_ 9th Pastoral Letter. - Incidents of the way as far as Leghorn—Exhortations. - Leghorn, May 2, 1839.

TO all of you, my beloved flock, who have received Christ, and walk in Him, your pastor wishes grace, and mercy, and peace, from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

My heart's desire and prayer for you every day is that you may be saved. I am now far from you in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit. I thank my God without ceasing, for as many of you as have been awakened to flee from the wrath to come, have rested your souls upon the good word of God concerning Jesus, and have tasted the love of God. In every prayer of mine for you all, I ask that ye may continue in the faith, grounded and settled,—that ye may be like trees, rooted in Christ Jesus, or like a holy temple built up in Him who is the only foundation-stone.

I expected to have written you from London, and again before leaving France; but we have travelled so rapidly, often day and night, and the fatigue was so great to my weak frame, that I was disappointed in this; but I did not forget you night or day, and I know well I am not forgotten by you. Since I wrote you last I have passed through many cities and countries, and seen many faces and things strange to me. Many lessons for my own soul, and for yours, I have learned. At present I must write you shortly.

We left London on the 11th of April, and next morning crossed the British Channel from Dover to Boulogne, and found ourselves on the shores of France. The very first night we spent in France, we were visited by a most interesting Jew, evidently anxious about his soul. He spoke with us for many hours, accepted the New Testament in Hebrew, and bade goodbye with much emotion. We thanked God for this token for good. Pray for us, that God may give us good success, that we may have the souls of Israel fur our hire. From Boulogne we travelled to Paris, by day and by night, and spent a Sabbath there. Alas I poor Paris knows no Sabbath; all the shops are open, and all the inhabitants are on the wing in search of pleasures,—pleasures that perish in the using. I thought of Babylon and of Sodom as I passed through the crowd. I cannot tell how I longed for the peace of a Scottish Sabbath. There is a place in Paris called the Champs — Elysées, or Plains of Heaven,—a beautiful public walk, with trees and gardens; we had to cross it on passing to the Protestant church. It is the chief scene of their Sabbath desecration, and an awful scene it is. Oh, thought I, if this is the heaven a Parisian loves, he will never enjoy the pure heaven that is above I Try yourselves by that text, Isaiah 58:13-14. I remember of once preaching to you from it. Do you really delight in the Sabbath day? If not, you are no child of God. I remember with grief that there are many among you that despise the Sabbath,—some who buy and sell on that holy day, —some who spend its blessed hours in worldly pleasures, in folly and sin. Oh, you would make Dundee another Paris if you could I Dear believers, oppose these ungodly practices with all your might. The more others dishonour God's holy day, the more do you honour it, and show that you love it of all the seven the best. Even in Paris, as in Sardis, we found a little flock of believers. We heard a sweet sermon in English, and another in French. There are only 2000 Protestant hearers out of the half million that inhabit Paris, and there are fourteen faithful sermons preached every Sabbath.

We left the French capital on the 16th April, a lovely evening, with a deep blue sky above, and a lovely country before us, on the banks of the Seine. This would be a delightsome land, if it only had the light of God's countenance upon it. We travelled three days and three nights, by Troyes, Dijon, and Chalons, till we cane to Lyons, upon the rapid river Phone, in the South of France. The Lord stirred up kind friends to meet us. Lyons is famous as being the place where many Christians were martyred in the first ages, and where many were burned at the time of the Reformation because they loved and confessed the Lord Jesus. God loves the place still. There is a small body of three hundred believers, who live here under a faithful pastor, Mr. Cordees. He cheered our hearts much, and sent us away with affectionate prayers.

That day we sailed down the Rhone more than one hundred miles, through a most wonderful country. We hoped to have spent the Sabbath at Marseilles; but just as we entered the Mediterranean Sea, a storm of wind arose, and drove the vessel on a barren island at the mouth of the Rhone. We all landed and spent our Sabbath quietly on the desert island. It was your communion Sabbath; and I thought that perhaps this providence was given me that I might have a quiet day to pray for you. There were about twelve fishermen's huts on the island, made of reeds, with a vine growing before the door, and a fig-tree in their garden. We gave tracts and books in French to all our fellow-passengers, and to the inhabitants, and tried to hallow the Sabbath. My heart went up to God the whole day for you all, and for my dear friends who would be ministering to you. I tried to go over you one by one, as many as I could call to mind. My longing desire for you was, that Jesus might reveal Himself to you in the breaking of bread,—that you might have heart-filling views of the lovely person of Immanuel, and might draw from Him rivers of comfort, life, and holiness. I trust your fellowship was with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. Many I know are ignorant of Jesus. I trembled when I thought of their taking the bread and wine. You all know my mind. upon this. The next morning the storm abated, and we sailed over the tideless sea, and reached the beautiful harbour of Marseilles by eight o'clock. We had conference with a faithful young minister, and with the Rabbi of the Jews. We also attended the synagogue the same evening. The Jews of France are fast falling into

infidelity, especially the younger Jews. They do not love the law and the prophets as their fathers did. They are, indeed, the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. Still God can make them live. It is our part to speak to them the word of the Lord, and to pray for the quickening Spirit.

