It is said that "Coming events cast their shadows before," and surely we felt that the Convention just past was affected by the knowledge that the great Convention of the Church is near at hand. But it was not a shadow we had—rather it was the light from the "glory to come" which gave us such a happy and blessed time together. While all the conventions are good there was a general consent to the feeling that this has been our best time. If we might judge we should say that while the addresses and talks were good and helpful it was not in these specially that the chief advantage was felt or the chief gain made; but that the fellowship and the encouragement gained from personal intercourse between the brethren—the communion of the holy Spirit—gave the real help and advantage. But all was good, and we praised the Lord for the foretaste of the "good to come."
The British brethren were better represented than ever: the whole country from extreme North to furthest South sent messages of love, and a showing of interest. The Convention meetings were held in a pleasant hall, situated in one of the city parks; and besides the overflowing cup with which we were fed inside the hall the Lord favored us with the good things of nature. The weather smiled, and the brethren smiled, and the trees of the park, moved with the wind, clapped their hands for joy, and seemed delighted with the privilege of holding up the large advertisement telling that a "Bible Students' Convention" was being held.
Many prayers had been offered for the Father's blessing and guidance, and the Convention at once struck a high note of expectation and spiritual desire, and this was maintained throughout the meetings. Brother Hemery gave a welcome on behalf of the absent President of the Society—Brother Russell—and Brother Edgar, on behalf of the Glasgow brethren, gave a welcome to the Society. Then we had a most inspiring talk from Brother Bilsbrough on "Our Good Fight." Other brethren who addressed the Convention were Brother Barton, Brother Edgar, Brother Johnston and Brother Hemery. On the second day thirty-three brothers and sisters were immersed, symbolizing their consecration to the Lord: our hearts went out to them and our prayers ascended for them that they might walk worthy of the grace given to them. The whole of the Sunday afternoon session was given for testimonies, and surely no people ever spent a happier time than we did. The testimonies were of the best character, and we laughed and wept and rejoiced with each other, and all to the glory of him we love and to the praise of his grace. Our minds recalled the earlier [R3891 : page 357] meetings when we met in small numbers, and we thought of the testimonies then given. Mostly, and naturally so, they were of thankfulness for the light which had come: now while there is the same gratitude for the light there is more praise for that which the light has worked in the heart. The Lord's people are learning to rejoice in him as well as in his Truth.
Monday afternoon was spent partly on an exhibition lesson in the Berean Studies, and partly on a talk on the Harvest Work. The Study was chosen as an opportunity of showing the benefit of this special arrangement; how a very profitable time can be spent together, and how all can take part in the lessons. Already we have heard of several classes which are beginning these studies since the Convention. In the talk on the Harvest work Brother Edgar gave us a series of notes he had taken in the States, and the meeting was stirred as he told of the many brethren there who are spending their lives in the colporteur service. Brother Edgar and his wife, and his sister also, came back from the States enthused for the colporteur service, and as a consequence we had, on the Tuesday, a further meeting with this work specially to the front. As a result a general stimulus was seen: one dear brother gave up his work right away, and is doing well; others are to give a portion of their time, while quite a few others are thinking of entering the field. Bro. Hemery was unable to take part in the colporteur meeting, but on the previous day he said he thought the Lord's hand was in the recent visit to America of the three Glasgow friends, for their report was very timely. The work of putting the books into the hands of the people is not increasing in proportion with the increased numbers of those who show interest; and owing to sickness and other causes the number of colporteurs had not been quite so large, and therefore the sales were not increasing as could have been wished. (We are glad to say that there has been a quickening of the output, and that we feel a little lighter since our stock is getting less! We cable today for further shipments.)
We had a very affecting time when Brother Barton was to leave us. The "sweet sorrow" of parting was almost too much for the dear brother. He had a good send-off as he left the railway station at night, for his visit has been a spiritual blessing to all the churches. How these brethren are appreciated! We shall look [R3891 : page 358] forward to the coming of a brother next year, but we should be glad if you would bring him—under your own hat. At the close of the Convention the meeting expressed its appreciation of the sending of the Pilgrim Brethren, and it rose to signify its love to Brother Russell, and to send him loving greetings and good wishes by this means.
This report is delayed through the writer's sickness in Glasgow, where he was confined to bed for some days. Thanks to the Lord's favor and the kind care of a good nurse, he is back at work again. We thank the Lord for the mercies of the past days, and are going forward with stimulated zeal and desire to do his will, to spend and be spent for him. With the love of all the brethren,