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I rejoice with thankfulness when I am allowed to review each of you + before the Lord. I have had a fear, and it is simply this, I think you will allow me to be candid with you, lest you should not make the Spirit's first thought (in accordance with the heart of Christ and the purpose of God) your leading thought.

I do not deny that it has a place in your minds, as well as in your affections, but more in the latter than in the former; that is, while your affections entertain it, you are not so ruled by it that your minds would be coloured by it, and all your work in purpose bearing on it. You may say that you are by gift evangelists, so was Paul. You may say -- we hope to get to it. Now in divine things there is no possibility of making that straight which is already crooked; there is no such thing as growing out of a deformity, or an impaired constitution, save and except by renouncing that which caused the damage, and starting anew, one by one, according to the light now vouchsafed. I mean for instance that no amount of teaching can raise a Baptist congregation into the truth of the assembly of God. To be in the truth of the assembly of God you must gather with God, and by Him, apart from conventionalism. You know very well that it is the aim which gives a character and a colour to all one's energies and ways in seeking to attain to it. Is the filling up of Christ's body -- the true aim of the Holy Ghost according to the heart of Christ and the purpose of God, your aim -- your simple aim -- as simple that it is your commanding aim? I do not for the moment ask you to see, if there is any one else on the road with you (though Timothy was told to look out for those who had preceded him on the road), because I know that

+A group of evangelists at ---- .

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if this is your aim, and if through grace it is my aim we cannot be separated, but we must ere long be in the power and unity of the one and selfsame Spirit; and otherwise, God so helping me, I should not desire it. If it be your aim, and if you start faithful to Christ to reach it, as a Nehemiah, I know well that you must in the end meet and join with me, if Ezra-like I have long since preceded you on the road from Babylon.

The temple of Jerusalem was aforetime the centre of God's interests on earth. Haggai shews how all other blessings lost their proper good and value, because the house of the Lord lay waste. The widow in Luke 21 manifested the true spirit, devoting all she had (regardless of her own destitution) for the restoration of the temple, the only spot on earth dear to God. If His present circle and centre be the definite aim of our service and devotedness, we may be assured, oh how much! that 'From this day I will bless you'; but if not, though we may appear to do much, we shall from want of instruction from the wise master builder, build wood, hay, stubble, sow much sorrow for ourselves, and reproach to that name which we really desire to honour. Yours affectionately in Him, whose we are and whom we desire to serve.


The body is formed by the Holy Ghost, each member being baptised by Him into one body. The Spirit's work and therefore the servant's business is to see that each member knows what he is called to. I cannot see how any one could drink of the selfsame Spirit and not have instincts for membership; but the servant does not put them there. Do you understand the body as one held together by the Holy Ghost? Not by any set of privileges or blessings or even by Christ as Lord. He is Head of the body, but He is not the bond of union. We are bound to Christ as Head by the Holy Ghost, and baptised by Him into one body; so that when I come to understand

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the body I am not careful merely as to what suits the members; I must take into account what suits that which binds us together -- to Christ and to one another. It is the Spirit who incorporates a member into the body; no putting them in a room together with the most spiritual or breaking bread with them would do so. In this day of confusion we have had to learn what the body is, and we have had to learn the holiness of the house of God; we have had to purge ourselves from the vessels to dishonour in the systems, not merely by withdrawing from that which would immediately affect the members, as far as we could see, but from what would grieve and hinder the Spirit. Could any reprobation or separation be deemed too much? This is really the question; we see from the word of God that a simple usual act of courtesy couched in "farewell" involves us in the evil deeds of the utterer of a heresy. See 2 John 10, 11. A saint may not hold it, but if he be indifferent about it, he disrespects the feelings of Christ, and the holiness of God's Spirit, and grieves and hinders Him in himself and in the body. We charge this indifference on B-------- Street. We do not charge it with heresy, but with indifference; and I see that in not one of that way is there power or knowledge of the truth which we have lately been enjoying together. I am confident before the Lord that if I were not exclusive, seeking (and it cuts home I know) to maintain what becomes the house of God here, the habitation of God through the Spirit, I should lose, as so many of my brethren have lost, those truths which are nearest to the heart of Christ. Can any true-hearted soul hesitate as to on which side he would be, on the side of indifference, or that of faithfulness to maintain the honour of Christ and that the Spirit should be unhindered? It is a very narrow issue, and alas! for the servant of Christ who cannot at once make his election. But you are, thank God, in the hands and heart of our Lord, and I trust in Him to lead you, as He has hitherto so distinctly done, as His witness in this evil day.

In unfeigned love your brother in Christ.

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It is not God's way, I say it without hesitation, to allow any one to step down to a lower standing than the one he assumed to take, in order to escape the consequence of failure in the higher standing. I never encourage any one to take the standing that we have assumed to take; though I know that it is most blessed, and the only one for the witness. Yet, I tremble, and, if I dare, would dissuade some who essay to join with us. We seek to be overcomers, taking the van against all comers, desiring to gather all the saints out of the present confusion; but if they come, they must do as we ought to do, -- with lusty sinews buffet the waves which are running high against us. Any one who takes the standing will be judged according to it. Lot takes the standing of Canaan, and is judged, not as if he were still in Mesopotamia, but as in Canaan. I treat Independents as Independents, but Brethren I do not treat as Independents, even when, in conduct and mind, they have degenerated to that. It is simply not God's way to treat them as such. They themselves deny that they are independents, and it is only by force of an unwise amiability that you reduce them to the level of Independents, in order that you may be able to mete out to them a milder judgment. The trials and difficulties which in unbelief we try to avoid, we may be sure, are the very ones we shall fall into, and some day or other you will find that you must deal in discipline, on the ground of the assembly; and the difficulties which now you think you escape from, by reducing a company of saints avowedly on the ground of the assembly, to that of Independents, will not serve you at another time which your present laxity is sowing the seed of in your own borders nearer home. For if we would be faithful, and yet seek, and embrace a compromise where there is a demand on us to be faithful, God in His righteousness must make a much severer demand on us next time; for if He does not, we sink down into the ruins around us. It would be a much

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more difficult thing for B-------- Street to act faithfully now than at first, like a Christian coquetting with the world, it is more difficult for him to renounce each day that he has not renounced it. You are bound to treat and deal with B-------- Street on the ground on which it was formed. Israel is always dealt with on the ground of being Israel; and having taken true ground, it is plain I have no right to reduce them to the lower ground, which in moral declension they have sunk to, in order that I may exempt them from the discipline applicable to the ground on which they originally started. That would be virtually rewarding them for their declension.... Do not be afraid to be a porter in God's house to see that no unclean person should enter.


I think it is not too much to say that souls are saved here with reference to the church; "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). They are not only saved for heaven, but are destined for a position on earth for Christ. The weakest member is necessary. I should quote that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places may be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. I can suppose that this theology would be very objectionable to a mere revivalist; 'Conversion of souls everything, and the church nothing' is the evil we have especially to contend against in this day. In God's sovereign grace and wisdom souls are often saved on death beds; but even so, they are of the church now, and nothing else; and if they were continued here they ought to be found acting and living here as of it -- members of Christ's body. I do not believe that an evangelist has done his true work unless he has so presented Christ to a soul, that that soul may in the power of the Spirit through faith know itself as of Christ; and if of Christ it is of His body on earth, though it may not yet have intelligence as to this. Without doubt God

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saves a soul now for the church. If not for the church, for what else?

Is there a separate or distinct class of converted ones now irrespective of the church? Nothing of the sort. Every one converted now is in God's mind a member of the body of Christ, and the true evangelist will see to it that he is "planted", and in the building.

Paul says, I planted -- Apollos watered. It is, I think, one of the most trying anomalies of the present day that many souls are known to be converted who are never heard of again, and though they are netted, and surely preserved by God in His unfailing mercy, yet they are not known here as belonging to Christ; and they have not here either a "father" or a "nurse", see 1 Thessalonians 2. The duty of the evangelist is to hand the stone into the hands of the pastor, as a hodsman would pass on a stone to a mason.

There is no evangelist among the gifts in 1 Corinthians 12, because it is the body which is there presented, but when the Head is before us the evangelist is one of the gifts for the perfecting of the saints (Ephesians 4:11, 12).

The path is narrow, but daily I am more satisfied and assured that if we would know the presence and mind of our absent Lord we must be on the martyr line. The evangelical line may lead to this; the 'no system' line may lead to it, but it is not it!


... If it were a matter of ignorance or of weakness we could well bear with it. Nay, what is more, the ignorant and weak, when they love, are generally carried away by their affections, and controlled by them, like Mary Magdalene surpassing Peter and John; so that, if there were simple affection for Christ, that which is due to Him would be earnestly adopted and pursued. For my part I cannot understand (except by looking at my own nature) how any one loving Christ could for a moment hesitate to do anything

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which would disconnect him from association with that which is abhorrent to the Holy Ghost, who is here uniting the members in one body to the Head -- Christ in heaven. It is not the Lord who holds the assemblies together, it is the Holy Ghost. He is the Head in heaven; the Holy Ghost is here, which -------- and -------- have each in a different way denied. How could they have Him when they are not careful to dissociate from that which is abhorrent to Him? If it were not by the Holy Ghost how could the suffering of one member affect all the other members? In deference to the Holy Ghost for Christ's sake we are seeking to disconnect ourselves from all association with heresy.

If you were reasoning for ever you could never convince any one how saying farewell to a heretic made one a partaker of his evil deeds. Where to reason is the vis consequentia? None whatever. It is faith alone, in the sensibility of the Spirit as to what is due to Christ, that can understand the weight and force of that injunction. The unity spoken of in John 17 is unity in mind and judgment, not unity of the body. Christ as Lord, which is His true dignity, is never brought before the saint as claiming allegiance, except when the saint is where he might fail in it. The Head holds him (Ephesians 4) and he holds the Head for nourishment and growth. If he be called to remember the dignity of Christ as Lord, and His claims on him, it is evident that there is need for it; but subject unto Christ is our normal place, and it is in knowing Him as Head that we are so. Well, I know that if the Lord were felt to be present, Mr. -------- would readily gather up his garments tight enough from any association with the indifferent.


If the sovereign were present, all our thoughts would be directed as to how to do everything suited to the royal mind and pleasure. How much more when God dwells

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among us must we consider what we admit in our company! Nay, how careful must we be not to admit anything unsuited to Him! Yet while your own connection with the evil is over, and for such momentous reasons, you can suffer another's connection to continue; and not only this, but you can suffer him to form a link of connection with you. Thus in two ways you by this course deny the unity of the Spirit. In the first place, what is right for you is right for every other member of the body held together by the one Spirit. May I allow one finger to be burnt while I do everything to preserve another? Secondly, if you admit the burnt finger, you consent to its position; you are not clear of the association, you are again connected with that with which you say your connection is over. If we received on such conditions we should be connecting ourselves with B-------- St., which I trust we are daily strengthened of God (as learning what suits His habitation) to dissociate from entirely as proving ourselves in His sight in all things clear in this matter. Can you be a faithful instructor if you sanction the babes doing what you avow you would think wrong to do yourself? Ponder it over again, dear brother. Let the truth have its rule and sway in your soul, and the Lord will help you so distinctly that the consequences you fear will be but as the waters of the Red Sea to your faith.


Your letter was a great cheer to me, not so much the fact, grateful in itself, that we are more likeminded, more perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment, but rather the way in which you have learned the truth. I feel I ought to be even more grateful than I am at the grace conferred on you, that even at the very meeting where there was more good than at any of the others, there your conscience was not sheltering itself under the increased good, but enabled to follow the leading of the Spirit of God, and to judge that no amount of good

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could neutralise the smallest amount of bad in principle (Haggai 2:12, 13). Where and how the Lord led you is without question the only true path. You have begun with God, and not with man. Why should not God's principles always govern us? or at least indicate to us our course? Is it not an admission that the Lord is not with us if we overlook the bad because of the good? With God I start, as you truly say, with truth and holiness; and though I may not be able to check every contrary rising, I cannot admit, even under protest, that it may continue. If the Lord is with us, I start from the opposite point that man does. I start from the fountain of all good; and I cannot suffer anything contrary to Him. If I start from man's side, it is one that is evil continually.

With the Lord it is the natural flow of His own nature, welling out without check until it encounters some of man's evil. Am I to suffer this evil to remain? Whom am I compromising? It is evident that I have little idea of the power of God in His goodness, if I am afraid to check the evil because of the amount of human support which I may forfeit by so doing.

I am rejoiced for another reason that you have been led by a path that you knew not; because you will start on the basis which you have been taught for yourself, and therefore you will not be discouraged or driven back when you see many who, though professedly on the same principles, are not practically maintaining them.

I feel I need often to say to myself -- If all were to desert the principles which I have learned from God, could I remain in a solitary path and adhere to them? I encourage my heart to reply in the affirmative.... What saints in general require to learn is, that it is from Christ, the new Man, that we start. It is good overcoming and exterminating the bad -- not the bad gradually yielding to or gaining the good. We begin with good, and in the good we resist and refuse the bad. The bad is not acknowledged as in possession.

The porter was the lowest official in the temple service, and if he were enjoined not to allow any unclean thing to enter, how much more the higher officials! Phinehas properly had no right to a sword, an ephod was his official

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power, but the necessity of the time sanctioned his adopting a more vigorous line.


I am very thankful for the mercy vouchsafed to you in your discussion with ------. I love him much, and because I do so, the more distinctly do I show him my reserve, on account of his opposition to the truth. The greater the love, the greater the reserve, if the love be offended for the truth's sake. A brother offended is like a strong city. The love is maudlin if the reserve because of offence is easy and vacillating. I am daily more convinced that though we cannot be too gentle in instructing those who oppose themselves, we fail much in proving to them that the offence is momentous. They are opposing the truth that ought to be everything to us. "For this I have come into the world, that I might bear witness to the truth" (John 18:37). HE is the truth. The one I love best is the one who best knows how devoted I am to the truth, if I am devoted; and the more I love any brother, the more do I impress on him my appreciation through grace of the truth. The more truly I love him, the more he ought to feel from my attitude towards him, that because I so love him I could not in any way compromise what is of such essential blessing to himself. I could not meet him socially, my heart could not accept him on low ground, when I could not accord to him his true place, because it is in Christ that I love him. Believe me, if it were more felt (and it never can be felt by others until we feel it ourselves), that we were contending for truth, momentous truth, our testimony would have much more weight with souls. Saints often think that we are only contending for points. Leaven works strangely, but fearfully. Phinehas is the man, or kind of man, we want. Barnabas would patch up matters; nice, easy fellow, takes John Mark and goes to Cyprus, his native place -- all in nature. Gracious Lord! surely we know that Thou dost trust even uncertain

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servants, and Thou dost restore them, as Mark was restored in the end, but we who know how weak we are in ourselves, ought never to elect to run in harness with stumbling steeds. On the other hand, you may be in the Lord's hand the fit instrument to extricate others. The one who is delivered himself may be able to deliver others. The principle is -- "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32).


... I would fain be in company with you on a higher and more blessed subject. I have been much interested in the subject of worship. In heaven there will be nothing to distract us from full concentration of heart and mind on God, as manifested to us in Christ Jesus and by Him. As merely a recipient, however inconceivable and unaccountable the favour bestowed on me, I am not necessarily a worshipper, I am a receiver; and my thanksgiving truly ought to be in keeping therewith; but when I worship, the Object of my worship detains my heart because it controls it. God in His own distinct blessedness, as known to me, engages and rivets my heart and mind. This is, I think, very uncommon in meetings nowadays, though we through His grace may often, as we walk along, be so attracted by His own essential blessedness that we stop, and in deep reverence of soul exclaim, 'Glory be to God'. This, so far, is worship, but I feel it cannot be truly said unless by one who feels himself adoringly absorbed with Him, as One from whom he is not expecting to receive, because he has received everything. Oh, how we should worship if our hearts were simply engaged with Him. While oneself is one's object, even for the highest blessing, one is not free to make Another -- the Blesser -- one's Object. Surely you and I may feel that it is very happy work to seek to understand this worship for ourselves, and as we know it, to convey our knowledge, as He permits us, to others of His dear people. We all here remember you in true affection.

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Who is ready to strip himself and call on all to cast away their ornaments and wait in contrition before the Lord? I believe, unless each there judges himself, and takes the beam out of his own eye, there will be no healthy action or restoration. With us, if I may so say, the assembly very much makes the minister, and the minister makes the assembly; that is, if the assembly be really true and devoted, God gives suited care. The Lord gives the gift according as it is valued, and the care and the gift give a character and a colour to the assembly. I often feel when people in a place complain of the ministry they have, that the fact is, they have only just what they deserve, for there is righteous government in the church, as we know even individually. Christ is with them who are with Christ. He gives an open door.


I am thankful for your account of the work at --------, 'a work of smaller dimensions on a firmer and sounder basis,' sounds like something truly Philadelphian. I believe that sentence uttered and written by you possibly without any preparation, comprises the principles of a present true position, and because it is so true, there is always an effort (I believe of the flesh) to be connected with a work of large dimensions on an uncertain and loose basis. We are only a remnant, but we seek to be true to our original constitution. It is not that we surrender our constitution, but as a remnant, we are set, I trust, to maintain our constitution -- to be, notwithstanding the ruin, in the truth of the church -- the body of Christ, in the place where He has been rejected. The remnant in every age especially contended for and maintained the

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constitution of that order of things of which it was the remnant. 'No surrender' was the cry and testimony to the last.

I suppose the first remnant was Noah, then Joseph, then Caleb and Joshua, and so on, down to Simeon and Anna in our Lord's day, and the widow with the two mites when His day here had closed. One and all, however, weak and single-handed, by their faithfulness, rose superior to the difficulties and perplexities of their times; for God especially succours those who stand for Him in an evil day. Nay, He distinguishes them pre-eminently: "Them that honour me I will honour" (1 Samuel 2:30); so that the remnant is always helped and cheered, and that in a higher and greater way than were their fellows, in the brightest days of their dispensation; that is, the Lord is more known to them in nearness of interest and thought about them, than when His power was more manifestly with them. No saint can meet with or receive higher favour than a Philadelphian.

And here I may allude to another subject in your letter, namely, how to reach the saints outside. There is nothing more deeply interesting to me than this question; and the more I think of it, the more assured I am that it is not so much instruction that is needed, as faith. You may retort, "Faith cometh by hearing" (Romans 10:17); I admit it; but the truth cannot be presented in power but as there is faith in him who presents it; and what I increasingly feel is, that the power to reach those outside must spring from inside. If the truth we know and admit has so little power on those who hold it, how can you expect it to have greater power on those who as yet do not see it? You do not want to make dissenters of the saints; you wish to lead them into the spot where Christ can meet them, and walk with them, in this day. Now, if we who hold the truth which leads to and provides this spot do not reach to and maintain this spot, it appears to me that we are beginning at the wrong end in seeking to lead others into truth which as yet has not had its true effect on ourselves.

In a word (do not let me surprise you), I think all outside meetings incongruous and inconsistent. I do not say that we should not seek for and minister to individual saints; but the display of seeking those outside while we

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are so feeble inside is to me incongruous and like the legs of the lame which are not equal!

Both at Thessalonica and at Corinth it was faith that "sounded out" from inside, and not instruction merely. I do not see power in any place to lead on souls, but as there is power in those led out, and where there is devotedness (the true character of the remnant) in those who seek to be the remnant, there is always an attraction, a real, vital attraction, for the godly ones outside. The only chance of recovering from paralysis is by strengthening the constitution. It is little use for paralytic members to call on paralytic members to be in tone and up to their true place. Do not suppose I plead for inaction; no such thing. The mouse in the fable nibbled the knots of the net, and what the lion could not break as a whole, the patient toil of the little mouse accomplished; work, work, work, nibble, nibble, nibble; but let us not assume the place of apostles, but simply that of a remnant true to the original. My greatest grief, I may honestly say, is the little sense there is among us "in assembly" of the presence of Christ. Thank God, I am daily more assured of the principle, but principles are nothing if not maintained in power, and I feel we are feeble and inadequate in reaching our brethren outside because of our lack of personal devotedness (the only trait of beauty left to the once beautiful but now paralysed "wife", if I may so say). Hence we work in the shade. Charity must begin at home. "Having hope, your faith increasing, to be enlarged amongst you" (2 Corinthians 10:15). I feel we cannot be too unpretending on the one hand, and on the other too uncompromising or too exclusive, or too earnest in seeking to deliver souls -- able to offer the best of fare, but poor accommodation, and not always the best of company. I never should have a placard for any meeting, however extreme this may be thought; we are a feeble folk, "spiders", if you will, but they reach to "high places".

May we, dear brother, so rejoice in the Lord and so find our portion in Him, that devotedness -- this only trait of beauty left us, may be largely ours.

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I quite agree with you that we suffered much at the -------- meetings, because, as you say, there was not simple dependence on the Lord; but, as you know, liberty of speech and freedom of utterance can be in the flesh as much as dogged silence, and it is certainly much more mischievous. The one who, in the flesh, will be doggedly silent because cowed or repressed by fear or self-occupation, will be audacious and forward when that which overawes his flesh is removed. One may be in fear, and in weakness, and in much trembling because of man, and at the same time one may be at one's ease before the Lord, and acting for Him.

The prospect of your prosperity through the Lord's favour is a joy to me; and I do trust that the time may be used, under His guidance, to supply to souls the truth suited to their state. It is not always that the happiest and most buoyant meetings are the most profitable. The word from the Lord reaching the conscience, and sending each back to his place, to turn over a new leaf, is the time of real blessing. I dread the 'making merry with my friends'; that is socialism, and man can never go higher than that; but what a contrast is making merry with God -- "they began to be merry".

I trust the Lord will enable me to remember you during the meetings.


I am glad you go with me in any measure as to evangelising. I think your individual exertion is within the province of the Holy Ghost, and useable by Him, but any appropriated agency is not. "They that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Matthew 26:52), applies I believe to the use of

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all human force or parade, not merely to soldiers to whom it is too commonly confined. As to Paul's disputing, the word used is dialegw from which dialect comes, and was not necessarily very public; and his doing this with those that met with him makes it very individual, as I see it. I do not of course object to preaching, or having people collected in a room, but I think if you see the calling of an evangelist you will not place confidence in any of the accompaniments or auxiliaries of it, but in the mission entrusted to him; and this the Holy Ghost blesses. An imperfect and untrue idea has been given of Christianity by the fact that a preacher can be of the world, and yet can proclaim the gospel. This is Christendom. Now the evangelist proper must renounce all position, all positive or continuous employment; he is an angel on earth, as the angels have tidings to convey from heaven; he may work with his hands where he serves, but he must be free to be the messenger of glad tidings.

I have thought over your move, and my impression is that a little camp-life would be very happy for you. I think if you were with other generals for a while it would be for the benefit of the whole army. You have been a good officer at the depot; a time at headquarters would enable you to see what others were made of, and also to see whether you had any corners which need rounding. We are poor judges of what is good for others. I merely tell you my wishes for you.


I am thankful that you are cheered in the work in -------- and I am glad that you are often before me in connection with it. There are many interesting units in --------, but very few understand the bond of the Spirit of God. With great intelligence as to the doctrine of the unity of the body, they practically little understand membership. They go in cliques or sets; but the fact of being united to

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one another by the Spirit of God very little possesses them. The national social element is a hindrance to the spiritual bond, and they cannot understand an unseen link where they have no outward link. The tendency therefore is that the rich preserves his own position, and the poor longs for the same. If they knew the spiritual bond, the spiritual would cluster together, glad to know and recognise one another in this new bond, and not careful or wishing, either the one to maintain, or the other to advance his natural status. When people are really spiritual the rich man does not think of or wish to maintain his grade, or the poor man to advance his, they both have a better one; and the one who seeks either to maintain or to encroach, has departed from the new and better status. Thank God! I had rather be with the lowest socially if he were spiritual than with the most accomplished who is not so. I think in -------- much is thought of position, and hence on the other side they think you cannot be intimate without being familiar. If I have no position to maintain I can allow every one else to retain his. If I have none there is none to encroach on, and no spiritual soul wants what I reject. He must be poor indeed who picks up one's cast away clothes! The real difficulty is to measure every one by one standard. The Lord is our only standard. I do not say that we are to disregard our acquaintances, they are our "neighbours", those providentially near us, but we should prove in ourselves that everything of human status is overlooked for the Lord, and that we really seek the 300 devoted ones (see Gideon) irrespective of rank or social quality, one thing alone really commanding any one to us, and that is simple devotedness to the Lord. Thus our acquaintances or neighbours would have a double gain if they were of the number. The servant who would maintain and cultivate a real spiritual bond would impart a vigour to the meetings in -------- hitherto unknown. The attempt to be a family was too levelling, and necessarily was a levelling up, but in the spiritual bond there is an ignoring of the social status on every side. It is even worse for the one who encroaches, than for the one who maintains.

I heard of dear G--------'s serious illness. How it emboldens

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our hearts to tell the Lord what a use he was to us and to all His people, and then to plead for his life.

May every blessing surround you both. One word only I say -- the servant must not consider what he can afford, or what he is used to, but what he can surrender, so as to be an example to the lowest grade.

How blessed to enter on every step here either of sorrow or of joy as preordained by Him, and with Himself as the manna -- the provision for it. How much more sorrow was known to Him in His path here than gleams of sunshine. His joys were chiefly above. Paul could say: "I know how to be abased and how to abound" (Philippians 4:12). The grace of Christ is as necessary for the latter as for the former. I write this line to assure you of my constant remembrance of you before the Lord.


"Holding the Head" must be practically lost when the unity of the Spirit is overlooked, because it is from Him all the body, by joints and bands having nourishment ministered and united together, maketh increase unto God.

What grieves me is, that you should appear to disregard or ignore divine principles, in order to effect what you deem a good service to the flock, as if it were not possible to effect this in any other way. Could anything be urged more condemnatory of the principles we have been advocating at all cost for so many years than that such as you should openly and persistently avow, that in order to provide relief for the Lord's people in circumstances of great difficulty you must abandon principle? This is as much as saying your principles will do very well for a prosperous day, but in a day of difficulty they are specious and impracticable. I should have thought that the principles of God were the very reverse; that man's contrivance might do in prosperous times, but that God's principles alone could meet the day of trial. Surely God can defend

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His own. My conviction, thank the Lord, is, that the more disorganised everything is, the more strictly must I adhere to principle. "God hath given thee all them that sail with thee" (Acts 27:24). I am safe if I sail with Paul. I only use this as an illustration to show that if I adhere to God's principles, I must through this be safe. Surely under no circumstance would you approve the act of King Saul? When, disappointed that Samuel had not come at the time appointed, he overlooked all principle and precept in order to secure the countenance of Jehovah. Samuel says, "Thou hast done foolishly" -- he should have waited for Samuel. We must wait for the Lord, He has His own time and manner of deliverance. Like the disciples, we may be toiling in rowing, and Jesus had not come to them, though it was already dark.

I have still to say to my soul, "He that believeth shall not make haste" (Isaiah 28:16).... My distress is that you should give countenance by your act to the leaven which is everywhere working -- even that the end justifies the means, and that the unity of the Spirit cannot be kept -- that there is not as much unity between the members of Christ's body as there is between the members of our natural body, but that any one or more of the members of Christ's body may act independently of the rest when there is any project they think right to accomplish. No one should act independently unless his brethren were committed to independent principles. No slowness, no timidity, no ignorance, warrants one to act independently.

Beloved brother, do comfort us by retracing your steps.... You have trespassed against the church of God -- the dearest object of the heart of Christ -- you have touched grievously the apple of His eye. Thank God, there is a way for you to retrieve yourself, one both honourable to you and for the glory of Christ. I beseech you, for the Lord's sake, to accept truly and graciously the rebuke you deserve. Defeat the enemy, and delight your brethren.... by repudiating and retracing the step you have taken, and the Lord will help you. 1881

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I am very thankful that you have entered your protest against placarding, and the human efforts put forth to gain publicity. I feel that there is a misapprehension of the Lord's mind as to our calling as His servants at this time when efforts of the kind are resorted to. I am sure that if a servant had any true sense of the Lord in judgment in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, he would not seek to be publicly acknowledged, when he knew that the church had forfeited its proper calling of candlestick to the world because it has left its first love to Himself. It is, in my mind, an attempt to regain by human means a position once ours by the power of the Lord -- as if, when a king had refused to give a military escort to his son because he was discreditable in public, that the son then should hire a company of roughs to proclaim him. Before the decline of the church there was always power for the work of the Lord in public. See Paul at Philippi (Acts 16). I see that if the church were up to its true position the Lord would support us by His own power, so that human means would not be required. To use human means for the Lord's service in this world where He was rejected by man, is either a monstrous inconsistency or an attempt to deny His rejection. This would apply even in the brightest days of the church, how much more so now when we know that the church to man's eye is in ruins. Our calling is to trim our lamps and go forth to meet the Bridegroom. There is light according to our devotedness to the Lord personally. We have failed in public testimony, now we are called to look out for the morning Star; and the more thoroughly our hearts are eager to see Him, the more we detach ourselves from everything unsuited to Him, the more are we a light for Him. The Spirit and the bride say, "Come", and it is still the day of grace -- "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17). As far as I see, I think that there should be no publicity now but the publicity which personal

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devotedness to Christ would entail. Love does not seek to be seen by others, though others cannot fail to see the self-sacrificing interest with which it devotes itself to Christ and His things; and He, though He be rejected here, is the coming King, and when He opens no man can shut. He is the one object of interest, and hence every service is carefully attended to, because it is His, and this I believe is our testimony in this the closing day.


... You will tell the dear saints at -------- how much I prize their love. It is very pleasant to be in their debt, for they belong to Him to whom I owe everything.

I am glad of your prosperity at -------- and that you enjoyed being on the Inspection line. I am sure you will enjoy it the more you are given to it. To present every man "Perfect in Christ Jesus" -- fit for His inspection in the day when He will walk down the lines and review your corps, as I might say. Do you think it would make you less energetic and useful in the gospel were your paramount labour to be to present the church as a chaste virgin to Christ? To think of having even one saint bright and fit for Christ is an immense joy to the heart. I am sure that in your heart, while retaining a true love for souls, you would regard this service the most wonderful, and the happiest ever entrusted to a servant of God. I think if I were with you we should agree on this point, because in your heart you own and delight in it; though your service has been, I cheerfully admit, most graciously blessed to the unconverted, still I think you value the ornaments which would please the eye of your Master. Both are necessary, that I know you will admit, and this is all I contend for, only that I add there ought to be more positive attention to that which answers to the heart of Christ than that which is merely for the good of souls, and this I am sure you feel yourself. The Lord has been very gracious to you and I really only desire to see you more and more

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in His counsels and friendship. I feel, however feebly, yet truly, that I long for the progress of the saints, that they should be made ready for Christ, and therefore I rejoice in your turning your attention more to the equipment of your corps. I should like to spend a longer time with you whenever the Lord may permit. The Lord keep us simply seeking and following His will. His own presence the joy of our hearts, and Himself personally our compensation and resource in the loss of anything here.


I am very glad and thankful to hear that the Lord has found for you a suited help-meet, and I do trust that this favour from His hand may not in any way tend to divert you from His service who has so favoured you. He delights in favouring us and it is sad indeed when because of some special favour we requite Him with less devotedness than before we received it. You will find it an entirely new path, and everything will depend on the way in which you enter on it. May the Lord assure your heart that He is enough to sustain you in His own grace -- the manna, in every step of the way. Gather it in faith before the day begins. The Lord has shown much interest in dear --------'s children. I trust that you both may draw largely and confidingly upon it.


I am glad you and dear -------- enjoyed the lectures on the Lord's presence in the midst of those gathered to His name. It is a deeply interesting subject, and the more you meditate on it, the fuller and plainer it opens out to you.

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It is so in everything. It was a saying of J.N.D.'s, that he did not preach well on any subject until he had preached forty times on it!

I am thankful the Lord is leading you to give lectures. Well, there are only two things that I should venture to suggest to you. The first -- that you ascertain by prayer and waiting on Him the subject He would have brought before the saints. This at times may cost you much exercise and patience, but you will be very thankful for the result when you are sure of His pleasure. It will give you wonderful confidence. You may not have much eloquence, but the deep assurance that you are doing His pleasure will give you great holy boldness, and however it comes out, you know that His will has come out, though there be no honour to you as to the way it has come out. I have my Master's message, though I am maybe only a Paddy in delivering it. When I had to send a message by poor Paddy I used to be obliged to make him repeat to me the words in which he would give my message; so assured was I that he would attempt to give my mind in the forcible way in which he would interpret it. The first thing then is to be assured of His mind. The other is -- that you express it as He means it, or in other words in the terms in which it is in scripture. This is doubtless the "outline" in 2 Timothy 1:13, "Have an outline of sound words"; the words he had received from Paul, but the outline was the form in which he presented them. Now one great help to this accuracy is this -- never present anything, however clearly you may see it, if you have not reached it for yourself. I have found that many a thing which I had presented in an extreme way because I was sure of it, I put forth in a simpler and a more real way when I had touched it in my own experience.


The first mark of a minister of God is "much patience" -- a continual dropping, and this "weareth the stone". I

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feel while I condemn servants for looking for success to buoy them up in their service, still that I am often discouraged because I do not see results; but that proves that I am working for hire in one sense, and not simply for my Master, doing His will. There is something very fine in Christ's path as a Servant in this respect. He could thank God when He saw no success, and that where He had toiled the most. This is the "yoke" He tells us to take on us; and we shall find "rest" (a home) for our souls.

