A very precious season of communion of saints was the four days meeting held by the church at Allegheny, commencing Sunday, March 25th, and closing Wednesday night, March 29th. Though the weather was unfavorable the attendance was good, and it might be said that it was four days of continuous meeting, broken only by intermissions for rest and food.
The number from abroad was about as usual, and though some of the faces were new we were already acquainted by letter. The greater number of these were from Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and of course Pennsylvania; while some came from far off Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Our first meeting at half past ten o'clock Sunday morning was of a social character, and we need not tell you that the testimonies as to the Lord's dealings, and the preciousness of the truth, and its spread in different localities were warm, heart-cheering, stimulating and encouraging in the extreme. Our hearts burned within us, as for two and a half hours we communed together, and then adjourned almost from necessity, while as many more were yet unheard from, though the testimonies still continued in a less formal way during the hour for our noon lunch as well as during the intermissions of the days following.
It was a ministerial conference in the truest sense; yet not composed of ministers of sectarianism, nor such as would be generally called ministers by men to-day, but ministers (servants) of Christ, in the Scriptural use of that word, all of them or with few exceptions. The report of each consisted mainly of a brief statement of his service of the Lord and his truth, and the blessing and strength he himself had enjoyed while endeavoring to dispense the words of life to others. One brother with tears in his eyes told how the truth filled his heart and overflowed in desire and effort to bless his neighbors, how he had been misunderstood by some, and misrepresented by others; of how he had gotten a brother of our Allegheny church to come up and preach eight public discourses in eight days, and how some had been blessed by this means and his distribution of Arp tracts and loaning of Dawns. Brother Adamson told of his field which at present is in central Ohio. He is doing a great work, putting Dawn into the hands of thousands, besides holding meetings with the interested and writing articles for secular journals to thus draw the attention of the masses to the truth and its beauty as compared with the errors and distortions so far from the "glad tidings," yet commonly dispensed under the name of "gospel." Among the many other testimonies, all of which were cheering, was that of Brother Wright, of Wisconsin, and Brother Page, of Minnesota. These two were insurance agents until a short time ago; now they are preachers of the glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Not that they have left the insurance business, but that now it is secondary to the preaching of the cross of Christ and the restitution, and kingdom which now is the first, the chief business of life: The insurance business stands related to their present work as tent-making did to Paul's ministry (Acts 18:3)—as a necessary means to the [R1021 : page 1] one grand work and end in view. And thus it is with all the consecrated when they come to see the privileges of the present high calling. With all such to whom as ambassadors of God this ministry of reconciliation has been committed, (2 Cor. 5:20) the service in the "Royal Priesthood" is superior to all else.
Brother Wright who will be remembered as the defender of Episcopalian church views in the TOWER of last October related how a copy of Dawn loaned to him, had under God's blessing been instrumental in opening his eyes to see wonderful things in the Bible, and a beauty and fullness in God's character and plan, which lifted him out of the rut of churchly formalism, into heart fellowship and communion with the Heavenly Father and with our Lord who redeemed us. Long ago consecrated and earnestly desirous of doing the will of God, he had been misled by the low standard prevailing in the nominal churches. The traditions and customs of the churches had fettered and dwarfed him, but when the truth entered it proved his heart to have been warm, consecrated, "good ground" by the vigorous growth so soon attained. Though not one year has passed since DAWN was first loaned him, he has come to see the truth clearly for himself,—so clearly and strongly as to leave the Episcopal church and trust only in his membership with us and all the consecrated in THE CHURCH "whose names are written in heaven," and to outwardly symbolize, by immersion in water, his consecration long ago made, to be faithful even unto death in the service of God.
In that short time, too, Bro. W. has sent to friends and acquaintances whom he trusted might have "an ear to hear" these glad tidings, nearly one hundred copies of DAWN, many of them accompanied by letters urging careful and prayerful readings. Some good fruit has already resulted among his insurance acquaintance: Brother Page who came over nine hundred miles to feast and commune being one of these.
