Please accept my apology for asking you for a little of your time; but I feel that I have been so greatly blessed by reading your sermons and Bible Studies that I have been quite a while wanting to write and tell you about it.
I do not know whether it was just by chance, or accident, or whether by the hand of Providence, that a paper was handed to me that I might read a report of a surgical operation. In that paper I also read a sermon by C. T. Russell. I had never read anything of you or of your great work.
I want to say that that happened last February; and I don't believe that a day has passed since then that I have not thought of the great work you are doing. I subscribed for THE WATCH TOWER, and have read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES and quite a number of the tracts and pamphlets.
THE DIVINE PLAN opened my eyes. I had for a long time been looking for light in God's Word; and with the series of Bible studies I have taken my Bible and studied God's Word every day. I want to say that I have been enabled to appreciate God's Word and see his plans as I never had before. It is so grand, so sublime, so just! I would rather give up every volume in my libraryexcept the Biblethan the SCRIPTURE STUDIES.
I am distributing tracts and the DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES and doing what I can to get people to read them. These helps induce me to read and study God's Word, and, thank God, they make it so plain to me. Of course, I do not understand it all; but it is so different from the plan I had been taught. The truth is, I am now reading and studying God's plan; before I had been taught man's plan. I am trying to see God's plan; and, O how beautiful, how sublime!
Herein please find my check to be used in the Lord's service. We regret that we are not in a position to send more. Any and all service we could render is in nowise commensurate with the rich blessings we have been enjoying for the past ten years. Present Truth has done more for my wife and myself than I can ever tell you. It is wonderful, marvelous, beautiful, how God's Word (which our parents, Sunday-school teachers and preachers so frequently told us was never meant to be understood) is now so plain, and has been opened up so clearly to our heads and hearts by the only keyTHE WATCH TOWER publications and STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.
These books, dear Brother, are the real Keys to Holy Writ. What could we do without them in the present blinding mist and maze of human sophistries? If no others could be had, a million dollars could not buy mine. Thank God! we have been delivered from the nightmare of Satanic teachings, such as were inculcated in our minds by the creeds of Christendom, and the labyrinth of mere conjectures concerning God's Word; and by his grace, through your publications, we now stand in the blazing sunlight of a clarified understanding of his Word and his loving character, which we now see to be the embodiment of love and mercy.
And as we rejoice with a joy unspeakable and full of glory because of the one hope of our high calling, we also rejoice to know that in "The Times of Restitution of all things" there will be a universal opportunity for salvation for the whole world of mankindNero included.
Just one year ago I came into the Truth. I was exceedingly rejoiced with the many wonderful truths entirely new to me, though I had been educated for the ministry, and preached for three years; and had passed normal school examinations and taught school for several years.
My temporal surroundings, as well as my newly acquired desire to penetrate the new and unknown fields of the now unsealed Book, led me to long for a further unfolding of these new and surprising truths. I could wish that there were one hundred volumes of such studies, instead of six; and instead of contenting myself with a careful assimilation and application of that already learned, I sought rather for new conquests.
I began with the help of Strong's concordance to delve into the meanings of words. I sought to make pictures and draw types from nearly every chapter in the Bible. I tried to fit the meaning of every proper name to some one, and usually concluded that it referred to Brother Russell. My faculty for seeing pictures and types became so developed that my eye would skim over a chapter, jumping at a chance picture here and there, and missing nearly all the original meaning and proper application of the text.
The Bible I loved was thus becoming quite barren to me in respect to its intended use. Instead of using it to supply my much-needed armor, I was enjoying it more as one would enjoy a picture book or "Grimm's Fairy Tales."
Finally I came to the point where it became quite difficult for me to distinguish between Truth and error; and I was in danger of losing my appreciation of the Truth and devoting myself to the fanciful. Nor did I realize the great danger I was in until, a short time ago, the Lord used our dear Brother Saphore to point out to me my mistake. I cannot express to you what a blow it was to me to see that most of my Bible study for a whole year was not only of no account, but of a negative influence not only to myself, but to those I may have thus influenced.
I deeply regret my mistake, and have vowed to my Lord that henceforth, trusting in his grace to help, I will to the best of my ability more zealously appreciate and pursue the study of the TRUTH, and cease all speculation and typemaking.
