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About noon (April 16th) we reached Leicester and were warmly welcomed by about eighteen dear brothers and sisters, whose greetings were most hearty and were expressed by the radiant faces and grasp of the hand. Brother and Sister Allsop most cordially entertained us. The afternoon discourse to the interested was held in their usual hall, about 100 being present, including about 50 visiting brethren. Three years ago there were no meetings here and only about three interested in Present Truth. The evening meeting was held in Temperance Hall and, considering it was the night before a holiday, was well attended, about 600 being present. The audience was a remarkably intelligent one and gave close attention to the "Overthrow of Satan's Empire." Despite our protests and the fact that our train for Glasgow left at 2 a.m., about a dozen of the friends stayed with us and accompanied us to the station. We thanked God for them as we beheld their love and zeal, and prayed for them heavenly compensations of spiritual rest and refreshment.
Glasgow, Scotland, was reached by 10 the next morning. As we alighted we were surrounded by about forty dear Brothers and Sisterssome of whom had been waiting there for us for three hoursand, as they said, for three years; for when leaving them in 1903, we had purposed returning in 1905. Some in greeting us remarked that the day was the anniversary of the day of our Lord's return from the dead. We returned their hearty greetings and smiles and handshakes to the best of our abilityinwardly commenting on the effect of the Truth and its spiritso unlike anything else in the world. Brother Edgar, M.D., claimed us as his guest, and arriving at his home we were warmly welcomed by Sister Edgar and others awaiting our arrival.
We cannot undertake a report of it in the proper sense of that word, but can tell you briefly little more than your own experiences at other conventions would tell you, viz., that it was a season of refreshing long to be remembered. We had nothing to do with the program and hence had nothing to do with the apparent monopolizing of the Convention's time. We merely submitted to the wishes of the dear friends and served their desires to the extent of our ability.
The Convention was opened by a brief address of welcome by Brothers Edgar, Hemery and ourself, expressing the greetings of the Glasgow Church and of the Society to all in attendance, with hopes for the Lord's blessing upon the Convention. This was followed by an address by Brother Johnson on "The Joy of the Lord." Next came a precious testimony meeting, after which we had tea, and following this at 7.30 we spoke on "The Resurrection," noting the fact that the day was the true anniversary of that great event. The discourse was published as our Sunday topic, with some variations. We were most hospitably entertained by Brother John Edgar, M.D., and wife, and after a [R4178 : page 163] most refreshing sleep we were ready for the second day of the Convention.
Saturday, April 18th, opened with a "Colporteur Meeting" in the forenoon. We spoke for two hours to the colporteurs, sharpshooters and volunteers on the character, importance and methods of the Harvest work. Incidentally we assured them of our agreeable surprise that the British work had so remarkably progressed during the five years since our last visit; and that we foresaw still greater things in their midst for some years to come. And here we assure you all that undoubtedly God has many loyal children in Britain for whom the Harvest message will surely be "meat in due season." Their awakening time has come! The "New Theology," Theosophy, Christian Science and Socialism are awakening public thought along religious lines; and all this must inure to their preparation for "The Old Theology" of the Bible, which we have for them.
In the afternoon we answered questions for an hournearly all of which were quite to the point, the audience showing keen appreciation of the Truth. Dr. J. Edgar followed us in a very helpful address on "Humility." Then came tea, and after it our discourse on "Baptism," closing another interesting and, we trust, profitable day.
On Sunday forenoon, April 19th, the immersion service busied the Convention, while we visited some of the sick who were unable to attend the meetings. Seventy-eight symbolized their full consecration into Christ's death. At 2 p.m. Brother Hemery gave an address, said to be excellent, on the subject, "I am the Vine, ye are the Branches." We regretted inability to attend because of necessary private appointments.
The evening service was at "St. Andrew's Hall," of a reputed capacity of 4500. It was full to overflowing and Brother Hemery addressed about 500 at the overflow meeting on the same subject that we used at the larger service, namely, "The Return from Hell." The occasion was an inspiring one. The audience was an extremely intelligent one, and gave profound attention for about two hours. At the door free literature was taken with avidity.
