Dealing In Personalities
My son, Dow B. Wallace, is in the United States Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He is anxious to get in touch with boys who are members of the church at Fort Dix, Fort Hancock and Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Parents of such sons are requested to write
Pvt. Dow B. Wallace,
U. S. Signal Corps,
Co. "C," 4th Training Battalion,
Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.
Or they may write Brother
A. W. Hastings,
25 Tonnelle Ave.,
Jersey City, New Jersey.
These men can help your boys get properly located for worship and Bible teaching. My son writes: "I have located about four boys so far and about four more who are not members, who will go with me."
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During the latter part of August I did the preaching in a meeting with the Ridgedale congregation in the historic city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This is a large and quite a good congregation which is exercising a good and a wide influence in and around the city. It is located at the foot of Missionary Ridge where one of the battles of the civil war was fought. The church is carrying on a constant and a winning battle of an entirely different sort. Brother Charles A. Taylor does the work of an evangelist under the direction of the elders of the congregation. He is a loyal and capable worker. I was with Brother Taylor once before in a meeting when he was working with the Lynn Street congregation in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He is a very helpful and companionable co-worker. Brother P. W. Stonestreet is an elder of the congregation and a nephew of the late M. C. Kurfees of Louisville, Kentucky, whose influence for good is still widely felt. It was good to meet and know Brother Stonestreet.
The meeting was well attended, but we had an unusual handicap in the way of crowds. No children under twelve years of age were allowed in such meetings due to the infantile paralysis situation. Some of the grownups who would otherwise have come, had to stay at home with the youngsters. I have at times been irritated by crying babies, but this was my first time to go through a whole meeting with no children in the audience. I did not know that it could make so much difference. I really missed the children and believe it or not, I really could have enjoyed hearing a baby squall before it was over. I never was as jumpy about crying babies as some preachers anyhow. My observation and experience lead me to the conclusion that mothers are usually more capable of attending to their babies than visiting preachers are. However, I must confess that I have seen a few mothers here and there, like a few other people, who displayed a considerable lack of good sense in attending to their duties. More than once in my life, I have yearned to spank the fire out of some young howling hyena who was wrecking a perfectly good sermon, while his silly mother did not seem to detect any signs of depravity in him whatever. But I'll run the risks and take the children. I don't want any more meetings without them. Bring them along and we will get along somehow.
The Ridgedale church is only one of many good congregations in the city. I did not count them, but was told that there are fourteen of them. I preached to more preachers than any place I have been with the exception of Nashville. There are more preachers in Nashville and who think they are than any place in the world, I guess. Chattanooga has its share and some of them, maybe all of them, are good ones. I cannot recall them all. Among others it was a pleasure to be associated with R. C. White, A. S. Landis, Charlie Campbell and John Gerrard. All were very kind to me.
This congregation promoted the second and last Neal Wallace debate which permanently cooled Charlie Neal's yearning to test his premillennial theories in public discussion. The influence of the debate was far-reaching and is still strongly felt throughout the city. It helped crystallize opposition to premillennialism throughout that section. Brethren thereabouts are mighty scarce who will admit that they are premillennialists, and appeasers, if there be any, are mighty cautious. It is generally known that Neal went where he should have been all the time "out from us." We still have brethren who are not premillennialists "but"—in this connection that "but" has astounding significance for such a small word of only three letters, especially when some preachers use it.
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A few things happen here and there that impress me. I was riding along one night after meeting with a brother and his wife. She was formerly a Baptist and converted to the truth a few years ago by the preaching of the editor of the Bible Banner. They were deeply interested in the success of the meeting. They called my attention to some of their sectarian friends they were interested in. They had introduced me to some of them. I gathered from the conversation that this man and his wife had invited and brought at least a dozen mature people to the meetings who otherwise would not have attended at all. They were so anxious too that I preach on those themes which would help them see the truth. It occurred to me, that if all the members of the church would become as interested in a meeting as this couple was, what a difference we would see in results. Some lack both interest and boldness. They do not care enough to invite their friends and if they do, they are afraid the preacher will tell them something to the point after they get there. Too many people are trying to go to heaven by themselves. You'd better take somebody along with you or you may not get in yourself.
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I had a nice, comfortable room in a downtown hotel. I ate breakfast in the hotel grill. A young waitress often took my orders. I was impressed by her efficiency and quiet manners. One day I went in and noticed a change. The girl was absent and the others were red-eyed and silent. The manager of the hotel told me that "Mary" had gone the day before to a near-by town to visit her mother. She stepped off the bus and was hit by a truck and killed. It seemed that she was a favorite and all were deeply affected. It affected me in a peculiar way although I did not even know her name. I awoke in the night and thought of that girl moving silently and gracefully among the tables and now she lay a corpse. Human beings in uncounted thousands are being snatched away by accidents, disease and war. They are all going somewhere. They leave behind them other uncounted thousands with broken hearts. "Come now, ye that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into this city, and spend a year there and trade and get gain: whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. What is your life? For ye are a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that." (James. 4:13-15) Surely the preacher of the gospel who points the way to a bright and eternal Tomorrow is engaged in the most important work in the world!