BROTHER RUSSELL'S EUROPEAN TOUR
THE FOLLOWING, WRITTEN BY BROTHER RUSSELL OFF
THE SHORES OF NORWAY, RECOUNTS HIS JOURNEY
THAT FAR FROM LIVERPOOL:
ALTHOUGH our steamer broke all ocean records she was unable to land her passengers Monday night, but waited for the tide to reach her landing. There on the shore awaiting us, waving the Chautauqua salute with their handkerchiefs, we greeted about a dozen friends full half an hour before we could get ashore. We received very hearty hand-grasps and words of welcome and were soon en route for noon refreshments.
At 3 p.m. we met an audience of the interested, probably 125. It was a Question Meeting; we trust a profitable one. The questions were excellent--many of them relating to the Covenants. The meeting lasted two hours and was followed by supper. The evening meeting was semi-public, the attendance about 300. We had an excellent hearing while we endeavored to present the "Old, old story of Jesus and his love." We were most hospitably entertained by Brother and Sister McCoy and after a good night's rest were ready for the train for Manchester.
The only disappointing feature connected with the visit was the evident disaffection of Brother Hay and a few others who have gone blind on the Covenants and on the participation of the Church as the Body of Christ in his sufferings as the Priest. We feel keenly for those who once were enlightened and had tasted the heavenly gift and the powers of the age to come and were partakers of the holy Spirit's enlightenment, when we see them thus go into the "outer-darkness" of the world's nominal church. Nevertheless, we must not murmur at the Divine Providence which thus "sifts" the chaff from the wheat. On the contrary, we appreciate the light the more, and prize the more all those who are permitted to remain in it; knowing that God makes no mistakes and that he would not suffer any to be deflected whose hearts were right.
NEXT AT MANCHESTER
About a dozen of the friends accompanied us from Liverpool to Manchester, where we were met at the railway station by Brother Glass and others. We were most hospitably cared for by Brother and Sister Glass, at whose home later we were refreshed by meeting Brother Hemery, the Society's British representative, who came from London with warm greetings from the London friends.
The afternoon meeting at Onward Hall had an attendance of about 400, who greeted us by rising and singing "Blest be the tie that binds." The afternoon subject was "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:27.) We had excellent attention for two hours whilst we endeavored to show that those in Christ, by the begetting of the holy Spirit, have now as the hope of glory their share as Christ's members--in filling up that which is behind of his afflictions; specially left behind in our interest to permit us a share in his sacrifice and in the glory of God attached thereto--participation in the divine nature and the Millennial work. Incidentally we showed that the Vow seemed to be helping many to abide in the Vine as "branches"; and noted the fact that almost without exception the dear friends who have not taken the Vow are the ones who are losing their appreciation of the "Mystery" mentioned in our text-- fellowship in the sufferings and attendant glories of the Christ.
The evening meeting was in the "Large Free Trade Hall." For a week-night religious meeting it was surely a rousing one; about 3000 were present. Our topic was "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire." The attention was excellent. The dear friends of Manchester circulated 150,000 tracts with notices of the meetings attached; and then there were posters and newspaper notices. They declared that their service (sacrifice of time, strength and money) had proven a blessing to themselves as a Church even if no fruitage should result from the presentation to others. However, the public evinced deep interest in sitting for nearly two hours; and bought books and took free literature with avidity.
GLASGOW ON THURSDAY
A good night's rest prepared us for further service. The Manchester friends gave us a hearty "God-be-with-you and come-again-soon."
We reached Glasgow at 3 p.m., just in time for the 3:30 meeting, to which we were at once escorted by our enthusiastic Scotch friends--Dr. Edgar and family and others to the number of about 25.
The attendance at the afternoon meeting was about 400 to 500--excellent for a mid-week afternoon. By request it was a Question Meeting. It lasted nearly two hours. Then came tea. Then at Glasgow City Hall at 7:30 we had an audience of about 2000 very intelligent looking people, including, it was said, about twenty ministers. Our topic was "The Thief in Paradise, The Rich Man in Hell, and Lazarus in Abraham's Bosom." The meeting lasted about an hour and a half. We had excellent attention and trust that some were blessed.
Brother (Dr.) Edgar and Sister Edgar entertained us and made us glad, both by words and deeds. They with a party of about twenty went on to
THE EDINBURGH MEETING
Again we were welcomed. About twenty of the Edinburgh friends met us and escorted us. We had a semi-private talk in the forenoon, a Question Meeting in the afternoon and a Public Meeting at night. The afternoon [R4415 : page 184] queries were chiefly along the lines of the Covenants and the Church's share in the sufferings of Christ. It becomes more evident daily that the ability to see and understand the "Mystery" of membership in Christ's Body by fellowship in his sufferings is the test of the hour as well as of the age. None but the spirit-begotten can appreciate it. The agitation is doing good to such-- showing them more and more clearly the terms of "the fellowship in this Mystery, which is Christ in you the hope of glory."
The evening meeting was in Synod Hall, one of Edinburgh's largest auditoriums. Nearly 2500 people are supposed to have been present, including probably twenty ministers of various churches. Excellent attention was given for an hour and a half to our discourse on "The Thief in Paradise, The Rich Man in Hell and Lazarus in Abraham's Bosom." The friends must have done valiant work to secure so large and so intelligent a hearing for the Truth. There was quite a demand for free literature and some books and pamphlets were sold at the door.
We were entertained most comfortably by dear old Sister Allen, now in her 78th year. She and Brother Montgomery were practically the only ones in the Truth on the occasion of our first visit, in 1892. We were so glad to find them both steadfast and rejoicing.
A goodly crowd met us Saturday morning at the railway station to bid us goodby--and come soon again. We realized afresh the oneness of the Body of Christ and, thanking God for it, were soon speeding
This was our first visit to this city. We greatly enjoyed it, meeting some new faces and some whom we had met elsewhere previously. Brother and Sister Rutherford entertained us--meeting us (with others) at the [R4416 : page 184] station and escorting us to their home, where after refreshments we had a heart-to-heart talk with the roomfull (about 20). Our talk bore on the general plan and the relationship of the Covenants and the fact that our Gospel, while full of the grace of God, is nevertheless unto life or unto death--according to the reception accorded to it by those who hear it--in the true sense of the word hear or understand.
We had a very pleasant season of communion and prayer and refreshments, and then almost the entire party accompanied us to the steamer "Neptune," in which we departed for Bergen, Norway, Saturday, May 14, at 7 p.m. From the pier the friends waved us "Good by and come back" with their handkerchiefs until faces were indistinguishable. They adopted "Aunt Sarah's" suggestion of waving the handkerchief inward, as signifying "return," "come back."
We had a very quiet Sunday, resting up for further service, as much as "Neptune" would permit. The sea was quiet, but Neptune rolled in it, as though he liked to dip his sides as deeply as possible. Anticipating some need of rest we left Brother Huntsinger (our volunteer stenographer) in England, hoping to have assistance from him on our return trip on the Atlantic.
Is it any wonder, dear "Tower" readers, that our heart is thankful to God as we pen you these lines on the North Sea, nearing Bergen? How pleasurable is the service of our King--through evil report and through good report, as deceivers and yet true; as unknown and yet well known.
I want you all to know that I am praying for all the dear members of his Body, sharers of his sufferings, preparing to share his glory, by making their calling and election sure.
Your brother in our dear Redeemer, May 16, 1909. C. T. RUSSELL.