By G.V. Wigram
Christchurch, New Zealand.
MY DEAR -, -- Yours of 20th ult. reached me here today, the 6th April, so I write at once, not to lose a mail.
Having come out with New Zealand on my heart and mind, I must do what I feel I can, under God, do here, ere I pass on.
The expression you refer to, "The Lord's body was broken," I will (D.V.) write you upon again. As a matter of fact, His hands, His feet were pierced, and His side also, so that the statement is according to fact. The terms, however, do not occur in 1 Cor. 11; and while critical books have pointed this out, hyper-critics are for showing their knowledge, by watching to see whether any quoting Scripture, as learnt educationally, are guilty of misquoting, according to the latest MSS. and translation in 1 Cor. 11. One elderly man used to make it a touchstone; and a good many, tickled with their own little bit of knowledge, have worried others with it. Of course, if after due examination I had accepted a newly-translated passage anywhere, I have accepted it. But then, not I, nor any grave brother, like -, or -, would like me to read out a new translation of my own in the assembly, so I read the authorized version (- says there is only one passage which -- will not read as in the A.V., and that is 1 John 3: 4).
I must not write more, so for the moment farewell. Salute your brethren for me, and all whom I know in the Lord. I hope to write soon again, on above, etc., and so soon as I see my path. Do you, too, write to me, if a path opens to yourself.
Most affectionately, G.V.W.
Invercargill, January 18th, 1875.
MY DEAR SISTER IN THE LORD, -. The Bluff is twenty miles hence, and I expect to embark there (D.V.) for Melbourne the day after tomorrow. As I landed in New Zealand, 14th January, 1874, I have paid at the sundry places fair visits, speaking as a man.
That heaven will be a wonderful place, and as blessedly blissful as wonderful, is the sum of all my thoughts in contrast with what meets one here below and around. I am, through mercy, in my usual health I think, though not so young as in the Rawstorne Street days, and had to pay for it this spring. May the Lord, to whom Mr. W. belongs, who bought him with His own life blood, cheer and sustain him all through the narrow way. The dear old man is dear to me in the Lord. Is he not a brand plucked from the burning?
Affectionate salutations in the Lord to all at the table from yours and theirs, G.V.W.
March 9th, 1875.
MY DEAR -, -- I have been laid aside here, the result, I suppose, of the Lord's approving the faith principle of "resurrection from the dead," and disapproving human energy. His name be praised for all His dealings, under all circumstances; but one may still long to be a more apt scholar in His school, even while reduced to the service of praying for His name and saints on the earth. There is great need of prayer for this hemisphere, and it is not labour in vain.
I cannot go on till one or two matters in hand are ended, I think. If you are staying up at Ballarat, it is possible I might come up thither for a quiet week and prayer; but He knows all. I seem to want quietness and retirement. He has been very gracious, and my last letters from England made me see somewhat of the riches of His patient love, anticipating His children in their way.
How are you as to money? We near the end of the quarter, and if I do go, I would like to know ere I go what you have in your purse.
3, Howley Place, Harrow Road, W., June 28th, 1875.
MY DEAR -, -- I know not whether or not I posted a letter to you since my arrival, May 17th, at Southampton. I know I began one after your unmarried sister called on me; for it pleased the Lord to let me be fairly knocked up -- or down; and after landing I had one of my attacks on reaching London, which from the appearances threatened, if not declared, typhoid fever symptoms; but this had not a full development, through mercy, and though laid much aside for six weeks, I am getting about again. The S-s awaited me on the quay, and I got two hours with them ere they embarked, which appears, from his letter, to have been greatly comforting to them both.
Last Lord's-day a married sister of yours spoke to me in the evening at North Row. The Lord is good and doeth good. What has He not done for His own great name's sake? And what is He not doing and prepared to do? Only we have to remember that whatsoever turns up is, one way or another, for the furtherance of blessing and the expression of His own good pleasure. It may be something which nature in us would not have chosen, but deprecated. Many a sharp point the rasp may carry, but its reaching me is never without its being according to God's permission, if not appointment and good pleasure. And who am I to suppose that I can improve upon what He appoints to me? "Giving thanks always for all things" is a fair specimen of Paul's character. I would have it of mine too, though I may need a longer time to catch my breath and the note of thanksgiving than he did.
The sensational movement in England has been great. M- and his friends, the -- friends, and now Mr. and Mrs. -- and theirs. The stirs have been wide, very wide. I connect them all with God's purpose, that everybody, so to speak, everywhere should hear the name of Christ. That that is a present action of His hand I do not doubt, any more than I doubt the mixture of energies, deficiency as to purity in what has been taught, and a large percentage of positive error in the teaching of some of them. But the Lord is coming, and when we look at things in that light we see the real character of them, and why that which has tried to break the power of the world over us, and to make us see how completely we are not of it, but of Him who is gone on high, cannot put people down here into Nazarite position of waiting for Him from heaven.
