Gibraltar, Algeria, Malta, Egypt, India, Burma, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea, Russia
May 23rd, 1889
The Yang Tsee Kiang River, China
My Beloved Angee,
In my last from Shanghai I had only just a moment to acknowledge your four weeks letters and my heart does indeed abound with thanksgiving to our ever gracious God and Father for His great goodness and care over you and all our beloved children. It is a great comfort to hear from dear Harry and Emma that you are so much better – your own letters too confirming this. You would have been amused to have seen the mail delivered to me at the Shanghai port office last Saturday afternoon. It represented four weeks correspondence it is true but compared with our modest deliveries of one or two at home it seemed big and was made very bulky with papers lists and various packages of samples. While sitting down quietly in my bedroom reading those from home, dear Mr Hunter called asking me to preach the gospel again on Lord's day evening at the Masonic Hall which I felt quite happy in doing. The place was well filled again and one young lady brought by a sister who was a believer found Christ for her Saviour and I trust much blessing was given. There is a good deal of this now eternity heresy abroad and in speaking from Isaiah 45 "a just God and a Saviour" I spoke in the plainest language about this matter. One of the dear American missionaries afterward expressed his thankfulness that God had sent someone to China with good broad shoulders to speak so plainly. The next day was a very busy one in receiving and rearranging my samples and looking after many little matters of business and all my stuff was packed up again and put on board the large river steamer I am now a passenger by bound for Hankow about 600 miles from Shanghai. Mr & Mrs Hunter had kindly invited me to tea, so when my baggage left the hotel for the steamer I went to their house and was made very comfortable again having previously on leaving Shanghai for Japan started from their house as I was now doing. We had a quiet time from 6 to 8 over the tea and a nice conversation and it was then I heard of the blessing God has graciously given with His word on the previous evening – the ladies having called in the afternoon to tell them the joyful news. Mr Hunter had invited many to a reading at 8 and his room was packed and the young convert and her sister were also present. I went over those few simple thoughts from John 3 to 10 you heard me speak from at Devonport I think and all seemed to enjoy the tenth – all the leading brethren of this little Baptist company were present with many of their wives and from the first I have felt much drawing of heart toward them – they seemed bright in their souls toward the Lord Jesus and love His word and I have felt in spirit they are separated to God but not intelligently so and this I told them after the meeting when a conversation about brethren and their differences ensued and many close and pointed questions were put to me which led to some very plain talking for which I am thankful and can now leave them in His hands who has in His infinite mercy shewn us a right path in the midst of the ruin and can show it to them too, but alas! When it becomes a question of following a rejected Christ the heart even of a believer is tested to the bottom.
The Lord knows the need and He may lead some brother to Shanghai and sure I am there are many of His beloved saints there who if they saw His mind in the Scriptures would be found loyal to that precious name and prepared to own its sufficiency as a gathering centre. I left about 10 and went down to the ship and soon turned in to rest. We steamed away at midnight so by rising time in the morning we were some sixty miles away. Some parts of the river are exceedingly fine – rich vegetation seems to abound and most of the hills are covered with green – it is a mighty river indeed running its course into the ocean about 4 or 5 miles an hour – very muddy and filled with vegetation in the way of broken shrubs and straw – our steamer is very powerful making about 10 knots an hour against the current. We stopped for about 2 hours yesterday afternoon at a place called Chin Kiang where they had serious riots a few months ago – I went ashore and called upon a Chinese dealer who was not at home and purpose calling again on my return – there is not one hotel at any port in the river so that if I stay a night shall have to test the hospitality of the missionaries – I have an introduction to one of the leading men of the London Mission at Hankow called Dr Griffith John. This is the great tea market for China and a lot of vessels are now going up to load there for London direct. I am purposing to leave this letter at a place called Ku Kaing which we hope to reach in the morning and remain until the evening giving me nice time for the business.
Arundel appears to write in good spirits and reports that people generally regards his new enterprise as a good one – I trust it may prove to be so – his family will soon make a perfect number for muster – hope the little change dear Harriett is having with her aunt will be beneficial to her health. The news from Stratford is very distressing and enough to crush Sarah and the dear child – I have prayed for them and was thinking we might send Angie a trifle a little help – you are at liberty to draw from my bag whatever you are happy in giving and if you write as you probably will express my great sympathy for them in this deep trial – it is very sad too to hear of Mary's trouble with the Telfers. How often I do bless God to be born of parents who taught me in early days to work as well as to be brought up in tender years in the fear and admonition of the Lord and am thankful too that our dear boys are working with their hands the thing that is good and that God has given them good wives and dear children – I never cease to pray for them that they may be saved from pride and every hateful thing and ever be found among the lowly and humble minded of this world doing that which is right in the sight of God and man.
Much love to dear Harry and Emma whose letters I will soon answer D.V. – also to Emmie and am glad to hear her eyes are better and a double portion for yourself not forgetting the dear children and believe me my dearly beloved Angee.
Being very affectionate Husband
PS - Very glad to hear dear Box and his wife have been up to see you and that Mr Box is much better.