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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
Hucknall Torkard, England.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL.—I forward another small sum towards whatever fund most needs help. I have great reason to be thankful for the glorious light which shines upon the Word of God, but I am distressed at my small amount of service. I long to be able to preach the glad tidings, but it seems sometimes as though I had to keep all the good things to myself. I don’t know what member I am, but I’m thankful God gives me some little to do. A word here a line there. A copy of “Food” loaned here with a request to have the reader’s opinion after going through it; a copy of WATCH TOWER there, and a conversation wherever I feel it will be for the edifying of saints or the pulling down of the strongholds of Satan. These I feel assured are not fruitless ways of proclaiming the gospel of peace.
Since I last wrote to you, my brother who was in the Methodist ministry, has “come out of her,” not being able to hold the traditions and dogmas of the deceived elders. He will not accept all my views, but is very much more in favor of ZION’S WATCH TOWER, “Food” and “Tabernacle” teachings than he was some time ago.
My position is a most peculiar one. I have had my name taken off the books and refuse to subscribe towards the connectional funds, but the people with whom I have labored so long are not willing that I should leave them. They know my views, in some measure at any rate, and are willing for me to teach them, saying we are Christians, brethren in Christ, and on that ground we claim your fellowship; we don’t care what you believe; we know you are a Christian and that is enough for us. It is the fellowship we desire not the name.
They are a most loving little band of people, and you may rest assured that the grains of truth let fall and those scattered, are not lost. If I am doing wrongly I only want the Lord of the vineyard to show me and give me something to do somewhere else. I cannot live without working for the Master, but it seems very slow work.
I have to preach for these people next Wednesday, and intend taking “The Lord’s Coming” (discourse) from the TOWER, with additions. May the Lord of the harvest separate the wheat.
I have had some severe conversations with one of the ministers here which only confirms my faith in God’s word and the WATCH TOWER’S interpretation; it is by such things we are made strong.
I do long for the manifestation of the Son of God, though I am by no means certain of being amongst specially favored ones. I was only a very nominal Christian until after 1881. I am totally unworthy and unfit for such a glorious high calling, but I know my joy will be full if I’m only a meek inheritor of the earth.
It is a great trial for the members to be separate. I don’t know how others feel, but I do long for the fellowship, face to face with another who holds ZION’S WATCH TOWERS’ teachings as fully as myself; but organizations are not to be desired, therefore, we must wait patiently and if the Lord will, I’ll praise him in company with the other brethren in his kingdom.
I would not part with my TOWERS for their weight in gold. I am reading all carefully through again and making notes. May the Lord bless you ever more and more abundantly. Will try to send again in a short time. With heartiest Christian brotherly love. I am dear brother, very faithfully yours. __________.
DEAR BROTHER:—You seem to have a hopeful field. If they “have an ear to hear” let them hear the good tidings. Preach the whole truth, exposing popular errors fearlessly but kindly, withdrawing all your influence from sectarianism, and very shortly you will find the truth doing a separating work; more than likely too, some of the reproaches which fell upon our Lord will fall upon you.
Regarding your hopes of membership in the Christ only yourself and the Head can fully decide. Let me say, however, that the fact of your discernment of spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:9-12,14,15) and that discerned they awaken a love which leads you to willing self-sacrifice in the service of truth, seems to indicate that you are begotten of the spirit of the truth to “the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus.” We presume that like thousands of others you covenanted with, and consecrated yourself to the Lord, long before you realized all that it implied. In fact all have done so, to a greater or less extent. We esteem you a brother in Christ: grow up unto him in all things, who is the Head of the body, even Christ. EDITOR.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER IN CHRIST.—Inclosed please find P.O. for $5.00 which you will please place to the credit of the Tract Fund. I am very sorry I have not been able to do more for the Lord’s cause, but he has seen fit to permit me to be sorely tried. I have done very little work for ten months previous to May 1st, since which time I have been here under severe and trying circumstances. Of course having no work for so long, I was obliged to go in debt, and now I have to work very hard for very small pay. Last week I worked overtime and made a few dollars extra, so I send the above hoping the Master will accept the sacrifice.
God bless you is my daily prayer. Yours in hope of the First resurrection.
Passaic Co. N.J.
