On Sunday evening 316 of us partook of the Memorial Supper in Glasgow; 305 in the Berkeley Hall, and 11 in their homes. We all felt it a solemn occasion, realizing, as we did, that we were memorializing our dear Lord's death and our own participation in that death; but at the same time we rejoiced in the knowledge that Jesus triumphed over death and is now present superintending the harvest work, and that we shall all so soon be with him and see him as he is.
On two former occasions the Memorial Supper was celebrated in Glasgow on Sunday evening. The first of these was in 1899 when 16 met together; the other was in 1905 when the number had increased to 142. Truly the Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.
In a recent letter to you, dear Brother, I told you that I was considering and praying over the Vow. I am glad to tell you that our loving heavenly Father has opened the eyes of my understanding, and I have made the Vow my own. The difficulty which I had was the thought that a Vow was a solemn undertaking before God which must never be broken for any reason whatever. An address by one of our elders (Brother Johnstone), put the matter in what was to me a new light. This was that the Vow, like our Consecration Vow, is to be made by us on the basis of our justification by faith. God does not expect perfection in the flesh; what he does expect is an earnest desire and a sincere endeavor to fulfil the terms of the Vow. With this thought in mind, I saw that the Vow was simply a decision by the new mind to carry out certain details implied, though not stated, in our Vow of Consecration, and if, owing to the weakness of our flesh, we fail at any time, the blood of Christ will cleanse us from this as from any other sin which is not a wilful transgression. The TOWER of March 1st, received a fortnight ago, on the day following Brother Johnstone's address, corroborated this thought. In it you stated that it was not the flesh, the "old man," but the New Creature, who takes the Vow.
I have for some time thought that I would write and tell you something of my appreciation of the books and the WATCH TOWERS during the two months that I was unable for the Pilgrim service. I have especially enjoyed the clear, concise statements in the TOWER in regard to the Vow and the Covenants. I have never had any special trouble over either. The only respect in which I have differed from the presentation of the matter in the TOWER was that I did not favor the publication in the TOWER of the names of those who took the Vow, but while I did not endorse that feature of the matter, I did not deem it of such vital importance as to protest against [R4382 : page 127] it. While I have greatly rejoiced in the privilege of reviewing the books, and with more than usual care scanning the contents of each issue of the TOWER, I have found much to confirm my faith, comfort my heart and stimulate to greater activity in the race for the glorious "prize of the high calling."
In my examination of the articles, both on the Vow and on the Covenants, I have seen no Scriptural ground for disagreement with the Editor. I presume that it is because of this fact that I have felt more keenly the pain, as I have learned that some who formerly walked with us, and with whom we have taken counsel, and had sweet fellowship, have turned and walk no more with us.
I trust that these dear brethren may search their hearts very diligently, that they may see whether their differences are really based upon a genuine difference of opinion as to doctrine or whether there may not be back of it some root of bitterness growing out of some real or imaginary wrong received in regard to personal rights, from a social or business point of view, or some lack of recognition or appreciation of personal worth or ability as servants of the Truth. I know from experience, as well as observation, and the teaching of God's Word, that the Adversary loses no opportunity of bringing dissension among the Lord's Anointed, and this planting of "roots of bitterness," I have noticed, is one of his favorite methods of operation.
My joy knew no bounds when I saw through the light of Present Truth the possibilities placed in reach of every truly consecrated child of God, of becoming joint-heirs with Christ in the glory of his Kingdom for the blessing of all the families of the earth. But I soon saw another possibilitythat of losing all for a single mess of pottage. I had a well-developed bump of self-esteem, and this assured me that I had certain personal rights and dignity that should be maintained, and that my personal worth as a public minister with many years of experience should be recognized. Oh, how glad I am that in the very beginning of my experience in this, the greatest undertaking of my life, the dear heavenly Father gave me to see not only the vanity of these things, but also the danger of losing the heavenly hopes and prospects by trying to conserve the earthly, and that I was early enabled to see that the Father himself is not only abundantly able, but that he has promised to care for every item of interest for his children!
So far as personal rights of a business, social or other interest were concerned, I determined that they should have no part in determining the matter of fellowship with the brethren; and I have found this very helpful, for while comparing notes with Brother Russell, the Pilgrim brethren and the brethren in general, I have found but little to differ from them in doctrine, while along other lines I often find differences quite radical, and why not, since in our general make-up, education, etc., we are so different. So, then, I am not surprised when I find Brother Russell, the Pilgrim brethren and others doing and saying things that I would not think of doing or saying. This may cause me to stop and reflect for a moment, and I soon see that I am not looking at the matter from their viewpoint, or I would probably agree with them. So instead of wasting time and strength in contention over any of these differences of minor importance, or, perhaps, brooding over them until I conclude that the matter is so serious that I must break fellowship, I find it much better to drop all such claims and the more energetically prosecute the harvest work, which must soon be closed.
If it will not take too much of your time I want to tell you just a little how the dear Lord has blessed me lately, recalling the time when I first gave myself fully to the Lord in consecration; I remember how that for love of him and his brethren there was no sacrifice that seemed too hard for me to make. I loved him and his people, his Word and his will, with a burning and consuming love, but after the lapse of several years, I noticed a cooling off of my love to some extent. I prayed over the matter and was satisfied, but had not the fervent, pure-hearted love as at the beginning. So I went to work for the Lord, at anything that I could do. I pursued it with vigor, and was blessed in it, but nothing brought such blessing and peace as I had enjoyed at first, until I made up my mind to take the Vow. Had I known it would bring such joy, such peace, I would never have hesitated as long as I did, and very much regret that I did not take it at once. If I had a thousand tongues I could not tell how much I have been blessed since registering that solemn, holy Vow unto my Lord. I remember you and all that are his continually.
After singing of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "the Vow" to the Lord, then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text for the date is read and questions and comments considered. Finally, just before leaving the table, the MANNA comment is read. Desiring that all share the blessings, we commend the plan to others. The hymns for May are indicated below to permit all who so desire to join with us:
(1) 166; (2) 279; (3) 208; (4) 261; (5) 221; (6) 229; (7) 165; (8) 283; (9) 3; (10) 246; (11) 113; (12) 264; (13) 238; (14) 123; (15) 95; (16) 177; (17) 82; (18) 191; (19) 121; (20) 274; (21) 19; (22) 327; (23) 194; (24) 152; (25) 291; (26) 28; (27) 52; (28) 9; (29) 317; (30) 313; (31) 4.
MY SOLEMN VOW TO GOD
OUR Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. May thy rule come into my heart more and more, and thy will be done in my mortal body. Relying on the assistance of thy promised grace to help in every time of need, through Jesus Christ our Lord, I register this Vow.
Daily will I remember at the throne of heavenly grace the general interests of the harvest work, and particularly the share which I myself am privileged to enjoy in that work, and the dear co-laborers at the Brooklyn Bethel, and everywhere.
I Vow to thee that I will be on the alert to resist everything akin to Spiritism and Occultism, and that, remembering that there are but the two masters, I shall resist these snares in all reasonable ways, as being of the Adversary.
I further Vow that, with the exceptions below, I will at all times and at all places, conduct myself toward those of the opposite sex in private exactly as I would do with them in publicin the presence of a congregation of the Lord's people, and so far as reasonably possible I will avoid being in the same room with any of the opposite sex alone, unless the door to the room stand wide open:In the case of a brotherwife, children, mother and sisters excepted. In the case of a sisterhusband, children, father and brothers excepted.