April 27th 1866
My very dear Alexander
It rejoices my heart to be assured from your own handwriting that our letters are ever welcome to you. It does so encourage me to write. Thank you, dear Alex.
The health of us both continues as good as can possibly be expected at our advanced ages. Debility is principally my complaint, but amidst all I have been able with the assistance of a strong servant girl to get through my usual domestic duties, without any particular interruptions, for which I feel very thankful. Your father is well but he has his warnings; for instance, he is beginning to find fatiguing to walk far and he is especially forgetful about little things; while he retains his memory for anything that is political or intellectual.
You say "what would I not give to visit you". Dear Alex, I am glad you feel so and whilst I wish from my heart a voyage to England could be accomplished, yet I do fear to press it lest you should have reason to repent. I feel afraid in my own mind at your return you would have to begin the world afresh as no one excepting your brother would be found to transact your business during your absence and he, it seems, is a little uncertain as to his future locality. Again I look at it in another phase. Suppose you and dear Andrea were to make up your minds to come to England for a permanency, do you not think there would be many unadvantages in that step? For instance, it is possible you might realize where you are sufficient to live independently upon here; you have no family, consequently you could live upon a hundred per annum and genteelly too. Riches alone are not worth living for here; you would have the precious Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ made known to you, which is beyond all price and with the blessing of Almighty God it might prove instrumental in your conversion, whereas where you now are the book of God and the Pure preaching of his word is denied you - alas! alas! "What can a man give in exchange for his immortal soul", that soul which must live forever either in Heaven or Hell.
I am so glad, my dear Alexander, that you have given as [us?] your notions upon religion. Did you ever read about Elijah's vision in the 18 Chapter, the first book-of-Kings? He had been praying for rain. He said to his servant "Go up now, look towards the sea" and he went up and looked and said "There is nothing"; and he said "Go again seven times," and behold at the 7th time "a little cloud ariseth like a man's hand" which presaged the coming rain. In that view, my dear, do I look upon the disclosure you have made to me upon the religious experience of your heart. I trust this has come from the Lord in answer to the many prayers which have been offered up for you. In the first place you say "I am not an unbeliever". The devils believe and perish. Is yours, dear A, a living faith? Do you believe with the heart and the understanding that Jesus died for you? that he ever liveth to make intercession for you with the Father - that is the Almighty Jehovah, that his blood cleanseth you from all sin. Without the shedding of blood there is no pardon for sin. That the Holy Ghost, the Comforter whom Christ sent down to his Apostles on the Day of Pentecost will sancitify you and lead you into the way full of truth; that is if You ask in prayer, believing all things are possible with God. Recollect, dear Alex, that prayer is the key which opens heaven and to Jesus we must go as the mediator between God and man. If you read your bible prayerfully, that your mind may be brought to the truth savingly, and are a believer in Christ Jesus, no doubt dear Alex, you have saving faith and to be assured of this will be a comfort to me in life and at death. By your saying you "do the best you can to carry out the commandments", I believe you, but whoever did carry them out excepting our precious Saviour? You do not appear to know that use, not under the law but under the Gospel, and Jesus say "take my yoke upon you and My burden for it is light." You are trusting to your works for salvation, but by Grace are ye saved and not by works; lest any man should boast good works which we must all have are but as evidence of our faith. Indeed, my dear Alex, I perfectly believe you when you say "I am as good a member of Society as half the church members". I am sorry to say there are too many men nominal Christians but we are called upon to have love towards our blessed Lord who died for You and me and dear Andrea and to follow his example. We are not to aim at mere morality. We must have Christian morality, never mind your not belonging to a church if you love Jesus. I cannot see how you can, as you are situated, but the time may come when you may desire it, and have the opportunity. I am sorry you have no better Missionaries sent to St. Luis Obispo, I should imagine by the specimen you gave me of one "that he was never sent out by any Society". I am glad you are not a convert to Catholicism. Protestant religion teaches us that there is but one Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. I heartily thank you, dear Alex, for being so explicate [=explicit?] upon the subject of religion as it has enabled me to discern your real state of mind. I hope you will continue it as a few hints which I may occasionally throw out may be blessed to your happiness here and hereafter. Follow on to know the Lord, and continue to put [open?] your whole heart to me upon so important subjects - I love you too well not to value such communications beyond all earthly good.
Now about your new residence, I am very pleased that you and your good wife are beginning to enjoy it. You seem to have an abundance of fruit trees; to have [a] garden to cultivate must be a nice change from your store. What a pity that your employees cannot be found faithful, but I have no doubt of such being the case. We find it so even here in this land of Bibles. If business is dull, you manage to succeed and put by; may such be long the case. Remember riches come from the Lord; what think you of the good American Mr Peabody? The houses which have been built with his money for the benefits of the poor are not far from us. When he is called home he will be able to render a good account of his stewardship to his Divine Master. I have never heard of his conversion but I presume he is by his works but you know if we were to give all we have to the poor and "had not charity (that is love) it profiteth me nothing" -13 Chapter of the first Corinthians.
By this you have received my letter containing the intelligence of the death of poor aunt Everitt, but why should I say poor? - she who was one of the Lord's dear children who is now "absent in the body but present with the Lord", and St. Paul says that is far better, but we cannot all realize the latter. There are many things to endear this world of ours to us but the Lord will give us grace in the dying hour and enable us to part with our Idols. Alas, although not living in a heathen land we are not without idols. How many make them of their children; but God says it shall not be, so he takes them from us. Indeed, my dear Alex, you and your dear wife have evinced much liberality of spirit towards us "old folks at home". We received the 5 sovereigns and thank you very much for them. We shall with pleasure comply with your wishes respecting Fanny to the extent you have mentioned, and most likely to a further as she is expecting to remove, when a little assistance will be of service. In your desire to help your parents do not think we are in any difficulties, therefore on no account deprive yourself of the pleasure of going elsewhere [if] you have the desire. We shall have before many months £200 pounds left us by Aunt Everitt, [so] that we ought not to need help. If ever we do, I will not conceal it from you.
I fear poor Walter is doing no great things just now. I quite think if he were to be less of a public character he would succeed better, but St. Luis Obispo appears to me too small a place to give him much business or celebrity. I am astonished at your getting on so well. Let well enough alone; perservere until you['ve] got enough to keep you in England, but I expect by that time I shall be under the green turf, but never mind if I meet you in that "better land".
I should like to say a few words to your better half, but time will not permit. Tell her that I should like to receive a letter from her. Never mind blunders; my letters abound with them, but I cannot on that account refrain from writing.
Henry Manfred has returned home but what he is doing I know not. Charles loves position better than money; you m better than position. However you cannot be said to be far short of your position if you possess a house, a business [of] your own. May you be blessed with it and make a blessing. Aunt and Uncle Hopwood are well, expecting to do a dea[l of] business this London season. They went down to Colchester this autumn and enjoyed themselves very much.
Fanny's children have all had the measles. Lately one of her little boys fell down and received so bad a blow that it was feared consequences would have been bad, but he is better. Anne I am expecting to see next month as she wishes to attend some of the "May Meetings".
Give my love to dear Walter and his wife. I often wish I could see some of their children, I dare say if Walter could but introduce them to me he would be as proud as a peacock.
Papa says he is ready to post a letter, therefore as he is a hurrying man I must bring this to a conclusion. Thanking you again for all your kind feelings towards us, believe me
My very dear Alexander
Yours ever affectionately