SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER IN THE LORD:--
May I ask you whether you understand that there is any time or circumstance under which, during the present time (S.S. 1:2--"Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for thy love is better than wine"), "kisses of the mouth" can have any fuller meaning than full heart recognition of the exceeding great and precious promises and their application to one's self, and by heart appreciation thus to recognize the presence of our dearly loved espoused Bridegroom?
In other words, is there any time or circumstance when you understand that there could be any recognition of a personal presence? Or should we fear such experience as one of the many forms and ways Satan will take to "deceive, if possible, the very elect"? transforming himself into an angel of light. While a personal answer will be appreciated, from the experience I hear some are having, it seems as if an answer through THE TOWER, and that soon, may save some from a snare of the Adversary. With thanksgiving to God, I am,
Your brother by grace,
J. C. EDWARDS.
I am quite agreed that the figurative expressions of Solomon's Song should not be allowed to exercise fanciful impressions upon our minds. There would be great danger of putting one's self into a mental attitude which would be susceptible to adverse spirit influences--from the fallen angels. God has in these last times spoken to us by his Son in the record of his teaching and through his specially appointed apostles. Upon the exceeding great and precious promises which these set before us our hearts may freely feast. And in these we should find an abundance of spiritual nutriment, refreshment, and not invite or desire any physical or sensuous manifestations of our Heavenly Bridegroom's love and care. Thanks, dear Brother, for the kind words of loving cheer and sympathy. I am glad to note your firmness and clearness in the Truth.
Very truly your brother and servant in the Lord.
ALLEGHENY, PA., NOV. 25, 1909.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
In view of the flood of "Open Letters" by some ex-members of the New York Ecclesia, would it not be well to answer them in THE TOWER? Of course, your main article in the November 15 WATCH TOWER is a masterly reply to the Open Letter. Although not so declaring itself, the TOWER readers in general may not recognize it to be a response. And indeed I do not know whether you so intended it or not.
Its first exception to your (our) faith and teaching charges you with now presenting what the DAWN and TOWER do not teach--a subtle way of inferring that according to your presentation Jesus was not "a ransom for all" mankind. They misrepresent you as teaching that the Church is a part of the ransom price.
Truly no weapon formed against the Lord's cause will prosper. The Lord will take care of the ultimate results.
The opposition further infers that your teaching is the "abomination that maketh desolate." What will they do with Daniel's prophesy--"from the time of the abomination that maketh desolate, there shall be 1,335 days" (years)? Evidently they are prepared to set aside the Scripture Chronology as well as the Truth they were professed to love and serve.
Closing article I. they graciously accredit you as having been "helpful" to them in a study of the Divine Word, inferring, however, that they dug out of the Bible, truth not received from your instruction. Well do they know they never discovered Scripture knowledge on God's plan that did not emanate from the DAWN and TOWER presentations.
In their article II. do they not agree with you (with us) that Jesus is our Advocate, though they did not always do so? Or, do they profess to hold to the position that they are still enemies of God and God, at enmity with them, thus necessitating the constant service of a Mediator or go-between? Are they proud of this animosity? We rejoice that Jesus is our Advocate.
Article III. of the "Open Letter" has been thoroughly covered by your masterful reply in Nov. 15 WATCH TOWER. The opposing faction deals in isolated verses where you treat the subject in its entirety and you do so forcefully, logically, conclusively. Truly God is with you.
Article IV. starts out with a deliberate misstatement (to be charitable)--falsehood (to be exact). It declares that you "set forth the view that you alone are 'that servant' of Matt. 24:45-47; Luke 12:42-44;" whereas your claim re "that servant" was for THE WATCH TOWER.
According to the position taken by the advocates of the "Open Letter" no sister could possibly come in for a "special blessing" at the hands of our Lord. Rather a discouraging doctrine for the sisters, surely! It tends to make discrimination between the males and females of the faith, "once delivered to the saints." I wonder that all the sisters do not at once see the force of that argument.
Article V. of the "Open Letter" stands powerfully against the argument of the opposing faction. In it they admit that only 17 out of 300 Bible students in Brooklyn Tabernacle were in favor of a certain character of Bible study. Did they expect that the 300 should have given way to the 17? Or, do they hold that the 17 are smarter than the 300 and know best what the Lord approves?
Here let me remind you how the "Berean Bible Studies" started in Allegheny. I was appointed the leader. You merely suggested that I introduce this form of Bible study to the class. I did so, and after the seventh lesson you went on the platform and reminded the congregation that they now knew what the Berean Study is, as compared with Bible study in other ways. You told them of the favorable reports you had of the Berean Study, its increase of attendance, and that you now desired an expression from the Church as to its desire respecting future Bible Studies. Eleven hands were held up in favor of the Bible Study by books and chapters, four hands went up in favor of Bible Study by the selection of a verse or topic. Upwards of 250 hands were then extended in favor of the Berean method of study. I made note of all this at the time.
Now, dear Brother, I know not what method you pursued at the Brooklyn Tabernacle assembly, but am convinced that you did about the same as with the Allegheny congregation. The 17 objectors should at once have surrendered to the voice of God as expressed by the majority. It implied that God was pleased to have Berean Study, in which way every class studies systematically and has your assistance in arriving at conclusions. Only the wilful and heady would want to do otherwise.
[Seeing that some "Independents" were becoming confused, and manifesting an ungracious spirit, we recommended that for the next six months all meetings should be Berean Bible Studies, which had proven so helpful to many, and gave widest latitude for all and on almost every Bible topic. The vote was almost unanimous; about 300 in favor of Berean Studies, and 7 (not 17) against--by record.--EDITOR.]
Experience doubtless has taught us that, although people have had Bibles and studied them throughout the past, they have failed to get much good, but by studying in the Berean way they gain much knowledge of God's plan and principles of righteousness and know full well that the Berean studies are most helpful.
The opposing friends will have to get up a better argument than that set forth in their "Open Letter" if they shall deceive the Lord's little ones. Only those not really of us will be turned aside by their clamor and commotion on spiritual lines.
God help you, Brother, to stand fast in the true faith, the faith "once delivered to the saints." Nobly have you espoused God's truth to the hearing ones. If some presume to hurry along ahead of light as it becomes due they will be as much (if not more) in the dark than they who stay behind.
Continue to remember me at the throne of heavenly grace. Be not dismayed by the shafts of the enemy.
Your brother in Christ our Redeemer and Advocate.
J. A. BOHNET.