Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
December 30th, 1888
Calicut, India, Lord's Day
My beloved Angee,
My last letter was from Bangalore which I left on Thursday evening at 8, and arrived here the next day at about 4 in the afternoon. The dear brethren came to the station and did everything they could in helping me and I would much like to have remained there many weeks for the Lord's work, but I feel that the moment my business is done my path is forward and so I am very happy in any little service the Lord privileges me to take up and equally happy to pass on on the path of duty. I trust the Lord has gathered three to Himself at Bangalore, who are true in heart to His name and word, but they will evidently be tested by the presence there of a few open brethren who came to nearly all the meetings and would fain act as if there were no question between us: Colonel Woodhouse who was staying at the same hotel and knew the late General Dobby very well and his wife too (our neighbour) called at my room and came to several of the meetings at which he took part too. He is very weakly in body but seems a true man in a general way. The Madras brethren were much tried in their spirits about this, also brother and his wife who have been brought out in Bangalore and feel that we ought to speak out boldly and distinctly about it. I was greatly exercised about it too but trembled to teach it, however we laid the whole matter before the Lord before the last meeting was held. There were several present at this and Colonel Woodhouse commenced with the 6th hymn in our book and a young native brother with the open brethren prayed, before which there was a long pause and he kept very much to the subject of the hymn – the Name of Jesus and spoke in his prayer of our being gathered to His name – he is a simple true hearted young man I doubt not. On rising I said it would be well for us perhaps to go on with the subject and look into the word about it and I read a part of Matthew 18 also from the 5th of 1st Corinthians and the 10th and 11th chapters. These scriptures brought out the reality of being gathered to His name and of His presence in the midst and this not for our blessing directly but for the maintenance of His authority as Lord in connection with Godly discipline – 1 Corinthians 5, shewing the working of this – 'when ye are gathered together with My Spirit and the power of our Lord Jesus Christ' and the 10th and 11th chapters and the Table and The Supper of our Lord. I said that it could not be said in truth before God that we were then gathered to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ because if this were true in Bangalore, it would also be true if we were in Barnstaple or it was no use denying the fact that if we were in the latter place next Lord's day certain persons in that room would be with Mr Chapman's meeting while others present would be with another company whose position judged the first named meeting and had no fellowship with it. Colonel W. insisted as also the native brother that we were then gathered to the Lord's name – we on the contrary distinctly refused this and as the ground was now fairly laid for battle – a battle we had and the truth as to the positive thing was brought so distinctly that none could gainsay it and at last the opposition to it ceased, at any rate outwardly. When the meeting was over Colonel W. soon left and the native brother and a very prominent sister who had been specially active in bringing the open brethren in and we felt to swamp what was of God – however a lady, a friend of this active sister, remained and told us how thankful she was for what she had heard that night – it was all new to her – another lady among the Baptists acknowledged that while it was very much against nature what she had heard, yet she acknowledged it to be the truth of God and as such she had felt it. So we thanked God and took courage and trust that God may add to the little company gathered to His name at Bangalore – one of the Madras brethren is remaining over this Lord's day for which I am thankful.
The country from Bangalore to Calicut is very fine and I greatly enjoyed the travel although it was exceedingly hot necessitating a change of clothing in the carriage. There are fine ranges of mountains on the northern side and beautifully cultivated plains through which we passed – the paddy harvest is being gathered in and thousands of native men and women were labouring at this work in the boiling sun and excepting a piece of linen around their loins were all quite naked.
The natives of this part speak quite a different language to even Madras or Bombay so that Rana cannot understand a word they say. The town itself is one of the most interesting I have seen in India and it is also thoroughly oriental – the native huts built of bamboo and covered with the palm leaf are pictures indeed and people seem peaceful and industrious – everybody seems to have work of some sort – many drying pepper berries and cocoa nut and packing it up for shipment – there was a fine sand beach like Mortehoe only the water is deeper nearer the shore – there are scores of native craft anchored just off which makes the scene on the waterside very lively. The whole country is covered with palm and cocoa nut trees and gives it a beautiful tropical appearance very much like the Sandwich Islands. The hotel called the Imperial faces the sea with a beautiful cluster of palm and cocoa nut trees in front and is without exception the most charming spot as well as being the most comfortable I have ever seen in the world – it is built of wood with a nice verandah around and well-furnished sitting rooms in the verandah looking out upon the beautiful trees – the sand beach and the sea with all its East Indian rigged craft. Not even the Palace Hotel San Francisco suite of rooms I had can compare with what I have here and the charge is only Rs. 4 a day board and lodging. For a day I was the only visitor so that I had plenty of room and attention and how I did wish you were here to enjoy it all with me. The day after my arrival another European gentleman came and we lunched together. He is the superintendant [sic] of the Telegraph depot for all this district and a nice gentlemanly person, and a believer. On my last visit through India when at Agra I met a brother called Hare also connected with the Telegraph work there the other day heard that he was now with the Sikkim Expedition. He came to my mind while at lunch with this gentleman and I mentioned that I knew a person called Hare connected with the telegraph service and met him at Agra some little time since – he replied – that's my brother and so we became friendly – his sister too came to a reading at Agra. Mr Hare now at the hotel with me has a wife and family at Weston-Super-Mare and he does not much like the separation – He speaks nicely of his brother although an Exclusive but this one is in the Church of England.