DEAR FRIENDS:—I promised last year to send the price of my subscription but was unable to do so because we got in debt, and I had to pay it by washing. I am now teaching to finish a term left vacant before the close of the school year. I enclose money to pay for the past year and the present, to renew my mother’s subscription, and to send the paper to a poor brother who is searching after the truth. I think some copies of previous papers would be beneficial to him. I want to tell you, for encouragement, that there is no reading matter that presents to me such good doctrine; that affords so much meat in season as the TOWER. I look for them eagerly. I am trusting in God, but it seems I am almost overcome with the cares of this life. Since I have been teaching I have done the work for my family of seven except washing, with the little assistance my boys could give me, taking my one year and a half baby to my sister-in-law next door, and walking a mile to school. I am so tired and so unreasonably irritable sometimes, I am discouraged, I thought I might have taken too much upon myself, but the matter was in the Lord’s hands entirely. I was willing to live in debt and want if it was best for my discipline, and, not five minutes before the trustee came to inform me of my acceptance I had said “Father if it is best for me to have the school and the money, I am ready; if not, it is all right.” And now all glory be to him, he has enabled me to accomplish the work successfully, to purchase a cow and implements to make butter, and to supply some of the most pressing needs in the family, beside paying my subscription and furnishing more food for mother and brother. I visited him last Sunday and he eagerly asked for proof of some truths I opened to him. He could not understand how I could stay away from church and be justified, while I had an “influence for good” among them, but I cannot go to church, and you cannot know how alone I am, and set aside as evil. I could not bear it but for God. I am willing, however, and find much comfort in a clear conscience and the Word of God. Yours in our Lord. __________.
A Brother who is laboring privately in the vineyard has been privileged to see some fruit to his labor; he received the following letter which explains itself. He sent it to us and we give some extracts to you. All may not so soon see precious fruit rewarding labor but every effort pays and bears fruit, upon ourselves, if not always in those we endeavor to help. EDITOR.
York County, Pa.
DEAR SIR.—I suppose you do not know that I owe you a large amount, not of money, but of thanks, for something. You could hardly guess what, but I will tell you what; it is for certain instructions, or a start to that instruction or knowledge which I have since learned. Do you recollect last fall at the York Fair we were talking about the Bible and its teachings? You told me that you learned a great deal, I think you said in the last year or so; and you told me different things about the Bible, etc. But just at that time the Bible was not of much weight to me, because I found too many faults and errors in it at that time, and about one-half contradicted the other half of it. And, in fact, I thought Ingersoll was more right than the Bible; and he is, just as correct as the doctrine our ministers are preaching from the pulpits. I am altogether astonished at myself that I did not see and understand more than I did. I thought when I read something I could understand, too, but I did not.
You probably remember that you told me to subscribe for ZION’S WATCH TOWER, I at once did so, and got a few numbers, and also the tracts entitled “Food for Thinking Christians” and “The Tabernacle Teachings,” and I commenced to read these papers and books through, and pretty soon I got to studying these papers and books and am to-day not half done studying them, because the more I read them, the more I have to refer to the Bible, and now I find that the Bible is a most wonderful book. Everything is right; there are no contradictions in it; it supports its own teachings perfectly throughout. I am a great friend and lover of it. Indeed, everything is plain if a person can just get to see it once. How simple and how easy and beautiful it is. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. What astonishes me, is the ignorance of our ministers. In every sermon that I hear preached, I hear many mistakes, but these mistakes in themselves would of course be of not much account, but they in this way teach and instruct the people wrongly, telling them things which are not so. I think it is dreadful. But I must also tell you that it is very hard to get people to believe the Bible as it is. May be you are more successful, but I find it hard to convince them. O, to be sure, there are some who take no special interest in it—who listen, but when all is said, are dull and know nothing. Those who want to understand something are not so quick turned.
I cannot express my thanks to you in giving me the start in so noble a study.
Very truly yours, __________.
New Orleans, La.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: I am glad that the “Plan of Redemption” has met with a joyful reception in my Norway home. I heard from my father a week ago. He sends his thanks and warm greetings to you all. He says that it is not entirely new to him, he having discerned from the Word the outlines of the plan; but he rejoices now with joy unspeakable in being more fully able to see the plan clearly, being aided by my translations from the WATCH TOWER and FOOD, together with the long letters that I write to him, making it as plain as I can. Others besides himself are also getting interested, to whom these translations and letters are read, as the epistles of old, to different little congregations.
I have had a chance for about a month past to tell these wonderful tidings in a public way—the best way I can. The chaplain of the “Seamen’s Bethel” has gone North for the summer, and left his place in charge of a man who is good enough to let me speak at their Sunday evening and Thursday evening meetings. There are not many ships and sailors in port at present, but a good many city people go to these meetings. Some are getting interested. I will, with God’s help, continue till I am put a stop to, which will be when the old orthodox chaplain comes back. I give away many WATCH TOWERS to Christian seamen going to foreign countries, no telling what soil they may strike root in.
By the way, I experienced last night that when a natural or non-begotten person gets sick, and repents of his sins believing in Christ, his body is also restored to soundness in answer to prayer. I could not help thinking about the passage in Mark 4:11,12. The time is coming that those without should also understand and believe and be converted that they might be healed. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Yours as ever,
“THERE is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”—1 Tim. 2:5.
— September, 1885 —