There may be two classes of wilfulness in a servant; the first is dictating for himself, and this plunges one at last into an inextricable deep; the second is dictating to God what He is to do; and to cure one of this there must be a withering here, so that God only may be the resource of the heart. Christ, of course, never touched on the first, the second, one might have supposed Him entitled to, but on the contrary He had no will but God's; and He thanks that it is "even so". This entire and cheerful acceptance of God's will is what imparts divine rest, and one thinks not of one's disappointment, but of His will, and when it is so there is no flagging of the energy, or no depression. I am sure there is much to discourage you in --------, but the greater the force of the adversary the more we are sure to find, if we wait on the Lord, that He will raise up a standard against it. I am very glad you are there. The more I go on, the more do I see the profundity of Christianity, and the tendency through the power against us to divert us from its simplicity, as the serpent beguiled Eve; and I feel it a great mercy to be sent anything, however painful, by which we are nipped in the bud in any incipient departure from the truth. The buds of the crab tree must be kept down; happy for us when we accept it cheerfully, and only go on the more vigorously.


It is necessarily a time of trial every way to every faithful one. But for every truly godly one there must be

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persecution in this day. Dear -------- seems to feel very much the indifference with which he is treated. He has been a popular man. I have not been one; and I can feel when I am slighted, not myself personally, but the truth which I seek to present, for something which I know has not the same worth in it. To see people preferring milk and water, while you are through mercy offering them pure milk, is very depressing; but the way you ought to feel it is for the Lord's sake; for it is really He who is slighted, and not you. I rather rejoice now unless I have by anything of nature, or any imperfect way of putting the truth, raised a true cause of objection to it.

We had -------- here, and he, in the most eloquent way, described the superiority of these days to any but the Pentecostal. 'The truth flying over the earth reaching to China, meetings in the name of the Lord springing up everywhere,' etc. I had to warn him against Laodicea, and he retorted he 'disliked croaking'. The fact is, his standard came out as being just assured of heaven, and final perseverance. To live Christ on earth, and to know Him as our life where we have walked in death, to live like Him who has delivered us from death and judgment, does not enter into his mind. Christ to bring me to heaven, he is clear enough about; but Christ my life and object where I had walked in the flesh, and in enmity to God, is quite another thing. He died for me to bring me out of death and judgment, but in Him I live His life where I am dead in myself. His death sets me free from death and safe for heaven; but His life sets me as He was here, while I know Him as He is in heaven; so that I live Christ. There are the two parts; Christ died for me and saved me, and in His life I now live Him here. The thief sets forth one side -- safe for heaven. -------- goes no further than this. Paul has a living Saviour in heaven, and he lives Christ before he goes to heaven. To be assured of heaven is not everything with Paul. Living Christ is everything, and this on earth.

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I do trust that the quiet will be of great profit to you. But the only place of real safety for a servant in this world is being like Joseph, a bondman, and nothing but bondmen. The moment he is anything but a bondman of Jesus Christ, the door is opened to the stranger that flattereth with her lips; he is ministered unto, and not ministering, and that from things here. I believe rest and retirement are both most useful, but when required by a servant, it can be viewed in no other light than that of a prison. I think it is anomalous when a servant seeks recreation. Our blessed Lord took from the night His praying time, that He might not curtail His working hours. Of course, no one can come up to this, but it is important to keep the one only true standard before us. There is an old saying, that the Israelites were more earnest and zealous in getting clear of Pharaoh than they were in exploring and enriching themselves with the goodly things of Canaan; that is, that they grew inactive and indolent as their blessings increased; as they were more within their reach they valued them less. This is my fear now for you. The tendency is, and this with the most energetic, like the hare in the race, to think oneself entitled to go, as they say in the army, into 'winter quarters', fighting being suspended for the rest of the year. I believe for every conscious possession of things above there is an increased power required, in order to keep all our members tributary, rendering homage unto the Lord. The more your heavenly possessions increase, the more must all in you be under the control of the Spirit, in order that all may yield tribute to the Lord. The more a saint consciously possesses of the Lord, the more untiring and laborious must he be in His service, for the more you have the more demand there is on you. A high position imposes increased labours on the servant, and he must dread more than ever the fly in the apothecary's ointment. To him to whom much is given, more will be expected, and it is only in the increased keeping under the body, and bringing it into

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subjection, that one proves that one is qualified for the post to which one has been appointed. If when I am promoted, I do my work more indifferently it proves that I am resting in the greatness of my position, and not seeking to commend it by sedulous attention to it, feeling that the higher I am set the more devolves on me, so that instead of reaching a spot where I might claim a respite, the very advance conferred on me obliges me to deny myself all round and in many little ways, which I had not felt necessary before. All I want to press is this, that the more we appropriate our portion in Christ, the more must we be practically displaced, and refuse everything that is merely pleasing to ourselves. I believe the man who appropriates most is the man most careful that nothing should be allowed that would hinder, but that every door should be protected from the inroads of the flesh in true and faithful allegiance to Christ. I believe such a man never feels he is right before the Lord unless he is increasingly impressed with the sense of the need of His help, and that far more so than in his first cries to Him out of the depths. It will be a sad day when those who have accepted and who teach our heavenly calling are found in any posture but on their knees; on the one hand in complete dependence on God, and on the other in armour, protecting themselves against the enemy in solid squares. The greater your possessions the more must you be here in the armour of God, seeing you are encompassed with a relentless foe.


I must give myself the pleasure of writing a greeting to you on you coming to --------. To my mind, as I think of it, it will be the seventh month to you. The first month is the Passover, and with it the feast of unleavened bread, that is, how I am set free before God, and what characterises me in consequence. This is the only true start; but when you come to the seventh month, you have great heights and great depths. You have the day of atonement,

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when if a man afflict not his soul, that soul shall be cut off; and then the jubilee commenced, and during it was the feast of the ingathering -- great contrasts in that month, and thus I think it will be with you; the day of prosperity is set against the day of adversity that man may find nothing after him, and the contrasts test one more than sameness. To rise suddenly into prosperity from adversity has overpowered many a mind. To fall from prosperity to adversity has embittered many a lifetime. To be ready for either -- for the seventh month -- is the great problem of grace. The greatest feast on this earth now, the real feast of ingathering, is the society of hearts devoted to Christ -- virgins going forth to the meeting of the Bridegroom. This feast you will have. But if you enjoy this feast really and divinely, you will be ready, like our blessed Lord, to encounter the very next hour the most painful exhibition of what Satan makes of man. When He came down from the mount of transfiguration where God was glorifying Him as a Man on earth, the first thing He meets is one from a child sorely vexed of the devil, distorted and disorganised. Will you be as ready for the one as for the other? If it be by grace that you enjoy the good, so by grace will you resist and rebuke evil; or will you be elated unduly by the one, and be peevish and irritable with the other? The loss of grace may not appear so much at the feast as in the day of atonement. There is no judgment if you do not enjoy yourself fully, but there is judgment if you do not afflict your soul; that is, your grace will be tested and disclosed more in the way that you deal with the evil which tries you greatly than with the good which delights you. There is more enjoyment in the latter case, but there is not more grace. I believe the real measure of grace comes out in the time of trying more than in the feast. In the good time you acquire, but in the evil time you prove how much you have acquired. The length and the severity of the winter tests the measure and the extent of the ant's store. It was acquired in summer, but drawn upon in winter; hence the latter tells the amount of gain you have acquired from the former; and if you have long and fine summers, you must expect long and severe winters. Come to -------- then, not only expecting

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the finest summers, but with purpose of heart to use them in providing for the dreariest winters. The brighter I am with the Lord, the more dreary is everything with man, but I have gained nothing from being with Him if I am not better fitted for being His messenger and witness in the midst of all that is contrary to Him. The gain of happy hours with Him is to be spent and seen in sad hours of contention with evil here. The one who is in most repose in the glory is the most ready and skilful antagonist of Satan here, and is in his own person fasting and praying, and thus cutting off standing ground from the adversary. If a gun be charged it is that it may be fired off, but it is in the firing that its mettle is tested.


I hear that dear -------- has begun lectures at --------. I could wish that he was not indebted to any human means for making known his spiritual mission. Surely the Lord is able to lead souls to the well which He has made and filled in the valley of Baca. It is a day I feel when every one and every thing has to be challenged. "Art thou for us or for our adversaries?" (Joshua 5:13). How true what Mr. D. says with reference to the woman at Philippi (Acts 16), who gave testimony to Paul's work, 'The devil wanted to have a finger in the pie'. When the devil cannot prevent the Lord's work, he seeks to spoil it by apparently supporting it. I do not believe that the gold will be separated from the quartz by any human means. Be assured that when divine work is about to be done in a place, as the Lord is working, Satan will be at work.

If -------- thinks I have said too much; he will, I trust, write to me. I wish him too well to be content to see him less than the Lord would have him to be. Many own the grace of God, but how comparatively seldom do we see the surrender of prospects and position in order to follow Christ fully.

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I was glad to get your letter about your time in --------. It is very slow work practically to prefer Christ to Adam, notwithstanding all our sincere profession of love and admiration for Him. I have learned for myself that until one is true in heart to communion with His blood, one has not started on the path in which He walked here -- the path of life. It is not merely surrendering worldly position, but that fellowship with His death has cast its shadow over everything here, as Jacob felt when Rachel was dead; and as far as I see, no one is happy in Christ's present things who has not begun with Him at our own side of things.

The aim and attempt of every sect or denomination is to be the acknowledged light bearer of the place, instead of being a remnant with the brightest trait of the first days, that is -- fidelity to Christ, personally going forth to meet the Bridegroom.


A new path now lies before you. You must come out in quite new colours, not assumed ones, but the expression of power and feeling within. You will be now very much in the pastoral position, and that also of the overseer. You will have to bear the burden of your own house as well as that of the house of God before Him. You should be the man of weight, not because you demand respect, but because you feel your load, and look to the Lord to guide you under it. You should have the sense of responsibility before the Lord, and not demand acknowledgment from men of your own position. It should be the steady, unpretentious pull of the great draught horse, who thinks only of his duty, and not of what the spectators think or do. God's house is not to be neglected for your own

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house, nor is your own house to be neglected for God's house. Like Solomon, you have built your own house, but you have to give your attention as he did to God's house. Wherever you fail in your own house, either in your ways or in any way, you are sure to carry the leaven of that dereliction into the house of God, so that your own house is your training ground, and the church the field-day.

Your prosperity will be a great joy to me.


May the Lord give you in your prison to learn much of His mind for His servants in this day. I feel that saints generally, do not believe that what they are saved for by Christ who gave Himself for our sins is that He might deliver us from this evil age; and, secondly, that they are sent by Him into the world (the system of things here). They in general are not so assured of the first, which is present salvation, that they can embrace and be true to the second.

No Christian is sent into this world to be merely a business man, or a domestic man. Many a one makes a better servant through the pressure of business and duties, as a horse is more dependable with a good harness than without it. But surely harness is not the end, but the means to the end.

It is amazing the effect it has on one when he realises that he has received a mission from the Lord. It is not a question of how useful he is or how he commends himself to others, but his one desire is to be commended of the Lord, for the Lord is paramount with him. How great and blessed would be the testimony if each one of us were fulfilling his mission, or the ministry which he had received of the Lord! The Lord said, "The scriptures ... testify of me" (John 5:39), and He also said of the Spirit of truth, "He shall testify of me" (John 15:26). Now many Christians have learned the testimony of the scriptures, who know little

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of the testimony of the Holy Ghost to Christ in heaven. To this latter I need not say we are called.

The Lord comfort you much, and enable you to be more for Himself, not so much in word as in power. I am learning that no servant can lead another beyond the measure of his own grace -- the measure in which he has learned grace. The Spirit honours the word spoken where it has been effectual in the speaker. All such service draws one very near to the Lord, and this is, I might say, the best part of it.


The "candlestick" is not before us when Christ is walking through the churches in a judicial character; -------- is all wrong. The gospel was to be preached to all -- to gather out a people for His name, but all was properly to flow from the assembly (see John 20); and as I understand John 15 the eleven come out from being inside with the Lord to be disciples, fruit-bearing, but their centre is in keeping with Christ's commandment, "Love one another". Here true service begins, as I judge; evangelists go out as missionaries from the assembly, sent by Christ, to draw to the assembly. J.N.D. used to say, 'The twelve had not fulfilled the great commission. Paul did.'

What an idea -------- has of election that one chosen before the foundation of the world can be lost because the light of God's grace has not reached him through an evangelist! Who converted the thief on the cross, or Saul of Tarsus? The gospel is the testimony of God -- a savour of life unto life, or of death unto death.


I see that the evangelist's great work is to proclaim the gospel. See 2 Corinthians 2:16. The angel evangelised, "I

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bring you good tidings of great joy" (Luke 2:10). Paul was an evangelist to the Philippian jailor. The great power of the evangelist is the light. The light found out the silver piece (Luke 15). I think that the general idea is that the evangelist converts. God converts, and it is God's work; He has spoken. I think a soul can be turned to God without knowing any particular verse which was blessed to him, and many are in a state of fear until they hear the gospel. I see that it is of the greatest importance the terms in which the gospel is presented; the first effect is momentous! It is the One who has done the work that is to be presented, 'he evangelised to him Jesus'. It is a special gift, and not necessarily given at conversion. A gift is the impression of the Lord revealed in some special way to the soul, as at the burning bush to Moses. I need not write more to you; you will at once see that I am trying to disabuse minds of the prevailing idea of an evangelist. I am afraid many so-called converts are the fruit of an address to their feelings, so that they are induced, as they say, to 'accept Christ'. I hope you will agree with me, and that the result will be that you will send me a good paper on the evangelist. I do not think Timothy was an evangelist. He was to do the work of one.


I was glad to get your comments on evangelising. There is a difference between preaching and evangelising. The verb 'to preach' is kerusso, which is derived from the noun kerux, this latter is only used three times in scripture. The title Paul gives himself in 1 Timothy -- 'I am ordained a preacher'; and in 2 Timothy -- 'I am appointed a preacher'; and in keeping with this distinction he tells Timothy to preach the word, and then adds, "Do the work of an evangelist" ( 2 Timothy 4:5). I would not hinder a man from proclaiming what he knows, and the example you adduce (Apollos) was not properly evangelising, he is said to have spoken, and taught diligently, and he was as to gift a

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'waterer' (see 1 Corinthians 2:6), and not an evangelist. The Greek word evangelised only occurs in Matthew 11:5, and not at all in Mark. It occurs frequently in Luke. I think the one gifted to be an evangelist may be a preacher, but one could be an evangelist and not a preacher. It is said to the apostles, "Preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). I find they who went everywhere were evangelising, and yet that Philip preached Christ in Samaria. I think this is a warrant for preaching in Christendom. But what I feel is, that it is the preaching department that the evangelists in the present day turn their attention, and devote their chief energies to. As a proclaimer there would be less need of guidance, but as an evangelist you would surely admit that one is led of God to speak to souls, and to seek souls individually. I think the confusion has arisen from confounding the herald, or preacher, with the evangelist. In Old Testament times there were the former, never the latter. Lastly, a proclaimer makes himself more or less public; but I still think that the evangelist would not begin with that branch of his office, though, as I have said, he would not shrink from it, as Paul at Athens and at the Roman tribunal. An evangelist might not be able to string a dozen sentences together. -------- in the present day, as -------- in a former day, give me more the idea of real evangelists though not preachers. Where in the present day are the evangelists dropping into the cottages and seeking the stray lambs in the lanes and alleys? Preaching the gospel involves less personal sacrifice than any other service. A man may hold any worldly position, and enjoy any circle of taste and fashion, and yet be a preacher. A preacher by that very fact takes the place of eminence in a pulpit nowadays, and awes and electrifies the multitude. I do not say that blessing does not supervene, but I say that the evangelist to be true to his calling makes himself less than the least, he waits on the needy soul. In prison and in chains Paul is ready and at hand for the suppliant jailor. To be true to his office the evangelist must be the smallest man going. He exposes himself in the front rank to die or to win. The teacher has his own company and he can reside with them. I do not see how an evangelist can have any calling

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except one like Paul's -- tent-making, that can be taken up anywhere; he has no certain dwelling-place. I have gone over the subject again, and I trust you will see with me, or if not, that you will let me hear again.


I must apologise for leaving your letter so long unanswered. I am thankful that you have raised your voice against the carnal way in which some preach the gospel.

They say in the country that they who drive fat cattle should be fat, in order to drive them slowly; and surely if I propound grave things -- the gravest -- and am not deeply, the most deeply affected myself, I cannot expect my word to produce in my hearers a greater effect than it has produced on myself. But I am persuaded that we must look beyond the surface, or the expressed intention, for the root and source of this levity.

I hope at the next conference our reading may be devoted to the work of the evangelist. I believe that there are two great misconceptions: one, that while it is insisted on that man is a sinner (commits sins), yet it is not really apprehended that death as a judgment rests on every man in his sins. If it were in any measure apprehended that death -- God's judgment -- is resting on the unconverted, there would be no levity, but the deepest solemnity. The other misconception is, that the sinner is not seen in his true state in the eye of God, even that he is totally unable to do anything to retrieve his condition, or to accept any relief: that if the man in the state of innocency set up his own will in opposition to God's will, the man, in a fallen state, and under the judgment of death, could not retrace his steps; all he can do when convicted by the light of God (God must begin), is to cry -- 'Unclean! unclean! undone!' his only hope, the mercy of God.

The Salvation Army is a caricature. There it is openly avowed that it is by human means souls are converted;

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that is, that man's feelings are wrought on. You are asked to accept the gospel, and if you have accepted it, to hold up your hands. God must begin with every soul. See the thief on the cross, or the jailor -- God begins, and it is by the light from God, namely, the evangelist, that the silver piece is found and picked up. It is very sad and very prevalent the approbation accorded to the enticing words of man's wisdom. How ready we are to suppose that human eloquence can effect a divine work! May we all seek more and more "that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:5). I need not say more at present. I hope, the Lord willing, to see you the week after next.


I can understand your fear that the strings would relax. The tendency is to lose dependence when we are enjoying the results of dependence. Thus we may begin well and end feebly.

I am sure your word on the knowledge of God was a word for the time. I have no doubt that if we knew Him better we should know the word better, and the order of things which suits Him. I like the remark that the nous (the thinking faculty) is needed to understand the logos. I learn much from Jacob's words, "How dreadful is this place". No one could have described the holiness of it to him; once he was near God he knew it. There is a distinction between fruit as the effect of the gospel, and the fruit which the full knowledge of the will of God would lead to. I believe that most among us are no farther than the Colossians, and that they do not see their need of more.

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More and more each day I am awakening, I trust truly, to see the greatness and responsibility of the church as the body of Christ and the house of God. Can any one comprehend the nature and closeness of the relationship of the church to Christ? And as we enter into this relationship, how great will be our sense of duty to Him, attention to His interests.

The tendency to relapse into independency and to reduce each little company to consider for itself, independently of all others, is very marked, and this is a practical denial that we are of the body of Christ on the earth, and that what is done for His honour in one place, is done everywhere.


It is little apprehended the greatness and fellowship of the house of God. As the cloud of glory rested on the tabernacle as God's dwelling in the midst of His people, so now we are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.


I quite agree with you as to our weak state, but as the dispensation began with Simeon -- willing to be the setting sun, because Jesus was the rising Sun; and Anna, 84 years old, who departed not from the temple -- the relics of God's property on earth; so are we now to be found in this double action; like Simeon surrendering all of the feeble old man, with Christ in our arms, and like Anna adhering with increasing devotedness to all that remains for God; continuing in supplication and prayer night and day; testifying of Christ to all who look for Him. Surely

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the end of this great period ought not to be less than the beginning of it.


You must feel very much the gradual diminishing of your numbers, though this should lead to increased brightness. As the appearance to man's eye wanes, the manifestation to God should be the more brilliant. This is the true characteristic of the remnant. The Lord is more to you as man is less. Yet one does not like to see the testimony die out of a place. There is no real testimony to the Lord but by the Holy Ghost. "He shall testify of me"; and any one led by the Holy Ghost must be against the world; not only abandoning the world, as the monk does; but as in fellowship of the Spirit the world is "reproved". See John 16. The Spirit works one way, the opposite way to the world. By being with the Spirit you get the Father's things, for "He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine" (John 16:14, 15).

I fear that the saints are rather advancing in the world instead of retiring from it. Surely there never has been real advance but as there has been renunciation, and the "manifold more" is with reference to the surrender.

I am glad to hear that you are kept in dependence -- the true place for the Christian, but at the same time I trust that you are without any anxiety. I had heard of --------'s illness -- doubtless part of the discipline to which every "son" is subjected. I hope he may be able to receive it in this light.


I have. been meditating on the past, present and future with respect to the Lord. The past embraces His finished

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work, which we can never lose sight of, but the present is in connection with the Holy Ghost come down from Him glorified. So that we not only know Him as He was but it is the great delight of His love that we should know Him as He is. In fact, the desire of His heart is, that we should be as united to Him sharing in His present interests, He dwelling in our hearts by faith. Therefore everything in the future as it relates to Him is a matter of deep interest to us, whether it be the decline of the church, or the course of the apostasy. We can be so in heart in concert with Him that with the Spirit (the Spirit and the bride), we say, Come!

At all times His interests must be the paramount interest of our hearts. He takes care of the smallest detail about us, but His heart desires that His interests might be the commanding object with us.


I thank you for your kind wish that I should be present at the meetings at -------- next week. I do trust the Lord will keep you all much on my heart before Him during the meetings. I desire much love to each of you, many long known and esteemed for the Lord's sake. May each derive much blessing from conferring one with another before Him. The Lord grant that you may be taught of Him to do solid work. There are three things: "Open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God" (Acts 26:18). I believe that in conversion it is a great thing to have a good beginning; a good beginning is always marked with deep repentance. If repentance does not mark the beginning, there is not depth in the conversion. Saul of Tarsus was three days without sight, neither did he eat nor drink. You must keep together "Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21). The sense of relief is always in proportion to the sense of danger and judgment. Man is not only a sinner but he is under the judgment of God -- Death,

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"the wages of sin". "He was delivered for our offences", that was often typified, but no victim ever rose until "Jesus our Lord" was "raised for our justification" (Romans 4:24, 25). I suppose justification is the finish of the evangelist. I believe if the convert can see by faith that all that oppressed him, all that was against him in relation to God, has been cleared away by Christ (as clearly as Jonathan saw that Goliath was gone), that he would not only be at peace with God, but that the Lord Jesus Christ would be the object and delight of his heart, as was David to Jonathan, and as the Lord to the woman in Luke 7. I must not add more, excuse me for saying so much; but I am sure once the soul is personally attached to the Lord His coming again is its paramount hope, and when this is the case, to find Him in the assembly, and to do His pleasure here, become, as I might say, a necessary consequence. The Lord bless each of you much.


I am glad to answer your letter. I cannot see that you, as an evangelist, should look for the co-operation of the saints in the preaching of the gospel by their being listeners. Some evangelists openly request the saints not to come, lest they should occupy the seats intended for the unconverted. I consider the saints ought to co-operate in every way, but it does not appear to me that they should be required to attend as listeners. I feel they ought to do everything that the Lord leads them to do to get hearers, especially when the gospel is preached in a place by an evangelist who feels called of the Lord to preach there. I distinguish between the ordinary preaching of the gospel at the room, which is more commonly teaching, and the occasional preaching of an evangelist, on whose heart it has been laid to preach the gospel in that place. I believe at times there is a special call to preach the gospel in a

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place, and if the Lord has opened the door, the audience will be of His gathering, and the presence of the saints would often hinder the evangelist, because he would be induced to make his utterance in some measure suited to them; and while doing so, he would not be as simple and fitting for the unconverted.

If I felt that the Lord called me to preach in a place, I should comfort myself that His work was done, if I had done His bidding. Paul endured a great deal at Philippi, but he succeeded. What I remember remarking to you was that hearers to the gospel may be found out by the sisters who have opportunities for visiting, as retrievers do birds. Sisters are the best visitors. There was a sister in -------- who knew almost every case of sorrow and distress in that city. What a retriever she was! You will be happy and blessed too in doing whatever the Lord tells you to do, and you must do it though no one co-operates with you, and you must set about it with courage.


I do not think you understand me and the view I take of your present position. You went to -------- as the Lord's servant, led, I trust, of Him. It is quite possible that you were as truly set on serving Him as Moses was when he essayed to deliver his people out of the hand of the Egyptians (Exodus 2:11, 12; Acts 7: 25); but purpose is not execution. Moses was true in purpose, but he failed in execution, and you may have been true in purpose, but you have failed in execution. I take nothing into account -- the causes, etc. -- I merely state the fact -- you have failed in execution.

Now this being the case, what is the servant of God to do? Is he to retire from service? No! but he is to be ready for the smallest service, like Moses, who though not able to deliver a nation, will yet help the women who went to water the flocks. We read (Exodus 2:17), "Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock;"

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he is a servant still every inch! The real servant, if checked or hindered on one side, is ready for whatever opportunity offers, however small and insignificant it may seem; he does not take into account how this person or that person has treated him. If he does, he only excuses himself on the plea that he is not able for the post which he undertook, and he proves that he is not of strong material, that he is one who is not fit for the rough day but can only serve when everything smiles on him. The Lord wants servants who can begin with much patience (see 2 Corinthians 6), and end with "having nothing, but possessing all things". No servant of God ever proved himself fit for service but according as he was able to act under pressure. Joseph is most unrighteously cast into prison, and most ungratefully detained there, before he is fit for the position which God had designed for him. David had to endure at Ziklag a combination of the greatest sorrows and distress before he was fit for the throne of Israel. I believe the Lord has allowed a great pressure to come upon you, and instead of reefing your topsails and making all snug until the storm is over, you fall to, and abuse the wind. The wind may be unsympathetic, but that is only for the pleasure-boat to say. The sturdy man-of-war puts out to sea, assured that he will outlive the storm, and be ready for service again when required. David was greatly distressed at Ziklag, but he "encouraged himself in the Lord his God" (1 Samuel 31:6). I am grieved that you should lose this fine opportunity for proving yourself qualified by patience and lowliness to serve. I am not going to tell you what I condemn in others, nor do I intend to tell others what I condemn in you. A wise physician does not talk to his patients about his other patients' maladies. My desire as to you is that you should forget yourself and consider wholly for the Lord. Those nearest and dearest to us naturally can do us the greatest mischief spiritually, because they consider too much for us and too little for the Lord.

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I wish I could have a talk with you. I think that we may learn much from David's mighty men in the day of his rejection. They were characterised by unswerving devotedness to David. The nation gained from their services, but they were for David. I feel that with your light and gift you are bound to be more pronounced for Christ and His chief interest in this world. Every other interest is subordinate to the church. Do we believe that Christ's treasure is on the earth? Do we labour that 'all men might see' it? My impression is, and I am sure that you will not think me dictating or assuming too much, when I say, that you are called of the Lord to be here for His chief interest. You may reply, that the gospel is part of His interest. I quite admit it. Paul was the chief of evangelists, but he was pre-eminently for the church. The question is, which is paramount? I know as to myself (sadly I say it), that the aim of my ministry was lowered when I was not near enough to the Lord to be, as I may say, in the Cabinet. I mean, so near to the Lord as to be in His confidence, and thus to act from Him. All I ask of you is, to "take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord that thou fulfil it" (Colossians 4:17). I have seen all along from Plymouth days, that when trouble arises in the assembly, the tendency is to confine the ministry to man's benefit, and to overlook testimony for Christ.

It is very plain that there is grace for the prodigal up to the fulness of God's love, but you must not overlook that there is grace also (immense in its character) and power for Christ here. I am sure the more one is in the Lord's confidence, the more the ministry will be in keeping with Christ's heart. I do not object to your preaching the gospel, although your gift is not that of an evangelist; but I think you should avoid association which would compromise your service.

I think I may venture to say that no brother cares more for your welfare and profit, or prays more for you than I do.

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I thank you much for your kind and interesting letter. If you knew how much your spiritual progress would rejoice me, you would understand me when I say that I desire to see you not only a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ but also a witness. The Spirit is given (John 14:26) in order that we should be here for Christ, as He was here, opening out the heart of God to man as recorded in the gospels -- a wonderful service, while in John 15:26 the Holy Ghost is sent from Himself in glory to testify of Him, "He shall testify of me"; that is, that we, here for Christ, should be descriptive of Him as the exalted Man in heavenly glory. I am convinced that any servant who is in spiritual power does not confine himself to John 14:26, where properly he is prepared for John 15:26. So that he is not only a disciple but he is a "friend" and a "witness". I see many converted souls, but I do not see many witnesses. I see that the purpose of the blessed God is that the church should be here descriptive of Christ; and as J.N.D. has said of John 17 -- 'He first sets us as Himself in the presence of the Father, and then sets us as Himself in the presence of the world.' I feel that one man in a place, standing fully for Christ, like Anna the prophetess, would be a greater testimony than many conversions. Every place is coloured and characterised by the highest spiritual element there, be it either in man or in woman. I see that from Abraham down God had an object; and as His object for the time became the object of any man on earth, that man was specially helped of God. God's object now is the church -- the body of Christ -- the mystery; and in my judgment no one has His present mind in power, who is not paramountly set for God's object. No one else can meet in divine efficacy the difficult times. I hope I have not said too much, but I wish I could prove to you how much I desire for you the highest spiritual blessing. I may add that I believe the nature of the distance between God and the sinner is not preached, and if the distance is not fully gone, nearness cannot be

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known. The One who measured our distance is Himself the measure of our nearness.

If I misjudge any one, you can send me the paper or the tract, wherein the nature of the distance has been fully set forth.


I am glad you have written to me about your present search for a house. I believe that as a servant of the Lord the true way is to learn directly from the Lord the locality He would have you to be in. He has a particular spot for you. He searched out a place in the wilderness for Israel. The world go here and there till they find what suits them. You have to find what suits Him, and you can consult the Urim and the Thummim, and though at first you might not find the suited house, you would be assured of the right locality. I have felt that you were laid open to a wrong move, because your eye was so much on a house instead of a locality. The Lord might lead you to a locality where at first you would be much tried for room, etc.; but then you would be in the spot He had selected for you, which would be infinitely better than the best suited house in a locality which had not His approval. More depends than I could write on your being in the locality which He would choose for you. Where there is faith it is often tried at first, but if you are true to it and make His service and interests primary, eventually suitable accommodation would be provided for you in the spot He has chosen for you. You must determine absolutely whether your move is for His service, or for your own advantage. If it be the latter, you may secure it, but you will find yourself ere long like an officer unattached; whereas in the former case He will employ you, and before very long provide everything that your family really requires in every detail. I feel that this is a critical step for you, and I trust I may have you still more in remembrance before the Lord.

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In answer to your question, 'Should our sins be spoken of in prayer at assembly meetings?' I would ask you, Do you know that you are in the presence of Christ risen from the dead? If you do not believe in His resurrection and that He was raised for your justification, you could not be in His presence risen from the dead. If you do there is not a disturbing element between God and you. The mention of sins in the assembly arises from confounding our practical state with our place in the mind of God. The blessed God never alters nor diverges from the acceptance in which He has received us because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Alas! we diverge from the state in which God can be ever toward us as recorded in Romans 5:1 - 11. Many suppose that because they are conscious of sins, that hence they must renew their acceptance with God. The truth is that God has not altered. His eye rests on the work accomplished by Christ for the believer. When you are not walking in the Spirit you are in the flesh: you have returned to the old man which was crucified on the cross. You have to be restored, and when you are, you find your acceptance with God unchanged and unchangeable. When sins are introduced there is a fear that God has changed. He has not changed but you have; when you sin you have changed. You are not walking in the Spirit, but in the flesh. You have to judge yourself in order to be restored. Matthew 26:28 states the purpose of His death. The fact that He died for us makes His death more intensely affecting to us. But if all our sins were not met there, where can they be met? In Hebrews 10:18 we read, "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin". God has effected the reconciliation; He always remains true to the efficacy of Christ's work. You and I do not remain true to it, alas! We diverge from it; and the tendency is to suppose that the blessed God has altered towards us. He certainly will judge the flesh if we do not, but He never departs from the love which He has expressed to the

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prodigal, and we find that when the cloud, which walking in the flesh produced has passed away, that His love, blessed be His name, had never changed. If you agree with me you will see the unsuitability of the passages you have named being read at the Lord's supper.


In reply to your letter on the subject of the assembly or church, you must first admit that the church is not now in any place, town, or country, as it was in Corinth, to which you refer. If you admit that the church as God's house has lost its first estate, that it is now in disorder -- a "great house", where there are vessels to honour and to dishonour, you will see that you cannot speak of the church in any place as including all the professing Christians in that place. This is just what Rome aims at, and the parochial system fosters, because they do not allow that the church is morally a ruin. All the sects in Christendom originated with the express purpose of improving the state of things. Their mistake has arisen from thinking that they could reform. The only course open to you or to any one true to the Lord, is first to purge himself from the vessels to dishonour, and then to follow with them who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22). When you are awakened to the corruption which you are mixed up with in the "great house", you will separate yourself from the persons or vessels to dishonour. You do not seek to reform; you begin at the beginning; you go back to the Lord's intention at the beginning. We learn from Matthew 14 - 16 how the Lord educated His disciples for the assembly. You start there; you seek to be of the remnant in a day when all around professing to be God's house is in ruin and disorder. A remnant is characterised by fidelity to the Lord, which is the brightest trait of the original. The true remnant has a "little power", has kept My word, and has not denied My name;

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it is for His eye and heart. It seeks no place among men, "as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves" (Isaiah 6:13). No leaves, nothing for the human eye to acknowledge.

