DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER:The enclosed Postal Order is a thank-offering to the Lord for an especial favor. The occasion is, that I have recently completed the perfect memorization of the Book of Isaiah; and I desire with a humble heart to thank God for the preservation of my memory, for its power of rapid reception and the tenacity with which it retains that which has been stored in it. Please do not think me boastful, for I fully realize that it is God's gift, and I feel very humble in view of the fact that I have so misused it in the past.
The book was more than half learned in detached portions before I dreamed of making it a complete subject; then it was completed much sooner than I had expected it to be. It has been mostly the work of my morning hours. I rise habitually at four and leave home for the shop at seven. Breakfast and other duties occupy part of the time, but I get from an hour to an hour and a quarter for reading and study, and that is the best time I have for it. This is the only entire book of the Bible which I have memorized, except the first epistle of John, which I had learned before meeting MILLENNIAL DAWN.
I know that it is one thing to fill the mind with a collection of words, and another to understand their meaning; and I ask your prayers that God's holy Word may not be to me as the words of a book that is sealed, nor I as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal, but that I may have the seal of understanding and the stamp of obedience on my heart. Pardon me if I seem egotistic, but God's mercy to a weak old man fills me with the desire to tell some one of it, and I have no one here to whom I can talk about these things and who can sympathize with me in them. The memorial which I send is small, but it is nearer in its proportion (as coming from me) to the widow's mite, than it once would have been; and I trust you will accept it in the spirit in which it is offered, and that the Lord will use it, as he does many small things, to his glory. Yours in love and sympathy, __________.
[When the memory is thus stored with the words of divine revelation, what food is furnished for prayerful meditation, what a ready [R2039 : page 224] weapon of defence is at hand against every attack of the adversary, what words of wisdom, counsel, instruction, comfort, consolation, warning, encouragement and cheer will spring up in the mind as necessity may require. We commend the brother's course to all to the extent of their ability and opportunity, remembering the counsel of the Lord, "My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart."Prov. 7:1-3. See also Deut. 6:6-9; Psa. 1:2.
Such storing of the memory with heavenly "food," if it be but one verse a day or one verse a week should not be neglected: the results will be surprising in even one year. "Thy word was found and I did eat it."EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:The following item from a religious publication shadows forth the wide-spread feeling that to accomplish any purpose, even to subduing the earth and crowning the blessed Christ, only the unity of Christians is necessary. It reads:
"The time has quite come to beat the sword into a plow-share, and the spear into a pruning hook. This age has the courage and the faith, if applied in the right direction, to grasp the mighty contents of prophecy and hurry its fulfilment, thus quickly bringing on its blessings.
"God is willing that something should be done for him on a scale as magnificent as for war or international display. The Christian nations are well equipped with ships for destruction and tremendous engines of war. Let the Church of Christ drop its differences, and bury them to the centre of the earth; then unite to do this thing. The angels will again throng the skies, with their song, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will to men.' From heaven itself mighty, unseen forces will move to help on the work of crowning Jesus King of kings. May there not be found somewhere a man, who will be as great for God, as Napoleon Bonaparte in war, as statesmen have sometimes been for their country, as many now are for the simple purpose of making money?"
Strangest of all is the idea that it is in the hands of men to accelerate or retard the accomplishment of God's great and glorious designs. It seems to me that the assertion that this age has "courage and faith to grasp the mighty contents of prophecy," is little better than the incoherent mutterings of one in deep sleep. Who can grasp the mighty contents of the prophecies unless God reveal them? God declares that he reveals them only to his humble, watchful children; and we know that the boasted numbers of Christendom have no such characteristics. And to hurry God's movements: what comment is adequate to such towering pride?
We can know what God wills to be done only by his revealing it; and nowhere has he revealed that he would have a grand display of earth's pageantry to usher in the kingdom. Truly, the "outer darkness" is very great; but my heart rejoices to walk the lowly vale with the self-sacrificing One. W. F. EATON.
[REPLY. Very true; and yet it is well to remember that most of us who now rejoice in God's "marvelous light" were once in the same darkness. There is every reason why we should think charitably and even hopefully of such blind reasoners. They are on the Lord's side at least, and longing for the better day, however ignorantly. A zeal not according to knowledge is far more pleasing to God than a knowledge without zeal. The zeal shows the state of the heart, and the knowledge the condition of the head to some extent. It was because Saul of Tarsus had the proper zeal that God corrected his knowledge and made him the great Apostle Paul; while it is declared that "unprofitable servants" who have knowledge, and who do not have the loving zeal to use it, will be cast out of the light into the "outer darkness."
A man, such as the writer of the above, who respects "the contents of prophecy," is a much more hopeful subject for effort than the many who know not and care not for the prophecy, and who disbelieve the promise of a coming Kingdom of God in which God's will shall be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
(5) These facts should awaken all who are truly God's people to a study of God's Word, to see what is the "hope of the groaning creation;" and they would find it to be the Kingdom of Godthe glorified Church, whose Lord and head is Christ Jesus; and that his Kingdom is to be introduced by divine power and judgments in a great time of trouble now nigh, even at the doors.EDITOR.]