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p308 [J G Deck] DEAREST BROTHER, - Though I have with others received accounts from New Zealand and from you, it is now a good while since I have had any direct correspondence, and I write not with any special object, but that you may know I do not forget you all. I know not whether I shall ever get to New Zealand. Our accounts are happy thence. . . . I suppose Mr. - is leaving or has left. His having been so long in the Island makes me feel the call less urgent to go there, and in many respects he would be of more use than myself. I am too much on great general principles, and deal too little with people.
I came here, though I thought I had done with these parts, because the last time I was here I found the doors opening among the Americans. The difficulty is that a diligent effort has been made to disseminate the truths we have been taught so as that people should have them, and not act on them - remain where they are. Eminent ministers preach the Lord's coming, the ruin of the church, liberty of ministry, and avowedly from brethren's books, and stay where they are, and there is a general deadening of conscience. Now people come, are interested, surprised at all the truth they find in scripture, but for the moment with most it ends there. This casts me on the Lord. It was so the last time out west; still the Lord called out some, and new gatherings were formed. It is His work, but the wide spread of brethren's truths alters the character of the work. At present it is sowing time. After all, they spoil the truths where they do not act on them. Assurance of salvation has taken hold on many now. When I began it was, so to say, unknown. Still the Lord works where there is simplicity and devotedness. There is very little fixed principle as to anything here. If the brethren are devoted and unworldly, then there is a testimony, but mere knowledge of truth does not bring out, as when no one had it at all. In spite of what I said above there is progress, more than one soul has found peace since I came here, and some have been added. It is pleasant to see simple souls full of joy, and that by the Spirit, for it is eternal joy, while wise ones are ever learning. . . .
One thing is a comfort, that Christ will cherish and nourish His own: one can count on His fidelity. It is a comfort when all is adverse. No epistle looks for courage like 2 Timothy, when all was in ruin. Paul surely had it to found, but this was when apostolic energy was gone. Nor is there a time when spiritual nearness to God is more known, where there is faith, than when all is gone wrong. But the great thing is to be near Christ, and to be constantly near Christ, where the soul is kept in peace (is not recovering it for itself), and thus in the sense of love, that then our service may flow from this dwelling with Him, and carry the stamp of it. How did Christ reveal the Father? "The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared Him." He declared Him, and could declare Him, as in the present sense of the love of which He was the object, which He enjoyed in His bosom. He was perfect, and we are failing servants, but that is the only way of all carrying the unction of His presence.
You will be glad to hear that I received yesterday very good news of the work in Italy. In Switzerland there has been renewed blessing, and the work in Holland and Germany is blessed. So we have a great deal to be thankful for. The Spirit of God is working. The Roman Catholics in France I hear are discussing the Lord's coming, in consequence of the disasters of the country. It is a comfort to have settled truth. Protestantism is breaking up everywhere, but peace is our portion.
Affectionately yours in the Lord.
New York .