Thus drawn to the Lord, we enjoy Him in our midst, and as we do, we become a help and an attraction to every one truly seeking Him. The more separate we are the more the Lord is with us. We should really be a moral lifeboat in all the wreck around us. We are looking for nothing. Our hearts are on the Lord, and on all His, waiting for His coming. I hope you will understand all this. The Lord bless you.


The first thing is to ascertain the responsibility of an assembly. Each assembly has its own individual responsibility. Each assembly is responsible for those whom they receive and those whom they refuse. I at -------- am not responsible for those received at --------, nor am I responsible for the evil in the assembly there. I do not say that I do not suffer from it or on account of their indifference or laxity; I do suffer, and in that sense we are all responsible; but though I might if I could (like the apostle to Corinth) expose their lack of zeal for God's house, my business is not to coerce but to exercise their consciences. Now this was the course adopted by the apostle where there was a very wicked case, a terrible evil patent to all. Corinth was responsible for putting this man away, and for receiving him back again. It would be preposterous and irregular to the utmost for that man to propose that other brothers from another assembly should come to Corinth, or that they should volunteer to come to Corinth, to aid the assembly at Corinth in receiving back this man. If Corinth or -------- had asked for the help of any brother or brothers to help them in their judgment, it would be quite different.

You cannot give a verdict in the church as you would

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if the assembly were a jury, by a majority, or even by unanimity. The decision in the assembly is the Lord's decision, whether given by only two out of 200, and if it is the Lord's decision, the 198 will be silent! It is not by pleading but by moral influence in life and manners which can sway, or ought to sway, the consciences of the assembly to restore. It would be a very serious thing to put away unless by an act of the conscience, and it would be very serious to restore but by an act of the conscience.


Local responsibility refers to the assembly to which you are attached. There were the churches or assemblies of Galatia. For the assembly to which you are attached you have a responsibility which you have not for the assembly to which you are not locally attached. No doubt you have a responsibility with regard to the whole church, but this is quite different from your responsibility to the assembly to which you are attached. You are responsible for the holiness of the assembly with which you are locally connected. I do not sanction or overlook unholiness anywhere, but I am personally responsible for the holiness of God's house where I am dwelling. In that sense, in a special way 'Charity begins at home'. I have to build the wall opposite my own house. See Nehemiah. I am responsible for the purity of the assembly with which I am connected, and therefore I should not receive from an assembly where there was unjudged leaven until that assembly had cleared itself. I am not involved in it unless I sanction it or receive from the assembly where it is. My responsibility is to be faithful in condemning the leaven, in order that the assembly where the leaven exists should be as clear of it as the assembly to which I am attached. What is good and proper for one assembly is good and proper for every assembly.

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I feel that in a question like the present, where the teaching at -------- is unsound and mischievous, that every assembly should declare their utter refusal of it. If it were merely a question of moral wrong, the judgment arrived at in another place would become binding on you on receiving or commending to the assembly where the judgment was declared. But where it is a doctrine which has leavened many, each assembly is bound to record their repudiation of it. I remark that no one is spiritually vigorous who has not been exercised before the Lord as to this. I may not be able to define what the grace of God has given me, but if I am enjoying it, I can surely make others feel that I am enjoying it. A man not in possession of a truth may, with a certain verbal accuracy, define it, but he gives no impression of it unless he really knows it. If I am warm I can convince others that I am warm, though I may not be able to define warmth! The danger of the hour is the attempt to define what one does not enjoy. The true way is to enjoy first, and next to tell others what you enjoy. Hence the youngest Christian who is near the Lord will surpass in spiritual judgment the most learned brother who is not near Him, as is very apparent in this day.


The trial in L-------- is very solemn. It is the exposure of a carnal system which tended to reduce brethren to a mere sect. The promoters of it may have had no plan in their heads, but when people systematise they must sink into a plan.

A new order prevailed, I could see everywhere. I could retire, for I was happy in what I knew to be true. Everything amongst us was assuming a carnal type. The teaching was more intellectual than spiritual; talent and erudition

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approved of and commended. Tact and human wisdom resorted to and sanctioned in matters of the assembly, so that there was a laxity in reception as well as in discipline. Methodism leavened the meetings -- human feelings were addressed or expressed. In society it was more socialism than love and fellowship in the Spirit; consequently there was radicalism or levelling to imitate the union of love which the Spirit ordains.

Ordinances unduly prominent to shelter and relieve the conscience of the reproach of admitted worldliness on all sides.

Revivalism in preaching, and every human means accepted and sought as auxiliary. I hope this system has been really checked by the present exposure.

I hold it to be very demoralising to sanction a minister because of his gift, while there is not confidence in himself personally.


As to using and circulating the writings of 'those who have not gone on in the separate path' I see grave moral objections to it; I do not think that everything depends on the words used, but on the intent with which they are used. I believe the Lord judges, and therefore blesses according to the intent of the heart. The words used might not be objectionable, and yet the intent might be evil....

I very much fear that often with perfectly unobjectionable statements, there may be underneath an evil intent -- an intent to propagate the doctrine which sways oneself. The words may not betray the bias of one's mind, and yet the bias, like the atom of infection, is in the words, and will, unless counteracted by the truth which is the specific or antidote for it, surely be the scorpion's egg, and become at length a poisoned sting.

It is impossible for a person either to write or to speak without imparting in intent that which has weight with

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himself. Be he as guarded as he may, he imparts it, and thus, in my mind, he is the agent for good or for evil.

I feel it a great mercy that the Lord regards the intent, and blesses accordingly; and though the same words may be uttered by two, yet if one had a deeper and more spiritual intent in them than the other, though the Lord may in a measure bless both, that the deeper and fuller blessing will be where the deepest and most spiritual intent is. The spirit, not the letter of the statement, is the essence of it. If the spirit or essence be evil, no amount of sweetness or dilution in the vehicle will counteract the effects of the poison; but, thank God, if the essence be of the mind of God, though the vehicle be unattractive and even insufficient, it will speak for itself. My judgment is that no amount of useful or orthodox statements should warrant me to circulate the writings of one who at the time is under an evil bias, for though he may indite such apparently good things, yet there must be a poison in his mind which sooner or later will betray itself.


The only way to settle or determine the questions which have been raised as to the responsibility of the assembly in connection with lectures or preaching the gospel, is to insist on and maintain the constitution of the assembly. The room belongs to the assembly, they are responsible for the purposes for which they lend their room. They arrogate to themselves a power which they do not possess, when they attach to their room, by board or otherwise, that the gospel will be preached here, or lectures delivered here on certain evenings of the week.

When they meet as the assembly, all the gifts are theirs, and subject one to another for the profit of all. But the gift has his own responsibilities, and when he acts on them, he is at liberty to announce, according to his faith and purpose, that he will, the Lord willing, do so and so.

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The assembly may refuse him the room, or not, as they think proper, or they may offer it to him. They are really responsible, or those who act for them, as to the soundness in the faith and morals of the one to whom they lend their room.

I consider that the brothers who meet together weekly for oversight ought in some degree to be entitled to the office of either bishop or deacon. I cannot see what business any brother has at the brother's meeting, as it is called, who does not oversee or look after either the souls or the bodies of the saints. In the present broken state, the officials are not easily or openly marked out. It is not expected that an army will go through proper evolutions without officers; the officers have really according to God disappeared from before men, and the wonder is, how the Lord can, without visibly responsible officers, carry on His people in godly order, and yet in mercy He does, as we wait on Him. The gifts continue because He remaineth. The assembly is really represented by those who, without titles, do the duty of officials, and they certainly would fail in their duty, were they not careful as to the character, etc., of the gifted man to whom they would lend the room.

On the other hand, I do not think they ought to undertake to provide for the preaching of the gospel or for lectures. It is, in my judgment, beyond their province, though they should be ready to promote it by duly qualified persons.


It is very clear that discipline is connected with the house of God, and that each one in the local assembly is responsible for any disorder there. See Numbers 5:2. Every one is responsible for preserving the dwelling-place of the Lord fit for Him. There can be no doubt about this. But while the responsibility to preserve is definite, I do not see that one brother or more, though most faithful to their responsibility, can cut off those who are not faithful or

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alive to their responsibility, until every effort has been used to awaken them to it. I think a brother is justified in abstaining from breaking of bread, because the dishonour done to the Lord in the assembly has not been avenged; but I do not see that he has any right to conclude that his brethren, who are still insensible to the dishonour, are beyond recovery, and that the Lord has left them, and that, so to speak, the ark of the covenant is with him, and that he is warranted to break bread. Every one is responsible for every dishonour known to him. I cannot give up my responsibility because others do not see it, but I am not to disown that assembly until, after the most patient expostulation, they persist in their indifference to the Lord. I do not agree with you as to the statement in the note. I think any brother caring for the Lord's interest is at liberty to take part in a discipline case in any place. Woe betide him if he be an Uzzah! Woe betide him if the Lord has not sent him! But I do not question his right -- not as a member of the body, but as one of the guardians (as each Israelite was) of the dwelling-place of the Lord. If I were privy to a case of leaven, and if I could not awaken the responsibility of the brethren to it, I feel I might be led to stand aside, though I should not break away from fellowship or from any opportunity to work on their consciences. I must give space to repent.

I agree in the general tenor of your paper, but the difficulty in agreeing with a paper of this kind is, that it is too much like an opinion of counsel, given with reference to a certain case.


My feeling on hearing your Bochim read aloud was, that it was premature. If an act of insubordination to the Spirit of God has been committed, there can be no expectation of help from God until it has been repudiated. The first essential in prayer is "holy hands". "I will

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wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar" (Psalm 26:6). If there be manifested weakness, as we see in the days of Joshua, when there was unjudged evil in the camp, the crying to God is discountenanced by the Lord until the evil has been cleared away. The Lord says, "Wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? ... Up, sanctify the people" (Joshua 7:10 - 13). "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me" (Psalm 66:18). Before we draw nigh to God we have to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts. I am certain that prayer is often proposed, and especially public humiliation, as a plea of postponement, or a cloak to the conscience to escape a surrender or a self-judgment, which practical righteousness would insist on. I think in any case of discipline that the name of the Lord should be first vindicated, and the one in error subjected to the proper treatment, before the assembly can be in a condition for prayer and humiliation. They cannot appear before the Lord before the first, and they certainly have not sought or pursued the true services of love toward the erring one until the second has been done. The right and true aim of discipline is cure; the question is what will promote cure. Will a hasty glossing over or indifference effect a cure? I desire to secure the honour of the Lord in His house, and the good of my brother. I cannot obtain the one or the other by indifference; nay, on the contrary, the course of action which secures the one procures the other. If I have true love, it is not to postpone divine treatment or discipline, but to adopt it in order to effect the restoration of my brother. Having first subjected him to divine treatment, then let there be united confession and prayer. You can recall when a grievous case of sin occurred amongst us, that the sinning one was first put away, and then there was a general meeting of humiliation and prayer, and eventually he was restored. Surely restoration is most blessed, but how can you restore unless you first admit the failure, and then, if the restoration be true, it is in proportion to the gravity of the failure -- a great restoration where there has been a great failure. Surely the good of our brother we seek, and thus let us join heart and hand to seek to promote it in the only way in which God will help us.

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My statement was, that if a godly clergyman presented himself for communion I should receive him, and though he returned to system, yet I should receive him again as I had received him before, not as if he were in fellowship, but as one desiring to break bread; but I added, he is now subject to discipline, and if he did anything in doctrine or practice to compromise the holiness of God's house, he would be dealt with accordingly and publicly. Now this is very different from the mode of action of those who assume open ground. They receive every Christian who is sound in faith and morals; that is their avowed terms of communion. They take no notice of where (as to association) they come from. They make no difference between saints in the Establishment or sects, and brethren. They do not see that Newton's heresy sprung up in the midst of brethren who assume to be on the ground of the church of God intelligently; hence there is a great difference as to moral standing between a saint in the Establishment or the sects and one from any company which is under discipline. All we ask for is jealousy for Christ in His own house. We receive a believer from the Establishment or the sects when assured that such an one is sound in faith and morals, while we do not receive one from 'Brethren' (so called) unless he has absolutely cleared himself of all association with the defiled company.

... But the moment a Christian is received in the fellowship of the Lord's supper, he is identified with all the privileges and responsibilities of the assembly, and therefore he is amenable to discipline. If a clergyman were received this Sunday, and returned to his church the following Sunday, the assembly could take no notice, but if he in any way in doctrine or by practice dishonours the Lord, even though he may have withdrawn from fellowship, yet as he was once in the fellowship he must now be put away as unfit for it.

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I believe your case is no uncommon one, and I believe further it is the result of our failure. When the church began there was a very marked line between it and everything else. "The Lord added". When the truth of the church was revived or recovered, there was not a continued and zealous care as to the state or faith of those who joined with us. Evangelists among us desired to see their converts at the table. They came in, in most cases, perfectly ignorant of the responsibility of the step they were taking, and without either faith or exercise respecting it. Are you surprised then when a question arises in which the claims of Christ in His house have to be insisted on, that these spiritual tadpoles should manifest that they have no legs, and that they could not act beyond their light and power. If Lot will come with Abram, Abram must not turn away from him. But if Lot will separate from Abram, Abram will be in increased blessing. I do not think that separation from such should begin with you; but you are to blame for having those with you who have not faith for the ground which they profess to occupy. If you resign the advantages of the world to them, as Abram did to Lot, they will soon either distance themselves from you, or they will be led through grace to see what is due to the Lord. Brethren are only reaping what they have sown, and therefore until the Lots avow false principles, and morally separate from us, we must go on with them and suffer from them like a man with a paralysed foot.

I should approve of the brothers writing a joint letter to -------- and declaring that they have no confidence in him as to service, or in his choosing or inviting preachers, and even requiring him to surrender the responsibility of the room. If he persist in receiving from -------- you would have no option but to walk out, and then he and those with him would be outside, but not in my judgment for his mere threats.

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If you are occupied with serving man, you have begun at the outer circle, and you will never work from thence to the inner. If I am serving Christ I work from the inner circle. I am near Him, and the one nearest to Him occupies me most and first. That is love; it begins at the inner, and reaches to the outer -- to whatever is of Christ on the earth.

Give yourself to the things that belong to Christ, seeking that they should have the very form and shape that His heart would have them. It is within the power of the feeblest and humblest to take such an interest in one another as to give the sense of Christ's love. Nothing gives such an expression of love as the way the truly devoted one will enter into everything that concerns one. But then to serve one another truly, we must get rid of self. What is allowed with men must get no allowance when we come to act for Christ. Our power in enforcing or repressing anything in another is only in proportion as we have enforced or repressed it in ourselves. I cannot touch a point in another, that I have not repressed in myself; but real love having put off what is unsuited to Christ in oneself is able to say to another, 'See what grace has done in me: I want it to do the same in you.'

Do not be discouraged because you may not carry out your purpose at once; God will carry it out, but you must keep in the place where you will be preserved, in the circle of Christ's interests. Moses had to wait forty years to carry out his purpose, which was a right one, though in the first flush the flesh sought to carry it out; but in the end, how fully every purpose of his heart was met!


(John 20)

My impression is that you would distort the divine order if you make John 20 universal, or extend it beyond the

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church. You will bear in mind that the Lord is rejected in John, so that the Jews are called "the world" in John 15. Now are fulfilled the words -- "And will glorify it again" (John 12:28). The Lord is risen. Hence what relates specially to Himself is the beginning of the new order. The first creation finished with a man -- Adam; Adam fell, and all that creation was made subject to vanity. Now the new has come, and it begins with the "second man out of heaven". Hence I repeat, the circle of interest to His heart is the bride, which we find here in its two-fold aspect -- heart and hands -- Mary Magdalene represents the one, and the eleven the other. The finest trait of the heart is there in perfection. She gathers, as has been said, the disciples; all are there except Thomas (who represents the Jew, who looks for the Messiah as visible to the natural eye), but he is at length in this hallowed circle (verse 26) which is administration for Christ here on the earth; indeed, as in one sense, it will be during the millennium. There is no administration, as far as I see, connected with the kingdom save through the new Jerusalem. When Lazarus was raised you might say there was then the opening for universal display on the earth, and as to fact, our Lord's entry as King took place the next day.

J.N.D. makes John 21 a millennial scene. Peter was out of the current of the Lord's mind when he proposed to go a-fishing.

In conclusion, I may add that it is deeply interesting to apprehend from the word of God the portion of and promises to each company of His saints, if it were only to open out to us the peculiar distinctiveness of our own portion. It helps one to have the subject raised.


I have never used the expression 'positional circumcision'. My impression is that it has been used to set aside the subjective side, and I think you are right to raise

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the question if you think that any one means by the statement to make subjective circumcision unnecessary. It is in this way the expression -- 'the judicial end of man' has been used, and it is most pernicious.

I see that our old man is crucified with Christ. That is ever true for me, though not true to me but as I reckon myself to be dead indeed unto sin. The assurance that the old man has been judicially set aside in the cross is the true scope and measure of my faith. I have nothing less to accept, and the more simply I do so, the more am I subjectively bearing about in my body the dying of Jesus. If the old man had not been judicially set aside in the cross, and if it were only true of me as I reckon myself to be dead, then there would be no standard, no measure to which I was bound to come, as that already true of me, and this would necessarily sink to self-occupation and admit of greater laxity. In the same way I should say that Colossians 2:11 is 'positional circumcision', if by that is meant a work done absolutely for me; but the very fact of its being done for me makes it obligatory on me (for I am called to have Christ in me) to be in the truth of it practically, and I think if you had insisted on the subjective side in Colossians 3 you would have been quite right. I am sure that the tendency has been to make the circumcision effected for me sufficient, without any sense of the realisation of it. Now this realisation of being circumcised cannot be but as we are over Jordan, done (as you say) with this world. There is no circumcision in the wilderness. The objection to practical circumcision is that you must be in an out-of-the-world condition of things; and every one risen with Christ is on the ground where the old man has no more place, but where you are apart from it, as Peter walking on the water (as illustration). If there were only 'positional circumcision', then there would be no knowledge of acquaintance with the new order of things into which you are introduced by the resurrection of Christ. You cannot be with Christ at the other side of death and retain the man for whom He died. But on the other hand, if you were to say that there is no 'positional circumcision', that is, that circumcision had not been effected for me, then you would reduce

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circumcision to the measure in which you are practically dead, not to sins merely, but to the old man as to its lusts and habits; in short, you would reduce it to mere practice, instead of owning that the body of the flesh had been absolutely cut off in the cross, and that if you are raised up with Christ, which baptism points to (when there is faith), you must adopt in faith the circumcision which has been effected for you, and you, in fellowship with Christ in His life, realise that you have put off the old man and have put on the new, in very deed that you are "renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Colossians 3:10).

In fine, if I make circumcision merely positional, I am practically antinomian, and if I make circumcision only subjective, I am legal and self-occupied, and my conscience is my standard and not Christ. The truth is, I believe that the circumcision has been effected for me in the cross, but that I am only in the benefit of it as I in faith accept it as really as it has been effected for me, so that I can stand apart from all of the old man, having put off the old and put on the new.


Having heard that you have not been very well lately I send you a line. I have been much interested within the last few days in seeing the way the Lord reveals His heart to us. His heart is the greatest favour He could give us. His heart is beyond His hand. It is when His hand is apparently against us that He makes known His heart, which is far beyond anything His hand could do for us. Joseph's brethren had lost their father, a very dark hour, and that was the moment when they were to learn the heart of Joseph. Peter passed through much anguish when he fell at Jesus' knees, and yet that was the moment in which he learned the heart of Jesus.

The horror of great darkness is the gateway into the most blessed unfoldings of His love. It has very much interested me to see that He does not propose to give us relief, but He would have us to find in Himself not only a

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resource, but abundant compensation for all loss. It is Himself and not anything He could give. It magnifies to my heart much the love that would make me know that He Himself is the greatest thing He could give me, and to make up for any loss, however great....

Our history has two parts. The first part God's grace to ourselves. The second His grace to us in our service to Christ. I think I have often confounded the latter with the former, but I am beginning to see that they are quite distinct. The Lord bless you in your service for Him. It is a cheer to me to remember you before Him.


I enjoyed my visit among you. I think there is more settled purpose to stand for the Lord. There is more compactness -- that which every joint supplieth. I feel as if you all were more launched, and standing out to sea, aware that you must do seaman's duty, and to my mind all depends on this. The loss of dear -------- I conclude has had this effect -- of binding you all together, and like a solid square, to stand against the common foe. It is a blessed result, but there must be service; I mean as the Lord leads; and there can be no service without sacrifice. In one form or another, when one chooses to suffer affliction with the people of God, the advantages of Egypt must be surrendered. The first act of Elisha on entering or beginning service was to lay hold of his own clothes and rend them in two pieces. The old order of things was at an end. The need of the saints must provoke you to service, as it did Moses in another day. I do not mean to press you into very laborious service. I feel the weight must come on some one, and the taller any one is in carrying a weight in company with others the more falls on him; and in the Lord's service it is an honour to be that one. If you are called to ministry in the word you must wait on it. I feel (it is time for me to say so) that Christ's interests must be our paramount concern, and for a minister in the word it must be especially so.

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I do not for a moment intimate that secular business would militate against a good, sound, useful ministry in the word; but then the latter must always keep the lead in the mind of the servant as well as in his heart; just as a man's affections for his family are paramount with him, although he be a good business man.


... I am strongly impressed that the remnant (a remnant must be a part of the original) must be vigorous in its own circle before it can be a testimony in the world. The church was to be the candlestick; she lost her first love, and eventually lost her testimony. Then in Thyatira the promise of "the morning star" was given. It is for the Lord's return the remnant looks, not for the restoration of the church. "I come quickly: ... that no man take thy crown" (Revelation 3:11). The remnant is not seeking to recover the position on the earth which the church has lost, but to be ready in heart and ways for Christ, so that the cry "Come" is the one desire of the bride. Her desire for the Lord's return is not because of sorrows here, but because nothing less can satisfy the heart of the bride, who, as to testimony, has gone forth with trimmed lamps to meet Him, in answer to "Behold the bridegroom" (Matthew 25:6).

I mean that the ministry now is more to get the saints ready for Christ than to regain the position of testimony in the world. Of course as there is devotedness to Christ there will be a shining forth of light in this dark place, but I think that the object of the Spirit now is to so draw our hearts to Christ that everything unsuited to Him would be renounced, and the better we know Him the more suited to Him we shall be. Our business is not merely evangelising now, nor any measure of usefulness. The one commanding thought is, "The bright and morning star". I hope you see my thought. I feel that it provokes one to a greater zeal for Christ in the assembly, for if we do not reach the greatness of our association with Christ in the assembly, we

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cannot be in the mind and feelings of the bride, or qualified to say to Him, "Come".


The antitype of the holiest is Christ in glory, and you are never in His presence but as the glorified One. As the hymn puts it, 'His presence is our home.' (Hymn 12) Individually we enter the holiest, or the presence of Christ in glory, but we only know it fully in the assembly. We all can behold the Lord with unveiled face, but where it is individual the effect is limited to the individual, and is seen in his course of action. I mean that if I were in His presence, as the Queen of Sheba was in Solomon's presence, I should be transformed into moral correspondence to Him in my individual path. But if I were in His presence in the assembly, where He is Son over God's house -- a great Priest over the house of God, I should be led, in concert with Himself, into His circle of interest.

In either case I must be fit for His presence. I consider that the washing of the feet in John 13 answers to the preparation for the holiest. You cannot be with Christ -- have "part" with Him, unless every shade of defilement be removed. This must always be the case in order to be with Him. When you fail you turn to Him as the Advocate, but the conscience may be at rest, and yet the heart may not be free with Him. It is very plain that individually you are not enjoying company with Him, if there be any reserve between Him and you. Peter was in his conscience relieved in John 20, but his heart was not relieved until chapter 21. If you admit that you are not in company with Him individually until your feet are washed, you can at once see that you could not be with Him otherwise in the assembly -- in the house of God.

Our individual failures we confess in our own room when we believe in the advocacy of Christ, but that must be over before we come into the assembly. In the assembly we seek for grace and wisdom to correct anything unworthy

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of His assembly. It is not so much confessing failure as seeking to remove it. Under the law, the clean person was to sprinkle on the unclean.

In the Lord's supper it is Christ's death which is before us, and the fact that He died for us only intensifies our remembrance of Him in death; we are in the full efficacy of His work.

Beholding the Lamb in Revelation is, as far as I see, more with relation to the earth than the assembly. The company there are associated with Christ as about to reign; at any rate, they are not the assembly. The more you love Him, and the better you know all He went through on your account, the more will you seek to be kept from any return to the flesh for which He suffered; and though His sufferings for you draw out your heart to Him, the real satisfaction of your heart is that you are united to Him in glory. Entrance into the holiest is a blessing peculiar to Christians. We do not read that the earthly saints are ever thus blessed. I hope I have made the subject clear to you. It has been said no one understands a divine truth until he is in it. The Lord lead you into it.


Though I have a line in hand for you with reference to Abram and Lot, I think I had better comment first on the enclosed. It is evident that your aim is right, but, as far as I see, it cannot be said that you come from His side to remember Him in His death. J.N.D. says, and I believe it to be true, that it is on the earth, where He is not, that you remember His death. The true remembrance of His death was to close this scene completely to us. Israel were idolaters because they could in the absence of Moses eat and drink and rise up to play. The Corinthians had no sense of the absence of Christ -- no true acceptation of His death, and that in eating the supper they were identified with His death. To my mind it is this -- I see Him at the altar as having died, and with this fresh on my heart I join

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Him as one of the consecrated company at the door of the tabernacle where He is in glory, and go in with Him, and there I am associated with Him in His own blessedness in the presence of God in the holiest of all. It is as His brethren we accompany Him, and there could be no remembrance of sin there, for we are as He is. The sense of this is very feebly apprehended by us. I remember Him as He was here, I join Him as He is, a great Priest over the house of God.


Many thanks for your letter. Your remark about the tabernacle is very interesting. I have been lately (in connection with John 17 and the new Jerusalem) impressed with the idea that the church, as the complement of Christ, would, in its glory, cover the earth "as the waters cover the sea" -- in fact, God's dwelling-place. How do you distinguish between the tabernacle and the temple? I think it is easy to see that there is a glory, which is, so to speak, common to the Father and the Son. Connecting the ram of consecration with John 13:31 I greatly like, for thus you can understand your fitness to behold the Lord's glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). I am sure we must learn approach first. A Man has glorified God; through Him we can approach, we behold the glory of the Lord; and following on this there is the untold greatness -- the Son glorifying the Father. I do not see that we reach the Father until we come to Ephesians 2:18 "Through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father". I see that we are in company first with Christ, and we enter with Him into the Holiest; that is approach; and then we behold His glory, we are in the efficacy of the ram of consecration; but the worshipping of the Father cannot be until we are with the Son in the presence of the Father. I have been studying this subject with reference to the names we use in addressing

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God, and it appears to me there is very little intelligence as to the name Father. I like the thought that 'the Shekinah was more than the Holiest'. I feel it is opening out to me.

As to the manna. I quite agree that it is not for approach. I believe that if Christ is not living in me outside of all here, I shall not be able to walk in the details of daily life as He walked. "The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). It is most wonderful. He never learned anything from man. He was a Man fully according to God's mind -- perfection in the midst of imperfection.

I am more and more confirmed in the accuracy of your remark that the questions of the propounders of the new theories show that they are not clear of the old man as judicially terminated in the cross. I fear many are stranded there.


I was thankful for your letter, but I deferred to reply to it until I could say something. I find a subject of the kind comes to one only by degrees, here a little, and there a little. I accept your distinction between the tabernacle and the temple. Do you see nothing more in the tabernacle of God than in the tabernacle of testimony? My impression is, that there is something besides the new Jerusalem in Paul's words, "an holy temple in the Lord". I do not say that it is in the millennium, but could it be fulfilled in the statement, "The tabernacle of God is with men"? Christ here was the temple of God, and it is in keeping with this that I think there must be hereafter more than the city. I do not mean the temple which will be set up on the earth during the millennium.

I agree with you that there is a present analogy to the assembly as the house of God, only we are more of the tabernacle character, for we have the heavenly Priest over the house of God -- and the ark contains not only the law, what God required of man, but there was the pot of manna -- a life suited to God, and Aaron's rod -- God's chosen One.

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Your comments on Mark 8 are very interesting, that Christ is the "one loaf", and that there must be two operations on the blind before there is divine sight. I had seen the necessity for the latter, but I had never taken the "one loaf" to signify Christ. I had remarked that He did not give them any bread. The whole scene of the chapter depicts the moral state of believers in this day. They would welcome any addition of Christ to Adam, but they refuse to discard Adam for Christ only. I find almost everywhere that Galatians 2:20 is regarded as "standing", and that it is not appropriated as the true experimental state of the Christian.

The enclosed is from --------. I have written in reply that the aspirations are beautiful, but that he cannot realise them except by the Spirit by whom we mortify the deeds of the body. It is faith which lays hold of God's side and estimate of the cross, but it is the Spirit that makes good to me that which is true of me in the sight of God. Christians in general would say that faith makes it good, hence it is ours without the practical efficacy of the Spirit's work in us, so that we should not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.


You are quite welcome to anything I have written or any part of it, only that in this latter case you should give the whole paragraph, and if it would not be troublesome to you I should like to see the proof when it is on any important subject. If we are always learning we must be prepared for seeing divine things clearer every day.

The Lord give you a really prosperous time in America. In 2 Timothy 3 we see that Paul's teaching and the knowledge of the scriptures combined is the only remedy in the difficult times, and yet in Christendom there is no subject so little known or studied as Paul's teaching. Take up any book you like or periodical; neither the gospel according to Paul nor the church as the mystery is treated of. You will be the pioneer of a great work in America if you seek

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to bring Paul's teaching before the saints there. You begin with Paul's gospel -- Christ in glory, and you will soon lead on to the church. The mystery and the scriptures will then come in new and living power to you, assuring your heart that God always had a chief object -- from the call of Abram to this day; and that as any one was set for His object he was supported in a very marked way.

I am thankful that --------,has decided for the Lord. I do not see that it is possible for any one to apprehend the Lord's mind who is not in some measure in His confidence. It is very encouraging to know that as we are attached to Him, like Mary Magdalene, He opens His mind to us. But surely no one understands any of His mind clearly who is not interested in His chief interest.

The Lord bless you much.


(Ephesians 5)

As to Ephesians 5, my impression is that the apostle is there looking at the church on the earth and the Lord coming to present her to Himself. If you accept this, it is easy to understand it. He gave Himself for it. He is sanctifying, separating it from everything that is not of Himself, in order that if He walked in He could present it to Himself a glorious church. Already in the epistle we are taught that we are united to Him by the Holy Ghost. It is not union but presentation. In the type God brought Eve unto Adam. The difference is that the union takes place with us before the presentation. For conscious union now, each of us has to be brought to Christ where He is by the Spirit. In none of the types is there any ceremony. The marriage ceremony is the declaration of the union after the destruction of the rival Babylon. We are coming to reign with Christ; we pass the judgment-seat. The fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints. Every right thing we have done here is recalled; and according to the quality of the

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things so will be our position in the kingdom. I hope I am sufficiently clear.


John 14:17 is very plain in the original; the reading literally is that the Spirit "abides with you" (the company), "and shall be in you" -- remaining with you, in contrast to Christ's going away; "He shall be in you" is the way He would be here. I quite see the importance of maintaining the distinction between the presence of the Spirit of God in the individual and in the assembly of the living God.

The assembly is God's habitation by the Spirit. This cannot be denied. The question is -- could the Spirit be there apart from the vessel, which, in my judgment, you rightly deny. I see that the Holy Ghost is quite distinct in His operation in the individual and in the assembly. I believe that if the Spirit has been occupying you with your own state up to your entering the meeting, that He would then and there occupy you with your privileges and responsibilities in the assembly. In John's gospel the operation of the Spirit in the individual (chapters 4 and 7) is distinct from the operation of the Spirit in the company; chapters 14: 26 and 15: 26. It has helped me that in chapter 15: 26 the Lord says, "The Comforter ... whom I will send unto you" -- the eleven; He is not sent to the world, and hence I see that any one who had been in the assembly, as in 1 Corinthians 14, and had been where the Holy Ghost was, whether with two or a million, would be a "companion of the Holy Ghost", and an apostate if he ever returned to Judaism.


