To America and Back.
THE idea in the thought of the Editor [of Chimes], in recording his trip to America and back, is not merely to tell what he did and saw, but also to point out what he saw by spiritual application and illustration, so that those who read may be helped and edified.
Wednesday, June 20th 1900.— The throb of the majestic engines of that majestic 1,000 tons S.S. Majestic, tells of the power which is moving her along in such a majestic manner, and reminds the writer of what was once said to him of certain Christian workers. There are three kinds of Christian workers: some are like canal-boats, they go when they are influenced by other Christian workers; others are like sailing vessels, dependent on the favourable wind of congenial circumstances, and the tides of Christian appreciation; but the best kind of Christian workers are those who are like an Atlantic liner, which is impelled against wind and weather by the moving power within. Such workers are like the "holy men," whom the Holy Spirit "moved " (II Peter i. 21) to pen the Scriptures, they go forward by the supernatural power of His indwelling presence.
As we steam down the Mersey, and along the Welsh coast, the usual host of seagulls follow in our wake, alert to pick up any bits of bread and biscuit the passengers may throw to them. One cannot help admiring the way the gulls skim through the air, and with what ease they make their way against a head wind, and how they prime their feathers as they fly. It is not often the birds make a mistake as they swoop down to pick up anything they see floating on the water. I did see one gull dive down to pick up what it evidently thought was a dainty morsel, but it turned out to be a piece of a match-box, which it at once dropped with a cry of disgust. The birds preached a sermon to me, for they not only told me to follow those things which feed the spiritual life, and to be careful while in the flight of work, to see that the feathers of the inner life were carefully adjusted, but also to avoid things—to drop them should they be taken up—which are useless, such as those things which are not necessarily sinful in themselves, but which are not helpful in the Divine life.
No passenger on board an Atlantic liner need be lonely, even though he is alone, for he who is affable enough to make himself agreeable, soon gets into conversation with others. Thus, before the steamer started, I was talking with an American, a glass merchant, who in the course of conversation told me the following stories. An American was describing to an Irishman the wonders of the Niagara Falls, and informed him, "That it had been there since the Creation, when the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy. Fancy the millions of tons of water which fall over the abyss every hour!" Whereupon the American looked for some admiring remark from the Irishman, but all that Pat said in a laconic way was, "Well, what's to hinder the water from falling over?" The other story was against an Englishman this time, who was boasting of the vastness of the British Empire, and who duly informed an American, "That the sun never sets on the British possessions." "Ah!" replied the American, "I guess the reason of that is, the Lord could not trust you in the dark."
Thursday, June 21st.— Soon after 7 a.m., we steamed into the magnificent natural harbour of Queenstown, to await the Irish passengers and mails. We had not long to wait, for the tender was soon alongside, and disembarked its 250 passengers. They were, by the way, keenly scrutinized by two detectives, who were evidently disappointed of their prey. Having got our load, the bow of our vessel pointed to the New World, and the day was not far advanced when the Emerald Isle was lost sight of, and nothing but sea and sky were to be seen. I felt, not like the prodigal in leaving home, sick of home, but like he felt in the far country, home-sick.
While walking about the deck, a clergyman, the Rev. T. C. Desbarres, of Toronto, came up to me, and said he knew me by my writings. We were soon talking together about the things concerning Christ, and having happy fellowship together. Among other topics, we began discussing as to whether all God's saints would be taken away when the Lord Jesus comes, or only the watching ones, and those morally fit. His contention was based upon the first epistle to the Thessalonians, which he maintained was written to an ideal church, hence the Holy Spirit could speak of the rapture of the saints as he does (I Thessalonians iv. 13-18). But I could not help pointing out to him that it was to that very church, there was the exhortation to keep from fornication (iv. 3), and a prayer that what was "lacking" in their faith might be supplied (iii. 10); and also, that whether the saints "watch or sleep" (v. 10, R.V.), the Lord's coming being an act of grace, we shall "live together with Him." Further, the judgment seat of Christ will decide all the questions of fitness or unfitness as to walk and work since we believed in Christ, and that our reward or loss will be determined then.
Our conversation then turned upon a mutual acquaintance, the late Dr. James H. Brookes of St. Louis, and as is often the case, we touched upon one of his failings, namely, in his desire to be true to the inspiration of the Scriptures, in the heat of the moment he was apt to call the higher critics names, such as “blatant blatherskites." One occasion, Mr. Desbarres told me, when Dr. Brookes had been giving a lecture on the Lord's coming, and a clergyman got up in the Conference meeting, he lost his temper. At the close of a subsequent meeting, he was asked to pray (I relate this for what follows), and then seized the opportunity to publicly confess to the Lord he had sinned in allowing temper to master him, and by so doing, evidenced the grace which was so pronounced in his life. Verily, he who makes a mistake shows he is human, but he who confesses his mistake, shows his grace.
Friday , June 22nd.— Friday is said to be an unlucky day; this Friday was so to me, for from about noon on Thursday till Saturday morning, I had to take the prophet's advice to the Egyptians, and if I did not "sit still" (Isaiah xxx. 7), I had to lie still in my bunk. How true I felt Johnson's words to Boswell were on seasickness; he said to him, "I don't know who would go to sea, if one could only exercise ingenuity enough to get into jail." My experience reminded me of a letter I once read from a Glasgow city missionary, who in describing the disorganization of his internal arrangements during a trip from Glasgow to Ardrossan said, "He had been very ill with the boil on the stomach." The good man meant "bile." I felt all in a boil with the bile. My feelings may be further described in a sermonic manner. (1) I wished I was anywhere but where I was. (2) I wished everybody and everything anywhere but where they were, especially when the steward came to see what I would have for dinner. (3) I felt inclined to vow, if ever I got from where I was, I would never get there again. (4) I wondered if anybody else felt as bad as I did, and came to the conclusion, that my case was the most deplorable under the sun. (5) When I got out from where I was, I was astonished that I had made so much of the situation.
Saturday June 23rd.— So far, the voyage has been one perpetual pitch. The weather has been overcast, and a stiff breeze blowing. "It is a long time since we had such weather this time of the year," remarked one of the stewards. One meets with all kinds of people and hears all sorts of stories on board a steamer for a week. A gentleman, who is a reader of old folk-lore, was telling me to-day, of a tale he had recently read, of a poor man and a rich man entering heaven. When the rich man entered heaven, there was a great flourish of trumpets, but when the poor man entered, there were no trumpets blown, so the poor man asked the reason. Whereupon the Apostle Peter replied, "It is such an uncommon thing for a rich man to enter here, that we always mark the occasion by a flourish of trumpets, but we have so many poor men, that we do not think it necessary to do so."
The telling of the legend, made me wonder what the effect would be if literature had not been coloured by the truths of the Bible for Christ Himself has told us of the difficulty of the rich to enter heaven; on the other hand, one could not help thinking, that neither rich men enter heaven because they are rich, nor poor men because they are poor, but because both have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Saturday, June 24th.— "Fresh gale and high sea," thus was the official announcement as to the weather we had to-day. The consequence was, I was not feeling "fresh" nor "high," but low and squeamish. The waves were dashing over the ship, and she was playing sea-saw with a vengeance. In spite of the huge waves and head wind, we did a run of 445 miles. I managed to go to "Divine service" in the saloon, which was "conducted" by the purser.
Yet another story: an American gentleman was telling me of an incident which took place in the pioneer days of Methodism evangelizing. In Indiana, there was a father and four sons, whose name was Beaver, who were notorious for their wickedness. One of the sons got very badly bitten by a rattlesnake. The Methodist preacher, who had been ignored by the Beaver family, was sent for. When he had got to know he had been called in to pray for the rattlesnake bitten Beaver, he prayed somewhat as follows: "O Lord, we thank Thee for rattlesnakes, we thank Thee for sending one to bite Jim Beaver, which has made him send for me that I may pray for him. O Lord, we pray Thee to send a rattlesnake to bite Bill Beaver, and another to bite Ben Beaver, and another to bite George Beaver; and as for old Beaver, I guess Lord you'll have to send the biggest rattlesnake you've got, for he's a hardened sinner. O Lord, we thank Thee for rattlesnakes!" The story reminded me, that the Lord has sometimes to resort to exceptional measures to bring some sinners to Himself. He had to send an earthquake to make the jailor have a heart-quake about his soul's eternal welfare. He had to strike Saul of Tarsus to the ground with the manifestation of His glory, before He could get him to acknowledge Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Better for sinners to quake on earth with sin's conviction, than for them to quake and quiver in Hell to their eternal condemnation.
Talking with the gentleman in the same state room as myself, I found he was practically a Unitarian. He said he did not believe in what they call "faith," nor did he see the necessity of Christ's atonement. "If we do all the good we can, and follow Christ's example, that's all that is required," he said. l got him to confess he believed in Christ's teaching, and then I pointed out to him, that according to Christ's own teaching, His death for sin was a necessity, for He said, "The Son of Man must be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish." Then I said, "As for myself, supposing that l could live a life to my own satisfaction, there might still be something lacking in God's sight, and I prefer with John Newton to leave my good deeds, as well as my bad ones, and rest in Christ's atonement for salvation, for there might be a doubt as to the reliability of the former, but there could be none in the latter." He frankly confessed, there was something in that. May the Lord open his eyes to see there is everything In that, that is, in Christ.
Monday, June 25th.— I could not help noticing the way in which an American, who sat opposite me at the dinner table, after he had looked at the menu card, and had decided to have a certain thing, said to the steward, "I have got to have some rice pudding." I caused some little amusement at the table by saying, "Have you noticed the different ways in which an Englishman and an American ask for anything at dinner, as traits of character in each?" "No," was the reply. I answered, an Englishman says, "I should like to have some rice pudding," but an American says, "I have got to have some rice pudding." I need hardly say the Americans would not accept my version, but replied, "they did not know that modesty was a trait of the English." Oh! They have much to learn.
Mr. Desbarres and I had a profitable talk together about five "musts" of Christ in the Gospel of John. The must of the new birth, the must of atonement, the must of work, the must of worship, and the must of ingathering (John iii. 7, 14; iv. 24; ix. 4; x. 16). We could not help noticing the order in which these "musts" occur; there can be no worship nor work, before there is the being born again, through faith in the Redeemer. Faith in Him is the forerunner of the worship of Him, and work for Him, even as He found before He could gather the "other sheep," He had to die for "the flock."
Tuesday, June 26th.— Calm comes after the storm, and sunshine gives place to gloom, and makes this superb day of calm sea, blue sky, and bright sunshine the more appreciated. In talking in the early morning with an American Methodist, he was telling me of two Methodist preachers, by the names of Fowler and Butler, who, in a public assembly, illustrated the quickness of repartee. Dr. Fowler was the president of an assembly of preachers, and upon almost every question, Dr. Butler was on his feet to speak, till he became a nuisance and the president ignored him, and called upon others when he rose. Whereupon Butler shouted out, he hoped to be delivered "from the snare of the fowler." This caused the house to be convulsed with laughter, but Dr. Fowler was equal to the occasion, for as soon as the ripple had subsided, he retorted as he pointed to Butler "and from the noisome pestilence."
We had one of the most magnificent sunsets I have ever seen, this evening. The combination of colour was beyond all description. There were rich crimson, deep orange, golden yellow, pinky white, and clear blue colours. What made it yet more impressive was, as one looked behind, there was nothing but a seemingly black pall closing in all around. The contrast reminded me of the gloom of iniquity, the darkness of sin from which the grace of God brings, and the brightness of God’s love, the saving of His grace, the cleansing of Christ’s precious blood, and the glory of His riches, into which He has brought those who believe in Christ.
Wednesday, June 27th.— Frances R. Havergal used to say she took away the D from the word dis-appointment, and put H in its place, and then the word read His-appointment. We were evidently to be disappointed in getting into New York in time to disembark to-day, for owing to the head winds, gales, and fogs, the steamer was several hours behind time. In the early hours of the morning, we had a very heavy fog, which necessitated the lowering of the lead to find our exact whereabouts, as it was estimated we were in the vicinity of the Nantucket lightship. Better to be slow and sure, than fast and risky. After all, soon or late, all is well under His-appointment.
I must give the young folks a line. At the breakfast table, a gentleman told me of some lines he was in the habit of repeating to his little girl. They were:—
“I knew a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad,
She was horrid."
The lines tell their own story. Better to be good and thus not to be "horrid," than to be bad, and be otherwise.
In the course of conversation with a gentleman, he gave me the German conception of eternity, which was embodied in the following story of a mountain composed of diamond, upon which a blackbird came to sharpen its beak once a year. When the mountain is worn away by its so doing, the time it would take in accomplishing it, may be taken to illustrate eternity. The time it would take is beyond all conception. This may be further gathered when we consider another fact, told by the same friend. A diamond drill which had drilled through 5,000 feet of granite, upon being examined under a microscope, showed no perceptible signs of wear. Since the diamonds of the diamond drill showed no signs of wear after it had bored 5,000 feet of granite, how long would it take a bird's bill to wear away a mountain of diamond, through its sharpening its beak there once a year? That's a question to which there is no answer. The same is true of eternity, for as the mute wrote on the slate, when he was asked what eternity was, "It is the life-time of God."
Thursday, June 28th.— The bugle for breakfast sounds early this morning, for the steamer is about to leave the quarantine ground to go to the landing stage. Having passed the Customs, I found myself in New York. It was melting hot. The heat was 91 in the shade. As I could not go forward to my destination till the evening, I sauntered about New York with a Canadian friend, but felt like a broiled and broiling potato. The Canadian friend said I was lazy. We took the elevated railway, and then an electric car which cost eight cents. We could have ridden for three hours for the sum of eight cents. We got right out into the country and went into a wood and had a lie down. I had a good many visitors in the form of long-legged spiders, ants, flies, and beetles, while reclining on terra firma.
In the afternoon I sauntered into the large Roman Catholic Cathedral, and was pained to see the superstition as persons bowed down to the altar, and to the carvings and paintings of Christ's crucifixion. One engraving of Christ's face in death, with the head crowned with thorns, in a recess on a side aisle, impressed me, for as the light played upon the pale face, it reminded me of the fact that the light of the Scriptures reveals the sufferings of Christ, and yet they do more, for they speak of Him as the Glorified One.
At eight p.m. I was on the Pan-American Express, one of the finest trains of the Grand Central Railway, and in that train, I remained till I arrived at Hamilton, Canada, next morning at 10 o'clock; from there I made my way to Grimsby Park, where the Christian Missionary Convention was being held. I received a hearty welcome from Dr. A. B. Simpson and the other speakers. It was not long before I got to work, for the same evening, I spoke on God's riches of grace under the points, (I) The past obliterated. (2) The present elevated. (3) The future irradiated. The Lord blessed the message, for over a hundred believers came out to the front forms at Mr. Le Lacheur's invitation, as taking Christ in some definite way to meet a lack in their experience. Praise the Lord!
