Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia

February 10th, 1889

Bay of Bengal, Lord's day

My Beloved Angee,

My stay in Rangoon was a short but a very happy one in every way and I am now 2 days from it on my way to Penang where we hope to reach by daylight on Tuesday morning. It is the same steamer I came from Calcutta on and there is not a comfort wanting that I could desire – a nice large cabin for my separate use and weather of the finest. I do not think I told you in my last about a lady doctor who was a fellow passenger on board the steamer from Calcutta to Rangoon - a Miss Marie M. Côté – by birth a French Canadian and sent to a place called Bassene in lower Burma to the hospital there by the American Baptist Mission. An opportunity for a little conversation was given one day and I soon found she was the Lord's. Her parents are Roman Catholics so that she was brought up like the rest of the children in this church, but she became exercised and possessed of a Bible and soon found deliverance from the darkness and corruption of the system. When this came to the ear of the priest he burnt her Bible and threatened excommunication and warned the parents of her influence however she soon obtained another Bible and on threatening also to burn this he perceived that the fear of the Lord had delivered her soul from priestly terror and so he gave her up. All this separated her from home and she got into a college and studied medicine and I hear has attained good degrees. For some time she lived in Quebec and knew the brethren there very well also at Montreal where she was in fellowship with us for some time and was very interested when she knew I had visited that city and preached the gospel in the place she had often broken bread in. She has also lived in Boston and it was during her stay in this city where the path she had elected to walk in brought her into public prominence, especially it appears in connection with Temperance work, that the brethren remonstrated with her and not receiving it in the spirit in which I doubt not they gave it - she withdrew from the Lord's table and has since been connected with the Baptists. I was glad of the opportunity of a little conversation with her and the more so in finding a response to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and interest in His Word.

The bulk of our passengers on board now belong to a Miss Sherwin's dramatic company – about 7 or 8 in number – poor jaded washed out creatures they look and are not certainly seen to the best in the pure light of day. We have also two other passengers one a very high churchman who knows the Trenches in Dublin and in conversation with him about the things of God he asked me if I knew Dublin as he had met many there who held the same views. The other gentleman is the leading man in Lower Burma the manager of the British Burma Trading Company[1]. Another resident of Rangoon who knew me was on board the steamer the morning we left and introduced me to this person so that we soon got into conversation – in testing him as to the word of God he told me in a very confidential way that he had no doubt the whole book from beginning to end was written by a very clever fellow – I replied that that was impossible as there was a period of fifteen hundred years between Moses and John. After a little talk he seemed disposed to listen at any rate and then informed me that himself and another firm in Rangoon had recently built a church there and endowed it and although he did not believe the Bible he liked going to Church indeed he was most scrupulous about it not only for himself but for some 30 or 40 clerks in his office. The church they had built was a very fine structure and the archbishop had sent out from England a very eloquent clergyman who it seems had not turned out well. Singularly enough this was the man on board the "Ganges" on my first visit to the East, who after I had preached in the Second Saloon one Lord's day evening was heard to say to an ungodly man – "I say let us get up a service next Sunday and not let these fellows have all their own way" – and so he did, but the dear China missionaries had observed that he was a great drinker and it appears this evil was soon discovered after his arrival in Rangoon. The gentleman therefore that contributed largely to the building of the church was the first to leave it on finding the report was a true one. His withdrawal rather alarmed the clergyman who called and wanted to know the reason of his absence and he got a very plain one "Because I could not receive the word of God from the lips of a drunkard and that is what you are." He is now returning to England with this character. But what fearful inconsistency all the way round – fancy a man building and endowing a church who believed the Bible was the work of some clever fellow and in spite of his refusing to receive the words it contained from the lips of a drunkard. Theatre goers would not refuse to receive the words of Shakespeare from the lips of a drunkard but how God's word asserts its own claim and authority over the consciences of men as it did in this case. I found great joy of heart alone in my cabin this morning while bowing before the Lord in the thought of His own delight in the midst of His gathered ones all over the world – His in receiving it from those He has loved with an eternal love which can never find its rest until all that the Father has given Him are with Him and like Him in those mansions above.

D.V. I shall soon be getting into China now and my last two cables have given Hong Kong and Shanghai for my return addresses – I do not think it will take me so long as I expected – probably 2 months will if it pleases the Lord bring me back to Singapore again so that I may hope to touch Australia on its Northern Territory some time in May. How glad will my heart b when the time comes to see all your dear faces once more. The Lord's goodness to me is indeed very great and this especially in the way He sustains my joy in Himself so that the otherwise insupportable loneliness which would be very distressing is turned into joy. His gracious care and goodness over you and all our dear ones at home is not less great. Trust you will be refreshed in every way by your visit to London – suppose the meeting where Mr Young is will be the nearest for you. Hope you may be able to run down some day and see dear Mrs Rubie. I have not written him with any account of my travels as on a previous occasion, so I dare say they will be glad to hear something of my movements. Have you read dear C.H.M's circular suggesting a week's special prayer – I like the spirit of it and feel there is a need to be humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God. It is a deeply solemn responsibility as well as an infinite privilege to have the truth and all His wonderful counsel committed to our trust – He may well look for returns from those so highly favoured – I have long seen and felt for my own soul that the world and the love of its gold has been blighting and withering up and breaking up all those holy affections toward Himself and one another His grace and mercy seeks to form and nourish. It is indeed high time to awake out of sleep – sleep toward God and the interest of His Church and His glad tidings, but sleepless activity in the cravings after those things that are seen and temporal. Well God grant each one of us may be found humbled before Him - not waiting for others so that humbled and broken we may be able to bring something of Christ to display in a world that has and does continue to reject Him.

And now once more my dearest Angee with much love to all our dear ones and yourself and all the dear brethren – Eunice, Eliza and Mr Robertshaw believe me my beloved wife.

Being very affectionate Husband.


[1] Possibly Sir Charles Haukes Todd Crosthwaite [1835–1915] – see further here.

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