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p401 My Dear G V Wigram, - … I have just returned from Boston and Massachusetts. In general, it is difficult to speak of an unfinished work, but I feel thankful. I have often spoken of its being a sowing time here: it is so, but one finds so many wants, so sorrowful a state of the Church, that it astonishes, though I have believed and taught it nigh forty years, but it encourages. We never ought to be discouraged, because the Lord we trust in never fails, nor can. It is just in 2 Timothy, when all was in ruin and declension, that Paul looks for his dear son to be strong in the faith: there never is so good a time for it, because it is needed, and the Lord meets need. I have the strongest sense that all is breaking up, but that makes one feel more strongly and clearly that we possess a kingdom which cannot be moved. …

I was at Boston for some days in the midst of their destructionists and annihilationists. The work gathers up those who did not let themselves be carried away, who had got out of sects, and who looked for the Lord's coming - stops those just sinking in, and recovers some. It is rife everywhere, and spreading. One was delivered at our meeting at B.'s. They have a great deal more light than the sects on certain points, and take this ground, the sects being in an awful condition about the country. In England they have not an idea of it. This helps; of course, honest-minded people are disgusted. But they apply all the Old Testament to these times; and when I have shewn that the judgments and destructions of the Old Testament were on earth, and that they had nothing to say to the matter (and they believe in these judgments), their grand array proved to be ignorance, and no more, and the foundations fell. This did every way much good: their whole relative position was altered. Their scraps of Greek and Hebrew I could meet, and their calculations of dates for the Lord's coming only baffled them, and the word of God resumed its ascendancy. But still it was only some deliverances, and an unfinished work. But a door was opened in Boston, and I was greatly begged to stay: one devoted man, I trust delivered from danger, having just now as I was leaving got a fine room, where he wants me to speak. But it is all like a garden wholly overrun with weeds, some plants set free, all half smothered, and the garden still a dreary scene, but I believe God at work. … The world reigns everywhere, but that is without. The fact as to the state of things here is, great dread of leaving a church, and effort to increase the importance of a denomination, politics preached, the lowest means to get money for the churches, many hearts weary of it. The Millerites, or Second Adventists (but who fixed a year, first 1844, now I think 1868, but the world to be burnt up, and risen men on earth), picked up a large number of souls weary with the state of things, and pious. Most of these have gone into the denial of the immortality of the soul, very common everywhere, with Boston as a centre, and even the denial of all resurrection of the wicked, and pretty plain infidelity, the Lord's divinity denied, &c., but many rejecting all this - godly scattered souls not knowing which way to turn. There is much to be done.

If I return now, as I suppose is probable, perhaps from Qu├ębec, August 5th (our conference at Guelph is July 13), I should, if health and strength permit, think of being back for the States next summer, if our God so order it, though I begin a little to crave a measure of rest sometimes. However, I am getting used to the Atlantic, if used one can. …

Here at New York it has been complete confusion. … It is a work of patience, and I shall soon have to leave, but I am hopeful through the Lord. Could I work on quietly I should be full of hope; this also makes me think of returning. Doors are open, too, in Canada. … It is difficult, with such a scattered, desultory work, to give anything very precise; were a positive work carried on, I believe a good deal would be done, but it would require great patience and firmness: discontented would be found, plenty; solid and founded in truth and caring for it as foundation in the fear of God, a good deal rarer. Still grace does its work, and I should be hopeful if the workman were such.

Kindest love to the brethren; it may be I may see them soon. If I do not, it is possible I may remain over winter, chiefly then, I suppose, in the States.

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

New York, June 23rd, 1865.