Though I have been here now seven weeks, I have no formed judgment upon the real state of ours. I see many questions are at work, and many feel that "where" they are standing, there is, within their "whereabouts," a conflict of principles going on, on various questions. In several of the cases it has seemed to me that tenacity upon each man's own point gave that semblance, where, if the principle of God's mind was seized upon, and the points left alone, there was the fullest room for unity and fellowship.
We got on well to Point de Galle, where the Ceylon went off to Bombay, and after two or three days ashore we embarked on the Surat for Southampton. The boat was full when she came in, and we fared accordingly, and according to the passengers from China, Calcutta, etc. A good many of God's people on board, some very decidedly so, I hope; but one is a Nazarite ecclesiastically. The nursery was large on board, about seventy-five children first-class, from thirteen years down to two months. We lost three by death on board -- a colonel, who confessed Christ, the cook, and a bed-steward. One had gone ere they reached Galle, and another left at Suez for the hospital, too ill to go on. I never had been on board a Peninsular and Oriental boat, and had supposed that the early prestige was maintained; but this is not the case. The Somersetshire was quieter, better served, et ceteris paribus to be preferred. But all is well to the soul that passes through all in His presence and with Him; and to me, I imagine, the sea voyage was naturally good, though I lost my sleep, and did not grow fat. I think the Lord really taught me a good deal on board, and I felt so at the time, and could, and did, take it all from Him, though the will and the weakness of my own self were most evident to me. "I, yet not I," as Paul wrote. I got a few good lines out of it all, and in the midst of it, on perfection.* Mine is not poetry, but the Lord gives me what helps me sometimes. Pearsall Smith's biography of his son Frank seems to me a fair exponent of his own, status in doctrine; Mrs. -- is very much darker still.
I have written nothing upon it as yet, though I think the Lord has given me something. H- B- has published against it, but not freely from his own shortening views of truth.
P-'s conversion and breaking bread ere he died has made an eddying among some. Dear man! he ought twelve years ago to have taken his place upon the moral ground of God's truth; but he was drawn aside, though he did it at last, ere his sudden and unexpected death, upon grounds which were very much lower. His eldest son's conversion led to it, and I fear to a false testimony at the funeral. But he seems a very devoted young man, and a preacher of the gospel; but mentality and human will, will not do in days like the present. Nor Christ nor Philadelphia had either of them these as their distinctive marks, but dependent obedience in full development.
I have a letter to -- in hand, but my pen does not run freely, and my head soon gets weary and tired; but, blessed be God, it is all right. And His love in cutting me out of some things on my arrival, and of some things by its being later than was expected, has been very marked indeed. I like to see the marks of His hands in providential deliverances from spiritual difficulties, as in the spiritual care of what He has made His own chargeour souls for the glory.
Yours, dear S-, affectionately, G.V.W.
July 26th, 1875.
MY DEAR BROTHER IN THE LORD, -- Your note of the 9th was most welcome, though it came to me at a time I could answer no letters from pressure of duties.
I am sure your wife may count God to be "a very present help in time of trouble." It is in His heart to be so to her individually, and to all that trust in Him through Christ, whom He raised from the dead and glorified, that our faith and hope might be in Himself. And, as to power, He that made all things, and upholds all things, is equal to, and a match for, any and every contingency that can befall any between Calvary and the cloud of glory.
I look up to the Lord for you -- my mind not assured that the work abroad, in parts beyond those in which the Lord's word has been received, is not the place or sphere of your work rather than England. He alone can guide; and He alone in reality it is who decides all such questions. With Him I leave it.
I trust you will not go beyond your measure, but will work with the Lord as to preachings, etc. Your throat may require a tropical climate for the winter.
With most affectionate love to all the Lord's people with you and around -- God's best blessings on the babe and its mother,
November 5th, 1875.
MY DEAR -, -- Your word yesterday brought me to my prayers, and to the word of God. I do not think before the Lord that I am such an one as would be justified, before Him or my brethren, in taking with me any huperetes. (Acts 13: 5) Moreover, You have a speciality in work (judging by your labour in Quebec, Montreal, Richmond) which lays an embargo upon you before the Lord; you are not your own to go out of your own special line wherein the Lord has blessed you.
The only person I ever asked to go with me on my own little line (and I did it in the full liberty, as I judged, of 2 Cor. 5: 15, 16) was one who was then in nowise committed to any kind of work. Dear -, I took him just as if he had been in nature my own son, and nothing more, and he knew not whether there was any work from the Lord for him of any special kind; and, moreover, then had no wife or child.
You see where my soul is in this matter. The ought of duty, and not the "I like" on the one hand, or "I dislike" on the other, has to rule.
My prayer for your wife and children as well as for yourself will be heard for His sake.
Most affectionately yours in Him that is coming for us, G.V.W.
September 29th, 1875.
