South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
March 2nd, 1891
Adelaide, South Australia, Monday
My Beloved Angee,
I was thankful to get your last welcome letter the day before leaving Melbourne and if any ever wish to know the joy of a letter from the loved ones at home they must go twelve or thirteen thousand miles away to know it. I have written dear Arundel by this post and was very thankful you could refer to his partial recovery from the cold he had taken.
I left Melbourne on Friday afternoon at 4.45 by the overland express to this city – a distance of about 600 miles – the train service is very good, having what they call a "Boudoir" carriage which makes up a capital bed, so that I had a fairly good night's rest through the Lord's mercy and arrived here soon after 10 am. There is a very excellent hotel and the city is a fine one though not such a go-a-head place as Melbourne. Have been out among the merchants today who have promised to come and see my samples when they are opened out which I hope to do tomorrow if I can get the fresh lot awaiting me at this post clear of the customs. I could not get a sitting room in the hotel so have taken an empty shop in a place called the arcade which I shall have to fit up as tastefully as possible. At one end of this arcade is a very fine biscuit stand displaying the manufactures of a local concern – I hear it was made for the Melbourne Exhibition but was considered so grand that a permanent resting place for it was selected in the arcade. I find there is good communication from here to Western Australia and I am thinking to visit Albany, Perth and Freemantle now that I am in these parts. The population of the whole colony is less than fifty thousand I hear, but it is now growing rapidly and will soon be more thickly peopled. Until yesterday and today I have hardly felt warm since leaving South Africa – it has been exceptionally cold for Australia, so that these latitudes are in some sympathy with those in the North which you have had a taste of lately. It was so cold a crossing of the Southern Ocean in the "Arana" that for several days while in 40 degrees South Latitude an extra lookout was kept for ice bergs. You would hardly expect such weather as that in such a southern latitude.
On the afternoon of my arrival here (Saturday) I called on one of the leading brethren who gave me a kindly greeting and mentioned one widowed sister who had recently withdrawn from the meeting because of their receiving Mr Raven's teachings – she lived 9 miles away and with her daughter kept a little school to percure[sic] a bit for bread – she knew Mr Trotter at York 40 years ago, also Mr Darby and many of the old brethren and although in advanced years is wonderfully bright in her soul and rejoicing in the Lord. It did not take her many minutes to settle the character of Mr Raven's after she read one of his own published letters. She was worth the trouble of finding out and it was no small comfort to her to have such an unexpected visitor. Yesterday Lord's day - went to the meeting sitting behind of course – there are about 70 or 80 and were very simple and evidently knew nothing of Mr Raven's special line of things. At the conclusion several brethren came over to me, some had heard of my intended visit, others remembered me at Melbourne four years ago – we had a long conversation together and I found they were a good deal exercised and did not like F.E.R.'s doctrines but appear to have been bewildered by papers. One brother who was listening has just called upon me and is very thankful the Lord had made it all plain to him and he too now withdrew and I trust many more will be given discernment of the [bad]. This dear brother has invited me to tea and will invite others to meet me one day this week. Talk of popery indeed – Rome is tolerant compared to the spirit Mr Stuart has manifested here – our boys will remember him perhaps at Mr Ellis's. I feel increasingly that the Lord has wrought a great deliverance in bringing me out of anything where His name and glory have been so tarnished. There is no need now to ask where or what is Laodicea, the deep sorrow of my heart is that dear Arundel has been caught in the snare – I have many times thought of what Harry Shapland said to me when I was at home – how he had long seen this pretentious boasting spiritual party and professed to have great abhorrence of it – where is he now – it is rather difficult to believe in the sincerity of these experiences when uttered. It is rather amusing here in Australia to see how Mr Raven's followers are saying that there may be some ground for doubting whether Mr Raven is quite sound and if they find that he is not they will put him away – well it is good to remember that word "For His mercy endureth forever" – and we who have such an abundance of it can rejoice in its going out to all the poor scattered flock of God upon this earth. Thank God that in spite of every failure His poor sheep to whom He has given eternal life and whose voice they know can still hear Him say "And shall go in and out and find pasture" – the shepherds as of old have been terribly treading it down but the sheep will know where to find it still in all its purity and freshness, even in the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever.
I do wish I could be at home a bit to get some of my underclothing repaired – the stock all wants to pass through your loving hands once more and I fancy I hear you say "Well, come home then" and I will make haste and do so and now that March has come one can begin to reckon upon the time approaching like when we were at school.
I hope you will soon have money enough to pay off the last mortgage – it must be getting close up now I should think. I shall be thankful indeed thus to have it all clear of any encumberance for our dear children and to give "Harry and Mary" a bit of head in their old years. But "all things are ours" and we are Christ's and Christ is God's" Hallelujah what a Saviour. His home our house His love our present and Eternal portion – a taste of it down here but presently its fullness when with Him and like Him. The Lord bless you very richly my beloved Angee and make your soul to sing and shout aloud – "Yes my soul He loved thee Jesus gave Himself for thee.
I will endeavour to see Mr Snell's Son when at Sydney – it is sad to hear that he so neglects to write his father – give my love to Mary and Martha when you see them again, I suppose you will have gone to Ilfracombe by this but I will still address my letters to Barnstaple as I dare say you will have arranged with Arundel to forward them during your visit. My love also to dear Eunice and Eliza and now once more with much love to you my beloved wife and our dear children Arundel and Harry and Emma and all the dear little ones whose names go up to a throne of grace every day from my heart believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband