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Howells, William - Letter to William Phillips - 23 Feb 1850

23 Feb 1850

DEAR BROTHERS W. PHILLIPS AND JOHN DAVIS -- I started on my journey to the French continent on the 8th of February. The circumstances in connection with the coal works were making things very dark in Aberdare; yet, it was necessary to depart and to leave my family under the protection of Heaven. The work is great and the time is short, for the Lord has determined to shorten it in justice for those who love him. I know that this is not the time to doze and to sleep; but blessed be that servant, who when the Master comes, is found faithful in a few things, for he will be given much in his entrance into the joy of his Lord. In the midst of other things the signs and the situation of things in this country proves this. This is a very religious country just like there; the same spirit which is in the mother here is in her daughters there. There is a total deterioration from the purity of the gospel; transgression of her laws, changing of her ordinances; untruth increases, love decreases; the religious leaders of the people are lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, unkind, slanderers, unloving, inconsiderate to those who are good, etc; because of this the hearts of millions are without feelings from within, weakening out of fear, failing to obtain comfort because of oppression and violence, weariness and darkness on every side. I hope that they will be wise and that they will listen to the beautiful voice of the dear gospel and that they will come to walk under the light of the face of God; then they will be blessed.
I spent the 11th in the company of the Saints in London. In view of the destruction which is beginning to spread across the world wonderful is the joy of those who have escaped from the snare of the sectarianism of the age and have come to a knowledge of the truth as it is in the Lord Jesus; and through that enjoying the guidance of the light of the revelations of God and his heavenly gifts through the influences of the teaching of the spiritual Comforter. Oh, how joyfully I spent the day in the midst of the Saints of the chief city of the world. In the evening at 7:00, I had the honor of meeting in council with dozens of officers of the kingdom built upon the rock, which will soon be a large mountain and which will fill the earth with the glory of God. I was called upon to begin the meeting with prayer, and after that to address the council. The news from every corner of the city contained the success of the conquest of the armor of the truth of Mormonism which is a testimony of the song of the angels of God and an object of fear and astonishment of the false with dishonesty in their hearts. One brother testififed that he had taken possession of one of the temples of the Baptists for a meeting house for the Saints in the center of the city, which is a convenient place for the officers to baptize hundreds every day if need be. May the blessings of success of the God of Joseph and Hyrum be with him in connection with their work to win the chief city of the earth for the Kingdom of Jesus, says my heart. After shaking hands with all the brethren, I started to go to the steamboat on my own journey toward the city across the sea in a strange country bound with more snares of the devil than any country under the sun; and the task which was commited to me to accomplish is to undo the knots, in spite of the teeth of the roaring lion and all the fiery spears of his faithful servants.

I arrived at Boulogne on Tuesday at mid-day, and I thrust myself into the midst of the children of Wesley as a lodger without saying that I was a Latter-Day Saint. Boulogne is a beautiful town, containing over 29,000 inhabitants (29,145) located 120 miles from London. Next day after getting my things from the Custom House, I began the battle by raising the banner of truth and putting its pointed arrows into play in the middle of the families of the streets. And, oh, the hubbub that took place! The town united together in one hand and heart agaisnt the false prophet; on Sunday night all the Wesleyan churches were called together in addition to the multitude; the reverend went to the pulpit extremely hurriedly; he read with some fearful soberness the words in the second chapter of the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians, verses 4,8,16,11,21-23; After praying for God to keep the flock from the wolves and false prophets, etc.; he took his topic among the stillness of the congregation from 1 Cor. 15:58, "Be - steadfast - unmovable (sic)." He spent about an hour's time to deliver one of the most clever and cunning sermons I ever heard; many eyes stared at me when he referred to false doctrine and the false prophet who had just come into their midst. Oh, how happy I felt upon thinking that I was free from his blood and the effects of his sermon; for I had been in his house offering to the gentleman "The Kingdom of God," and sincerely wishing to be able to speak with him for a while, which he refused along with the answer, "That he knew sufficient concerning the matter."

After returning home, one of the leading gentleman of the place, the expert of Boulogne in debate, a perfect enemy of Mormonism, was awaiting me, and others were with him! It is true that his spirit influenced me like mesmerism; but through the help of the spirit of God in response to the prayers of the Saints in my behalf, I had the honor of being victorious on every topic for three evenings, until at last he had a fit of temper, clenched his fist, and shouted with others to see miracles; at that I arose and went from their midst. I kept with the first principles and those present could not help but see how easily I was able to confuse the man. In spite of everything, I have "The Kingdom of God" in the hands of fity families in Boulogne. My love to you, dear Brethren, together with the officers and all the Saints.

Wm. Howells



Howells, William


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