STARTING on the evening of August 29th, we were speeded with kind wishes to ourselves and all the dear household of faith whom we hoped to meet later by twenty-five of the "brethren," fully half of whom were of the Bible House family. As we parted the song floated out, "God be with you till we meet again."
The next morning found us in Chicago, where about 200 friends had assembled, waiting for us—including some from nearby places. We addressed them on the subject of "Consecration," and subsequently fourteen symbolized their vows in water baptism.
The afternoon session was attended by about 400, whose attention was directed to the words of the Apostle Peter, "God resisteth the proud, but showeth favor to the humble; humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."
Although we took the midnight train for St. Louis, nevertheless about a dozen of the dear friends were there to see us off and bid us God-speed. May divine mercy and grace and peace be their portion too. They assured us that their hearts and prayers went with us, though they could not go farther in person.
We had a warm welcome at St. Louis, too, and the attendance was excellent, notwithstanding the fact that we did not get the announcement into the WATCH TOWER, and hence but few came from nearby towns.
The morning session was in the "Christian Church" edifice. The topic was "Consecration," and following it nine symbolized full consecration by water baptism. Among the number was Brother Alexander Stewart, well known throughout the South for the active and prominent part he took in the war of the Rebellion, as the leader of "Stewart's Cavalry." General Stewart is of advanced years, but clear of intellect. He has been a "soldier of the Cross" for some time, and deeply interested in "Present Truth" for several years. He expected to be symbolically baptized at the time of [R3637 : page 294] the Chattanooga Convention, but was prevented by ill health.
After leaving the water Brother Stewart was heard to express great satisfaction at having thus outwardly confessed his blessed Lord and his full devotion to Him and His cause. Brother Stewart already had joined the army of the Lord, but by this act of public confession he, so to speak, donned his regimentals and joined the forces "on the firing line." May he loyal prove and true to the end of the way, and with all the faithful receive the crown of life which fadeth not away.
How sectional lines, race and party prejudices and all the distinctions of wealth and fame gradually fade from the minds of those who become by God's grace and truth members prospective of the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the peculiar people, called for a purpose, even to show forth the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light!
With this erstwhile warrior, but more recently college president and later U.S. Commissioner, none others of the nine were of the same rank or education, yet they all were on the same level of divine mercy through Christ—justified and sanctified through the grace of our Lord. The assorted company well illustrated the Apostle's words, "Not many great, not many wise, not many learned, hath God chosen."
One of these nine was a child of twelve years, a very unusual sight with us. Child though she was she gave good evidence of a clear appreciation of what she did, so that we could not question her acceptability with the Lord. We could not help a mental reflection on how extremes meet in the family of God—in the body of Christ. The tall man, full of years and ripe in the learning of this world, and the little girl, on the threshold of life every way, had both heard the voice of Jesus say, Come unto me and have your sins forgiven, and find rest for your souls and find eternal life. "All of the [R3638 : page 294] Lord's followers meet on this common level. "All ye are brethren," "One is your Master, even Christ."
Some may have almost envied the great man, but we doubt not he almost envied the little child, who, starting thus early to follow the footsteps of Jesus, had apparently reached nearly the same point at the same time by the shorter journey. "They that seek me early shall find me"—the more easily. Nevertheless, the General's learning and influence may be turned to the greater advantage if wisely used in the service of our King. May he, may we all, prove faithful to the cause of him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.
Again we took a night train—this time for Kansas City. Again a crowd escorted us to the depot and bade us God-speed. Joined by two at the start and two more at Chicago our party now numbered five, and we learned that others would join us further on.
We had a splendid time at Kansas City, Mo. The dear friends gave us as warm a reception as did the weather, which is saying a great deal for them. The morning session was a praise and testimony meeting and many availed themselves of the opportunity to show forth the praises of him who "called us out of darkness into his marvellous light."
In the afternoon about one hundred and fifty were present at a gathering for the interested only and not advertised to the public; many of them were from other parts of Missouri, and from Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Our subject was, "The called ones according to his purpose," and how to these all things work for good if received in faith and obedience and love.
The evening session was for all—the public included—"To Hell and Back. Who are there? Hope for many of them." We had the closest of attention from a packed audience of about 600, and left them in haste by a side door just in time to get our train for Denver. As we left, the friends united in the song-prayer, "God be with you till we meet again," a sentiment fully reciprocated by our hearts.
A ride of a night and day brought us to Denver on Saturday night at 10.30 o'clock, where a group had been keeping vigil for us for over seven hours, because our train was delayed. Meantime five more had joined our party. We were cordially received, and although the G.A.R. encampment had brought hosts of people our bespoken quarters were soon at our disposal, and, with the Lord's blessing, we awoke Sunday morning refreshed for further service for the "King" and his "brethren" and the "household."
Brother Hall opened the services with an address of welcome from the Denver Church and introduced Brother Harrison (Pilgrim) as the permanent chairman of the Convention. The latter made some fitting remarks and soon after threw the meeting open as a prayer, praise and testimony service, according to program.
The afternoon service was advertised and public the topic being "To Hell and Back," etc. A fine audience was present and excellent attention was given. It is hoped that some of the audience of 475 got some further opening of the eyes of their understanding respecting our Creator's gracious character, testified to by the glorious plan he has outlined for us in his Word.
The evening discourse had for its text the story of Gideon and his band, typical of Jesus and his faithful followers and their ultimate victory over the forces of evil, typically represented in the hosts of Midian. This discourse many of our readers already have, as it was reported in the Pittsburgh Dispatch.
Monday's services were held in the South Broadway Christian Church. At 9 o'clock we had another praise and testimony service, followed by a discourse by Brother Harrison on "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many." (Isa. 53:11.) The speaker showed how important is knowledge. Without it Adam failed, with it Christ Jesus was a victor. Likewise [R3638 : page 295] knowledge is necessary to the followers of Jesus who would make their calling and election sure. Knowledge is not the end but closely connected as a part of the means of our victory over sin and death and selfishness.
Our afternoon discourse was on "Baptism: true and false"—a review of the topic presented in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. VI. The baptistry was at our service, and 20 symbolized the full surrender of their wills to the Lord—the immersion of their wills into his will in all things and their rising to newness of life, to be attained perfectly in the First Resurrection.
This was the last session of the Convention proper, and, bidding the dear friends adieu and God-speed in hope of meeting in the Kingdom, we were just in time for the 6 p.m. train for Ogden, Utah, our next appointment. However, as the building was at our disposal, it was decided to hold a post-Convention meeting in the same place, and Brother Harrison, missing the Ogden stop, remained for this meeting also.