Malta, Egypt, India, Burma…
December 23rd, 1887
Amritsar, Punjab, India
My Beloved Angee,
I have called in for a day at this place on my way to Patiala, which I hope to reach tomorrow, and I trust the Lord may graciously give us all a time of refreshing from His gracious presence. The little time at Peshawar was a very happy one and the brother who had become entangled with temptations is I trust delivered. On Monday evening the nine brothers in fellowship came to the meeting room at 5.30 for a tea that had been provided and it was such a cheer to them. At 7 I had arranged to preach the Gospel and they invited some others of the regiment and a few came. The Lord gave us a good time and I trust there were 2 or 3 cases of blessing. One brother called Connor in fellowship (a soldier) once worked at our factory and he has a brother who has been there for over 17 years. Another, called Twyman corresponds with a lady who is blind called Miss Alice King residing at Hillsborough Terrace, Ilfracombe. She uses an American typewriter and is in Church of England I apprehend. What a joy it must be to the heart of Christ to look down upon that spot surrounded by heathenism and savages almost, to see how a few have been taught of God and drawn to his dear Son to find a saviour. I have hardly ever met with such unfeigned faith and simplicity and love towards one another. I made many enquiries here for Dr Mackay's brother, and heard of a recent visit, but could not find out his address. He is moving about the Punjab engaged in mission work.
In seeking him I called upon a Church of England clergyman called Day and spent some time with him in his library which was a very large one. Was glad to find that he had a real heart for the Lord Jesus and we enjoyed the little time together. I have written him since, sending some of those nice extracts from JND's writings printed by Fryer of Bristol.
At Rawalpindi I called on a soldier brother called Briggs who is under arrest for having signed a round robin to headquarters in reference to their being paid in English currency – a foolish thing for him to meddle with. He lives in liberty in his own house at the barracks with his wife, who is also in fellowship and seems a nice person. They were glad to have a visit and the brethren at Peshawar very much wished me to call if I had opportunity.
God has graciously prospered the work in all these places and I have opened or rather received good orders to be executed through various London shippers from the best firms in every place visited. One large firm at Peshawar has just opened a branch at Kabul by special arrangement made between the Ameer and Viceroy. Goods are carried in a camel train under armed escort the whole distance of 200 miles through the Khyber Pass and the store at Kabul is guarded by a few of Ameer's twofers. The danger appears to arise from the hill tribes who are not on very good terms with the Ameer it appears.
I could see the Khyber Pass very distinctly from Peshawar. The mountain range through which this only pass into India is seems close to you, but the distance actually is about 9 miles. If I had not been pressed for time I might have had an escort and gone out there.
There is a celebrated temple in this place – called the Golden Temple and after I finished the business this afternoon I went there. It was very interesting in its way, though one was made to feel the reality of the darkness. The building – a magnificent structure is all gilded outside and is surrounded by a large piece of ornamental water with white marble banks and balconies all around it and a white marble kind of bridge to the temple gate. There were crowds of poor creatures wending their way along these walks barefooted with their offerings of a few flowers mostly and as they drew near each person prostrated their bodies so that their heads touched the ground. I had to submit to having my shoes taken off, to put on a pair of cloth slippers. I went into the temple and saw the worship so called. On one side a company of priests were sitting on a carpet receiving the offerings which were all thrown upon a large cushion cover – with a crimson and gold cloth. I was much struck with the chief man – a fine intelligent-looking person dressed in white who fastened his eyes upon me as I entered and I looked pretty straight at him and seem compelled to believe that he knew the hollowness of what he was taking such a prominent part in. He continued to stare at me as I moved around – on the other sides of the floor were men also dressed in white with small stringed intruments, singing - in another corner was a person writing as if all that was done had to be recorded. If ever I earnestly desired that the true God and Jesus Christ whom He had sent should be known it was that afternoon as I looked upon that scene. What a day will soon come for this poor world when all shall know Him from the least to the greatest, but alas a day to be ushered in with judgment on those who had turned away their ears from the truth and had gone into outer darkness, more dense than that that now shrouds heathen lands. The Lord preserve us and our dear children my beloved Wife, remembering that word "We Were sometimes darkness, but now are light in the Lord, walk as children of light."
I often think of how Arundel and Harry would enjoy to see all this that I am now passing through, the densely packed cities and their magnificent gates – that at Peshawar was very interesting – every part of Asia represented. It is a wonderful sight to see them all working at their various trades. The men are mostly very tall and their faces simply grand and generally they bow to a European with a very dignified Salaam. The weather is very cold still and I am wearing my thickest clothing and do not find it too warm. Have added to my stock of bedding too, a good blanket and another rug that makes all the difference in the railway carriages by night, as well as the hotels where we get no bedding beyond the stock carried. D.V. I will add a little more to this from Patiala on Sunday or Monday.
 That is, John Nelson Darby [1800-1882], founder of the Exclusive Brethren.