THE EDITOR'S BRITISH TOUR
Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse.
TO THE DEAR BIBLE HOUSE FAMILY,
As my train left the Pittsburgh depot your waving handkerchiefs greeted my eyes, assuring me of your Christian love--and that it would go with me. And the echo of your songs stays with me still--"God be with you till we meet again" and "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love." Your parting greetings and songs commingled with my prayers for you and all the dear Israel of God, and my thanksgivings to the Great Giver of all good beautifully blended into sweet dreams and refreshing sleep.
The next day, Sunday, April 5th, we reached Lynchburg, Va., where we were met at the depot by about two dozen of the dear brethren and sisters of that vicinity, and soon we were at the Opera House, where a great throng came to hear "The Bible Defended." About 1,000 were present, and it is said several hundred were turned away. We had close attention, and have reason to hope that some received a blessing.
The evening meeting was not advertised, and the audience, therefore, was chiefly of the interested--including some who had come from Norfolk, Suffolk, Richmond and other cities. The discourse on that occasion you already have in the Dispatch and other papers publishing the sermons.
We left at 2.10 Monday morning, and reaching Washington City were surprised to find a delegation representing the Washington ecclesia in the depot, expecting us to change cars there and bent on having us take breakfast with them, which we did. The hour spent in their company was a delightful one, reminding us afresh of what are the usual characteristics of the "Church of the First-born"--everywhere, viz., love and zeal for the Lord and for all who are his.
Six hours later we were with the New York friends. A delegation of four had been appointed to meet us and greet us in the name of the Church, and to provide for our entertainment. Assuring them that such kindness was neither expected nor deserved, we nevertheless were persuaded not to spoil their pleasure by declining the arrangement, and accepted it most heartily. Their arrangements included an evening discourse at Judson Memorial Church. We spoke to an audience of about 600 on the significance of the Passover Memorial, from the text, "Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, ye have no life in you."
After the service we greeted the congregation at the door. About one-half of the number were friends of the Truth--of New York, Brooklyn and nearby cities as far east as Boston and as far south as Philadelphia. The next morning about forty of these bade us "Good-bye" again on the pier, and sang "God be with you till we meet again." These many demonstrations of Christian love by the dear friends everywhere have an humbling effect, as we feel our unworthiness of so much of their kind attention; and it has a stimulating effect, too, in that it encourages us to endeavor still more earnestly to attain the perfect ideals set before us in the Scriptures.
Our first day on this great vessel has been a delightful one, clear, sunshiny, cool, bracing. We have rested, read letters brought from home, tried to get acquainted, and above all have enjoyed sweet fellowship with the Lord--allowing our heart to overflow with thankfulness on our own behalf and on behalf of all the dear Church of Christ, especially those who had asked to be remembered in prayer. With a hot salt water bath we will retire, wishing you all "Good night!" and visiting you in memory as we pray for you each by name and remember what we know of your special needs.
At 3 p.m., April 13th, we reached Plymouth, our landing place. Our journey across the ocean was rather uneventful--apparently nobody seriously seasick. We enjoyed a splendid rest, exercised moderately, slept well and ate with good relish--our zest being enhanced by a large bouquet of handsome flowers beside our plate, the kind gift of our dear Brother Pierson as we started. Brother Zink's company has also added to our enjoyment of the trip. How gracious are the provisions of our Father, "who daily loadeth us with mercies." "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits."
Our steamer, "Kaiser der Grosse," was some eight hours late at Plymouth, England, where we took the Express for London, arriving there safely at 9 p.m. [R4170 : page 148] and finding eighteen dear brethren and sisters at the depot waiting to welcome us. And a hearty welcome we received there and also at the Society's depot, where a goodly company gathered. Short speeches were made welcoming us, and we were handed as a donation for the Tract Fund a draft for L.230 ($1,115), a thank-offering to the Lord. We were assured that our objection to collections and solicitations had been duly kept in mind, and that the sum was purely a voluntary one, the result of mere suggestions passed amongst the brethren of the British Isles, and that the amount but feebly expressed the sentiments of the givers, and that it would have been much larger had not many of the dear friends already undertaken all they were financially able in connection with the rent of halls and advertising for the meetings we were to address. We acknowledged our surprise, as well as our deep appreciation of so practical a demonstration of the loving zeal thus manifested. We appropriated to ourself the Apostle's word, assuring them that we had not come seeking a gift, yet we had much pleasure in accepting it, well knowing that the voluntary sacrifices thus undertaken for the Truth's sake would be to the Lord a sacrifice of sweet savor acceptable through our Redeemer, and that corresponding blessings would flow to the givers.
The following night we celebrated the Memorial Supper with 450 friends from London and vicinity, as elsewhere reported. We had a most blessed season of communion with our Lord and each other.
Wednesday, April 15th, we arrived at Bristol, our train being met at the depot by about twenty of the dear friends, who gave us most cordial greetings. We were the guest of Brother Ford and his family and were treated most hospitably. In the afternoon we addressed the interested to the number of about 100, which included probably 50 from neighboring cities. The evening service was for the public specially. It was held in the Y.M.C.A. chapel. Nearly 1000 were present and close attention was given us on "The Overthrow of Satan's Empire."
We left Thursday morning, speeded on our way by the voices of the friends on the railway platform singing, "God be with you till we meet again." Our train stopped at Gloucester, and on the platform we soon found dear ones anxious to grasp our hand and content that we had passed by their request for a meeting because such seemed the providence of God. At Birmingham we had a change of cars and found about a dozen of the friends waiting to greet us and to show us our other train and to tell us that they were preparing for our meetings with them later on.
Yours in the bonds of love divine, C. T. RUSSELL.