The first step is to admit that there is a distinct addition from the dictation of the Head. Every one sealed by the

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Spirit is helped and energised by the Spirit as he walks with a single eye (his eye on Christ), therefore the help and energy of the Spirit is in keeping with the progress of each. Even with gifts, I do not see that the Spirit helps any one beyond his measure, or the Spirit's work in him. I am sure the Spirit helps the gift to make the word of God effectual, even in system, where there is very little light; but I do not see that He carries the gifted man beyond his own measure -- I mean his spiritual measure. Now if I am right as to the help of the Spirit even to the gifted man, it is easy to see the great addition the dictation of the Head would be. The dictation of Christ as Head would be according to Christ's pleasure, and His mind for His own at the moment. Hence, if the servant consciously waited on Him as Head, He would dictate to him the line of truth which He desired for the moment, even though the servant might know but little of it as yet for himself. It is evident that the servant has advanced much, when he consciously knows Christ as Head. Then he receives direction from Him, and doubtless as he obeys, the Spirit greatly helps him, and all the more, because he may know so little of the line of truth which he propounds; and he himself is generally the one most edified, for when he is truly under the dictation of the Head, he is ready for any communications from Him.

As far as I see, I judge a servant may be useful in his ministry although he does not consciously know the Head, and the more he waits on the Lord the clearer is his spiritual judgment, and blessing in proportion is vouchsafed; but this, though better understood, is evidently a long way from the blessedness of being directed by the Head; and, of course, you cannot be directed by Christ as Head if you do not know Him as such.


Very slowly we accept the great fact that every one in Christ is a new creation; no saint who is not a member of

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Christ's body will be in this wondrous nearness, old things passed away, all become new, and all of God. God does not acknowledge, in the place where Christ is rejected, any one but Christ, that is, you must be a part of Him, "all of one". "Why persecutest thou me?" (Acts 9:4). This accounts for the unique and peculiar position of the church. The blessed God would not countenance a Moses or a David on the earth where Christ is rejected; if man rejects the greatest, God could not allow a lesser to take His place; none of us could be here for God, if we were not part of Christ, and the moment Christ rises from the Father's throne to take His true place, the church, His body is left here no longer, and though there will be saints on the earth after the removal of the church, there will be none with the Holy Ghost dwelling in them, and thus altogether apart from man after the earthly order. I say all this because no one will understand discipline, the end of which is to be made partakers of God's holiness (a word only used once in scripture) except he apprehends that the believer, now the member of Christ's body, must be divested of everything which is in any way in common with the man on the earth who refused Christ, whether of the Jew or of the Gentile. Hence there is no true sanctification now, but as we are severed from everything here, as Christ is. "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified" (John 17:19). There will be no saint on the earth of the order of John 17 after Christ rises from the Father's throne; the rejection then will be over, and He assumes His rightful place here, and His people are made willing in the day of his power. I believe wonderful light breaks in on one when one apprehends that it is the purpose and pleasure of the blessed God to surround with the fullest and highest blessing every one given to His Son in the day of His rejection. Varied indeed are the families, earthly and heavenly, but they are not in any particular in equality with the body of Christ. With sincere desire for your true happiness and service I venture to say all this to you, because I am assured of the deep blessing you will receive in seeing the unique calling and nature of the church.

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The way to obtain the blessing of the Lord is to do the thing that He wishes you to do. It is not a question of gift merely, but to please Him who hath chosen us.

The number of young men among you in the assembly is to my mind a great responsibility. I do not know how much gift there may be there, but there is often more gift than is manifested. Many are gifted who are not as yet so free from human dependence that they can enter on prominent service.

Moses had the desire to serve 40 years before he was fit to enter on the service. So also with others. I conclude Paul was two years in Arabia. All I desire to bring before you ... is the responsibility as to so many possible servants of the Lord.

... Paul's word to Timothy, you can take or apply to yourselves. "The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2).

The elder ones generally are better taught, that is, they have studied the truth more earnestly and laboured more to understand it than the younger ones. The elder ones have been like the first settlers in a new country; they had all the rough work to do before they reached the good of the soil. Those who succeed them have not so much labour to reach the soil as their predecessors, but surely the first who had more labour had also the best of the soil.


As to associations, I am quite sure your principle is right, I mean, as you say, that scripture associated the children with the parents. Hence: any association spiritually

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damaging to the parents, is not good nor right for the children. You are called to bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; how then can you sanction for them a looser rein than is good for yourself? "If a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?" (1 Timothy 3:5) Nothing tests one's faith and power more than the control of one's children, and in no line of service are we so manifestly rewarded. I know the difficulty of it well, and how easily one fails, but, on the other hand, in a very marked way, the Lord will honour you if you honour Him.

It is not necessary to explain to your children why you make a certain rule. But, be assured, however they may object and even chafe under a holy rule now, they will, when they are enlightened, own the great good of it.

As to relations I feel you should be ready to act a kinsman's part always, and therefore to be kind and gracious to them; but when their ecclesiastical position is contrary to the truth, I do not think that you can receive them socially, saving, as you say, in hospitality.

Can anything be more dangerous, because so infectious, than false worship? It is either false or true. Alas, I know how easy it is to fall from this holy line where the Lord only supports you. You cannot be too separate; there is no power apart from separation. "Touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Corinthians 6:17). If you are separate in the tent -- your own house -- you are suited to God in His house.

I believe, beloved brother, it is a question of deepest importance. You are like a diver in a diving bell; if you do not keep out the water -- the surrounding element -- the world all around will swamp you.... The growing weakness everywhere is lack of separation, and contact with man is the worst. See Leviticus 5:3. It is the snare of Balaam. Shelter your children under the wing of holy separation and then surely you will be near the Lord for yourself, and He will shew Himself strong in your behalf, in blessing your children.

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I return dear --------'s letter. I quite go with his feelings, that it is very desirable that brethren should be awakened to the responsibility which rests on us, to share with others the light and truth which in God's goodness have been given to us. This is as far as I can go. I do not think you can get up a prayer meeting. For real prayer there must be agreement. I cannot propose a meeting to pray for things, even the most desired, unless there be a real sense in the heart of those who join in it -- first, of the pressing importance of them, and secondly, that God only can help; like the man going to his friend at midnight for bread. But, having said this much, I feel that it is our bounden duty to press our responsibility on one another, and therefore I should, the Lord leading me, pray that there might be more waiting on God, that each one may, like the bee, work for the hive -- the common good. Though I may not feel free to ask the company to come together to pray, yet I should feel it my duty to seek their co-operation in prayer, by praying for the things which -------- proposes, as they were laid on my heart; and as hearts were really moved, they would not only join, but they would be impressed before the Lord with the importance of the things they had joined in praying for. In a word, I should pray as the Lord led me, and thus I should expect to promote it in a true way in others....

The Lord increase in many the feelings for His glory which have led dear -------- to write.


... What one never had, one never misses! There is a great principle in this; you cannot miss anything until you possess it, or at least until you have tasted of it. The great end of ministry is to lead souls to taste of the "things

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above", and then the things below will not only be surpassed, but there will be a sense of dissatisfaction with them. Sometimes one does not know why one is so dissatisfied, but the reason is, one is not in the element that suits one's divine taste.

Cases of discipline are always sad, but unless they have been unseen and undiscovered by the spiritual, they do not cast a cloud on the gathering.... There is manifest decline in souls before a smash. The spiritual, when really taking charge of God's heritage, will notice it, and will seek to wash the feet of the erring one.

As to the person who dropped off from the fellowship of the Lord's supper because she had not peace, I think you should exercise patience. It is a matter of conscience, and if she be converted, a lack of faith. If not, she will soon show it, and connect herself with some sect, and then I feel you would be called on to announce publicly that she is not in fellowship. In fact, you would close the door on her.


As numbers increase, I find everywhere that the subject of discipline becomes the test of the assembly's state, and of the spiritual power there. Discipline does not consist in getting rid of the offender, as one would a bone in one's throat, though even in that simile every member would be interested and anxious for the removal of the bone. The apostle writes fifteen chapters to the church of God at Corinth, to awaken them to the fact that there was leaven in their midst, and this leaven was most palpable and incontrovertible. The patience of grace to get the assembly so to feel the leaven, was beautiful, and hence the assembly was wonderfully benefited when it was awakened to its evil state. "Yea, what clearing of yourselves, ... in all things you have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (2 Corinthians 7:11). The apostle's point was to awaken them to feel the leaven, and, with godly zeal, to clear themselves of it. Getting rid of an evil is not enough. It is the sense the assembly has of the

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damage from it, and hence practical renunciation of it. It is the same in the case of an individual. The stopping of an evil is not enough; this might be effected in many ways, but in true repentance there is the sense of how it is in the sight of God, and therefore there is taking God's side against oneself. An assembly ought to throw off an evil, as a constitution would throw off a poison. There is a tax on the vitality, but there is an energy of life which succeeds. It is a great thing in ministry and in everything to lead on the assembly. It is the highest favour and greatest privilege on earth to be enabled to care for and serve the flock of God.


... I see that it is not my place to inquire what I can afford, but what I can dispense with; and I find the study of this and the practice of it, in any little way, preserves me from care as to temporal things. As to stewardship, as to fact, your property is the Lord's, as you see in Luke 16. The Jew was the steward, and he proved unfaithful. The Gentile, in that sense, was never a steward, and as to title to property, he has none. No one could set up a divine title to property. The Jew had title, but through unfaithfulness he is reduced to the level of a Gentile. As to the legal fact, the property is the Lord's, and hence to the converted one it becomes a gift to him: Peter says, "As every man has received the gift...." It is given to him, and faithfulness in the use of it, as with any other gift, is required. The grace of the Lord is especially connected with this gift, for, though the property be the Lord's, as you see in Luke 16, yet if you so spend it as to make friends by it (cheering and succouring others through the means of it), you gain through means of a property which is not really yours, but the Lord's. All the gain is yours, though the property, as to title, belongs to the Lord; and hence it is added, "If ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?" The spiritual gift is that which is our own. The temporal gift is given in

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the providence of God, and the proper exercise of it determines whether the one who receives it would be faithful in the greater gifts; I believe in one sense there is no gift more difficult to use rightly than money. To be a donor requires close and careful acquaintance with the person and ways of the one to whom I give. If I promote worldliness, or afford him ability to have things which he could do without, by my gift I injure him. I feel it necessary and good discipline, to be just as restricted when I have much as when I have little, and though I am not given to be a donor, yet unknown, the Lord allows me to help if a case of pressure comes before me.

But I think it is a great thing for a donor not to give to another in a measure and way that would take him out of faith and dependence.

God sends rain and fruitful seasons, but, though they come, they never come in the same way in any one year; and I find that, as a rule, when I may need anything, that it comes from a quarter that I never expected; and that from the quarter where it had come from before, it does not now. Thus God keeps the eye on Himself, and not on the donor.


I think the servant has a claim, but it is unhappy for the servant to build on or remember his claim; and on the other hand it is not good for those taught in the word not to "communicate". The servant's happy place is not to be chargeable, the giver's happy place is not to be "weary in well doing". "To do good and to communicate forget not" (Hebrews 13:16). I know for my own part, I try to deny myself in little things, such as books, etc., which I did not when I was not a receiver, and what I do receive I feel it is my duty to pass on if I do not really require it.

I have been greatly interested in seeing in scripture, how God cares for and helps His people on the lowest platform of truth, be it ever so little; but while He does so, because His tender mercy is over all His works, no one rises

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superior to the power of evil raging at the time but the saint who is on the highest platform, or in scriptural language, in the testimony.


I rejoice that you are encouraged, but you must be prepared to go alone; indeed you know something of this already. I find that every Christian accepts, and even admires the beginning of every grace; but the test to every one is the finish. Every one can find out where he is historically in Hebrews 11. If you have not acceptance you have not begun. Some are not even as far as Abel. Many are as far as Noah -- safe from judgment and in the favour of God, who are not pilgrims, that is -- as far as Abraham. You are in the land when like Moses you have overcome all the power of the world. I find that there are three great stages in the christian history. First, The greatness of my salvation -- "They began to be merry". Second, The attractiveness and blessedness of Christ Himself. He is my life. I count all things but rubbish that He might be my gain. Very few come to this stage, but those who do, are in the third -- here for Him; they could not be anything else. I should think that in your course of service you do not meet with many who are "going on to perfection". As far as I know the mass do not seem to seek anything beyond No. 1, that is Abel....

This if true must make your labours in seeking to lead them on more arduous. The Lord bless you much.


As to the leaflet you enclosed I had seen it before. Many mistake their own state for their true state. Our true state is the Spirit in us. As He is ungrieved He occupies us with Christ. All real ministry leads to Christ, and when you are

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led by the Spirit you pray that you may apprehend that for which also you are apprehended. Much damage has been done to souls by after insisting on the sovereign grace of God, then passing on to walk and conduct. The teaching is that all is done for me; that is right; but then conduct and behaviour are pressed without seeing that there is a divine state. This leads to a certain self approbation, and while assured of God's absolute grace, there is neither knowing nor seeking personal intercourse and communion with Him; satisfied so long as outward conduct is commendable. All is ours, but then I enter on what is mine in peace and in the knowledge of His love, and as I do, I am near Him, and in intimacy with Him, and thus I am led on in nearness to Him to do His pleasure. It is not watching my conduct, but watching Him, as the moon's measure of light is as she catches the sun. There is a divine standing and a divine state, and divine practice; the second is not without the first, and the last is never without the second. The second is very little known.


To any godly soul there must be a great difference between one continually failing but heartbroken because of his intemperate failure, and one continually erring in the same line, but, at every recurrence with more careful cleverness to baffle discovery, and when discovered, a greater adroitness in excusing it. If the church were a club, I could understand that there should be a reluctance to lose one man more than another; but the assembly is God's assembly, and what we have to consider is the "leaven". If leaven be glossed over, it leavens all. A godly care for the assembly leads one to say, "Not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you ..". (2 Corinthians 7:12).

We belong to the greatest firm that ever was on the earth, and we must, in duty bound, look after our partners. The

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awfulness of leaven is that it does not produce in others the same kind of open evil that it began with.

The Corinthians were leavened by gross immorality, and they were disgraceful in their mutual relations with one another. See 1 Corinthians 6. We must guard against two evils -- a laxity on the one hand, and a rigid severity on the other. What the church is in the mind of God, only known as Christ is known, has been from the beginning too little thought of -- lost, as we know, among Christians in the very first century. In God's goodness it, that is, the truth of it, has been in this present century (as I might say), disentombed. The whole force of the enemy is directed against it, in order to bury it again. Conversion for the lost, and good conduct for the saved is the scope or range of the truth held and propounded by the mass of Christians. Among us, directly, or indirectly, every division arose from not understanding what the church or assembly is to God; and the contention and difficulty connected with every case of discipline can be traced to the same. Nine-tenths of the teaching abroad does not touch on the church. It is connected with only the gospel and walk, as if there were no church at all.


I quite agree with you that the consummation for the heart is to see the Lord Himself. Nothing can surpass, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself" (John 14:3). Before there was any revelation of the rapture, the saints were waiting for His Son from heaven. Now, there are two lines of teaching fraught with much damage to souls: one is that there is no rapture at all, that the church has to pass through the tribulation, and that the King is coming. Here many of the devoted in system are.

The other is, that the rapture is everything, which view a section of the Church of England has adopted, and they have a paper called 'The Morning Star'. Now neither of these is correct. I do not comment on the first, it is so

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palpably erroneous. But, as to the latter, the rapture has been put out of its place: that is to say, a part has been taken for the whole. The morning star is before the dawn. It is the harbinger of the day -- the moment of unbounded delight for every true heart. We shall see Him, but though that is the first thought, it is not all. Hence, in Revelation 22:16 you will find that the Lord does not present Himself as simply "the bright and morning star", but also as "the root and offspring of David" -- the coming King; and sure I am, that if the bride longs to see Him for her own joy, the more she is in concert with Him the more will she long for Him to have His rights and rejoice that the Lord reigneth. I believe that to the true heart the rapture -- the morning star, would not be enough, any more than to any one out at night, the natural morning star would be enough if the day were not to follow. Scripture is plain that the Lord thinks of those who wait for Him and watch for Him, who love His appearing. If we suffer with Him we shall reign with Him.


I am through the Lord's goodness very much interested here. The subject I have before me is the formation and calling of the bride. As far as I see, no one can truly say, "Come", that is, that Christ should come and reign, not the rapture merely, who is not in heart the bride. The value of the church -- the bride -- to Christ, as you see from all the types of her in the Old Testament is, that she is a comfort to Him, and His helpmeet now, in this -- the time of His rejection. No one can understand Christ's interests now who is not in conscious union with Him. There is an immense deal of service which is not in concert with His mind at the moment. This concert cannot be known but as He is known as Head, and He cannot be known as Head but as we are dead to the world....

I must make one more remark. We know Christ, whether as High Priest with relation to ourselves, as risen from the dead outside of man, or in the assembly with

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relation to Himself, as risen from the dead outside of man; but when you come to Him as Head you must be dead to the world; then you enter on His circle, the christian circle, and thus you begin to be in His tastes and His motives, for He is your life. He not merely gives you life, but Christ is your life, so His tastes and motives must be yours.

It is a much greater grace that He liveth in you, that He is your life, than that He gives you life; and you can at once see that if He is your life, you are, as a consequence in His circle of things, not only outside of man, but outside of the world.

I heartily desire that you may enjoy this blessed concert with the Lord. What I desire for myself I desire for you. I am not discouraged because I know so little of it, for I see that I am called to it by the grace of God. The Lord bless you much.


I do trust that much profit may accrue from the readings. It seemed to me to be generally accepted that not only are we saved sinners, but that for any advance in grace there must be a change from Adam to Christ. Once this step is known in the power of the Spirit, the path shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Another point of great value came out, which must be apprehended in order to be here for Christ. I mean the difference between the acting of the Holy Ghost in each of us individually, for our own endless benefit, and His acting in us in the assembly, and in the body for Christ. The former we find in Romans 5:1 - 11 and chapter 8, and the latter in 1 Corinthians 12.

I believe that there is no progress in Christ's things until there is simple, unswerving faith that in the eye of God for every believer, the man under His judgment has gone in judgment in the cross; and that He now can receive the returning prodigal in the fullest affection and favour, in the acceptance of Him who has glorified God.

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Next, that He has given to us the Holy Spirit, so that each can say, "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). Now our side is in moral correspondence with God's side, and until this is established in the soul, there cannot be liberty of heart to attend to His interests. It is then the assembly, in its divine greatness, opens out to us. I am afraid that the place and work of the Holy Ghost are not sufficiently realised. Faith for God's side, because it is unalterable. The Spirit for my side, because I am not free but by and in the Spirit.

I hope that the little trouble at -------- may lead to much blessing. The oil for the lamp is beaten oil.


I believe the root of the present defection is the theory, that the acceptance of our standing through grace, to the exclusion of state, or any moral effect, is the whole truth of God. The effect of this teaching has been most disastrous. The greatness of the position in which grace has set the believer has been set forth intelligently without demand for it to be entered on in moral power. It is almost incredible the laxity which this theory tolerated. Surely, nothing can be plainer in scripture than that there is a divine state conferred by God, even a moral correspondence to the position in which He in His grace sets us. When you are justified by faith you have peace with God. You are in justification before God, while peace is your state with God. Both are given of God. Again, "Raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6) is our place; but Christ dwelling in your hearts by faith is the state conferred by God in correspondence with it. If the state is ignored personal intercourse with the Lord is ignored. Communion is said to be only over the word. Transformation only by the word and that it is not only common to all, but known to all. Self-judgment is

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said to be introspection. Guidance is by a text. You are through grace seated in the heavenlies in Christ, and this is to be your 'through ticket', without any exercise of soul as to the way by which in grace you have been "compelled" to come from the "highways and hedges" up to the top. In fact, no experimental journey from earth to heaven, no deliverance, no liberty, no approach, no Jordan, no knowledge of eternal life beyond that the scripture says you have it on believing. I admit the 'through ticket', but you cannot travel from earth to heaven (except you die, or the Lord comes) unless you pass through all the stations I have named. There is no other line, and God must have reality.

The first epistle of John was written that you should have "conscious knowledge of eternal life", and there are three witnesses -- the Spirit, the water, and the blood -- to prove to yourself that you know -- have the consciousness of it, and I am afraid that not one out of ten could explain the second witness, much less have the testimony of it in his or her soul. There has been a wilful determination for years to refuse any teaching which sets forth the Spirit's formative work in the believer, which is really state. I fully admit that occupation with state without faith in the standing is most pernicious. But on the other hand, God has not in His grace given me any standing without giving me the state morally corresponding to it, and having the state is the proof that I have in faith entered on the standing.

The greater the position God has set me in, the greater morally am I according to grace in every detail of my duties here. There is nothing about family duties in Romans. In Colossians where you are over Jordan, you are enabled to come out in your home circle in a new light; and in Ephesians, where you are seated in heaven, still more so. Nay, so much so, that I have rarely seen any one who was up to the Ephesian measure in his home circle.

I need not add more except that I see the leaven of Laodicea in the theory that 'standing is everything'. A boastfulness of one's acquisitions, but Christ outside. The highest truths taught and accepted, but only insisted on as "standing", so that souls have become satisfied with an intelligent acceptation of the truths without any sense of

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the state morally corresponding to them, which is Christ dwelling in my heart by faith, imparting to me His own feelings, tastes and ways; in short, all that He is morally. The marvel of divine grace is that not only has everything according to the heart of God been secured for me through the death and resurrection of Christ, but that I, a child of Adam, should be, not only in peace with God, where I was under His judgment, but that I am transferred from Adam to Christ, and I am to have Christ formed in me now, and the life that I now live in the flesh I am to live "by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). I am born of God -- of new and divine origin -- a new vessel to hold the new wine, and to be here on the earth now where I was a child of Adam, in the grace and beauty of Christ, led by His own power to stand for Him, "and having done all to stand"; daily more and more transformed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

And thus Thy deep perfections,
Much better should I know;
And with adoring fervour,
In this Thy nature grow. (Hymn 51)


In my opinion the opposition in a great degree arises from ignorance, soul ignorance. What is called "standing" has been clearly and fully set forth as God's grace, and entirely outside of us. This is blessedly true, and if we were in heaven it would be fully enjoyed, but as we are still here where we have been prodigals, and alienated from God, the work of the Holy Ghost in us is to lead us to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and this after we have learned and known that through Christ's death we are freed from all that was against us, that we have passed from death into life. The

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practical effect of the grace in which we stand is left out and unknown, hence there is no real enjoyment; full deliverance is not realised. There is no power. The interpretation of passages of scripture is not in itself power. Power is that I live Christ, Christ is magnified in my body, while I am still in flesh and blood, and this cannot be apart from the work of the Spirit in me.

Alas! there is no increase of separation, and little or no sense that we are called to be descriptive of the exalted Man here in the scene of His rejection. Our heavenly calling seems to be almost ignored, and this lack of separation is the real difficulty as to the true apprehension of eternal life, which is outside this scene altogether. I am sure that some in this day do not see any more than those who opposed J.N.D. for saying that the blessed Lord gave up the life to which sin attached. If He had not a life to give up, where would the "testament" be? "Of no force at all" (Hebrews 9:16, 17). I deplore the controversy. Better have prayer meetings.


I rejoice to hear of blessing amongst you. My heart has some of you often in remembrance before the Lord. I sometimes hope that much of the contention of late has arisen from not seeing the difference between possessing a property and using that property in turning it to account. The property is mine through God's grace, however I use it, but it is as I use it that I know the good of it. A youth owns a horse (his father's gift), but does he turn the gift to good account? I am sure many have contented themselves with the assurance that they have divine property as the gift of God's grace, without being exercised as to the use and benefit of the property. And as we all know, it is in the use of a thing that originality comes out, like another leaf of the one and self-same tree (no two leaves of any tree are alike), and on comparing notes, the new leaves as well as the old ones are found to come from the one and same

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tree, though the new leaves were first thought to be innovation.


I believe all the contention arises from the natural unwillingness to leave our own side for Christ's side; we like to have Him at our side of things, but He is not there now, and this is an immense difficulty to some, for if He is not there (though He sympathises with me there, for He was there), I must, like Peter, if He has drawn my heart to Himself, leave the ship, and in divine power join Him where He is.

I feel assured that much of the opposition arises, too, from accepting truth without practical acquaintance with it; that is, it is accepted in the mind and not in faith, which is counting on God to make it effectual.


The moral earthquake which has exposed all the earthliness of brethren has extended also to you. How truly we learn, however distant, that if we are on the same meridian line we suffer alike. To me it is very evident that brethren had declined from the church, the circle of Christ's interest, and were confining their service exclusively to the gospel, or, I might say, to our own interest in God's grace. The gospel, as is plain from Romans, sets a man up in peace with God on the earth, where he had been under His judgment. For the believer it is not now death, the wages of sin, but eternal life, the gift of God. Thus the gospel introduces you into a large field of blessing, so that you have here joy unspeakable and full of glory. But the moment you receive light as to the church (your relation to Christ) an entirely new world opens out to you. You find that you belong to Christ in heaven. It is not now merely all He had done for you on the earth, which is the known joy of your heart, but you are a member of the body of the blessed One, who in Himself wrought out your salvation. To be in any sense of this great union you must be in His life outside your

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senses, in an out-of-the-world condition of things. No one realises the gospel of God who is not on the other side of the Red Sea, and no one except over Jordan can enjoy union with Christ; and assuredly no one who does not know Him as Head (holding the Head) can enter into His mind and interests. I have no doubt that if brethren were occupied with their relation to Christ, as the members of the exalted Man in heaven, they would not have suffered as they have in the late sifting. The gospel without the church has been the aim of the enemy for many years. Moody and Sankey gave much impetus to it -- the gospel without separation; while Pearsal Smith's doctrine was holiness without separation.


I hear that you have been tried by the contention in L--------.

I am persuaded that in order to seize the root of it, we must first ascertain the truth of our calling -- God's calling. If I have learned from God's word His calling for the church -- the present testimony -- I can very easily decide what teaching helps it.

There are three great lines of truth in the New Testament: 1st, what Christ was on the earth; 2nd, what He is now in heaven; and, 3rd, what He will be when He comes.

Now of the first, every believer knows something, and according to his devotedness it is his daily food. The second -- as He is and where He is -- I apprehend is little known. The third is studied often when the second is practically unknown. Now many think that they know the second (Christ as He is) because they have accepted "heavenly truth" (as it is called), but surely so great a favour could not be accepted in faith without being paramount to the soul; you must be under the power of it. The first is for our salvation and for our pilgrim life here -- the wonderful display of God in man; and the gospels chiefly,

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with a great part of the epistles are taken up with it -- what Christ was on the earth, the great and perfect blessedness which He has obtained for the believer where he was ruined, and how He gilded with His grace every detail of man's life down here. We are not only reconciled to God by the death of His Son, but He never leaves us nor forsakes us; all the need on our side He fully supplies, and, as a rule, souls do not seek any more. But there is more. The first, most blessed and necessary, only leads to the second -- Christ as He is. You may say, Souls are not ready for the second. That I could readily admit. Look through the epistles. You will see a reference to it in 1 Corinthians 2:9, and in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (you remember your own vision of the glory, that was the second), also in 2 Corinthians 12. None that I know of in Peter or James or Jude. In Hebrews you are led into the second -- you have "boldness to enter". In Ephesians and Colossians it -- the second -- Christ where He is -- is fully opened out; and in 1 John; and in 2 Timothy it is set forth in the words "my doctrine" -- the one great truth in the day of difficulty. I need not add more. I wish I could talk to you, but I am sure that if the second (Christ as He is and where He is) were known to the soul, that it would be the paramount subject before it, as it was with you the morning after your vision.

The first (Christ as He was) could not be overlooked, it would be enhanced in the light of as He is, andwill be for ever.


We used to feel long ago, if you accept that truth you must be an altered man. Now the idea is growing that if you see the objective side, you are all right. It is to me untruthful and discreditable to be one thing and to act quite the contrary. The more I know the position in which God has set me in Christ, the more my heart, as led by the Spirit, longs to be in practical accordance with

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it. I am empowered to be what I am, but that is death to my selfishness. The song is lovely, but I cannot dance to it. The most learned church lost its first love. Love is never satisfied unless it answers to the heart of the loved one. He has made us everything to suit Himself (Ephesians 1), but down here, if we are true to Him we walk worthy of our vocation. I (as I learn His purpose which is future as to fulfilment) long to know (verse 19) the power of Christ towards us, and I do not know union until then; though I am united I do not intelligently realise what is really true of me. It is not when I know it that it is true. The power to join the Lord was not given to Peter (Matthew 14) until he walked on the water. The power is in us before we join the Lord above, but we have not Peter's affection to leave all here for Him. I can honestly say I shrink from attempting to expound any truth unless I could say that I have tasted of its virtue. It is "out of the belly" that the rivers must flow. Could any one expound the corn of the land if he was never in the land to eat it? The manna will cease one day. No one could ever tell the difference if he did not know Christ in glory. Paul longs to know Him. I am persuaded that the increase of knowledge has not helped souls.

The Lord grant that you may be the loving Mary Magdalene, and though the two great disciples go "to their own home", yet your joy and compensation may be in finding Him where He is. Manna is where He was; the corn of the land is where He is. Who can tell anything of His present mind but as he is in concert with Him where He is? Love values much the manna where He was, but love is never satisfied but in knowing its object where it is, and how it is at the moment; and this is communion. The Lord grant that you may be fully to His pleasure.

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I believe this storm has revealed where souls are. -------- is now contending with -------- that we are only 'materially' in the wilderness. Thus Romans, Hebrews, Peter and James are of no use to us. It is true that the Red Sea and Jordan coalesce in the cross, but many a one has learned the first who as yet has not learned the second. The fact is, light is beyond growth; an old head on young shoulders is a deformity. Those who are not valiant for the truth when the opportunity is given them will not stand when another opportunity is given.

The Lord give us grace to be true to Him. It was beaten oil for the lamps. I dread the Calvinism which is satisfied with -- 'I am elected to everything', though that is quite true; but is there to be no faith, no growth, no growing up into Christ, no formative work of the Spirit? The Lord give us to be patient as well as faithful. "Feed my sheep". "Feed my lambs". There are no people so hard to teach as those who imagine that they are more advanced than they are. The Lord give us to be much in prayer. I believe that He is doing a great work.


I have been much interested in seeing how the grace of God gives us a position, and how He endows us in the position for Himself. If you are not in the position which grace gives you, you cannot have the grace or endowment which is attached to the position. You could not have Ephesians 3 until you have accepted in faith chapter 1. You must realise union before you can have the advantages, privileges, and power proper to union.


I thank you much for your letter. I think the points in dispute are in a way insignificant only for the effort to

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reduce everything to the present scene, and thus to divert us from 'that out-of-the-world condition' to which we are called. Christ as He was on earth is the chief subject of the New Testament, but if I understand the scriptures this is only to prepare us for God's calling, and that is, as He is, and where He is. I have been looking over the epistles in this connection. You get none of the second in Romans; you get a reference to it in 1 Corinthians 2, and in 2 Corinthians 3, 4 and 5 and 12; an allusion to it in Galatians 6; you are led to it in Hebrews; none in Peter or James. In 1 John, it is where He is. Colossians and Ephesians lead us fully into it. I do trust souls may get helped.

The Lord will appear for His own truth, and the more He does the more our place surely is to retire. It is thus I have taken my illness from Him. Am I ready to be a dissolving view as He comes forth in His brightness and power?


It is plain that those who oppose are opposed to the out-of-the-world condition of things which cannot be reached but through death. Death is entered as one would enter a tunnel -- a great dark room to all here, only to emerge into the light of life, where life is.


I am thankful that the Lord has given you grace to bear all patiently. You will have "a table" yet in "the presence of your enemies". See Psalm 23. I think we must address ourselves more to foundation truths. I believe that the death of Christ and all that was effected there is very partially apprehended. There is such a poor sense of the perfection of His work, and where it has placed us with the Father, that a "promise" has been resorted to to give the soul assurance. I admit that the promise is a gift, but it is really put in the place of redemption. What is relied on is not redemption, but a gift which God says

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He has given me, and that is said to be enough, though I may have no sense of the good of it. I should not found my right to it on my gain from it, but I seek to know, and am bound to know the gain accruing to me from His gift. The work is more connected with the guilty man, the gift with the lost man. The word "perish" is the same as lost. There must be death and resurrection before life. Christ glorified is the positive gain. I am very conscious, and daily more and more thankful to the Lord for the immense gain which has accrued to myself and to many others from being exercised about these truths. No one would have been disturbed if he had learned from the Lord the mere outline of the truth contended for, and until the truth is learned, there will be disturbance, simply because there has not been the exercise of faith. I should wish that you would not answer any letters written in a controversial spirit, but simply go on patiently serving the saints as the Lord opens the door to you.

The Lord bless you much.


I was glad to get your letter this morning. I can quite understand that you should feel wearied, but I am sure that there is much to be thankful for.... I think that our course is plain. First, to insist clearly and fully that we belong to heaven, and not to earth. God has given us all things richly to enjoy, it does not say to possess on earth; the other, and it is my great comfort -- prayer; we are in the days of Samuel. Samson by main force failed to drive out the Philistines. Samuel succeeded by prayer.... I think that the great point in the word "heavenlies" is that it is a place apart from the earth. Canaan was the type of it -- possession, but with conflict. By-and-by, it will be possession without conflict. Satan can follow us as long as we are in the body to any place. I am afraid that with all the assumption of having full

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deliverance through Christ that the mass are not morally apart from the old man, and until we are, we cannot in full heart count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. I say this with reference-to not apprehending the difference between forgiveness in Christ and inheritance in Him. I must pass from my own side before I can be at home in His side.