An hour later we were on the railway train bound for our next appointmentLiverpool. Many of the dear friends had posted themselves relative to our train and its time for departure, for they gathered to the number of about 200 to bid us farewell again, singing, "God be with you till we meet again" and "In the sweet by and by." As the train pulled out we waved our handkerchiefs to each other, while some ran alongside to the full end of the platform. Our heart was deeply touched and we thanked God for the tie that binds his people to him and to each other.
The Convention continued a day after our departure, and, we learn, was profitable to the close. The attendance was estimated at 800. Undoubtedly many others would have been there had they not been preparing for our coming to their cities or vicinityattending to advertising, etc.
Although our train reached Liverpool at the very inconvenient hour of 4.40 a.m., before the electric cars were running, about 15 came to the depot on foot to meet us, rising even at 3 o'clock. Their hearty greetings we returned with good appreciation, and with glowing hearts remembered the Lord's words, that all who become his disciples in truth shall have even in this life "an hundred fold"houses, lands, brethren, etc. Soon Brother Hay had us in a cab, en route for his home and its comforts; and presently Sister Hay received us and cared for our temporal interests most hospitably.
After some personal visiting in the afternoon (April 20) we addressed an appreciative audience of about 500 in a Baptist chapel rented by our friends for the occasion, and we were informed that nearly all of the congregation were "brethren" and "friends" of Liverpool and surrounding cities. We were gratified indeed, and praised God for the increased numbers since our last visit, but also and specially for the evidences we subsequently had of the growth in grace and knowledge amongst the dear friends. The beginning of the interest in Present Truth in Liverpool was with dear friends connected with a "Mission," and quite naturally the mission methods for a time influenced them and led to "frothy" rather than "solid" methods of Christian fellowship and endeavor. We rejoiced with them in their zeal manifested on the occasion of our visit five years ago, and hoped and prayed for their growth also in knowledge. Now we rejoice that they have grown in knowledge without having lost their zeal.
The evening session had been advertised and the attendance was estimated at 650, who gave closest attention to our topic, "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." An hour after the evening service we boarded the steamer en route for Belfast, Ireland, and to our surprise about 150 of the dear friends gathered on the pier to give us a farewell. They sang for us several hymns as the boat delayed for a rail connection,"Blest be the tie that binds," "God has promised a glorious day," "All hail the power of Jesus' name," and "God be with you."
As the steamer reached Belfast next morning we caught sight of five brethren on the dock. We recognized each other, though we had never met before. Indeed not one of the present Belfast Church was in the Truth at the time of our previous visit, five years ago. The greetings were warm, as usual, and soon Brother McComb had us in a cab hurrying us to his home, where we were warmly received by his wife, Sister McComb, and her motherboth beaming with joy, and thinking, of course, not of us, whom they had never before seen, but of the Truth which bound all of our hearts to each other and to the Lord.
Soon after breakfast a number of other friends joined us in the McComb parlor and we had pleasant fellowship in the Truthcheering and comforting and building up one another in the most holy faith. After dinner we had a meeting in the little hall generally used by the friends. Our subject was along lines of general helpfulness, suited as best we were able to their needs. After about two hours we adjourned for tea, and the entire twenty-four who were present thus spent the interim of time until the evening meeting, which was advertised for the public.
A very intelligent audience of about 300 attended the evening service and manifested a deep interest in our subject, "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." At the conclusion of the service a man wished to oppose our presentation, and, mounting a chair, began a harangue on the text, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, together with all that forget God." We asked him to sit down and we would answer his objection; and the audience insisted that he do so. We then briefly showed that the wicked are such as sin wilfully after they have knowledge to the contrary, and that those who "forget God" could not include the heathen who had never known God; that the word hell in this text is sheol in the Hebrew and means the tomb; and that the Hebrew really says that the classes described will be "returned to sheol"returned to death;implying their previous recovery and release from it for the trial secured for them and for all through Jesus' death. Then another mounted a chair and objected that the Church do not die because Jesus said, "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." We reminded him that he should quote the entire passage, namely, "And I will raise him up at the last day." Briefly we pointed out that the life given us now is ours by faith and promise and that the Word says, "This life is in his Son," and "When he who is our life shall appear we also shall appear with him in glory."