Friday, June 29th.— Many themes were taken up by different speakers. Dr. Simpson gave a helpful address on the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Life, and spoke of the Holy Spirit as the Source of Natural Life, as the Author of Spiritual Life, and as the Power of Physical Life. Upon the latter point, he gave a helpful and encouraging address on Divine healing for the body. He robbed the theme of all mysticism and faddism, reminding us that it was our privilege to trust the Lord for health of body as well as for the salvation of the soul.
In walking up to the hotel where I was staying, I saw an impressive sight. A huge tree had been snapped right in two the previous day by the wind. The cause of it was, not the force of the wind, but a number of worms which had eaten away all the fibre, and yet the bark of the tree seemed all right, and the tree was covered with beautiful foliage on the top. How like the mere professor, who has the foliage of religiosity and the bark of an outward morality, but whose heart is eaten out by impurity and unbelief.
Saturday, June 30th.— A variety of themes was taken up in the meetings to-day. Pastor H. Mackenzie gave an exposition on the 12th of the Revelation; Dr. Watson on the 12th of Hebrews; Dr. Simpson on the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Glory; Mr. Le Lacheur on mission work in China; and myself on the seven "That's" of Ephesians iii. Our hearts were stirred as we listened to the stirring address of Mr. Le Lacheur, as he spoke of the need of mission work in China. Hamilton is a town some seven miles from Grimsby Park, with a population of 50,000. Mr. Le Lacheur asked how many ministers they had, and he was told 35. Upon which he said, "If Hamilton was treated the same way as China as to the proportion of ministers for the population, then Hamilton should only have one-thirty-fifth of one-fourth of a missionary. One can hardly comprehend what this means. It is understandable when we know that at the present time, there is one missionary in China to every 200,000 Chinese. 50,000 being one-fourth of 200,000, and there being 35 ministers in Hamilton, then it should have at the same ratio, one-thirty-fifth of one-fourth of a minister.
Canada is the happy hunting ground of all nationalities. At the table at which I sat in the hotel, there were Germans, French, English, Irish, and of course, a Scotchman. In course of conversation with one of the Irish brethren (Pastor G. Maguire of Cleveland, Ohio), he was telling me a story of what an Irish woman said to a tourist in Dublin. He was finding fault with her because she was a Roman Catholic and among other things, mentioned that the priest prayed in Latin, whereupon the old woman replied, "Sure, the devil does not understand Latin, so when the priest prays in Latin, he does not know what he says." The woman was under a misapprehension in supposing Satan does not know Latin, but there is a thought suggested by her reply, and that is, there is a language which Satan does not understand. He does not understand the Spirit inspired prayer, which expresses itself in groans, but the Lord Jesus, the Great Intercessor, interprets the groans, and makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans viii. 26).
Sunday, July 1st.— This day has been a remarkable day! Remarkable for two things, first for a telling missionary sermon, by Dr. A. B. Simpson; and second, the manifestation of God's working, after an address which I gave. I shall briefly chronicle these two things. Dr. Simpson took for his text, Acts i. 8, upon which he gave a seven-pointed address on the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of missions. The seven points were: (1) The Missionary Ideas. The Gospel is for all. God's plan now is that "all nations'' should have the Gospel. He no longer confines His operations to one people, as under the Jewish economy. (2) The Missionary Constituency. The Holy Spirit works through saved and sanctified people. The Church, in the truest sense of the word, is His instrument. Our attention was drawn to the fact, that the secret of missions is the spiritual life of believers; and that the Missionary Church will find that the converts will outnumber the believers, who were instrumental at home in sending the missionaries abroad. One instance was given by way of illustration, the Moravians have three times as many members in the foreign field as they have in the home. (3) The Missionary Call. When the Holy Spirit calls to the mission field, the one called has the "go," of the Lord's direction, and the “woe" of the Gospel's burden upon him (1 Cor. ix. 16). The Holy Spirit Is the sender-forth, as is seen in Acts xiii. 2. (4) The Missionary Credentials. Our attention was drawn to the many instances in the Acts, where the God-called and qualified missionary is the God-used one to the salvation of others. The credentials as manifest in souls saved, are proof of the call given. (5) Open Doors. One of the many illustrations given, was that of two missionaries, who 70 years ago went to the Cape. The Boers laughed at the idea of the men preaching to the Hottentots, and said, "You might as well preach to hogs as to them." These men were not to be turned back. They prayed for the Lord to open their way. They bought two Boer oxen, and having prayed for the Lord's direction, they allowed the oxen, like the kine of old (1 Samuel vi. 12), to be guided by the Lord. One day they saw a cloud of dust. It was caused by a band of heathen on the way to the Cape, who were going there to ask missionaries to come and preach the Gospel to them. (6) Open Hearts. The Holy Spirit opens the hearts of those to whom He sends the Gospel. The Telegues in East India were instanced, 15,000 of which were baptized by Titus Cohen. (7) Open Hands. A number of incidents were related as to the Spirit's working in this direction, among them being one about a Scotch woman, a seamstress, who brought Dr. Simpson her bank book, the savings of 20 years, which she had stored for her old age; when he had opened it, he found the value represented was 1,100 dollars. Another case was that of an old woman, who had saved a sum for her funeral, but she got to see the truth of the Lord's coming, and as she might not die, she was determined to give the whole of the amount to the Lord for missions.
After the powerful address, which lasted an hour-and-a-half, an appeal was made for missions. The result of the appeal was 4,056 dollars. The donations ranged from 10 cents to 1,000 dollars. Ultimately the sum of 5,500 dollars was given for missions. It was said to be the largest amount ever given for foreign missions at one meeting. This was not all, for a Miss Ollie, of Toronto, offered herself for mission work in Japan, and it is expected she will leave for that land in a few weeks with Miss Barnes, who has laboured there for many years.
In the evening, I gave an address on “The greatest thing in the world" viz., God's love to man. At the close of the meeting, those who were anxious were asked to come and kneel down at the front form. About 20 responded. There were some grand cases of conversions. Two wives who had been praying for their husbands, found them at the penitent form. One of the men had been seeking Christ for six years, but he found liberty at last. A mother, a backslider being restored, found to her joy that her daughter had found the Lord, as they knelt together.
Monday, July 2nd.— Among the brethren taking part in the Convention was Pastor G. Maguire, a happy Irishman, brimming over with wit, and also like another Irishman, who said, "Every time I open my mouth, I put my foot into it." Turning to a gentleman at the table, Brother Maguire enquired in a very serious way, "Where are you when you are at home?" Such an Irishman made the friends laugh, upon which the pastor looked around with astonishment. The question reminded me of some believers, who while they are "in Christ," seem to forget it when they go down to the world.
Among the friends sitting at the table was a typical Canadian farmer, hale and hearty. In the course of conversation, Maguire said to him "How much do you charge per week should I want to come and stay at your farm-house?” “That you stay another week" was the prompt reply. "Ah!" I exclaimed, “That's like God's grace, He not only gives grace, but more grace—grace upon grace.”
One of the most impressive sights which I have seen was a baptismal service. The baptism took place in Lake Ontario. One of the pleasing features in connection with the Christian Missionary Alliance is, baptism is not a denominational badge, but a confession of faith in Christ. Methodists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians are beginning to see that believers' baptism by immersion is the only Scriptural baptism, and that believers should know judicially and experimentally that they are dead with Christ before they are buried with Him in baptism (Col. ii. 12).
Grimsby Park was crowded with visitors to-day, it being Dominion Day in Canada. The general holiday brought many holiday makers by boat and rail to this Summer Resort. Feeling a little tired, I did not go to any of the meetings, except the last one of the Convention, at which I was to give the closing address. My topic was the coming of the Lord Jesus for His people. l took up three questions in relation to it. (1) Who is coming? Jesus Himself (Acts i. 11). His coming is not death (John xxi. 18, &c.), not the coming of the Holy Spirit: He is here (Romans viii. 11); but Christ Himself (I Thessalonians iv. 16). (2) Why is He coming? To keep His word (John xiv. 3), to complete our salvation (Phil. iii. 20, 21; Romans viii. 23), to judge our service (Rom. xiv. 10; I Cor. iii. 13; iv. 5; II Corinthians v. 10), and to reward the faithful ones (Romans ii. 6; I Corinthians iii, 8; Revelation ii. 23). (3) What should be our attitude in relation to His coming? We should believe it thoroughly, love it tenaciously, work for it heartily, look for it intently, confess it constantly, pray for it earnestly and prepare for it instantly.
Tuesday, July 3rd.— I went to-day, on my way to the Binghamton Convention, to the famous Niagara Falls. I saw them ten years ago from the Canadian side, but this time I saw them from the "American" side (an Englishman would say "United States," but from an American standpoint, there is only one America. Canadians are almost as dogmatic in repudiating the name America for Canada). The Falls impressed me more this time than before. They are like all God's works, the more they are studied, the more there is to be seen in them. To see the Falls, one needs to go on the little steamer, The Maid of the Mist, which goes right up to them, that is, as near as possible with safety. I should think we went within twenty yards of the American Fall, but dare not go so near the Canadian one, the Horse-shoe Fall. We had to be clothed in a large oil-skin coat and head-gear to keep us from being wet through by the spray. The spray was almost blinding at times, but the nearer we got to the Falls the better we saw them. Just as the nearer we get to Christ, the better we are able to see His glory and appreciate His worth. At times, the little steamer was whirled and twirled by the flow of the rapids beneath, but her powerful engine and good helm, soon brought us out of danger. One felt conscious amid the onrush of the waters, one was under the control of a greater power, and it made one think, that amid the whirl of life, there is One, who with the engine of His power, with the helm of His truth, and with the knowledge of His experience, can bring one safely through any danger, however great it may be.
Having heard a good deal of the Cave of the Winds, a cave right underneath the American Fall, I thought I should like to go and see it. I had heard it was a bit of an ordeal, but I made up my mind and went ahead. The first thing I had to do was to strip, then don woolen clothes, with an oil-skin coat and hat over them. There were two other gentlemen, beside myself and the guide. We descended a long flight of steps, then went along a gangway in front of a part of the Fall, with the spray of the fall almost blinding us at times, and occasionally when the wind took the water or sent up something more than spray, it was as if two or three people were pouring buckets of water upon one. Every now and again, we would see a beautiful circular rainbow just in front of us, which reminded us of the rainbow about the throne (Revelation iv. 3). Suddenly we seem as though we were going right up to the fall, but the gangway leads to where the fall of water is not so great, and we are able to pass under. I need hardly say we could not look up, the shower bath being so terrific. We turn at right angles ahead, and suddenly descend into the Cave of the Winds. How shall I describe it? What similes shall I use to illustrate it? Fancy a terrific gale in the Atlantic, a rushing tornado on land, and a deluging rain storm, intensified threefold, and then some idea can be formed. Ascending, we are able to look up and see the huge volume of water as it comes tumbling over. One of our party was looking very white, and his heart had evidently been quaking with fear. I think the reason of it was, he had been looking at the surroundings, and had been over-awed. I must say. I had not the slightest fear, for I had read an account which a friend of mine had written of his experience, and besides, the calm look and careful manner of the guide told me all was well. The guide, again and again, would walk backwards to see if we were all right. How like the Lord Jesus, He ever goes before us to lead the way, meets the danger first, and goes through it, and then we go through it with Him. The guide continually looked back, and the way he helped us over the slippery rocks reminded one of the Scripture. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards Him" (II Chronicles xvi. 9). We visited the cave under favourable conditions, for we had what the manager said was an ideal day, viz., a south wind and a bright sunshine. If we found the Cave of the Winds what it was under favourable conditions, what must it be under unfavourable conditions?
In the afternoon, I went to Buffalo, and had a look round the "city" (every town in America is a "city"). The main street is a model one as to width. The electric car lines are laid down in the centre and as there is quite a roadway on each side of the track, the cars can run unhindered. Bicycles abound. I never saw so many machines on an ordinary day. I understand they are much cheaper in America, the consequence is, more people ride them.
Wednesday, July 4th.— To-day is Independence Day in the States. It is not long before we know it, for no sooner had I left the hotel, and got on a car, and it began to move, than "bang, bang, bang," went a number of crackers which some boys had placed on the rails. In England, the policeman would have been after the crackerites, but no one takes any notice in this country of freedom.
Mr. Bowers was my host, during my stay in Binghamton, for the New York Stales Alliance Convention. Mr. Bowers had met me ten years before, at the Niagara-on-Lake Convention for Bible Study. As we both knew the late Dr. J. H. Brookes, of St. Louis, we soon had a common topic of interest.
Our American friends live in a large country, and they have large hearts. Upon putting in an appearance at the Convention, they gave me a hearty welcome. Among the things I noticed, were the American and English flags over the platform, and the former had the place of honour, as well as the speaker, so for the moment, I felt quite in a representative capacity, but I knew the warmth of my welcome as an Englishman was, because I was the Lord's servant.
I gave my first address in the evening on "Christ, the Secret of Spiritual Life," and called attention to the following points: (1) Life from Christ (John v. 25). (2) Life in Christ (Romans viii. 2). (3) Life with Christ (I Corinthians i. 9). (4) Life by Christ (John vi. 57). (5) Life to Christ (II Cor. v. 15). (6) Life for Christ (Phil. ii. 16). (7) Christ living in the believer as the secret of all.
Thursday, July 5th.— One of the speakers to-day was Mr. Stephen Merritt, of New York. An eccentric brother in his manner, but one who is true in his allegiance to Christ. There was the true ring in the coin of his testimony. He said some true things about those who profess to receive some blessed experience labelled "sanctification," and glory in it. One was, "I have read a whole host of books on holiness, and they talk about it, but never about the Holy One. The fact is, the holiness of a great many people is holey—full of holes. The great need is the reception of the Holy Spirit, and the continual recognition of His presence by being under His rule." In the midst of his address, Mr. M. suddenly asked if anyone had any questions to ask, whereupon one sister asked, "Can I have the Holy Spirit and not know it?" Like a flash of lightning the answer came, "Yes, if you can be married and not know it. Some amusement was caused by the preacher's description of his going to camp meetings in order to get the "blessing of sanctification," and which he lost almost as soon as he got it. He said, "It was like a cake of soap in a bath, you hold it in your hand, when suddenly it slips out, and you have a hunt round to get it, and after a tantalizing endeavour, it is secured once more." No pen can describe the preacher's manner, as with great glee, he held the imaginary cake of soap which represented the blessing of sanctification, and then his despair as he lost it, and hunted for it again. Some might question his antics but none could doubt his aim, which was to bring the Lord's people to honour the person of the Holy Spirit, and not to substitute His blessings for Himself. God used the brazen serpent as a medium of blessing to Israel, but when in the reign of Hezekiah, the people worshipped it, then that which had been a blessing, was destroyed (II Kings xviii. 4).