He never changes. That is our safety, and the rest of our souls as to present peace, even the character and changelessness of God as revealed in and by Christ Jesus. And more than this, the contrast between our circumstances and His He uses to His glory, and for our blessing. This enables me to rest as to you and your circumstances; and I would that you should rest there also. Do you know the lines the Master gave me, ere I went out to the West Indies last time? I would the truth of them might abide with your soul
"How bright there above is Thy mercy, O God,
How fully set forth in the Saviour's blood," etc.
MY DEAR BROTHER IN THE LORD, -- I thank you for both your letters, though the pressure has been so heavy on me that I have not been able to reply either to these or to a heap of other letters, or even to write to some in affliction and trial, to whom my heart longed to write. It is well to see how even the least of our little concerns is in the hand of the Lord, and no wish of ours, no purpose, no strength, can suffice to bring fruit to perfection. 'Tis Himself, His eye, His hand alone which can accomplish His own good pleasure in us. "Not by power, nor by might, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." Poor things (however blessed in Him) that we are (in ourselves), oft mistaking His guidance, oft mistrusting the light of His eye, oft translating our thoughts as though they were His mind; yet still blessed, and to be blessed, is the flock and all the poor silly sheep who have Christ for Shepherd. Is it not so?
From my own prayers and thoughts about -- through several years, I suppose there are many souls there to be gathered to Christ, and many there, too, to turn aside from simplicity any that try to follow the Shepherd's voice. The power of the world too is strong, and Satan crafty to keep the place if he can, and to lull men to sleep there, if any get roused up. But who and what is he to prevent God and His Spirit gathering unto the Person of a risen and ascended Lord? Only if we -- you or I -- are to be used there, the vessel must be kept clean, and we must live unto God and Christ, and lean on Him and the word of His grace only, and be satisfied to be nothing in ourselves. Satan will then be able to do nothing against the Lord through us.
I have thought over and carried -- more than I can tell you; and oft, when in work abroad, I was occupied in spirit with it. So that the Lord's working there is of peculiar interest to me.
There is a trial of faith now in many places; but the one word, "Enoch walked with God," is the password to those that live in it in the measure of their faith.
I have been greatly cheered by letters from New Zealand relating how the Lord has been working, and several of them of deep interest, as showing the soulwork and new life from the walk of the soul with God and Christ right out; not merely by a new position taken outwardly, but a new life, the eternal life, working out from within, out into all details of life around.
One came to offer to go to Demarara if (I think I may say) I would co-operate with him. But co-operation or arrangement before the work begins can aright be only from the Lord. A good many are changing their places of work -- all quite right, if of the Lord alone.
A letter is always welcome, and stirs up prayer for you and the work, even if an immediate answer comes not to your letter or the prayer.
Affectionately yours in the Lord, G.V.W.
November 11th, 1875.
MY DEAR MISS -, -- It was kind of you to tell me about the visit and S-. I look for him to be gathered back to the Lord in full simplicity.
I have been packing all the morning. I doubt Timothy took so much time as I do. The 2nd December the Moselle is to sail. The Lord seems to be quite sufficient as caretaker and for fellowship. Several have volunteered to go with me, but the Master's mind did not seem with any of the offers.
Some say I ought to think of the feelings of the saints here in England, and therefore take some one. But my answer is, "If His feelings are met that is all one need care for and in some journeys none but a tried companion is other than a hindrance. I think to write to you on arriving (D.V.) at Demerara, but I will not promise not to drop a card ere I leave on Thursday.
Ever yours in Him, G.V.W.
November 15th, 1875.
THE sight of your handwriting, dear brother, was welcome to me; for I wanted to hear from and all about you.
The difference between the counsel or purpose of the Lord and His working it out into action is obvious enough. The seed of the woman was announced in Genesis 3 as to bruise the serpent's head, as well as the serpent to bruise His heel.
But though such was declared in Genesis 2: 15, seven thousand years were to roll their course ere the seed of the woman finally did so as in Revelation 20: 10, and four thousand ere the woman's seed was born. God's purpose and intention about Moses, and his willing attempt to work it out himself, are given to us in Exodus 1 and 2. See also Acts 7: 23-29. After forty years the Lord's time was come (30-42, etc.), and He wrought with an unwilling Moses. God has a counsel and a plan, and has revealed many such in the written Word; but who can work them out? Who keeps us in the position of dependence? Who proves himself the God of resurrection to us in the carrying out of His work but Himself? The New Testament is studded with instances of the same kind. Peter would go through death for his Master's sake ere Christ died and rose; the same Peter who had to go through death for his Master's sake after his Master was risen.
If you will consider this you will, I think, see and get helped as to many puzzling things. A young man converted gets hold of "Enoch walked with God" as his purpose in life. Surely it is God's purpose for all His children; for it was what the Son of His love did perfectly. But many a one has set out to walk, and given himself to the work (as did John Mark), who, before they could be spoken of by God as having that true of them, had to learn some lesson or other about themselves, or their circumstances, or God. Lookers-on say, "A mistake from first to last," without taking what is precious from what is vile. The soul that humbly waits on God learns of God all about the various parts of the conflict, and comforts itself in God, and waits to see what end the Lord will bring forth. "Be still, and know that I am God," is the word for you, perhaps; but look up and do not be puzzled. God often says, "It was well it was in thine heart," even where His time for working out is not fully come, and when we have been showing out self, and what's of the world, and gives power to Satan too.
