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EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS
BROTHER RUSSELL, DEAR SIR:—A few months ago I was called to do some mechanical engineer work in the back woods of Canada. Being detained there over Sunday, and stopping at one of the lumbermen’s homes, our conversation on Sunday took a religious turn. Creeds were pulled over the coals and dissected; the bright as well as the dark side was brought forth to show which was right and who was in the narrow way. I myself was born and brought up in the Roman Church, and three of my children were christened therein, we complying to all of her rules until within a few years, when we cast off the Roman yoke and began to search the Scriptures.
We joined the Presbyterian church, hungering and thirsting for more light and truth in the way of holiness. I attended regularly, Sunday after Sunday, also prayer meeting on Wednesday evenings; and I am sorry to say that I did not feel as though it did me any good. I with my family were thrust away in a back seat up in the gallery, where we could hear but little that was said, while we had a good view of the dress circle below, where the seats were upholstered and the floor was carpeted. I once tried to get a sitting down there where we could hear what was said, but in vain. Trustees said all seats were taken, but I might be able to arrange with some of the pew holders. I approached one for the purpose, who alone occupied a pew with sitting for eight persons. No, was his answer, I have a great many friends and visitors and I want the whole seat. I took note of the member for a while who sat in that pew, but for a dozen Sundays he alone occupied it, and for as many more no one at all; and in that same church there are a hundred pews as the above described, but I could get no sitting. I went in and out of this church for five years, was spoken to by four different members at different times in that five years—never spoken to or as much as looked at in the prayer meetings by any one; and I began to feel I had got in the wrong place. Finally there crept in a discontent in the congregation, and the knowing ones got dissatisfied with the pastor, and the upshot of it was the minister was dismissed, and I must say that I feel he was a true follower of the Lord in every respect. I began to feel that grace was far from that little party, and I gave up going, but never for a day forgetting my God and praying for more light and grace to battle the evil of this wicked world. This frame of mind found me in the lumberman’s home on Sunday, a seeker after light. I was handed a little book, and upon a glance I saw “why evil was permitted.” I perused it till nearly Monday morning, alone with my God; and I felt the next day as though I had been wearing some dark glasses and they had fallen from my eyes.
Completing my labors, and upon going to take the train, my friend placed in my hand another book and a few papers, telling me to read them at my leisure. Upon opening the package it contained some papers headed ZION’S WATCH TOWER and Herald of Christ’s Presence, with the Millennial Dawn. I have read, studied, re-read, and have been comparing it with the Scriptures, to make sure, and I am led to exclaim “In the Lord I will put my trust. I will bless the Lord who hath given me counsel.” The TOWER has come to my home since my visit to the back woods, and it must be through the kindness of my new found friend, the lumberman, although I have not had the pleasure of seeing or hearing from him since my return. To-night the Dawn and TOWER are being perused by some seekers after light, and I hope in a few days to forward you some subscribers for both. I have the money for two subscribers now.
I hope to spread the glad tidings of great joy to all people in this locality, in the workshop and the highway.
Since the above writing I have received a few more applicants and hope a week from to-day to send $10.00.
I hope to do better than at first expected for there are a lot of Romans here.
Yours respectfully, J. S.
[The following letter is from the Brother mentioned as “A Missionary Free” in the Dec. ’87 TOWER, page 1. We know that you all will be glad to hear from him and to know of his zeal in spreading the truth on the “Dark Continent.”
Is it not remarkable that without the means to carry on “missions” ourselves or even to reach with the truth the truth-seekers among the missionaries and converts in far off lands, God is laying hold of faithful servants there, and using them to pass the truth from one to another? Thus, as we have heretofore shown by letters published, the truth has its missionaries or ambassadors in India, Turkey, China, Hayti, South America, and now in Africa. We can only say, “It is marvellous in our eyes.” We pray for these and all the dear “home missionaries” (which includes all of you who are doing with your might what your hands find to do),—O Lord, grant us according to the word of thy prophet of old. May it be fulfilled to each of us, as it is written: “Strengthen the feeble hands and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened.”—EDITOR.]
CHAS. T. RUSSELL, DEAR BRO:—Your favor of the 2nd ult. has duly come to hand on the 10th inst., with the following publications: 20 copies Millennial Dawn, 2 copies Food and 25 copies Z.W. TOWER.
I am glad to inform you that we, viz: Hon. J. T. G., the superintendent of our county, C. T. B., George H. C., and myself—met at Brother G.’s residence on the first inst., and duly recognized ourselves as part of the Church of Christ, after reading the article “The Ecclesia,” published in Z.W.T. of Sept. 1884.
On the 3rd I addressed a letter to Bishop F. of the P.E. Mission here, advising him that I had severed my connection with his church, and gave my reasons for the same. My course so displeased him that he issued a leaflet entitled “A Warning,” in which he bitterly denounced us and the cause we espoused.
Notwithstanding this state of things, and the Bishop’s strong effort to prevent his people from hearing the heresy that we were teaching, on the 4th Sunday afternoon, Bro. G.’s commodious parlor was full to overflowing with an anxious audience. We now have weekly Bible readings, and preaching three times at three different places on the Lord’s day. I believe we have the presence of the Lord with us.
I hope you will send me some extra copies of Z.W. TOWER for gratuitous distribution among the Lord’s poor here, who are many.
As I expect to leave here shortly for Monrovia, and as we hear one of Messrs. Y. & P.’s vessels will leave U.S.A. for Liberia, please send me 2 dozen copies M. Dawn, cloth bound; 4 dozen copies M. Dawn, paper bound, in care of Hon. W. M. D., Monrovia, Liberia. Send also some specimens of Z.W.T., to induce the people there to become subscribers.
