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p371 Dearest R Evans, - I have been rather wondering not to have a line from you, and some account of all the beloved brethren in Canada. . . . I should like to know everything about all of them in as much detail as possible. I feel knit up with Canada in a way almost strange for beginning it at my age, though indeed the kindness I received, as you know in it, warranted the feeling. But I think it was partly that as it was really a matter of faith for me crossing the ocean, the Lord blessed it in my fellowship with them. But whatever the secondary cause, I have felt specially the blessing of interest in and communion with them. I should be quite disposed, were I younger, to begin in the United States, too, but then it would require patient and arduous service; that I see. . . . I have been in Switzerland, where I was comforted, though sorrow in the church carried me there. After all, I never had such good meetings.
Everywhere I think the Spirit of God is at work, making men feel that Christianity ought to be something more real. But infidelity and denial of inspiration spread in an astonishing way, but I find in the Lord one is always happy. Did I look, as I once did, even unconsciously to anything here, I should be dismayed and overwhelmed; but I do feel the heavenward path and my home there every day more simply mine. I am here for one of the translations, which a good deal made me leave Canada when I did. The German I have not yet set to work at.
There is a good deal of conversion going on in France, particularly in the Ardèche and the Doubs, but also in the Pyrénées, and a new field in Vaucluse. In the west also there is blessing, which is a new field of work. And the Lord has raised up some labourers. In Switzerland they are lacking, and the lack is felt. But God is wise in all things, even where we feel loss, though it be to our shame. . . . I think (D.V.) of returning for a while. I am going (D.V.) to England for a short time, inconveniently to me, but the beloved brethren in the north are free Easter week, and have a conference [Bradford, March 25th], and have begged me to be at it, so I would not put them off. I shall have to return here. We are just going to have a little local conference, that is, three days of reading here. The letter of one invited tells us of an excellent evangelist of the free church who is delivered, and of the interesting progress of the work in the west (Charente). . . . In Germany there is widely extending work.
I hope still to get out again to America; but the Lord will guide. Work is plenty here. But if I go, though longing to see them all, and surely hoping thus to do so, I should think a little of the States, as I have some doors open in one or two places. But all this is in our blessed Lord and Master's hand. For my part, my journey to America has done me a great deal of good. I feel more than ever to belong to the Lord, and myself and the church not to be of this world, and look upward. The very infidelity current has helped me too, for all things help those who are with the Lord.
I really do not know brethren to whom I have become more attached than those in Canada, and good reason, from all their kindness. My affectionate remembrance to all you may see in your going about. We have had a Canadian winter everywhere, even in Italy, skating at Florence, and weeks of hard frost in Switzerland, and even in the south of France such weather as I never knew there.
Peace be with you, beloved brother, and the Lord's blessing on your work, with kindest remembrance.
Pau, March 3rd, 1864.