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him to be left to himself. The key to much-inconsistency, shall I call it ?-is to be found in the opposition of the two natures which exist in every man : the one human, the other divine (see Romans vii). He, like all mankind, had to contend against the flesh, which was wholly evil, whilst the indwelling of God enabled him to sustain that conflict which ended only in the death of that flesh. Now the real man is with his much loved God.

Many have asked me about my brother's first religious impressions, and I have therefore commenced the series with portions of two letters written at Pembroke in 1854. But, with this and a few other exceptions, I have for various reasons excluded his earlier communications, and have selected my material principally from letters dating from the period when he began a regular correspondence with me, in which he recorded the spiritual, as well as the material, life he was leading. The series is printed in chronological sequence, and, as far as possible, dates have been given ; but it sometimes happened that one subject was carried on from letter to letter: in such cases the first date has been deemed sufficient.

Many passages in these pages may seem disjointed: this fault proceeds from General Gordon's habit of writing whatever struck him at the moment. His religious thoughts were always with him—not as a separate thing, but his life. I know also that there are repetitions ; but, when such occur, I think the reader will find that it is not repetition only, but that some fresh thought has been added. My aim and desire is to give my brother's own words and thoughts as he wrote them. Would that I


I could give his looks and the expression of his countenance when he spoke earnestly on those subjects nearest his heart! They had a great charm; and his eyes would sparkle with real delight, as, after speaking on some of God's great truths, he would exclaim, "Is it not lovely!”

It was part of my original plan to omit all the letters written between 1874 and 1879, as so large a portion of his correspondence during that period has already appeared in Colonel Gordon in Central Africa, edited by Dr. G. Birkbeck Hill. But to have done this would have caused a blank; the steps and stages by which God taught him would, as it were, have been wanting. Those letters were published to show the man's work in the Soudan; these, to show the spirit of God working in the man. For the same reason I may

have repeated some parts of the letters written to me and published in Reflections in Palestine.

It is far from my intention to write anything like a memoir of General Gordon in these few


introductory pages, but how kind and thoughtful a brother he was will be partly seen by his letters; and I think that some of his remarks will help to show him as he was, though, as a friend of his, Colonel ffolliott, writes: “ To understand properly what has been written [of General Gordon), in fact what he has written himself, requires a personal acquaintance with him ; for your brother was so unique, so utterly unlike any one else, that a personal friendship was necessary, to understand fully the greatness and goodness of heart that moved all his actions, even the smallest."

He greatly loved his Bible, and made it his one great study, saying:

"The chief proof, after all, that the Bible is good food, is the eating of it; the healing efficacy of a medicine, when it is used, is a demonstration that it is good. I believe the origin of evil is disclosed in the Bible, and I have notes on it, but it is not yet clear to me. • He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God,' John viii. 47. I like my religion, it is a great-coat to me."

Death had no terrors for him :

“I would that all could look on death as a cheerful friend, who takes us from a world of trial to our true home. All our sorrows come from a

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forgetfulness of this great truth. I desire to look on the departure of my friends as a promotion to another and a higher sphere, as I do believe that to be the case with all.

There are many gaps in the correspondence. These are due partly to the cessation of letterwriting when General Gordon was at home, and partly to my determination to avoid, as far as possible, all reference to party politics or public affairs. For the same reason, I make no allusion to his employment by the Cape Government or to the much-discussed subject of his acceptance of the post of private secretary to Lord Ripon, and of the resignation which so quickly followed. The time has not yet come when such matters can be treated fully; names cannot be mentioned without opening the door to discussion and criticism, which I would avoid ; and, as a “half-told tale can never be a true one, I prefer passing over all such matters in silence. I merely give the following extract, to show the view my brother took of all earthly governments, without regard to time or place :

“ I feel sure that you, like me, want comfort with respect to political affairs, so I will tell you how I try and comfort myself. First, I believe that all worldly events are part of God's great scheme, that He loves all human beings of all nations equally, that He is perfectly impartial and has no favourites:

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this I consider as the great and never to be disputed comfort. That nation A is better than nation B, however backward B may be, I do not think. Second, I comfort myself with respect to the action of our Government, in thinking they were not able to do anything else; it was so ordained and had to be fulfilled. I wish myself that God had favoured us, and ruled for us to have had advantages over other nations, but again I do not wish it; for, if He favoured nations, He would favour individuals. We try to look after ourselves, coûte que coûte, and often deviate from the straight path. Nothing justifies trickery such as our Governments have followed : it is the ignoring of God. I am sorry for your flesh, my flesh would like it otherwise ; but I cannot help thinking our Government is one of expedients."

Let not those who read this book be swift to make him “an offender for a word,” but, looking into their own hearts, see if they do not find an echo to much that is presented in the following pages. “How forcible are right words !” (Job vi. 25). True it is that many deem books of little importance, to be lightly taken up, no study vouchsafed, no lasting impression received. I would ask a more serious attention. May the thoughts be pondered over, and, so far as they coincide with God's truths, sink into the heart !

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