I bear you on my heart. May our God, the Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ, sustain, and mould, and guide, and lead you.
Very truly yours in the Lord, G.V.W.
Self-judgment from first to last; for they that bear the vessels of the Lord must be clean; but Job, and Moses, and Samuel, and David, and Peter, and Paul, and John, all have to pass that way.
November 20th, 1875.
Your note of 29th October answered the good purpose to get me into prayer, and looking up to the Lord for one in the furnace. I had to put it on my file, and have had no five minutes in which to write. The pressure on me was so great that I had to postpone my departure a fortnight, and it is still very heavily on me. It were vain to write unless one could go into and through the whole case; but this only makes prayer the more valuable. Through evil report and through good report Paul had to pass, and so far as any accusation against me is known to me as not true as to me, I do not think one need to be unhappy about it; for no honest mind would be thankful that the accusation was correct. But there is a reward for our bearing false accusations. . . . I pray still and look up, and have faith and hope in God as to every part of it. The end of the Lord is very pitiful. G.V.W.
Southampton, December 2nd, 1875.
MY DEAR MISS -, -- I am to leave at 11.30 the docks (or quay) in the tug, and to run down to the Moselle, which lies 2 miles down the river. Dear A. P- came down with me to see me off, and W. P- is said to be here too.
The Lord was with me, to my conscience, in the night season, which I take as a promise that He will bless myself, at least (who wants it most of all), in this my outing. My kind love to -, and to each and all of ours (because we are His, and His are ours), and I pray that we may know better how to walk according to that truth. I write before breakfast, so bad writing must be pardoned. Yours in Him, defected and feeble, as also little, yet His own by redemption, as by His Father's gift to Him, and the indwelling of the Spirit of truth, trust, and hope. G.V.W.
The Moselle (not dated).
MY DEAR MISS -, -- . . . I take advantage of the leisure of the ship to write a few lines, while the pounding of the steam screw goes its round of fifty to the minute.
God has His own work for these last days. The Son of His love is ever before Him, and (as I suppose) He will have a report to go out, far and wide, of that Son's glory and beauty, and of the finished salvation in Him -- a report of Him in His three displays: in humiliation unto death, the death of the cross; in patience, as now sitting at God's right hand; and in the approaching display of His coming glory. I am praying for this feebly enough, but praying for it. And it is well to have it in one's heart to do so, as I surely believe. My kind love to -, and to all the dear saints. In my conflicts and hours of solitude my heart gets comfort when the thought of saints in England praying for me occurs to me. And this not for my sake only, but for their own sakes also; for I would those I love should have their share in the work wrought abroad, and prayer goes further in that than anything else.
Ever yours, all of you, in Him, G.V.W.
Remember me to the dear aged brother as he lies in bed. I think of him and of many of those that suffer.
Probably, February or March, 1876.
MY DEAR SISTER IN THE LORD, -- I received, with thankfulness, yours while I was in Demerara. The Lord is good and doeth good. My salutations to all. I am well, and able to work about as usual, through mercy. The doors are opening out here, and I had to go to Essequibo, and also to Berbice (New Amsterdam). Lectures on Prophecy too are asked for, and have to be given. Tobago, Montserrat, and St. Thomas's each present doors ajar now; but workmen are wanted. Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, etc. I do so in my feeble way, and then look up. . . .
Most affectionately, G.V.W.
April 7th, 1876.
MY DEAR SISTER IN THE LORD, -- Your letter was a very welcome one to me, telling, as it seems to me to do, of the presence and action of the living God at -. Beloved W-'s departure, too, was characteristic of the mercy that had found him -- mercy which, like water, accommodates itself to every shaped vial that is opened for it.
I reached this -- yesterday from Barbados, sailing hither in the same ship with your note to me. The S-s well. The Lord was very gracious to me in my visit there, as He always is. I am, through mercy, well in body; but seventy-one past, one is not as strong as one was. The compliments, however, paid to me on my clear, bright skin, springy walk, and walks (which for W. I. are thought to be not for a white man) would satisfy any grandma' or nurse, or should do so, I am sure.
I have no light as to my next anchoring-ground, but I have stopped any more letters from leaving London until I do know. Love in the Lord to all in the Lord.
Affectionately in the Lord, G.V.W.
Paddington, September 8th, 1876.
