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THE WHEELING ONE-DAY CONVENTION
The gathering at Wheeling, W.Va., on Sunday, February 11, was a most interesting one, and will long be remembered by many of the dear friends. About 200 attended the Convention from outside points, apparently much to the joy of the little class at Wheeling. Their loving interest was heartily reciprocated by the Wheeling friends, who entertained the entire company at dinner. The morning session opened at 10 o’clock, and for an hour we heard splendid testimonies from various quarters, giving thanks to God for the light now shining upon the pathway of his people and expressing determination to press onward in the good way, and hope and faith and joy in respect to the precious promise of the crown of glory at the end of life’s journey.
Promptly at 11 o’clock Brother Russell addressed the meeting, taking as the text of his discourse the word of the Lord to the Prophet Isaiah (29:13), “Their fear toward me is taught by the precepts of men.” Many of you have the report of the discourse through the daily press. For the benefit of others we would remark that he showed the proper fear in contrast with that which is improper—the fear of the Lord, the beginning of wisdom, in contrast with the fears inspired by superstition, which are the beginning of folly and trouble. Proceeding, he showed how perfect love casts out fear from the hearts of the Lord’s people, and that the receiving of the love and the dispelling of the fear are proportionate and gradual, so that those who have most fully received of the grace of God have most fully lost the fear of man that bringeth a snare and the superstitious fears which cause so much torment in the world, but that proportionately they still have the reverence of the Lord and more than ever realize the meaning of the Apostle’s words, “Let us fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest any of us should seem to come short of it.”—Heb. 4:1.
The afternoon meeting was in the fine new “Court Theatre.” The dear friends had been both wise and energetic in the matter of advertising: cards for the windows, posters for the street cars and small cards for distribution amongst the friends, combined with liberal newspaper advertising, made the meeting very widely known. As a result the Opera House, seating 1500, was crowded, and about 400 stood throughout the service and probably five or six hundred were unable to gain admittance, the doors of the theatre being locked by the management for fear of accident. The topic was our cure for infidelity—”To Hell and Back.” The large audience gave excellent attention and we have every reason to hope that at least some of the number had hearing ears of the heart as well as of the head. The gathering apparently represented the most intelligent people of the city and was probably two-thirds men. Some one suggested that all the churches of Wheeling at all their services on Sunday had not as many men present.
It is for us to proclaim the good tidings to those who manifest any disposition to hear: we know not, however, in which it will prosper. It is far from our thought that the Truth will ever become popular with the world during this Gospel age. We can, however, rejoice that the opportunity for hearing, the opportunity for getting rid of some of the smoke and confusion of the “dark ages” is reaching out amongst intelligent people in every direction. The testimony is being given them, whether they accept or reject it, showing the divine justice, wisdom, love and power, that the Bible is the foundation for this conception of the divine character, and that the fallacies of superstition came from the “dark ages” and not from God’s Book.
— February 15, 1906 —