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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
Oceana Co., Mich.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: I take this opportunity of writing to you, being requested by Bro.__________ to send you the enclosed one dollar in payment for the WATCH TOWER. To use his own language, it supplies a long-felt want and furnishes him with the food most necessary to him. Bro.__________ was baptised according to appointment stated in my last letter to you. Quite a crowd gathered on the beach of Lake Michigan where the ceremony was performed. We had a good time, and the Lord was present, we believe, to own and accept the ratification of the covenant of sacrifice.
Though compelled to labor six days in the week for support of self and family, I am still able to do a little for the Master on the Lord’s day. I am engaged at present in preaching and Bible reading at a neighboring school-house. The interest, I am encouraged to hope is increasing. Since the baptism of Bro. __________ I find myself denounced from the pulpits of the nominal Church. The different sects here, while disagreeing with each other, all unite in denouncing me, but “great is my boldness of speech.” I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in tribulation.” It is a sign to me that I am walking in the light as God is in the light. Praise the Lord O my soul and all that is within me praise his holy name. The church here unite with me in sending greetings, with love to all in the faith and hope of the gospel.
Your Brother in Christ, __________.
California, December 22, 1885.
MR. C. T. RUSSELL, MY DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:—I desire to become more familiar with the truth as expounded by you in your publications. Some time ago I received a WATCH TOWER and your Food for Thinking Christians, and I confess it has disturbed my old beliefs wonderfully. As a Methodist preacher for sixteen years, now acting pastor of a little Congregational church here, I have of course imbibed and upheld
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what is called orthodoxy. But I am disgusted with sectarianism; with its narrowness and domineering, titled ministry, who lord it over God’s heritage, and I am now drinking at the fountain of all truth, and henceforth am a New Testament theologian independent of philosophy and church creeds and antiquated scholasticism. The doctrine of the “restitution” is very attractive to me and explains away many difficulties that have burdened my mind. But I desire more light. I am in a little child attitude, teachable and hungry for the truth.
I want all the help I can get. I have outgrown a great many dogmas but have not yet stopped growing.
I have not reached the point and never shall when I shall say, “My mind is all made up,” and henceforth there is no more investigation. No! This is a dangerous state to be in. Let me range the fields of truth and glean what I can from every source. I am a firm believer in conditioned immortality and the soul-ical nature of man as taught in the Bible. I now see that death is not eternal life in misery. I can see that the final end of sin and sinners is destruction, ceasing to be of all vital existence or being. There are some texts that seem to contradict at present the doctrine of Restitution, and your comments and explanations will aid me very much.
I have resolved to follow the pure Bible truth wherever it leads.
I have lived on ordained dignity long enough. It is the driest bone I ever picked, and I am ready to throw up the whole thing and become one of the Lord’s little ones and preach Jesus and the Resurrection as never before.
Will you, therefore, send me the TOWER for the coming year and some back numbers and a few of the Food, etc.
My TOWER is an old one, and I don’t know where your present address is, so I hesitate in this to send you much money till I hear from you. Then I will enclose some money to help in this good cause.
Yours for the truth, __________.
Texas, Dec. 22nd, 1885.
BROTHER RUSSELL:—Please present the enclosed amount, $5.00 in the name of our dear Lord and Master, to our brother, Otto Von Zech, who has left all to follow Him. “For all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.”
I am still striving for the mastery, through many trials and temptations. Remember me in earnest supplications to Him. Your sister in Christ, __________.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:—Your reminiscences in the October number of the TOWER set me to thinking if there was not some sacrifice I could make to help replenish the Lord’s treasury, and as a result I send you an express package (a gold watch and chain) with this, which you may put to what use you think best. It was a gift from my (earthly) father and required a struggle to part with it, but I reasoned that if I had consecrated my all to God that this was his, and I had no right to keep it to myself. I may have erred in sending it to you instead of first converting it into cash, but I thought that you could probably dispose of it to better advantage than I could. I have felt for some time that I must be a member of the feet class, not seemingly possessing other talents, and my inability to do much in this way has troubled me a great deal. But I leave it all with God. If I do my best I know that he will be satisfied. I have had no success with others yet. Our city is called the City of Churches, and verily it is filled with the worshipers of the Beast and his Image.
Yours truly, __________.
[A watch being almost a necessity we felt it to be the Lord’s will that we should return it, and we did so. The sister can now prize it yet more, as a gift from her heavenly as well as her earthly father. The chain we disposed of as requested.]
Pomona, Ill., January 4, 1886.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I again drop you a few lines to let you know how the work of the Lord is progressing in this part of the field. I promised when I accepted the offer to work in the harvest of the Master, that I would set apart one day of each week to that work. I engaged in the work in earnest, and I became so used to telling the story of what great things the Lord has done for us, and I loved to tell that story so well that I find I have given at least half of my time; and the field of labor seems to open larger before me; so the Lord only knows where my labor will end … I have acted in good faith and with an eye to the promise that is to the faithful.
Yours in fellowship and love, __________.
Galt, Cal., Dec. 29, 1885.
DEAR BROTHER:—We are rejoicing with you that you are encouraged by seeing some fruit of your labors; and tender through you, to our brother and sister Zech, heartfelt Christian greetings. Thousands of miles away we are rejoicing as if present. Shall be very glad to have two dozen copies of the German tract.
It is a trial—must be a necessary one or I would not have it—not to be able to send substantial aid to Brother von Zech. It is impossible at present. In the path of duty “The Lord will provide.”
Yours etc., __________.
— January, 1886 —