MY DEAR -, -- I have written little from this side to that (of the earth) where you are, partly from pressure of duties around me; and while -- was in that hemisphere I thought affection had an object large and worthy enough to be satisfied with in him. Latterly pressure of calls, and inability to say anything about my probable movements, have stopped me, and do still; for while my heart may turn to New Zealand and Melbourne, etc., I have not been able to say I have any thought that is His mind. His will be done, is my wish any and every way; and it shall be done, please God, whether I wait on here, or, having light, rise to follow it out as to Him. Defective as our perception and judgment may be, we yet have to live to Christ, and if called on to die to Him. This supposes reality in us, and sets aside plans which grow out of self having in us too large a place, and so open the way for the adversary, and for worldliness. But if, "Speak, Lord, and let thy servant hear," be the real language of our hearts, then we can do as unto the Lord, or tarry till we see what we can do as to Him. I find more and more the value of that word, "Enoch walked with God." I daresay in doing it he had his difficulties; but he did it. And to us 2 Cor. 5: 15 puts the truth in a way to aid us to live to Him, not to ourselves, but to Him -- the Anointed Man, alive from the dead, the object of our faith, lives, and hope.
Mr. D- writes from Canada that the work has opened so fast there and in U.S. that he does not know when he can come back; if before winter, then (D.V.) to return there in spring. Numbers appear to have got free from the -, and to be now at the table -- this in Canada. In the States several of them open to the work, and to labourers in them lately enlightened, and that makes the field wide. Since above, -- sends me yours to him to read. A letter of mine to you appears from him not to have reached you, and I fear two. The first is my recognition of your first envoy of Matthew to me, with which I wrote you fully; second, I think I must have written to you, and -- about -. But of this I am not clear. I find I have to abandon the thought of using that MS. -- the Bagsters, who I thought might take it up, are not free to do so. And as to myself I desire to cease from all work, save that of waiting on the Lord, and His serving saints, and the saints, and the gospel. But though I say "I desire" (which is true), He seems to will it; so that my desire is the result of subjection of will to Himself.
- writes depressedly as to the closed door in Ireland. But to my mind he forgets; first, that spring is only one of four seasons; secondly, perhaps (and I think so) that the other hemisphere is for the time his sphere of action. He is very dear to me, and may mature into a very valuable labourer. England is overstocked with runners and preaching. They asked me at one place to preach; I could not give the day named; I named another, and found they had been eight weeks ahead arranged for! The young men who go out are many too many. But what "I find to do here" is rather the frame of their minds than "Here am I, send me," in answer to the Lord's, "Who will go for us?" (Isa. 6)
I send you a little token of the Lord's remembrance of you. To my mind you are in your right hemisphere, and I hope I shall find you walking in it in all simplicity, if the Lord permits me as now "the aged" to come and see what He has wrought, in what He has used you. Oh for more of the Spirit of Christ -- of Paul, who sought the parts beyond, and loved to labour where others would not! Several times I have seen this in J. N. D. I have said perhaps, "Whither do you go now?" And he has answered, "I wait, and let others decide where they will go, and take what they leave." This seems to me as it should be.
Should you be surprised if the Lord let me walk in where you are?
Most affectionately, G.V.W.
September 25th, 1876.
MY DEAR SISTER IN THE LORD, -- Time or quietness to write in I find not; yet amid the turmoil of the way He has granted me to write a few words to some in affliction and trial, of whom the number at the present time is large. We talk of the wilderness, and of having renounced all to follow Him; but how little do we know how this one thing to do -- to forget that which is behind, and to look to that which lieth before, and to press on to the mark of the prize of the high calling of God. The battle of life becomes hotter and hotter, the road more steep and slippery, but all this only to wean us more and more from ourselves.
I hear the 29th and 30th November are the days for the Manchester meetings. May the Lord prepare hearts for a blessing, and pour a large one out. One's path as walking with God has to be learnt, and the Saviour is patient enough in teaching it; but how one learns the contrast between what His mind and heart presented to God's eye, and what one's own heart and mind present to Christ's. Safe and saved in Him for ever, but what has He saved? And how does the completeness of the salvation in Him make us see how little we have attained to saying, "Lord, I come to do Thy will, and Thine only." "Thy will my will. Nothing owned by me as my desire or will till it is known to be Thy desire and will first." A conqueror in all things, practically victorious, I asked Him to make me. Not free from Satan only, and from all judgment to come, but, therefore, free from the world and from self. How little do we know what it is, having conquered, to stand fast.
The doctors send out patients wholesale hence to Sydney, New Zealand, etc., and very rashly in many cases lately it has been ordered; but let any one propose to go out thither to look out, and look up, a few poor sheep of the Master's, and the same doctors are terrified at the mad folly. But if we walk humbly before the Lord, and humbly with Him, He will be with us. And sure I am He loves to say, "It is well it was in thine heart." I do count on the prayers of the poor of the flock. Monday, the boat starts at three. Four or five saints on board to break bread together, if the Lord will.
Love to all at the table. Most affectionately, G.V.W.
On board the Moselle, October 8th, 1876.
BELOVED of the Lord, to you and to those at the Lord's table, with all the widows and afflicted (prisoners of the Lord, of necessity to us), not able, though longing, to get to His table, greeting. Grace, mercy, and peace be with each one of you.
