There seemed to be a general expectation that this Convention would, in one respect, at least, be like all its predecessors. So far each Convention has been better than those before it, and the one just past has conformed to the rule. Former occasions have been sweet and precious as we have met to talk over the good things the Lord is providing, but as we approach the end of the journey, with a wider experience of the love of God, and a clearer understanding of the great call with which we are favored, the joy deepens and the fellowship becomes more and more a foretaste of the good to come. It is only a few short years since the first of this series of meetings was held in Glasgow: then there was a small company in a small room. The Truth was hardly known in the city, but the few upon whom it had laid hold, whose hearts were touched, worked hard in the use of their opportunities, and some of the results were apparent as the Glasgow brethren made their visitors welcome. The number of those needing sleeping accommodation was about 180, and of these 140 or more were placed with the home brethren. The average attendance at the meetings would be about 400 while the largest meeting was said to about double that number.
The chief topics of the talks that were given by the brethren who addressed the meetings may be said to be the "Kingdom of Heaven." Much was said about its constitution, the time of establishment, our present responsibility towards its interests, and, last but not least, how we must prepare ourselves for a place in the Kingdom. One brother urged that as the Kingdom is to be given to the "saints," only those who charge themselves with its present interests will be proved worthy of a place in it. To each comes responsibility, and all can do something. Our Master did not say, "Stir yourselves for great work in the time of harvest." Instead he left us the responsibility of the harvest work by saying, "Pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the vineyard." If all may not enter upon active work at least all can pray, and thus prove the interest is there.
The brethren appreciated having Brother McPhail at the Convention, and all appreciated your kind thought in prolonging his stay for it. The friends had learned to love him, and to esteem his ministry, and were glad to have the opportunity of seeing and hearing him again before his departure for the States. The loving harmony of the meetings and the peaceful and happy looks of the brethren made a great impression upon some who attended. We hope they will seek and find the same peace in the one Lord. We heard of many weak ones who were confirmed in "this way," and we know of one dear brother who came with troubled heart, and lost his troubles in consecration to the Lord. May he ever find the rest of the people of God.
On Sunday there were thirty-three brothers and sisters immersed, in this manner showing their consecration. One was an elderly brother who for a time refused to listen, but who now rejoices in the Truth. Another was a dear lad of 16 years, one of three brothers who attend the Glasgow meeting. We trust for these, as we do for all, that the Lord's grace may comfort and strengthen them all the way, whether longer or shorter. The elder brother just spoken of told us of an unusual experience. He was at the railway station in a pondering mood, for he wanted some DAWNS and had come to the end of his immediate resources. Standing wondering whether or not he should ask a sister for some books on credit, he was accosted by a man with whom he had a slight acquaintance but with whom he had not spoken for ten months or more. "How are you for money just now?" said the friend. "Well, I'm not exactly 'flush,'" was the reply. Without further words L.5 was placed in the brother's hands with the remark that nothing was wished back, and the friend immediately boarded an outgoing train. The brother at once went away to get the books he wanted for his friends, paid for them and left some change for the Tract Fund.
Many of the friends went away on the Monday night, but before the Convention proper was closed a message of love was sent to yourself. It is probable that you will get this from one of the local brethren, but in any case the message will not spoil by being sent twice. The message is Philemon 6,7, and Hebrews 13:20,21, and it was with heartfelt love that the brethren testified to this. Some stayed until Tuesday night, when the final meeting was held, and at which a good number were present. Many who had come long distances went away by the late night trains. A good number went to the stations to see them [R3662 : page 342] away, and it was good to see the laughing joy, even though there were wet eyes. On the Tuesday morning about forty brethren said a final good-bye to Brother McPhail, and wished him "God-speed," and also a quick return, if that should be the Lord's will. But we all want to see you again, dear brother. Come soon!
IN THE GARDEN OF THE LORD.
Last night I dreamed the Master came to me and gently said,
"Beloved, lay thy cross aside and come with me awhile,
For I would have thee rest within the garden of the Lord."
And then he took my trembling hand and led me through the gloom
Until we came to where a massive gateway barred our path.
The gates were closed, but opened at the Master's sweet command.
We entered, and the shadows fled before his radiant smile.
Oh, vision rapturous, can words be found to tell how fair!
Ten thousand roses beckoned with Love's crimson hue, and round
About our feet the violets nestled in their purple grief.
A passion flower, sad symbol of his dying agony,
Entwined itself with orchids rare, fair children of the air;
While velvet pansies, clothed in royalty, together grew
With lovely, clinging, pink and white sweet-peas, and close beside
The lilies of the valley bent in sweet humility;
And everywhere the tender grassa carpet soft and cool.
And often as we passed, the Master's hand with loving touch
Did rest upon some drooping flower, and lo! at once it seemed
Refreshed. At last we came to where a stately lily stood,
Its snowy crown uplifted like a chime of silver bells,
Whose swaying filled the garden with a fragrance sweet and rare.
We closer drew, and then I saw, alas! how here and there
A petal fair was torn and brown, as though by some rude wind
Or scorching heat. I wondered greatly at the sight, then turned,
The question on my lips,when suddenly there rose a storm
So fierce that every flower in the garden bent its head;
And then a shower of flaming arrows, hurled by shadowy forms
Outside the garden's ivy-covered walls, rained down upon
The lilies, while I clung in terror to my Heavenly Guide.
A moment only did the storm prevail, and then I heard
The Master's "Peace, be still!" The tempest ceased and there was calm,
The wondrous light grew dim, the garden vanished,and I woke.
The Master had not spoken thus, and yet I seemed to know
The fair dream-garden was a picture of his "little ones,"
(He neither sleeps nor slumbers in his watch-care over these).
And then the thought,if in this garden I might choose my place,
Would I be like the rose? Ah, no! lest in my passionate zeal
To show by works my heart of love, I should forget the thorns,
Dear Lord, and wound thy loving hand! Ah, then, perhaps I would
The lily be, and sound thy blessed Truth o'er land and sea
In clear-toned eloquence. Ah! no, I might not bear the storms
That beat upon the one whose head thou hast uplifted far
Above his fellows,and a shining mark for Satan's darts!
And thus I thought on each and all that garden's lovely ones,
Then cried, "My blessed Lord, if I might choose, oh, let me be
The tender grass, that I may rest and soothe thy weariness,
A lowly place, safe sheltered from the wind and fiery dart,
What rapture thisto lay down life itself beneath thy feet."
G. W. Seibert, Sept. 30th, 1905.