GOD'S BLESSING has surely been richly with us on this second division of our Convention Tour. The Bible Students in the various stopping places had been working hard for success, and they were full of enthusiasm. The touring party, nearly two hundred in number, are full of fervor, adding to the spirit of the various occasions. We rejoiced together as we rehearsed Divine providences, blessings, favors, and united in praise and testimony, and in public presentations of the Truth. The profit and interest of the Conventions were augmented by occasional symposiums, participated in by nearly all of the brethren of the party. Some of these had been accustomed to public speaking and some had not, but all were quite conversant with the Truth. These impromptu addresses seemed to encourage the speakers and their audiences.
Sunday, June 18, at 3 o'clock, we gave a public discourse on the "Hereafter" in the Auditorium at Denver. The attendance was estimated at four thousand, of which about four hundred (men) were on the platform. We had excellent attention, and feel sure that many left the place with very changed conceptions of the "Hereafter" and of our Heavenly Father and His great Plan of the Ages.
The evening subject, "Zionism, the Hope of the World," had not been so widely advertised, and, as was expected, the audience was considerably lessless than one-half. A considerable number of Jews attended. We had closest attention, and at the close many expressions of appreciation were made.
The following day we took an excursion into the mountain wilds, where we had very enjoyable services, in the nature of praise, prayer and testimony. The evening meeting was held in the auditorium of the Woman's Club, where an excellent address was given by Brother Barton.
The following day was spent in the mountains of Colorado and Utah, journeying to Salt Lake City over the Denver and Rio Grande Railway. The scenery was very beautiful, picturesque and interesting. The convulsions of nature which threw up those great mountain ranges spoke to us of a Power Divine, while beautiful mountain flowers told of the same Divine Power exercised in a more pacific manner. It was a day of rest from oral preaching, affording us an opportunity for preparing sermons for future use. Our faithful stenographer, Brother Rutherford, Jr., materially assisted in the work.
Our one-day stop here, Wednesday, June 21, was an interesting and profitable one. The city is very beautiful and prosperous looking. Our morning services (a rally and testimony meeting) adjourned in time for us to attend the organ recital in the Mormon Tabernacle, an immense structure with a seating capacity of five thousand. The organ and recital interested us greatly; the music was very fine.
Our afternoon meeting was a symposium on the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. Several participated, our own part being the conclusion. The evening meeting at Salt Lake Theater was crowded, nearly two thousand being present. The interest was great. Close attention was given by the mixed audience of all denominations. It is our opinion that Mormons are as honest as othersmore honest than many. We understand that their institution, while financially strong, is theologically weakened; that is to say, the original doctrine of Mormonism is being called in question by newer elements, differently educated than their fathers. We trust that some good fruitage may result from the meetings. The class of Bible Students there is quite small.
Here the class of Truth friends number about one hundred and twenty-five. It is a zealous class in many respects. They had all worked hard for the convention, and the Divine blessing made it a great success. Those in attendance at the meetings of the interested numbered nearly six hundred, and included friends from nearby places as well as our touring party. The forenoon was given to testimonies, our own being the concluding one of about half an hour. In the afternoon, by request, we had a meeting for the consecration of children; about thirty-five children were presented. A Question meeting followed. The questions were good and were answered to the best of our ability.
The evening meeting for the public was in the Auditorium, our topic being "The Great Hereafter." About three thousand people were present, including those on the platform. An overflow meeting was held in another room in the same building. It was addressed by Brother Sexton. At the conclusion of our discourse in the main auditorium, we gave a further half-hour talk to the overflow meeting, the conclusion of the service being at nearly 11 o'clock. Here again the people heard with great earnestness, as though they were hungry. Again we had proof of the Word of the Lord to the effect that there is a famine in the land; not a famine for bread nor for water, but a famine for the hearing of the Word of the Lord.
About sixty Los Angeles friends journeyed with us to Santa Cruz, and the following day to San Francisco; some even accompanied us as far as Sacramento, contributing to our pleasure and to the success of the meetings.
Our train was delayed in reaching Santa Cruz, where there is but a small class of Bible Students. We had a very enjoyable time, however. Our afternoon meeting was held in the Casino Theater, at the beach, where the friends rested meanwhile. At the hour appointed for the public service, we discussed "The Hereafter" to a very intelligent audience, numbering about a thousand. Close attention was given for two hours, and we hope the interest will prove abiding. Following the service, the speaker was escorted by some local friends in an automobile to a park of big trees, where some pictures were taken and a bountiful supper enjoyed. A delightful ride returned us to Santa Cruz, where we had a meeting for the interested, which concluded the day.