I am but passing now by St. Thomas, to leave there dear -- and his brother, who may call at Barbados on their way to Demerara. I look to God to help you one and all above your individual feebleness, in which we are each one so prone to wish for that which we have not, and be discontented and overlook what good things God has shared to us, a little bit of the cross, and of privation perhaps, for His name's sake; and may God especially deliver you as a little company from the marks of conformity to the world around.
If the outer man perish, the inward man is renewed day by day, (but only) while we look to that which is unseen; and while we look to that which is unseen, the hand is open to let slip that which is seen. I want, and my prayer is for, more heavenlymindedness, and therewith less of minding of things present. Suffer, beloved, the word of exhortation from an aged one, who has been 52 years a would-be pilgrim and stranger, as you are down here.
You have among you some, given of the Lord, who have addicted themselves (as Paul wrote) to the ministry of the saints. May God bless them in spite of any feebleness in them, which leads them too soon to be cast down, and of any other impediments in Providence to their service among you. You have, too, one or two remarkable for their power of presenting Christ to the sinner. Our brother, Mr. D-, noticed this when he was with you. It is a power from God. Be not jealous of it, but be jealous to give it full scope. Infirmities often attach to such, perhaps to keep them humble; help them onward, and let them go forward in faith. When in London this summer I found many such, and I took care to do all I could to help them on. I took a very low service in outside places, preaching the gospel on Sunday evenings as the portion of aged Christians as having a word to such. The room soon filled, though I saw it was from the distant parts that most came. Each has his place of service; if he wait on God, God will give it him. You have, too, a father's heart in one or two that I could name, whose love has oft refreshed my own heart, and I have seen it refresh others too. Our brother D- wrote, asking about you all; he is still in the United States, and will, I hope, write to you. . . . Saints up and down in England greatly enjoyed our brother -'s visit with his wife to England. He is much known and loved in London by many of the older brothers. . . . I often go in mind over the names of you all. I am (D.V.) to go on with -- and -, dropping them at Jamaica, pass on to Colon, Panama, San Francisco, and New Zealand. An old man I am for such an undertaking, but if the Lord be with me, all is well; every place is as near to heaven down here as another. Abba's house, and not England, is my home. The movement of the steam-packet makes writing difficult.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you. So prays, G.V.W.
Speed me with your prayers for that other hemisphere.
January 12th, 1877.
MY DEAR MISS -, -- . . . I have reached my landfall, Auckland, New Zealand, and I look up to the Lord to make my coming a consolation to His saints in these parts. Their path is roughish, and the dust of the roadway hinders many of them singing the Lord's songs in the wilderness. If I might see them gladdened a little, according to the Spirit, it would gladden me.
I trust the Lord's work is holding its way onward. Abba's love in courts above makes the person of the Lord attractive. How far better off is Paul, and Timothy, and Phoebe than what we are! It ought to make us long to depart and be with Christ, at home with Him, though from home in our bodies. People talk of God sparing them a little longer down here; but what they mean is, that they prefer being down here to going home and being up there with the Lord, for ever with the Lord. My kindest salutations to each and all the saints. A note is always acceptable through No. 3, H. P., delayed here and there on the way out. I am now pressed as to my letters.
Ever yours, dear Miss -, in the Lord, your old friend affectionately, G.V.W.
Christchurch, New Zealand, April 30th, 1877.
As the Lord sent me an answer to prayer through you, in the note you forwarded, I must write you a line. The care taken of me here by the poor, God has used and blessed to give me again my usual measure of strength, but the cough is within, strengthened too. I am overdone with letters for the post to England, and so must say, God be with you.
Love to -- and all that care for such a word from me,
I pray for them all. G.V.W.
June 23rd, 1877.
THE goodness of God abideth still; for the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. (Ps. 103) A golden chain from eternity across time to eternity, beloved brother.
All goes on quietly and happily here, and I think the Lord did well as to you at Orange. I have been laid low -- a safe place -- by one of my bilious attacks, which turns me inside out. It is all well.
I may have to run up to Christchurch for a little by the first boat, but I am waiting on the Lord to know His will.
Most affectionately, G.V.W.
March 22nd, 1877.
MY DEAR MISS -, -- Yours of January 11th is just to hand, and a pouring rain keeps me in the house tonight. I will begin a few lines to you. I have spent one month at Auckland since landing in New Zealand, and one in Nelson, and Motuiki three days of it; four days in the chief town of the country, New Zealand, namely, Wellington, and landed here last Lord's-day afternoon. Each place has its phase peculiar to itself of difficulties; but the answer to them all is in God, who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and gave Him glory, that our faith and hope might be in God. This place and sensible weakness go together. No teaching brother resident here, and no habit of meeting round the Word, as at Nelson, on Sunday evenings when they have no teacher. I look up to the Lord for some blessing; whatsoever He may see would be for the glory of His Son. Mr. D-'s visit was greatly helpful to many Christians who were outside, and who, when helped, came in to the table. . . . I have Timaru, and perhaps Osmaru, and it may possibly be Dunedin, before me for visits. G. J. S. wants me to come to Sydney, others to Melbourne, and others to Adelaide; but for an old man a step at a time is enough, and I really have New Zealand on my heart.
