The Effect of the Thought of Death; Experience in View of the End; the Work in Germany

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Beloved brother,—I thank you from my heart for your affectionate letter. You must not think that, when I said those speaking French were my field of labor, I loved the French more than the German brethren. I do love the French brethren much, as God has much blessed my work there, and I have experienced all manner of love and kindness from them. I lived amongst them, and I bear them witness that nothing could exceed their friendliness; besides they are simple and generous. A peasant in France is nothing worth, and that is always profitable for all Christians. The blessing too has been great: at Pau, for instance, when I began to work there, it was said there were thirty Protestants and three Christians; now there are almost one hundred that break bread: besides a National church and an Independent congregation. In the south of France everything was pure unbelief, openly; now in most villages there is an assembly, often a numerous one. Yes, my heart says with joy, rich and poor they have all evinced continued love and kindness. One could hardly love brethren more than I the French; but in my spirit and natural temperament I have much more affinity with the Germans than with the French—more readily at home (French has not the word). What I wanted to say was, that I felt God, out of England, gave me the French speaking countries,as a field of labor, perhaps America also, and in fact this did not fail. In His constant goodness He added part of Germany. I feel, indeed, how poor my labor has everywhere been, and that God alone is the worker of any good result. Who could be that? What source of good is there if not God? and there everything is good. I always thought that; and have learned it too, and praise God that I am nothing and God everything.
Death has been realized in my experience, dear brother—no new principle, nothing new as regards truth, no doubt of His love, or that Christ is perfect righteousness before Him. But I found the breaking of every sort of link with life as it is here below a real thing. Now this experience has been very useful to me. I have a much deeper sense of the grace of God and of the value of Christ—no new truth, I believe—and my soul rests upon the truths that I have long learned. All has been made good to my soul. But the consciousness of love is quite another thing I feel that I belong to the other world. For long years it was my object, because I looked for the glory of Christ, and nothing else but the salvation of souls. But it is sweet to belong to the Father's house and to feel that, and to realize in closer consciousness a deeper sense of the endless love and pure grace of the Father, and what Christ and His love is. I know that He is my righteousness, and I have not to think of myself, except of my footsteps here; and it is good to think of God as the Father, and of Christ His Son.
I am much better, and can work as usual in my study. My bodily strength is much reduced. But I have long felt that this has become my present lot for quiet home work. My mind is fresh as ever, and I have taken part in some meetings, but my outward activity is for the most part over. Partly, too much work has reduced me, and I fell to the ground which did me bodily injury. Then, I am eighty, soon eighty-one years old. My hearty greetings to the brethren. Assure them that I was never more at home than among them. The wish and prayer of my heart is that Christ may be ever more and more everything to them. Soon He will become everything, and all else will come to naught.
Hearty greetings to your family and all the brethren at Elberfeld.
Your attached brother in Christ.
London, 1881.