ON THE LAST page will be found notices of the two conventions for this year. In some respects we would have preferred to have but one, but the distances to be traveled, and hence the expense involved, would have been too great for many. By having the one at Washington and the other at Des Moines a much larger number of the Lord's people can be served, and thus the blessing which usually attends these meetings can be distributed to a larger number. Only yesterday we heard from a brother who last year attended the Cleveland Convention, relating how great a blessing he had received, and that it had continued with him throughout the year, and that he would attend one of the conventions this season. We do not write to urge any to attend who are not financially able—and we know that this is true of many of the Lord's faithful ones—but we do urge that those who propose attending shall promptly send us their addresses that accommodations may be secured for them in advance, and that thus they may be freed from annoyance and we also be spared the inconvenience of arranging during convention hours such matters as might better be all arranged beforehand. We desire that the convention time be appropriated wholly to spiritual matters—not only by the visitors, but also by the brethren and sisters of the home church. If, therefore, you have determined to attend either convention, and have not yet sent us your address with full particulars, as to the names, sex, color, etc., of your party, do so immediately—before you forget it. All rooms for the conventions ought to be engaged by now, as both cities will be full to overflowing on account of the cheap excursion rates.
Such of the friends as may be able to afford the expense of travel, but not the expense of entertaining will please write us specially to this effect, and some arrangement will be made for them by our kind entertainers.
On the mornings of the opening of the Conventions (and on preceding evenings if notified) representatives of the home churches will be on hand at the various depots, to assist and direct arriving friends. These may be known by carrying in their hands or other conspicuous place copies of the Watch [R3076 : page 281] Tower, and all visiting friends should likewise display copies of the Watch Tower, that they may be identified. However, should you arrive at another time, or should you fail to meet the watchers, the addresses furnished in the announcement on last page of this issue will be quite sufficient to enable you to reach the convention without trouble.
We are hoping for delightful seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, as usual, and trust that all who attend will come seeking to bestow a blessing upon others as well as to receive blessing upon themselves. Let the spirit of love, peace, contentment, joy in the holy spirit, rule in our hearts and make them thus receptive to the blessed influences of the word of grace and truth.
Those who cannot attend, of course, will be many more than the few who will be present; but they will be remembered in our petitions, as we trust we shall be remembered in theirs. We hope that those not in attendance, will, during the sessions of the conventions, let us have their hearts and sympathies, that they too may share the blessing. And our trust is that, as on former occasions, those who do attend the conventions will carry home with them rich measures of the spiritual refreshment poured out upon the assemblies according to divine promise. Let us see to it that we bring our consecrated hearts and powers fully into accord with our Lord and his providential arrangements, that thus we may claim his promise to pour us out a blessing that we will not be able fully to receive, but which will overflow upon others far and near.
Some seem to get a wrong impression respecting the purchase of the excursion tickets to these conventions; [R3077 : page 281] they seem to think that it would be wrong for us who are not "Odd Fellows" nor members of the "Grand Army," to avail ourselves of these cheap excursions. This is a decided mistake; the excursions are open to anybody, and probably not more than one-half of those using the tickets will be members of the orders named. There is nothing dishonorable about it. It is fully understood by the railways, and not only ourselves but others make it a habit to hold conventions at the same time with these large conventions, so as to take advantage of the cheap rates granted by the railways—which are only granted because of the large numbers expected to be in attendance. The railways do what they can to get as much travel as possible on these excursion tickets.
A ghastly sight shows in the shivering air
On Calvary's brow:
The Savior of mankind, in love, hangs there;
While followers bow
The head low on the breast and sadly sigh,
"How can he be Messiah—if he die?"
A jeering mob surrounds the cursed knoll
And mocks the Lord;
Yet to his lips comes from his stricken soul
The precious word—
"Father, forgive; they know not what they do—"
E'er o'er his face creeps dissolution's hue.
"'Tis finished," rings in triumph through the sky;
He bows his head.
And, while the querying soldiers mark the cry,
The Lord is dead.
All anguish past, his triumph doth begin,
The world is saved, a death blow dealt to sin.
Jerusalem, amazed, hears soldiers tell
(With terror cold)
How Christ has vanquished Satan, death and hell,
As he foretold.
And feeble fishers forcefully proclaim,
"There is salvation in no other name."
A Sabbath's journey from the city gate,
With sorrow shod,
Two sad disciples bear their sorry weight
To their abode.
The Christ appears, while holden are their eyes
And doth expound wherefor Messiah dies.
Emmaus reached, the Lord would further go.
They gently chide—
"Thou hast beguiled our weary tears, and so
With us abide."
He brake their bread,—then vanished from their sight.
Their hearts did burn with holy joy that night.
Still thus he comes; and though the faulty sight
Of clouded eyes
Perceives him not, he makes the burden light,
And stills our cries:
For, like weaned babes, we mourn, the while he would
Our hearts sustain with stronger, richer food.
The tale is old, but ever sweetly new,
Why Jesus died.
The nail prints, doubting one, he shows to you,
And in his side
A spear thrust gapes—a passage rent apart,
For easy access to your Savior's heart.
It was for you, my brother, that he shed
His life so free.
For you, for me, he bowed his godlike head
On Calvary's tree;
That, trusting in the merit of his name,
We might be saved from sorrow, sin and shame.
The past sufficeth, surely, to have spent
In sinful deeds.
Come, join our band; and be our footsteps bent
Where Jesus leads.
So in his righteousness serenely dressed
We'll meet him face to face among the blest.