South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
June 28th, 1891
My Beloved Angee,
We arrived here from Auckland at midday and being Lord's day found everything very quiet – our baggage rests quietly on board the ship until tomorrow morning except the few small things in use which we were able to bring away. The voyage has been a very pleasant one and a little under 8 days. I have very pleasant reminiscences of the "Manapoari" and her worthy Captain Logan with whom I made a short trip four years ago from Wellington to Lyttleton. He is about as bright a witness for Christ as I have ever met in these parts and at that time we spent a happy evening together in his cabin and talked over our common joys and hopes as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and you may remember my referring to him. He had not forgotten me and it was a mutual pleasure to see each other's faces again. We have had meetings in his cabin every morning at 9.30 and evening at 8.30 for reading the Scriptures which has generally been filled to the utmost capacity and the Lord has granted us a time of much blessing and refreshment. Some little time since some scoffer who was voyaging with him, but of great worldly influence reported to the Directors of the CM that the Captain's meetings were a nuisance on board – so he was taken to task by some of the Directors about it – his answer to them was rather than give up the rights to the precincts of his cabin to hold meetings whenever convenient to do so that he would give up command of the ship and he has not heard any more objections since. Our vessel was crowded in every part and I feared at first we should have an uncomfortable time of it, but we soon shook down into our places. There are two weeks' letters waiting for me at the P.O. which I hope to receive in the morning. I must, however, begin yours at once as the English mail goes out tomorrow about midday. I enjoyed my stay at Auckland and had a very happy and encouraging time with the little company I was privileged to have fellowship with – Mr & Mrs Pearce too at the hotel were exceedingly kind and came down to the wharf to give a parting greeting.
Monday June 29th
Have just received my English letters &c. among them yours of the 30th April & May 14 & 21 – a good budget which I have just read over hurriedly and am very thankful to hear that you are all well – I hope your little cold is better by this time. After writing my first part of this letter yesterday I visited a brother a few miles in the country where I met many others who remembered me on my previous visit and in spite of the wreck and desolation Mr Raven's new doctrine have everywhere caused I found a little company still clinging to the truth long known and cherished who gave me a hearty welcome. They were not expecting me until July 1 so I took them by surprise. In the evening I preached the gospel from John III 14 to 16 and we had a feast all round. The more I see of Ravenism the more thankful I am to be delivered from such a fearful snare of Satan. But it is not more Mr Raven than Mr Stoney and his company who are all involved in it. God has exposed it thoroughly in His mercy and an awful responsibility now lies at their door as to the nation of Israel after Stephen's testimony to their state before God. I continue to pray for them and while feeling very deeply the fearful wickedness of the spirit working in this new school – the fruits of which are so unmistakenable[sic] especially in untruthfulness among them – yet it is very serious to think of them being given up to such a snare and blinded as to its true character.
I believe spiritual pride is at the bottom of it all. If it had been truly of God and Heavenly truth surely it would have borne a Christ like stamp upon it. I hear that Unitarians in England are rejoicing that their principles or doctrines are now spreading among dissenters and Brethren. They may well say so I am sure. It has served to make that blessed Saviour and His Word dearer to my heart than ever and no matter how deep or great the blessing, which in sovereign mercy and grace is given to us, even this must all rebound to His glory and praise who alone is worthy. I read a paper of Mr Reynolds yesterday defending Ravenism and as usual assailing those who have been used to expose its evil character. I never read a greater piece of sickening transcendental mysticism in my life – very scientific and the "drapery" as J.B.S. once called it very effective to shew off this new style of theology.
Well, I must bring my letter to a close, if you were to see the heap of work I have got before me I think you would have some compassion, but I must face it. Should have written on the voyage, but the rolling of the ship made this too difficult a task. The excitement of an election is filling this place – the poor world is running its course – what a mercy to be delivered out of it and while in it to be kept from the evil – our citizenship is in heaven thank God from whence also we look for the Saviour who will complete His work as to our bodies. Glad to hear all the dear children are well and that you are able to help them a bit. Once more with much love to you my beloved Angee and all our dear ones believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband