Many of the saints abroad, who could not meet with us here at the celebration of the Lord's Supper and subsequent meetings, have written requesting a full report of the proceedings. Such a report we would like to give, but to do so fully is impossible. If pen could portray the glow and warmth of Christian love that illuminated every countenance, the heartiness of the hand-shaking, the tones of good cheer in the words of greeting, and the fervent farewells and God bless you and speed your work, at parting, then we might give a fuller report. But all this can be better imagined than described. It was a season which afforded a blessed foretaste of the joys of the gathering of the church triumphant, when all the faithful sowers and all the faithful reapers shall rejoice together,when the first-fruits of the harvest have all been gathered in.
The number present from abroad was the largest we have yet had, twelve states and Canada being represented, viz., Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Illinois, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and some from far off Manitoba. Among the number present were six who had been ministers in various denominations of the church nominal, whose eyes have been anointed with the eye-salve of harvest truth, and who have left title and parsonage and salary and friends and reputation and all, to henceforth preach the glorious gospel of the blessed God; to reap in the whitened fields, esteeming the reproaches of Christ as greater riches than the treasures of the world.
But we, as usual, recognized all the consecrated ones as ministers (servants) of Christ, of his church and his truth, and made no difference, one way or another, because of past prominence in error. Remembering our Lord's words, "All ye are brethren and one is your master, even Christ," we endeavored, according to Paul's suggestion, to know no man after the flesh, but recognized each and all according to their possession and manifestation of the spirit of Christthe spirit of [R1111 : page 1] the truth. All engaged in sacrificing their human natures and interests (much or littletheir all), in the service of the truth, on the altar of love, we heartily recognize as priestsof the royal priesthood under Christ Jesus the High Priest of our profession or order.
With extra seating accommodations, our meeting hall was filled to the extent of its capacity, about 225 being present to commemorate the Lord's Supper. The first meeting, at 10 A.M. Sunday, April 14th, was of a social character, and the time was fully occupied with short addresses from various brethren, telling of the condition and prospects of the great harvest work in their places of labor, the helps and hindrances they meet, the sustaining grace they find, the good hope they have, the joy and peace they have personally found in believing the truth; with interesting incidents of personal experience as to how the harvest message reached them or some others, and of experience in the work as to how God had verified to them so many of his rich promises, such as, "I will give you a mouth and wisdom that none of your adversaries can gainsay or resist;" "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it;" "Whosoever will do his will shall know of the doctrine;" "My grace shall be sufficient for thee;" "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age," etc.
This meeting encroached somewhat on the noon hour, and yet before two o'clock the company was again in place for the afternoon session, at which, Brother Wallace illustrated his method of presenting the outlines of the Plan of the Ages to the audiences he meets. Bro. W. was a travelling lecturer and professor of phrenology before the harvest truth reached him. When he received it, he began to mix with phrenology the good tidings of great joy for all people; and now as the truth has reached his mind and heart more fully, it has so quickened his zeal in the Master's service that the old profession is almost crowded out, except as it serves to pave the way for the glad tidings which now fills his heart and overflows at every opportunity. His talent is for public speaking, and after every lecture the DAWN is presented as a further elaboration of the great subject to which he has called attention. To illustrate his lectures, he has had the Chart of the Ages (from DAWN Vol. I.) enlarged and painted on canvas, and ornamented with pictorial illustrations of the various ages; and above all a beautiful symbolic sky representing the changing conditions of the various dispensations, from Eden to Paradise restored. God bless him, and may his talent never be turned aside from the service of the great cause.
The address by Bro. Wallace was followed by a discourse on the subject of Baptism and its import, after which at 4:30 P.M. the congregation adjourned to the baptistry of the "Disciples' church," which is kindly placed at our service, where that most impressive and solemn ceremony, symbolic of death and burial to the world, was performed. Twenty-two personsten of the brethren and twelve sisterssymbolized in that water-burial their own deadness to self and sin and to the various aims and hopes of the human natureas dead to the worldto henceforth live as new creatures in Christ, making God's service, the service of his revealed plan, their chief business: this, as well as the grand consummation of resurrection in the actual likeness of the Lord, being pictured in their being raised up from the water. This solemn, symbolic burial-service, with its hymns of consecration and faith and hope and triumph through Christ, its offering of the right hand of fellowship one to another, and its prayers for the divine blessing and aid, was one never to be forgotten.
In the evening at 7:30 the assembly was again convened, for the solemn and impressive celebration of the Lord's Memorial Supper. While partaking of the emblems of our Lord's broken body, and blood shed for the remission of sins, the significance of the emblems and of our partaking of them was shown; and our hearts held sweet communion with our dear Redeemer,praising and thanking him for his loving sacrifice on our behalf and pledging ourselves anew to his cause and to sacrifice ourselves for it now, in anticipation of his promise that such shall share also his nature, his glory and his great work of restoring all things by and by.
