Gibraltar, India, Malta
March 23rd, 1890
My Beloved Angee,
Lord's day morning has come round again and finds me here once more. Our dear brother Blake from Madras came up with me on Friday night and he is staying with a Mrs Margineau his mother in law who is in fellowship and at whose house we purpose breaking bread this morning. There has been a little company here gathered to the Lord's name for some time, since my last visit indeed but they have been troubled and broken up through a brother and his wife coming among them from another part of India with a letter of commendation too, but have now turned against what they call exclusives and have spread a table on open ground at which the open Brethren who were here before him broke bread. However all except this brother and his wife have remained true to the Lord and are still desiring to remember the Lord in the appointed way and according to the truth of God. I noticed a few of these open people on my last visit and did not like their honey talk. I had a busy day yesterday among the merchants and was much cheered to find many were going on with our goods and receiving fresh supplies constantly – I have appointments with several tomorrow and intend leaving again in the evening for Madras. The weather is very hot here just now although the nights are beautifully cool so that one can get a good sleep which is a great benefit and mercy and is more refreshing and comforting in a hot country like India than in a colder climate. We had rather a remarkable meeting at Madras last Thursday evening for educated natives in what is called the Evangelistic Hall. There were about 150 or 200 present mostly young men – Hindus, Mohammedans but on being educated it appears their own religion comes to the ground and they conclude that all religion is equally false and so they become for the most part full blown infidels. I was advised not to attempt any singing, but knelt down in prayer to God before I commenced to speak with them. There was not the smallest idea of anything approaching reverence or respect and they sat and many continued laughing and mocking. I read Isaiah 45 – "a just God and a Saviour" and pressed that this was the only living and true God and the only God Who could save. This was Jesus Christ of Whom all the Prophets witnessed and now since His death and resurrection the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven witnessed too. For the first ten minutes they were very restless and many walked out, but others continued coming in. I had never before faced such mockers and despisers of the words of salvation and I warned the laughers especially that there would be more of that in hell from which place of torment the true God desired to save them. I was led to press God's decree that every knee would have to bow to Jesus and all therefore in that Hall must face Him either today to find a Saviour or in the day of judgement to find a judge. After a while they became a little more sober and some seemed to pay much attention. At the close of the meeting one young fellow came up and in a proud haughty spirit remarked that I did not appear to understand the Indian mind and they had expected a lecture on the divinity of Christ. I replied that my object in calling them together was not to discuss the divinity of Christ but to tell them for God that they were sinners and that the only remedy God had for sin was the Blood of Christ and that God in perfect love to His rebellious creatures now had given His own Son to suffer and to die for him that he might be saved in a righteous way. If ever I felt the curse of education apart from the knowledge of the True God and Jesus Christ Whom He had sent it was last Thursday evening – it is as God's word declares "knowledge puffeth up" and these poor creatures were just filled with pride and conceit. There was a kind of Bradlaugh[?] present – a hindu champion as an infidel and as I went out of the Hall this man had gathered a group of perhaps fifty around him. Well it only made me feel that nothing short of God's own power can ever bring a rebel sinner down at the feet of Jesus – I was thankful for the opportunity of preaching the gospel and can leave it with God knowing that it shall not return to Him void and the day will declare if any received the truth in the love of it that might. Bradlaugh is worshipped by these people and his writings abound. I have often often[sic] heard gentlemen speaking of the following of Government in giving all this high class education and it is these people as a rule that are manifesting all this radical spirit of rebellion against the government and want that India shall be ruled by Indians. Well it does not matter where poor man is found or however he may be cultured he remains a rebel against God.
Bangalore, Monday morning, Mar. 24th
It is now about an hour after midday and I have just come in and am thankful to get a little shade from the fierce heat outside. Through the day it is as hot as Madras without the sea breeze which is a great comfort. How different all this to the climate you are in. Should much like to drop in and see you in your new abode and I quite expect you have with your proverbial skill and long experience made it very comfortable – I do trust and have prayed that God may have graciously preserved you from being unduly affected by the influenza – I hear of it now as spreading on all sides of India, but it is said that the heat prevents its causing the mischief it otherwise would. Shall be glad to reach Calcutta now, where I expect to receive your next letters and hope I may hear good news of your health. We had a day of rest and gladness yesterday through mercy and it is sweet indeed to get a day among a few of the saints. They tell me here I am much thinner than I was and not looking so well. I often wonder how any flesh remains on my body as I do not get while travelling half my ordinary food and the want of sleep and the continuous night travelling and increasing years have made me feel weary indeed. I must confess that I am getting rather tired of it.
You say, in referring to the group that I am the old man of the company – well I was the senior in years although Gen. Haig is not much behind me, he saw his 55th birthday last year because they are compelled to retire from active service on reaching that point. Shall be quite glad to get on board a steamer again. It will be quite a long voyage from Calcutta down to the Mauritius. I see this island is about as much South of the Equator as Calcutta is North of it. I hardly know yet what port on the East Coast of Africa I shall touch first after leaving Madagascar, but suppose the firm with the map before them in the office may propose just calling at Zanzibar and Mozambique on the way down to Natal.
Madras, March 26th
Returned from Bangalore yesterday morning and find it much cooler here than there – had a very busy day and much encouragement in the business – the largest firm in Southern India giving me a nice open order and acknowledging that they got enquiries for our goods sometimes. In the evening we had a reading at dear Blakes's again and found it good and comforting for our souls to get around the word of His grace. We have had a Hindi present at many of the readings who owns that he is exercised. My steamer was to have started for Calcutta today but her departure is delayed until tomorrow. I sent P.F.&Co. a cable yesterday with return address "Mauritius" which you will soon receive from them and be wondering I expect what part of the world that may be – my next address will be Tamatave which is the principal port of Madagascar. Your regular weekly correspondence will be interrupted now for a while as I really have not the remotest idea of any address to give except Natal and it may be months before I reach that. However, I will send cable on arrival at any port with some address so that you shall hear of my being well which is understood unless the contrary is stated. I shall be glad to get letters at Calcutta to hear how you are getting on and I do trust you have not suffered much from the influenza and that Emmie too has escaped. Trust also dear Arundel is getting strong again and that all the dear children are well – you will have plenty of constant visitors I expect, how much I should like to be home too that I might have some nice long walks with them again. You must cheer up my beloved Angee, the few months more of the journey will soon pass. Our hearts' can both sing of the mercy and goodness of our God and Father – the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who died for us and Who lives for us and delights that we should have part with Him even in this poor defiled world through which we have to pass. Hope dear Harry and Emma are well and that God's work of grace in them may be brought to perfection. Now with much love to your dear self and all our beloved children once more and commending you all to a Father's love and care believe me my dearly beloved wife.
Being very affectionate Husband
Kind love to Emmie and Eliza and Mr Robertshaw and all our dear friends in Barnstaple – Mary and Martha &c&c.