Sunday, June 25, was an interesting day for the Truth friends at San Francisco. The Bible Students here are very energetic and surely worked hard for the attainment of the good results achieved. The afternoon service for the public at 3 o'clock was splendidly attended by about four thousand, our topic being "Hereafter." We had close attention. The evening service on "Zionism, the Hope of the World," was less advertised, but there was a good attendance also, about one-half that of the afternoon service. Those present in the afternoon (kept late and filled full) had little time or inclination to hear further the same day.
At the evening meeting it was estimated that about five hundred Jews were present. They heard very coldly and cautiously until we were about half through, when their interest seemed to grow. When they heard things respecting their nation and its history, and the outworking [R4862 : page 231] of prophetic promises, they were apparently greatly interested. We feel here like reminding our readers afresh that we are not to expect any considerable number of Jews to manifest interest in Present Truth now. We hope for them that the message they are now hearing will direct their hearts and minds and prayers toward God and the Holy Scriptures, and thus prepare them for further glorious experiences in the midst of troubles in the near future. We remind you afresh that it is our expectation that the interest of the Jews will really come in the midst of the time of trouble, and that the Great Company will have the opportunity and honor of leading them to a fuller appreciation of the Divine Program, with the Messianic Seed of Abraham on the spirit plane, and the Jews in conjunction with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Prophets on the earthly plane, to bless the world of mankind.
Monday was given to Oakland, which lies just across the bay from San Francisco. In many respects, the two classes are onetheir interests at least co-operated happily with our program for the day. Our first meeting was with the Elders and Deacons of the two classes, numbering about thirty. It was a pleasant experience and lasted for nearly two hours. We talked of the local interests of the work and the best methods of promoting them. At 10 o'clock there was a general rally and testimony meeting which we could not attend. The First Baptist Church was at our disposal for the entire day. Its capacity is estimated at fifteen hundred.
At 2 p.m. we gave a talk on the propriety of parents consecrating their children to the Lord. We reminded our hearers of how the Jewish parents had a custom of consecrating their male children to the Lord by a circumcision ceremony. We reminded them that many Christian denominations practice infant sprinkling with really the significance of consecration. We pointed out the unscripturalness of infant sprinkling, because it is understood to mean baptism and to be performed instead of it, baptism being prescribed in the Bible only for the consecrated believers. We reminded our hearers of how the parents of Samuel had specially presented him to the Lord for service. We called their attention to how Jewish mothers brought their children to our Lord, desiring them to be blessed.
We explained that there is nothing in the nature of a command in connection with such consecration of childrenat very most it is a privilege, an opportunity to such as may desire to avail themselves of it without the slightest reflection against those who might think and act differently. We recommended that it be considered applicable only to children who have not reached maturity of judgment so as to have a will of their own in such a matter. We suggested that, later in life, children coming to know that they have been devoted to the Lord in infancy might to some extent gain a measure of blessing in this connection. We suggested to the parents that we hoped that the consecration of their children formally to the Lord would help to impress upon them their responsibility toward their children and toward the Lordfurthermore, from this standpoint they might be helped to a fuller acknowledgment of the Divine will in respect to the childfor sickness or health, for life or death, for interests great and small. Approximately forty-two participated in the Consecration and its prayer for Divine blessing.
Next came a discourse on Baptism, which was followed by the symbolical immersion of forty-three. We learned afterward that three Baptist Ministers were in the audience and that one of them in particular was very angry because we had intimated that water baptism was the door into the Baptist church, so that none were permitted to partake of the Lord's Supper or be classed as members of the Church of Christ unless immersed in water. Thus we intimated also that their theory is that all others, not immersed, not being members of the Church of Christ, cannot be partakers of His blessingsone of which is the heavenly estate, and that all unimmersed, therefore, are lost, by which Baptists in general must mean that Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Methodists, Lutherans and others, not immersed, will spend eternity in torment. We certainly had no unkind intentions, but on the contrary endeavored to choose such words as would express the Truth in the least offensive form. One member of the church thanked us, rejoicing that her daughter had been led by the discourse to give her heart to the Lord.
The church was crowded for the night service, and approximately two hundred of the friends of the Truth gave place to strangers and constituted an overflow meeting, which was held in a Disciple Church nearby.
Tuesday, June 27, found our party at Sacramento, where the class of Bible Students numbers about twenty. The first session of the morning was a Testimony Meeting. This was followed by a talk on Baptism by Brother Swingle, three being immersed later in the day. In the afternoon we had a symposium, participated in by twelve brethren, our own talk in conclusion being based upon a colloquy between Moses and the Lord: "If thou go not up with us send us not up hence"; and the Lord's reply: "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you peace." The evening meeting, topic "Hereafter," was held in Clunie Theater. A splendid audience of about a thousand was present, and the closeness of the attention could scarcely be exceeded. We will hope for some good results and some encouraging reports. At all events the dear friends at Sacramento, ourself and touring party may well rest contented that, having done what we could, the matter is in the Lord's hands, for His over-ruling according to His own will.
