Many whose hearts were with us in the recent general meeting for Bible Study, in connection with the celebrating of the Memorial of our Lord's death, will be looking expectantly for some report of it—for some particulars more [R1399 : page 131] than were given in few words in our last issue.
The program, as announced, was carried out, five days being devoted to Bible study, and two to the interests of the Colporteur work, with social meetings in the evenings, except on the anniversary of our dear Redeemer's death, when it was memorialized, as he had instructed, with unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine.
Our chapel, which is an upper room on the third floor of the Bible House, over the office of the Watch Tower, had been put in good order, and upon the walls several motto-texts served to enforce both the letter and the spirit of the Word of God. As many will be interested, we will describe them: (1) The one back of the platform reads: "Let Him that would be Greatest Among You be Servant of All."—"One is Your Master, even Christ."—"All Ye are Brethren."—"God Hath Set the Various Members in the Body as it Hath Pleased Him." (2) The one to the right of the platform reads: "Sanctify Them Through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth."—"Whosoever Doeth the Will of My Father Shall Know of My Doctrine."—"Let Nothing be Done Through Strife or Vain-glory." (3) The one alongside the organ reads: "Praise the Lord, O my Soul."—"He Hath Put a New Song into my Mouth." (4) The next, along the side wall, reads: "Thou Shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, Mind, Being and Strength; and thy Neighbor as Thyself." (5) The next reads: "Blessed are the Meek, the Merciful, the Peacemakers, the Pure in Heart, They that Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness, and Those Persecuted for Righteousness' Sake." (6) The next reads: "The Love of Christ Constraineth Us; for We Thus Judge that if One Died for All, then were All Dead, and that We Should Live the Remainder of our Lives unto Him Who Loved Us and Died for Us." (7) The last, next the door, reads: "One Lord—One Faith—One Baptism."—"One Mediator between God and Men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a Ransom for All, to be Testified in Due Time." Besides there are the three beautiful texts painted by Brother Ganoung upon celluloid cards furnished by Sisters Erlenmyer and Clark—mentioned in our last issue.
So far as we are aware nearly all who attended the Convention were greatly blessed. We have made selections from some of the letters received since, which together will convey a fair impression of the joyful season of communion. And yet cold type fails to give the impressions gained by personal contact with the dear ones, so full of love and knowledge and zeal, from every quarter of our land and from Canada. The letters below are generally extracts, except Brother Adamson's, which was handed to the compositor without even a reading, because such was the request of our dear Brother who is the senior Colporteur. [page 132] Dear Watch Tower Readers:—
The Anniversary meetings just closed were probably in all respects the best ever held here. There was no waste of time. Those who came to the city early had an interesting meeting in the hall on Wednesday, before the formal opening on Thursday, which was set for the first day of the feast. Again, interesting meetings were held after the week of feasting appointed. Besides this, the testimony meetings, which heretofore filled almost the whole of the first day of the meetings, were held in the evenings at three houses on the hilltop, viz., Brother Zech's, Brother Russell's and Sister Raynor's.
The questions came thick and fast, and Bro. Russell must continue to be meek and teachable, since his knowledge and great capacity to teach are still on the increase. Will the dear Lord grant us for many years to come the services of this wise and willing and holy teacher!
On the first day of the Conference some words of welcome came from Bro. R. (and the Allegheny Church) to the two hundred visitors who had left their homes and interests to go in some cases many hundreds of miles to become more perfectly interested in God's Word and will and ways. His discourse also traced some of the present deceptions of the Adversary, including also an invulnerable argument for the Ransom.
Questions filled in the time Thursday afternoon, Friday all day and Saturday morning session. On Saturday afternoon the clear, convincing sermon on Baptism was followed by the symbolizing of their real baptism or immersion into Christ on the part of about forty persons.
On Sunday morning Bro. Zech preached a beautiful and timely sermon on the Truth-siftings now in progress and yet to come; taking for his text Peter's denial of Christ, his severe treatment at the hands of Satan, the sifter, and the meaning of the conversion that followed. The sermon on "Love," from 1 Cor. 13, which was preached by Bro. R. in the afternoon, will not soon be forgotten by many who heard it. Evening brought the proper time to commemorate the Supper which memorializes the greatest event and transaction the world ever saw. By the Lord's death all mankind were redeemed from death (Rom. 5:19), and the same all may eat or appropriate life by his merits: "I am that bread which if a man eat he shall live forever." But before the world in general can be fed this bread or life, both Christ and his Church must be broken and suffer (often at the hands of the nominal church), which breaking is beautifully shown by the breaking of the unleavened bread used, "for ye are all one loaf." It seems impossible that any reasonable person present could fail to be convinced of the truth of our teaching on this subject. At least three hundred persons participated, and thoughtfulness and solemnity seemed to be over all.
On Monday question meetings continued, while Tuesday and Wednesday were canvassers' meetings, to which many who were not Colporteurs remained, drawn partly by the evidences of God's love and providence to this class, which came out incidentally. From all sides came wonderful testimonies of God's care and keeping, his mercy, providence and grace, and these, added to the great treasure opened of things new and old—the words of life handled—the communion and fellowship so sweet between joint-participators in the same struggles and temptations, joys and sorrows, trials and blessings—must be invaluable to those who have now separated and gone forth to serve Christ's cause and Kingdom during the Christian year on which we have just entered.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—On my way home from the meeting I stopped over night with Brother and Sister Hewes, in Philadelphia. I found them well located, evidently desirous and preparing to do the Master's work. We had a good visit. I talked and prayed with them, asking the Lord to bless their efforts in that city.
