1881 Chicago Thanksgiving Conference
The second Chicago Conference is past, but so far as results are concerned, we believe it never will be over. The meetings were held in the GOSPEL ROOMS, corner of May and Fulton streets, a most convenient place for large and varied meetings.
As far as possible an effort was made to entertain strangers, by supplying sleeping accommodation and "convenient food" of which almost all availed themselves. Although this had its disadvantages, yet the plan is commendable in many respects, inasmuch as it affords opportunity for the saints gathering into little groups for prayer, or to read some of their Father's word in the intervals between the regular meetings, and truly this is a pleasing sight to see, and must be gratifying to the heart of God.
There were present at the meetings, besides the local Christians, saints from:
- Dundee, Scotland
- Ontario, Canada
- Indiana, USA: Valparaiso & Crown Point;
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Faribault, Minnesota
- Illinois, USA: Sparta, Galesburg, Oneida, Braidwood, Oak Park and Austin;
A noticeable feature at some the meetings was the presence of a number of Christians from the various sects in the city, including some of the "clergy".
The meetings were well attended, probably one-half more than last year. The last two meetings especially were very large, and the Lord's Day evening meeting was the largest gospel meeting of its kind ever held in this city.
On Lord's Day morning, before the breaking of bread, several Christians followed the Lord in baptism. Some who gathered into the meetings lost their religion... in some cases, evidently, it was getting rid of a very heavy burden... and they received Christ instead.
The meetings, in one word, speaking generally, were godly meetings, such as came, having clean hands, were made "stronger and stronger", and such as were following the Lord afar off, were made very miserable indeed, til confession was made. Doubtless all learned a little more of their own insignificance and the matchless worth and greatness of the Lord Jesus. One said at the close of the meetings, "Oh! I'm so ashamed of myself. The Lord has to teach me so often the same lesson, that I sometimes wonder that he does not weary of me altogether". But blessed forever be His name, the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.
In the way of practical results visible before the close, it might be of interest by certain readers of the Barley Cake to mention that several earrings disappeared during the meetings, and gold rings found their way into the Lord's treasury. There is no difficulty in getting rid of these anti-scriptural and nonsensical superfluity, if the better and sweeter things be enjoyed.
We were all greatly gratified to have a visit from Donald Munro, who has been laid aside so long, and glad to record that he was enabled to deliver a very helpful address on Lord's Day, besides taking part in the morning meeting. Our readers will be much pleased to learn that these exertions did not seem to affect him for the worse, although exhausting at the time.
Some who took part in the meetings:
- R. Scott - Dundee, Scotland
- E. (Edmond?) Ronayne - Chicago, Illinois
- D.O. McLeod - St. Louis, Missouri
- Hiram Addison Gillett (1831-1903) - Valparaiso, Indiana
- John Smith - Aberdeen, Scotland
- D.F. Hughes
- John M. Carnie
- Charles Wedderburn Ross (1861-1937)
- John Knox McEwen (1874-1944)
During Lord's Day evening and Monday morning the dear saints began to move away and the evangelists are about to go and preach in the various places opened up for the gospel.
Brethren Hughes and McEwen remain in the city to conduct the gospel meetings for a few evenings. We desire that the children of God who have been praying for these meetings may now join with us in "thanksgivings" to our God for His gracious presence and blessing.
In this great Northwest of America, amongst almost all nationalities known to us, and especially in this very ungodly city, our meetings were a matter for great gratitude to our God. his doings are like Himself... but what else could be expected of Him who gave His Son... His only begotten Son... for His enemies? "Praise ye the Lord."
- Barley Cake 1881 December (Vol. 1, No. 12)