I am endeavoring, dear Brother, to retrace my steps; to learn again to discern between fact and theory, and to make no positive statement except that which I know, and can prove by the Bible to be Truthfully warranted and established.Isaiah 8:20.
The article in the Sept. 15 TOWER, page 297, entitled, "Is the reading of the SCRIPTURE STUDIES Bible Study?" has been of great help to me; and I am now reading at least twelve pages every day and seeking to keep all my Bible study within the bounds of that which is known, and given to us by the Lord as meat in due season.
Now, brother, I fear that many are making a similar mistake of rash speculation to the end that perhaps many will stumble. I pray for such that they may see their mistake and the great danger thus impending over those who thus build upon speculation, and are sure to see their speculations fall. Oh! that our faith may be built upon nothing unstable as a part of its foundation, for "This is the victory that overcometh the worldeven your faith."
Before "the Vow" came out I had an intense hunger for knowledge and was just beginning to realize that the world's literature is full of the wisdom of "the god of this world"Satan. When "the Vow" came, I realized my need of it. Now I can remain in a room full of books and not read one, but read only the Bible and the Keys which our present Lord and Master has provided.
Sometimes I think of Ezekiel 3:21 as a fitting description of how the Lord has used the Vow "to warn the righteous." Certainly it was a warning to me.
When thirteen years ago I came to a knowledge of "Present Truth," the fact that The Christ is composed of many members was the key to many mysteries; for instance, the delay of restitution blessings, etc. Daily the doctrines grow more precious to me. My heart is inspired to greater zeal and faithfulness, now when I need this very inspiration; and I feel more than ever willing to yield to the three burnings, just as our Master set the example. Oh, how thankful we are to our blessed Master for this wonderful truth on the Sin-Offering! The truth on the Covenants has been such a help also. How I enjoy saying to the Jews whom I meet, "Have you ever thought of the blessings of the New Covenant? These are for your people."
Now, dear Brother, I come to the object of this letter, which is to let you know of our Christian love and how glad we are that, like our Master, you have humility enough to do the Father's will by proclaiming these truths even though you know that you will be misunderstood by many. Would that, like John and Mary, we could be a comfort to you in the hour of trial.
At present I am enjoying the Colporteur work more than [R4717 : page 367] ever before, due principally to the strength gained from "Present Truth." I voice the sentiment of every member of our class here when I say, God bless you, Brother Russell; for those who keep their consecration vow grow more precious to each other.
With the sincere hope of encouraging you and holding up your hands in this severe hour of trial and determined effort of the enemy to hinder the Lord's Harvest Work I have been, I trust, directed by our Heavenly Master to write you a few lines. I may tell you that I am utterly overwhelmed with admiration and thanks to our Heavenly Father for favoring meone, as I feel, so utterly undeserving of being favored with an insight into his great scheme for the uplifting of the human race and, above all, for calling me to run in the good race of the high calling.
Dear Brother, how especially honored you must be to be made God's instrument in presenting these wonderful truths to the Church! How I bless God for opening my eyes to see them and my heart to receive them, and how I bless him for his great love in preserving me from falling back, as some have done. Surely there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth with those who try to obstruct and hinder the Master's work. I am satisfied that they might as well try to keep back the waters of the Amazon. I rejoice exceedingly also in being favored so highly as to be permitted to do something in the way of presenting the message to others. I am happily in a position to do a lot of colporteuring and tract distributing, and I trust the Lord of the Harvest will give me grace sufficient to make the most of the few short remaining years of the harvest.
Again assuring you, beloved Brother, of my loyalty to the glorious cause of Christ and to the blessed harvest truths as presented to us through THE TOWER, the STUDIES, etc., and which I would not exchange or give up for all else besides, believe me, my dear Brother, to remain
At this late date what do you think about marriage by those who claim to be fully consecrated? I think a timely piece in THE WATCH TOWER treating the propriety of marriage would do much good. It seems that many do not understand their privilege in sacrificing their little all.
I have certainly enjoyed THE WATCH TOWER, especially of late. The expositions on the Great Company and what is meant by a full consecration have caused me to make some careful self-examinations and more earnest prayers, inquiring of the Lord whether or not I have made a full consecration of my little all, and am I being faithful in my stewardship.