This simple service, so often particularly described in the Tower, lasted until 9:30 P.M., and closed as did the first occasion: we sang a hymn and went to our homes, meditating on our dear Redeemer's last night of sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane and the inestimable value of his death, as our redemption price, [R1111 : page 2] both from sin and its death penalty.
On Monday at 10 A.M. meetings for Bible study commenced which continued without intermission, except for meals and sleep, until Thursday night. The subject of the harvestthe harvest work and opportunities, and the time, etc., connected with it, and past leadings, present indications, and future prospects from the prophetic standpointwas the almost continuous theme of all these meetings. Questions of almost every conceivable bearing upon the subject were brought forward and carefully considered in the light of the Word of God. These topics you would like us to present here at length, and we would enjoy doing so, but it would be impossible. It would fill a book. However, these subjects will be still more fully elaborated in DAWN Vol. III., now in course of preparation. It is expedient that Vol. II. and especially Vol. I. be fully digested by all of you, first, to prepare each for the still further unfoldings of the wonderful plan of our God. One point, however, is briefly treated in this paper under the caption"The Door was Shut;" because the deeply interested have already given Vol. II. one reading, and in order that such might not be discouraged by supposing that the "door was shut" when the high calling ceased, in 1881.
All that we can tell you concerning those meetings is, that though brain and body grew weary, from the continuous sitting and continuous thinking, the hearts of all grew warmer, and zeal came to a glowing heat, as all seemed to grasp clearly the conviction that the time for service is short; that we are even now in the "eleventh hour," and that the night wherein no man can work is drawing rapidly on. The Master's voice was heard saying, "Go ye also into my vineyard and whatsoever is right I will give you" (Matt. 20:4); and many were the resolves to lay aside worldly aims and schemes and to bend every energy and concentrate effort to do "harvest" work under the direction of the Chief Reaper, our Lord, in the ways he has been, and now is, so generally and widely opening up. Each seemed to resolve to show the Master his love, and his appreciation of the privilege of being a co-worker, by redoubling his efforts.
Methods of work were discussed at two meetings, as well as late into the nights. While public speaking, lecturing on the Chart of the Ages, etc., was conceded to be good, where a talent for it is possessed and an opportunity could be had, it was nevertheless conceded that the Lord is making use of very few who have this talent specially, and is opening very few opportunities for labor of that sort in the present harvest. It was conceded that preaching by the printed word is the agency chiefly being used and blessed in this "harvest," and more than all others, DAWN Vol. I. Brothers Adamson, Rogers, Hickey, Weber and Bryanwho have sold many thousands of copies of "THE PLAN OF THE AGES," encouraged all by their reports of the Lord's blessing and the good results following to those who purchased of them. They urged and encouraged others to enter this wonderful field of labor which the Lord has opened up, and in which he provides abundantly, though not without weariness, and gives opportunity for them to deny themselves many of the advantages and comforts of a settled home life. They thanked God, too, that he had made provision for all the laborers now, so that they need not depend upon alms, nor upon collections, but while they are giving away thousands of tracts and selling a book containing sixteen sermons (chapters) on the real good tidings of great joy, at half what any other book on religious subjects is sold for,yet under the Lord's gracious provision (through the TRACT FUND allowance of one half of all receipts for expenses) they were enabled to feed and clothe themselves decently (not elegantly) and to thus "provide things honest in the sight of all men."
As a result, several new missionaries started forth with DAWN and tracts, and good reports are daily coming in. As an illustration, three brethren full of zeal went to Detroit, Mich., where they distributed about 3000 Arp Tracts and sold about 1400 copies of The Plan of the AgesDAWN Vol. I.in four weeks after the meeting.
We wish all could have been here to have enjoyed the liberty and harmony, and to have become personally acquainted with each other as the Lord's members and servants, and to learn something of the Lord's special and general dealing with all. As some expressed it, it was a foretaste of the general assembling of the Churchwhen all the faithful shall meet with their Lord as well as with each other to recount God's favors in the past and to discuss the great work of restitution then to be ushered in.
We need not tell you that the dear scattered ones, less privileged than ourselves in the matter of this meeting, were remembered by us all, and that rich spiritual blessings upon you all were desired and invoked. And we are glad to note from very many letters received, that our Lord's Supper was so generally commemorated by those who love him and appreciate his great sacrifice for the sins of the church and the world, and we are glad, too, that so many of you were praying God's blessing upon our meeting here. No wonder we were blessed; and you, too, would share it while generously asking it upon us.