SPIRIT OF A SOUND MIND
DEARLY BELOVED PASTOR:--
I am not giving any name or address, as I think it wiser not to, and please do not notice this note if you do not think it advisable, otherwise if you can spare a short paragraph in THE TOWER I should appreciate it, and others also.
A Sister recently arrived from _____ tells us that the Class there are teaching that the Church must not expect to be glorified until 1925, and that this is your thought; consequently it is producing a spirit of apathy, and many are taking a greater interest in business and worldly things. Whether or not it is so, to me it seems that I have to be on my guard and "watch and wait," with loins girded and Lamp burning, that I may be ready.
I have realized and accepted this glorious Message of "Present Truth" for five years; and it grows more precious all the time. I grew up in the Church of England, and living at Oxford with the College Set, was extremely High Church, so you know what I have had to unlearn.
I praise God for raising you up, dear Brother, as "that Servant." May He bless you still more, that you may give us the "meat in due season." I also thank the dear Lord that He brought me to this country before this awful war; and made me to realize "where are the dead," as all my people are being shot and I should have been in despair.
There is another little matter I would like to mention. At the Class I attend the presiding Elder never seems prepared. He does not know where the MANNA Text for the day is, and although it is a Prayer and Testimony Meeting, he occupies most of the time with his views on the present state of affairs and the war crisis. No one else can have much time.
I hope you will not think I am too critical, but in the little old Church I had been accustomed to reverence, and for an Elder to be gaping, sleeping or picking his teeth and nails--well it jars awfully! He also brings with him a child of three years that disturbs the Class very much. No one likes to say anything to him, as he says that he has been in the Truth for fifteen years. But we do not feel spiritually helped, especially as he is a business man. Before the meeting he talks business; and the moment it is over, shop.
O dear Brother, I don't want to think evil, or speak evil, but this does worry us! Many of us have prayed about it. The children do bother us; but I dare not speak of that, as I am told that I have too strict English ideas. I would not wound his feelings in any way, so if I am in the wrong please ignore what I have written. The dear Lord knows that I am trying to follow in His footsteps, and to keep my pride under and make myself of no reputation, as the dear Master did.
Apologizing for encroaching on your valuable time, I am, dear Pastor, YOUR SISTER BY HIS GRACE.
The Apostle declares that God gives His people the spirit of a sound mind--His Spirit, His Mind. But we receive this in proportion to our earnestness and heed to the Lord's Word. The longer we have been in the School of Christ, if apt pupils, the better we should know Him and the better be able to exemplify His character and teachings.
As the letter is anonymous, we have not the slightest idea who the Elder may be. We will assume that he means well. We might also, however, assume that he has not been sufficiently wide-awake to well exemplify the spirit of a sound mind in the matter of the service of the Lord. Otherwise, would he not be more careful of his actions and words, in order that he might glorify the Lord and be assistful to His people?
Lack of reverence is manifest everywhere, but it seems especially out of place in assemblages of the Lord's consecrated people. As we have said before, we may say again, that no matter how limited our talents we can by our actions [R5888 : page 127] and manner speak volumes in the praise of Him who called us from darkness into marvelous light.
We cannot help it that many of the dear friends continue to tell what THE WATCH TOWER believes, and to misrepresent its teachings. Our kindest thought must be that they are not giving much heed to its teachings. Otherwise they would know from its columns that we are not looking forward to 1925, nor to any other date. As expressly stated in THE WATCH TOWER, we are simply going on, our last date or appointment having been passed more than a year ago.
We believe that the dates have proven to be quite right. We believe that Gentile Times have ended, and that God is now allowing the Gentile Governments to destroy themselves, in order to prepare the way for Messiah's Kingdom. The Lord did not say that the Church would all be glorified by 1914. We merely inferred it and, evidently, erred. We see, however, that the different times and seasons which the Lord's providence sent to His people in hope of resurrection "change" correspond closely with the different places to which Elijah, the Prophet, was sent before his translation. The last place to which he was sent was Jordan, which, we believe, corresponds to October, 1914. After that, Elijah and Elisha went on without having any definite point in view.
Our thought is that something very important to us all is implied in Elijah's use of his mantle in smiting the waters of Jordan and dividing them. After so doing, Elijah and Elisha continued to go on until the chariot of fire parted them. It was after that that Elijah went up to Heaven in the whirlwind. We may discuss these matters more at length again, but now suggest that we have no different time in mind from the Scriptures on the subject, and do not expect to have any. However, the division of the waters might require either years or months--who could say?
FROM BRETHREN OF FRANCE
BELOVED BROTHER IN CHRIST:--
I do not know whether anybody at the Tabernacle can read French or not; but I cannot resist the impulse to assure you of my entire devotion to the cause of Truth.
You have helped me to so much joy, and been the means of my accepting salvation. Through your labor I have been brought to an appreciation of the love of our Heavenly Father, to such an extent that I find my sentiments aptly expressed by St. Paul to his brother Philemon. (Philemon 7.) Being delighted at recognizing this fact, I find delight also in expressing it to you.