Bro. Page told us of joy, peace and renewed love toward our God within the last six months; how he had been an earnest consecrated child of God, but that as he began to use his God-given reason upon the plan presented by the churches, as the plan of God—to save a few and torment the great majority of his creatures to all eternity, he had become skeptical and worldly, though he still kept seeking after truth. He told us of how Spiritism, Swedenborgism, and other counterfeits, found him hungry and led him to study them, and that DAWN reached him just in time, as a helping hand stretched out by our great Head for his aid. Yet, when DAWN came to him through the mail (sent by our Lord through Bro. Wright), he glanced at it, and supposing it to be an "Adventist" publication, was about to put it into the waste basket, when another glance led him to take it home and read it. Bro. P.'s every word and tone witnessed to the fact that he had found the Lord again—found him more beautiful and lovable than he had ever before realized. Christ is reinstalled the Master of his heart, his tongue, his moments and his all. He, too, has been planted in the likeness of Christ's death—immersed in water in symbolization of his death with him. You will know of Brother Page's zeal for the Master and his honor, when we tell you that within the past six weeks we have sent him nearly one hundred copies of DAWN for loaning and mailing to his friends. We give these last two cases somewhat in detail, knowing how greatly you will appreciate their promptness and earnestness. Our prayers are with them and with all who are serving the truth and using whatever talents they possess.
The afternoon discourse was upon Baptism, the substance of which may be presented in next month's TOWER: It was followed by the immersion of thirteen in water, in symbolization of their burial into Christ.—Rom. 6:3-5.
The evening service was a precious season, as with simplicity we partook of the emblems of our Lord's broken body and shed blood, after considering their import as presented in the March TOWER. While rejoicing together and realizing that it was good to be there, the loved and scattered members of the one body of Christ were not forgotten, but were borne upon our hearts and lips before the throne of grace.
The subsequent meetings were every one precious, and were devoted to the examination of various doctrines and topics as requested by those present. We trust that the sweet memories of those hours of communion, and those precious lessons and unfoldings of the word of truth learned at the Master's feet may comfort and cheer not only those present, but many others through them.
DEAR FRIEND:—You will remember me as one to whom, some months ago, you loaned Millennial Dawn Vol. I. After reading it once, I wrote to you, stating some difficulty in understanding some part, and that I wished to read it again. A friend also wanted to read it, so we concluded to buy it. I have read the book through a second time, and some parts of it many times over. I cannot tell you how I felt when reading "The Plan of the Ages" the first time. It was so new and startling, so different from what I had always believed the Bible taught, and yet so beautiful, it filled me with wonder and awe. And the more I read and studied the more beautiful it appeared.
I have received several copies of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, and think they must contain the "meat in due season," they are so satisfying. It makes all other reading seem stale. I shall wait with impatience for Vol. II.
I would like to spend all my time selling "Millennial Dawn," if I had strength to do so, but I am not able. I have, however, made some effort, and have sold some. Hope I will be able to do more in future. Yours in spirit, MISS M. P.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—While out with Dawns I met and sold a copy to a young man, aged about eighteen years, whose father was very angry, and made some threats, that if I sold his boy a book I would be sorry for it, but as the book was delivered and paid for, I simply offered to refund the money if not satisfactory. The young man refused, saying he wanted the book. I left his store, thinking I would not care to ever enter it again, but after I had related to my wife what had transpired, we concluded the better plan would be to continue dealing with them as usual, unconcerned as though nothing had happened. Two weeks later the father apologized, saying that my actions surprised him, as he never expected me to come into his store again. But because I came back and spoke to him as though nothing unpleasant had ever occurred, he concluded to read the book, and did so, and was surprised to find it the grandest book he ever saw. He had decided to commit it to the flames, and had I followed my first inclination, he doubtless would have done so. He has since read the book and recommended it to others, and sold one for me, and last night ordered a cloth bound book, saying he would give the one he had to some poor person who was unable to purchase a copy. So please send me a copy of Dawn, cloth bound, at your earliest convenience.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Please use this gold $5.00 for the Lord's poor in sending the TOWER to those too old and poor to pay for it, or in any way you see best. It has been treasured; but now I make it a small New Year's offering to the dear Lord, who has given me so much light and knowledge. Yours for the truth.
DEAR BRO. AND SISTER:—We have reason to rejoice that our labor in the Lord has not been in vain. About two weeks ago a brother from Indiana, formerly of the Christian Church, stopped at my house to sell medicine, and on seeing the chart on the wall at my reading table, he said to wife, do you read what belongs to that chart? She answered, Yes, and understand it. He said he also was a reader of the TOWER. The tears of joy fell thick and fast. He enquired for me, and when we met I cannot describe my joy; he was the first one of this faith that we had met, and we had a feast of love for about one week. Send on the TOWER, also the balance of this five dollars in Millennial Dawn with some Arp Slips.