Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
August 13th, 1888
Gibraltar on board the S.S. "Thebes"
My Beloved Angee,
I have just come on board the above ship and finding that we do not start for an hour thought I would write you before leaving. My week's stay here has been a very happy one in every way thank the Lord and it is no new experience for me that just as I find my heart getting links with the people of God, the word comes to move on to the next post. Well be it so if this is His blessed will. I told you in my last about one soldier brother I had found & that we were coming together at the little room for a teaching - well we came as arranged and he soon kindled a little fire and boiled the kettle and had a nice tea and after all was washed up and put away again we bowed together in prayer and spent about 3 hours over the 1st and 2nd of 1st Corinthians. The dear fellow was received into fellowship the Spring of this year by some Brethren from the fleet who were here from a few weeks - he is called Henry Biggs, No. 31, Private, E company, 1st Batt. Royal West Kent Regiment and I could say amen very heartily to his reception – they gave him a note of commendation which he handed to me and I gave him mine to read. Yesterday (Lord’s Day) we came together again and remembered the Lord, who gave our hearts a very precious sense of His good pleasure – we came to the room at 3 and had our tea together again and remained there until 6. I had promised Mr Holmes at the Soldiers Institute that D.V. I would preach the gospel there at 8 if my steamer did not previously arrive, so at that hour we met again and the Lord gave us a very blessed time while sounding forth the glad tidings. There was a good number of soldiers and a nice lofty room – a Dr Whitton a missionary from Morocco and his daughter were present and came down to the water side this morning to give a greeting. Just as I had finished my breakfast dear Mr Holmes the secretary of the Soldier’s Institute called and I spent an hour with him – he is a fine fellow and a godly young man, but the Lord owned His word last night in blessing to his soul and the poor fellow seemed regularly smashed up – it appears that he is connected with the Chaplain of the English church in Gibraltar and engaged as an army scripture reader as well as Secretary to the Soldiers Institute and has been exercised for a long time about his connection with the established [church]. Last night he and Dr Whitton went to the church and heard the Chaplain preach before the preaching at the Institute and I judge from our conversation this morning it will be the last time he will ever enter a church door. I felt I could only leave him in the Lord’s hands to act before Him and leave all the consequences. It may be the dear fellow never heard the gospel in its clearness and fullness before, but God has set him free in the sense of the surpassing love He has displayed in the gift of His son and that wondrous work He has accomplished on Calvary’s cross for God and for the sinner.
I trust some of the soldiers got blessing too. While Mr Holmes was outside the hotel door taking leave of me the organist I referred to in my last passed the door and we had a nice word with him again and just as he had gone another person who was present at the preaching on board the "Clyde" came across the street – he is a well-known man in Gibraltar and keeps a large canteen – held out his hand and confessed before Mr Holmes, well-known to him, that the word he had heard on board the ship had made a deep impression upon him – I said – "Well Mr Collins", for this was his name, "you brought nothing into this world and you cannot carry anything out of it and in the passage across the little brief moment of time God meets you and offers the Lord Jesus Christ and His precious blood to save you and I hope you will receive it." "I mean to", was his quick reply and he gave me some evidence in his face that he knew what he was talking about. The dear soldier brother was outside his barracks to say goodbye as I went down to the boat – he is a faithful man and loves the truth and is evidently waling in it and what a real thing for God to look down upon that place and see one heart standing for the truth as steadfastly as the rock itself.
It was very remarkable that I should have found him out and yet not so when we think of how the Lord delights to bring together here, those who are one in Him where He now is, through grace. He has given me a lot of information about Malta and other parts of the Mediterranean.
Our ship, the "Thebes", is not so grand as a P & O but it is all looking very comfortable and I hear there is an English officer going to Malta but I have not seen him yet. We call at Algiers and stay about half a day so I may be able to do some business there.
I have been feeling what a gracious answer God has given to all the many fervent prayers for me from you my beloved Angee and our dear children and many of the beloved saints. It has given my poor trembling heart great encouragement and so I go forward trusting Him for all that’s to come.
Much love to you all once more and believe me.
Your affectionate Husband