We are writing this report on the day following the Sacramento meetings, as we are en route for Portland. Mt. Shasta has been in sight for several hours, its snowy peak rising fourteen thousand four hundred feet above the sea level. Our train stopped for a few minutes at Shasta Springs, allowing us to drink of the effervescent waters. We anticipated the pleasure of meeting a company of friends assembled on the railway platform at Ashland, Oregon, but our special arrived nearly two hours ahead of schedule, so we missed all but two. One dear brother met us at another station. He had ridden nearly seven miles on a bicycle. We would have had but a few minutes with them, but would have been glad to greet them and to receive their greetings in return. We spelled our disappointment with an h instead of a d. How wonderful the Spirit of the Lord, in His people of every nation, kindred, tongue and placemanifesting love for the Lord, the Truth and the brethren!
We had a fine time at Portland. All along the Pacific coast the weather was cool and bracing. The attendance at the meetings for the interested in Portland averaged about four hundred, while the public service at the Auditorium on Thursday night had about fifteen hundred in [R4862 : page 232] attendance. Friday night was a question meeting with an attendance of about seven hundred. Their questions were unusually good, and the entire audience seemed deeply interested in the answers. The meeting lasted for two hours, some remaining with other questions. Brother Bohnet was to follow us the following Sunday. We feel sure that the work in Portland is making considerable progress.
Saturday, July 1, was devoted to Tacoma. Nowhere have we had more interesting meetings. The Tacoma Theatre was crowded, a remarkable thing for a religious meeting on Saturday night. About two thousand were present. The meetings for the interested were precious ones, and attended by about three hundred and fifty. The city seemed to have been greatly stirred.
We were warmly welcomed here, also. About five hundred attended the meetings for the interested. Some of these came with our party from Portland and Tacoma. Others came to meet us from Victoria and Vancouver. We had a splendid season of spiritual fellowship and refreshment, which concluded Monday night with a love feast, although the convention was carried over a day after our leaving. Two of our party remained to give addresses. About twenty-five children were presented in consecration to the Lord, and eighteen adults were immersed. Here again Brother Morton Edgar gave a discourse on the Pyramid. Brother Swingle preached the baptism sermon, and Brother Ritchie gave the address preceding the love feast.
The Sunday service consisted of a rally and testimony meeting, participated in by many. Then followed our Sunday morning discourse, which already has been published in the newspapers, topic, "The Two Babylons." The afternoon meeting for the public drew a crowded house, estimated at twenty-two hundred. We had excellent attention for two hours. The evening service in the same place was for questions, about a thousand being present. Questions were good, the interest was excellent, many hearing for the first time some of the things of the Word of the Lord explained.
Wednesday morning, July 4, we proceeded by steamer to Victoria. The ride was a very enjoyable one, cool and bracing, and our hearts were full of love for the Lord [R4863 : page 232] and for each other, and with a strong, sympathetic love for neighbors and enemies. We were thus prepared to enjoy all the experiences which came to us in the Lord's providence.
Our arrival at Victoria was in time to enjoy an afternoon service with the interested, and to give an evening address to the public, on "Hereafter." Our topic to the interested was, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." (I John 3:14.) We pointed out that a true loyalty to God includes a love for all those whom He has recognized by the begetting of the Holy Spirit, and is a part of our loyalty to Him and to the Captain of our Salvation. We pointed out, also, that the brethren are not always lovable, so that the loving of them all implies a considerable growth in grace. We noticed that such a growth in grace implies frequent polishings and much instruction in the School of Christ, and in the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. We noticed that it is more difficult, sometimes, to exercise meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit, toward the brethren than toward others. We found from our text that such a development of character, in the heart, at least in the will, is essential, and that without it we lack a strong proof of our acceptance of the Lord as New Creatures in Christ.
A night's ride on the boat brought us to our next convention stop. Here, also, we were warmly and cordially greeted by the friends. The class here numbers about seventy; about a hundred were in attendance from outlying districts, besides about one hundred and seventy of our excursion party, making a total of about three hundred and fifty. We had a blessed season of fellowship together, very interesting testimony meetings, etc.
The service for the public in the evening had been thoroughly advertised, and was held in the city's largest auditorium. The numbers present were estimated at between three thousand and four thousand. The interest was good, notwithstanding the slight interruption by a socialist, who wanted his good things right away instead of waiting for the Lord's "times of restitution." His disregard for the rights of others brought upon him the police, who arrested him. We declined, however, to give any information against him, so that probably he lost his liberty for the one night only. The audience in general manifested deep interest in the "Hereafter," as presented. We trust that much studying of the Bible and prayer will be the result.