I thank you for your letter, because it gladdens my heart to hear of your rightful exercises before the Lord. If you read Joshua in the last edition of the Synopsis you will see how dear Mr. D. viewed Jordan. The root of the present trouble is that, while the standing and calling are accepted as God's grace, there is an absolute refusal of the state which He gives in connection with the standing and the calling. By state I do not mean practice, but what God confers. He gives the dignity, but He gives the mind, means, and manners, suited to the dignity. Christ did not take the place of the last Adam until He rose from the dead. He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, and it is as we are dead with Him that He is our life. He died for us, and has placed us before God to His infinite satisfaction, but it is only as we by faith accept our death with Him that we are either dead to sin, or dead to the world. The latter is crossing Jordan; there is no water there, no judgment there, but everything that detained us here according to the tastes of a man, are left, like Peter leaving the ship to go to Jesus.

As to your difficulties. (1) There is wrath abiding on every sinner, and it is not removed except for the believer. Every one "born again" is sure to be a believer, but the work begins with God. There is no sense of grace until there is faith. Man failed in Eden by departing from faith, and there is no sense of grace until he has faith.

As to your second difficulty, Christ, as a Babe, was of His own kind, "that holy thing". His flesh could not see

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corruption, but He did not take the place of the last Adam until He rose from the dead. See John 17. It was thus given to Him to have "authority over all flesh", and He gives eternal life. He asks to be glorified. By man came death, by man came resurrection from the dead. We could not share in the new creation except old things had passed away, behold all things are become new. The saint in the kingdom will be an altered man, born again: the saint now is a new order of man.

I hope this will be satisfactory to you.


Your letter reached me here. If I were to say that I quite understand Mr.-------- it would not help you much. The first and main thing for you and every saint to do in the present trouble as to the question of eternal life is to ascertain what it is according to the word of God. A pious churchman would tell you one thing, a Methodist would tell you another, and it is sad to say some who once walked with us as brethren now separate from us because they do not see eternal life as we see it as set forth in scripture. The Lord had risen from the dead when He breathed on His disciples. It is a life, then, at the other side of death, and we have it in Him. We have died with Him, and "our life is hid with Christ in God". See Colossians 3. Christ is our life, and we enjoy Him, our life, as we reckon ourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God in Jesus Christ. No one can enjoy eternal life but at the other side of death. I cannot be raised up with Christ unless I have died with Him. It is here all the difficulty lies as to the understanding of eternal life. Therefore Paul says to Timothy, "Lay hold on eternal life" (1 Timothy 6:19). I do not think that I need add any more now. When you have waited on the Lord as to it and looked to Him to show you the nature of eternal life, which is as Mr. D-------- has said, is

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'an out-of-the-world condition of things', you will then begin to learn the wonderful calling of a Christian -- not only saved from eternal judgment, but raised up with Christ, to share in His life, and to enjoy the things which He enjoys.

May you be thus richly blessed.


I have the feeling that I cannot be of much help to any one in the present contention who does not understand the truth as revealed in the scripture. I do not think any book can help you if you do not learn it from the word of God, and once you know it as of God no book can disturb you, though it may grieve you. Death is on the first man. Death the judgment of God because of sin -- death is first annulled, and then life and incorruptibility are brought to light by the gospel. It is at the other side of death that I enjoy the life of Him who bore death for me, so that you pass out of death into life (John 5:24). The clearer you are that He has in His death set aside all in you under the judgment of death, the easier it will be for you to know that you are in His life. Hence there are three witnesses to prove to you that you have eternal life, "the Spirit, the water, and the blood". (1) The Spirit dwelling in you; (2) the water -- Christ's death where you are cleared away, or purification through His death; (3) the blood -- expiation by death. You must eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, not merely believe that He died for you, but feed on His death, and thus you are freed from the death on you -- the wages of sin, and you receive of His life. He was raised from the dead before He breathed on His disciples. Eternal life is (as Mr. D-------- says) 'outside the senses', an 'out-of-the-world condition of things'. It is given to every believer, but no one enjoys it but as Christ liveth in him. The pious in Christendom regard eternal life as the assurance that your immortal soul will be happy in heaven. The Puritans and Calvinists consider it to be final perseverance. Many who are supposed to be well-taught Christians build their

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happiness on God's promise of a perpetuity of life! In no case is the idea of Christ being our life apprehended; and the acceptance of eternal life as it is revealed involves an entirely new order of being and relationship. It is the unwillingness to accept the new and heavenly order, which is at the bottom of the opposition.


John 3 is a plain refutation of the doctrine that new birth and relationship are one and the same thing. If it were so, the saints in the kingdom would be the same as the Christian. There is special pleading in the statement that the new birth took its character from the testimony. This is true; but though it be true, the eternal life is not connected with the new birth, but with faith in the Son of man lifted up, which is the testimony now. There can be new birth, which is "the earthly thing", without the "heavenly thing", though there cannot be the heavenly apart from new birth. The testimony necessarily enhances God's grace at the time. If new birth carried everything there would be no difference between the earthly and the heavenly family. Cornelius was born again before he had faith in Christ, or had received the Holy Ghost.

I contended that Christ as man had a life to give up, and that as to the manifestation of eternal life when He was here, that it was limited to those whose eyes God had opened -- to His own, though I fully admitted that God was manifested in every act of His life. Everything He did, He did from God. Though truly a Man, He was not from man but from God. All His springs were in God.


Evidently if you are born of the Spirit that is an eternal work. It is a wholly new and divine sense which will last for ever. The danger is in making it more than God

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intends, and thus sinking into the leaven in Christendom that new birth is enough, and the nature of the judgment on man is ignored. There is death in one man, and life in another Man; you must be severed by death from the first man, in order to enjoy life in the second Man.


As to -------- it is very sad. It is simply preposterous to say that weariness is an expression of eternal life! Is our blessed Lord weary now? Was He ever weary before He became a Man? In everything He did, and was here as a Man, whether in weariness, which was new to Him, or in Almighty power, which was natural to Him, He was ever God manifest in flesh. Everything was in divine beauty and according to the life of God, all derived from God. There is no redemption, no atonement, if Christ was not a real Man, and that He gave up 'the life to which sin attached'. "He died unto sin once" (Romans 6:10). It is the 1866 controversy revived. -------- attacked J.N.D. for saying that our blessed Lord gave up the life to which sin attached. If our Lord was not a real Man, who has removed the judgment which lay on man? -------- writes, 'He entered into the circumstances of men.' This is unsound to a degree. He was a real Man. An angel could not enter into circumstances of men. I do not know where this will end! The effort to reduce eternal life to the details of human life I have seen for some time. Instead of seeing that eternal life is in an out-of-the-world condition, the effect is to reduce it to an order of life within the compass of the senses, and not as J.N.D. says of it, 'outside the senses'. Be assured -- and I say this confidently before the Lord -- that the root of this controversy is not seen by many. The root is the reluctance to be heavenly. Souls are glad to be relieved of the burden of their sins by the work of Christ, and there is also a certain pleasure in hearing of the exaltation to which we are raised in Christ; but to live here as those who have in conscience accepted that the end of all flesh has come before God, and this in this place, "The earth also and the works that are therein

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shall be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10). (see Genesis 6 in type) -- is repugnant and intolerable to every natural feeling. No wonder that "all in Asia" turned away from Paul. No wonder that faith or a creed can be held now without conscience; that is, without a sense of God's claim on me because of what He has made me, and of the resources He has given to me in His grace....


I have read --------'s paper, and it does not strike me what the object of the writer is. It is plain enough 'life is not an attainment', but in life I attain to much. I do not think that he sees the difference between the life manifested in the limits of humanity when Christ was here, and that same life in divine infinity where Christ is now. Many do not go beyond His resurrection; they do not extend to His ascension. They do not know Christ in glory. They are occupied with Christ in relation to their own side. He was at my side and glorified God there, in His walk here, and in death; but He is now at His own side, and it is there I intelligently realise the vastness of my life, for He is my life. His death and resurrection translated the believer from his own side to Christ's side; so that, "as he is, so are we in this world" (1 John 4:17). And as we are at full rest about ourselves, we are occupied with Him who set us free. Many do not even apprehend the old corn of the land, much less feed on it. They simply and solely seek for divine support in things temporal; not that they would lose this support if they were feeding on the old corn of the land, but on the contrary they would know much more of it, and would have the judgment and sensibilities of the heavenly Man in the smallest details of life, and not according to their own judgments and sensibilities. I am assured that I can have no idea of Christ's present mind but as I am in spirit near Him. I might know all the Bible and have been helped over many a trial, but it is only as I behold Him in glory that I am transformed into the same image. There is no knowing of the Urim and Thummim but in the sanctuary, and that was a present communication.

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As to the contention about eternal life, the mistake is that the work is overlooked for the gift. It is very plain that Christ did not give eternal life until after the work was accomplished. It is as risen from the dead -- the last Adam (see John 17:2) -- that He gives eternal life. What 'feeble souls' want to accept is the work of Christ. The gift of eternal life was never used, that I know of, to establish souls. "It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace" (Hebrews 13:9). "He which stablisheth us with you ... is God" (2 Corinthians 1:21). The more I hear, the more I am assured that 'feeble souls' are damaged by presenting to them the gift -- the actual testimony to the last Adam, instead of the work of Christ by which He obtained the position. The idea is that if a question be raised as to whether any one is enjoying the result of the work, that you are thereby invalidating the work. Evidently if the work be truly known the result is known. John's great desire was that the saints might have conscious knowledge of eternal life. Did he thereby invalidate or depreciate the work? If I tell a man -- when there is good light you will see a certain object, am I calling in question that he has eyes, or am I calling his attention to the result of his having eyes? I am convinced that those who reason this way are not clear as to having died with Christ, "for if we be dead with him, we believe that we shall also live with him" (2 Timothy 2:11). "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (John 6:53). I see that I must in ministry dwell more on the work -- the death and resurrection of Christ -- for that is what souls want to be established in. Every one who is consciously in His life knows and enjoys Him in glory.

Some say that the 'babe can delight in eternal life' before he has learnt the setting aside of the old man. This is really --------'s doctrine. He says eternal life can be given before man is set aside in the cross, and here the doctrine is that eternal life can be delighted in before the setting aside of the first man is learnt. I say that is impossible. The whole point of John 3 is that life is connected with faith in the Son of man lifted up. What is the value of the second

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witness, "the water" (see 1 John 5) if the eternal life could be delighted in while purification by the death of Christ is unknown? If the setting aside of the first man has not been learnt, the sense of sin presses on me, and if it does, how can I delight in eternal life? There is a great difference in delighting in the service of the Saviour in putting away my sins, and in being in the sense of His life outside the scene of sin and death. The divine order is, "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ" (Romans 6:11). The abolishing of death precedes the bringing to light life and incorruptibility by the gospel. This teaching accounts for and fosters all the earthly ways tolerated now-a-days, for in it you gain everything through Christ, and you part with nothing. Be assured that it is the other way. You must part with your own clothes before you take up the mantle of Elijah. Christ in glory is my life. How could I know a glorified Christ, the only Christ to be known now, the Christ whom "the fathers" know, but as I am, through the Spirit, apart from and outside of all of that man who dishonoured God, and is at a distance from Him. You cannot eat the old corn of the land without crossing the Jordan.


There is much to cheer, though I have been sad at heart to think of the condition of soul which could be so influenced.... If I am not very much mistaken, there underlies the teaching fundamental error. What does the 'Personality of eternal life' mean? What does it mean that our Lord 'gave up eternal life when He died'? Is conversion by my acceptance of grace, as Moody taught, or by the sovereign, absolute work of God which opens my eyes? To live as Christ lived as seen of men, is all that is accepted, without apprehending that all the time He, in unbroken communion with the Father, was living in a life which could not be seen of men. So with us. If Christ liveth in me in the detail of my life down here, He is also at the very time my life in the presence of the Father, and the moment I realise that I belong to the divine circle I am enjoying Christ's life. I want Him at every

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step here, and He does not merely give me grace for my need down here, but as He is ever higher than the heavens He leads me to the height where He is, if there be no reserve between me and Him. If there is reserve, I have not "part" with Him consciously, though I may be sensibly helped, as in the Psalms, where it is not the heavenly man, but the earthly man helped down here.


A dear simple soul said to me, I prefer to share in Christ's life than to have a life given to myself. As Christ is my life, and as I am of Christ I can never lose it. Nothing of Christ could perish. It distresses me to hear discussions about so great a thing as eternal life before there has been a waiting on the Lord to apprehend the nature of the gift. People turn to some or other writings to learn what it is instead of just learning what it is on one's knees and through the light of the word.... Eternal life is not a person, but the power to enjoy what a person is. This is simple. We enjoy it in Christ, and by His Spirit. It is very cheering to be here, they are so clear and steadfast. The Lord lead you here some time -- about a hundred brothers in the meeting.


It is quite plain that I do not know that I have eternal life but by the Spirit, but I agree with you that I must not weaken what is given in sovereign grace and possessed by every believer in the Person and work of Christ. We are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, yet no one can say, "Abba, Father", until he receives the Holy Ghost. I do not see that the Spirit gives. He makes good to me that which is given. Eternal life is the gift of God, and though I live in the Spirit, it is not the Spirit's gift. The life is in Christ, and it is mine through grace, though I do not know it but by the Spirit. You cannot separate eternal life from Christ, though one is not in a Christian state until one has the Spirit of Christ. I see that the

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Spirit originates nothing. He makes good to me the efficacy and full blessing of the work of Christ -- He glorifies Him. John in his epistle does not regard believers in any lower grade than as knowing the Father and indwelt by the Holy Ghost. We know that many in this day are not so far in the experience of their souls, yet both life and relationship are theirs through the grace of God. Scripture connects eternal life with faith in Christ, but it cannot be known except by the Holy Ghost.


It is quite evident, and cannot be denied, that eternal life was manifested here in the Person of the Son of God. The light shined in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not. It was manifested to the disciples and they had seen it. The world saw no beauty or comeliness in Him. In every detail as a Man down here He was ever in full keeping with His own proper life in the Father's bosom; but He has ceased to live down here, and He is now our life. We are united to Him in His exaltation, though we need His sympathy and grace for every step of our pilgrimage here.

Nothing is more suggestive than 2 Corinthians 4:10. It is impossible and incongruous to present the objective side of truth without insisting on the subjective, if there is to be a good conscience. I have to keep the eye of faith on the objective, but the eye of God is on the subjective -- on my heart, and as I fear Him I am sensible of my responsibility. Because as my conscience is enlightened I am correspondingly responsible; and the moment I respect my responsibility, the Holy Ghost proves to me that it is not now as under the law the responsibility exposing my incapability, but my responsibility now indicates my capability. I wonder the hearts of the true amongst us are not weighed down with sadness at what C. H. M. calls 'high truth and low walk'. It is a very different thing to forget the things that are behind and to cleave to them. Thank God He never forgets our brightest day, and to it we are sure to return, though the valley of

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Achor be the door of hope. The Lord bless you. The more you are blessed the more my heart will rejoice.


I return the copy of your letter. I like it very much. I have seen for some time that there was a tendency with brethren to make every movement of our Lord's here an expression of eternal life. It is a refuge to the conscience of those who do not enjoy it in its own sphere to reduce it to the details of man's life. But eternal life is outside the senses -- an out-of-the-world condition. Surely in everything, as you rightly say, we learn and derive from our Lord to act here in the smallest details in a way and in a spirit quite new and unknown to man. The manna is the beautiful divine touch in everything -- even the commonest; but it is a device of the enemy to induce me to relieve my conscience of ignorance of my birthright (communion with the Father) by substituting for it that which cannot be known but outside this scene altogether, and which is not merely my behaviour and manner of life among men. This device must be resisted, and I am glad to say that some are delivered from it. I remark that those who are seeking to advance in the world are petulant and irritated when truth is presented which they evidently are not enjoying, and in their desire for spiritual reputation they cannot afford to admit that they are not enjoying it. I do not believe that any one advancing in this world and not surrendering it can be seeking the things above.

I am very glad that you are assured that you are in the right locality. A wounded stag slinks off into a corner of the forest. This you would do, if you went into retirement in the country The Lord bless you much, and all yours.

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... The first thing for a servant of the Lord is to ascertain the locality in which the Lord would have him to reside, and the less itinerate he is the more this is of importance. If he is stationary he is generally called to services which could not be rendered by one going from place to place. As Mr. Bellett used to say, 'There was the wandering Paul and the stationary James.' As you are stationary it is of all-importance that you should ascertain the locality which the ark has searched out for you. In my judgment, I do not see that you should leave the locality of --------. That there are difficulties there I do not deny. If in the world no man of ability surrenders because of the difficulties to be encountered -- be he soldier or lawyer -- how much less should the man of God surrender because of difficulties. Difficulties to faith are God's opportunities. You have in my judgment a very fine field at --------. If you were a little more of a lamp-post you would be more effective. I do not mean merely in taking a part, but in maintaining the light at all times, always a stay, and, when necessary, a check. I mean a decided moral influence which your dear -------- possessed, and this, I think, you ought to aid and extend. For my own part, I should much regret your leaving --------. I never saw a man retreat from his duty from want of faith who did not plunge eventually into the very thing he sought to avoid, Jonah-like. The Lord only can guide. You may have many exercises about it, but the obtaining His mind will compensate for all the suffering. You are often on my heart before Him, and your prosperity would be unfeigned joy to me.

As to the consternation amongst us, I believe that if there be patience and lowliness of mind, great good will come out of it. It is what a lawyer would call a complicated case. There is first an imperfect possession of a great right -- what a lawyer would call no title deeds to

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prove his property, and then, on the other hand, there is not a true inclination to accept all that we are entitled to, or rather what such a possession entails on us. Now let me make this plain. There is an imperfect knowledge of the gain secured to me through Christ's death -- the title deed of all my property. This is the beginning of the trouble. If Christ's death has removed everything of the ruined man, and has placed me at Christ's side in Christ, my title deed must be very explicit and sure, and if I maintained this in faith I should be in His life outside of man, and by the Spirit I should greatly rejoice. If the death of Christ is not truly apprehended by faith there is a positive disinclination to enter on His life, which is heavenly. The fact is, and it cannot be too widely known and reprobated, that many would have adopted the gift of eternal life as deliverance, when it is evident that nothing could effect deliverance for them but the death of Christ. Thus eternal life is diverted from its true place, it is regarded as a relief from misery instead of as the new condition of the thoroughly justified soul outside this scene of sin and death. In a word, on the one hand the absoluteness of the abolition of man is refused, and on the other the heavenly condition of life in Christ is unacceptable.

The Lord bless you much and make you a blessing....


The construction you put on my words is entirely contrary to my mind. The illustration I have used for growth is that of a tree which grows, the first part increasing with every advance. In this way I have used the word displacement, setting forth that there is no progress in the new but in proportion to the displacement of the old, and this is growth. This is our side; but on the other hand I must insist that the Father does come to the prodigal in the full virtue of what Christ has accomplished. His approach is not measured by the measure of the prodigal's approach. There is nothing to hinder the blessed

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God from coming to the returning sinner through the rent veil. His approach is never improved. Mine -- the work of God in me (not merely the knowledge of the grace), is from the very first, until I am divested of everything of the old, and in the glory for ever. "All things are ready" on the one side; but on the other -- "compel him to come in". I believe you have a defective gospel, if you do not see that God can come from glory and kiss the awakened Saul of Tarsus, and that Saul of Tarsus is before Him in all that suits His glory, while Saul has in deep distress to drop all of himself, and eventually, by the power of God working in him (not by mere information), to reach the light in which God receives him. The blessed God does not improve in His satisfaction about me (a believer), and at best I cannot reach higher than His satisfaction about me; but it is a divine work, and not merely a conscious possession. I am it. It is not that I see it -- I am it. But if my measure defined God's measure, then I should remain for ever the dwarf in which I died, which is not true; but if I am not full-grown now, I am not an efficient servant, in any degree, for my absent Lord. The Lord bless you in His service and in your family. Increase in soul-work, and you will be more correct in grace and truth, though not taken up with points.


I sometimes feel as if I did not apprehend His goodness sufficiently, but what do we apprehend sufficiently? I have been much interested in the words "Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him" (Ephesians 1:17). There is a great deal in these words, and I am sure no one can apprehend in divine certainty the counsel of God who has not received this wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.

I believe -------- are surrendering every part of the truth distinctively Christian, dropping to the measure of the saints in system with no higher knowledge of God than is

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given in the psalms, where it is beautifully God's help and comfort in the midst of opposition from man, but nothing about association with Christ in heaven or being of the divine circle of the Father's house. They seem to have no idea of being sustained by God as in John's gospel apart from the earth and from man, as man, by the Spirit of God sent down from heaven. I remark that any one who has been exercised before the Lord as to the truth that is being contended for has gained much. I do not see how one can acquire anything divine without exercise, and this accompanies faith. I find that when the immensity of a truth comes before me, and this immensity is sure to come before one when the Spirit presents it, that as I believe in it I pray, and the more I believe it the more am I cast on God to make it good to me, for no one else could make it good to me.

Have you seen 'A Circle of the Truth' in one volume? notes of lectures given about three years ago. It sets forth the peculiarity of our calling as Christians, saints of God, in the day of His Son's rejection from the earth. I thank the Lord that it grows on me more and more each day, that we have passed out of death in His death, into life -- His life.

May your heart enter into and enjoy more and more each day your high calling.


As to your question, new birth is the beginning of God's work in the soul. The object of preaching is that eyes might be opened. The first work of the evangelist is to "open their eyes" -- the light comes from God. New birth is by the word of God. God said, "Let there be light, and there was light" (Genesis 1:3). I do not mean that every one is able to tell of some special word, but that the new birth is by the word of God and His work. God has done it.

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The thief on the cross was born again when he turned to Jesus. Saul of Tarsus was born again when he saw the light and heard the voice. If the word has been snatched away, or sown on stony ground, and immediately received with joy, or sown among thorns, there is no divine work there. I think the work of God had begun in the jailor's soul when he cried out, "What must I do to be saved?" The prodigal was born again when he left the far country.

As to John 15 the Lord takes His true place as the vine; Israel had failed as the vine; a vine belongs to earth, the disciples were the branches at that moment. It is entirely connected with fruit-bearing and not salvation. All through John the heavenly thing supersedes the earthly. Be it the pool of Bethesda (chapter 5) or the fold (chapter 10). So here with the vine. Christ was rejected, and yet they -- the disciples -- should not lose. The figure is retained only to present the superiority of the present grace. As to the figure, of course the vine could not abide in a branch, but you are to abide in Him, and He will abide in you.


It is very sad to me that there should be so much distraction in different places because of questions, while so many are really desirous to hear the word.

Some want to prove that the new birth carries everything according to the testimony with it, which is not true.

All is mine as born of God, but I do not enjoy beyond my faith. Man fell when he gave up faith, and when he is redeemed and accepted in Christ, every blessing is by faith. In heaven we shall be in unhindered blessing. We shall then apprehend whereof we are apprehended.


Evidently if you are born of the Spirit, that is an eternal work. It is a wholly new and divine sense which will last for ever. The danger is in making it more than God intends, and thus sinking into the leaven in Christendom

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that new birth is enough, and the nature of the judgment on man is ignored. There is death in one man and life in another Man, you must be severed by death from the first man, in order to enjoy life in the second Man.


I quite agree with your comment. It is to me an evidence of uncertainty when J.N.D.'s writings are quoted to establish a doctrine which, if known spiritually, would have been easily proved from scripture. I have been sent a tract by J.N.D. on New Birth underlined here and there to prove that life was given at new birth. Now it is plain to me that J.N.D. is insisting that everything must be of God, and that the paper as a whole is against the notion that life (which is out of death) could be given until Christ had died. I have no doubt that J.N.D.'s writings would be read in quite a different light if the divine meaning of the word had been apprehended as he apprehended it. But truth can be laid hold of intellectually by reading his writings, and this, alas! has done much damage to many.


I feel it is a mark of the Lord's favour to His people at -------- that He has led you to reside among them, and though the scope of your service greatly increases your responsibility, yet if it draws you more to the Lord in private, you will not only be enriched yourself, but will greatly help others....

I find a great lack in souls is that so few really understand what it is to be crucified with Christ; and I can see what suffering and failure might have been saved in the early part of my course if I had fully accepted that truth.

The Lord bless you much. I think I may say that I have you daily in remembrance before Him.

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The question is the gain of growth.

There is no meaning in the three classes in 1 John 2 if there be not degrees of growth. Take an illustration -- three birds: the first, occupied with its food. The second, embarrassed by surroundings. The third, able to fly unhinderedly.

The "babe" in John is quite different from the "babe" with Paul. The "babe" (a different word) in John knows the Father. Surely that is not a "feeble soul". The "babe" with Paul is an infant. It is an evident fact that there is no advance in the appropriation of the new which is, by grace ours, but as the old has been refused and abnegated. This is the stone before the wheel with all those who make the objective everything. There could be no subjective but in correspondence with the objective. Christ Himself is the model and source, but there is no apprehension of the new but as the old is refused, and this is true from the very beginning of your spiritual history. The forgiving of your sins is not apart from repentance.

The misery in Psalm 32 is simply because the confession of the sins was not co-extensive with the grace that gave a full discharge from them. The damage to souls amongst us in the present day is the confidence in rank -- divine rank -- independently of the moral and practical power to support it. A title deed may give me rank; but if I am not personally as great as my rank, I do no credit to my rank; on the contrary, I depreciate it. Alas! this is the state generally.


I am glad that you are encouraged in the Lord's work. I hope you are seeking to present the church as a chaste virgin to Christ. Almost all the servants are thinking of the good of souls, and but few are thinking of the Lord with respect to the church. The more the saints are for Him, the more they will in every way gain for themselves. May the Lord greatly bless you. The text for every teacher is, "Have ye any meat?" We have never received

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any light or help as to the church from any sect, or from any who have seceded from us.


I quite agree that the best robe is Christ, but though it is ours for ever by the grace of God, and though no one can enjoy the fatted calf without it, yet many are not in their true dress. It is pure Antinomianism in a saint to say that it is his dress, though he is not walking in it nor enjoying the access to the Father's house which it secures to him. The Galatians had so departed from it that the apostle writes, "Of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you" (Galatians 4:19); and again in Romans 13:14 we read, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof". The robe for ever belongs to every saint, but every saint is not always walking in it, and in consequence always enjoying the Father's house. The fact is that very few do enjoy the Father's house and the feast.

I have been trying to call the saints up to their privileges, and my opposers are seeking to give them a false rest.


I deprecate discussion on this momentous subject. The moment you travel outside the very words of scripture you are in danger of error. "God manifested in flesh" is scripture, but 'perfect God and perfect Man' is not scripture. Satan's direct opposition is against the Word made flesh -- the "man-child" (Revelation 12) -- from Herod's day down to this. In Christendom the pious Christians

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think of Christ as God and not as Man, and they read of His miracles in the gospels to prove that He was God. They do not see that indirectly they are siding with Satan who will tolerate any measure of religion so that the Man out of heaven is not paramount. Satan, in his opposition to God, perpetrated the fall of man in the garden of Eden, but when the Son of God became a Man His first work (see Mark 1) was to drive the unclean spirit out of man.

The Son of God became a Man. He thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but He laid His glory by and took on Himself the form of a Servant, and was made in the likeness of men. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death" (Hebrews 2:14), etc. He became a man, born of woman, to bear the judgment on man. He died, and in His death the man after the flesh was judicially terminated; so "henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more" (2 Corinthians 5:16). There is the earthy man, and there is the heavenly man. The blessed Son of God went through the terrible sorrow of death as a man. His very greatness caused Him to suffer beyond our conception, for He bore the judgment on the first man, and He is the second Man. The first man is of the earth, earthy, the second Man is out of heaven. You must see the first man superseded by the second Man. Every believer is of the second Man. You must keep in mind that the greatness of the grace is that the Son of God, who could say, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30), took on Himself the form of a servant or slave, and He says, "I do nothing of myself" (John 8:28). He, the only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father, declared God while in the form of a Servant. In His grace He connects His own with all He is as a Man. From not seeing this they fell into error at Plymouth in assuming that the church was united to God. The church or the body of Christ is of His order and nature. It has come from Him and is united to Him. It is marvellous grace that the Son of God became Man -- a Man to free every one believing in Him of the man after the flesh, so that every one in

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Him is a new creation. I think we have but a very feeble appreciation of the new man. We are brethren of the risen Christ. "Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren" (Hebrews 2:11) -- the offspring of His resurrection, in all His divine beauty as a Man.

Again, the manna is not essentially His acts, or His obedience, but the grace in which He did everything; as Mr. Darby has said, His springs were in God: our springs naturally are in ourselves.

Finally, the better we comprehend His manhood, the more fully we see the greatness of the mystery of the church -- His complement. He would not be complete without His body. The world could not contain the books which could be written of Him, but the vastness of this blessed Man will be expressed by His body, the church, to the glory of God for ever.


I was glad to get tidings of you.... I greatly deprecate discussion on such a grave subject. I believe we all are given light as we require it; and I do not see that any one understands a particular subject until he is up to it in his soul. For instance, I do not see that any one understands the manna until he is really in the wilderness, and is therefore in need of it. Then he will learn it.

I should say to every inquirer, first learn reconciliation -- that the man after the flesh has been removed in judgment, and that you are, as is every one in Christ, a new creation. Old things have passed away, all have become new, and all is of God. Christ is the beginning of the creation of God. I am afraid that very few comprehend that the man after the flesh was judicially terminated in the cross, and that He who terminated the first man is the Man out of heaven -- altogether to God's pleasure -- a Man of an entirely new order -- He is the Son of God. You are of Him, a member of His body -- of Him as a Man; you could not be of the divine Person. The Holy Ghost, His gift, dwells in you. I believe the real difficulty

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is that the Man of the new order is not seen superseding the man after the flesh, and that each believer now is formed out of Christ as Eve was formed out of Adam's rib. I need not add more. Reconciliation must be first distinctly apprehended.

I may add that manna in its nature and quality is unknown if you do not apprehend the peculiar and blessed way in which a Man (whose springs were in God) walked in the details of daily life here, and that you could not walk as He walked but as He lives in you. Not merely in His obedience and in His acts, but in the grace and beauty in which they were done. Be assured that if you were practically in the knowledge of Christ as the manna you would understand His Person better than any one could instruct you.

I see Mr. Darby quoted where there is no possible reference to the present subject; but as I said at the beginning I say at the close, you will never understand any divine truth until you are morally up to it in your soul.


I believe that in everything, from the beginning to the end, that in Christ, God was manifested in flesh; and everything in Him was in divine beauty, whether in the weariness of flesh and blood, which was new to Him, or in His mighty works, which were natural to Him. It is all wrong to speak of Him as 'entering into the circumstances of men'. He was a real man; it was not merely 'entering', He "took part of the same".

The effort to reduce eternal life to the details of a man's life in natural things is to escape the fact that eternal life is outside the senses, an out-of-the-world condition of things. People are not enjoying this; and there is therefore an effort to reduce eternal life to the details of human life.

Our blessed Lord never learned or borrowed anything from man. He was unique in everything that He did, and that He was, whether as a Babe, or sitting wearied by the well, or on the mount of Transfiguration; all was consistent with the life of God. He had no other source;

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but He was a real man in flesh and blood, and He gave up the life to which, in us, sin attached. It is the controversy of 1866 over again, when it was denied that our blessed Lord gave up the life to which sin attached. Where is the atonement? How are we redeemed if Christ had not man's life to give up?

It is very sad that souls should be distracted by questions of the kind instead of being built up in their most holy faith, until we all come to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. In fact they are not "growing" -- they are only seeking help and comfort through the wilderness.


The truth is that God was manifest in flesh; the divine Being, a Spirit, took bodily human form. Outwardly there was no distinction between Him and other men. If there were, the high priest would not have given thirty pieces of silver for singling Him out from His disciples. He was only a man to the natural eye, but when any one had light from God to know Him as a divine Person he was there and then greatly blessed. See Peter in Luke 5 and all through the gospel until you come to the thief on the cross. I believe the opposition is really against the new man -- the man out of heaven. Many Christians know something of man being judicially terminated in the cross -- and every pious one would like to have more of the grace of Christ in his ways and thoughts, but I am afraid very few would like to have the first man altogether displaced and to be here in the grace and manner of life of the "Man out of heaven". The opposers want to have two persons in one, man and God, one time to act as God, and at another to act as Man. They really do not see the incarnation. They do not see that He who was God became a Man and hence a Man out of heaven. They would have Him to be a Man in flesh and blood, and in a way distinct from His being God -- whereas He is God, and He, that same Person, became a Man in flesh and blood, but He came from God, He brought everything with Him. He learned nothing from His mother nor from any one here. He is

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a Man out of heaven. He bore the judgment on man, He was put to death in the flesh but quickened in the Spirit, and He is the Man of God's pleasure for ever; and it is only as you are of His nature and order that you could be united to Him, or, that you are a "living stone" in His building.

I believe when we rightly apprehend the new creation which is ours in Christ, that we must see how very far we are from the manner of life in thoughts and ways which is really ours as "brethren" of Christ; and hence some of the truly conscientious shrink from seeing the exalted position in which He has placed man through Himself.


I quite agree with you that the time has come for speaking out.

