South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
August 25th, 1890
Cape Town, South Africa
My Beloved Angee,
I was thankful to get a letter from you by the last mail but it does cut my poor heart to remember the sorrow my being away from you for a season causes yours. I hope it will only be a for a little while longer as the Gracious Lord knows that I desire to do all in my power to comfort yourself especially, and all our dear children. Was glad to see a note from dear Daisy who has had her heart filled with joy I expect by the arrival of Angee and Hilda – dear children I hope the change may do them all good and I am sure dear Emma has been looking forward to it. I dare say Henry will write me about meeting troubles in England – it is a sad answer to be giving God and His dear Son and it really makes me ill when I think upon it. Such boundless love and grace, such infinite mercy and goodness to poor rebel sinners. Such sovereign gifts should surely have been enough to unite our hearts in one common Hallelujah of praise and our minds as one in judgement and desire for His glory and yet instead was there ever such discord and strife found anywhere as we are now exhibiting before God and man. Surely God's hand is upon us and He is speaking loudly to us in it but who can interpret His voice? Since my last letter I have been going on as usual – the saints have been happy in receiving the little I have been able through grace to minister and every night has been occupied – last Friday evening their large hall was well filled again. I have avoided everything of a controversial character in public ministry, but when one and another calls we talk over matters. Mr Elliott called in this morning much cheered, in that two had asked for fellowship at Wynburg yesterday, where no such sound had for a long time been heard. The interest both at Wynburg and Claremont is really most encouraging and it is as though God was ready on His part to bless in a way worthy of Himself but that the enemy stood defiantly to challenge it. A lady at Claremont called Mrs Dr Wright has opened her house for a meeting each Thursday evening I have been here and invites the well to do to tea to hear the word after – we had about 25 last Thursday evening – some in fellowship and many from the church and some unconverted, but the sole interest has been very manifest. Last Saturday a young brother just arrived from the meeting at Hammersmith was brought to my hotel by a Cape Town brother. This meeting has it appears acted in refusing fellowship with Greenwich because of Mr Raven's doctrines, so this dear young fellow is sitting outside in consequence. I had been suffering from a little disordered stomach for a day or two but on Saturday I got a sharp attack of diarrhoea so I had to keep in bed the whole of Saturday and yesterday Lord's day. Today I am better through mercy and have been able to move about a little for my business which continues to be very encouraging. After the meeting yesterday morning my bed and sample room was well filled by quite a company of dear brethren who had called to see me. The presence of the young brother from London sitting outside has its voice to them and singularly enough a steamer arriving last night brings another brother from Dr Carter's meeting in London who called on a brother soon after landing and told him pretty plainly what they thought of Mr Raven's teaching. This brother is only taking a voyage for his health and leaves again today I hear so that I shall not see him. The brother from Hammersmith understood that we too had acted at Ilfracombe but I told him that we had not done so although we had talked about it but had gone no further than stating we did not receive Mr R's teaching as the truth of God. I am thankful so far that we were kept from going further. When it becomes necessary to take the next step – if it becomes necessary at all I count entirely on the mercy and guidance of my Saviour and Lord to show me the right path – even where I may continue in His company and fellowship. The company he is pleased to have around Him will be my company, but I did not seek a company when I came out to His blessed name twenty years ago and my heart's question then and now is the same – where is He? Well my beloved Angee let us both be found seeking His face. I know how trying it is at home both for yourself and dear Arundel and I do trust you will be in perfect liberty of heart and mind before the Lord in these matters. I am free to own my deep exercise and sometimes think that the state now made manifest among us generally may be speaking of the Lord's departure from the whole thing. The meek will He guide in judgement. I would not lay any embargo upon your conscience – you know and love the Lord Jesus and His word and He will guide you aright. What I am writing about we have often talked over together and how I wish I could be at home with you now. We can both say He is good and can praise Him for all that is past and trust Him for all that's to come.
I was feeling better last night so went to the prayer meeting. One of the others suggested that special prayer should be made to God for guidance as to the troubles in England which had now touched them at Cape Town. I was not aware until at the close of the meeting that the brother from Hammersmith had presented his letter of commendation after the breaking of bread on Lord's day morning which I suppose compels them to take up the matter. I was appealed to by a brother to meet other brethren to explain the nature of the matter but I declined to do so. The brother requesting me to do this has been giving much sorrow for a long time and I can see ready enough to catch at anything that would help division. The other London brother from Dr Carter's meeting at North Row was also present last night, so that you may judge how the fire is being kindled. I am not disposed however to be adding wood to it nor will I attend any meetings for the discussion of it. It may be an easy thing to part company where no love exists, but quite another thing where there is divinely wrought attachment – alas! How little of this has been found among us – hence the enemy can make easy work in scattering outwardly when the bonds of love that should bind our hearts to Him and to one another have been weakened, starved and destroyed. I feel great sympathy for the meeting here and see there is real distress of heart before the Lord with many who I believe have a godly care for it. Of Mr Raven's new teaching they know nothing nor of the drift of things with J.B.S. and others leading up to the present state, for years past, they know nothing. They are naturally much attached to Dr Glennie and Colin Bagshaw who have been used of God to bring the truth to them and have lived the truth they have preached – all this has its weight and rightly so. Now they hear both these servants are in sympathy with Mr Raven and hence their perplexity. I have a feeling in my mind that God will make things plainer in a little while as to His mind about the general state among us in the needs[?] for bringing down His hand upon us as at this time. "As many as I love I rebuke and chasten."
August 27th 1890
Mail day once more and have only just time to say all well and in the great good news of God continue to receive much encouragement in the business. Have recovered the little attack of sickness too and now feeling in usual health. Lazarus keeps well and sends Salaams to you and everybody – his behaviour is all I could wish and he is a very great comfort and help I assure you which you can believe I know.
Tell Arundel I hope he will drop me a line often – once more I commend you all to the unfailing and unchanging care of our Saviour God – much love to you my dearly beloved Angee, dear Arundel and Harry and Emma and all the darling children and many dear friends at Ilfracombe and Barnstaple and believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband