OUR CHICAGO CONVENTION.
WE have been assured by letters since received, as well as by many of the friends while the meetings in Chicago were in progress, that many, if not all, who attended the Chicago Convention were greatly blessed and strengthened in the good way.
The location was all that could be desired, facing Washington Park and near the lake front. Our meetings were held in a large pavilion. The number in attendance was about 360, of whom fully 300 came from a distance, California, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Florida, Ontario, Manitoba, New England and Nova Scotia, as well as the nearer states, being represented.
The services of each day began with a prayer meeting followed by a short testimony meeting in which present experiences, only, were in order. There were special topics assigned to the prayer meetings for each day, and from these it will be seen that the absent ones were not forgotten. The topics were as follows:
(1) The WATCH TOWER office and its laborers.
(2) The Colporteurs, and all laborers in the general harvest field.
(3) The Little Flock, walking in the light of present truth.
(4) The Consecrated yet in the darkness of error.
(5) Prayer for more laborers in the vineyard, and for greater wisdom, love and zeal for all engaged in it.
Following these services came a discourse of about an hour and a half, then an adjournment for dinner, after which the afternoon, from 2 until 5, was devoted to the public answering of questions. The last day was devoted to the interest of the Colporteur work; and on the day after the close of the Convention, some of the experienced Colporteurs remained with some of the less successful and the beginners, and held a school of colporteuring--giving instructions, pointing out good and bad methods, manners and expressions, etc.
It was a happy looking gathering, and the soul present that received no blessing has good reason to feel that considerable of the fault lay in his own state of unpreparedness to share the blessing bestowed upon others. But we heard only of blessings; and, thanks to the Giver of every good and perfect gift, we trust and believe that as results of the meetings our Lord's honor was increased and a number of his saints refreshed and strengthened. And we hope that the influence of that Convention may extend to the families and neighborhoods of those present, whose lights we trust will shine brighter and brighter, hereafter, before their fellow-saints, before the nominal church and before the world.
The Calvary Baptist Church of Chicago very kindly granted us the use of their baptistry; and, in all, seventy symbolized their baptism into Christ's death by immersion into water. The proportion of brethren and sisters was about equal, and their ages ranged from 17 to 70 years, the average being about 35 years. These who thus witnessed to their consecration had generally been Christians for a considerable time, although there were among them some new converts.
Remaining for a few days after the Convention, to have private interviews with some, as well as to get a glimpse at the great Columbian Fair, the Editor's last public address was delivered on Sunday evening, August 27. About fifty, chiefly colporteurs, remained, and the subject was Prayer. He sought to show that it is a mistake to suppose that the Lord Jesus may not be addressed in prayer, as well as the Heavenly Father,--showed that our Lord's expression in John 16:23-27did not mean that our Lord Jesus should no more be recognized in prayer, but rather that, as the disciples had freedom toward Christ, and [R1580 : page 281] confidence in approaching him, he was showing them that the time was coming when they could approach the Father direct, in his name, "because the Father himself loveth you," and that, as soon as the sacrifice of atonement would be completed and accepted, he could recognize these, because redeemed with the precious blood.--John 14:13.
Prayer, it was shown, consists not merely of petition or request, but as a general term also includes invocation, adoration, communion and thanksgiving. It was pointed out that the prayers of "babes in Christ" are usually requests for earthly favors and blessings, whereas the advanced Christian rarely requests earthly favors. His prayers are usually thank offerings and communion seasons--telling the Lord (the Father or the Son, either or both, for the Father, as well as the Son, loves us;-- [R1581 : page 281] John 16:27--and we have promise of communion with both;--John 14:23--both are to be worshiped and loved equally, for "all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father;" --John 5:23--but intercourse with the Father can be had by us only in the name and merit of his Son our Redeemer;--Heb. 10:19) of all his trials and troubles and temptations, and calling to mind the gracious promises of his Word, but not attempting to urge his will upon the Lord--fearful even to move the Almighty's arm, which, with his super-human wisdom, is pledged to cause all things to work together for good to them that love him, the called ones according to his purpose. Concerning earthly blessings our Lord remarked, After all these things the Gentiles seek-- but your Father knoweth [better than you do] what things ye have need of. The requests of the advanced saints are for spiritual favors, concerning which our Lord said, Your heavenly Father is more willing to give the holy spirit to them that ask it, than earthly parents are to give good (earthly) gifts to their children.--Luke 11:13.
One thought particularly impressed throughout the meetings was the necessity for a heart religion; and that any who have this should be and will be glad to get as much intellectual knowledge of the divine will and plan as possible; but that those who cultivate merely a head knowledge, and whose hearts and lives do not accord, will surely be permitted to follow their own or other people's false reasonings into the outer darkness and confusion in which the world and nominal Christians are at present groping.