One or two have written to me about --------'s paper, as to the way he writes of the Lord's obedience. I have answered that every moral quality was in the Lord; He learned nothing from man, but the circumstances into which He entered by becoming a Man brought out the obedience. He learned obedience; I do not think that the sui generis order of Christ's humanity is apprehended. His motives and acts were different from any ever known by Adam or any of his sons, and yet He was a real Man, but He was a corn of wheat altogether unique. Even -------- used to speak of the difference between the holy nature and the innocent nature. Many think that the blessed Lord reverted to the latter. He was God manifest in flesh.

As to the objection raised against your saying that Jehovah will dwell among His people in the millennium, surely the new Jerusalem would be as nothing if He were not there. The glory, as I understand it, will then be manifested by the new Jerusalem.


I return the letter you so kindly sent me. It is very plain that --------does not see God's purpose in a Man; he is

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thinking only of Christ as God. God is setting forth His own glory in Christ as Man, otherwise there could not be glory unto Him in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages. If I begin at Genesis, the great purpose before God is man. In His own Son becoming Man He had a Man to His pleasure, and the church is the complement of that Man. The world could not contain the books which could be written of Him, but the church will fully and perfectly display Him. Some have no idea of the mystery or of God's purpose in Christ. He as a Man can authorise to baptise in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.


The great impression made on me by your letter is that Man, the Man Christ Jesus, is not before the vision of your soul as He is in the mind of God. If you do not see with God, you are not in communion with Him. Your one point is to prove His deity, quite right in itself; thus all the old commentators said the miracles were recorded to prove Christ's divinity. But look for a moment from God's side. His great purpose is to be glorified in a Man, and hence "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages" (Ephesians 3:21). You do not seem to have approached God's purpose in Man. He has a Man now to His pleasure; now there is glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good pleasure in men.

I believe that if you would look at our blessed Lord on the earth as He was in the eye of God, you would see that He as a Man expressed the Trinity here; hence He can authorise His disciples to baptise in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. No one else could reveal or declare the Father but the Son, and no one could have the Spirit without measure but the Son, and He is a Man.

Do you apprehend in any measure the greatness of the complement of Christ? The world could not contain the books which would be written, but the church is the complement of the Man who fully expressed God here. The church could not be the complement of His divinity.

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I am, thank God, assured that if you are led to see the Man Christ Jesus as He is to God, you will not in any measure lose sight of the Son ever with the Father, and the only One able to fulfil His pleasure; but you will adoringly see Him as such while afflicted in all our afflictions, the Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, the lowly, dependent Man. He ever lived here from a Babe in all divine beauty. The manna was on every leaf and every thorn; never could there be anything equal to it. He magnified God in all the details of daily life. He learned nothing from man; so that God is not only well pleased with Him, but His word to us is on the holy mount, "This is my beloved Son: hear Him".

One word more. You must keep your conscience up to your faith. And again, I would ask you to look at Christ on the earth as the Father saw Him, or rather as God saw Him, for all the Persons of the Trinity were expressed by the Man Christ Jesus.

May He lead you into His mind.


I can understand the difficulty of the two brothers. They will never see their way out of it until they accept that Christ is a new order of man -- "the Man out of heaven". Many think that because He was perfect in flesh and blood, that the Christian is to come to the same perfect Man. He was in the likeness of flesh of sin, but He knew no sin. The error at Plymouth was that He was connected with flesh of fallen man. They quite forgot that He was sui generis (of His own kind), and that He was made flesh in order to bear the judgment on man in flesh and blood. He, the perfect One, in the flesh bore the judgment on man, and judicially terminated that order of man, in the eye of God, on the cross. There the end of all flesh has come, so that He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one, wherefore He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Every believer is of His order, of His brethren -- the fruit of the grain of wheat which had died. He is of a new order -- out of heaven -- and though He was

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altogether lovely in the eye of God here as a Man in flesh and blood, He gave up His life. He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and no one can walk here, as He walked, who is not in the power of His life. You cannot be like Him as He was here but as you are empowered by Him where He is. "Without me ye can do nothing". You cannot imitate Him. You must come from Him in heaven to be like Him as He was on earth.


As to your question -- I think that it is of the deepest importance to accept that the Son of God "made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:7). I do not believe that He ever swerved from this until He was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead. He was God manifest in flesh, but He never departed from the form of a Servant. He says, "I do nothing of myself" (John 8:28). For thirty years in private life He lived a Man every way well pleasing to God. As a Man in flesh He was perfectly to the mind of God. He could say, "I was cast upon thee from the womb" (Psalm 22:10), and finally, in the three years of His service, He declared God's heart to man. No one could do this but the Son, but all the time He did nothing of Himself. "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works" (John 14:10). He witnessed a good confession before Pilate. He could say, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). And also, "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above" (John 19:11). He constantly avowed His greatness, but still was always the Servant. He could say, "Before Abram was I am", and yet He was at the very moment One who had made Himself of no reputation, for we read, "Then took they up stones to cast at him, but Jesus hid himself" (John 8:59). He could say, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). This He did after His death. He had finished the work He was given to do.

From Mr. N-------- down, every division amongst us

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originated in an incorrect apprehension of Christ's humanity -- a humanity, as J.N.D. writes, which had its spring of action in God, and if any one does not apprehend this, he does not understand the nature of the body of Christ. Be defective about Christ's nature, and you are defective about the body of Christ "all of one".

There is no true idea of the manna except you see the Son of God in simple, continued dependence on God as a Man here on the earth. Practically, nothing is so unknown amongst us as the manna. We understand dependence on God when we are in a strait, but dependence on God pure and simple, when you have resources in your possession, is I am afraid very little known; and this was the wonderful life of our blessed Lord here on the earth. If we heard of a rich man who said that he would live a whole year on the wages of an agricultural labourer in order that he might be an example, we should not expect that he would ever flinch from this path until the year was fulfilled.

I confess to you that I shrink with horror from those who speak on this great subject in the carnal mind, but I am deeply assured before God that you cannot understand the mystery -- God's present object, if you do not apprehend Christ as He was here for God, for the church is His body....


I do not agree that the question is -- What is divine and what is human in our Lord's course? This question is raised in my judgment to evade the real question, which is -- Did our blessed Lord take a bondman's form, taking His place in the likeness of man? I am sure the more simply we accept in faith that He, the Son of the living God, took the form of a bondman, the better we shall know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I believe that for thirty years in private life He was a Man in every way suitable to God. He not only magnified the law, but He made it honourable, and as the manna He was ever in perfect communion with God. He was entirely dependent on God. He could say, "Man shall

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not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8:3). He was perfect and beautiful as a Man in the eye of God. "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 17:5). All His springs were in God. In all this beautiful path He did not depart for a moment from the form He had taken, while all the time the Son in the Father's bosom. Then in the three years of His public service He declared the heart of God to man. His power was infinite to effect this. On the mount of transfiguration the glory of God claimed Him. The voice from the excellent glory proclaimed, "This is my beloved Son: hear Him" (Mark 9:7). From this point He descends to die. What He -- a Man -- has done, He can enable His disciples to do; and it is here, I doubt not, that many, through unbelief, refuse to see His wonderful pathway as a Man because we all would naturally shrink from it. First a Man in every detail, beautiful in the eye of God, and next, a Man declaring God to man. He had not where to lay His head, He continued nights in prayer. "When he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously" (1 Peter 2:23).

The church -- His body -- is the complement of Him that filleth all in all. Every bit of the moral beauty that was in Him as a Man will come out in His body -- the church. I need not add more. It is not easy to express one's mind on so great a subject. I quite agree with you that our blessed Lord was ever in full concert with the Father and the Spirit, and thus the Trinity were expressed in Him.


I am sometimes afraid that the Synopsis (though the best of man's works) is more imbibed than the Bible. J.N.D. used to say that we should not only go to scripture for thoughts but that we should think in scripture.... I quite agree with you that if you do away with the truth of the Lord's perfect humanity -- that He had a life which was laid down at the cross, if this be not held, where is the atonement? This must be insisted on and maintained unequivocally. Here -------- and -------- in 1866 slipped away,

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when they opposed J.N.D. for saying that our Lord gave up the life to which sin attached. Surely it could not attach to eternal life. I cannot believe that any one questioning the Lord's perfect humanity -- a life which was laid down at the cross -- could in his soul realise the atonement. I do not say that such an one is not saved, but I maintain that he does not in faith apprehend that a real man has borne the judgment on man. See Hebrews 2:14, 15. Many a one is saved who believes in Jesus who yet knows very little of His work. Many speak only of the suffering of Christ -- of His 'passion' and such like; they have not in faith, that is, before God, apprehended the death of Christ. Unless His death is appropriated His life is not enjoyed. See John 6. I cannot enjoy Christ who is my life, where He is, except as by faith I am over Jordan, that is -- dead with Him. Everything according to the Father's pleasure, has been obtained for you by the death of Christ; as you accept in faith His death, you enjoy what has been obtained for you, though you are still alive in the body. There is a great reluctance to accept the distinction of living in heaven -- 'outside of the senses', as J.N.D. says, because of the cost -- the break with things here which it entails. I heard of a man who wanted to surrender the honour of knighthood, because of the cost of the patent! Many limit the death of Christ to the putting away of sins. It would entail too great a cost to accept the dignity of being in His life now, through the self-same death.


J.N.D. used to say that any one who would try to define God manifest in the flesh would soon fall into error on one side or the other. I know, to the joy of my heart before Him, that Christ was here God manifest in flesh. All His springs were ever in God, and everything He did as a Man in flesh was in perfect keeping with the eternal life which He was. He never left heaven. Everything He did He did well, and to the full pleasure of God. He was ever dependent on God, and in everything consistent with God.

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In none of the offerings was typified the power of death broken. Death is the judgment of sin, but death was annulled. Christ is declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from among the dead. If Christ be not risen, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins. The life of Adam must go in judgment. No child of Adam could bear the judgment. The Son of God became a Man. He came to do God's will. He bears the judgment. He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit. The life of the testator must go, it cannot be resumed.


I trust that I can show you that -------- is doctrinally correct. You admit that Christ died to sin, that He gave up the life to which sin could attach. Now if Christ gives up the life to which sin and responsibility could attach, then through His death, I (a believer), am free from sin, law, flesh and the world. It is plainly taught in Romans 7 that it is not the law that is dead but that I am dead to the law (the same form of expression as dead to sin) by the body of Christ. If Christ be in me the body is dead because of sin. If a man be dead he is free from the law. Excuse me, but I think you have misconceived the scope of death. You say, 'Moreover the law is not judicially ended at all'. There you are quite right, but the man under it has died with Christ. The man is gone in death; he is judicially ended in the cross; the law is still in its full integrity; we could not become dead to it, except by the body of Christ.

As to your point, that the saints in the millennium will have the law written in their hearts, you cannot infer from this that Christ did not in His death free man from all that lay upon him; all that he was chargeable with. In a word you must admit -- Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, in death. You have confounded law with the demand of the law; the law remains, and its demand has been met; and again

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(as you see in the type in Leviticus 16) it is on the ground that the first man has been judicially ended on the cross that God sets up man in the flesh after a new manner in the millennium. Sin is gone in Christ's death. The law's demand has been met in Christ's death; our old man is crucified, judicially terminated, and Paul could say "by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Galatians 6:14); there is no judicial termination anywhere else. In Christ's death I am justified from sin. In His death the body of the flesh is destroyed. In His death I am free from the curse of the law; in His death I am crucified to the world and the world to me.

I hope you will ponder all this. The Lord help you and bless you much in apprehending the scope and vastness of Christ's death.


Surely when you think it over you must see that if our blessed Lord was not a real Man with Man's life, His blood would not have been a sacrifice for us. The life is in the blood, and because "the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same" (Hebrews 2:14). He was born of a woman, born under the law. He died unto sin; an angel could not take man's judgment on him. The judgment is on Man and a Man only -- the seed of the woman, can bruise the serpent's head: our Lord was "put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18). "Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more" (2 Corinthians 5:16). If our blessed Lord was not a real Man He could not have been made sin; He could not have drunk the cup. He was always "the Son of man which is in heaven" (John 3:13), ever the eternal life. He could not give up eternal life. He gave up the life of the flesh which He had taken; He shed His blood; the blood is the life of man, it is gone in judgment, and I, through grace, belong to a Man raised from the dead by

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the glory of the Father. The first man is historically ended before God in the cross. If the first man is not ended, you may be forgiven like a pious Jew, but you are not justified. You are justified because you see Christ risen out of the judgment due to you. The man under judgment is gone in His death; according to the type, the carcase of the sin-offering was burned without the camp; we are called to go forth unto Him without the camp. The apostle John more particularly insists on Christ come in flesh (His humanity) than even on His divinity. I am convinced that the present contention is but a revival of the contention of 1866. -------- would not admit of the Lord bearing judgment; he would admit only that He died. I remember I saw at once his mistake when I heard that. See how he attacks J.N.D. for saying 'the life He left behind'.

You cannot be troubled more than I was then. I was one of the seven who besought J.N.D. to continue breaking bread, for he purposed to sit aside.

The Lord relieve your spirit and comfort you abundantly as He surely can.


It is plain that if you know Him that is from the beginning, you know Christianity, what He brought, and what He is, and not anything He found here. Life is given to every believer. Christ is the life; the Spirit is the means, so to speak, just as natural life was in the blood. Hence it is said, "If we live in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25); and "he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Galatians 6:8). -------- is trying to awaken saints to the fact that having a title to a thing, and having practical possession of it, are two very different things. To say 'it is God's gift, and therefore it is mine' is not enough. There is no continued earnestness to ascertain the nature or gain of the gift. The "young men" and "babes" (1 John 2) are going on to full consciousness of their possession; their title is not improved by their consciousness of it, but their enjoyment of it is. The fact

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is that the life is outside death, and you must travel through death to it, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (John 6:53). I hope we may be preserved from defining. I regard John 17:3 more as a consequence than as a definition. I feel that it is on one's knees that one learns it. Christ is my life; that is my comfort. I hold simply that every believer has eternal life as God's gift, but every believer is not in practical realisation of it, and many do not know what it is. It is in Christ and could not be apart from Christ; hence if you are out of communion there is no sense of it, though you have not lost it, but you have got away from the source of it, and therefore you do not enjoy it.

When the Spirit occupies me with my own state, He has to settle with me before He can occupy me with Christ, who is my life....

... The interests of Christ's life are the subjects of communion. His life and the thoughts of it are common to Him and to me. This I can understand.... The two words for "know" are well defined in 1 John 5:20, and are very interesting.


I quite agree with you about letting evil workers alone. We ought to feel like Ezra -- too much absorbed with setting forth and maintaining the truth which our Lord has been pleased to commit to us to have any time, not to say heart, for what its adversaries are doing. The Lord ever supports those who are faithful to the light He has given, and this faithfulness must be proved by separation from all evil. The tendency of many earnest ones is to be occupied with another line of things, or dispensation, other than the one the Lord is set on, but though He answers their faith, He cannot give the succour that He desires, because His interests are not entered on. I may not be able to make known the mystery of the gospel because souls are not prepared for it, but I am below the

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mark if I have any lesser aim. Hoping to see you, and with constant remembrance before the Lord.


A man with a family is evidently bound to consider for their welfare, and to provide for them, and I believe you can look to God to bless you in this line. On the other hand, it is as plain as possible that if the servant of the Lord goes to a place seeking something else besides service, he will not find a field for service there; he may find what his duty to others enjoined him to seek; but if his heart remains true for service, he will find it, as a rule, somewhere else, and not in the place where another object had led him. I may, like Aquila, be driven out of Rome, and I may settle at Corinth, and my business and service for the Lord will go on together; but the rule for a servant is service first, and everything else secondary. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier, but if a man with a heart to serve, and gifted to serve, sees that it is his duty to go to a place for the benefit of his family, I think he must submit; he is not quite free to choose his path; but if it be not necessity but advantage which influences him in the step, he surely will suffer both as to service and as to the supposed advantage; and here the dear brother whose counsel you refer to suffered very peculiarly. He went to -------- in order to educate his son at the university, and when his education was finished the son died! and the beloved father was never accepted in service there as he was elsewhere, and as his gift entitled him to be. If I go to a place to serve the Lord, and He has led me there, He will provide what is necessary for me there. If I am already under bonds I must respect them; and the Lord will graciously overrule,

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if, as I have said, necessity, and not advantage or merely worldly motives, influence me. I can see nothing in scripture to warrant the idea that some entertain that you may settle where you like, and that the Lord will then open to you a field of service there, or that because there are some saints in the place that one might be of use to, that is reason enough to sanction one's settling there.... If you have a charge now, and fill an important niche, you will agree with me that you can hardly surrender it without being assured that the Lord has provided another to undertake it, though this He will assuredly do, if it be right for you to move.... I comfort myself that if you do move we may see more of you -- the Lord enlarging your heart and energies for His people outside.... All I fear is the easy way saints choose their localities in this day, and seem to think the cloud must follow them, instead of their waiting for the guidance of the Lord.

I think I may say that I only seek your real welfare, and the more you are blessed and favoured of the Lord, the more thankful I shall be. May His blessing abundantly fill your heart, and may you in everything do His will.


You are quite right in counting on my interest in everything concerning you, and I am glad that I have you on my heart daily I may say before the Lord.

You have evidently two duties. One to your family, and another as the Lord's servant, and as J.N.D. says, 'You cannot have two objects at the same time.' I have constantly seen and marked that where a servant went to a place considering his family (though right in itself), that he did not promote his higher calling, that of a servant. But when that of a servant was simply before his mind, the Lord ordered suitably for his family. The way for a servant is to see where his service would be turned to most account, and then to seek in that place for the most suited 'southern aspect' for his family. I am afraid of servants seeking places for health, etc. I believe the Lord can find out a sheltered spot for them, because He remembereth

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our frame; but a servant must be led of the Lord to the place where he can best fulfil his service. My impression is that you are being led into a very suitable neighbourhood, but you must remember the trying and testing place it is to be placed among comparatively poor people, when the commonest thing in your house will appear in their eyes grand and worldly. Among one's own class, what appears common and shabby, even to a coat, appears in the eyes of those who have not as good a one something to be coveted, and when the pastor has anything in him or about him to provoke to envy, he is defective. Alas! you may say, how defective we all are! and this really accounts for the little power there is to be a pastor. A resident servant must be more or less a pastor or bishop, or at least it is desirable that he should be. I feel the poorest man ought not to envy anything in my house or ménage, all should be so simple and so plain; but the difficulty is, that what appears to oneself and one's old acquaintances common to a degree, is not so to your chief companions now. This is a real difficulty to a resident servant. The conscientious evade it by evangelising, and thus the great, grand object of our calling is merged. Through grace we have been led into the truth of the church of God. In a word, church truth ought to be the most conspicuous thing about us in any and every service. When an evangelist preaches it should be as belonging to a new corps, the church of God; though his gift be that of an evangelist, he has a higher duty, and that is to maintain "the testimony of the Lord, nor of me his prisoner" (2 Timothy 1:8). If this be not maintained, you will never be in the state of the bride. I feel pleased at your projected move. The Lord keep you and fit you more and more for His service, and with kindest love to you and yours, etc.


I hope you may soon be set free. Many years ago you desired it. Was I wrong in not encouraging it then? I trust the time has come now. There is great need for David's mighty men in this day. Men devoted to David. The nation gains from their services, but they are thinking of David.

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Conscience may be a very good guard, but is not a true guide. One must be very near the Lord to be guided by Him.

A servant must have a very separate place, because you cannot lead any one beyond where you have been yourself. It must be the Nazarite for the day of weakness. I rejoice greatly that 'the Lord Himself and the prosperity of His people' are, as you say, the one thought before you; the Lord increase this to you more and more, and my whole heart will go out for your blessing and that of all yours.

I see Moses was many years in the back side of the desert before he was fit to lead the people out of Egypt. I cannot ask any one to leave anything that I have not left myself. Elisha was altogether cast on God before he could be a help to the people of God. It is not the man that sees defects, but the man who, like Nehemiah, removes them who is doing the Lord's work. You might be exposing the rags of the prodigal long enough before you could do the servant's work of putting the best robe on him.


The first wrong step must be repented of and retraced before the Lord will help in the matter. When a Christian has put himself in the wrong, while he is so, he has no power to dictate to another. He must first take the beam out of his own eye. I consider self-vindication unworthy of any one standing for the Lord and for His truth, and I never saw a case of it where the one in the right did not suffer loss. Moses, David, Job, and Paul can leave their vindication to others. There must be repentance and

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coming forth simply to stand for the truth before the Lord can appear on their behalf.


There is no escape from deplorable confusion but in going back to the beginning, no one can retrieve his position but by going back, like the Nazarite, to the point of departure. The 'altar at the beginning' is the only true place for recovery.


I am convinced that we do not take to heart sufficiently, that with the profession of the most blessed truth -- the presence of Christ in our midst, there is much flagrant denial of it. Well I know the anxious times we have passed through because of this profession without principle. I feel that now an opportunity is given to us to express our emphatic condemnation of this great evil so long rampant, and that the main object before us is not the reconciliation of contending parties, but that one and all should be awakened to the great truth of the Lord in the midst, which evidently they had not accepted in the power of God. I believe that it is most lamentable and reprehensible the little sense or faith there is as to the Lord's presence in the assembly. Be assured that if the assembly is not right, there is nothing right in that place. If the heart, the centre of life, is weak, the whole system is enfeebled. I heartily hope that we shall be in happy concert in this matter.

I resolved to read nothing from either party, but to turn to the Lord in prayer for both.


I wished to press the gravity of the offence of trespassing on the greatest, holiest, tenderest bond ever known, overriding

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all other bonds. If you disregard the unity of the Spirit, you must let go the Head, and then, however enlightened you may be, you have drifted into Laodicea. I fear many among us do not understand the unity of the Spirit, so how can they keep it? Though it is a most distressing, testing way to arrive at it, I have great hope that a brightening up of the truth will come out of all this sorrow. My text is, "God hath given thee all them that sail with thee" (Acts 27:24). Stick to Paul, to the truth of the one body here and the Head in heaven, and we shall, through infinite grace, weather every storm.

It is 1846 over again. We should contend not for the punishment of the offender, but for the principle of the unity of the Spirit which in its magnitude, hardly any one apprehends.


... It is very interesting to hear of the young men in London who seek to follow the Lord. I trust that I should be thankful to be able to help in any way. I need hardly say prayer is the right beginning, but I am afraid of large prayer meetings. The great thing in a prayer meeting is, "If any two of you shall agree". I believe more solid work is done in a private way than in a public way. The door was opened to the Gentiles in Cornelius's sitting-room, and the most devoted men amongst us were drawn to the Lord and His side of things in private rooms. I do not see that the Lord honours anything of a demonstration. I do not say that souls are not converted, but as I have said to -------- before now, 'Show me one devoted man the fruit of a revival conversion.' Every one who comes out for the Lord has had a very private history. You will remark that the conversion in private is always the deepest. See Saul of Tarsus. I have no doubt that the evangelist led of the Lord would be led to the needy soul, or the needy soul would be led to him. I see that the

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evangelist is sent from the Head of the church in heaven, and surely if he were working here in happy subjection to the Head, souls would be not only converted, but brought to God. I think it is right that we should have gospel preaching in our meeting rooms because we seek to help souls, and we are to do the work of an evangelist; but when you descend to an organisation, you must have a staff of preachers, and you must become prominent in the religious world, which is the terrible power against us. You lose power as you are recognised by the world. I hope I have not said too much. My desire is that you may be truly in the Lord's service, and thus reach the full desire of your heart. "If any man serve me let him follow me". ...


I was very glad to get your letter this morning.... As to --------'s doctrine, I quite agree with you, that it is a hard and fast system of believing or not believing. In a word, it does not come to me as the writing of an exercised soul, and where is any soul that is not exercised? I am so glad that you are cheered about --------; he is an exercised soul. I can see how the expression 'conscious possession' is unfortunate, for life is life, but in reality almost every one I meet with limits eternal life to its manifestation in Christ down here, and they seek His help and presence in their circumstances as if they were absolutely united to Him when He was on earth, and there seems to be no idea or apprehension of being united to Him where He is -- the exalted Man, and where He is at home, and where He is really our life, though doubtless we shall be in all the grace of His life down here as we are in the path going on to the rest (Hebrews 4). John 5:13 does insist on conscious knowledge: this is different from conscious possession.

I shall be very glad to be one of the company to receive

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your eighth into the sphere of the Spirit's rule on earth; as the Lord's property we claim her for Him.


Many thanks for your letter. I feel the Lord has answered our prayers, and has, I trust, made His truth better known. No doubt (as some one wrote to me), 'Those who were not valiant for the truth when they had the opportunity in the -------- matter are found opposing it now.' I am thankful that you insisted that the sphere of eternal life is found through the acceptance of the judgment of the cross on sinful flesh and the world. I believe that nine-tenths found their assurance of salvation on the word "hath eternal life" rather than on the work of Christ, and this is the real cause of all this perturbation about "babes". I think John takes Paul's line when he speaks of the three grades -- babes, young men, and fathers. If you study Philippians 3 you will see the different Greek words used, lambano to obtain, katalambano for taking possession of, and katantao to arrive at. J.N.D. used to say that Paul there was reaching on to everything, not perfected in anything yet. I hope we shall not be drawn away into criticisms, but may we seek more than ever to feed souls, and the better they are fed with the pure milk of the word the more surely will they grow up unto Him in all things.


Gladly I answer your letter, and certainly not to 'expose mistakes'. In my opinion you are confounding the manifested corporate state with the actual state. The Holy Ghost baptises every believer into one body. The saint walking in the Spirit is sensible of his corporate relation to all believers; "buried with him by baptism unto death" is true of us all as touching the old man. The Spirit unites

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the new man, baptism sets aside the old. There is no connection in my opinion between the two. The secret of God is that Christ's body is on the earth, where He was refused to be bodily.

Beware of types unless you can explain them by anti-types. You never can complete a type, and nothing has done more mischief than types taken by themselves. Eve's position is not yet arrived at, the church is not yet presented to Christ; the marriage has not yet come; but Eve was of Adam's flesh and bones before presentation or marriage. Christ is Head now of His body: it could not be His body if not united to Him. When it is His fulness (complement) it will be manifested corporately. Now the church is His body, and we are responsible to maintain corporate relationship. Each member is to hold the Head.

The quotation you adduce from 1 Corinthians 6:17 refers to the individual body (our bodies are members of Christ), and then it is "the Lord"; "he that is joined to the Lord". The body is the Lord's. It is in the new man that we are members of His body. If this is not satisfactory to you, pray write again.


The more I read the scriptures and learn from them the mind of God as to the church, and compare His mind with the deformity to which the name church is attached in Christendom, the more through His grace am I urged to hold to what it is in His mind, and believing, that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world, I work for it in spite of everything and every one if it must be so. I am not contending for a phantom. I would that all men should see the administration of it. I know they do not, and how could they, in the medley of Christian denominations! God's mind and purpose remains as sure today on the earth as ever it was. The Holy Ghost is as much set for it as ever. The gifts are given from the ascended

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Head as much as ever for this self-same purpose. Man is the only one refractory to the will of God -- overpowered and subverted by the determined and unrelenting wiles of the enemy. The contention of the evangelist is with Pharaoh, the god of this world; he carries the gospel of the grace of God into distant lands and souls are saved. The evangelist is continually occupied with his own line of service, but if he forgets in any measure that his gift was given him from heaven, from the ascended Christ, so far he confines his work to the emancipation of souls from the thraldom of Satan, and overlooks their heavenly destination, and thus the church is not really reinforced by the new converts. There might be many conversions in a place where there was really not much addition to the church in that place, though I have no doubt when the Lord is working in a place saving souls, the saints are also blessed. I believe the evangelist, who has Christ's chief interest most before him, would be the one most efficient to do his Master's pleasure among the haunts of men. But no one can go higher than his object.

Another servant one sees occupied with the state of souls, and he in godly zeal keeps brushing away, labouring to make them shine; that is his object, and his work reveals it. The church as it is in the mind of God is not, as a rule, the object before the heart of servants. Would the gospel be neglected if it were? Would the state of souls be overlooked if it were? Certainly not. A servant can be occupied with his work and have but a scant idea of the purpose of his Master. This may be enough for mere service, but not for a servant who would be a friend of Christ. The object and use of the assembly on the earth I believe is very little known, and therefore it is not a paramount interest with many. Whatever God is most set for, Satan is most set against. God is most set for the church now, Satan is most set against it. Hence every servant, even the most faithful, may be deceived by an apparent success when he adopts any line of service below the present chief purpose of God; more souls may be converts, more saints may come to hear, more may speak of the blessing they have received, and yet the purpose of God may be lost sight of. Satan is crafty. If he can

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divert the servant from the highest point, he will let him have some success lower down. We see instances of this every day. Do you prefer success to all men forsook me, but the Lord stood with me?


The construction you put on my words is entirely contrary to my mind. The illustration I have used for growth is that of a tree which grows; the first part increasing with every advance. In this way I have used the word displacement, setting forth that there is no progress in the new but in proportion to displacement of the old, and this is growth. This is our side; but on the other hand, I must insist that the Father does come to the prodigal in the full virtue of what Christ has accomplished. His approach is not measured by the measure of the prodigal's approach. There is nothing to hinder the blessed God from coming to the returning sinner through the rent veil. His approach is never improved, never increases. Mine, as the work of God goes on in me (not merely the knowledge of the grace), does increase from the very first, until I am divested of everything of the old, and in the glory for ever. "All things are ready" on the one side; but on the other, it is "Compel them to come in". I believe you have a defective gospel if you do not see that God can come from glory and kiss the awakened Saul of Tarsus, and that Saul of Tarsus is before Him in all that suits His glory, while Saul has in deep distress to drop all of himself, and eventually, by the power of God working in him (not by mere information), to reach the light in which God receives him. The blessed God does not improve in His satisfaction about me (a believer), and at best I cannot reach higher than His satisfaction about me; but it is a divine work, and it is not that I see it, I am it. But if my measure defined God's measure, then I should remain for ever the dwarf in which I died, which is not true; but if I am not

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growing now, I am not an efficient servant in any degree for my absent Lord.

The Lord bless you in His service and in your family. Increase in soul-work, and you will be more correct in grace and truth, though not taken up with points.


"Do the work of an evangelist" (2 Timothy 4:5) I see to be the foundation of all service now. No one could surpass that statement. The greatest evangelical of the hour could not go beyond me in this. I see the servant is directed in a day when all was in confusion, and when ears were turned from the truth to "do the work of an evangelist". I constantly say every one's state is determined by the gospel he has received; hence I believe there is no more interesting work than preaching the gospel. I do not feel that I arrest sinners, though I desire it; but you know well how I delight in the gospel, and how I rejoice in helping souls into it. I have often wished that I were free to travel through all England preaching the gospel even as I can, and I long to see it preached to every soul; but I do not think crowded audiences and flaming placards consistent. This is the hitch to me. Preach as much as you can -- I should say to every evangelist, but do not seek to make yourself notorious -- a person of notoriety. I believe every one ought to help, as far as in him or her lay, to rescue souls, and I think the more you are in concert with the heart of Christ, the more you will do so. I often say -- if I were very near Him, I could not get alongside a sinner without telling him of a Saviour, or a saint, without telling him of Christ his life in heaven.

"That by me the preaching might be fully known" (2 Timothy 4:17), is not, I apprehend, simply the gospel to sinners. I think it embraces more. The Lord make us more zealous to set forth the word of life to lost souls. I feel my heart stirred up at times for these, but I certainly cannot sanction that they should claim all attention to the exclusion of the saints.

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Serving the saints really imposes and demands an extent of self-denial and world-abnegation which occupation with sinners never claims, but I need not add more.


I hope now to answer your letter in detail. It is not easy for me to write all I am expected to do. The more we count on the Lord to bless us at the coming readings, the more we shall be blessed.

I think when you say that it is with the latter side of grace that you are chiefly occupied you are right, that is, with this proviso, that you are assured of and walking in the grace you need. I think Romans 8 unfolds, first, the great operations of the Spirit in me, finishing up with the assurance that God's purposes -- power and love, are for me; then I am ready for Romans 12 -- service; and not till then.

I have not been assured as yet as to the scriptures we should have before us. I do hope Colossians will be read. As to Galatians, I do not see your reason for thinking of it. I think there is more laxity (Corinthians) amongst us than legalism (Galatians). I had thought of Colossians and Hebrews. I think the truth needed is -- first the house of God and its object, and then the mystery (Colossians). I think Galatians is grace for ourselves, and I see the periodicals and the teaching for the most part never go beyond our side, except to appropriate ignorantly the grace which belongs to the servant. "Let not your heart be troubled" belongs to the servant.

I have read the article on crucifixion. I do not see anything to object to. Crucifixion is clearly judicial. It is thus the Lord was made a curse, not, of course, by any wrong, but by being put on a cross, and this occurs in Galatians. It is the force of Galatians 6; but when anything has been judicially removed, it could not be righteously recalled or referred to. I heartily wish saints understood this, and they would not be so ready to speak of their sins in the assembly.

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It is the body that dies -- Adam's body. When the life leaves the body it is dead. This is the judgment on Adam and his race. The "nakedness" (2 Corinthians 5) is that the body is under the judgment of death, and the body after that order must go in death.