After a good night's rest we on the 22nd started for Dublin, joined by Brother Hemery and five others. We arrived after noon and ere long were with the brethren [R4178 : page 165] and friends (about 40) in their usual meeting room. At their request two hours were spent in answering their written questions on Bible topics. At the conclusion they expressed themselves as well pleased, and we proceeded to enjoy a social tea which had already been prepared.
The evening meeting was for the public, and drew a remarkably fine audience estimated at 1000 or more. Before the opening we received from Mr. O'Connor, secretary of the Y.M.C.A., his card with a request thereon for an opportunity for questions. We announced the fact and promised to entertain the questions after concluding the lecture on "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." Our address of an hour and a half long was well received, and at its conclusion nearly all of the audience remained to hear Mr. O'Connor's questions and our replies.
Then came stirring times, for Mr. O'Connor had many friends at the rear of the hall who loudly applauded when he commented that the speaker had not used a Bible and had not asked the audience to turn to his quotations. We replied that surely we had quoted much more Scripture than we could have read from the Bible in the same time, and that we had given the intelligent audience credit for being familiar with the Scriptures quoted, and that as for ourself we had our Bible herepointing to our forehead. The audience recognized the fact that the criticism of Mr. O'Connor was a captious one, that the Scriptures had been quoted rapidly and voluminously by us in the lecture, and the applause on our behalf and in support of our reply was tumultuous, and showed that we had the sympathy of about nine-tenths of the audience.
When the applause could be stilled we asked the Y.M.C.A. secretary to please proceed with his questions. He did so by asking whether the speaker believed in the deity of Christ. We replied that we believed all that the Scriptures declare on the subject and requested that since he had brought his Bible he kindly put his query in Scriptural language. He objected that we should answer his question as put. We replied that the words might be used with various values and hence that we must insist that a Scriptural question should be put in Scriptural language. The audience agreed with us in deafening applause, and the secretary responded by asking, "Do you believe that 'God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself'?" (2 Cor. 5:19.) We replied that we do most heartily so believe. We then took the opportunity to quote John 1:1, calling attention to the emphasis of the Greek which distinguishes between the Father as "the God" and the Son as "a God" in this passage. We proceeded to show that the Father had no beginning; that the Son was "the beginning of the creation of God""by whom all things were made"angels and men. The secretary objected that our publications do not so teach; but we assured him that he must have misunderstood, for we had done our best to express in them this very thought.
But when the secretary sat down a Mr. Allston arose and attempted to quarrel with our translation, "a God" and "the God." He floundered considerably, and the audience, getting tired of him, called on him to sit down and made such disturbance that his voice was drowned for a time. When next heard he claimed that we had misrepresented the creeds in stating that they consigned nearly all mankind to eternal torment. This gave us opportunity to rehearse briefly the Catholic and Protestant views of mankind in deaththat while all agree that the saints who walk the "narrow way" go to glory, the Catholics send nearly all others to Purgatory and the Protestants more unreasonably consign nearly all to eternal torment. This brought down the house with applause, as they perceived the dishonesty of any denial of our claim on the subject according to all the teachings they had ever received.
We announced here that doubtless the profit of the question meeting had been attained and invoked the Lord's blessing. But at this juncture the ex-Governor of the Dublin prison arose and called for a vote of thanks to the speaker of the evening for his able handling of his subject. The audience responded by an outburst of stamping, cheering and hand-clapping which told that the Truth had satisfied some heads better than had the error. Our hope is that some hearts also were touched and that some wheat in the garner may finally result.
Another good night's rest at Brother Stewart's home, some further fellowship with the friends and visiting of the sick, and we took tram to the boat, accompanied by about a dozen of the dear friends, who took leave of us on the boat with warmest assurances of love and the presentation of a silk umbrella, a souvenir of our visit to Ireland. We left the Emerald Isle with prayers for the dear Church of Dublin, waving to them and they to us until lost to view.