Friday, July 6th.— The heat to-day is intense, being 92 degrees in the shade. I feel I am slowly meeting and gradually arriving at that stage which is described as "collapsedness." One envies the Adamic state when clothes were unnecessary, and longs to be put in a refrigerator to cool off. I am thankful l had only to speak once to-day, and not twice as yesterday. The Lord gave me great joy and liberty in speaking from Romans xiii. 11, 12. I was warm before I spoke, I got warmer while speaking, as the great drops of perspiration rolling down my cheeks proclaimed, and after an hour's ministry of the word, the few clothes I had on were wet through. I was prepared for ice-cream, watermelon, peaches, iced-tea, iced-water, iced-anything to cool me. My host, with his usual kindly thoughtfulness, as soon as we got to his house, brought me a glass of delicious lemonade.
Dr. Simpson told us a striking fact as to the state of New York City, regarding the attendance at so-called places of worship. He said, "Four-fifths of the inhabitants of New York never go into a place of worship. There is only room in the churches for one-third of the people, and only half of the one-third ever attend the churches." New York is no exception, the majority of the people in our great cities are outside the influence of the gospel, and alas! are indifferent to its calling and claims.
Saturday, July 7th.— One of the brethren, Mr. W. E. Blackstone, of Chicago, was somewhat prostrated by the heat, which necessitated his resting from going on to the next Convention, the consequence was, I was asked to go and take his place. I was travelling all day. My host, Mr. Bowers, would insist on my getting into the Drawing Room Pullman car, and as he would pay the difference in the fare, I most gladly and gratefully accepted his kindly suggestion. Such thoughtful kindness will be remembered by Christ in the day of His rewarding, for those who entertain the Lord's servants will receive a prophet's reward.
The railway track from Manunka Chunk to Philadelphia follows the bed of the River Delaware, and the scenery is most picturesque. As I looked out of the carriage window and saw the railway track following the bed of the Delaware, and as I saw the stretch of water, with the luxuriant growth on each side, it reminded me of the fact, that the river of God's truth is always the track along which the rails of our conduct should be laid, and when this is the case, then the breezes of God's approval will blow upon us, and the luxuriant growth of the trees of the Spirit's graces, show how they are nourished by the water of His fertilization.
Sunday, July 8th.— The Conventions of the Christian Missionary Alliance overlap each other, the consequence is, some of the speakers go on before the others to commence. The Pennsylvania Convention commenced yesterday, and was held in the Rocky Springs Park, Lancaster. The park is situated near Lancaster, on the sloping hills of the Conestoga river. The views around are magnificent, and the run up the river gives a series of panoramic views, as the old-fashioned steamer, with its paddles behind, slowly makes its way. The spring water gushing down the rocks is delicious, and the oak and pine trees are most delightful in their restful and refreshing shade, and pleasant aroma. The whole place is an ideal one for tired Christian workers to come and rest and is suggestive of what the Lord is to His people—a Rock for shelter (Isaiah xxxii. 2), Water for refreshment (John iv. 14), Shade for delight (Canticles ii. 3), Aroma for satisfaction (Psalm xiv. 8), and Beauty for enchantment (Canticles v. 10-16).
I saw to-day, what I have seen before, and what is so frequently described in John Wesley's Journals, people crying out and throwing themselves about under the working of the Holy Spirit. While a coloured brother, a Mr. Robinson, was relating how he was led into the fulness of the Spirit, and as he neared the close of his address with an earnest exhortation for those who had not surrendered to the Holy Spirit to do so, a woman threw herself back in her seat and began to cry out; and another, after she had yielded to the Holy Spirit's infilling, was filled with such an overflowing joy, that she began to throw her arms about and shout "Glory be to God!" and then she most warmly embraced and kissed a sister who was near her. Such scenes must be seen, and the onlooker must be in sympathy with the Lord, to appreciate.
Monday, July 9th.— To-day, as yesterday, I spoke twice in the Convention—"Possessing our possessions" (Obadiah 17), and the "Greatest thing in the world” (Ephesians ii. 4), were the messages yesterday). My topics were "The seven golden 'that's“ of Paul's prayer in Eph. iii. 16-20; and "The infilling of the Holy Spirit." As a consequence of the last address, I had many inquiries as to the filling of the Holy Spirit.
There are quite a number of Christians in the State of Pennsylvania, who belong to a section of the Church of God, by the name of Mennonites, many of whom attended the Convention. They dress somewhat like the old-fashioned Quakers. They keep along the old lines as to belief. They honour the Holy Spirit by believing His Word, and Christ, by exalting His atonement. The testimony on all hands is, they are pure in life, and thorough in their devotion to the Lord. Like the Quakers, they are non-resistant, and therefore do not believe in war. Like the Brethren, they do not believe in voting, or taking part in any of the political or municipal questions of the day. Like the Baptists, they believe in believer's baptism, but some of them administer it by pouring water upon the believer, instead of by immersion. Like the Jews, they observe the Passover, but unlike them they observe the Lord's Supper, and after the observation, they wash one another's feet. Further, they greet one another with a "holy kiss" when they meet; that is, the brethren greet the brethren, and the sisters the sisters, in this way, and not one sex the other.
Another peculiar feature of the Mennonites is, the men either shave all the hair from the face, or else allow it all to grow. One elder brother met a friend of the Missionary Alliance, who wore a very heavy moustache, which seemed to put this friend out, and he remonstrated with Dean Church, and urged him to shave it off. Whereupon the latter said he would, and would continue to do so, if he would support a missionary in the foreign field, which would cost 300 dollars a year. The good Mennonite at once said he would do so. The brother was only too glad to part with a few hairs from his face, in order that a missionary might be sent to the "Regions Beyond.'' Surely, we should be willing to part with anything if we only looked at the great need of the mission field.
Tuesday, July 10th — One of the speakers in the Convention is Dr. Henry Wilson, who is co-pastor with Rev. A. B. Simpson, in New York, and a happy Irishman. He is a perfect encyclopedia of anecdotes. The late C. H. Spurgeon appreciated a good story, and thoroughly enjoyed the telling of a humorous incident. Mr. Wilson is the same in this respect. Among other things which he told us was, the origin of the home of certain germs of disease. He said, "Parasites come from Paris, Germicides from Berlin and Microbes from Dublin." I did not see the point of the pun, till a lady exclaimed, "I see, Mikecrobes!" That was hard on Mike the Irishman. The telling of this story, reminded me of one Mr. Le Lacheur told. There were two Irishmen who were greatly troubled with mosquitoes, and they held a council of war as to how they were to circumvent their tormentors the next night. One of the Irishmen propounded the scheme that they should go to bed without any light. They did this, but as they were undressing, one of the men looked out of the window and saw the fireflies flying about, and as he noticed them, he exclaimed, "Sure, they are hunting around for us with a lantern!" Poor fellows, they felt there was to be no rest for them. Many of God's people have often felt the same, they are worried by the mosquitoes of care and trouble, and they are worried by imaginary evils, like the Irishmen, who thought the fireflies were the mosquitoes hunting around for them.
Wednesday, July 11th.— Mr. Le Lacheur gave an earnest, practical, and helpful address on the subject of Divine healing this morning. He emphasized the secret of health, by reminding us that the Christian should carry about with him God's apothecary shop, in which is found the "medicine" (margin, Proverbs iv. 22), which is health to all the flesh of those who are obedient to the Lord's commands. He further brought out, that the Lord permits sickness to come to His children as an object lesson to others, as in the case of Job, of whom it is said by the Lord to Satan, when the latter wanted the former to destroy him, "Thou movedst Me against him, to destroy him ‘without cause’" (Job ii. 3). If there were more treatment of the subject of Divine healing, as our brother unfolded the subject, there would be more attention given to it by God's children. Wild statements, such as "all affliction is because of sin committed," bring the subject into disrepute, and make many of God's thoughtful and consecrated children shun it, but when it is brought before the mind and heart in the solemn and scriptural way in which Mr. Le Lacheur did, then it commands attention by making the heart of faith look up to Him, who can make the believer's body to be in health, even as the soul prospereth, as the Holy Spirit says in III John 2; the secret of the body's health is the prosperity of the soul.
Thursday, July 12th.— The Lord gave me this afternoon, as many said, a message of power and help, on the difference between the Lord's coming for and with His people. I showed that they were (1) Different in character. The one is of grace, and the other of judgment, as illustrated in the words of Christ to His disciples in John xiv. 1-4; and the scene in Revelation xix. 11, where Christ is seen coming forth in judgment. (2) Different in manner. The coming of Christ for His people is secret, as described in I Thess. iv. 13-18; and His coming with His saints is manifest, for He is to be revealed from Heaven to punish those who know not God, and who have not obeyed the gospel of the Lord Jesus; (II Thess. i. 7-9). (3) Different in place. The saints are "caught up" to meet the Lord in the air (I Thessalonians iv. 17), but when He comes with His saints, His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, thus on the earth (Zechariah xiv. 4). (4) Different in time. The coming of the Lord and the day of the Lord are clearly distinguished in II Thessalonians ii. 1-3 (R.V.) The one is before the great tribulation, and the other after it. The redeemed are seen in the glory before the seals of judgment are opened (Revelation iv. and v). (5) Different in Purpose. What a difference between the words of John, when he said, "It is the Lord," as he recognized the Lord Jesus (John xxi. 7); and the cry of the men who pray for the rocks and mountains to fall upon them and hide them from the throned Lamb (Revelation vi. 16). In the one case, there was recognition, and in the other, there will be consternation; so when our Lord returns, His own will hail Him as the loving Saviour, who comes to complete their redemption, while those who are not His, will be filled with shame and dismay. (6) Different in dispensation. "The day of Christ" commences with Christ's return for His saints and has to do with them alone (Phil. i. 6, 10; ii. 16). On the other hand, the "day of the Lord" is the time when He comes with His people (II Thessalonians ii. 1, 2, R.V.). (7) Different in relationship. Christ comes for His bride, and to celebrate His marriage supper (Revelation xix. 9); but when He comes in judgment, it is to keep the supper of God's judgment (Revelation xix. 17). I closed my address with a reference to what the scoffer says about Christ's coming (II Peter iii. 4), what the wicked servant does (Matthew xxiv. 48, 49), and what the bride prays (Revelation xxii. 20). I was speaking for an hour and a half, but there was not the slightest sign of weariness. The people sat and listened, and some of them said afterwards, they could have sat on still longer. When the soul is hungry for the truth, it is willing to sit and listen.
Friday, July 13th.— Mr. Simpson made a pertinent remark to-day, in speaking of those who help, and those who hinder God's work, by quoting what Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "There are two classes of people in the world, the one who goes ahead and does something; and the other who sits still and criticizes." The latter class reminds me of what a certain man said, when He applied for membership with a certain Church, and he was asked by the pastor what he could do in relation to Christian work. "I can make objections," was his reply. There are too many in the Church who excuse themselves from the Lord's work, instead of exerting themselves in it.
It is astonishing how soon the Lord's people get to know each other. I had only been in Lancaster six days, yet I seemed to have known some of the saints for a long time, as one of the Misses Bird of Pittsburg said to me, "We feel we have known you a long time." I have spoken nine times in six days, and it has been no strain whatever. The fact is, the Christians were hungry for the Word of God. They reminded me of a nest of young blackbirds with their mouths wide open, waiting for the mother to drop in the food. When there is such hunger for God's truth, there is sure to be harmony between the feeder and fed. I was more than repaid by the many warm thanks, appreciative words, and regretful good-byes as I left the Park, to travel by the night train for the next Convention, which is held at Beulah Park, Cleveland, Ohio.
Saturday, July 14th.— Travelling from 10 o'clock at night until one o'clock the next day—fourteen hours right off—is not calculated to make one feel very rested in this hot weather. While lying in the Pullman, I found, myself, again and again, in a bath of perspiration, but perspiration gave place to pacification when I got to Beulah Park. Beulah Park is a summer resort situated on the banks of Lake Erie. Lake Erie is a stretch of water, 265 miles in length, and 63.5 miles in breadth. It looks like a sea of water.
Sitting on the verandah of the hotel, which is close to the Lake, talking to Mrs. Rounds of Chicago, our attention was suddenly arrested by the splendid crimson, golden sunset, which was making a pathway of golden light right across the water. We sat looking at it for some minutes, when Mrs. Rounds turned her eyes away and looked at me and exclaimed, "I have looked at the glory of the sun, till, as I look at you, there is a streak of glory right down your face."
"Ah!" I replied, "That is always the way when we look at the glorious Christ, we are sure to see glory in our brethren. The reason why we see so little beauty in our brethren is because we see so little beauty in Christ."
Sunday, July 15th.— There are more quacks in the way of religious faddism in America than in any other country. One of the most popular crankisms is what is known by the name of Christian Science, which has been described as being neither Christian, nor science. The belief has been summed up as follows: "Things are not what they seem to be, they are because you think they are. I heard a story which illustrates the teaching. A man who believed in Christian Science fell into a ditch and could not get out—he was stuck in the mud. A lady was passing at the time, to whom he appealed for help. She, knowing what he believed, said, "Oh doctor, you only seem to be in the ditch because you think you are."
Another set of cranks are the Seventh Day Saints, a detachment of which was found in the Park, who got a crowd around them, and commenced to propound their theory, and they did it in such a way, as said, "We are right and everybody else is wrong.” Verily, they illustrated what Paul said to Timothy, in speaking of disputings, "they do gender strifes" (II Tim. ii. 23).
The Lord gave me great joy and liberty in speaking from the words, "full of the Holy Ghost,” in calling attention to some evidences of being full of the Spirit, I gave four proofs, viz. (1) Full of faith (Acts vi. 5, 8); (2) Full of the matter of God's truth in testimony (Job xxxii. 18); (3) Full of the sap of Divine life in conduct (Psalm civ. 16); and (4) Full of power in influence (Micah iii. 8). At the close of my address, there were over forty who rose and abandoned themselves to the Holy Spirit for His possession and fulness. In the evening I spoke on "Sin," and we had several cases of conversion.
Monday, July 16th.— There are individuals who come into our lives, and who by their influence make such an indelible impression, that nothing can ever efface it. One such person was the good sister, who kindly urged Mr. Moody to seek the enduement of the Holy Spirit for service. Moody himself relates how he was led, through the timely word of this sister in Christ, to seek and obtain the Spirit's anointing. Little did I think I should meet her, but I did, as she was attending the Beulah Park Convention. She is an old woman now. Her face is shriveled, and her eyes are deep set, but heaven's beauty is stamped on her countenance, for the light which has shone in her heart, shines out in her face. The old lady takes part in the meetings for prayer, and although there is a quiver and a quaver in her voice, there is power in her pleading. The effect of her presence in the meetings, as she sat in front of me looking up into my face, was most cheering and encouraging, for one felt, she was oiling the wheels of my ministry of the Word with the oil of her believing intercession. The consequence was, it was easy to proclaim the message of the Lord. When will the people of God apprehend, that it is not the eloquence of the preacher, but the empowerment of the earnest and believing pleader which is the sap and secret of Christian work?