There is a great difference between the knowledge of the word and the word dwelling richly in us. When it is the latter, one finds it ready to bud. It is not stationary knowledge, it is growing. There is an affinity for the word. The tree is getting larger, but it is still the same tree. Hence I find the truth I know in my heart best is the one I long to know more about, and the one I feel I know so little of, though ever enjoying and seeking to know more of it. 'Adding' is the mark of life.


I have looked at the passage where "faithful men" occurs, and it seems plain that there is but one condition attached, namely, sufficient or "competent to teach others also". Quite true, the epistle is addressed to a servant, but if I hear what is the true service of a servant, I know at least what I am called to do. I do not think that the idea of a soldier is that one is to have no secular work. See 2 Thessalonians. Surely Timothy worked with his hands there. The idea of a soldier is that he is ready to leave everything to obey orders. It may apply to a man marrying, but certainly not to secular business. Paul can leave Ephesus when business was good, and he stays at Thessalonica when it was bad. Business was not the paramount thing, but service. This should be always the case.

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I am glad to hear any details of your state. I desire to 'naturally care for your state' as part of Christ's things. I trust the readings will be of real help. I am sure you are right to go on with Romans until souls have learned not only acceptance with God, but liberty by the Spirit. The work of Christ has opened the way for God's heart to express itself fully; as you have faith you enjoy His acceptance. Next He gives you the Spirit that you may be practically free from the law of sin and death. By faith I realise His grace to me, and by the Spirit I am in Christ before Him, and practically not in the flesh. I do not believe that there can be any progress in His things until one is in this liberty. Then you can come to His side. I believe many among us are reading scripture the way Moses saw the land from Mount Pisgah, and think because they see it that they are there. I heard of a brother only last Sunday saying that the prayer in Ephesians 3 was within the compass of a babe, or words to this effect. It is evident he did not know the magnitude of the truth presented there. I read lately from the pen of an earnest Christian in system that Christ dwelling in your heart by faith was state, or holiness in effect. Scripture has no divine force if misapplied.

I do not think that -------- means to convey that the Lord did not know in Matthew 16 but that He was the dependent Servant. The hidden manna was one of His greatest glories. I think the Lord was educating Peter for the new structure, but He did not bear witness of Himself, but as soon as the revelation was made to Peter He announced His intentions. The revelation was about Himself.

I am sure that while we can in some measure apprehend the greatness of eternal life outside of everything here, we know very little (though needing it) of manna -- how the One who was ever in communion with the Father lived divinely in every detail of man down here; nor do I believe we are in His grace here, but in proportion as we are in

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the power of His life, outside of all here. It is as we live in this, that "the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Him-self for me" (Galatians 2:20), is known. If you do not maintain His divine greatness, you can never apprehend the beauty and perfection of His life here as the dependent Man. I believe that it is a subject more for worship than for explanation. The temptation of Satan was an attempt to divert the Lord from dependence, and it is there he succeeds with us; you are out of faith when you use your own means, and this is the danger when we have any natural resource, material or mental.

I am trying to set forth the formation and calling of the bride. There is much interest.


I quite agree that you are the subject of the Holy Spirit's presence, but if you keep yourself in the love of God, it is still His love, and you are the object of it, you enjoy what He is. Many do not understand love at all but as it gives. My illustration is, that the baby in arms is fonder of the nurse than the mother, because of all it receives from the former, but when the same baby grows up the mother is loved more than the nurse, because it finds out the love that is in the mother's heart. I believe many would have no idea of the love of God if there were no present mercies or gifts, and I am sure that many, if they were asked -- 'How do you know God loves you?' would refer you to His gifts. I quite admit that He commended His love to us while we were yet sinners, but I never can know love until I am near the One who has it for me, and then I know it by the confidence which He can inspire me with, like John lying on Jesus' breast. When I know God's love I know that He cannot view me less than as Christ is before Him, even though I am in this world.

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If the blessed Lord liked companions when He was here, and surely not one of those whom He had could have apprehended Him much, how much more is any fellowship in the Spirit to each of us where we are all so much on a level? It is only in company that we learn one another's real history. How many of our acquaintances know nothing of the exercises of heart through which we pass!

The outside and visible trials are apparent to any thoughtful heart, but the inward -- the invisible -- how little are they even conjectured oftentimes! He -- blessed be His name -- knows all, and to the deepest exercise of heart He ministers first, and chiefly. What you cannot tell any one you can tell Him, if you have confidingness in Him. Confidingness is that I believe in His perfect wisdom as well as in His goodness. It is a great thing to be able to go on alone with the Lord, and apart from any human friend, and to be here in all the calm dignity that the sense of His sympathy imparts. I have often to say that there are trials which every one can see and sympathise with, while there are others which no one can see, and consequently cannot sympathise with. The latter must be borne in secret with the Lord. It is here we learn when truly with the Lord what it is to cross our Jordan -- alone with Him -- enjoying Him in the scene where He is, in the power of the Spirit. Then there is, as it were, "no more spirit" in us as regards the things to which natural life connects us. We are perfectly happy apart from everything with Him; we are over, and the more practically we accept this as our proper life, the less we expect here, the more we are dissociated from all here; and yet we are able to be here better than ever. The man most out of this scene in divine power is the man best able to act in it while here for God. To cross the Jordan is ever real death to man naturally, but the Lord likes our company too well to allow us, when our hearts are toward Him, to be unacquainted with the full effects for us of His death and resurrection. We have died with Him that we might enjoy His life in fellowship

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with Him. Hence "we which live are alway delivered unto death" (2 Corinthians 4:11).


It was very pleasant to me to hear from you and of the way the Lord is encouraging you in His service. I do not think you should be distressed because there are not more conversions; probably there are converts who are only deepening, and when they confess Christ they will do so vigorously. Conversions are now, I fear, often without much root. I am sure I had much rather see the young converts in heaviness than in the exuberant gladness which they profess and appear to have. Where are the "three days" of exercise in which Saul ate nothing? Besides, when you are happily doing the work which the Lord has sent you to do, you can fall back upon Him as your base. No servant is established who does not possess a base of operations. The Lord Himself could say, "I thank thee, O Father", not because of His prosperity, but apparently the very opposite!

I rejoice with you in the Lord's mercy to you. "Prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth" (3 John 2). To have both is great favour, a double prosperity!


I trust that the truth of the Lord's presence in the assembly will come out more clearly. The difficulty with some as to the difference between the way the individual saint knows His presence, and His presence in the assembly, I can understand, and I think I can solve this difficulty. The Epistle to the Hebrews is a contrast to the Jewish

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order of things; as you say, there is no assembly meeting, as such, referred to. But the Christians are looked at individually and collectively. The former is when one's own circumstances are in question; the latter when the great privileges of our calling are presented. The Lord in the midst of the assembly introduces us into these great privileges, and He is there, I apprehend, more the Moses -- the Apostle of our profession than the High Priest, though we are always in connection with Him as our Aaron. As individuals He is always our Priest, but as the consecrated company we are two or more, we are collective. To the assembly He is Moses. The question remains -- cannot an individual enter the sanctuary? I should say -- Yes, and he would be led by the Spirit into association with Christ, and thus receive from Him, as He pleased to confer; but I do not think that this is the same as the Lord coming into the assembly -- His own building here on earth, where He had been rejected, and where as Moses, He propounds His pleasure, declaring the Father, and celebrating much more than Moses could have done.

I do not see that the sanctuary as such is for the mere individual, or isolated saint. The individual may know Him in His place in heaven; evidently there are two places where He can be known; one -- as He taught Mary Magdalene, association with Himself where He is, the other -- when He comes into the midst of His own. Thus I see a great difference between the individual portion and the assembly's portion. I did not mean to write so much but I wished to tell you the result of my reflections consequent on the objections raised.

Moses is in connection with the house. Aaron with reference to our state there or to get there.


I had a talk with an objector last evening as to the holiest. He said he would agree with us if I would allow that Hebrews 10 was individual. I replied I admit that it sets forth the right of each individual believer. That each has a right of entrance into the holiest once and for ever, but

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I added -- that is not the question. The question is -- Do I enjoy that right here or must I go to heaven for it? After some hesitation he admitted that it is our right always. Then I added -- When the Lord comes into the assembly He is the minister of the holy places; we accompany Him as the High Priest, and He there as the Apostle, declares and propounds the Father and His things. As far as I see the tabernacle was the type of heaven for earth, of which we have the reality now morally by the presence of our Lord in our midst.

I quite like your PS. and the way you ascribe a feast to Moses and a feast to the Priest. I do not see that you can dispense with Moses or the Apostle for us -- the assembly of God passing on to heaven.


As to your question, I do not think it would help you to institute a comparison between the worship in the assembly and the worship in heaven. The only scripture I know of alluding to worship hereafter is the worship of the heavenly company with reference to the Lord on the earth as Redeemer and Creator, not as Head of the Church. If I am right as to this, you would not gain anything from the comparison. I shall try and explain to you as well as I can the true state of heart toward Him in the assembly. You come to meet the Lord. He is Son over God's house. Properly, your first thought is to remember Him as He left this earth. You are in company with Him risen from the dead as in Hebrews 2:12. You are in the efficacy of His accomplished work. The more you are in the consciousness of your acceptance, the nearer you are to Him, the more deeply affecting it is to your heart that He died where you are. It is His death which engrosses your heart;

it is not your gain; you are in the gain of His death, and the more you are, the more is your heart affected in recalling His death. It is not His suffering so much as His death

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He died where you are. You live where He lives. The effect is, that you are severed from the place where He died, and correspondingly attached to Him where He is. The Lord's table and supper is brought before the Corinthians, because they had practically lost all sense that they were in the place where Christ had died. They were reigning as kings. You shew forth the Lord's death until He come. You are identified here with His death. There is no relief to your heart from the fact of His death here until He comes. He has borne your death here, and has freed you from it; but now, your heart is so attached to Him that like Ruth you can say, "Where thou diest, will I die" (Ruth 1:17). If you think of your own benefit at such a time I am sure you will weaken your remembrance of Him. If you think of any one near and dear to you among men, it is not their acts, however great, you think of, but of themselves. With regard to the Lord, as His death is before you, you are in heart severed from the place where He is not; but your consolation is to see Him alive from the dead as He is in the assembly, and then you know the peculiar worship which is consequent thereon. He says, "I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you" (John 16:22).

The pious in Christendom never go beyond the passover in Egypt. We are really over Jordan to remember Him. If we were not in the benefit of His death we could not reach Him. We must be clear of that for which He suffered before we can enjoy His presence, risen from the dead.


I consider our meetings are made up of three classes -- one there in faith, one from conviction, and one from imitation. The two latter do not prevent the Lord from coming into our midst, for they give Him His place. But I feel we must meet the attempt now made to assume the ground of Matthew 18:20, where there is no sense of

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the nature of the company who I may say command His presence. I am for the very opposite of 'slippery' ground. I want to raise the standard to its true and proper measure, in order to expose the counterfeit. The Lord comes to those gathered to His name; no higher character could there be; but many are there like the priests in Leviticus 21 fed, but not enjoying His presence, not in communion within the veil. Sure I am that if the few in faith were to leave any company, that the rest gathered there (only in form, or at best from conviction) would soon betray their powerlessness. The Lord's presence feeds all there, and those ministering in His presence lead on those yet without faith, though true to their convictions.


The MS. has come and I see the wisdom of your remarks. I am justified through Christ, and then I am in Christ. If my sins had not been borne by Christ, and if the man who had offended had not been judicially removed in the eye of God, He could not set me in the justification for which He was raised. Though it be only a clearing, yet it must be a clearing suited to God, and the clearance in which Christ is. My identity remains; once the responsible man under judgment, now clear of it all, justified by God, and I am in Christ. The blessed God approaches the convert in all the value of Christ, for He only can fully estimate how He gave Himself for us. We very gradually indeed enter into this estimate, or rather into the nature of it; but as we do, we deepen in the sense that God can meet us with a measure of acceptance that as yet we know but little of, and this increases as we come nearer to Him.

Have you seen a tract by --------? Poor man! he evidently does not know the grace of God beyond the earthly saint. He refers to the two goats (Leviticus 16), but never alludes to the bullock, which is the type of our acceptance. He neither sees how God has removed, on His own side, in

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the cross, to His infinite satisfaction, all the distance and offence incurred by man; nor does he see that God, being just, now compels the sinner to know His grace, and that He can bring him out of his misery and ruin into His own presence in the very acceptance of Christ. It distresses me to see such a departure from the gospel of the glory of Christ.


I think you misapprehend my statements. 'Clearance' has to do with guilt, and there can be no excess there. In Romans 3:25 there is forgiveness, in Romans 4:25 there is clearance, but this does not go beyond guilt. In Romans 5:20 we get excess, "where sin abounded, grace did much more abound".

We now come to the lost condition of man. It is sin now, and not sins. The law exposed the sin, sin is in the flesh even when not exposed, "By the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). Now there is excess. In the case of guilt or sins there was clearance, but in the matter of sin I am transferred from that condition into one far and away greater than the one I lost. I am now through grace in Christ's life, and thus in the justification of that life, and that is the righteousness of God. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). We are cleared of sins, but sin is condemned; that state has been judicially terminated in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am forgiven my sins, and I am in a new state, greatly in excess of the one in which I was lost. I am not only a tenant forgiven all rent and arrears, and thus perfectly clear, but I am no longer a tenant good or bad, I am a son, and this is a wonderful excess on a tenant, however good his terms as a tenant might be. In Romans we touch Jordan, in Colossians we are over Jordan.

I am glad that the Lord blessed you at the conference, may He increase it. I do not at present see my way to Scotland. May you live in "the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free" (Galatians 5:1). You will see more on this subject in

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a tract, entitled, 'Steps in Light', which are notes of my lectures.


I quite go with your letter. Christ is not the object of faith at all with --------. The sacrifice is with him the one thing, and all the rest he makes condition. The more I dwell on the system, for system it is, the more I see the mischief of it. How could the blessed God justify me until He had removed from His own eye in absolute judgment the old man that was under judgment. This is the sin offering, and if the old man be judicially annulled it cannot exist before God, and the believer cannot be in it, he must be in Christ, the burnt offering, entirely to the pleasure and delight of God's heart, blessed be His name! ... God could not justify me if the old man had not been crucified, judicially terminated and surely I cannot have deliverance if it be not annulled, for if not it still exists before God.

I cannot tell you how I regret that earnest, valiant men should be wasting their strength on the leaves of the Upas tree, instead of grappling in one united action against the root and source of all the evil at --------. I remember a line of dear J.N.D.'s: The more you are in God's righteousness, the higher order will be your own practical righteousness, or words to this effect. A soul that is not in God's righteousness (and who can measure it?) must be more or less in man's righteousness. I have written a paper for The Voice on 'Christian Standing' -- very much a gospel sermon. I believe great good is coming to souls through this unhappy assault of the enemy. The Lord is raising up a standard against it, though the effect on any spiritual reader of -------- will be the reverse of approval. It was an awful thing when the priests offered strange fire. This necessitated the day of atonement. It is very interesting to see how much more the blessed God expressed

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Himself in types by the burnt offerings and peace offerings, types of His own approach to man, than by the sin offering which was necessary for man's salvation.


In the present controversy (1885) I have been much grieved to find that after all the teaching we have had, it is evident that many have not in their souls more than --------'s doctrine. The measure of grace in it could not lead one to comprehend the ground of the assembly; a soul could be saved who knew as much, but he would not be farther on than a believer in the Establishment. There is great defect in it, and it involves a most serious question. I do not say it is heresy, but as a system it subverts Christianity, as the 'Book of Common Prayer' does; though there be many true Christians who hold the doctrine of it. This defect is, alas! too common in Christendom; that is, limiting the death or work of Christ to justification only. The same blood which shelters me from judgment, and clears me in the presence of God, is that which entitles me to a place in the Holiest of all. The thief on the cross went straight from the deepest degradation to the highest elevation. The death of Christ effected all. The error is, making the Spirit to supplement or add to the work of Christ. Christ, blessed be His name, has by His own work opened the whole way for me from the death of judgment up to the enjoyment of His own life in the sphere where He is.


There is really no difference between the nature of man and the old man. The word 'old nature' I do not think

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occurs in scripture. The effort is to spare in some way the first man. Let us begin by insisting that -- "such as the heavenly one, such also the heavenly ones" (1 Corinthians 15:48), and it is easy to see that there is an entire change of race. That is the truth to be contended for, and it is the truth that in every heterodoxy is undermined. There is a total change of race: "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (verse 49). Nothing but personal identity will remain of the first man. I shall know that I am a new man, but all the ideas and feelings of the old man will have passed away. The idea with those who seek to spare the first man is, that if the evil nature is eliminated that then the old man is free of all that was objectionable and would be continued. It is not so at all; I am of the order of the great heavenly One, and hence the old order has terminated in judgment in the cross.

I see that the Spirit and the bride say, "Come". I think it is right to invite the Lord to come if you are in the spirit and ways of the bride. I think that you ought to be always waiting for His Son from heaven. I should not object to a person praying the Lord to come if he were really ready to receive Him, but very often people pray for His coming as an event which will settle everything, and thus relieve them of the responsibility of decision for Him at the moment.


The first circle which should engage a saint now is the circle of Christ's own. "To love one another as I have loved you"; that is my true and really only circle. I may have tangents striking off from that circle, but the moment I have another circle it is not Christ's. "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:14). The friend of Christ can have no other circle but His. As an evangelist I necessarily form a tangent to this circle, but my simple purpose is to lead souls into this circle. The circle is the

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Fort; I, as an evangelist, go on a foraging expedition to acquire material for the Fort; the Fort is my circle. I emerge from it; I return to it; I seek the lost; I pity the suffering; I heal the wounded and care for the sick; but it is all evangelical, not ecclesiastical. The evangelist is not true to his calling if he does not work with reference to the circle -- the Fort from which he is an agent. I believe -------- and others might go to -------- as real missionaries from the Fort, but then their hearts and hands would be devoted to the saints or to the search for them in the first instance -- not that they would refuse relief to any sufferer, but their mission would be marked and characteristic of their being Christ's friends. I fear beginning at a human circle. People imagine they can step from it to Christ's circle -- a feat which is never accomplished. You can pass from the highest circle to the lowest, but it is impossible in any moral or natural action to ascend from the lowest to the highest. The highest is the one nearest to the source of action, and the lowest is the farthest from it. Hence the philanthropist who begins at the human circle, never reaches the circle of Christ; he is not really a friend of Christ, while the true friend of Christ will by tangents reach out to the lost and suffering around, but always bearing the distinct mark of being Christ's friend.

I see in scripture when there was a famine it was determined to send help to the saints. "Do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10). Begin at Christ's circle, and extend from thence as much as you can. A mere philanthropist was never a "friend" of Christ. "Be not called of men a benefactor". Exploit is not faith, though faith performs great exploits.


I hope that you are now at --------, and that you will find it a very profitable time there. It is generally supposed that Paul was detained two years in Arabia, and that there

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he was deepened in the truth of the great disclosures that were made to him at his conversion. "Prepare thy work ... in the field; and afterwards build thine house" (Proverbs 24:27). It is of the greatest importance that we should know in our own souls the reality of the truth which we propound. If we learn it with God in the solitude of Arabia, we shall be saved from the stumbles which are necessary to convince our conscience that we have gone beyond our measure, and that there is in us more sound than substance. The case of the man who was delivered from the legion has afforded instruction to me; he told what great things the Lord had done for him. My power depends on my being a practical exponent of the truth which I present. The apostle could say, "Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do" (Philippians 4:9). Thus this little seclusion will be in the Lord's care of much benefit to you. There is much need in this day of men who because of affection to Christ can leave all and follow Him. I do not mean give up all their secular calling or abandon their proper business or duties; but those who, without any effort, make Christ and His interests on earth their paramount concern. Where there is great love for an object, there is constantly a greater effort to conceal it than to display it. May your heart have this deep love for Christ.

I do feel that we can never forget the scene we passed through around dear -------- in her last days here. The step from this world to the Lord seemed so simple to her, and it is so great to us.


The Lord bless you both. I am indeed interested in you. The best way that I can show my interest is by exhorting you both to begin with the Lord. There is an old saying, 'The beginning is half the battle'; but in the case of a Christian the beginning is the whole battle. The manna was gathered before the sun rose -- the support for the day

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was secured before the day was entered upon -- enough for the whole day. Your first step will be an index of your next, and because of grace, of your last. If the beginning be of the Lord, the end will be of the Lord. Many mistakes may intervene, but the blessed Lord will bring you back to your best days. You will sing as in the days of your youth. I need not write more. I daresay you have not much time for writing, but I shall be glad to hear from you when it is quite convenient to you. The Lord bless you both much. May you be blessed to each other.


We honour the Lord when we are inflexible as to what is right. The enemy ever seeks to make us give in a little; and once you do this, the Lord no longer supports you. When one is right, he must not look to the right hand nor to the left; he must keep in a straight line. The way of the righteous shall be made plain. Joab worked on David with regard to Absalom, and led him wrong. It is easy to go wrong, but you cannot go right but in the power of God.

Jacob failed at Shechem in making concession. God blessed Abraham because he was so strict and particular about a wife for his son. The throne is established by righteousness.... The important point of a trial of this kind is, that it is, in a way, a test of you. If you cannot stand firm here, how can you stand firm in a matter of personal concern to the Lord? I know that it is the daily and protracted nature of this trial which makes it so peculiarly severe; but it is godly exercise, and exercise is always for profit. Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. The Lord give us each to take all His ways more to heart, and to be in greater readiness to do His pleasure at every juncture.

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-------- is evidently a God-fearing man; such a man must be sorely tried because he does not see ecclesiastical separation. Where separation from the world is not insisted on, it is evident that the former can be only in form, or the latter would be embraced in it....

It is plain enough that life is not an attainment, but in life I attain to much. I think -------- begins right, but I do not think he sees the difference between the life of Christ manifested in the limits of humanity and that same life in divine infinity where Christ is now. Many do not go beyond His resurrection; they do not extend to His ascension. They do not know Christ in glory. They are occupied with Him in relation to their own side. He was at my side and glorified God perfectly in His walk here, and in death, but He is now at His own side, and it is there I intelligently realise the vastness of my life in Him, for He is my life. Christ's death and resurrection translated the believer from his own side to Christ's side, so that as He is so are we in this world; and according as we are at full rest about ourselves, we are occupied with Him who has set us free. Many do not even apprehend the old corn of the land, much less appropriate it. They simply and solely seek for divine support in things temporal; not that they would lose this support if they were feeding on the corn of the land; on the contrary, they would be much more supported, and with the judgment and sensibilities of the heavenly Man in the smallest details of life -- and not acting or judging of things according to our own judgments and sensibilities....

I am assured that I can have no idea of Christ's present mind but as I am in spirit near Him.

I might know all the Bible and have been helped over many a trial, but it is only as I behold Him in glory that I am transformed into the same image. There was no knowing of the Urim and Thummim but in the sanctuary; and that was a present communication.

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I feel thankful to the Lord for my winter. I have enjoyed His word very much for myself, and I trust there is an increased desire to be so in the value and power of His presence, that while all that is unsuited to Him is absolutely refused, there is more exclusive occupation with His things, which God reveals unto us by His Spirit. Like the queen of Sheba, one's own side is shut out, while we listen to the Lord declaring the Father, and opening out "He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (John 16:15).

Some here have been so engrossed with the clearing away of evil, that they have not had leisure of spirit to be "beside" themselves -- to enter into the things of the "greater than Solomon".


I long much to see you in the place of service to which the Lord has called you. I know very well that a servant has to go through much in order that he might be fit for his Master's use. No real servant graduates easily. Every one, more or less, must learn in the same school in which Jonah learned; but on the other hand there are blessings and favours conferred on the servant that the Christian never receives in his, I may say, private capacity. As far as I see, no one but the servant who is in company with the Lord in His own circle, receives of the grace conferred in John 13- 17....

It is a great cheer and help to me when I can find a real companion in the things of Jesus Christ, one with whom I can have communion -- mutually contributing to one another. I do look that the Lord may lead you out more in ministry to His own.... The minister who is set on knowing Christ Himself is sure to get understanding

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in His words, and no ministry is more helpful to the saints than this.


I thank you much for your very gracious letter. I could not convey to you how much it pleased me to see you, for I received it as a special mark of favour from the Lord to see you so bright and happy in the truth. My constant desire now is that you may get utterance from Him to share with others what He has given to yourself. Your constant love is very sweet to me.


I thank you for writing to me, I wish I could talk the subject over with you. I think you would not omit Exodus 15, 16 and 17 from the wilderness. J.N.D. I see calls them God's earthly ways with His people. I agree with you that the Christian state is from Numbers 21, but surely you would not overlook that we have to learn ourselves in the presence of God's grace in the wilderness. It is there we learn that the flesh profiteth nothing. "In me that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18). How could you "remember" (see Deuteronomy 8) if you had not been there? If you had only Numbers 21 you would be stilted. I see in Romans 6 and 7 that I am in the former looking to Christ and the Spirit for relief. In chapter 7 I have learned my inability to keep the law. I consider that we have after justification (the Red Sea) to enter on the path of death to ourselves -- the wilderness, where there is nothing for us but God in His grace. I turn to the manna and the rock for myself, and I find that as I resist Amalek, God is for me. This I call the human side of the wilderness. From Numbers 21 I have come to the end of man, and with life in Christ, and the Spirit given to me, I come out here for the Lord. I run the race surmounting every obstacle, and it is not my own need of Christ now, but I am His, and I am here for Him (Romans 12, 13), and finally I am in the

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wilderness as a heavenly man. See the Epistle to the Philippians. As I read it, it is all Christ there, but still in the wilderness. I hope you will see my mind from these hasty remarks, and that you will agree that we must first learn ourselves in the wilderness. Many an earnest servant, as you know, has been unequal to be 'the Christian' in the wilderness, because he had not learned himself; he had not learned "he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" (Proverbs 28:26). Many a bitter lesson I had to learn in the very presence of the grace of God; hence you are not ready for fighting (as J.N.D. says on Numbers 21) until you see Christ made sin. If Israel had learned themselves in the day of grace, they would not have been subjected to the law. By the law is the knowledge of sin. The Corinthians and Galatians had the Spirit, but they had not learned themselves.


I am glad that you are bringing out a paper to show the difference of effect between the ministry of the gospel and the mystery. I quite agree that the former leads only to a congregation, but I think many have a true idea of the assembly as the house of God, who do not apprehend the mystery. I think from my knowledge that comparatively few amongst us apprehend the mystery. I think, however, that many have faith as to the presence of the Lord in the midst who do not go further. There is surely a difference between seeing Him as Peter did in Matthew 14:26, supreme above all the powers here, and knowing Him as head of His body. I think many are on the ground of Acts 2 who have not gone in faith as far as the Colossians. I quite see that the assembly in its true and full character cannot be apprehended nor known when the mystery is not laid hold of, but I think you must make a difference between the house aspect of the assembly (which is visible) and it as the assembly of the living God, when its organisation is invisible. I think you will see what I mean.

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Your letter has reached me here. I am glad that you are exercised as to the reality and advantage of the Lord in our midst when gathered to His name.

The great point in the Epistle to the Hebrews is to show that Christians have much more than Israel under the Mosaic order.

It begins with our sins being removed (chapter 1:3). In chapter 2 Christ is in the midst of the assembly. Then He is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession -- Son over God's house. Just see how much that involves! The reality of the greatest things typified in the tabernacle. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the antitype of the golden box -- the ark of the covenant, and as such, He comes into the midst of the assembly. He is the Minister of the holy places. He is High Priest over the house of God. All the power and virtue of the heavenly atmosphere comes into our midst with and through Him. We each of us have the right to enter the holiest now while we are still on earth, the veil is rent. This is our individual blessing; but when Christ is in the midst of the assembly He introduces the heavenly atmosphere by Himself, and thus we taste of heaven morally.

In Ephesians we are in heaven in spirit as members of Christ's body. In Hebrews we taste of heaven in the Lord's presence both individually with reference to ourselves, and in the assembly with reference to His concerns. It is God's house. And then follows on the race (chapter 12) we run on, surmounting every obstacle until we reach the top.


I am thankful that you see your way to give up taking --------. I believe that it has lapsed from the testimony to

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which the church has been called. The intention which there was at first to help on souls into full light has not been followed up. To relieve the sin-burdened conscience is I apprehend the utmost of its aim now, without any reference to the responsibility of saved sinners here for Christ. First we have to learn that He has served us, then our calling is to serve Him. A soul set fully in the gospel must be here in testimony, led by the Spirit of God, and a channel through which the Spirit speaks of Christ; "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38). When the satisfaction of the conscience is the measure of grace, there is no growth, for then it is my conscience that is to determine the measure, or the sufficiency of grace for me; when it is so, I never get beyond my conscience.

But the truth is, that I am brought to God. If I can measure God I can measure His grace, and then I am to glorify God in my body which is His. If the gospel be limited to man's feelings, however true and right, he never gets beyond himself -- the sin-offering side of the gospel. This is all of the gospel that is in the Book of Common Prayer. 'Justice asks no more'! Judgment is escaped as in Exodus 12. When I rise to God in the burnt-offering my delight will be to be here according to His pleasure. I have tasted of the joys of His house. "Strength and gladness are in His place" (1 Chronicles 16:27). I seek now to be well-pleasing to Him in all things. The tendency of the day is to make man's benefit the scope of everything, even of the gospel. The Salvation Army is the full-blown expression of it. I hope I have made all this clear to you.

As to the hidden manna, I understand it to be the grace which only the eye of God could see in Christ's walk down here. It is most wonderful to apprehend even in any degree that the Son of God was in our daily life down here -- that He came into such small things as our sorrows and our joys here; the latter He refused, though like turning the water into wine, He promoted them for us.

I have been much interested in the subject of the assembly on the earth. It is the place for saved souls not for anxious ones. If your own interests are not secured perfectly how could you undertake the interests of another? In the assembly you are responsible for Christ's interests.

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If you have not real peace and are not in the enjoyment of His life, how can you devote yourself heartily to His interests? The assembly is, I might say, God's parliament. It is for Him you are to consider there. You are a constituent part of the most august assembly ever on the earth. It is very interesting the difference between association with Him where He is, and His coming into our midst where we are. In the former we lose everything that is unsuited to Him, in the latter we are helped and influenced by His presence where everything is opposed to Him.


... I do not think that gift is developed unless there be surrender of the world which checks it. I do not call fluency of speech gift. I call gift an impression of Christ, and the ability to present the truth of it to souls. It is very humbling the little edification there is in the house of God. If there was more, souls would be attracted to it. In Christendom they make the building imposing and attractive. It is only an imitation of the company, which should be morally imposing and attractive.... As far as I see, testimony is more than service, at least so I read John 15. There may be fruit-bearing -- one may be a disciple when one is not a witness. The testimony is to set forth the heavenly One on the earth. "He shall testify concerning me". Christians in general are quite satisfied with service, and have very little idea of testimony. Surely it is deep joy to the heart in any degree to describe Him as He is -- exalted, where He is rejected, both in His circle and in our own home circle, as we see in Ephesians.


I have been studying the gospel much lately. The tendency is to limit the work of Christ to the measure of the

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burden on our own consciences, instead of seizing by faith the fact that all that was against us -- all the weight, as God saw it -- has been removed in the cross to His infinite satisfaction. There can be no heart, or readiness for the ministry of the church, until the ministry of the gospel is fully known.

We had, thank the Lord, very good meetings; the gospel, the first morning; "Dead unto sin", the second reading; Priesthood, the third; Intimacy or personal knowledge of Christ, the fourth. It was deeply solemn on "dead unto sin", that while ordinary death is only death, yet in feeding on Christ's death we pass out of death into life; and there is no other way into life.


I am glad that you are so full of work ... that you find so much to do at --------, and that the preaching prospers. It is very remarkable the way the Lord has strengthened your hands in the ministry at --------. The Lord is sure to encourage us as He sees fit; but we must not wait for encouragement, we must go on, press on. I find that it was easier to get Israel out of Egypt than to get them into Canaan. Each step in advance evokes more opposition then the previous step; but then God is more and more to us as we advance, and this is everything to the devoted heart. Though there be greater difficulty and opposition there is also more succour from God for the one who is pressing on. When the difficulty is more before the eye than the succour there is a refusing to advance, like the ten spies.

... I disapprove of attempting anything like a Brethren's hymn book. It has always been a work of individual service.... We had very good meetings, thank the Lord, at --------.

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My time has been so occupied I trust you will excuse my delay in answering your letter.

I believe the sorrow or need in one assembly is the sorrow or need of every assembly. Rebekah does not think of the interests of Isaac until she is with Him. When in conscious union with Christ the whole body is your interest as it is Christ's interest. This answers, I think, your first question -- whether our brother's need should have been made an assembly matter. I see that the brother with means is called to dispense it as the Lord may lead him. I feel I should not like to ask him, though I feel always at liberty to present a case of need to the assembly.

The assembly, like Corinth, might not be in a state to minister to the servant. Paul would not accept from the assembly though he received from one of them, but as you observe, the apostle exhorts them to care for the need of others. I am free to ask the assembly to help in a case of need, and I am sure it is good for the assembly to be asked to help.

Your second question as to providing our brother with a boat and nets -- I think that as they represent the tools by which he earns his livelihood it is commendable that we should enable him to continue his business, and I was glad yesterday to give my little expression of sympathy with him.