We quite agree with your sentiments, dear Brother, that the time is short; that all the consecrated need every talent and every moment for the service of the King, to demonstrate to him their love and loyalty. We quite agree that many marriages have proved disadvantageous spiritually. We do not know that all have done so.
Anyway, we have no option in the matter. The Lord's Word clearly declares that marriage is honorable in all. It is not, therefore, the province of anybody to forbid marriage, directly or indirectly. The most we are privileged to do is to call attention to the words of St. Paul, a Divinely inspired instructor for the Church, whose admonitions have brought blessing to us all many times. He says, "He that marrieth doeth well. He that marrieth not doeth better."
For our part, therefore, we leave the matter in the hands of the dear friends, content to point out the Apostle's advice, not forgetting that there might be instances in which this general rule might not apply. It is for each of the Lord's people to decide this matter in harmony with his or her own judgment and convictions. "Let us not judge one another, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother's way."Rom. 14:13.
You might be interested in the result of some observations made concerning the relative development of members of Bible classes that I have been privileged to visit. The degree of progress seems to be largely influenced by the character of meetings and the method of study adopted.
Some of the classes closely adhere to the Berean Studies, as set forth in THE WATCH TOWER. Other meetings are devoted to DAWN Studies, each member of the class taking part therein; and at least one meeting per week to prayer, praise and testimonies, with an occasional discourse. All such appear to be making progress in the development of knowledge and the graces of the Spirit.
Other classes do not have Berean studies; do not use the DAWNS at the class meetings, seldom have a prayer, praise and testimony meeting, but instead largely depend upon the leader of the class, who prepares a lesson on some chapter in the Bible and at the meeting states his conclusions, and then calls upon the class for expressions of opinion. Such classes, it is quite evident, make little progress.
Since all who have come to a knowledge of "present truth" concerning God's Plan, obtained it by the use of the six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and other WATCH TOWER publications, it would appear to be a serious mistake, in the class studies, to ignore these God-given helps. No member of the class can grow without an individual exercise of his faculties, and where the leader is depended upon to prepare a lesson and recite it at the meeting of the class, the benefit resulting to the class is reduced to the minimum.
The Society now publishes, in pamphlet form, the Berean questions on TABERNACLE SHADOWS and on Vol. V., STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, besides the current Berean questions on Vol. VI. appearing in THE TOWER. No better material can be had for three meetings each week. The majority of the friends are so situated that they can have four meetings per week. Some of the classes thus situated, and which have not used the Berean studies from their inception, are now having for one meeting the Berean questions on TABERNACLE SHADOWS, for another, Berean questions on Vol. V., and for another, the current Berean study on Vol. VI. In this manner the new members, as well as others of the class, get the benefit of all back lessons, at the same time keeping abreast with THE TOWER lessons. The fourth meeting of the week is devoted to praise, prayer and testimonies recounting the experiences and blessings of the week. The result shows it would be profitable for others to pursue a similar course.
I know that you will rejoice with me when I tell you that after about two years waiting, the dear, loving heavenly [R4718 : page 367] Father has opened my eyes concerning the Vow.
Sister Frances Thompson has written you in her letter about our experiences, so it will not be necessary for me to repeat them. I have made the Vow my own, and have been rejoicing in the blessings and help derived therefrom.
It seemed such a foolish thing to think of taking a Vow like that. Why did I want to pledge myself, or tie myself up to a Vow? But thanks to the dear Father for his loving kindness and favor towards me. He has shown me that I was the foolish child, and that the Vow was just what I needed.
To me it is just a line of suggestion of how to carry out our consecration. This is what I have needed for so long, but did not know it. It has made me more watchful of my words and thoughts and actions. It has been the means of pulling me back into line when this mean old self would come to the front and demand its rights. It has caused me to rely on the assistance of the promised grace to help in every time of need. SISTER SCHEIDLER.
After the close of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for December follow: (1) 30; (2) 37; (3) 6; (4) 152; (5) 230; (6) 32; (7) 226; (8) 95; (9) 235; (10) 273; (11) 73; (12) 208; (13) 123; (14) 60; (15) 145; (16) 15; (17) 47; (18) 127; (19) 283; (20) 279; (21) 4; (22) 112; (23) 258; (24) 327; (25) 222; (26) 7; (27) 5; (28) 178; (29) 62; (30) 264; (31) 113.