South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
November 20th, 1890
My Beloved Angee,
Your welcome letter of Oct. 23rd was received yesterday and has been nearly 4 weeks in reaching me from Cape Town and I am unfeignedly thankful to hear that you are preserved in good health also our dear children. I have not heard from Harry for a long time, it must be a nice change for Emma and him to have their aunts Eliza and Eunice up with them for a while. We reached this place [a] few days ago from East London and the moving from port to port on this coast is about as unpleasant a job as I have had to encounter. Both E. London and Durban have bars at the entrance of the ports involving landing and embarking in tugs which in rough weather is very unpleasant – I was feeling poorly at E. London on leaving there and the wind and sea were very high. We had to go below on board the tug on going out to our steamer and I certainly never was in such a sea in my life as we had to go through or I may almost say to go under and scraping the ship. The basket business came into operation again to hoist us from the tug to the steamer – we were to have started an hour or two after embarking but did not get away until after a delay of 19 hours. Durban is the finest place I have yet seen in S. Africa and the English race predominate – there is scarcely a Dutch family in the district. It is semi-tropical and the first 2 or 3 days I was here I hardly knew how to keep up my head for drowsiness and we had very heavy storms of thunder, lightning and rain.
Through mercy I am feeling in my usual good health and have had great encouragement in the business. There is a small gathering here who have been expecting me for some weeks and we had a nice reading in Colossians the night after my arrival. I met the leading brother here, while at Cape Town who was returning from England with his wife, so that I was not quite a stranger. There is also a brother here quite recently out from England and came from Tunbridge Wells meeting so knew a good deal about our troubles at home. I spent last evening with this brother and the leading brother in Durban and had to put a plain question to them as to whether the meeting there had identified itself with Mr Raven's teaching as if so I certainly should not break bread with them. They assured me that they had not any sympathy with it. The Tunbridge Wells brother said how distressing it was to be in England and that he was sure the root of all the trouble was that brethren were now reasoning about the truth and about the person of Christ and the simplicity and enjoyment of them appeared to be lost by the soul. I hear from James Sobey at Cape Town and a leading brother at Port Elizabeth and it is pretty evident that South Africa will soon be put to the test. There are many of course who could follow Dr Glennie wherever he may go, but I have carefully avoided uttering a word that should weaken their affection for him, neither am I working to get followers for Mr Lowe – through mercy in the measure in which God has made His Christ and His word precious to my own heart have I sought to encourage all to cleave to Him and to hold fast His pure word in the form in which God has in perfect wisdom and grace been pleased to give it to us.
Saturday Nov. 28th (Durban)
How welcome is the return of a day of rest and gladness after all the busy work of another week is over. The regular prayer meeting was held last night and it was a real time in pouring out a heart to God in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. The six brothers present all took part in it so there was nice liberty. What a reality it is to be sustained of God and preserved in Christ Jesus week by week and this to be in His presence to wait upon Him that our souls may realise what He is for us "who spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all". How it calls forth thanksgiving and praise from our hearts. As far as my business was concerned God graciously granted much encouragement, so that His mercies above and below were made to abound.
Dear Lazarus came in just now with my early cup of tea and his heart filled up with joy. It appears that the second cook an Indian came to him last night as he was laying down and began to speak of religious things – the cook being a Catholic – they were together until nearly 3 this morning and it ended in the cook's believing on the Lord Jesus and being made very happy. It was very fine to hear Lazarus saying how he "eplained" (explained) everything to him. He is preaching the gospel continually and one is made to feel that it is coming from his heart. There is evidently a real gift in utterance and the person of the Lord Jesus fills his heart. It does my very soul good to hear him confess His name.
