Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
February 26th, 1889
French Packet "Sehalien" near Hong Kong
My Beloved Angee,
I hear a P&O steamer with mails for Europe a few hours after we reach Hong Kong so avail myself of the opportunity of writing. We left Saigon early on Monday morning so had no time for any business call – the Sunday we were there was a fearfully hot day, in the afternoon especially so - I did not leave the ship and was a little cheered to find two souls on board who would listen to the truth – a young person called Alice Gore going to Hong Kong as a nursery Governess in the family of a wealthy Jew – she is from London and once enjoyed a sense of the Saviour's love but owns she had lost it – she seems a nice well-behaved person and I trust has been helped a bit. The other is a very interesting young Japanese nobleman whose father is a minister of state under the Emperor of Japan and until recently ambassador at Berlin – this youth is about 18 and has been in Germany for his education and for some time past in London – he was converted to Christianity about three years ago and I think must have fallen in with some of the brethren in London having a few of George Cuttings, Safety, Certainty &c. among his papers and he appears to have understood from the Word that the sects are all wrong from the scattered position they are in. He seems to be a very diligent student of the Scriptures which he reads mainly from a German Bible but also carries an English version. We spend many hours a day over the Word and in conversation and I doubt not there is a real work of God in his soul. His father has told him that if he has received Jesus Christ from a true conviction that He is God, he the father is very glad but owns that he is not thus convicted – on the other hand his mother is very angry with him and he is their only child. He lives at Kobe near Yokohoma and has given me his card and hopes I will call upon him. How blessed to see God thus working for the glory of that worthy name and to make known the infinite value of that finished work Jesus has accomplished on the Cross. The dear youth seems only to have one thought filling his heart and mind what can he now do for the One Who was so kind to him an expression he often uses. He speaks of the Northern Island of Japan and has a great desire to carry the gospel there. He has not yet been baptised and I have been showing him the importance of it and offered to baptise him.
These two young souls have given my heart comfort, but it has had some sorrow to taste too in conflict with the Ritualistic Clergyman and referred to in my last. A few evenings ago at the close of the dinner he addressed the doctor of the ship and a few other gentlemen loud enough for all at the table to hear him saying that some 50 years ago a man called Darby sprung up who thought he knew everything about the Scripture and founded a sect and then pointing to me by his side said that I was one of his followers. We had conversed very freely through the day and I did not flinch from uttering what I knew to be the truth and I could see that he felt it sometimes – well when he had finished I also spoke pretty distinctly too and said that about the same time a man called Pusey sprang up and became the leader of what is known as the Ritualistic party and pointing to the clergyman said that he was one of his disciples – both were undoubtedly very special men – one of them [said] Mr Darby not satisfied with the state of things around him in the church looked into the Word of God and saw what the Gospel and The Church really were as revealed in the Scriptures of truth – the other Dr Pusey on the other hand heard what the fathers have to say and probably never distinguished between Judaism and Christianity – the one system having a vail[sic], the other a rent vail[sic] – this gave me the opportunity of preaching the gospel and exposing the sinful character of that system Dr Pusey had returned to. I was emboldened to speak out earnestly and solemnly and it may be God will give His word entrance into some heart that heard it. After this we returned to the deck and I was sitting in my chair alone when the clergyman came up in the most furious rage like a madman and railed in fearful language upon me. The Lord graciously kept my spirit and I did not open my mouth in reply and he then walked away. He had once said when speaking of water baptism in John III that if it did not mean being born again he would curse the book – it was made very manifest to my mind the awful character of not only that or any other system that shuts out the light of the glorious gospel. Well may the apostle say "If our gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost" – I do hope however God may be pleased to give the poor man exercise and grant him deliverance from a system that so dishonours Christ and His finished work.
In the mercy of God it has turned out for the furtherance of the gospel and since then I have spoken to nearly all the saloon and second class passengers.
We are having a very fine passage thus far in Chinese waters and I am glad to hear that this season is considered the best part of the year for visiting China and Japan. I hope God may be pleased to prosper the business in the various places I may call – I always feel a measure of anxiety about any new country as it would not be pleasant to think of, all the cost connected with the travel if there were no returns for the expenditure. But I count upon the same goodness that has hitherto guided and prospered the work.
I do hope the next mail to Hong Kong may bring tidings that you have recovered from the cold you have so long suffered from – I will address this letter to Harry's as I suppose you will be there by this time – God grant that your visit may be for much blessing in every way – I hope you may see some of the saints about London during your stay. And now once more with much love to Harry and Emma and Eunice and the darling children and a double portion for yourself believe me dearly beloved wife.
Being very affectionate husband.