This is one of the new, booming cities of the Northwest. Although nearly everybody there is overcharged with a love for money and a desire to make it quickly, in real estate, we had an excellent meeting with about a thousand in attendancean excellent showing, under all circumstances. We had a very attentive hearing, and we trust that good was accomplished. The class here numbers about twenty. We had a very interesting, and we trust profitable fellowship with the interested.
Our train made an unexpected stop at Regina, the capital of the Province of Saskatchewan. We arrived at 3 p.m. and left at 8:30. The brethren of our party were equal to the emergency, and we had a public meeting, beginning at 6:45. They engaged the City Hall, had bills printed and circulated them far and wide. The result was a splendid audience for the little city, and under the circumstances. About four hundred and fifty were in attendance. The editor of one of the local papers introduced us and we had a splendid hearing, from which we trust some fruitage will result. The entire matter seemed to be of Divine providence. A local minister of the Presbyterian church was with us on the platform and expressed himself as deeply interested; said that he was reading the sermons in the newspapers, and that he had read four volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. He expressed great satisfaction with what he heard. One of our audience came to the platform to shake hands, after the service. To our surprise it was the pastor of one of the principal Baptist churches of London, England, located near the London Tabernacle. It seems remarkable that we should meet as we did five thousand miles distant from where we both sat on the platform at the Guild Hall meeting, held by the Lord Mayor of London for the endorsement of President Taft's suggestion of the [R4863 : page 233] peace pact between the United States and Great Britain.
We visited Winnipeg a year and a half ago, and were pleased to re-visit it. The class there has grown considerably, notwithstanding it has lost numerous of its members by removal. It now numbers about thirty-five. Meetings for the interested were attended by about four hundred, and we believe they were very profitable. About thirty were baptized and about twenty-five children presented in consecration. The evening meeting for the public was a success every way. A good theater had been obtained; thorough advertising had been done; a large audience of about two thousand was present, and we had closest attention to our discourse on "Hereafter." In the evening we had a question meeting which had not been previously announced. A thousand were in attendance. The questions were excellent. At ten o'clock we left it to the audience to express themselves by raising the hand whether or not they desired the service to be continued. About six hundred hands went up, and we continued the service until about twenty minutes to eleven, we trust with good results.
Tuesday, July 11, was spent in Duluth. We were hospitably entertained, as usual. The class here numbers about twenty; about sixty were present from various parts. We missed our trainload of helpers who stopped, instead, at Minneapolis, and went from thence to the conclusion of their journey, Chicago. At Duluth we had a baptism service at which eighteen were immersed. Our subject for the occasion was: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."Col. 3:1.
The meeting for the public was a success. The advertising had been well and thoroughly done. The audience numbered about seven hundred, which for a week night, in the summer time, was certainly extraordinary.
This stop was not scheduled, but we found that we could make it and still be able to keep our appointment at Torontoreaching there on Sunday morning. Although the friends at Port Huron had but a brief notice of our coming, we received a warm welcome.
A good crowd was in attendance, some coming from Detroit. We had an interesting session in the afternoon with the interested, considering the text, "If ye, then, be risen with Christ seek those things which are above." In the evening the public was fairly well representedabout three hundred being present. We considered this excellent for a Saturday night meeting that had an unfavorable announcement.
Our last stop was at Toronto. The convention had already been in session a day before we arrived. The attendance was nearly six hundred, from all parts of Canada. Some said it was the very best convention of their lives. The Sunday afternoon session for the public had been thoroughly advertised, and the largest auditorium in the city had been securedMassey Hall. It was jammed with about four thousand people, and they said that nearly two thousand were turned from the doors. Unfortunately, the acoustics of the building are not the best, and some, unable to hear satisfactorily, in going out disturbed others. Nevertheless the meeting, we believe, was a grand success. Some testimonies which reached our ears implied that the Truth had struck home in some instances. The newspapers gave good reports also.
The evening meeting was largely Jewish, and the attendance was estimated at nearly two thousand. We had excellent attention to our subject, "Zionism, the Hope of the World." Some brethren, circulating among the interested ones, took subscriptions for THE WATCH TOWER, and orders for STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES from some who had heard for the first time.
We arrived home early July 18. We met the Bethel family at noon. Some special flowers had been arranged, and as we entered the room all arose and joined in singing, "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love." We gave thanks to the Lord, related briefly our experiences, and proceeded with dinner. We expressed ourselves as pleased with the trip and also pleased to be back again at the Central Depot of the Harvest Work.