Bradford was our next stop. We reached there at noon (April 24) and were warmly received by quite a little crowd of brethren, and soon were at the hospitable home of Brother and Sister Hudson. In the afternoon we met about 100 dear friends in a Methodist chapel hired for the day. About two-thirds of the number came from nearby places, all wearing what is known as the "MILLENNIAL DAWN smile" and otherwise manifesting their joy in the Lord and his precious promises. We spoke to them for an hour and a half along the line of practical living and our precious hopes, and then a free tea was served in one of the ante-rooms.
By request the evening meeting was on the subject, "Where are the Dead?" An audience of about 500 gave closest attention and at the conclusion took with avidity the "Hell TOWERS." We are hoping that some of them had hearing ears. A good night's rest prepared us for our next appointmentat Birmingham. As we left Bradford a little company on the railway platform bade us "God speed."
Birmingham was reached Saturday noon. We were greatly surprised that the afternoon meeting, for the interested only, was attended by about 115fully one-half of whom came from nearby cities and villages. We had a most delightful season of fellowship and specially rejoiced with the Birmingham friends on their growth not only in numbers but also in the spirit of the Truth. A very dear brother whom the Lord used to start the interest here became imbued with some wrong notions to the effect that nothing could be done except by himself, and that no more "wheat" could be found there. He dominated the class and hindered its sphere of usefulness until the Lord called him out of their waywe trust to a share in the Kingdom. Although the dear friends still reverence his memory they perceive that the speedy increase in their numbers and zeal and warmth since his death are blessings in which they might have participated [R4179 : page 166] sooner had they been less subservient. We rejoice in their present condition of spiritual lifeso in contrast with their condition when last we visited them, respecting which we made no comments, knowing that in DAWN STUDIES, Vol. VI., they had our advice and the Scriptures noted.
The evening meeting was a great success, especially considering that it was Saturday. About 300 gave us closest attention on the topic, "Where are the Dead?" Immediately on the conclusion we hastened to our train. On the platform we bade goodbye and waved our handkerchief to dear friends who saw us off.
It was past midnight when we reached Manchester and were met by Brothers Glass and MacKenzie and taken in a cab to Brother Glass' home and supper. A good sleep refreshed us and prepared us to meet the Sunday morning gathering of the interested, estimated at more than 300, but including one-third from nearby points. They had an interesting Testimony Meeting before our arrival, and all faces were radiant when we were introduced and while we spoke to them for half an hour. Next came dinner, then a visit to a dear dying sister, at her special request, and then our afternoon sermon on "Love the Principal Thing." About 800 were present at this semi-public service. In the evening the immense Hippodrome was crowded, extra chairs being used. It is estimated that 3,300 were present and that about 500 were turned awayeach with one of the HELL-TOWERS. Best of all, the audience gave excellent attentionwe cannot think that better attention was ever given to our messagenot even in Allegheny.
Later, when we took our train for Edinburgh at 12:50 o'clock, we were surprised to find as many as thirty-eight on the platform to bid us good-bye. They had for us a remembrance of Manchesteran Autograph Album, which contains an inscribed address of welcome and thanks for the visit and a wish for our return, and the addresses of the Manchester Class of Berean Students of the Word. We accepted it with deep appreciation of the love it represented. Our train departed amid the singing of praise to God and the waving of handkerchiefs, after all had filed past us and exchanged personal greetings. We departed weary, and full of sympathy for the dear friends, who because of the lateness of the hour would get no tram-car service. We could secure no sleeping-car accommodations, but under the Lord's blessing had some sleep, and arrived at our destination at seven the next morning.
At Edinburgh, the beautiful, we were met at the depot by Brother Robertson (and others), who took us in a cab to his hospitable home for breakfast. Then came a two-hour talk to the friends, numbering about 140our topic being "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you." Next came dinner, and then another two-hour session attended by about 300, in which we replied to questions touching order in the Church and how the brethren should deal one with another. Then came tea; and following it the public session on the topic, "The Return from Hell." About 600 were present. Excellent attention was given and we trust a good impression left. Two attempts were made to interrupt, but we went along and the Lord delivered us from any real disturbance. Then Bros. Watson and MacDonald took us in a cab to a hot supper and to the railway depot, where we bade good-bye to a very zealous band of about thirty-five and got into a sleeping-carshaking hands and waving handkerchief to the singing crowd. God bless them!
