South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
January 10th, 1891
Cape Town, South Africa
My Beloved Henry,
I had intended going to Australia via Madagascar and the Mauritius from Natal but found it more desirable to return here and join one of the New Zealand steamers direct to Hobart. I have been here about a week and D.V. hope to leave on the 20th inst. Ravenism has ripened in this place since I left last September and soon after my arrival a brother challenged me pretty roughly as to my present mind about the matter and I told him very emphatically I received the definition of eternal life from my Bible and utterly rejected those taught by F.E.R. I felt the moment had come when I must face the question Mr Elliott called upon me having probably heard of the conversation with this brother and I told him the difficulty it had placed me in. Of necessity it has been a moment of deep soul concern and exercise for me, but I have weighed it all before God and am happy in my mind to leave all the results with him. I enclose a copy of the letter I handed to one of the leading brethren on Friday evening and I talked over the whole case with him and his wife for some time – one brother (H. Mackenzie) walked out the morning the letter of commendation was read from Plaistow first giving his reasons and withdrawing on the ground of II Timothy "Let everyone that noweth[sic] the name of the Lord depart from iniquity" his wife has since withdrawn too and there is a dear young brother called Kerkham here also who spent last evening with me at Mr Hoopers house and who I trust will get clear. Mr Sobey has left this place for another further up the coast and he has written me saying he cannot go with F.E.R.'s teaching and I have sent him a copy of Rockford Hunt's excellent paper.
I spent a few hours with two of the leading brethren at Port Elizabeth on my way down the coast and I shall send them a copy of my letter to the brethren here. A great effort is made through Champney's & Gipp's papers to discredit Mr. Ord's pamphlet, but the admission this brother makes of whom Mr. Ord's paper refers to, that what he did say was that eternal life was not conferred on Messiah as such who dies, amounts to pretty much the same thing. It is all of a piece and all the outcome of the corrupt doctrines that have been sown broad cast for a long time. W.T.T.'s wanting to connect these inseverant[sic] statements with the low state of brethren and not with the doctrine is a poor thing indeed - I suppose according to this E.C.'s letter and its blasphemy was the result of a low state and it surely was only he certainly did not think so nor his friends. I know that Melbourne has accepted Greenwich. Mr Pollock's little paper is very good and will be helpful – please send me a dozen of them to Post Office Melbourne and any other matter of interest that may be of service. I received your last letter and also one from each Blackmore and Sanch to whom I will write soon – if anything has been issued clearing up the point so specially attacked in Mr Ord's paper let me have some. Is Barker going on with F.E.R.? I have sometimes feared whether his paper "Simple testimony" may not hold him, but I trust with all that he has proved for himself of F.E.R.'s teaching and preservation that he may be found faithful to Christ – where is Capt. Barton now?
Yesterday was a memorable day in my history and I felt the reality of being on a path I had not trodden heretofore – I hear that my letter was not read to the meeting but that it was announced that I had withdrawn from fellowship and was no longer at the Lord's Table. This was to be expected. The brother who withdrew when they received the letter from Plaistow – Mr Henry Mackenzie and the young Kerkham came to my room in the morning and we bowed together before the Lord owning our common sin and failure and our hearts were deeply comforted in reading and meditation Psalm CVII. He made us taste His goodness too before the day was over and how the cry of His redeemed reach His ear and touch His heart today as much as in a day long past or as they will in a day near at hand. In the evening we met at H. Mackenzie's house and I was glad to find there were a few who were exercised about these troubles who came also and I trust are clear. Mr Elliott had asked me rather sarcastically during the week - was I going to take up with Mackenzie – I replied that I was not concerned about a company – my part was to refuse the evil that had been admitted and God would look after the company and I had no doubt that I should find a few with whom I could have fellowship. So it was and on the Lord's day evening there were 10 or 12 at Mackenzie's house and we had a real time together – singing hymn 142 to begin with and 31 in appendix to finish with.
I believe the Lord will have a company of true hearts to Himself in Cape Town – indeed they were manifested last night. Every effort has been made to keep the saints in ignorance of the truth and nothing has been too bad to say of Mr Lowe and others at Ealing who were said to have gone out and to have left the Lord's table. It has been a remarkable ordering of my steps that I should have been brought back to Cape Town just at this juncture as I had no thought of the question being raised, but I am thankful now that it has. I have counselled Mackenzie and others to go on quietly with the word of God and prayer and not for the present to break bread, but to seek to help others as the Lord gives opportunity. I dare say Mackenzie will write to Major Mcarthy from whom he recently received a new letter.
Please give my love to dear Mr Lowe and all at Ealing also beloved Mr McAdam if you see him – do write me often to Post Office Melbourne.
Through the goodness of God my business all through S. Africa has been prospered beyond any previous experience and D.V. I purpose returning here again by about June to revisit the leading places.
With much love to dear Zoe and yourself believe me my beloved Henry.
Being affectionate brother in Eternal Life bonds,