Mon. 24th 6.20am
Tropical heat makes it desirable to begin early so as to have the cool of the morning. I have often thought how short the days and weeks appear to get lately and with all my early rising it seems hard work to keep up with the duties that roll in every day. The Lord gave us a good day yesterday in His mercy. The morning meeting very simple and happy beginning with hymn 54 – in the afternoon we came together again for a reading and in the evening a nice company came again for the gospel. I expect to be moving on to Pietermaritzburg by another Lord's day where there is a small meeting – the brother there has kindly sent down an invitation for me to stay at his house, but this would not be convenient for my business, but it was kind of him. Pietermaritzburg is much higher than Durban and therefore cooler which will be a very agreeable change. From there I go on a few hundred miles further to a place called Newcastle. The end of the railway and from there take the ten horse coach to Johannesburg which occupies about 2 days. Then I shall have to return here again which will bring me into the new year I expect. The neighbourhood of this place is very beautiful – at one end of the town is a hill nicely wooded which is covered with Villa residence's and open to the sea breeze. It is called the Berea and bears the stamp of English character – the houses are not large but are surrounded by beautiful gardens nicely laid out and look the picture of comfort. The jubilee singers are here having a fine time of it I hear - Mr McAdoo told me a day or two ago that it was the best town they had yet visited in South Africa. They appear well behaved people. One of the passengers killed in the Taunton accident was a young kaffir boy McAdoo had taken up at Kimberly and had paid his expenses to America to be educated and trained. The Kaffirs have very fine voices and I hear that a clergyman at Kimberley was so taken with Mr McAdoo and his company that he had selected a company of Zulus & is now training them for a similar enterprise and will then take them to England. The Zulus who abound in this place are a fine noble race very superior to many of the Kaffir tribes. There are also a number of Indians here - all the waiters at the hotel where I am staying are Indians, so that I might almost think I was in India. Lazarus is quite at home and they are all very fond of him.
Your welcome letter of Oct. 26th came to hand yesterday and as always a fresh witness of grace and mercy that preserves you. I am very thankful for what you say as to Ravenism and that we are of one mind about. The anomaly for the moment is that you are surrounded by meetings swamped with it and I am among a few simple souls it has not touched and I am persuaded will refuse it if brought to them. You will see what I have written to Arundel about the matter by this mail and if you have not read Mr Ord's pamphlet I hope you will do so. It is the most sober and godly examination of the whole system that has been written and I do not wonder at Park Street being alarmed at it. They appear very zealous in judging the fruit of this corrupt tree but the root is left untouched. In the light of all the sorrow this wretched thing of Raven's & Mr Stoney's & Mr Monteath for they are the chief apostles of this new system. The Park Street notice is the worst thing spiritually I have read and they will find that their new path will become darker and darker and the fruit of a corrupt system can only be evil. However the saints in England could have been caught in such a snare is a marvel.
My business here continues very encouraging through mercy – one of the leading merchants here a Mr Jameson invited me out to tea with him yesterday – he resides at a place called Bellain about 7 miles distant in a beautiful neighbourhood. His house and grounds are a picture of tropical beauty and I walked over them with him for an hour before tea. In one part of his garden there is a Kaffir hut occupied by some of his Zuloo[sic] servants into which I crept to have a look at it and found the place beautifully clean. You can soon see their great love for beads of various colours which they weave into all sorts of pretty designs and wear around their heads and neck and arms. Mr Jameson has a nice family of 8 children and his wife was very kind. They were greatly interested in my travels. The Wesleyan minister had tea with us – he is called Cotteril and once lived at Torquay and Sidmouth – we had a nice conversation together and I was struck with many things he said, one of which was that nothing was so corrupting the churches today as human reasoning about the truth of God and it always landed in darkness and doubt. He spoke of the contrast to this in the woman of Samaria who could say come see a man which told me all things that ever I did – is not this the Christ? Her testimony resulting in many coming out with these blessed life giving soul stirring words "for we have heard him ourselves and know that this is the Christ the Saviour of the world." We had a very pleasant evening and I returned to Durban about 10 all the better for a little change. Mail day has come once more and I must now bring my letter to a close. The heat is increasing every day as the summer draws near and I have had to adopt white clothing through the day. Am glad you have gone to Barnstaple for a little to see the dear children - give them kisses for dear grandpa – I did not hear from Arundel yesterday so expect he was in London about his business. With much love to yourself my dearly beloved Angee and all our dear ones believe me once more.
Being very affectionate Husband
I shall probably cable an address in Australia in a few weeks and have instructed P.F.&Co. to advise you – you will then write me to the Post Office of any place I may give.