True Christians in France are increasing. There are four hundred Protestant ministers, and nearly one half of these are faithful men, who know nothing among their flocks but Christ and Him crucified. In some places Christians seem more bold and devoted than in Scotland. It is very pleasant to hear them singing the French psalms: they sing with all their heart, and are much given to prayer. Oh, my dear Christians, be like them in these things! May the same Holy Spirit, who has often visited you in times gone by, fill your hearts more than ever with praise and prayer
Popery in France is waxing bolder. The first day we landed on the shore, it was evident we were in a land of Popish darkness. On the height above Boulogne, a tall white cross attracted our eyes. We found on it an image of our Saviour nailed to the tree, larger than life; the spear, the hammer, the nails, the sponge, were all there. It was raised by some shipwrecked fishermen; and sailors' wives go there in a storm to pray for their absent husbands. The Popish priests meet us in every street: they wear a three-cornered hat, black bands, a black mantle with a sash, and large buckles on their shoes; they have all a dark, suspicious look about them. At the entrance of every village there is a cross, and the churches are full of pictures and images. I went into one church in Paris, the finest in France, where the crosses were all of pure silver, and there was a large white image of the Virgin Mary, holding the infant Jesus in her arms. Many rich and poor were kneeling on the pavement before the image, silently praying. Gross darkness covers the people. A priest travelled one whole night with us in the coach. We argued with him first in French and then in Latin, trying to convince him of his errors, showing hire his need of peace with God, and a new heart. In Psalm 137. you will see that Babylon, or Popery, is "doomed to destruction Lion;" and in Revelation 18. you will see that her destruction will be very sudden and very terrible. Oh that it may come soon, for thousands are perishing under its soul-destroying errors! And yet remember what I used to read to you out of Martin Boos, and remember the saying of the Lord to Elijah (1 Kings 19.). There may be many hidden ones even in Babylon. The whole way through France we distributed French tracts. Many hundreds in this way received a message of life. In every village they came crowding around us to receive them. Pray that the dew of the Spirit may make the seed sown by the wayside spring up.

We were too late for the first vessel to Malta, and therefore resolved to sail into Italy. We left Marseilles on April twenty–third, and landed at Genoa on the twenty–fourth. Genoa is one of the most beautiful towns in the world: the most of the houses and churches are of pure white marble, and from the sea look like palaces. But Satan’s seat is there: we dared not distribute a single tract or book in Genoa—we would have been imprisoned immediately. The Catholic priests, in their black, dismal cloaks, and the monks with their coarse, brown dress, tied with a cord, a crucifix and beads hanging round their neck, bare feet, and cowl, swarm in every street. I counted that we met twenty of them in a ten minutes’ walk. Catholicism reigns here triumphant, yet the people “are sitting still, and at ease,” living for this world only. Oh! it is an awful thing to be at ease when under the wrath of God. Every place I see in Italy makes me praise God that you have the gospel so freely preached unto you. Prize it highly; do not neglect the wells of salvation that How so freely for you.

The next day we sailed for Leghorn, where we have been ever since. We are living in the house where the excellent Mr. Martin, once minister of St. George’s, Edinburgh, died in 1834. We visited his grave. I prayed that, like him, we might be faithful unto the end.

There are from ten to twenty thousand Jews here. We went to the synagogue the night we arrived, and twice since; it is a beautiful building inside, capable of holding two thousand persons. The place where they keep the law, written on a parchment roll, is finely ornamented with marble; so is the desk kept where they read the prayers. Lamps are continually burning. One rabbi was chanting the prayers when we entered. Beside the ark there stood three rabbis, in the Eastern dress, with turbans and flowing robes, and long beards. They were much reverenced, and many came to kiss their hand and receive their blessing. One of them is from Jerusalem; we have had many interesting conversations with him. Every day we have met with several Jews; they are very friendly to us, and we try to convince them out of the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ. There are about 250 Protestants here; and we have tried to stir them up also to care for their souls. Dr. Black preached to them in our hotel last Sabbath evening.

Hitherto the Lord hath helped us. Tomorrow we sail from Italy to Malta, then for Egypt, and then for the Holy Land. Dear believers, it is a sweet consolation to me that your prayers go with me wherever I go. Often, perhaps, they close the mouth of the adversary, often keep back the storms from our vessels, often open a way to the hearts of those we meet, often bring down a sweet stream of the Spirit to water my thirsty soul. May I be enabled to make a sweet exchange with you, praying my heavenly Father to render double unto each of your bosoms what you pray for me! May my dear brother, who, I trust, fills my place among you, be made a blessing to you all! May his own soul be watered while he waters yours! Join him with me in your supplications. May he win many souls among you that I could never win.

My dear brother who is with me, whom you know well, and who daily joins me, in fervent prayers for you, sends his salutations. Remember me to all who are sick and afflicted. Alas! how many of you may be labouring and heavy laden, that I know not of; but Jesus knows your sorrows. I commend you to the good Physician.

My dear classes I do not and cannot forget. Psalm 119:4, I pray may be written in your hearts.

My dear children in the Sabbath schools I always think upon on the Sabbath evenings, and on those who patiently labour among them. The Lord Himself give you encouragement, and a full reward.

To all I say, keep close to Christ, dear friends. Do not be enticed away from Him.; He is all your righteousness, and all mine; out of Him you have all your strength, and I mine. It pleased the Father that in Iliac should all fullness dwell.The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirits. Farewell.
Comments