Notwithstanding an all-day rain we had a splendid time at Luton. About a dozen met us at the station with hearty greetings, and Brother Moody had a cab in waiting, which took us speedily to his home, where we met his dear family, all of whom are in the Truth, and were most hospitably entertained. Numerous friends called during the forenoon to greet us; and at the afternoon meeting in a hall we met all of the Luton Church and more than as many more from nearby points, in all about 100, who gave close attention to our discourse on "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the spirit and the belief of the Truth." A free "Tea" was provided and greatly enjoyed by all.
Next in order came the Public Meeting, at eight p.m., the attendance at which was estimated at 700excellent, surely, for a week night and rainy weather. The audience was an intelligent one, and gave close attention; we trust the future will show that some were deeply interested and profited and assisted in preparation for a share either in or under the Kingdom of God's dear Son. A large crowd gathered at the railway station and bade us good-bye! We reached London not long after midnight and were most comfortably entertained [R4180 : page 166] by Brother Hemery and family.
A good portion of Friday was spent in searching for a meeting room convenient to our office and much larger than the one now in use (overcrowded) in the Society's depot, 24 Eversholt street. We are hopeful of good results.
In the evening at Horticultural Hall about 900 were present (about 700 of them strangers) to hear about "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." We had excellent attention, and had assurance from several that they were interested, had seen matters in a new light and would investigate further.
Thursday afternoon we met with the specially interested to the number of about 350, and again in the evening addressed about 450, in the same room used on the occasion of the Memorialformerly a Wesleyan Chapel. The interest evinced was excellent, as may be judged by the numbers and by the fact that it was neither a Sunday nor a holiday, nor were the meetings advertised to the public. Brethren were present from surrounding places, however, some coming nearly 200 miles. At the close of the evening service we sang together, "God be with you 'till we meet again"; and then the congregation filed past, shaking our hand and wishing us and we them God's blessing.
The last discourse of the tour was at Ilford Town Hallto the public. About 1000 were presentfifty standing; and some, we learned, were turned away. We had a splendid hearing on "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." One-third of the audience were friends of the Truth, Ilford being a suburb of London adjacent to Forest Gate, where the majority of the London congregation reside. We hope for good results. Before the evening meeting we had a pleasant social season and tea with Brother Guard and family and with about forty others. We parted from these dear friends with warm greetings, and sang together, "God be with you."
Saturday noon we took the "boat train" for Liverpool, parting with about forty on the platform singing their good-bye. Four accompanied us the 240 miles to see us offtwo from Liverpool who had attended the London meetings, one from London who had been in the Truth but two months and who brought us some flowers, chiefly "forget-me-nots," and Brother Moody, of Luton, who accompanied us on much of the tour. They saw us on to the steamer and, with others from Liverpool and Manchester, about 85 in all, waited for two hours until our boat started; then sang, "In the Sweet Bye and Bye," "Crown Him Lord of All," "Blest be the Tie that Binds," "God be with you," etc.
Our heart goes out very warmly to the dear British friends, and we feel sure that the 5,000 now interested there are but the beginning of a great gathering. We expect the numbers to double within the next few years. We told them of our hopes and assured them that in America, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden, Denmark, etc., the brethren of the King were of the same spirit, that the loving zeal of our British brethren is the most manifest of all. But the Spirit of Christ is surely growing wonderfully in all who are studying "Present Truth." May it abound more and more in all of our hearts. Thus we shall be more and more "copies of God's dear Son," our dear Redeemer.
We enjoyed a very restful season on the sea, which was very quiet. We ate, slept, exercised, read, and, of course, talked. In answer to prayer, the Lord granted us some very favorable opportunities for presenting the Truth to several who seemed to have "hearing ears." We trust that their interest may continue and abound to their present and eternal joy. We have considerable hope for four in particular, and some hope for four others.