I arrived in New York Saturday, 2:30 P.M. Was quite surprised to find the floor of our little meeting-room nicely covered with matting, and supplied with a new organ. I presume it is safe to give Brother and Sister Fairchild principal credit for this kindness.
By request of some of the brethren here, the time of our meeting yesterday was nearly all used in giving a report of the Allegheny meeting. I talked for about an hour, trying to give a fair idea of the subjects considered and truths brought out, as well as the spirit that prevailed throughout the meeting. I am sure it would have done your heart good to hear the testimonies given by all who attended from here. I pray that the meeting may be as great a blessing to all who were present as it has been to the company that went from here.
During the entire meeting this year it seemed evident to me that the Master was present, guiding in all that was said and done. But there were times when this seemed specially noticeable. Sometimes during a prayer, after a sermon or a few words of exhortation, it would seem as if the dear object of all our thoughts was there standing in our midst, saying, "Peace be unto you." And there was no desire on the part of some to see him with the [page 133] natural eye, being still more blessed to recognize him by the eye of faith. The sweet influence of his love shed upon us during these meetings will, I trust, go with me during the entire year, and beyond, even unto the end, when we, if faithful, shall partake with him in the Kingdom.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I arrived here Thursday evening; and I must say that I am glad that I attended the meeting. I thank you very much for your kindness to me while there. I took extracts from your discourses, and I am now looking them up with my Bible and Concordance in hand. Will just say that it is very profitable employment.
I learned more about canvassing the few days I was there than I would in a long time by actual experience. But I am only selling the one volume at 35 cents, apparently with as good success as I did at 25 cents, but will not say yet. Please send me a few volumes of the leatherette as per enclosed order, and I will try them. I remain your brother and servant in Christ, C. C. WRIGHT.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Sister Vogel and I reached our field of labor yesterday morning. Sister Lizzie was very glad to see me and to learn that our brother had been immersed and would also go into the "harvest field."
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I am very sorry that I could not be with you at the Memorial Supper of our dear Lord, but it was some comfort and satisfaction to think that the fruit of my raising should furnish a part of the entertainment of the saints who there represented the Body of Christ, and perhaps the dear Lord and the apostles saw and took notice of the fruit I gathered for him [Our dear Brother's orange crop was nearly a failure this year, but he gathered one barrel and sent them here to be sold for the benefit of the Tract Fund. Sister Fisher, to whose care they were consigned, paid the freight and turned over the luscious fruit for the benefit of the Convention. It was highly appreciated and the donors remembered.—ED.], although I had no idea of receiving so great an honor as you and dear Sister Fisher have brought upon me. Strange to tell, the thoughts awakened by Sister Fisher's letter in reference thereto make me weep, not with sorrow, but with a variety of emotions too deep for utterance. I feel so little like an "overcomer," and it seems to me the Lord is not helping me, but letting me feel my inefficiency as one of his messengers, and now it seems as though you, dear Brother, and the dear ones who met at Allegheny, had united in bringing my little offering to his notice, and perhaps he looked on it as he did on the widow's mite, at least with love and pity. Lord grant that it may be so!
Oh, if he will only strengthen and encourage me, and help me earn my expenses, I will give my time continually in circulating his gracious gospel of love. The spirit is willing, but oh, the flesh is weak, and I am a very coward, afraid of my shadow, and the sharp, quick ring of the door bells that I must ring often makes me tremble. I would rather face death than the prospect before me, and I hope the Lord will soon relieve or strengthen me for the work. Pray for me.
I went praying and hoping that God's blessing would rest on me and all that would be present. And now for my part I can say that my prayers and expectations were not in vain. I was indeed greatly refreshed and strengthened in the Lord.
I was there about a month ago and got them greatly interested—so much so that one young man said openly: "Now I have some incentive to study the Bible." I was then invited to address them at some future time, and I have arranged to do so next Sunday. Pray that the Lord may help me to glorify his name. If you have any suggestions to offer they will be very acceptable.
I have some of No. 5 (Bible Study) tracts, and I purpose giving one to every one who attends. I may not have enough as the secretary [page 134] writes me he is going to advertise the meeting. You might send me about a hundred more.
DEAR TOWER BROTHERS:—Please accept a few lines from Bro. Chase and my unworthy self in thankfulness for your kindness while attending the Convention in Allegheny. O! how thankful we are that the Lord permitted us to attend those meetings. I thank the blessed Redeemer for light I have received, and my prayer is that it may increase in me daily, and I humbly ask an interest in the prayers of God's dear children that I may prove worthy of my high calling—that I may meet the Lord with joy.
Brother Chase and I met at Brother McPhail's house last Lord's-day, and had a good lesson on the Ransom. In the evening we met at Brother Chase's home and had a lesson on the Resurrection. Two of Brother Chase's neighbors came in, and they seemed to be interested. Hope it may prove to be "meat in due season" to them.
Brother McPhail started out yesterday to the "harvest work" to help gather in the sheaves. Brother Chase will also start in a day or so to spread the good news to all that have an ear to hear. May the Lord go with them. The Lord willing, I shall do what I can here at home, as my health is poor, but as soon as there is a way open I too will go forth regularly to help spread the good tidings of great joy. Thank God, I am not afraid to read my Bible now. There is nothing in it now to make me afraid. O! We have a Heavenly Father and a blessed Redeemer that we can love now since we know them better. O! I am so thankful that the Lord has led me into his marvelous light; and I thank him specially for the gift of his only begotten Son to be "a ransom for all."