<< previous (2:20) next (2:22) >>

p38 [A Wells] BELOVED BROTHER, - I was very glad to get your letter. The date of mine will explain that my being at Guelph in September is hardly likely, but my heart will be anxiously with you: but I do not know whether anxious is the right word, for one ought to trust the Lord, so faithful, so full of love, and patient goodness with us. But affections will in one sense be anxious, and how unfeigned my affection is for Canada I trust you know; and surely I never became more attached to any place, my heart more linked up with those in it.

It is a time of encouragement - even here it is. For a time there had been a relaxation of energy, not an uncommon thing in individual or Christian communities after the first impulse of grace. But there is considerable re-animation, and our conference ("Guelph" meeting) is largely attended by brethren interested in the truth: many a new generation of saints springing up, and the coming of the blessed Lord has a more actual and practical place. I thought I had done with France, Switzerland, Germany, etc., when I went to America, but I believe the Lord has led me here, and there is a renewal of strength and christian affection. I am to be at a like meeting in France, September 15th, and you may all remember us. Then I have Italy, where the Lord is gathering and raising up more labourers, and Germany. There is a wish to have something like a satisfactory Old Testament in German, and in French. I hardly know how it will be effectually carried out, but it is one object of my visit to Germany. You see my absence from Canada is not idleness. I was very glad to have been in the West Indies. It is, oh! how great a measure of thankfulness to be led of the Lord. The power of evil is in astonishing progress. The boldest denial of all truth alarming Christians; and the world even, anxious and uneasy, and now often considering and inquiring of brethren why they are so quiet and peaceful. Not that we have not many things to deplore, but in sum we are at peace, feeling the evil more in a divine way, but having a kingdom that cannot be moved, a peace which nothing can take away. The brethren have come with cordiality and readiness from all sides to the meeting, which has cheered and encouraged. There are two Englishmen who have thrown themselves in some measure into the work here. Some are going to America.

It is possible I may, now I am growing old, become set apart to sedentary work (though still preaching and teaching), but I do not quite give up seeing you all again. For I am very well, and though I begin to feel the difference of age as to physical exertion, I am for work, thank God, able to go through more than most. This would not as yet hinder me. My difficulty is the rapid progress of the last days, which requires the faithful testimony of those who feel where we are, more perhaps in Europe than elsewhere. Men of the world as well as Christians feel all things shaking, an irresistible torrent rising, professing Christians at their wits' ends. The peaceful testimony from a position which God secures is of moment to souls, and however weak it may be individually as such, it tells on people's hearts. My comfort is, for Canada as for England, that the blessed Lord himself cares for His people: a poor, feeble folk, but their home is in the rock. God is raising up many active witnesses, and the Lord is more waited for. He Himself fills the heart sufficiently to enable us to forget ourselves; still the present link with Him, I feel, is not sufficiently felt, so as to bring Him out as fresh and full as He is given to us. That is what we have to seek here, and for that it is death working in us - "always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." That we are dead, and in Him, is a simple and blessed truth, but always to bear it about that only He may appear - this is what we have to seek.

I write at intervals in the midst of our conference, so you must not be astonished at my letter bearing the impress of this interruption. … I have been thinking of one of the joys of heaven, after Christ - and it will be His joy, seeing of the fruit of the travail of His soul and being satisfied - seeing all the saints perfect according to the heart and mind of God Himself, and His who has sought and saved them. What satisfaction and joy that will be! Truly it is what one's heart desires now. Then it will be perfectly satisfied, and Christ glorified in it and this, thank God, will surely be. I have been distinguishing latterly a good deal, the responsibility of man fully met by Christ for us on the cross, and the counsels of God before the foundations of the world (see Prov. 8; Titus 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:9); the cross laying the foundation for their accomplishment - in the incarnation, the ground laid for fulfilling Proverbs 8. What a thought - His delight being in the sons of men, and how fulfilled in the incarnation, and then the cross giving us a part in it; man in glory, and the Father's house shewing us what it is! Along with perfectly glorifying God, it makes the cross a wonderful place, and grace a wonderful thing; and the old man put off, and the new man put on.

But I must close, as you see. Peace and much blessing, dear brother, be on you and yours: much love to them and to all the saints. May they, and all the Lord's dear workmen, be abundantly blessed.

Ever yours affectionately in Him.

Geneva, August 25th, 1869.