The breaking of a blade of the ship's propeller delayed us a day, and thus we avoided a most severe storm, which wrecked a vessel near our pathway on the night we were due to arrive. We would even then have reached port on the next night (Friday) but for a heavy fog, which detained us all night just outside our port. But this also proved advantageous, for it gave us opportunity for three two-hour talks on the great "Divine Plan of the Ages." (1) To a returning missionary, whose acquaintance we had not previously made, and who seemed to have "an ear to hear" the "good tidings of great joy for all people," which we presented as forcefully and wisely as we knew how. (2) To a doctor and two of the ship's stewards, and (3) to two travelers who had been waiting for an opportunity to inquire concerning the better Gospel, of which they had casually learned something through others. We talked with them from before nine o'clock until eleven o'clock, the hour for closing the ship's parlor. Both had hearing ears and seemingly appreciative hearts and will read and, we trust, come fully into the Truth. One of these, we understand, rehearsed much of what he had heard to a fellow-passenger on the promenade deck until midnight. We were in consequence of these experiences very appreciative of the fog and the delay which it occasioned, and more than ever resolved to appreciate delays and fogs, etc., knowing that "All things are working together for good to those who love God, to the called ones according to his purpose." Thus gradually we learn to spell Dis-appointment His-appointment, and to look for his leadings.
When we landed at nine o'clock Saturday morning, we found twelve dear brethren and sisters of the New York City Church waiting for us with smiling faces and outstretched hands. (Poor dears, they had been standing there for over two hours, having been misinformed that the landing would be at seven o'clock.) Some, we learned, got up at three o'clock to be there to welcome us. We greeted them with equal warmth, commenting in our heart that naught but the Truth and the spirit of pure love which it develops could form such a heart-binding tie. We assured the dear friends of our deep appreciation of their fragrant alabaster boxes so liberally poured forth; but that we accepted these, not as a personal tribute, but as marking their love for the Lord and his Truth, and, because we, by his grace, occupy a prominent place as their representative.
Escorted to the railway station we fellowshipped until train time. Handing each one a new farthing, we explained that we had brought from the Bank of England enough of these to supply one each to the Allegheny Congregation; that these would be not only souvenirs of our trip, but much more, reminders of God's loving care for all who are hisyes, and for the world of mankind. We explained that each farthing would represent two sparrows and remind us of the Lord's words: "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? yet not one of these (sparrows) can fall to the ground without your Father's notice. Are not ye of much more value than many sparrows?"
We remarked that God's drawing power is exercised chiefly toward the meek, the humble-minded, the lowly in heart, and that their proper humility at times led these to feel their own unworthiness so keenly that they needed the comforting assurance that God's infinite powers permit a supervision of all creation, including the poor little sparrow and much more the interests of humanity, and particularly the welfare of the saints, the consecrated, the members of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. The Father's providential care is over all his works, even over the sparrowsbut "The Father himself loveth you"! How wonderful is all this! No wonder that those who realize the truth of these divine messages love in return! "We love him because he first loved us." And no wonder if this love becomes contagious amongst the spirit-begotten and Truth-enlightened, so that he that loveth him that begat will love also all who are begotten of him. (I John 5:1.) Here, then, we have the secret of the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love. If these farthings shall remind us of the sparrows, and the sparrows remind us of our Lord's words respecting the Father's love for us and care for us and of his new commandment, that we love one another as he loved us, then they will, indeed, be mighty sermons to us, repeated each time we see them.
After we had bidden farewell to the representatives of the New York City Church, a speedy train enabled us to be with the Bible House family at 8:15 Saturday evening, where we were warmly welcomed by about [R4180 : page 168] fiftywith prayer and refreshments, preceded by the singing of the following hymn, the first verse of which represented our sentiments, and the other two the sentiments of the family:
From a foreign shore.
And oh! it fills my soul with joy
To meet you all once more.
Here I left the friends so dear,
To cross the ocean's foam;
But now I'm once again with those
Who fondly greet me home."
This our happy strain;
For God in love has overruled,
And brought thee home again.
Day by day our earnest prayers
Were with thee o'er the sea,
That God would bless his work abroad,
And gently care for thee.
"Happy hearts, happy hearts,
Join in grateful praise
To him who guides and guards his own
Throughout their earthly days.
Cords of love our hearts entwine,
Sweet love that shall not fail;
'Twill firmly bind us while on earth,
And reach beyond the vail."