South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
December 1st, 1890
My Beloved Angee,
I expected to have left here several days ago but the business has detained me and if I try and hurry it I spoil it. The merchants here are not like those at home where things move on in a groove all the year round. In this colony all things may be as flat as ditch water today and tomorrow all is activity, the reason being that transport by ox waggon has become a little cheaper and then up country stores buy very freely to lay in stock. This mail's indents for P.F.&Co. will be the heaviest I have ever had and I am feeling less and less inclined to leave South Africa for less remunerative ground. The past week has been uneventful – we have had torrents of rain which is so much valued by the farmers when it has been fine I have had an occasional walk in the country but I cannot describe to you the magnificent scenery all around and the beautiful vegetation that meets your eye, so unlike the barren wastes of some other parts I have visited where there is hardly a blade of grass or a green strip[?] to relieve the dreary monotony for miles. I hear that the country between this and Pietermaritzburg is very fine and we expect to leave Durban tomorrow after the arrival of the next English mail. I am very sorry I omitted to mention in my last letter which you should receive just before xmas my wish to give the children and the little ones a present from Grandpa as last year but it will be better later than never – I hope you may have a happy day together and I need hardly say how much I should like to make one of the party and to have the pleasure of carving the goose. However we must wait a little longer and in the mercy of God my worldwide travels must come to an end, I cannot continue them much longer and if I ever leave England again I shall not go without you. If I had known what South Africa was I certainly would have brought you out, it would have been very convenient to have taken a nice lodging here and there and I could have returned for a week or two at short intervals of a month or six weeks. Have many times thought how nice it would be for Eunice, Eliza and yourself and should it ever come up for consideration again for me to visit South Africa, I do think it would be a very nice change for you all and would not cost much more than living at home. This place (hotel) was the best part of the whole country.
The little gathering here have been much refreshed – our meetings have been happy and profitable and peaceful. Yesterday Lord's day was a day of gladness for all our hearts – morning, afternoon and evening. The love and excellency and glory of that dear saviour our Lord Jesus Christ seemed to shine down into all our hearts and with such an object to command and satisfy our hearts it is no wonder that we realised the double bonds of peace and love binding our hearts to one another. The Lord of peace cannot give it when such evil reasonings about himself have been not only tolerated but gloried in by the proud heart of man who thinks he can fathom the unfathomable and draws not his penny measure to measure the infinite "whose Being none can know".
Has Mr Bossen taken our house and large gardens and if so what rent is he paying. I hope there has not been any more money spent about it. I think I told Arundel this before leaving home and have not heard anything from you about the Gas company buying the property. I suppose they have not said anything more about it. I am hoping to hear some good news about Arundel's business soon as this is the time he was expecting some orders. I do hope he is getting in his book debts and getting all matters connected to get the late business cleared up as quickly as possible – I know it will take time, only in such a case I know from experience unless people are continually dunned they will not pay. I have not had a line from Harry for a long time. I would he would write me now and then. I dare say he has a busy time with the Xmas trade, P.F.&Co. sent me as a matter of information the batch of Xmas circulars sent to all their home travellers – it is quite a study I am sure to remember all of it, but Harry is young and his brain strong and vigorous not like mine nearly worn out so that it is easier work for him than it would be for me. How about Mr Robertshaws's will – has Eliza done anything in this matter yet. I notice that American Securities have been dipping a little lately - if Baring Brothers had not been able to find some friends to guarantee their millions of indebtedness we should have had a terrible national disaster in which all kinds of securities both at home and abroad would have suffered. I am often very thankful that in the mercy of God He has led me on such a plain path. So as to be free from the heavy responsibilities connected with a large business what is Mary going to do with the fish shop and house and how much has she given for it. I expect she will be tempted to extend her new business into it. You have not said anything about Raleigh so I suppose they are going on without forming it into a company. You mention about Mr S. quitting Mrs G's house and should think rather than pay the demand made upon him he would elect to marry Miss G. after all. I was rightly amused to read his letter written to Arundel with that it should be forwarded to give our reference to the meeting at Ilfracombe. Of course I am thankful to hear of any individuals or gatherings refusing the new theology of our old leaders but he knows as well as I do that at the time I left, the meeting had not expressed from the Lord's table anything beyond a word of exhortation that we had no sympathy with F.E.R.'s doctrine and believing them to be derogatory to the person of Christ and contrary to the plain teaching of the Word of God. It is quite true that our meeting on the Monday evening when Harry was present we were pretty advanced but on the Lord's day morning following I spoke to Mr. S. and said that I felt the moment was a deeply solemn one for us and he felt the same and therefore for myself I was not in the mind to take any definite and ecclesiastical action in which he was in perfect sympathy too and then he spoke referring to the meeting we had had on the Monday but that no church action was taken was proved by reading letters of commendation from Tunbridge Wells and Plaistow the same morning. If we had acted definitely I certainly should not have presented Mr McAdam's letter of commendation on reaching Cape Town.
That my sympathies were with those who were also refusing these strange doctrine was quite true and I did not conceal it anywhere nor did I know when time and subsequent developments have only confirmed my judgment that the whole system fostered mainly by Mr Stoney & Mr Monteath and most of our old leading brethren as a thoroughly evil thing subversive of the gospel and the true grace of God – wherein we stand. I go on through grace with my life in my hand from day to day and am quite happy to leave all in the Lord's hands – I know to expect if I come within the reach of his ecclesiastical tyreways[?] of his new school – and perhaps I am within their reach – only I will not bow to their golden image whatever the result may be and as long as I am convinced it is what it is a huge man constructed religion with a high sounding name I will by the help of God not cease to raise my voice against it. Mr Stoney's letter, a copy of which Arundel sent to me last week has opened my eyes to the whole thing - there is no obscurity about it now. In the grace of God Mr Kelly was used of Him to untangle in my mind that which is always a difficulty to us naturally. The question of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. Calvinism and Arminianism so-called. The word God is one in Galatians settled my difficulties 20 years ago and they settle them today. If any salvation was ever built on anything short of God's pleasure and the atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ can lost[?]. Thank God for His sovereign mercy and grace revealed in His word and thank God for all the warnings He gives for our consciences – I will take them as God in His wisdom has given them and not in the wretched way in which man has always subverted them so as to make a creed and a party of one side of the truth as is now done.
Well I must close my letter – keep yourself in the love of God my beloved Angee and look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life and as your soul enjoys this for yourself you will be able to encourage others to do the same. Much love to dear Arundel and Harry – Emma and all the dear little ones and all our dear friends at Ilfracombe and Barnstaple and with a double portion for yourself believe me my dearly beloved wife.
Being your affectionate Husband
P.S. Dec. 2nd 6.30am
Packing up this morning for the next stage – the merchants here have been very kind – one of them sent me a larger order yesterday with a remark that if it was any comfort to me he might say that it was given entirely as the result of my visit. Mr Jameson who invited me to his house last week kindly gave me letters of introduction to several leading firms in various parts of the Transvaal calling me his friend Mr P. and wished that I should write to him from Johannesburg to say how I got on – he would be glad to hear was it not very kind of him – I told him he was like a father. I know it will make your heart glad and the dear boys to hear of the great goodness and grace God in mercy makes to abound.