Tuesday, July 17th.— Dr. W. B. Riley, of Minneapolis, in referring to the subject of the inspiration of the Scriptures, related the following incident. An Irishman who was building a wall, was asked what he would do if the wind blew it over. He replied, "Sure, I am going to build the wall three feet wide and two feet high, and when the wind blows it over, it will be one foot higher than it was before." The higher critics may blow with the wind of criticism, and may seem to overturn the Word of God, but the result of all their attacks is, it rises higher than when the attack began. Dr. Riley then quoted the following lines:—
"One day I paused beside the blacksmith's door.
And listened to the anvil ringing the evening chime,
Looking in I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
‘How many anvils have you had,' said I,
‘To wear out these hammers so?’
‘Just one,' he answered, with a twinkling in his eye,
‘The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.'
And so I thought, the anvil of God's Word,
For ages, sceptic blows have beat upon,
Yet, though the noise of infidelity was heard.
The anvil is unworn, the hammer's gone."
The. hammers of the higher critics will be worn out in their endeavour to wear out the anvil of God's Word.
Wednesday, July 18th.— There were some striking facts given by Mr. Le Lacheur in a missionary address to-day, which stirred all our hearts. He said: "I was a delegate to the great Ecumenical Missionary Council of the world which was held a little while ago in New York, at which there were reported to be 446 missionary societies of the world, and what were the facts. Last year we find that there was an increase of actual converts on the mission field of 84,186.
Now the 446 missionary societies have a fraction over 15,000 missionaries, or in correct numbers, 15,460. We have in Christian America 120,000 ordained clergymen, so that if there had been as many converts in Christian America last year, in proportion to the number of clergymen, there would have been 550,000 souls converted in America. The great churches in their great conferences have been mourning over the fact that there has been a great decline, and the record of the church membership is smaller than the previous year, and they are trying to assign reasons. Giving excuses, and their excuses condemn them. There are more souls converted among the heathen than in Christian America.
Last year, all the Christian nations of all the world, including America and Great Britain, Germany, Australia, Sweden and Norway, gave $19,123,122, for missions. America contributed $5,403,048, a fraction over 40 cents per church member. Last year, among the Christians in heathen lands, there was contributed to the gospel $1,841,575, by 1,317,684 converts from among the heathen. This is a fraction over a dollar for each Christian convert last year.” Such facts speak for themselves and put to shame the Christians in Christendom.
Thursday, July 19th.— Mr. L. Cody, a well-known Christian worker (who by the way is a cousin of the well-known Buffalo Bill) gave me a drive around the country in his buggy, and one of the many things which interested me, was the acres upon acres of grape vines. It was a mouth-watering sight to see the clusters of grapes hanging upon the vines. Mr. Cody was the friend who gave to the Alliance, the grounds known as Beulah Park, where the Convention is held. In speaking about grapes, I am reminded of the fact, that peaches can be purchased for one penny each, and they are as large as a good size apple, and most luscious and tempting.
I heard to-day of a coloured preacher, who in commenting upon a collection which had been taken, said, "I wants to say dat in my opinion, instead of contributin' accawdin' to yo' means, yo' all contributed accawdin' to your meanness." The same may be said of many offerings. If there were more giving to the Lord, there would be less need, in fact, no need, to make such remarks as given by the coloured brother.
Friday, July 20th.— I gave a Bible study on the believer's body, under the following seven points and Scriptures. (1) A Sacrificing Priest. The words "yield" and "present" (these are the same) in Romans vi. 13; xii. 1, were pondered and explained. (2) A Sacred Temple (I Cor. vi. 19; iii. 16). Faith recognizes what we have in Christ and makes it true in the experience by the Holy Spirit. (3) A Possessed House (I Cor. vi. 13, 15). The Lordship of Christ is an essential truth which is sadly neglected. (4) A Preserved Saint (I Thessalonians v. 23). The Lord expects us to be "blameless," and He can keep us so if we trust Him. (5) A Diligent Keeper (I Cor. ix. 27). If the body has the uppermost place, it will retard and injure the spiritual life. (6) An Obedient Slave (I Cor. vi. .20). The believer, as a slave, is responsible to recognize the Lord's claim, and to allow Him to have absolute control of the entire being. (7) A Saved Believer (Rom. viii. 23; Phil. iii. 20, 21). Believers are waiting for their glorified bodies. When they have them, their salvation will be complete.
I went into Cleveland this afternoon with Brother Maguire, and among other things of interest which he took me to see, was the monument which was erected to the memory of the brave men who were killed in the Civil War. Two things struck me. One was, the fine piece of bronze work inside the memorial which represents Abraham Lincoln holding up the manacles which have just been taken off the negro, who, with uplifted hands and graceful looks, is kneeling at the feet of his deliverer. The scene spoke to me of the grateful sinner, who gratefully and lovingly looks up into the face of the Lord Jesus, as He, in His mighty power, proclaims His delivering grace and emancipating love. The other thing was, the thousands of names inscribed on the walls, belonging to County Cuyahoga, of those who gave their lives in defense of a righteous cause, and the recorded names reminded me of the fact, that the Lord keeps a record of those who are faithful to Him, to honour them in the glad day of His return.
Saturday, July 21st.— Mr. Simpson gave one of the, if not the most Scriptural and spiritual addresses on Christian giving that I have ever heard. One point he emphasized was "Cheerful giving," or "Hilarious giving," that is, the giver is so filled with joy in giving, that he can scarcely contain himself. He related how a Society in the West Indies laid down three rules as to giving for the Lord's work. (1) All were to give something. (2) They were to give as the Lord had prospered them. (3) They were to give cheerfully. A farmer on one occasion threw a five dollar note on the plate. The minister noticed the action and called the thrower-down to take up his money again. The man did so, but not with a good grace. Afterwards he came with a beaming face and a cheerful manner and laid a twenty-five dollar note on the plate. When the preacher noticed the difference in the man's manner, he exclaimed, ''Ah! that is all right.'' When the giver gives to the Lord, it makes all the difference, as to the amount given and the attitude in giving. There are very few who know what sacrifice is in giving. Another thing of interest Mr. Simpson mentioned, namely, that the longest chapter in the Bible is about giving to the Lord (Psalm cxix). A little girl put the whole subject in a terse way. She had a dollar given to her, which she asked her father to change and to give her ten dimes for it. She put one dime in the box, and then put another, whereupon the mother asked her why she put in the second one. "Oh," she said, "the first dime was the Lord's, and therefore was not mine to give, but the second one was, and therefore I gave it to Him." She had grasped the fact, there was a Lord's portion, and when she had given this, her giving came in.
Saturday, July 22nd.— Great interest and enthusiasm was manifested to-day in Mr. Simpson's missionary address. The result may be gathered from the following extract from one of the secular papers.
"At the conclusion of the address, the audience was so worked up, that most of them appeared ready to give up anything they possessed for the cause of the gospel which they professed. In less than an hour, the sum of $9,000 was subscribed. To this, another thousand was added during the evening service, making a total of $10,000 in a single day donated for missionary work.
"During all the time that the collection and subscriptions were taken, the audience was kept at the highest pitch of excitement. There was no relaxation. Whenever there was the slightest indication of the dying down of the enthusiasm, the organist would strike up a familiar hymn. Then the vast audience would sing lustily, and in almost an instant men, women, and children were so carried away with emotion, that they fairly tumbled over one another to pass in their subscriptions.
"The amounts subscribed ran all the way from $1 to $750. The greater number of the subscriptions were for $5, though there were not a few $10, $15, $20, and $25 offerings.
"The enthusiasm was the greatest among women and children. One young woman, in urging her husband to subscribe, said she would go without a new dress or a new hat for the next twelve months.
"A coloured woman who walked with the aid of a cane and was bent over with age, subscribed $25, and apologized to the usher upon passing in her subscription. If the Lord would spare her another year, she said she would surely double the amount. This aged woman is said to live on Central Avenue, near Cheshire Street, and makes her living by washing and ironing. A little girl not over twelve years of age subscribed $5 and declared she would sell her bicycle to raise the money."
In the evening, I gave the closing address, on "His great love," and to our joy, a number decided for Christ. In addition to these, quite a number of Christians told me what a great blessing they had received as the old, and yet ever new fact of God's love was heralded forth. One lady said she had come to the meetings expecting a great blessing, but she had not received it till that evening, and then she got it, by getting her faith's eye fixed on Christ Himself.
Monday, July 23rd.— One of the most pleasant and profitable things, in connection with the Conventions, is the opportunity it gives to talk over with fellow-workers, some of the things which one does not care to mention in public. Mr. W. E. Blackstone, of Chicago (the author of "Jesus is Coming") in travelling from Cleveland to New York with me, suddenly asked me the question, "Do you think there is any reference to this country (America) in the prophetic Scriptures?"
"I do not know of any," I replied.
"To what land is reference made in the eighteenth of Isaiah?"
Then Mr. Blackstone gave me a short exposition of the chapter, the gist of which was as follows:—
The nation which “meteth out and treadeth down" (see R.V.) is America, as it has never been conquered. America is a country like the one described, "whose land the rivers divide" (R.V.) There is a time mentioned (verse 7), when a people (probably the Jews), described as "spread out and polished" shall be brought by a "people terrible from their beginning" (probably America) to "Mount Zion," for the United States has always been friendly with the Jews, and there are about a million of them in that country at the present time. Whatever one's opinion of Mr. B's thought may be, there is no doubt that Isaiah xviii. describes a nation which will be used of God to bring back His people to their own land.
Tuesday, July 24th.— There are many things which memory brings back to the mind. I was thinking of an appeal which was made last Saturday, at the close of a missionary meeting, when the young men and women who were willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord for His work in the regions beyond, were asked to rise, whereupon 60 bright, healthy young people rose. It was a touching sight. Then the parents who were willing to let their children go to the mission field, were asked to rise too. Forty rose, and I rose among them, and prayed, and could not help making the prayer personal, that God would honour me, in sending one or more of my dear children, and I then had the inward assurance that in the coming days, He would thrust some of them out into the harvest field. The Lord Himself prepare them for His work to His glory, for when He prepares and performs, effective service is accomplished, as may be seen in the things He "prepared" as mentioned in the Book of Jonah.
Wednesday, July 25th.— While sitting at dinner in the Missionary Alliance Institute, in New York, we were suddenly aroused into unusual interest by one of our number saying, “There's a fire—the policeman has rung the fire alarm." Right opposite, we saw the dense columns of black smoke rising. A barrel of naphtha had exploded on the side of the street, and the flames were licking up the side of the houses, which were in danger of being consumed. But the one thing which interested me was the promptness of the arrival of the fire brigade. The electric button of the fire alarm had hardly been touched, before we heard the clanging of the fire engine bell, as the horses came galloping along with the engine. The first engine was on the ground before I could get downstairs (within two minutes of the alarm given), and within five minutes, there were six engines and three or four fire-escapes; and before ten minutes had passed, the fire was mastered. It appears the horses of the fire engines are so trained, that the moment the bell rings, it releases the horses and they run to the engine, and the harness drops upon them by electrical appliances, then the horses and men with the engine are off almost before the sound of the alarm bell has ceased ringing. Promptness and alacrity are the very soul of success in the putting out of a fire. The same is true in the Christian life. Vacillation or hesitation in obeying the Lord's commands, there should not be, for if there is either of these, we shall feed the fire of some unholy thing; but on the other hand, where there is promptness, then neither sin, nor self, nor the world have a chance, as the hand of faith uses the hose of God's Word, through which flows the Spirit's power.
The Convention at Asbury Park, New Jersey, began to-day. I gave an address on “The Lord in the midst of thee is mighty" (Zeph. iii. 17). He is mighty to expel, He is mighty to impel, and mighty to compel. Mr. Le Lacheur also gave an address, and among other things, remarked that the Lord gives a nature which has no affinity to sin, as we are filled with the Spirit. He gave a simple illustration which carried the truth home. When he was a boy, he and his brothers noticed a lot of swallows which were chattering before they commenced to build their nests. A conference was held as to how to prevent the swallows accomplishing their object. Upon this, Le Lacheur said he knew what to do, and off he went to an outhouse on the farm. He came back with a vessel, in which was a thick oily substance, which was used to oil the wheels of the carts. A ladder was got and put against the house, and the lad went up, and smeared the eaves of the house with the oily substance. The swallows got mud and threw it on the oily substance, but it would not stick. The same is true when sin and Satan throw their mud upon the Spirit filled man, it makes no impression, for there is no response.
Thursday, July 26th.— Dr. H. Wilson might be called, as some of his friends call him, "a walking encyclopedia of anecdote." Among other things he told us, was a story of a bad specimen of an Englishman, who was always boasting of his ancestry—his blue blood. One day, a respectable American, having listened to the man's story, remarked, "It seems to me, you are like a potato, the best of you is underground." The doctor improved this by saying, the best of the consecrated man is always out of sight. When the life of Christ runs deep in the inner being, there is the reality of an abiding spiritual life.
Contrasts make things to stand out with more vividness, even as the black cloud makes the rainbow the brighter. A solemn fact was mentioned by one of the speakers. During the great yacht race last year, according to one of the New York newspapers, when the yachts were becalmed for seven days, the expense incurred was one million dollars per day, or seven million dollars in all, whereas the whole contribution of Christian America for missions for 365 days was only about five and-a-half million dollars. A small section of the world spent more in one week on pleasure, than the whole of the Church in America spent on missions in a whole year. Such a fact should send the Christians to their knees in humble confession!
Friday, July 25th— While sitting on the verandah of the Vendome Hotel, at Asbury Park, I was looking over an album when I came across the following verses:—
"Could we but draw the curtains,
That surround each other's lives,
See the naked heart and spirit,
Know what spur the action gives,
Often we should find it better,
Purer than we judge we should:
We should love each other better
If we only understood.
"Could we judge all deeds by motives,
See the good and bad within,
Often we should love the sinner,
All the while we loathe the sin;
Could we know the powers working
To o'erthrow integrity.
We should judge each other's errors
With more patient charity.
"If we knew the cares and trials,
Knew the efforts all in vain,
And the bitter disappointment,
Understood the loss and gain—
Would the grim, external roughness
Seem, I wonder, just the same?
Should we help where now we hinder?
Should we pity where we blame?
“Ah, we judge each other harshly,
Knowing not life's hidden force;
Knowing not the fount of action,
ls turbid at its source.
Seeing not amid the evil
All the golden grains of good—
Oh, we'd love each other better
If we only understood."
Strange to say, Dr. Wilson followed in the same strain. He said, "You will do more good by kindly taking a drunkard by the hand, and letting the light of love shine from your face, than by talking about the evils of drunkenness." He then cited two cases, as illustrating the fact that the sinner knows the evil of sin on the one hand and appreciates the kindly action of a loving heart on the other hand. A poor, fallen girl, who was beautiful even in the wreck of her fallen womanhood, was accosted by a Salvation Army captain, as he was leading his corps singing along a street, by, "Jess, you are going to hell!" "No, I am not," was her quick retort, "I am in hell already." She did not want to be told what sin brings, she knew.