Another very interesting circumstance connected with my visit here which I will relate. You may remember on my first trip to India one of the company I met on board the "Ganges" on the way out was a gentleman called Garthwaite, an Oxford M.A. – the Inspector of Schools for the Madras presidency and a very decided Christian with whom I had much happy intercourse and on leaving the Ganges at Suez he came into my cabin and we had a nice time of prayer together – well he gave me a letter of introduction to a brother-in-law called Gosling residing at Calicut. I had preserved the letter and on arrival referred to it and enquired of the hotel proprietor where he lived. I had not far to go, for it was the next bungalow and on calling to present the letter was soon introduced to Mr Gosling and you may judge of my joy on hearing that Mr Garthwaite was there too on a visit, also another sister of his and her husband residing at Trinchinopoly, my next place of call - well it was an expected joy for us both. In the evening I went on and dined with them and after dinner Mr Gosling asked me to read and pray with them which I did, reading John IX very distinctly. None of them except my Ganges friend are decided for Christ. I trust the Lord may speak to them and open their hearts to receive Himself. On Saturday morning Rana and I started off in a native conveyance to call upon the merchants and got promises from two of them to come down and see our show in the afternoon by which time my samples were all laid out in one of the sitting rooms. Soon after the appointed hour one of them came bringing two others with him and gave me a very nice order for which I am indeed very thankful and am made as happy with it as when dear Eliza used to count up the tins in my order book at Marlborough Road 33 years ago. The other sent word that he was busy and could not come until Monday morning. So this will keep me here until Tuesday morning. Then dear Garthwaite called in while the merchants were here and remained until after they were gone and we then at his suggestion retired to my bedroom for prayer to God together. He is connected with the Church of England and arranged to have a meeting in what is called a mission room this morning and asked me to preach the gospel. He first reads a few of the Church prayers and afterward read most solemnly and impressively Revelation XX. Well the Lord gave me boldness and liberty to proclaim His own wondrous message – there were about 50 present and I could see the interest in many faces, and can only trust the word of life may do its own work. Mr Garthwaite preaches in the Church of England this evening. We are hoping to have another meeting at the mission room tomorrow evening. Is it not coincidence how God orders things so that the gospel is preached?
You have often heard me speak of a German missionary called Hebich who had a very distinct gift in challenging any souls as to whether they were saved or not. Well I was speaking of him at a brother's house in Bangalore who lent me an account of his life and labours written by one who laboured with him and I have been deeply interested in reading it as this very place and district was the scene of his labours and the proprietor of the hotel, a native, knew him very well.
He has not many years ceased from his labours and now resting from them with the Lord. Mr Garthwaite knows many of his converts and knew him well too. The German mission has been a very successful one in this part of India, but of later years the lukewarmness that has settled down upon the churches generally has fallen upon them here and Mr Garthwaite mourns the deadness now found on all sides. The Lord in His mercy speak a quickening word yet again to wake up our sleeping hearts and to arise from among the dead that we may know His shining upon us with fresh power. The year 88 has nearly closed – one day more – how nearly the week has closed for this world – as dear Mr. Wigram once said - it is now in God's reckoning about Saturday evening – the work time nearly over and the seventh day the Sabbath of rest near at hand – the seventh thousand year of the world's history when the Prince of life shall sit upon His Throne and all creation shall be blessed under His rule and sceptre – when the present time of His patience shall have passed and the time of His manifest power shall have come. And the Spirit - and the Bride looking on to that day say Come!
Trust you have all been happy together during the holidays and shall be glad to receive your letters on reaching Madras by another Lord's day – once more my dearly beloved Angee I must close with much love to you, our beloved children their wives and little ones and all dear friends – not forgetting the dear brethren and believe me.
Being very affectionate Husband