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The blessing of our Heavenly Father has surely been with us richly on our Western Convention Trip. Everywhere the European Conflagration was the topic of absorbing interest. Many are convinced that the consummation of the Gospel Age is at hand, and everywhere the Household of Faith are lifting up their heads and rejoicing that their deliverance is drawing nigh, as our Lord foretold in His great prophecy, recorded in Matthew 24 and parallel Scriptures.
The Editor and his stenographers left Brooklyn on August 23 and arrived at Chicago on the 24th, in time for the inauguration of the I.B.S.A. Temple. This building has been leased by the Chicago friends for the use of the local Ecclesia and for the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, and is well adapted for its purpose, being centrally located. The attendance was 1250 interested. The attention was excellent.
From Chicago the party sped westward, and arrived at Spokane, Wash., on August 27. Here we spoke to an audience of deeply interested Bible Students, numbering about two hundred. Thence we went to Everett, August 28, where a public meeting had been arranged for. About six hundred were present and gave the closest attention to the discourse. At Bellingham, August 29, fourteen hundred were at the public meeting.
From Bellingham the little party went to Vancouver, B.C., where seven hundred greeted them, giving very close attention to the discourse. August 30 was given to Seattle, Wash., where twenty-six hundred heard the address. Here, as elsewhere, the friends are very earnest and zealous. Thence we hastened to Tacoma, August 31, where fifteen hundred were in attendance.
Our next stop was at Santa Cruz, Cal. Here an interesting and profitable eight-day Convention of Bible Students was in session. The attendance was estimated to be about seven hundred and fifty, chiefly from the Pacific States. The party remained at the Convention about four days, September 2-4. The Photo-Drama was shown four evenings, and was greatly enjoyed by many of the citizens.
September 10 was devoted to a one-day Convention at San Diego. Twelve hundred were in attendance at the public meeting, and many were turned away, for whose benefit an overflow meeting was arranged. September 11 the party were at Los Angeles, where the attendance was thirty-five hundred. September 13, at Salt Lake City, thirty-two hundred were in attendance. Thence we went to Denver, September 15, where six hundred friends listened to the discourse. Next was Colorado Springs, September 16, where eight hundred were in attendance.
Then the party went South to Fort Worth, Texas, where a three-day Convention was in progress, with four hundred and fifty Bible Students present. While this Convention was not large, yet it was full of interest. Then came San Antonio, September 19, where twenty-one hundred listened with deep attention to a discourse on up-to-date topics. At Houston, September 20, twenty-four hundred assembled to hear the address, and nearly as many were turned away. On September 21, at Beaumont, Texas, nine hundred listened with deep appreciation.
Continuing our journey, we reached New Orleans, September 22, where one thousand heard us. At Birmingham, Ala., September 24, fifteen hundred were present. Thence we went to Atlanta, Ga., where a four-day Convention met, September 24-27, with approximately four hundred and fifty in attendance, the delegates representing many states. After leaving our Atlanta friends, we hurried on to the Saratoga Convention.
The Saratoga Convention, although not a large one, was an extremely interesting gathering. The Convention proper numbered about 950. Some of the meetings ran up considerably more through local interest. One thing noticeable in this Convention, as well as at all the others, was the meek and quiet spirit of those in attendance. While all lifted up their heads rejoicing that our deliverance is near and hasteth greatly, nevertheless there was no spirit of excitement. Rather all seemed to realize that we have received of the Lord blessed promises and enlightenments which far more than repay for our trials and difficulties. All were resolved that the whole world would not compare with the Light and Peace and Hope already oursnot to mention the glorious things expected soon. Surely we prefer God's time, as well as God's Plan, above all others. If He but continue us in His favor, in the future as in the past, we may well rejoice in the experiences coming day by day, end when they may.
During our trip we continually encouraged the dear Household of Faith to await God's time for the accomplishment of our hopes, preferring it to our own, if different. While we everywhere noted that patient waiting was manifested, yet, on the other hand, we deplored the over-confidence of some respecting the exact time of the glorification of the Church. We endeavored to distinguish between our hope and the time of its fulfilment, and urged all to cast not away their confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. However, the present great war certainly stimulates our confidence in every feature of the Divine Program.