Chapter 26 A Visit To London (1922-1923)

Mr. Frank Hunter, whom Mr. McClure had known in Australia, paid a visit to California on his way to Ireland. After a few months’ preaching on the Pacific Coast, they both traveled together to the East. They were present at the conferences in Waterloo and Des Moines in June, at which their ministry was much appreciated by the Lord’s people.

Having made a number of visits to different assemblies they arrived in New England and were present at the New Bedford Conference on Labor Day, and then went on to New York. Mr. John Knox McEwen, who was on a visit from England, met them in New York, and they had hearty fellowship together as all three had known each other in the Lord’s service many years before. It so happened that Mr. McEwen and Mr. Hunter were going on the same ship to England and a large crowd of Christians gathered at the dock to bid them farewell.

After the tent season that year I took my first trip to the West Coast and met Mr. McClure at the conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Mr. C. W. Ross and Mr. W. H. Hunter were also present. The first meeting was rather small, and just before it began Mr. McClure said to me, “Now you cannot look to your audience for inspiration, so get loaded up and look to the Lord to give you help to minister His Word.”

From Fort Worth we went to Houston where the meetings were much larger. Then we all journeyed west and were heartily received in the Fosters’ home in Los Angeles, California. We traveled north to attend the Oakland Conference at Thanksgiving time. Mr. Muir had also arrived and we had a helpful season. One address given by brother McClure was from Luke 1 and especially verse 6, “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” This is the testimony that the Holy Spirit gives of that aged couple Zacharias and Elizabeth, and Mr. McClure expounded it and made it a living message to our hearts.

At Christmas time the conference was held in Jefferson Street, Los Angeles, with a large crowd from many places around, some traveling from far distances. Mr. McClure spoke one afternoon on the young Levite in Judges 17, going over his dark history and that of his mother, and then a very solemn application to our day and the danger of trading eternal things for earthly gain.

One day before leaving the Pacific Coast we were walking down a street and I said, “I am going into this drug store.” Mr. McClure decided to wait outside. I was getting a package at the other end of the store, and the clerk attending me seemed very much interested in watching the door. At last he said to me, “I beg your pardon, but is that gentleman the British Consul?” Looking around I saw that Mr. McClure had come inside and was walking around looking at the show cases. I said, “No, he is not, but you are not far mistaken. He is an ambassador.” “Oh, really! I thought so,” said the clerk, “of what country? Is it Britain?” “No, but he has been an ambassador for forty years for the King of Kings.” It gave a good opportunity to speak to the young man about the One who is the only Potentate.

In May the saints in Los Angeles had a little farewell meeting to commend Mr. McClure and Mr. Foster to the Lord. They were starting on a long journey across the continent and then a long sea voyage to Ireland. A very happy season was spent among them. When they arrived in the East, we had the pleasure of entertaining them and seeing them off for their native land. Their stay in the old country was short but they both enjoyed visiting the places which had very pleasant memories of former days, and had the joy of meeting many friends and relatives.

They visited the city of London, England, where Mr. McClure ministered the Word in some of the assemblies. One day they visited the most interesting Museum of Madame Tussaud. Having never seen this place before it was rather amusing to the visitors. As they passed in, a policeman stood at the door and looked as if he were waiting to be asked a question, but they discovered this was only a wax figure. All over that large room the wax figures sat in rows each one on a dais, with the name and a little about the history of the person represented in the figure. These figures appeared so very life-like that it was difficult to believe they were not alive.

When the brethren had taken in all that was to be seen, the guide informed them that there was a room downstairs where the images of many noted criminals were to be seen and some of their victims as well. Mr. McClure chose to remain upstairs while the others visited the basement. When they left him he looked for a seat, but the only place available was a pedestal with a name upon it from which the effigy had been removed. Taking this seat and leaning his hand on his umbrella he sat watching the visitors as they looked with amazement at the different figures. Coming his way were two young ladies with pencils and notebooks, deeply interested in all they saw, looking at the name on each dais, and then closely scanning the figure. Nearer they came to where brother McClure sat. They were examining the figure beside him, carefully noting down the name and the inscription as well. One of the ladies looked at the figure, walked around it, then stood a little piece off, as if she could hardly believe that this was only a figure. Then to make sure, she went over and gave it a poke with her finger, and left it apparently satisfied.

Both ladies came over to view Mr. McClure next, and he could hear them saying, “I wonder who this is?” and in relating the story to us when he returned to America he said, “I thought I had better change my position so they would know I was not an effigy but a living man, and save myself a poke.” We said, “Mr. McClure, what a picture! Many people who profess to be saved would need a poke to know if they really have life in their souls.”