BROTHER RUSSELL'S EUROPEAN TOUR
On Board "Mauretania," May 10th, 1909.
TO THE FAMILY OF BROOKLYN BETHEL,
BELOVED IN THE LORD:--
When our steamer left the wharf in New York, while you were singing, "Blest be the tie that binds," and "God be with you till we meet again," my heart was full, and not mine alone; others, total strangers to us, were deeply affected, and one at least expressed himself as feeling a greater degree of security and safety in view of the divine blessing thus invoked. I estimated the number of our friends on the pier from the New York Church at about 90, and called to mind and applied to myself St. Paul's words, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy. And for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now."--Phil. 1:3-5.
We have had a very calm, and in every way pleasant voyage. The sea was exceedingly quiet, and our vessel, the speediest of the speedy, excelled her previous best record, making 612 knots during one 24 hours.
Knowing in advance the boat we would take, several friends of the Truth going to Europe made it convenient to take the same vessel, and the fellowship enjoyed made the trip doubly delightful. However, we had not much time for visiting, as Brother Huntsinger, a stenographer, knowing that we would be pressed for time, kindly volunteered to make the journey with us, that we might have the opportunity of dictating some sermons and "Watch Tower" articles while going and coming across the Atlantic. The quietness of the voyage and our good health greatly facilitated this feature of the work.
Our companions in voyage brought with them tracts which were liberally distributed on the ship, and apparently to some purpose, not only interesting some, but arousing the prejudice of others. On the ship were a Catholic bishop, two priests, two monks, two nuns and several Protestant preachers. The opposition became so bitter that not only the Catholics, but the Protestant preachers joined in requesting the Captain to cancel an appointment he already had made for us to preach. It was canceled with apologetic statements to the effect that the Ship Company merely sought to serve the public, and while surprised at the opposition felt it necessary to concede to its wishes. However, we are by no means certain that the hindrance thus effected did not work out some measure of good, as a considerable number of passengers expressed themselves as quite incensed at the narrow and bigoted course of both Catholics and Protestants, who evidenced the weakness of their cause by their fear to have the Truth of the Bible openly stated and heard. For our part we were unconcerned by the episode, believing that it was ours to use opportunities which the Lord might grant, and ours to be submissive and patient if the opportunity for presenting the Truth to the public were denied--if only a small hearing was had amongst the friends. It is ours to use opportunities with appreciation; it is the Lord's to open the door, to furnish the necessary opportunities. We are content to do our part, and to leave his part for his wisdom to direct, knowing that all his gracious purposes shall be accomplished.
Yours in the love and service of our Redeemer and King,
C. T. RUSSELL.