The other case was that of an actress, who was tempted to run one of her hair-pins into her heart, but she was kept from doing it by the remembrance of the kindness of an aunt, as she herself expressed it: "The kindly remembrance of an aunt of mine in Boston, who treated me like a daughter when I was not worthy to be touched, kept me from taking my life."
Saturday, July 28th.— As l was to preach in The Gospel Tabernacle (Dr. Simpson's) New York, on the Sunday, I came up to the city in the afternoon. In the evening, l went down to Chinatown with Mr. Bell (Dr. Simpson's secretary). The one feature of Chinatown is, that only Chinese live there, excepting Scotch and English lasses, who have married Chinamen, and quite a number like to mate with the Chinamen. It is most interesting to see nothing but Chinamen. Chinese grocers, butchers, barbers, yea, in every shop there was a Chinese. Look where I would, there were Chinamen to the right of me, Chinamen to the left of me, Chinamen behind, and Chinamen before. Chinese children playing in the streets, with their pigtails flying behind them, Chinese music floating from the upper windows. Chinese theatre, Chinese mission, and Chinese articles for sale in the fancy shop windows. One article in a shop I could not understand. It was made in the shape of a human hand, on a stick. The hand was about the size of a teaspoon. I asked my friend what it was for, supposing it to be a top. He replied, "It is a back-scratcher." "Back-scratcher?" I replied. "Yes, to scratch your back with." The remark rather suggested to my mind, that the Chinese are a scratchy lot. From what the missionaries say, such articles are very essential in China, especially when putting up for the night in a Chinese inn, for there is generally a moving audience in the bed, which keeps the poor sleeper on the move.
Sunday, July 29th.— I preached this morning in Dr. Simpson's Tabernacle, in Eighth Avenue, New York. There was a good audience, and an appreciative one. My theme was Eph. i. 3. (1) “The Blesser—The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2) The Blessed—"Us." The blessed are forgiven (i. 7), redeemed (i. 7), accepted (i. 6), adopted (i. 5), sealed (i. 13), seated (ii. 6), and honoured (i. 18). (3) The Blessing—The Depository of Blessing—"In Christ." The measure of blessing—"according to the riches of His grace." The extent of blessing—"all." The character of blessing—"spiritual " and "heavenly." The Lord gave me great joy and power in proclaiming the message. The Lord's people thronged around me at the close, praising the Lord for the blessing and help they had received through the message.
The Tabernacle is a most easy place in which to speak. The seats struck me as being A.1. They are made of a metallic substance and covered with leather. Each chair folds up, so that a gentleman coming into his seat, puts his hat in the wire catch made for it, under the seat, and then puts the seat down, which revolves back as he leans back in it. Our American friends believe in three things, adaptability, comfort, and elegance.
Monday, July 30th.— One of the most pathetic things which I have heard since I have been in the United States was about a lad whose heart was filled with an intense longing to be a missionary, but the Lord willed otherwise and took him home. Before the lad fell asleep he requested that there might be put upon his tombstone, the following inscription:—
"I WANTED TO BE A MISSIONARY!"
WHO WILL GO INSTEAD OF ME?"
A young man, careless and indifferent, read the words, and as he did so, an intense conviction took hold of him, and he said, "I'll go.'' Having found the Saviour and surrendered heart and life over to Him, he ultimately went to the "Regions Beyond" to preach the gospel. A small thing it might seem to some, and to others a needless one, to have an inscription, such as the boy requested, put on a tombstone, but the Lord used it to send forth a messenger into His field of missions. The Lord generally uses weak things to carry out His great purposes. The rod of Moses (Exodus iv. 2), the stone of David (I Sam. xvii. 49), the nail of Jael (Judges iv. 21), the stupid ass of Balaam (Num. xxii. 33), the maid of Naaman's wife (II Kings v. 3), the loaves and fishes of the lad (John vi. 9), and the loathsome cross of Calvary (I Cor. i. 23), are some of the weak and despised things which Jehovah has used to accomplish His purposes.
I came on to Nyack to-day, some 30 or 40 miles from New York, where the Summer School meets in connection with the Missionary Alliance. The Institute is where the Missionaries of the Alliance are trained, but during the summer vacation, Christian workers come and spend their holiday in the students' home and combine pleasure with the profitable exercise of the study of God's Word. I came to give these friends a few talks.
The Nyack Institute is beautiful for situation, being on a height, several hundred feet high, overlooking the broad bosom of the Hudson River. As I look out of my bedroom window, the panoramic view is most charming. No pen can describe its beauty, tell its poetic charm, nor unfold its restful influence. At night, the river steamers which run between New York and Albany, are most picturesque as their lights are seen moving on the river, and as their electric search lights flash along on the passing train, or on the shores of the lake.
Tuesday, July 31st.— Everything is intense in America! The electric cars rush along the street to the danger of the passers-by, as I know from experience, for the other day while in one, it ran bang into a wagon and gave us a shake; and just before that, a man was nearly run over. I say this because one of the New York papers today, shows from the following extract, that religious bigotry is as intense as everything else.
"CHATTANOOGA, July 30th. While a mob in Shoal Creek, N. C., six miles east of the Tennessee line, burned a church yesterday; a Methodist clergyman, the Rev. Guy Bryant, preached an orthodox sermon to the frenzied crowd.
“The offending church is owned by a sect that professes and preaches a doctrine known as ‘Sanctification, or the Second Blessing.' and Shoal Creek does not approve it.
"The Sanctification folk were frowned upon by all the other denominations. They could borrow no place to worship in and finally they grew strong enough to build their own church. Some of their practices were mysterious, and are not yet entirely understood, and the names they gave them were enough to excite first the wonderment and at last the indignation of the countryside.
"Among other things they taught were the baptism of fire, the holy dance, the dynamite, the lyddite, the excite the solite and others still more strangely named.
“The Sanctification folk said God revealed Himself to them in various ways and ordered the total abstinence from coffee, meats, medicines, and other things used in a well-regulated community.
"About ten days ago, the son of Andy Bryan, who is one of the members of this church became ill with typhoid fever and Drs. Kinzie and Pastelle of Ducktown were called to tend him. Henry Robinson. Pink Burray and other leaders of this church went to the home of Mr. Bryan and induced the young man to take no more medicine and to destroy the medicine that he had in his possession, claiming that they could cure him by ‘laying on of hands.'
"They worked and prayed with the young man day and night. In a few days, the neighbours began to realize that Pink Burray was becoming insane. They arrested Burray and took him to Murphy, N. C., there he was adjudged insane by the proper authorities and is now confined in the jail at Murphy. Young Bryan grew gradually worse and received no medical attendance for ten days.
"All this aroused the indignation of the citizens, so on last Friday, P. E. Nelson, the Rev. Guy Bryant, and Haron Benang sent out a request for all the people to meet them at this church yesterday morning for the purpose of destroying it.
"About 110 people met them there, and of this number only six refused to assist in destroying the church. The other 101 razed and burned the church, and the Rev. G. Bryant delivered a sermon while the building was burning. They passed a resolution notifying the members of this church not to build another church in that county.
"Great excitement prevails, and the members of the congregation whose church was burned are leaving the county in fear of their lives."
Such a state of things as the above would be impossible in the old country. It is true, the attacked were a peculiar lot, with their "dynamite," "lyddite," "excite," "solite," and the rest of the ites, but no matter how extreme they were, the attackers were not justified in their judicial methods. It was nothing more, nor less, than the old hellish spirit of the Romish inquisition.
We little know how often the Lord delivers us from unconscious danger. This was strikingly illustrated while out for a drive with Miss Simpson and Mr. Newell, of Chicago. As we were driving through beautiful country, we noticed quite a number of pear and apple trees by the roadside, and as we expressed a desire to have some, Miss Simpson said we should help ourselves, as the people always take French leave with such common things as apples and pears. Accordingly boy-like, we got some missiles and began to knock the fruit down. All of a sudden Newell shouted out, "Look out, there's a hornet's nest." Lucky for us the hornets did not attack us. It appears they are very dangerous, as the sting from a hornet has been known to be fatal. At first, I did not realize that there was any danger, but as friend Newell began to explain to me, I began to apprehend I had escaped something serious. In addition to this, we nearly grasped some poisonous ivy. This kind of ivy is so virulent that to touch it, means that the body begins to swell, and sometimes the result is very dangerous. The Lord graciously delivered us from the evil things, and we praise Him.
Wednesday, August 1st— As l want this diary, not to be a jargon repetition of events which naturally take place each day, but rather the record of certain events which shall be pleasant and profitable to my readers, I will record what the Lord gave me for my own spiritual life this morning. I was reading the 63rd Psalm, and in doing so, was impressed with the absorbing desire of the Psalmist to see the Lord Himself. For instance, he desires to see "the glory and power of the Lord," and yet in the same breath He exclaims, "so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary" (verse 2). He wants to see them that he may discover Him. This is wondrously brought out in the pronoun "Thee," which occurs ten times. Notice the Psalmist's desire:—
1. The object of his seeking—"I seek Thee."
2. The desire of his longing—"Thirsteth for Thee."
3. The soul of his experience—"I have seen Thee."
4. The centre of his worship—"I will praise Thee," &c.
5. The study of his thought—"I will remember Thee,'' &c.
6. The attraction of his life—"My soul followeth hard after Thee."
He also mentions, in speaking to the Lord, "Thy power," "Thy glory," "Thy loving-kindness," "Thy name," "Thy wings." Verily the Lord is the Blessing of every blessing, the Joy of every gladness, the Power of every strength, the inspiration of every song, the Life of every grace, the Cause of every victory, and the Theme of all Scripture.
Well for us if we make Him such, as the Psalmist did, as may be seen in his frequent use of the possessive pronoun. He is able to say, "My God;" and the sequence is, "My soul followeth hard after Thee."
Mr. Newell, Miss Simpson, and Mrs. Kirk, (The Lady Superintendent of the Institute), crossed the Hudson to Tarry Town this afternoon to visit Sleepy Hollow, where lie the bones of Washington Irving. He has well described the whole district in the following words:—
"In the bosom of one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappaan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburg, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given it, we are told, in former days by the good house-wives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about three miles, there is a little valley, or rather lap of land among the hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker, is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquility."
Thursday, August 2nd.— Children are most pronounced in their beliefs, and often take things in a sense not intended. A little girl, whose father was a Baptist minister, and who had seen her father baptize believers, had a favourite kitten, and she thought she would like to baptize it. She duly sought to carry out the idea which had taken possession of her brain, and marched off to a tub of water to fulfil her purpose. The kitten, not liking the water, struggled with all its might to get free. The little girl was obliged to let pussy go, but as she did so, she exclaimed, "Well, go and be an Episcopalian cat, if you won't be a Baptist!"
One other story, which I heard to-day. A good brother was preaching from the words, "Cumberers of the ground," but instead of saying "cumberers," he said "cucumbers," and made bad worse by describing the different kinds of cucumbers which are to be found.
I gave the students of the Summer School at Nyack a closing talk on Jude 20-25, where the believer is seen in twelve characters:—(1) A Beloved Son—"Beloved." (2) A Good Builder—"Building" &c. (3) A Responsive Suppliant—"Praying," &c. (4) A Faithful Keeper—"Keep yourselves" &c. (5) A Diligent Watcher—"Looking for," &c. (6) A Compassionate Worker—"Of some have compassion" &c. (7) A Resolute Saviour—"Save," &c. (8) A Separate Saint—"Hating," &c. (9) A Preserved Believer—"Keep you," &c. (10) A Presented Servant—"Present," &c. (11) A Gladdened Christian—"Exceeding joy" (12) A Joyful Chorister—"To the only" &c.
Friday, August 3rd.— Travelling all Thursday night, we arrived early this morning in Boston, the centre of hallowed memories, for no one can think of New England without recalling the homes of the Pilgrim Fathers. Leaving Boston, we duly arrived at Old Orchard, where the great Convention of the Alliance is held. The principal place of meeting is in the woods, where accommodation in the form of seats is provided for some thousands of persons. The platform is covered, but the rest is open, that is, as open as it can be, for the trees are so thick that a leafy canopy is provided. I thought at first the trees would interfere with the speaking, but it is as easy to speak to the great audiences as in a building of most perfect acoustics.
The opening meeting was in the Tabernacle, at which Dr. Simpson, Revs. Funk, Newell, myself and others gave short addresses. The key-note of the meeting was praise, which Mr. Simpson gave in calling attention to Psalm lxv. 1. The fable of the two buckets was given. Two buckets were being carried to a well to be filled, when one of them complaining said, "It matters not how often I go away from this well full, I always come back empty." The other bucket said, "I was looking at it from the other standpoint. It matters not how often I come to the well empty, I always go away full." A thankful man is always full of blessing, while a growler is always full of bitterness. After relating the above, I called attention to the difference in the experience of the Psalmist in Psalm cii. and ciii. In the former, the Psalmist compares himself to a "pelican of the wilderness," to "an owl of the desert," and to "a sparrow alone upon the house top" (Psalm cii. 6, 7), but in the latter Psalm, David has left the desert of bitterness, and is like an eagle (Psalm ciii. 5), which soars away into heaven's blue, and dwells in the rocky heights, above the clouds and fogs of doubt and misery.
Saturday, August 4th.— One of the most striking addresses given to-day was by Mr. Newell, of Chicago (The Assistant Superintendent of Mr. Moody's Training Institute). His subject was John xxi. He pointed out that the gospel proper, ended with the 20th chapter, and that this was an addition specially revealing the Lordship of Christ, hence, the title “Lord" occurs no less than eight times. It was because Peter got under the perpendicular pronoun I, and not under his Master's Lordship, that he said, "I go a-fishing," and it was not till he confessed to his Lord, by humble submission to Him in his "Yea, Lord," and "Lord, Thou knowest," that he got into the place of blessing. One tit-bit, very sweet to my soul, was suggested in the following lines of Faber—
“How Thou can'st think so well of me,
And be the God Thou art,
ls darkness to my intellect,
But sunshine to my heart.
The lines echo the words of the Psalmist, when he says, "How precious are Thy thoughts to usward" (Psalm cxxxix. 17).