My love to each and all the saints whom you name. May the Lord be with you all. I write this scrap as a something to be ready, whether I can add more or not; for the distances are long, and I am slower than I used to be.
29th March, 1877.
MY DEAR MISS -, -- . . . I seem this last week better in health; more able to eat, drink, and walk too, than I was. I leave myself in His hand or would do so completely. Better for me if He fixes the hour of my departure than if I had a voice in its regulation. . . .
My kind love to -, and affectionate salutation to those that walk as Saints. G.V.W.
3, Richmond Terrace, Domain, Sydney, N.S.W., May 18th, 1877.
MY DEAR SISTER IN THE LORD, -- When I received yours of the 6th March, 1877, at Christchurch, New Zealand, I was naughtily inclined to write -- "To ask an old man, upwards of seventy-two, who never had any health from infancy, and can recall few days without pain -- 'How is your health?' seemed a strange question." But some hours afterwards it floated through my mind, "You thought for some days, end of February or beginning of March, that you were rapidly sinking, and must give up animal food, when suddenly, as the poor saints out here began to show out their love, and one sent Devonshire cream and butter, and fresh eggs, and another strong beef-tea and loaves of home-made bread, and preserves and cake, you suddenly rallied! I had to say, 'It was of the Lord.'" But if brethren beloved have prayed for me, then the Lord, the prayers, the love as above, and the sudden change, form links in the chain.
I try to keep a set time for prayer for you all, and the rest of the saints. But when in another hemisphere, with its rush of work upon me, I cannot write as if I were free. So you must put this in as the reason of few letters. . . .
Most affectionate love to one and all, G.V.W.
October 14th, 1877.
Thou art supreme. Father of an only-begotten Son, Thy highest glory, most attractive beauty known to me. Throne of the Majesty of the Highest, His seat now as Son of man at Thy right hand, anomalous; a Man upon the throne of God. Is it possible? Yes, but only for that One; for no other man is who and what He is, God manifest in flesh, the mighty One, who is Jehovah's fellow. In nature, self-existent, His place was and is God with His Father (the Son) and the Holy Spirit. Here is what is altogether new, and large spheres does it throw open to him that is taught of God the Father from what is written.
These, dear -, were the beginning of a musing of mine this morning when first down, 14th October, 1877, Christchurch, New Zealand. My heart has craved news of you, but I am in your debt a letter, and have had no heart these last months to write to any one. A good deal of work has pressed upon me, and at last heavy sickness brought me right down to where I could do nothing. But the Lord proved Himself unchangeably the same. He changed not, but cheered me by scenes above and scenes ahead. I cannot write much; but I write a line to you and Mrs. S, thus the expression of my love. "The night is far spent, the day is at hand," are certain truths. Let patience have its perfect work. May the Lord take His own selfsame chosen paths for each of us; 'twill so be best of all. My love to all my old esteemed friends, Mrs. C-, H-, W-, and each and all the rest.
From most affectionately yours and theirs, G.V.W.
Wellington, New Zealand, December 30th, 1877.
I have been laid very low, in body I mean, and if I have thought my little tale of life among the dead was told out, as did Paul the great in 2 Cor. 1. 8-10, I have been happy, both in the unclouded face and love, and in the fact that my going on high would leave no vast hiatus as would his.
I have seen my seventy years and two; but I still look up for the work in this little while, and have an empty hand to see what God will put into it, as to things connected with the Son of His love, or the assembly, His Body. I never felt so ill in my life as I have done today, perhaps it may be premonitory one way or another. I desire to be will-less, yet willing to stay if He wills it.
We old men look drops upon the window-pane running from the top to the bottom, as if we all hasted to be first at the end of the course; but I trust we, each and all, are willing to abide till He call us, yet are we in the fresh power of our position in and round Him. An aged saint happy in the Lord is a beautiful subject, Christ seen reflected in him.
I am better since my collapse of power in the road three weeks since; but our strength is to sit still. G.V.W.
Wellington, January 6th, 1878.
BELOVED -, -- They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. Your letter refreshed and gladdened me in my low estate; for, since here, I have had a worse attack than any other a little more than a fortnight ago, and this morn has been my first appearance again at the table. I am not up to writing much. I fear, from your handwriting, that you too have been in suffering; yet why do I say "I fear," when love divine directs it all for me, for you? all too for the glory of Christ, though God moves in a mysterious way.
My thought had been to go on today to Melbourne, and thence to Adelaide; but He said, "Stay where you are till I speak."
2 Tim. 4: 6 analusis is evidently to his being offered up departure on high, analuo, verb. Luke 12: 36, when he will return from the wedding; Phil. 1: 23, to depart and be with Christ, which is far better, are the only occurrences. The context in Phil. seems to me to mark in various ways that Phil. 1: 23 is as 2 Tim. 4: 6.
