate." The evening passed off nicely, the audience was attentive and quiet, the chairman maintaining strict order throughout.
So far as the debate is concerned, my opponent was not very well posted, and he fell down on all points with a crash. It was a sad ending of their "revival."
I am writing this hurriedly, so please overlook composition errors. You may use any or all of this letter for any purpose, if you wish.
In fellowship and Christian love, E. N. FEROE.--Wash.
"AN ECCLESIASTICAL BATTLE" BY
JUDGE J. F. RUTHERFORD.
DEAR MR. COWARD:--
I have to thank you for the copy of the vindication of Pastor Russell, which you were kind enough to send me, and which, I need hardly tell you, I read with interest, having, as you know, been to some extent prejudiced against your leader and his work.
Its perusal cannot fail to increase my interest in his writings, as each point raised by his champion carries conviction with it to any one who enters the jury-box with an open mind, as, thanks to your interview, I was prepared to do.
Again thanking you, and with best wishes for yourself and work, I am
Yours faithfully, CHAS. A. SMITH.--West Indies.