Sunday, August 5th.— This evening I spoke upon eight "I comes" of Christ in connection with His return. (1) His Promise (John xiv. 3). (2) His coming and death contrasted (John xxi. 22). (3) His commission (Luke xix. 13, R.V.) _ (4) His command (Revelation u. 25). (5) His warning (Rev. iii. 11). (6) His announcement (Rev. xxii. 7). (7) His purpose (Rev. xxii. 12). (8) His affirmation (Rev. xxii. 20). In pressing home some practical points on the Lord's coming, I was led by the Spirit to enforce the matter of restitution. At the close of the meeting, a young man came up to me and said he wished to speak to me, as the incident which l had related about a young man who stole some copper nails and confessed his wrong to his master, had reminded him how he had stolen money from a street-car company in the Isle of Man, in his unconverted days. He reckoned he had stolen about £10. He wanted to know what he should do. I could advise him to do nothing else than return the money to the car company. This I trust he will have courage to do, as he is a Christian worker in the City of Montreal, and his doing it will not only clear his own spiritual vision but give to him such an accent of conviction in his testimony, that his influence shall be most potent in its operation in bringing blessing to others. Restitution to others always means a resuscitation of our own spiritual life.
Monday, August 6th.— "I'll go to hell, before I'll go to heaven on the back of a murdered man," so said a minister in California, in repudiating and sneering at the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus, as stated by one of the speakers. Alas! how hell-bound and Satan-deluded are men, when they so wickedly sneer at the atonement of Christ. They know not the plague of their own heart, the righteous requirement of God's law, nor the holiness of His nature, for if they did, they would cry with the publican, "God be merciful to me the sinner," they would rejoice that Christ bare our sins in His own body "on the tree," and be glad to bear the testimony of the apostle, "The Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." The atonement of Christ meets more needs, answers more questions, solves more difficulties, inspires more motives, supplies more incentives, begets more hopes, and gives more blessings than anything else. Verily, as one has said, "The gospel is the newest thing in the world.”
Tuesday, August 7th.— When a number of preachers get together, one form of relaxation, which Mr. Spurgeon used to practice, is to tell stories. The poor Irishman generally comes in for a bombardment. One story I heard at the dinner table was, of two Irishmen in Mexico. A favourite dish is, "hot-carina," which is meat plentifully sprinkled with red pepper. One of the Irishmen began to eat from the dish set before him; he had not eaten much when he began to cry through the potency of the pepper. The other Irishman wanted to know what was the matter, "What are you crying for?" "Because my mother is dead." The questioner upon this began to eat his hot dish, and the other waited the issue. The former was soon crying worse than the latter, and the first one who was bitten wanted to know what was the matter, "What are you crying about?" The reply was, "Because your mother did not die before you were born!" The first Irishman allowed his friend to be bitten by the pepper instead of warning him of the hotness of the dish and took delight in it. I could not help feeling that some Christians act in a similar way, when instead of warning others whom they see exposed to danger, they allow them to go into it.
Wednesday, August 8th.— ln listening to a lecture on the first chapter of Jonah, I had suggested to me as I pondered it, seven steps in Jonah's backsliding. (1) Departure. Jonah fled from the Lord's presence. In one sense, it is impossible to flee from His presence (see Psalm cxxxix.) The fleeing from His presence signifies the severance of communion. (2) Gravitation. Jonah "went down" to Joppa. If we are not rising by the attraction of heaven's magnetism, we are falling to the earth by the force of earth's gravitation. (3) Expense. Jonah had to pay his fare for being accommodated on board the ship. It pays to be right with God, but we have to pay if we are wrong with Him. (4) Contamination. Jonah should never have placed himself under obligation to the heathen sailors. Whenever God's children place themselves under obligation to the world, they are sure to be contaminated by it. (5) Slumber. Many things which scare the ungodly, do not disturb the man of God out of communion with the Lord. A backslider will often do things in desperation, which an ungodly man would scorn to do. (6) Rebuke. The prophet is rebuked by the mariner's question, "What meanest thou, O sleeper?" (7) Cast forth. Anything but dignified was Jonah as he was thrown over the side of the vessel.
Thursday, August 9th.— One thing which impressed me to-day, was the number of Christian workers who get into spiritual darkness and bondage, through allowing something to come in between them and the Lord, and their difficulty to get hold of the Lord and His joy again. I had two typical cases after my address this morning. The first one was a Sunday school superintendent. She had been a Christian worker for years, and yet she was not sure as to her personal salvation. I had no doubt in my own mind she was a child of God, who had got into darkness through introspection. Verily, he who looks into his own heart, looks into a dungeon for light. The other case was that of a Christian worker, who once had great joy and liberty in the Lord's work, but who had by some means, got into a lethargic state. I was able to help both of these workers through the Spirit's using me to cheer the one, and to restore the other.
Friday, August 10th.— Preachers are gazed at by many eyes, and are the subjects of many remarks, especially in America. Three personal observations have come under my own notice.
Talking with one of the workers, a friend of hers came up and asked who was to be the preacher.
"Brother Marsh," was the reply. Before I could be introduced, the lady in prompt American fashion said, “Is he any good?" “Oh! yes," was the reply, as the friend tried to control her face. Other personal remarks were, a lady wanted to know if I wore a wig; while a short-sighted friend seeing me going on to the platform, asked, “ls that the Chinaman?" She knew our Chinese brother, Dr. Wong, was to speak, but no one else than a short-sighted person, would ever take me for a Chinaman! It is a good thing that preachers do not always hear the comments which are passed upon them, for they would be terribly humiliated on the one hand, or unduly exalted on the other. Modern preachers are not the only persons who have had comments passed upon them. Elisha was called a "bald head" (ll Kings ii. 23). Moses was contemptuously referred to as “the man" (Ex. xxxii. 1). Ahab said, Elijah was a troubler (I Kings xviii. 17), Paul was spoken of as mad (Acts xxvi. 24), and Christ was thought to be beside Himself (Matthew xi. 18).
Saturday, August 11th.— Preachers are proverbial story-tellers. If I were to give one tithe of the stories told at the meals, I should fill a huge volume. With Drs. Simpson, Riley, and Malloney as tellers, the wheel of incident is made to hum. The stories this morning were about doctors and their patients, and especially the gullibility of the latter. One lady who had been suffering from fever, and had the thermometer put in her mouth each time the doctor came, was highly indignant when he did not put it in her mouth one morning, as he saw she was so much better. He had left the room, but she called him back, and asked him why he had not put the instrument into her mouth. "Why" she said, "that thermometer has done me more good than all the trash you have given me beside. I felt better when you put it in my mouth, and now I feel worse because you have not done so." Mental impression goes a long way. Christians often get into bondage through dwelling upon imaginary evils and borrow misery by being influenced by what they think and feel, instead of going by the unerring guide of the Holy Spirit—the Word of God.
The heat was most intense to-day, as I found in travelling from Boston to New York. Dr. Simpson wanted me to stay the first Sunday in September and preach in the Tabernacle in New York, but I told him I must leave on the first of September for home. Ultimately it was arranged I should preach to-morrow in New York; hence, the cause of my leaving the Old Orchard Convention on the Saturday, instead of the Monday. I arrived in New York at 11 o'clock at night, but got little sleep all night, for the heat was almost unbearable. I learned afterwards it was 96 degrees in the shade.
Saturday, August 12th.— I preached twice in the Tabernacle in New York to-day. The Lord gave me great joy and liberty in each service; and He spoke to quite a number, as I found out afterwards, as the friends spoke to me of definite blessing received. The audience in the evening were melted to tears, as I spoke of the greatest of all themes—the love of God. I am more than ever convinced we need to herald forth the love of God as manifested in Christ, for that alone inspires hope in the sinner's heart. I felt this in an overpowering sense as I quoted the following lines:—
“Say not, that any crime of man,
Was e'er too great to be forgiven,
Can we within our little span,
Engrasp the viewless mind of heaven;
Shall we attempt with puny force,
To lash back oceans with a rod,
Arrest the planets in their course,
Or weigh the mercies of a God?
Our mercies, like ourselves may be
Small, finite, and ungracious ever,
May spurn a brother's bended knee,
But God forsakes the contrite never.
Vast as Himself, it shines above,
To eyes that look through sorrow's tears,
Great though the crime, great is the love,
If they who seek it are sincere.
One man told me he had decided for Christ while I was preaching. A lady also said she had said to the Lord, "I will trust Thee." An army chaplain, who had "accidentally" come into the Tabernacle, thanked me for the blessing he had received through the address. Besides these, some 5 or 6 had held up their hands as indicating their anxiety, and as asking for prayer. It is astonishing what a number of cranks there are, who come about the meetings. I believe many of them are sincere, but mistaken people. One woman told me she was trusting the Lord to so vivify her body, that she would never see corruption. I presume she meant, like some who profess to believe, that the Lord had come into her body and destroyed all the seeds of corruption, and that she practically had a resurrected body already.
Hangers-on are always to be found where any number of people congregate for worship, and where there is personal dealing with people about eternal things. One man, a professed Christian worker, wanted someone to pay his passage to England. He did not seem to relish the advice given him by one of the workers, namely, to pray about it, and if the Lord wanted him to go, He would open the way. His thought was rather that a soft Englishman would take him in tow but, alas! the soft Englishman has so often been taken in, that he did not nibble at the bait, leave alone take it.
Monday, August 13th.— As I had promised the students of the Summer School in Nyack to give them a few more talks before I left for England, and as my only chance was the two or three days between the Old Orchard and Atlanta Conventions, I came on to Nyack to-day, for that purpose. I gave an address in the evening on "Christ, our Burden Bearer." The students are very keen and attentive, making copious notes, and at the close of an address, surround one like bees around a flower, to get special points, which they failed to take down.
I remember Mr. Moody saying to me, ten years ago, when at the Northfield Convention, as I asked him if I might tell a story in answer to a question he to put me at the close of my address, "Stories are always acceptable." Mr. Mogridge, of Philadelphia, told me the following one. A little girl was questioning her grandfather as to the why and wherefore of things. She wanted to know how the flowers grew and what made them grow as they did. She was not satisfied with the general answer that God made them grow, she was like Paul's fool (I Cor. xv. 36) and questioning Nicodemus (John iii. 9), she wanted to know, how they grew. The old gentleman could not satisfy her, consequently she said at last, "Grandpa! you don't know much, do you? If you were a little girl like me, you would know a great deal more, wouldn’t you?" The innocent assumption and presumption of the little one reminds me of the assumption and presumption, which are not innocent, of those men who say the Word of God is full of mistakes. They talk about the mistakes of Moses, and the limited knowledge of Christ, but it seems to me the limitation is on their part, and certainly the mis-takes, for they seem to miss everything and to take nothing.
Tuesday, August 14th,— l gave the students of the Nyack Institute two lectures to-day. One on the Church, and the other on Psalm lv. 22. I went for a drive through magnificent scenery, ascending a great height, through dense woods, overlooking the river Hudson, and the lake Rockland. In coming back, I went into the Christian Herald (American) Summer Home for poor children. There were about 200. Fifty poor children from the hot haunts and homes of New York are brought out every week to these Nyack heights, where they stay for ten days. No one can tell what a boon these days in the country are, when so many children are dying from the heat In New York. 500,000 (half a million) people left New York on Saturday last, to escape the intense heat.
The insects outside the Institute kept up a perfect din to-night. From dusk till the early hours of the morning, crickets and "Katie-dids" were chirping as hard as they could go. The "Katie-dids" are so called because the sound they make is just like "Katie-did," and then others of the insects seem to answer, and say, “Katie-didn’t." The noise they made was just like a lot of people quarrelling. These insects are not the only people who say, "you did" and "no, I didn't." We have heard Christians who have made as much, if not more, noise with their "dids" of accusation, and "did-nots" of denial.
Wednesday, August, 15th.— . . . A party of ten preachers and singers left New York this afternoon for a 1,000 miles run down to Atlanta, Georgia. We were in the train for 25 hours. The heat was most intense, especially in the day time. It must have been over 100 degrees. The cinders from the engine, and the dust from the track, made us look as if we had been peppered, and as if we were near relations to coal-miners and sweeps. In the early morning (Thursday), I awoke to find a gritty substance between my teeth. I suppose I had been sleeping with my mouth open, and the dust had deposited itself therein in consequence. Stretching out my legs, I found the cindery dust was my bed companion, too. Such experiences make one sing again, "There's no place like home," and especially there is no place in your home like your own comfortable bed, for there, there is no shrieking engine to startle you, no dust to blacken you, no car track to jolt you, no rumble to disturb you, no attendant to look in upon you as he makes up a bed in the berth above, for another passenger who has got on to the train late, and no jerks to awaken you, as a fresh engine backs on to the cars, and attaches itself to them by means of its patent couplings. Yet after all, there is comfort in the discomfort, if one remembers that the Lord Jesus had not where to lay His head. The only place where He rested was when He bowed His head for us on Calvary's rugged tree.
Thursday, August 16th.— We arrived in Atlanta about five o'clock, "weary and worn,” but not sad. While waiting for the electric car to take us to our destination, the Ohio quartette started to sing, "We're on the glory side." We soon had a great crowd around us, who stood looking on with gaping mouths and wondering eyes, and some with contemptuous looks. We did not stay long, or we should have been moved on by the police. We reached the camp-ground where the Convention was to be held, but found the place where we were to stay in a complete uproar. After waiting about for some time, Mr. Blackstone and myself decided to go back again to the town and fix our quarters in an hotel—which we did. It appears the people in the south are very slow and take a great deal for granted. Certainly, it was a great contrast to the English hospitality the Lord's servants receive in the old country. Perhaps we have been spoiled, and it was good we should have a little of the opposite.
We had a terrific storm this evening, and while in my room in the hotel, a flash of lightning struck the electric wires and put out all the lights. It might have been very serious, but the Lord's own promise held true, "No evil shall befall you." We little know how often we are in danger, or how often the encamping angel gives deliverance (Psalm xxxiv. 7).
Friday, August 17th.— It has been laid upon my heart to speak of the atonement of Christ during the morning Bible studies. One thing which influenced me to this was a statement I read in Mrs. Eddy's book. The following sentences occurs in it: "Jesus bore our infirmities, He knew the error of mortal belief, and ‘through His stripes’ (the denial of error), 'we are healed.'" Such a misrepresentation of truth as in Jesus, takes away the glory from the work of Christ. I am more than ever convinced that the starting point of every error will be found in departure from the central theme of the gospel, viz., the substitutionary death of Christ. Unitarians ignore it, ritualists misrepresent it, universalists make it a servant of sin, annihilationists render it a farce, spiritualists deny it, and Christian scientists fritter its truth away—or they would do so—in meaningless phrases. Let the following quotation from the founder of Christian science, as compared with the words of the Holy Spirit, reveal the error—
"One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin. The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner's part. That God’s wrath should be vented upon His beloved Son is divinely unnatural."
"It is vain and selfish to stand still and pray, expecting, because of another's goodness, suffering, and triumph, that we shall reach His harmony and reward"
"Religious history repeats itself in the suffering of the just for the unjust.
"Final deliverance from error—whereby we rejoice in immortality, boundless freedom, and sinless sense—is neither reached through paths of flowers, nor pinning one's faith to another's vicarious effort.”
THE HOLY SPIRIT:—
"By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews x. 14).