Please pray for me and others here. Your Brother in Christ. S. W. S.
P.S.—Enclosed find a copy of my letter to Bishop Ferguson.
The following is the letter mentioned.
S. D. FERGUSON, D.D.
DEAR BROTHER:—I am compelled to discharge the painful duty of acquainting you with the fact that I have this afternoon severed my connection with the Prot. Episcopal church, of which you are the representative in Liberia. My reason for so doing, in the first place, is that I believe the Protestant churches have departed from the pure word of God, as taught by Jesus Christ and His Apostles, and have adopted human dogmas and traditions of the elders which make void the word of God (Mark 7:13); on account of which Jesus denounced woe upon the Pharisees and others who were guilty of the same thing in His day—Matt. 23:1-33; 15:2,3,9; Mark 7:2,3,5. Not only was Jesus displeased with the observance of the traditions of men, but the Apostle to the Gentiles strongly warned his converts to beware of the same, among other injurious things.—Col. 2:8, Gal. 1:14.—The nominal church—Papal mother and Protestant daughters—I believe is called Babylon (confusion) by reason of opposing and jarring creeds; and discord prevails among them. I firmly believe God calls you and me, as well as all His people, to come out of her; for her punishment for her sin is due.—Revelation 18:2,4,5,6.
My second reason for leaving the Prot. Episcopal church is, I desire to preach the pure word of God under the sole authority and commission of none but Jesus, whom I recognize as the only Head of His church.
Having my eyes once anointed with the eye salve (Rev. 3:18) of the pure word of God, I dare not remain longer to dabble in the human teachings, which are the prolific sources of discord and wrangling in the Protestant churches.
You may ask, Where are you going, my brother? I answer, I am not going back to heathenism, where I once was; but I have already united myself with the Church of Christ—the church which Christ and His apostles organized, and which is characterized by the preaching of the pure word of God, and by primitive simplicity in all things appertaining to the same church. You are hereby assured that I will ever stretch out the right-hand of fellowship to welcome you, and all my friends and brethren whom I have left behind in the bondage of Babylon.
I shall ever endeavor to win you all to Christ and into His church. May our brotherly love continue!—Farewell!
With fraternal regards, your friend and brother in Christ, SAM’L W. S.
MR. C. T. RUSSELL, DEAR BRO.:—Enclosed is $1.50 for ten copies of Dawn received last week. A few blocks from my home resides a pastor of the Evangelical Association. I went there a few days before I received my last Dawns, and he being from home, his wife gave me an order for a copy of the book. Yesterday, when I went to deliver it, I found him in the parlor, the wife being engaged. I told him that I had brought the book that Mrs.__________ had ordered. He took it in his hand, looked at the title, then turned to the back cover and read, “Zion’s Watch Tower,” then asked, “Is this book published by ZION’S WATCH TOWER?” “It is,” I answered. Then he said, “O sister, you have got hold of the most dreadful, hurtful doctrines and heresies. I have seen some of their papers” etc. “Well,” I said, “you have not fully examined the matter. I wish to call your attention to what Solomon said, ‘He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.'” (Prov. 18:13.) Then I said, Paul in one of his journeys came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews, but they would not hear him, and drove him away. Then he went to Berea unto another synagogue of the Jews, and it is related of them, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” Then he began to preach to me eternal punishment, because of the very laws of retribution in the nature of all wrong doing. He would not think of reading the book, nor of having his family exposed to reading it. (His oldest child is five years old, and so safe from heresy for some years to come.) Then the Lord opened my mouth and filled my heart, and brought scripture to my lips which I had not thought myself capable of repeating with such fluency. I showed him that Israel’s promises related to the land and restoration to favor and forgiveness, while the promise to the church is the high calling that she shall be glorified, and that from her, and not from Israel, shall go forth the law, and that God loved Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. I showed him our mission to the world as kings, priests, etc. In the meantime I had put up my book, but at last he said “Give me the book again, I will buy it for my own satisfaction.” If I had strength to canvass for Dawn I could sell them well, but I have not as yet found just what the Lord’s will is for me in this work. He has, however, given me work in corresponding with my brothers and sisters. One sister, a Seventh Day Adventist, wrote me a letter a few days ago, saying, “O sister, believe the blessed book when it speaks so plainly.” I answered, “Yes, I believe every word of it, and I call upon you to do the same.” I told her that God expected Abraham to believe in the fullness of his promises, and that he expected us to believe as fully in the promises as in the threatenings, for he was able to make them all good. I referred her to such promises as in Psa. 82:8; Rom. 86:9, and Jesus’ own declaration, “If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.”
I sometimes wonder if it does not worry you to get so many, and long letters from day to day. But our hearts, and lips, and pens, overflow almost without volition; and as you seem to make a sort of a center for the communion of the little flock, we can hardly send you a little bit of money without telling you a long story of our experience in the work. In love, yours, MRS. M. G. ATCHESON.
Fillmore Co., Minn.
DEAR SIR:—Enclosed you will find a money order for five dollars, which I wish to give to the Tract Society with the exception of enough to pay for two Dawns, paper covers, to lend to friends. I am very anxious to have all who will read and think, have access to those wonderful books. Those ordered came all right and were soon delivered. If circumstances will permit I shall take more orders. O, that I could only convince my own family that it is time to look into such matters. They are not opposed, but think it is not necessary. I am all alone, but none the less determined to be faithful to the end.
MRS. S. L. L.
“AS ALL the water that is upon the hills runs into the valleys, so all grace goes to the humble.”
— February, 1888 —