South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand

October 30th, 1890

East London, South Africa [1]

My Beloved Angee,

You see I am moving on around the coast of this vast country and the day of arrival in a fresh place is generally the experience of fear and trembling and weariness occasioned by all the din and discomforts of our embarkation and a landing. I was ready to leave Port Elizabeth on the 27th and we were at the jetty with all our baggage at the appointed hour in the morning to take the tug to the steamer laying off. It was blowing very hard with a high sea running so that the boat would not venture and we returned to the hotel to wait the prospect of better weather the next day. The mail steamer having to wait too. The next morning was fine and the sea fairly calm. Three of the dear brethren and the wife of another who could not come accompanied me to the boat, the grace of God and the love of Christ had drawn our hearts into the divine realities of fellowship and through the goodness and mercy of our God, I move on commended by the brethren. Our fine steamer the "Trojan" belonging to the Union Company left Algoa Bay (Port Elizabeth) about 5 pm and in twelve hours we were off East London after a very calm passage. The tug came off for the passengers about 7 am and it was a scene indeed, first to drop all the baggage down in baskets and then the human freight. I thought of the Apostles being let down by a basket and a similar experience awaited me. I saw others undergoing the operation and knew that my turn would come. Two lads got in first and when my bulky presence made the third it was rather hard for the two youths and I reminded them that it was a happy assortment – certainly it was so for one if not for them. I saw Lazarus whose turn was yet to come laughing heartily at massa's cage, but the word was given and we were first hoisted up and began to spin like a top, then our descent commenced and finished up with a thud on the deck of the tug and we were soon in liberty again. There is quite a nice river here running up for miles called the Buffalo and the part of it near East London is not unlike the Dart. Well we were soon comfortably settled in the hotel and I was quite ready for breakfast after which I started off to give a call and leave a card on all the merchants. The first man I called upon had a nice kind face and I said inwardly I shall get an order from him and so it came to pass this afternoon when he gave me a nice indent for about 30 of our best kinds. Others gave a kindly reception so I hope East London will be fruitful for my worthy firm as all other places in South Africa have been. There is no gathering here but Mr. Elliott who was here recently gave me the names of a few Christians interested in the truth – one of these I have called upon and he has arranged for a reading tomorrow evening when about a dozen will be glad to come he says.

Nearly all the brethren at Port Elizabeth came together last Monday evening to read Mr Ord's pamphlet and are much concerned at the evil of Mr Raven's teaching and that of his party and are amazed how any brethren could be deceived by it now that God has so clearly manifested its evil character. I took no part in it, they read it among themselves making their own comments and so seriously do they regard it that they have arrived at a judgement so they informed me the next morning that any now coming from England would be requested to sit back.

They have sent Mr Ord's paper to Mr Elliott for the Cape Town brethren to read with an intimation of their judgement about it also brethren at Uitenhage who were also present. I asked them in the face of their judgement what about myself having just come from England – their reply was that they did not consider the evil had been made manifest at the time I left England and they were perfectly happy in commending me. They still think that Mr Lowe and others increased the difficulty for those at a distance in spreading another Table but can now quite understand the difficulty they were in while seeking to resist and to refuse such a Christ dishonouring system of doctrine. Dr. Glenney had spoken a little about new birth and eternal life to them before leaving but they refused it and he has not said or written a word about it since his departure.

I have received a long letter from Major Jacob who has gone with Raven but I am sure he does not suspect what the evil character of it really is and I have written to him about it. Received a budget from young Saunders there who has apparently ceased to be the simple evangelist and has now become a Dr. of Theology. Another leading brother in Calcutta also writes me who is not satisfied with Mr Raven's new teaching. I hope Mr Ord's paper may be owned of God to deliver many in Barnstaple who evidently have not suspected Satan's character as an angel of light greedily picking up the grains of truth thrown around the sin, thinking they had something new and were unconsciously enfolded in the coil of the serpent from which God alone can now deliver them. I have certainly never seen in my time such an arch deceiver as Mr Raven is according to his own printed statements. If he had been contending for the truth of God he would not have needed to write so obscurely and to fence and guard and equivocate as he has been doing for years. Mrs Wilkins, I suppose, in one of her questions asks have all believer's eternal life? – Yes is his answer to her. To Mr  Barker who puts the questions a little more closely he replies that Eternal life is not imparted to the believer. He may well say so because for him it is a sphere and how can a sphere be imparted. It would be just as great folly to say that Adam could enjoy as a creature the garden and trees in Eden the Lord had planted without eyes to see it and so with Eternal Life and its sphere where Christ sitteth at God's right hand how could I possibly enjoy it had not God given me Eternal Life so that I can look, not inwardly at my blessedness (that is Satan's religion) but outside myself to that dear Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ in whom God displays to my soul as an object, the true character of that Eternal Life or new nature He has given to every poor perishing sinner believing in Jesus. I am very thankful you have been preserved in the midst of it all my dear Angee and I quite count upon God, soon to hear that dear Arundel is clear of it too and indeed all others for it is a fearful thing to fall under Satan's power as an angel of light to be deceived in that which should be the sole concern of every redeemed one – the glory of that blessed one who came down so low to reach us in our misery and sin – gave Himself for us and His precious Blood to wash away our sins and make us meet for the light as God is in the Light.

Nov. 1st

I had some good indents in the business here yesterday and found the merchants very kind and homely. A gentleman in one of the offices was telling me that on my first call one of the young fellows said – Hollo! Here's a Barnstaple man – why it's Mr Petter. Subsequently I had a chat with him and found that he had formerly lived with John Seldon – his name is Symons – his father lives at Ilfracombe and is in business with a man called Miner I think it is. We had quite a nice little company to the reading last night at a private house – mostly believers among Wesleyan and Presbyterians – one of them an elder and apparently a godly man. At their wish we read John 14 and all enjoyed the time. D.V. we have a meeting for the gospel in the same room tomorrow Lord's day evening. Thus you see the gracious Lord opens doors for a little service for His name and what joy it is just to take it up in simplicity and faith knowing His pleasure in those who keep his commandments. I am expecting my English letters here today or tomorrow but must close this before they arrive. Let me hear how meeting matters go on, I trust Mr Ord's pamphlet will be used of God for the deliverance of thousands. I think I told you last week to address my letters to Post Office, Durban, Natal until further notice. Lazarus gets on nicely and people at the hotels are kind to him – he soon makes friends. Harry's old suit has been washed several times and comes out like a new suit every time. We expect to move on by rail in a day or two to King Williams Town, Queenstown, Aliwal North and am thinking to visit Bloemfontein the capital of the Orange Free State before returning here to take the steamer again to Natal. The Lord's good hand cover you for good day by day and with much love to dear Arundel and Harry and Emma and all the dear children believe me my dearly beloved Angee.

Your very affectionate Husband


[1] Map from 1885

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