“Once in the end of the world He hath appeared to put away sin'" (Hebrews ix. 26).
"Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many" (Hebrews ix. 28).
“Thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood" (Revelation v. 9).
"Washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God. (Revelation vii. 14, 15).
"He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Cor. v. 21).
“Christ also hath once" (once for all) "suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (I Pet. iii. 18).
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse ‘’for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Gal. iii. 13).
Christian science is very little known in the old country, but in America, its adherents number already over one million, and, like all error, it is increasing rapidly. The worse feature about it, is the way it misrepresents the work of Christ.
Saturday, August 18th— It is quite a new experience to see so many black people. Nearly all the servants and labourers are negroes, and every third person one meets is of the same race. One can soon see, that the white people hardly tolerate them. In riding on the street cars, the black people are not allowed to sit on any seat. The other day, a conductor shouted out to one, who was taking a seat, "Not there; the third seat." "Waiting room for coloured people" is what one sees up at the stations, and on many of the trains there are separate carriages for them. This state of things does not exist in the east, that is in New York and Boston, but only in the south.
Sunday, August 19th.— The services in the Fairgrounds were similar to what they have been in other Conventions. One thing in the evening service went home to the audience with telling effect, and that was, when the Ohio quartette sang "The shelf behind the door." The verses are so full of truth and to the point, that I reproduce them here, and let them speak for themselves.
"I came to Jesus long ago,
All laden down with sin;
I sought Him long for pard'ning grace,
He would not take me in.
At last, I found the reason why,
As light came more and more;
I had a shelf with idols on
Just in behind the door.
That shelf behind the door,
Don't use it any more;
But quickly clean that corner out
From ceiling to the floor.
For Jesus wants His temple clean,
He cannot bless you more,
Unless you take those idols out
From in behind the door.
I tore it down, and threw it out,
And then the blessing came;
But ere I had the victory,
And felt the holy flame,
Beelzebub came rushing up
And said, with awful roar,
You cannot live without a shelf
Right here behind the door.
So many people of to-day
Are destitute of power;
'Tis plain to see they cannot stand
Temptation's trying hour.
But making an apology,
"My weakness,'' is their cry.
‘Tis all because of idols
They are using on the sly.
Some smoke and chew tobacco,
And some love their fancy dress;
Others have wronged their fellowmen
Refusing to confess.
They wonder why they are not blest
As in the days of yore.
The reason why, is on the shelf
Just in behind the door.
That little shelf behind the door,
Will cause you much distress;
Especially about the time
You think of getting blest,
While pleading for the victory,
Before the Lord in prayer.
How many times you have to think
About the idols there.
Your soul is dark, you surely know,
You have no peace with God;
You daily tremble lest you feel
The chastening of His rod.
The blessed Holy Spirit
Puts this question o'er and o'er:
What are you going to do about
That shelf behind the door?
You need not go to foreign lands
To find a household god;
To look upon idolatry
You need not go a rod,
But in this land where gospel light
ls shining all around,
If you should look behind the door
An idol could be found.
Some hypocrites may look like saints,
From men their idols hide;
But what about the Judgment Day
Beyond death's fearful tide?
That hidden spot behind the door
Will be a public place,
Where God, and men, and angels, too,
Shall every idol trace.
Monday, August 20th.— The heat to-day is most intense. Clothes are a burden, and one envies the primitive state of things in the Garden of Eden. . . .
Tuesday, August 21st.— The Lord gave me great joy and liberty in speaking of sanctification by the blood of Christ, as illustrated in the blood of the trespass offering being put on the right ear, thumb, and big toe of the cleansed leper (Lev. xiv. 14). I was led to emphasize the fact that we should not be occupied with the baptism of the Spirit, nor the blessing of sanctification, but with the Sanctifier and Baptizer; and then gave a detailed exposition as to what the ear, hand, and foot represented, namely, worship, work, and walk. The order is most essential. The Lord desires the worship of the heart (the sanctified ear, as illustrated by Mary sitting at the feet of Christ), before the work of the hand, and this is necessary, too, before there can be the consecrated walk. Upon the latter, I gave a sevenfold direction as to what the Lord desires our walk to be, viz.: (1) In the church, lovingly (Eph. v, 1, 2); (2) in the truth, thoroughly (II John 4); (3) in the light, constantly (I John i. 7); (4) in the world, circumspectly (Ephesians v. 15); (5) in the Lord, submissively (Colossians ii. 6); (6) in the Spirit, dependently (Galatians v. 16, 25); and (7) in the house, perfectly (Psalm ci. 2).
Sitting under a tree outside the hotel, my cogitations were suddenly disturbed by a fly of some description putting his forceps through my socks in order to taste my blood. Stinging mosquitoes, biting flies, and "bugs" (all insects such as moths are called "bugs,") abound in this country, and there would be no sleeping at night if one's bed was not completely surrounded by mosquito netting; even then, a mosquito will sometimes get under, or through, the muslin netting. More than once, I have had the discomfort of ministering to the joy and appetite of flies.
Wednesday, August 22nd.— Mr. Simpson, in speaking of Christ's desire to indwell His people, told of a poor man who desired to be united in fellowship with a church, but the Elders looked askance at him, because of his shabby appearance and his ungrammatical way of expressing himself, and told him to seek the Lord's guidance and renew his application in six month's time. He did so, and the Elders wanted to know what the result was, of his waiting upon the Lord. He replied, "The Lord told me not to mind if I did not get into the church, for He had been trying for the past ten years and had not succeeded, and that I was not to be surprised if I was served the same as Himself.'' The man touched the secret of all consolation, namely, fellowship with the Lord. When we have communion with Him, then we have joy in sorrow, as Mary experienced (John xi. 32); gladness in persecution, as Paul and Silas experienced (Acts xvi. 25); power in weakness, as the apostle knew (II Corinthians xii. 8, 9); success in labour, as the disciples found out in fishing (John xxi. 6); endurance in trial, as John the Apostle was made to know when he was banished to the Isle of Patmos (Revelation i. 9, 12); victory in temptation, as Joseph in Egypt experienced (Genesis xxxix. 9); and guidance in perplexity, as the Acts of the Apostles illustrate again and again (Acts viii. 26, 29, 31). The fact is, the presence of the Lord meets every necessity, supplies every need, answers every question, solves every difficulty, banishes every doubt, inspires to every service, and keeps alive every grace.
Thursday, August 23rd.— There is all the difference between giving to a collection because a plate is held before you, and giving to the Lord out of a grateful heart because of His abounding goodness and love. This difference was aptly put by a little boy. He was sitting at the dinner table and was about to give a leg of a chicken to Fido, the dog, when his father told him he should not give it to the dog, till he had eaten the meat from off the bone. The boy did as his father told him, and when he had finished, he gave the bone to the dog, but as he did so, he said, "Now, Fido, I intended to give you an offering, but now I am only going to give you a collection." The boy knew the difference between an offering and a collection. The bone represented a collection, and the leg of the chicken an offering. According to the boy's definition, the Lord gets more bones than anything else. Thank God, the gifts at the Christian and Missionary Alliance are more than bones. During the past two months, at the Conferences which it has been my pleasure to attend, a sum of over ninety thousand dollars has been given, and promised, for missions alone. This sum does not include some thousands of dollars which have been given to meet the expenses of the Conferences. These offerings demonstrate beyond the shadow of a doubt, that where the truth of God is preached, it will stir the hearts of God's people to put their hands in their pockets and give to Him for His work, while on the other hand, where the people are badgered for money, they will not respond.
Friday, August 24th.— As illustrating what I was stating yesterday, a gentleman from Mississippi asked me what I would do if I were in his place. He is a Methodist but had no sympathy with the methods which are adopted in the church of which he is a member. He felt that a great deal of money which is given for the so-called work of the Lord is spent on useless church machinery, such as expensive buildings, fine singing, and other elaborations, which are not in harmony with the Saviour's injunctions to preach the gospel. I frankly told him it was rather difficult for one Christian to answer for another, but perhaps my own method might help him. I said, "I never give to anything which I do not believe to be for the glory of God, and when I gave, I felt I was responsible to see that it was in reality used in the propagation of the gospel."
"That will do," he replied, "it settles the question for me. I shall give to the Missionary Alliance, for I believe its funds are used in direct gospel work."
This conversation, and others, indicate to me, that live Christians are getting dissatisfied with ministers having large salaries, churches going in for entertaining the world instead of preaching the gospel to it, and the expensive buildings which are being built are called "churches." They cannot help being dissatisfied if they compare modern methods with those practiced in the early church, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. The reason why inter-denominational movements are being supported is, because their methods are inter-penetrated by the spirit of the early church, and so far as they live in that spirit, so long will the Spirit of God own and bless the testimony given.
Saturday, August 25th.— I am not likely to get home for some time to come, should I respond to all the invitations to preach and teach in other cities. Since I have been in Atlanta, I have had invitations to hold meetings in Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Alabama; and now I have had the crowning invitation of all from Dr. Simpson, and that is, to spend August to December of next year in some of the larger Conventions, and to lecture to the students at Nyack. I told him I could not promise then, but would pray and think about it, and let him know later on in the year.
Of all the places under the sun, the South is the greatest for asking questions. If I were to record one twentieth of the questions which have been asked me, I could fill a small volume. One good brother, after asking me a host of questions, finished up by asking my age. I gave him no answer. He was not to be daunted, so he sent out a feeler by saying, "I guess you'll be about forty?" I evaded his query this time, but he was not willing to retreat, for he said, "I guess you'll be over forty?" I was determined not to gratify his curiosity, and I turned the question aside by directing the conversation into another channel. The above reminded me of a story Mr. Blackstone was telling me. A man, who was deaf, but who did not want anyone to know it, was one day working upon his farm, putting into the ground a post to fix two bars. Seeing a stranger approaching and knowing the proclivity of his countrymen in asking questions, and also remembering his infirmity of deafness, he determined to have answers ready to probable questions, so he soliloquized with himself, as follows: " He'll be wanting to know what I'm making, and I'll tell him a bar-post. Then he'll want to know how far I'm going to set it in the ground, and I'll tell him up to that notch. Then he'll want to know what I'll take for it, and I'll say 'four dollars;’ and then he'll tell me he won't give it, and I'll tell him someone else will if you don't."
When the stranger came up, he said, "What’s the name of this town?" "Bar-post," was the prompt reply. "How far is it to the next town?" "Up to that notch," was the resolved answer. "What do they charge for a dinner about here?" was the next question. “Four dollars," was the premeditated reply. This exasperated the stranger so much, that he angrily replied, "I've a good mind to get off my horse and give you a good thrashing." "Someone else will, if you don't," was the immediate answer!
Yet, some of us, who are the Lord's people, ask and raise questions, too, at the Lord's dealings! Like Gideon we have our "why's," and "where's," and “whether with's" (Judges vi. 13-15). The Lord forgive us, and save us out of Complaining Alley, and Grumbling Corner!
Sunday, August 26th.— One of the most striking things which Mr. Simpson gave in his missionary sermon this morning, was a set of figures comparing what is spent on whiskey and tobacco by the world, and what Christians give to missions. The figures were based upon a statement made by President McKinley. He said the annual income of this country is 65 billions of dollars. Supposing that 50 billions are owned by the world, and 15 billions by Christians. How much does the world spend on whiskey and tobacco? Four per cent, or two thousand millions of dollars. What does the Church give for missions? Five million dollars, or one-thirtieth of one per cent. The devil gets four per cent and the Lord one-thirtieth of one per cent. We could place in the mission field, one million missionaries if we had what the devil gets and evangelize the world in one year. Well might Evangelist Fife, who was sitting beside me, exclaim, "O Lord, give us reality." Reality is the great need of the Church, as A. A. Rees said long ago:—
“I am, O God, and therefore Thou must be;
lf I am real, Thou art reality.
But l have sinned, and Thou must angry be;
If sin is real, wrath is reality.
But from Thy wrath, in penitence, I flee
And own my sin. Wilt Thou not pardon me?
Oh, yes, if owning is reality!
I trust in Christ, and have no other plea;
His blood upon the mercy-seat I see.
From guilt, my God, wilt Thou not set me free?
Oh, yes, if trusting is reality!
Thus freed from guilt, l sorely long to be
From sin's dominion absolutely free;
Wilt Thou not free me? Oh, yes, if I see
Thy want and prayer are reality!
I want Thy peace to rule triumphantly
O'er all the cares and sorrows of my breast;
I want Thy boundless, changeless love to be
The pillow where I lay my griefs to rest.
Shall not Thy love support, Thy peace rule me?
Yes, if thou trustest in reality.
Ah! then I see that Thou wouldst make me feel
Religion's nothing, if it be not real;
'Tis thus: if thou hast peace and joy in view,
In dealing with the God of truth be true!
In the evening I spoke to a great crowd on the words, "Who loved me,'' and gave an address under the three following heads: (1) A Woeful Object—"Me." (2) A Wonderful Person—"Who." (3) A Winning Act—"Loved." At the close of the address, there were several who came out to the front bench seeking Christ, and a great many more were dealt with in their seats. I feel sure that in the day of Christ, there will be those who decided for Christ this evening.
Mr. W. E. Blackstone, of Chicago (the author of Jesus is Coming), and I, had happy fellowship together the ten days we were in Atlanta. Occupying the same room in the hotel, we prayed, talked, and studied, till we became like Jonathan and David—knit together in heart fellowship. Verily, it is not only pleasant for brethren to dwell together in unity, but profitable too, for as iron sharpeneth iron, so doth the countenance of a man, his friend. What was it that drew us together? A common interest in Christ (Jude 3) a common love to Him (Col. i. 8), a common place in His body (I Cor. xii. 13), a common desire to glorify His name (II Thess. i. 12), a common love for His Word (Mal. iii. 16), a common endeavour in His Work (Phil. i. 27), and a common aim for His glory (II Cor. v. 9, R.V.)
Monday, August 27th.— l had to be on the move soon after four o'clock this morning, as I had promised to have a few days' meetings in Cleveland, Ohio, and in order to reach there in time for the Tuesday evening, and stay eight or nine hours in Cincinnati, it was necessary I should travel by the 5.30 train. I got to the Depot all right, and in good time. There were nine of us going the same way. We asked the ticket collector if the train was in, and he said, "No." The train was in the station and went out without us. We saw the tail end of it going out of the Depot. This is another illustration of the proverbial slowness of the people in the South, and illustrates what one friend said, namely, the Southerners have three hands, "Right hand, left hand, and a little behind-hand." We got a slow train as far as Chattanooga, some few hours later, where we had to wait for the night train to take us right on to Cincinnati, and Cleveland.
Finding ourselves in Chattanooga, we determined to go up the Chattanooga or Look-out Mountain, which is some 1,700 feet above the town, and 2,500 above the level of the sea. The summit is reached by a cable car, which is almost perpendicular at some points in its upward ascent and made some of the ladies feel giddy. We had quite a character in the southerner who was our guide. The long words he used, and the blunders he made in using them, were most laughable. In calling our attention to the river Tennessee, he wished to inform us that it surrounded a certain portion of the land, and made it look like a peninsula, but he called it a "pen-inch-u-lar." Another blunder he made was, when he referred to the magnificent scenery, and said, "The half of its beauty has never been told, as the Queen of Sheba said of the glory of Solomon." Mr. Myland, of Ohio, asked him who the Queen of Sheba was, wishing to draw him out, and at once he replied, "The Queen of Sheba? she was the woman who recomspiculated Jerusalem and had Solomon for a guide."
Tuesday, August 28th.— . . . I arrived in Cleveland, Ohio, after a fatiguing journey of nearly 36 hours. We had run through some part of four States, viz., Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio. Two or three things in the fields made them look different from the fields of the homeland, and these were tobacco plants, cotton plants, and maize. The latter is a great luxury in this country, as it is gathered in its green state, boiled, and served up on the cob, and the fashion is, to butter, salt, and pepper the cob, taking it up in both hands and hold it as a dog does a bone with both paws, and then gnaw the corn off. There is a story told of an Irishman, who, having eaten the corn from the cob, passed the cob to the waiter, and asked that some more peas might be put upon it.
Wednesday, August 29th.— . . . I preached twice to-day in Pastor Maguire's chapel. In the afternoon on "Christ our Life," and in the evening on "The Signs of the Times." I spoke for an hour and twenty minutes on the latter theme, and then did not get through, and the hearers were interested to the last. One thing I said seemed to specially interest them, and that was, that I believed God was going to use the nation of America to restore Israel to their own land. Already, Turkey owes America many thousands of dollars, and it may be the former will ask the latter to take over Palestine in payment. Verily, any Power would be honoured to be an instrument to accomplish His purpose in relation to His people.
Thursday, August 30th.— "He's an N. G.," said Pastor Maguire, in referring to a Christian worker, who had gone astray from the Lord, and had to be expelled from the church in consequence. I said, "What is an N. G.?" "N. G." means "No good," was the reply. "Ah," I said, "I'm afraid he is not the only one." The remark set me cogitating upon the "no good's" of the Bible. As to humanity as a whole in God's sight, there is "none that doeth good” (Romans iii. 12). As to man's nature there "dwelleth no good thing" in it (Romans vii. 18). A saltless professor is "good for nothing" (Matthew v. 13). Earthly things possessed without God are "no good” (Ecclesiastes vi. 6). Those who will not listen to God are "good for nothing" (Jer. xiii. 10); and sometimes the despairing soul says, "there is no good" (Jeremiah xiv. 19).
I finished up the few meetings in Cleveland, Ohio, this evening. At the close of my address, we had a delightful season with the Lord in remembering His death. Four ministers of the gospel took part in the service. I had to leave as soon as the service was over to catch the night train for New York. I got a comfortable sleeper and had a good night's rest.
Friday, August 31st.— Arrived in New York late in the afternoon, but missed Dr. Simpson, whom I had promised to meet. I had a talk with him over the telephone (or as the Americans say, "Phone"). His kindly words of appreciation of my ministry I hesitate to repeat, yet I think the readers of this magazine [Chimes] would like to know how the Lord has used me. I therefore, give the following extract from the Alliance paper, and to the Lord be all the glory:—
"Our beloved brother, Rev. F. E. Marsh, D. D., of Sunderland, England, who has spent the past two months with us at our Summer Convention, is to sail on Saturday, September 1st, for England, to resume his pastoral labours with his church in Sunderland. This is a favourable opportunity to express the deep appreciation of all our people of his valuable services during the time that he has laboured amongst us. His spirit has always been humble, Christlike, and fitted to commend the gospel that he has so ably presented in his public addresses. His Bible readings have been scriptural, solid, fresh, profoundly instructive, and intensely interesting. He has filled a unique place in all our summer meetings, which no one else has fully supplied. We are glad to inform our friends that those who have not had the privilege of hearing him, can secure the substance of his helpful addresses by purchasing some of his books, and to those who have heard him, these volumes will be a pleasant memorial of his ministry."
Saturday, September 1st.— “There is no place like home” is the song in my heart as I make my way down to the dock to board the S.S. Umbria, which sails for the old country at 10 a.m. Dr. Wilson, Dr. Wong, Rev. A. E. Funk, and Mr. Beel came down to see me safely off the American shore. It is only fitting that Dr. Wilson should give me a parting story, "to comfort me," as he said, when I was in the throes of mal de mer (may he be disappointed). The story was about a certain preacher, who was dilating on "Man that is born of a woman.''
The preacher divided his text as follows:—
I. Man's ingress into the world—"born.''
II. Man's progress through the world.
III. Man's egress from the world.
The following has been added, or was originally given:—
Man's ingress into the world was naked and bare.
Man's progress through the world is sorrow and care.
Man's egress from the world, the Lord knows where.
I presume the second was intended for me, for if anyone feels full of sorrow and care, it is when he is hors de combat, through sea-sickness. Where the comfort comes in, I fail to see. I can quite see where the misery comes in if I was to give myself to contemplating the woe which Pharaoh did not have. I think if the aforesaid king had experienced the plague of sea-sickness, he would not have wanted nine other plagues to bring him to his senses. I am hoping the only w— which is awaiting me is the welcome of home, and not the — ——, further description is nauseous.
On the ocean wave, the incessant throb of an ocean liner, is not calculated to help meditation on better things, especially as one has, in addition, the cackle cackle of two ladies in one end of the writing room; but in spite of these distractions, my mind has been running along the line of two thoughts, and these are, no one can see God and live, and yet if we do not see Him, it is worse than death. The solution to the seeming contradiction is not far to seek when we come to the light of God's Word, for we get life in looking to Christ, and His indwelling is the death of self, and the purification which enables us to see God.
Sunday, September 2nd.— Of all the perfunctory, listless, lifeless, matter-of-fact, an unprofitable efforts I have ever witnessed, was the "exercises” of "Divine (?) service" this morning. Better to have no service than such a service. The effort was over in thirty minutes, to the evident relief of the performer. "There was no vim in it," said one gentleman to me, nor virtue either, in my humble judgment. It is true, the reader nodded his head at the mention of the name of Jesus, but the action reminded one of an automatic machine, more than anything else. The reading was fairly good, but there was no soul in it. I should not criticize, but when a service is conducted after such a fashion, it makes one indignant.
What a lot we miss through not reading the so-called "minor prophets;" there is plenty of major truth in them. I was reading Micah i., and came across the following words, "He shall come unto Adullam." At once my mind reverted to that scene in the life of David, when the motley crowd of discontents and other 'tents went to David, and he became captain over them (I Samuel xxii. 2). Putting the two passages together, and reading them in the light of the gospel, they suggested to my mind the thought—since Christ is said to come to the place where such a host of desperate cases were once found, there is no case too bad, nor too desperate for Him.
Monday, September 3rd.— Look which way I will, there is nothing but sea to see. Sea to the right of me, sea to the left of me, sea in front of me, and sea behind me. The one impression it makes upon the mind is uncertainty. There is no path, and one seems to be going from whence Gehazi went (II Kings v. 25). The uncertainty vanishes as faith asserts itself, for it knows the Captain knows, and that he is guided by chart and compass. What are the wild waves saying? Listen! (1) Restlessness—"The wicked are like the troubled sea" (Isaiah lvii. 20). (2) Vastness—(Psalm xcvi. 11): "The love of God is like, and greater, than all oceans."
"Could we with ink the ocean fill,
Were the whole sky of parchment made;
Were every blade of grass a quill,
Were every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God
Twould drain the ocean dry,
Nor would the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky."
(3) Loss—The happiest loss that anyone can have is to have his sins lost in the depths of the sea (Micah vii. 19). (4) Riches—Who can tell the treasures of the deep (Deut. xxxiii. 19). (5) Power—The power of the sea, who can estimate (Psalm xciii.4). Yea, He who holds the believer, holds it in the hollow of His hand (Isa. xi. 12). (6) Knowledge—Man can see no path in the sea, but the Lord does (Isa. xliii. 16). (7) Separation—The sea is a symbol of separation, but there is a time coming when there shall be “no more sea" (Revelation xxi. 1).
Tuesday, September 4th.— We were passing over the Newfoundland Banks all the morning and, as usual, there was a fog. The buzz of the steamer's whistle every two minutes does not make it very helpful for writing. I was speaking to one of the sailors and asked him if they don't slow the steamer when running through a fog. “Ah!" he said, "the telegraph says, 'half speed,' but they go full steam ahead all the same." I noticed whenever there was a fog, the captain was on the bridge, as well as the chief mate, and four look-out men in the fore part of the steamer. Our captain is always near when there is danger about.
The night of fear,
The Lord brings near.
The fog of doubt,
Makes Him look out.
The load of care,
Calls Him to bear.
His love doth kill,
The dread of ill.
I have been reading, to my profit and pleasure, A Preacher's Life, by Dr. J. Parker. The most pathetic part of the whole book is the chapter upon his wife. It is too sacred to make extracts from; it is a big sob from a big heart for a warm love. One personal confession of faith I reproduce, for it voices the witness of every believer in Christ:—
"Be this the brightest of reminiscences—the only reminiscence worth preserving—that the Anointed of God, the Christ whose atonement belongs to the eternities, so revealed Himself to my sin and my need in life's dark and troubled night, that I cried out with heartfelt thankfulness, ‘My Lord and my God,' and then saw the Morning that cannot be imagined and received the Peace that cannot be perturbed."
Wednesday, September 5th.— What a variety of character is seen on an Atlantic liner! All sorts and conditions are brought together by the narrow environment in which they are found, and that very circumscribation forces certain individuals upon the sensitive plate of any observing mind. Thus, I found myself summing up certain individuals. Let me name some of my fellow-passengers, with humble apologies to them for doing so. Mr. Strut-well makes himself conspicuous by the rapidity of his movements, and the loudness of his stamp as he rushes along the deck. He is a small man in stature, but not in step, for he stretches his legs to their utmost limits, while the complacent smile on his face says as plain as speech, "See how well I can do it." Mr. Loud-Voice is most pronounced in his utterances. He is a walking encyclopedia of information—so he thinks; he is a Punch in solution as to humour; he is a bundle of jokes and pokes, as to wit; he knows everything and everybody, even to the time the steamer will get into port, although the captain does not say when; his comments are often rude; he is the most appreciative auditor at his own puns, and laughs the loudest at his supposed Solomonic wisdom. Miss Simper-Simple. Wriggles and giggles are the summary of her acts and attitudes. She laughs at nothing, and then laughs at her laughing. Her mouth is weak, and she has rouge on her cheek. Her hair is frizzed in front, and rattailed behind. Rings on her fingers, and not bells on her toes, and yet you can tell her, by her smile, wherever she goes. Mr. Talk-not-Walk. He finds he sits next to a minister of the gospel at the dinner-table and talks parsonically; but he is most at home at the gambling-table. He can talk preach, but he can practice poker best. His breath smells of strong drink, but his tongue is most glib on religion. He looks into your face angelically, but if you look close enough you see unreality stamped on his countenance.
Thursday, September 6th.— Sauntering into the smoke room, my attention was suddenly arrested by the conversation of three Americans and one Englishman (who hailed from Sunderland). They were discussing the religions of the world. The conversation was mainly between a lawyer and a lumber merchant. According to the former, Mohammed, Buddha, and Confucius were as good as the Lord Jesus. I stood and listened and was ultimately introduced to the company by the Sunderland friend. The conversation which followed between the lawyer and myself, was somewhat as follows:—
"Do you believe that Jesus was the Son of God?"
"You know He claimed to be, and was crucified in consequence?"
"Yes, but He was under a hallucination."
"How then can He be a trustworthy teacher. If He was mistaken in one point, what guarantee have we that He was right in any?"
"A person may be sincere, and yet be mistaken. I knew a judge in Tennessee who thought the lower part of his body was made of glass, and whenever he sat down, used great care lest he should do himself damage."
"Yes, but the cases are not parallel, for in the case of the judge you had proof that he was under a hallucination, but what proof have you that Christ was mistaken?"
"He may have been."
"Possibility is not certainty. But putting on one side what He claimed to be, do not His works prove His Deity? "
"Well! can you tell me of any man who ever raised the dead?"
Upon this, the lawyer wanted to get on to a side-track, but one of his friends repeated my question, and taunted him with begging the question.
I could not help affirming the same thing and reminded him that the greatest proof of Christ's claim to be the Son of God is Christ Himself, as John Stuart Mill once said, "He cannot be accounted for, from a merely human standpoint." "Then," I exclaimed, "He must be Divine, and if you can bring proof, not opinion, that He did not state the truth on this point, He is unworthy of my confidence in any other. I stand or fall upon His Deity, for it was the Son of God, as such, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
At this point, the conversation drifted into American politics, but I trust the cute lawyer may be led to see that Jesus Christ is more than a good man, for He is not even that, in my humble judgment, if He did not speak the truth.
A man is known, not only by the company he keeps, but by the words he utters. This statement was demonstrated by the above lawyer, whom I heard using the name of God in a flippant way, and also a strong adjective, which begins with a letter not very far down the alphabet. I could not help thinking what a striking illustration he was that "creed makes conduct;" or, as the Old Book puts it, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." What a man believes, determines what he is. Let a man believe in Christ, and he must be like Christ, even as a drop of crimson dye dropped into a glass of water, colours the whole of it.
Friday, September 7th.— I have been reading to my profit and pleasure, Dr. Moule on Ephesian Studies, and I refer to the fact, because of one pertinent sentence. He says, "All the revelation of God in Christ is for the sake of His people's life and service before Him; all the Christian life and service depends, for its peace, purity, and power, upon the revealed Lord and God, known, trusted, invoked, and used."
For the last three days we have had a swallow skimming round the steamer. It had evidently got away, or had been carried away by the wind, from its company, and was now making the steamer a harbour of refuge and a haven of rest. I could not help thinking the steamer was to the bird what the Lord is to us, when we get away from Him, or when we are carried away by temptation. One who shelters us from the enemy's hate and the shame of backsliding.
Everything to-day indicates we are nearing the end of our voyage. The mails are all piled up ready for disembarkment at Queenstown; the luggage is being got out of the hold; and the passengers are all on the look-out to catch the first sight of "ould Ireland." Land is sighted at last, and in due time, we arrive outside Queenstown harbour. Having placed the mails on the tender, and the Irish passengers having disembarked, we steam away for Liverpool about midnight.
Saturday, September 8th.— There is nothing of special importance to chronicle to-day, other than we arrived at Liverpool about one o'clock, and got home about eight. I had not let the grass grow under my feet, for in eleven weeks, I had travelled over 6,000 miles, delivered over 70 addresses, made many friends, received spiritual stimulus, and returned home little the worse, for the sea voyage home had been a regular pick-me-up.