In all my painful moments, when the cross is heavy to bear, I think of you and say to myself, dear Brother Russell, too, has suffered, and is suffering, and I must not wonder if my share is to suffer also. Then my soul goes up to the Father of Mercies in gratitude for His favors (the privilege of suffering with Christ), and I earnestly beg of Him ever to bless and guide you.
During the past year I have appreciated much, very much, your excellent advice, and it has profited me greatly.
In my present trials, after having been compelled to leave my wife and three children in the invaded territory of our dear France, the daily partaking of the Vow and of the Morning Resolve has helped me much. These helps alone have developed in me much of the love of the Father--and all this during the past year. Because of it I bless the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, let me by this message assure you that my petitions ascend to the Father in your behalf, that He may bless you abundantly, to the end that His blessing upon you may redound through your ministry upon every one of us.
Yours sincerely in Him, E. LARVENT.
P. S.--Have found here a refuge since December, 1914, when I had to leave my home at Denain (Nord). Am here with several brothers and sisters who also are refugees from Lens, Lieven and Denain. We have each of us signed the accompanying brotherly message:
The undersigned brethren and sisters, members of the I.B.S.A. (French Ecclesia of Bruay-Auchel), in meeting assembled this 1st day of January, 1916, send their most brotherly greetings to the well-beloved of the Household of Faith, fighting the same spiritual fight under the Captain of our Salvation, Jesus Christ, at the Brooklyn Bethel and everywhere.
After having studied Psalm 116(especially dwelling on Verse 15, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints," also the motto for this year, "Strong in Faith"), we express the sincerest wish that each of you, when tried, may be found faithful unto death and then present at the approaching Rendezvous in eternal joy! SIGNED BY 25.
LOVE IN THOUGHT, WORD AND DEED
BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Greetings and much love to you, dear Brother, as we come to the end of this wonderful year. What a glorious year it has been for the development of the saints, particularly along the lines of love and patient endurance! I am incapable of expressing my love and appreciation of you and your service to me personally. I am constantly praising my Heavenly Father for allowing me to come in contact with your precious Volumes, which God used to bring me out of the kingdom of darkness and into the light of the glorious Gospel.
I thank you, dear Brother, for the suggestion that we each pray that "God would bless us in the cultivation of love in thought, word and deed." I immediately acted upon the suggestion, and oh, joy, what grand results! I never knew that there was so much in "loving in thought." Now, dear Brother, you said we might report to you as to our success, and that is why I am intruding upon your precious time. The results with me have been away beyond my highest expectation.
We thought there might be some in the class who had not yet taken the "Vow" nor sent in their names. So we opened up a sheet and to our surprise, there were fifty-two who wished their names sent in. Please find the same enclosed. Loving Greetings from Sister Heard and
Your Brother by Divine favor,
C. E. HEARD.--Vancouver, B.C.
FROM THE VANCOUVER CLASS
OUR BELOVED PASTOR:--
We the undersigned, members of the Vancouver Ecclesia, take this opportunity of expressing our love and gratitude to you for the inestimable service you have rendered to us, in that through your ministrations we have been led into the light of Present Truth. And now recognizing that we are in "the evil day" and the danger of slipping is so great, we desire to "make straight paths for our feet," and believing [R5889 : page 127] that the special "Vow" is a great means to that end, we wish to add our names to the many who have already taken it, and thereby make it our own.
Praying our Heavenly Father's rich blessing upon you. dear Brother, and asking a continued interest in your prayers, We are: [Fifty-two signatures follow.]
I have in my possession a copy of the EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT, and esteem it very highly. I have compared it with the works of the great English commentator Clarke, and all of his citations to the Greek are identical with the DIAGLOTT; I have been comparing the Septuagint with it, and where the DIAGLOTT makes reference to the Old Testament, I find the text the same.
The good I have received from its study, plus the increased value of it by comparison, has greatly endeared the work to me.
I am engaged in the work of the ministry and in circulating sacred literature, including Bibles and Testaments. I would be glad to handle a few copies of the DIAGLOTT, if you can give me a fair commission on them.
I have an order now for one copy. If you will quote me agents' terms, I shall be glad to handle some for you. Please include your pamphlet on ARMAGEDDON.
Respectfully yours, REV.__________
SEES GETHSEMANE EXPERIENCES AHEAD
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Just a line, dear Brother, to wish that our dear Lord and Master continue to bless you, as He has so richly done in the past. I remember you every morning at the Throne of Grace.
We in this country seem to be on the verge of Gethsemane experiences, as the conscription bill has passed.
One of my sons has now reached the age of 19. He has so far given a good witness for the Lord by refusing to enlist in the army, and if it should come that it will mean being shot for still refusing, I trust he will receive the Heavenly Grace to stand firm to the principles of truth and righteousness.
Brother, we ask your prayers for us during this evil hour.
Yours in the one hope, W. O. WARDEN.--Scotland.