CHAPTER I. SCOTLAND AND ENGLAND.
When I was a "boy on a farm," one of my school teachers had a small machine, which was sometimes used to print the names of students in their books. Somehow I came to want a "printing press," and after a while I purchased an outfit for fifteen cents, but it was a poor thing and failed to satisfy me. Accordingly, I disposed of it and spent a larger sum for a typewriter, which was little more than a toy. This, too, was unsatisfactory, and I sold it. At a later date, I bought a second-hand typewriter, which was turned in as part payment for the machine I am now using to write this book, and now, after all these successive steps, I find myself possessed of a real typewriter. I will also mention my youthful desire for a watch. I wanted a timepiece and thought I would like for it to be of small size. I thought of it when awake, and, sometimes, when asleep, dreamed that I actually had the little watch in my possession. Since those days of dreams and disappointments, I have had three watches, and they have all been of small size.
In the same way, several years ago, I became possessed of a desire to see the Land of Promise, the earthly Canaan. I thought about it some, and occasionally spoke of it. There were seasons when the desire left me, but it would come back again. Some years ago, when I was doing evangelistic work in Canada, the desire returned - this time to stay. It grew stronger and stronger until I decided to make the trip, which was begun on the eleventh of July, 1904. After traveling many thousands of miles, seeing numerous new and interesting sights, making many pleasant acquaintances, and having a variety of experiences, I returned to the home of my father on the fourteenth day of December, having been absent five months and three days, and having had a more extensive trip than I had at first thought of taking. There is a lesson in the foregoing that I do not want overlooked. It is this: Whatever we earnestly desire is apt to be worked out in our lives. Deeds usually begin with thoughts. If the thoughts are fostered and cultivated, the deeds will probably be performed some time. It is, therefore, important that we exercise care as to the kind of thoughts we allow to remain in our hearts. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Prov. iv. 23).
On the way to New York, I stopped in Washington and saw some of the interesting places of the National Capital. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where about six hundred persons were engaged in printing paper money and stamps, was visited. I also went out to the Washington Monument and climbed to the top of the winding stairs, although I might have gone up in the free elevator if I had preferred to ride. The Medical Museum, National Museum, Treasury Building, the White House, the Capitol, and other points of interest received attention, and my short stay in this city was very enjoyable.
I spent a night in Philadelphia, after an absence of more than four years, and enjoyed a meeting with the church worshiping on Forty-sixth Street. It was very pleasant to meet those I had known when I was there before, some of whom I had been instrumental in bringing to Christ. In New York I made arrangements to sail for Glasgow on the S.S. Mongolian, of the Allan Line, which was to sail at eleven o'clock on the fourteenth of July, and the voyage was begun almost as promptly as a railway train leaves the depot. We passed the Statue of Liberty a few minutes before noon, and then I prepared some mail to be sent back by the pilot who took us down to the sea. The water was smooth almost all the way across, and we reached the desired haven on the eleventh day. I went back to my room the first morning after breakfast and was lying in my berth when a gentleman came along and told me I would have to get up, they were going to have inspection. I arose and found part of the crew scrubbing the floor and others washing down a wall. Everything was being put in good condition for the examination to be given by some of the officers who passed through each day at about ten o'clock. The seamen knew the inspection was sure to come, and they knew the hour at which it would take place, so they made ready for it. We know that there is a great "inspection" day appointed when God will judge the world, but we do not know the exact time. It is, therefore, important to be ready always, that the day may not overtake us "as a thief in the night."