Farewell for the moment; I say nothing about Christchurch, the Lord having sent me on hither. What rest to one's soul that we see Him who is invisible! Cheering letters from San Francisco just in.
Your fellow-servant, G.V.W.
MY DEAR BROTHER IN THE LORD, -- Your letter, as you will see, was probably delayed. I thank God, beloved, that the Lord gave you refreshment in reading these three lectures of Demerara. There can be sweet savour anywhere, but the Lord alone can make the savour to fill the whole house. For Mary He marked the hour when the box (perhaps it had often rebuked her for past worldliness) would have a proper use. Whatever led her to put it by, He was above her, and showed what use He meant it for. How unsearchable His ways and love!
That opening of John 12 is very blessed:
Verses 1-11, Jesus the object of worship;
Verses 12-19, as Son of David;
Verses 20-36, as Son of man.
(The light of, His glories flitting over the scene ere He went to the cross.)
The Spirit adds three more things
1, Isaiah's testimony to Him as the self-humbled One, 38 and
2, the very same One, Jehovah in glory, 39, 40, and NB., v. 41;
3, why men could not receive Him, 42, 43, to the end.
I wrote by the post, after your kind letter reached me, to -- a few lines, unable then to write more. I have been laid down by the Lord -- taken aside in grace a little -- for a little private intercourse with Him, in whose eyes my Lord Jesus, eternal Lover of my soul, is exceedingly precious.
Our brother -- is in Tasmania; his heart was much cheered at Launceston, where he was two days at most, now I suppose for the like time at Hobart Town, then back (D.V.) here.
I am like a wrecked ship at sea as to my body; but it is very grand to be able, as one power in nature cracks or gives way after another, to say, "I thank Thee, Lord, for that which I receive at Thine hand, in whose hand all power is vested, and not at the hand of any other."
It is grand, through grace, to be able to triumph, even in 2 Peter 3: 7-13.
But the old ship will not break up by storm or wave till He says, "I want you up here."
Grace, mercy, and peace to you, and all that seek to walk with Him.
So prays, G.V.W.
Uttoxeter, July 22nd, 1878.
MY DEAR -, -- My heart has been wanting to hear from you, and trying to stir me up; but this only made your letter the more obviously welcome to me, and it was a voluntary one too. I leave myself, or think to do, in the Lord's hand; but am at times feeble, and last Sunday lost my voice at the morning meeting. But He is in all these things, great enough to take them all in, and to gather them all up. I count myself both blessed and happy; and His grace is sufficient for me, for His strength is made perfect in weakness. No mere doctrine or saying, but power in weakness, as you know.
I am here, in a quiet house and airy, and willing and able to meet what has seemed to me the Lord's mind; but I see nothing beyond: I wait.
Morning by morning let thine ear be open to Him, for the settling of everything, and doing of His own good pleasure, whether to do this in dependent obedience, or to suffer that in lowly patience. If I were not so little as I am, I should have attained to more skill in this life of Christ.
But Phil. 3 is the Spirit's picture of a model man, though of one who had the law of sin and death in his body; that is, large, so as to take in the little ones, and truly full of warning, and of encouragement too.
Whether going into the country, or for other needs, you may lack a little of what Christ had so little, as to have asked on one occasion, "Show me a penny."
Most affectionately, dear brother, G.V.W.
Uttoxeter, August 2nd, 1878.
MY DEAR -, -- My judgment, as formed, under the Spirit I would hope, but certainly upon "what is written," is that God wants no help from us.
I have had to take my body -- a poor and feeble one it has been -- under the hand of the Lord, and try to rub along as best I could, As such, S. S. says "a little wine for thy stomach's sake and often infirmity," though I latterly have been afraid of that little, from the effects of it upon the chest. I find it confessedly difficult to be sure as to His mind about simple medicinal remedies; but I am sure that those that cast all upon the Lord, and never touch any such supposed and real aids, are the happiest; their conduct most in the Spirit. The surgical operations are different, though I admit both the length of the scale from the top to bottom of the practice.
Still, if God gave me either by birth, or as to Israel, or by accident in childhood, one leg shorter than the other, so far as I can see, I should take it so at His hand, and not try to put the matter otherwise by any operation. What I had got the Lord had given me, or permitted me to have, and my soul would be more at rest as reminding Him and Him alone who can make that which is crooked straight, my Counsellor. I judge true and righteous judgment in saying my heart and mind will say you have taken the more excellent way, if in simple faith in God working in providence as in creation you say, Thou, Lord, seest, and I will be still before Thee as I am. I will look (D.V.) to the Lord for you in this matter. I dread more than I did, getting under the power of things down here, in body or in mind.
A full and comforting letter from Christchurch. God has been working there. The adversary is displeased and pushed, but God seems to have met his move. My comfort still is, if -- and others still are strong in the Lord in prayer, blessing will go on and grow, and the evil be fully set aside.
Most affectionately. Always glad to hear. G.V.W.