I am glad you enjoyed the meetings. Friday evening was very humbling -- a voice to us that if we are not in the Lord's hand we are as water spilt on the ground.


As to your question, I understand the difference between the 'sinful man' and the 'wilful man' to consist in this

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-- the former is the man in whom the sin is, who was judicially ended in the cross of Christ, which the believer knows when he believes on Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He is then brought to God, all between God and him has been removed in the cross. If, like the thief on the cross, he dies, he enters into the greatness of the accomplished work; but if he remains here, and does not reckon himself to be dead unto sin -- dead with Christ -- he is reviving the will of the flesh, which had been set aside in the cross, and thus is the wilful man.

Grace enables me to say, "The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

... I trust you were happy in the confidence that the Lord was with you; and that He is the unfailing resource even in these natural blessings, whether when we have them or when a time comes (which may come) when on our side there is "no wine".


I like your reference to David. It sets forth the joy we should look for when Christ gets His right place here. The rapture is the first wave of His power. He thinks first of His own. They enjoy the first fruits of His coming, but the bride would not only look for her own joy of being with Him, but, as in concert with His concerns (which no one but a wife could be), she looks for Him as the King, the Root and Offspring of David, as well as the morning Star. The morning Star is the rapture -- the harbinger of the day. In natural things when the morning star is seen it is a sure indication that the day is at hand. I can understand an individual saint looking only for the rapture, but the bride must also look for the day when her Lord will get His rights.

I was thankful for my time at --------. Kindest love to the little remnant, and say to them -- We ought to be like a

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moral life-boat, seeking to save every one we can out of the wreck around us.


The Spirit and the bride say, "Come"; the end or the remnant return to the best trait at the beginning, which is a heart devoted to Christ personally. Ephesus, with all its light, left its first love, because they turned to earth instead of to the place where He is. Which would you prefer, a portrait of a person or of the place where the person is? Your heart is necessarily in the place where your treasure is. The love cannot be renewed unless you go in spirit to the place where He is, and then you are not asking to go to heaven, but that He would come and receive you unto Himself.


I feel full of thankfulness to the Lord who keeps each of us in His hand, deepening us in the knowledge of His love, and cementing more the union which exists between us for ever. Oh, how happy to feel that we are all going on together! My heart has so gone out to the Lord for the two beloved brothers during the past year, that I feel now as if the harvest time had come. It is a wonderful thing to care for people before the Lord and for the Lord's sake. I have, thank the Lord, enjoyed my visit very much, in spite of the sound of wind and waves where it ought not to be.

... I can hardly tell you the anxious feeling I have had about --------, fearing the action there had been too extreme, and though my sympathies went with you all, yet this made me fear the more lest I should not be impartial, which is the great characteristic of a servant of Christ.... I had thought of writing to -------- to seek to awaken him to a sense of his position, but on reflection I deemed it wiser to leave him to the Lord.

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I received your very kind letter yesterday. One thing is plain to me, that you are bound to consider for your health. I see that the first responsibility of a justified soul on the earth is that he owns that his body is the Lord's (see Romans 12). No service is referred to until this sacrifice is duly made. "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:17). If the beginning be defective, there must be a still greater defect in everything you attempt. Romans 12, 13 describe the new manner of life for the Christian on the earth. If he is not right in Romans he cannot be running on to Christ as in Hebrews. And if he is not in Hebrews, he cannot come from heaven as in Ephesians. As far as I see, the first thing is that as the Lord's servant you must be absolutely governed by the Lord as to your work. If it be the Lord's will for you to have secular employment, surely He would not sanction you so over-taxing your strength that you would be unable to render the service to which the Lord has called you. I hope I have not said too much, but I feel assured that if the beginning is in the Spirit, the rest will follow. May He make this time of exercise of deep profit to you. I shall rejoice to see you set for the Lord and His interests, in this the scene of His rejection.


The endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit is the right principle, but the unity of the Spirit exists, and therefore the many members are but one body. The unity of the body could never be seen by the world, for it is by and in the Spirit. The oneness -- being of one accord and of one mind -- ought to be seen, and was seen before the truth of the unity of the body was revealed. The unity, being by the Holy Ghost, always exists independently of us. The

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oneness which would be the practical working of it has failed, because of the unfaithfulness of man. The unity of the Spirit, if maintained in power, would necessarily lead to oneness, which is spoken of in John 17, where it is not union but oneness of mind, as with the Father and Son. The saints baptised by the Holy Ghost are one body, and this fact, the unity of the body, I endeavour to adhere to, and as it is owned in faith as already existing, the oneness follows. But there was oneness (Acts 2) before the unity of the body was revealed. The unity of the body was never visible save as there was oneness -- "the same mind in the Lord" (Philippians 4:2) The unity exists in and because of the Holy Ghost. The house is the visible thing on earth. The real thing in it is the body of Christ. This was revealed after the church was set up, and consequent too on the rejection of Christ from the earth. Then it came out that when He is personally rejected from the earth, His body, formed by the Holy Ghost, is on the earth to represent Him. The body is the mystery, invisible; but the church, which is His body, was to be visible. It was constructively set here on earth, and it was spoiled in man's hands. The body cannot be spoiled, for it never was in man's hands. The church was not always spoiled, it began well. It was and is still God's habitation on earth, but it grew into large unnatural proportions. It became on earth, though God's house, a great house. The body remained intact, though the visible oneness was indeed soon lost. But there never was a thought of 'manifesting' the corporate unity of the body of Christ -- it could not be done. The oneness was once seen for a moment, and the world will see it hereafter.


There is no divine judgment apart from abstraction, that is, a distinct exclusion from the sphere of human influence. A judgment apparently most right in the circumstances, may be entirely reversed when we are abstracted unto God-wholly apart from the circumstances.

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I am justified in avoiding a company where leaven is working, but I feel one ought not to sever oneself from the company until one is sure that the Lord has abandoned it. I do not consider moral conduct at all equal to doctrinal evil; the one disparages man, the other dishonours Christ. Sensibility thinks of conduct and the like, and sees it as it appears in the eye of man. Conscience sees it only as God sees it. Paul could say, "Not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that had suffered wrong; but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear" (2 Corinthians 7:12). In every case of magnitude known to me, the doctrine, or the offence done to Christ, was the prominent thing -- the crime against Christ is greater than that against good conduct. I only desire that there should be care for the poor of the flock, and the real pastor would not desert them, but would use every means to arouse their consciences to a sense of their spiritual peril. Samuel, and others protested, but waited to save as many as they could. The Lord give us to care for His treasure hid in the field. To see you in the front for Him will, I trust, ever be a delight to me.


I hold most assuredly that the Holy Ghost came down at Pentecost, and that the church began at Pentecost. Then the baptism of the Holy Ghost took place; but though the Spirit was then given to make good all that was involved in the mystery, still the mystery was not as yet revealed, and no one could now plead that he might be now as the disciples in Acts 2, because then the mystery was not revealed; now it is revealed. In Acts 2 the Holy Ghost baptised all there, though the consequence of the baptism was not yet revealed, but now that it is revealed, any one to begin at the beginning cannot ignore the mystery which was involved, though not revealed, when the Holy Ghost at Pentecost filled every one of them.

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In my paper I am trying to guard against meeting as merely 'Believers' Meetings', and denying that we can be corporately gathered. I am cheered by your remark -- 'I trust that if the Lord tarries there may be a revival in the hearts of His own'. This is my one great desire. Surely "the bride" is ready for Him.

The Lord bless you much in your new abode. May you in every way be for Him who was rejected here, but who now exalted to God's right hand is the source and fountain of all our joy and blessing. May you greatly prosper in every good word and work.

The Lord with His disciples was the real Servitor, making them His object and serving them so perfectly that, though His service never obtruded itself, when they lost it they felt that they had lost everything. I know when I have served a person genuinely by my desire for his benefit, irrespective of myself or my service.


Will you permit me to lay before you two considerations which I believe will help you to a right judgment in the -------- matter.

First. In everything connected with the assembly we are sure to err, if we do not keep in mind its rights and duties.

The assembly is the Lord's company, and we cannot interfere with it, but under His direction. If I have the Lord simply before my mind in the assembly, I regard everything there with reference to Him. There can be no indifference there. The prophets are to speak, two or three, and the others to judge (1 Corinthians 14:29, New Trans.). Judging is a duty. The assembly is not a republic. "Let all things be done decently and in order" (1 Corinthians 14:40). The greatest authority, the Holy Ghost, is here. God is not the author of confusion. The assembly is required to respect and appreciate the ministry and food supplied to it (see 1 Thessalonians 5:13).

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I admit that it is those who have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints -- those who take the oversight, who are the ostensible agents of this care; all I say is, that the care should exist in every assembly, and that when it is neglected in any assembly, the saints there have failed in their duty, at all events. Surely in any respectable house the responsible servants could not allow that ill-cooked or unwholesome food should be served up to their master's guests. I maintain therefore that -------- intended rightly (however they failed in details) in refusing a ministry which did not edify. No one doubts, that I have heard of, on any side, that the ministry was unprofitable. Now if the assembly at -------- was bound to refuse this ministry, you are not keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace if you accept it, nor is any one who accepts it, because if a brother be under church censure in one place, he is under church censure in every place. You may try to remove the censure, but if you ignore it without expostulation, you dishonour the Lord.

Secondly. Let me ask you, are you sensible of the gravity of division? The assembly cannot be divided as a field. In a division the Head cannot go with both parts. The Lord goes with one side only -- He cannot go with both. Then the issue is very solemn, and be assured, if the Lord be not with you, though you may preserve a fair character and an unblemished reputation, and though you may be blessed in the gospel, your light and knowledge of His mind is sure to wane. I have seen it over and over that even godly souls when they lose the presence of the Lord in their midst never receive any fresh light from Him. They are alive but dwarfs.

The Lord give you -to seek His way at this time.


I do not see that the disciples had the life "more abundantly" until after the resurrection. The eternal life was manifested in the Son and they were being prepared to

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receive it, but they did not receive it until He breathed on them. Everything in the Gospels as regards the state of the soul was only in pattern. The disciples were with Him, who was the eternal life, and in His company they were in a way tasting of it, but eternal life could not be a known possession to a man still under the judgment of death. When the judgment on man had been removed in the cross, He who removed it could communicate His own life, which never could have been done before, and no one had come from heaven until He came.

I feel as if the Lord were helping us to understand many things which we had accepted in the scriptures, but the size of which morally we had very little apprehension of at first. The more we see the more we have to see; it is the one and the same country and Person, but exploring and acquaintance with them have immensely increased them to us. I am cheered by your prosperity at --------. I have been grieved to hear that there has been an attempt more than once to assert right to minister in the assembly. This is simply republican. If not resisted in divine power it will increase.


First let me say that I cannot see that 2 Thessalonians 3 applies to the same case as 1 Corinthians 5. I do not understand the former as putting away. It is rather discipline in the house. 1 Corinthians 5 is distinctly of the positive kind -- putting away; and certainly I should treat a man who would not work with his hands in a very different way from that in which I am required to treat one who is put away. I am sure you will agree with me that putting away is the most solemn act, it is like a man undergoing amputation in order to preserve his body from the poison in the diseased member; and this he submits to, though the operation costs him much suffering and loss; but there is no help for it. Now this is putting away "from among yourselves", and we feel the pain of it, but we accede to it as required, in order to preserve

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from the leaven. It is a solemn, painful act and everything ought to be done to prevent the necessity of such an act; but the necessity being established, and the act done, there remains now nothing but to seek the restoration of the one put away. How that is to be sought -- becomes the question between you and me. I do not think the case which you adduce of the lost sheep or the prodigal is in point. The prodigal is not the case of a backslider; for then it would be grace that he had squandered; the thing that he squandered was never restored to him, an entirely new thing was conferred on him.

I believe it quite right to seek, by prayer, the restoration of the one put away, nor do I mean to say that there should be no advance by visiting of a purely pastoral nature, where there is grace for it. One so led of the Lord would help the assembly and not act in despite of it. But I do think the advances for return to fellowship ought to begin with the one who has been put away. I think his sorrow is to indicate to the assembly these advances, and that his first advances ought to be to the assembly. I do not understand putting away by the assembly, and individuals by their advances giving the impression that they are more loving, and more tender than the assembly, thus obtaining for themselves favour in the eyes of the one put away at the expense of the assembly, and really annulling and depreciating their own most solemn and holy act; making out that they are individually less stringent than they are collectively. I believe --------'s restoration has been greatly retarded by individuals giving him this impression. He has really only to do with the assembly, and his first advances ought to be to it, and he ought to refuse advances from individuals. If he has respect to Christ's order on earth and His discipline, his true course is in repentance to seek re-admission to the circle of His interests, and to wait on God for it; and then I, for one, should feel free to visit him because his case was before the saints, and as he had prayed them to entertain his re-admission, I, as one of them, might now, without in any way impugning their act of discipline, call on him, or see him, in order to be assured before God of his state. It would be now no longer a case under discipline, but

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a case for restoration; the discipline having proved sufficient, or at least there would be this hope. The beginning of repentance is the soul repudiating the nature that had exposed itself, and not the mere act of exposure. I quite feel with you and desire to mourn with you that there is 'not more longing of heart going out unto God for the banished ones', but until the assembly remits the discipline it would ill become me to ignore what the assembly has done; and thus make myself not of it. The act of putting away is the gravest, and if you see the gravity of it, you must see that to recall that act must be most solemn, and indeed the most blessed act for the church, for it is of grace.


Your letter followed me here.

The most powerful human mind, however exercised on scripture, cannot apprehend the mind of God respecting His own revelations. If we say we have fellowship -- common mind -- with God and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth; and surely if one has not the mind of God all one's thoughts are vain, or worse.

Now if any one is walking in nature he cannot apprehend the mind of God, and it is worse than presumption his assuming to do so. The first action in nearness to God is the action of light -- exposing all that is unsuitable to Him; after light has done its work, then there is communion. Now if I see men walking in nature -- not wickedness, but in self, then I know that their spiritual judgment must be defective. Each and all of J.N.D.'s opponents come under this head. They have fallen into the snare of the hour -- the reckless attempt of grasping the mind of God by the natural mind being exercised on the word.

Judgment is nicely distinguishing between two things in which there is the least difference. Who will decide between Jannes and Moses? The similarity between truth

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and falsehood is the refinement of wickedness, and the consummation of it, and it is what we pre-eminently have to contend with now. Spiritual judgment is therefore required. But has one, who is living in nature spiritual judgment? We all know that he has not.

One word more. As to your objection to what J.N.D. says about the Lord's sympathy with the remnant, you do not seem to me to understand what sympathy is. To be able to sympathise you require to have suffered as deeply, or more deeply, than the one whom you sympathise with, and at the same time to be so free from all suffering on your own account as to be able to throw yourself into his circumstances, and identify yourself in spirit with his sufferings. Our Lord had not passed through death, or endured bereavement in the ordinary sense, when He sympathised with Mary at the grave of Lazarus, but He felt death more deeply than she did. I believe that the great difficulty in discerning this question, as to the Lord's personal sufferings, arises from not seeing the Son's scope of action in doing the will of God. He made all things at first. Man in God's image was the last made -- the finish! He comes to earth of which He was the Creator, taking the very weakest place -- that of a Babe: not for man merely, though to man, not to God merely, but for God. He takes away the sin of the world, He enters into every incongruity here, in holy unswerving appreciation of what was due to God. Wherever grace is the new creation is, and as it works in those who are subjects of it, there the Lord knows and understands His own virtues -- what their value is, and what they have to contend with. He forms and sustains His own nature in that which is under judgment, even a judgment which in infinite grace He bore. He thus knows both one and the other.

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The education of the servant is as John said, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). It was right for Paul to deprecate the thorn in the flesh, and yet he was a better and a greater servant when a reduced man than he was before. It is no easy lesson to learn "when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10). It is very interesting to see that our weakest moment as a man, is our strongest divinely.... As the outer man perisheth the inner is renewed day by day. The deepest struggle is when, in the life of Jesus and in His feelings as to the things I am passing through, I part company with my own naturally approved feelings or abilities, because they are not His but merely my own. Martha would not part with her own. Mary exchanged her own for His, and was abundantly consoled.


Every exercise is only a preparation for a greater exercise. If you get over the present one with the Lord you are prepared for the next. It is a race here, or rather a steeplechase. You are no sooner over one obstruction than another is before you, but if you do not clear the one before you, you are, as they say, 'pounded'; there is no progress. The Lord is as much for us in the least as in the greatest. If I know the good of dependence in the present I need not think of the future. His support in the present step prepares me for the next.... The more you are exercised the better you will be.


As to all the sorrow, I can only say that when life has been in any measure learned, death must be learned, and that in a different way by each of us, but it has the bitterness of death in it, or it is not really death. The night must be

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endured; the ascent of Mount Moriah must be traversed; but they that sow in tears shall reap in joy. I have felt much for you, and I have desired to press on you before the Lord that you should not be hindered by these things, but the rather that you may seek greater grace from the Lord to edify and help His people. Where there is opposition to one's ministry, as I have found, if one is simply cast on the Lord, either one of two things will happen: either the opponent will be won by the truth, or he will be manifested to all as of no weight. May much blessing accrue to you, and indeed to us all, from this heavy affliction laid on --------, and may you be so supported and encouraged by the Lord Himself that you may be a more efficient servant according to His pleasure.


I cannot now say all I would like to say, and the blessing I am looking to the Lord to grant you as exercised by your present discipline. I am the more interested in you, and desire that the Lord may give you a higher line of service, and that you may be assured by Him that He wants you to be more His friend. It is not great acts which convey the assurance of the greatest love. The greatest love of all can say, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30). The more minute the attention the greater the true love and interest.

The end of all discipline is that God is more before me. "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee" (Job 42:5).


His discipline is the sure evidence of His present interest in us -- to make us partakers of His holiness. In the examples given in Hebrews 11 they were all suffering for Christ's sake. Yet it was for their own benefit. One in one way and one in another. Our hope is only in God.

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Dear -------- is, I trust, being fitted for the Lord's service here. I have said that Jonah was at college, but that Paul was a graduate in Philippians 1. There are two kinds of discipline -- one to correct you, the other to help you. Jacob is corrected at Shalem, and he is helped at Bethel. It is only oneself who can distinguish them. Hebrews 12 is the latter. I hope you will continue to see -------- I daresay that there is an unsatisfied desire there -- the light received not acted up to. The is altar at El-Elohe-Israel indicates a heart not in the "large place". Bethel is the altar where you are in His circle of things. I am more and more convinced that the real check to our spiritual growth is from some defect in infancy -- an imperfect apprehension of the gospel. The death of Christ and all involved in it must be entered into before the value and greatness of the resurrection can be estimated.


I feel much for -------- . Deep indeed is his affliction, but the Lord has been leading him on in so marked a way that we must not be surprised if He calls him to ascend Mount Moriah. "We who live are always delivered unto death". Death here is the only setting of life in Him.


The better we submit to the discipline of the prison the sooner are we set at liberty. We must be much inside with God when He would use us much outside, and it is really from inside that we must come to be of any use outside. It is in abstraction from all here near the Lord that we are truly and rightly influenced to act for Him where everything tends to distract.


The great thing in service is coming fresh from the Master. -------- has had a very marked course of discipline. It is

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most interesting to see the variety of the ways in which the Lord leads us in order to fit us for Himself and things that He suffered us to enjoy at one time are now denied us, or removed, if we are ready to die to them. The marvel is how little we comprehend His meaning; we are more occupied with relief than exercised as to the way we receive it from Him; and often possibly too anxious to find out the cause of it, while the real exercise is being cast upon God in it. Finding compensation in Him for our sufferings, as Jacob, when he left Shalem for Bethel: or better still, Paul learning "My grace is sufficient for thee". It is a new thing for dear -------- to be an invalid. I trust she may learn much of the Lord to the joy of her heart in this new experience. I consider Jonah's will was broken when he was in the depths of the sea, but in the loss of the gourd his heart was softened, or at least he had to learn that when the gourd was gone, there was no one to comfort him but God. It is a great thing for the soul when it is in such utter bereavement of every natural attraction that it has nothing nor any one but the Lord. The Lord is one and His name one. What a thing it is to find one's all in one Person.

About twelve were at the breaking of bread here, and they say there were seventy at the preaching in the barn, which was half filled with hay! I gave them the difference between "goodness" and "love". Goodness, according to its means, does everything that its object requires. Love does all it can for its object to its own satisfaction. My need is the measure of God's grace in one; and in the other, blessed be His name, His own heart is the measure.


However the Lord may work blessing out of this sorrow, the sorrow is a present reality. It is grievous, but the gain intended by God from it is only acquired through exercise, not to find out the reason for it, but to cast you upon Himself. I do not refer now to Christ's sympathy, but that you can have no rest but in spreading it out before Him, and thus you will be brought into such a consonance with Him that you will have obtained a deeper knowledge

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of God, and your ministry will be more helpful. My great desire for you is that you may be more and more fitted by Himself for His service. No servant of the Lord knows his work before he is employed. A man of the world would not hire as a coachman, a man who had never driven a horse. The Lord empties us, and thus teaches us the true way to fulfil the service to which He has appointed us. We may sometimes think that He is hard on us, in subjecting us to sorrow and loss in various ways, and often when we least expect it, but He has to make His servants to His hand. The assurance that this is His purpose with you will be a great solace to you. In the light with Him everything is seen in divine reality; that which is of the flesh is condemned, and that which is of the Spirit is confirmed. Where there was any pride of life it will be exposed and withered up, and you will be so self-diminished that you will be able to say: When I was weak then was I strong. It must ever be a losing on man's side when it is a gaining on Christ's side. Paul in prison and John in exile were very low in the sight of men, but greatly favoured of the Lord.


I know you do not take lightly this affliction. The Lord does not like us to take an affliction lightly. A rebuke entereth more into a wise man than a hundred stripes into a fool. But the more you take it to heart the more you reach His "holiness", that, so to speak, is the goal. The Father's discipline is intended to effect the greatest gain that could possibly be acquired -- even to be "partakers of His holiness", the only time this word is used. The mere thought of reaching up or arriving at any apprehension of the separateness in which He is, is a great delight and encouragement to the heart, and it has very great practical effect. Once any of us have, in any degree, partaken of His holiness, we become correspondingly sensitive to everything contrary to or inconsistent with it. It is the superior thing which ever enables us to refuse the inferior, and this in a wonderful way works all round. We do not feel that we are doing anything. We shrink from the atmosphere, we

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like to be 'encased' in the armour of light, as the wool grows on the sheep to protect it from the winter cold. The process is a very interesting one. Your divine tastes are so advanced that the incongruities in everything here are not only apparent but their real value is disclosed. You do not feel that you are losing -- though you are losing the things here -- because you are so assured of the highest and greatest gain. Three great facts or events have occurred and our faithfulness is proved by the way we are affected by them. The first is, that Christ has come, has died for our sins, and has risen. Secondly, that He has gone into heaven. Thirdly, that the Holy Ghost has come down to be with us and in us. The fourth is our prospect that He is coming again. Now every believer knows something of the first -- no salvation otherwise. The second and third test our faithfulness; Christ is in heaven, do we seek the things that are above where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God? The Holy Ghost is with us and in us; does He lead and control our hearts absolutely in this scene in the absence of our Lord? All knowledge of truth is ineffectual when we are not in correspondence with these great unconditional facts, which remain true, even though we are not true to them; but when we are, all the truth is in its place. You are a special interest to the Lord at this time. May He fulfil all His pleasure respecting you, and fit you for His own service in a scene where there can be nothing right because He has been rejected from it.


I have been dwelling much lately on "the body is the Lord's". It is marvellous grace that He should first bear all the judgment that lay upon it and then make it the temple of the Holy Ghost, to be here for Himself, and as here to be with Him in the kingdom to reign with Him. There is then the discipline to help us, and the discipline to correct us. Jacob was corrected at Shechem, but he was helped at Bethel. We who live are alway delivered unto death -- this is help. The suffering in Hebrews 11 was for righteousness, but we are thereby

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made "partakers of His holiness". There is no expression of light from us greater than the light in us. As the light increases, the check, or the stone before the wheel is removed. As J.N.D. has said, we cannot die ourselves, but as we bear about in our bodies the dying of Jesus, God rolls in death to help us. It is deeply interesting to understand His treatment! The Lord bless you much. It is very happy to turn to the Lord for you.


I am daily learning that I must not be surprised by any sorrow in the place where the Son of God has been rejected.... When there is much to draw on one and to be most thankful for, there much sorrow might be. The Lord preserve you to us and to His service. I have been very much impressed of late, that as the blessed Lord was here for us, we now should be here for Him -- that we receive not only grace for ourselves to the fulness of the Father's love, but we receive special grace to be here for Christ.


My comfort is, that this discipline is to help you. We who live are always delivered unto death. We are touched where we feel most, but when you can see it is this -- as sent by the Lord, that He should be more and more manifested in your mortal body, you can praise Him while you suffer. May this be your blessed experience. The blessed Lord is Jehovah-Jireh. Abraham had to travel a very desolate path before he realised this.

The Lord will satisfy every desire of your heart. The desire comes first and then the preparation. Moses was forty years being prepared for the desire of his heart.


It is very interesting to me the way the Lord allows one to be as water poured on the ground, and then as there is turning to Him, He raises up from the lowest point to the highest, as in Josiah's reign and at other times.

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The greater the affection the greater the sorrow; it is the sense of bereavement which makes the sorrow so great, and yet the greater this is, the greater the consolation in the sorrow, because the greater the loss the more is the heart justified for its sorrow.

How the disciples must have felt when our Lord died! How easy it was for them to remember Him in that night! How truly His death was before them!

I have been interested in seeing how the doctrine which is distinctively Christian has been reduced to man's mind instead of being insisted on according to its divine measure. While many begin at the beginning -- know how sins are cleared, how few know even in word how SIN is cleared away, and so on as to every section of the truth.


You are constantly before me in your deep sorrow, the deepest doubtless that you have ever known. May your heart be able to feel how near the Lord is to you at this time, the interest, I may say, that He takes in you in your present exercise. It is such a moulding time with Him when you can pass from your sorrow to Him and to the solace His own self can afford that you will gain in a double way, you will not only be relieved of your anguish, but you will have found the Lord in quite a new way. He blessedly fills the blank, the blank which you may have felt almost intolerable. But, blessed be God, He turneth the wilderness into a standing water; where the sense of the greatest desolation has been, there is now the sense of the greatest consolation in, and by, and from a Person whom you can never lose. It is a most blessed experience to be sustained under great pressure. The sympathy of the Lord Jesus Christ, not relieving me from the pressure, but making me to know that He beside me is bearing up the weight that it may not crush me; and at the same time to be assured of His interest and present care, so that He is daily more and more to me, is most blessed. May this winter be indeed the prelude of a great spring time to you.

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Your letter was the first intimation I have had of this great trial to you. I am sure you will and do feel it much. The more deeply we feel any trial the more the Lord's intention in it is promoted. If in nearness to the Lord you find compensation for this loss, you will gain immensely, and your gain will be great joy to me. I see in my own history when a trial was endured as Job endured it, that my heart expected some compensation as a balance or set off to my loss, as Job did, and eventually he found "the end of the Lord ... is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" (James 5:11); but I have found lately that when the sympathy of Christ was realised -- drawing me to Himself, that I had a compensation for my loss more than any earthly mercy could be to me. The Lord grant that you may know this compensation in your present trial. I hope when the Lord has opened any way for you that you will kindly write to me. Be assured, I shall rejoice in your welfare. May He bless you in nearness to Himself.


My heart is pained for you. The word to comfort me is -- "I was brought low, and he helped me" (Psalm 116:6). It is immense comfort to get near the Lord and to be assured that He is especially interested in you at this moment. Blessed Lord, Thou canst support at this time! He can relieve but He does support. He sympathises. He will be beside you so that the sorrow is a great occasion for Him to prove His love to you. I can only turn to Him for you; you have been peculiarly near and dear to me for many years. The Lord greatly comfort and support you. What times of blessing you are passing through though so sorrowful to man's eye.


... The mercy of the Lord endureth for ever. I rejoice in His mercy to you, and indeed to me also. We can sing Psalm 134. But surely it is also a great seed-time. We

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sow in tears but we reap in joy; thus our very infirmities become an occasion for knowing Him better. Words which we had heard or read of Him are verified to us.


I can well enter into the sense of the blank in your house that you are feeling at this moment. The removal of the dearest from one's side for ever in this scene must cast a shadow on the scene that can never be removed, and yet it ministers blessing to the one thus afflicted.

Though this scene is deeply darkened, the One to whom she has gone is more than ever before your heart. Thus out of the eater comes forth meat. I am quite sure that the death of a beloved one here in a peculiar way brings our Lord's death more before the heart. Every fresh sorrow revives all the former sorrows; and surely no death is more affecting to our hearts than His. We are indeed pilgrims and strangers where He died, and where death caused Him the deepest sorrow. The Lord be much with you, or rather may you be so very near Him that you may be led by Him aright in the new and more dreary path now before you.


I heard last evening of your great bereavement; my heart is grieved deeply for you. I cannot attempt to console you, but I know that as you are with Christ outside of all the sorrow here, He can and will console you; yes, He will not only bear you above your deep sorrow, but He will so endear Himself to you as He did to Mary as He walked with her to the grave of Lazarus, that you will be thinking of your gain in Him rather than on your great loss down here. May you be thus fully consoled. I feel so much for you because I know that the dear one removed from your side was everything to you naturally. I do not expect nor wish you to answer this, but when you have light from the Lord as to your future home here,

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where you will be properly cared for, I shall be glad of a brief line.

May the Lord bless you much and use you more than ever for His own still in the wilderness.

"My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the bed of spices" (Song of Songs 6:2). Is His garden attractive to you? In the gospel He comes to us. In the assembly we leave our own side of things and travel to His side -- "Part with me".


When I heard of your sorrow I wished to write to you. Sorrow draws out the heart (where sorrow is known) more than joy. Our blessed Lord is ever near the sorrowing one, and if subject to Him it is sure to know that He is alongside. Until the heart has learned His sympathy in its deepest sorrow, there is not that discovery of His heart and interest which produces the Ruth-devotedness. Naomi became endeared to her in the hour of her desolation, therefore her devotedness exceeded Jonathan's to David. How rarely can any one come near you in your sorrow! It is a great time! The poor heart is wrenched, and yet the blessed Lord uses this breach as an opportunity of making His heart for you better known. It is a chapter in your history which you will ever look back to. Earth almost a blank, shadowed over as it is, and it is fit that it should be, because Christ has died here, but Himself, as the clear shining of the sun after rain, binding your heart in the closest way to Himself, while life reigning in eternal glory opens out the more to you. Death in a family is never forgotten; every new sorrow only revives it. We must be prepared to find nothing after us. The Lord cheer your heart abundantly.


It is very interesting the varied ways in which our God fits us for His own service. The gift is Christ's, and the vessel has to be formed and made fit for it. The Lord give

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you to see His purpose in this training that you may be not only restored in health, but better fitted for His service.

The body is the Lord's. The keys of death and Hades are now in His hands. I can see no difficulty in Satan assaying to hinder Paul, and the Lord allowing it for His servant's advantage.

As to sickness, etc., when for discipline He may allow one to catch cold, and so on; I do not see where Satan could come in save in persecution, and this, as we see in Hebrews 12, is turned to our own account that we may be "partakers of his holiness".

Sanctification is practically superseding the old man by Christ.


It is interesting to connect the two ministries by which sanctification is promoted -- the ministry of the word within, and the ministry of circumstances, health or otherwise, outside. Cut off from the external interests to be more exclusively engrossed with the things of our Solomon within.

Dear --------. It is indeed 'grievous', but no servant ever advanced without the Father's discipline. "We which live are alway delivered unto death" (2 Corinthians 4:11). It makes a great difference whether it is our idol which is our scourge (our idol is where we have most vitality), or that God in His own way removes it from us by death. For instance, a man might be greatly ensnared by singing, and it might become a rod to beat himself, but if he honestly desired to be free from it, God would roll in death on him, and he might become unable to sing. The servant must be a sufferer. My kindest love to him. May the Lord comfort him much; we all learn that the end of the Lord is very pitiful. Though He is so great, His mercy endureth for ever. He loves to come down to our weakest point, and then to make manifest the strength of His arm.

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LETTERS TO J.N.D. + 1835.

I am very thankful to you for all the trouble you have taken about the books.... I hope you do not cease remembering me in your prayers. I feel happy in thinking that others in communion with the Lord are naming me before my Father. I believe we little know how the Spirit communicates with one another. Indeed, most truly I can thank you for all your love to me in this matter, and though you said some hard things you had ground for saying them -- from non-acquaintance with the circumstances. The Lord's will I respect in His mercy at any cost, but human opinion about this profession or that I have no respect for, unless it interferes with the Lord's name. I am sure we ought to be contented in our path here, knowing how to sing 'We are bound for the kingdom'. We had a very nice preaching last night in the school house. There were too many people to fit in the school house. It was very cheering; the heaven above us reminding us that God, not a roof, was over us, and the confession was out manfully in the face of the world. I think it was very profitable. We are going to begin to study Irish. Perhaps you will let me trouble you (much will have more) to get us some two or three Irish grammars -- those used in the society. We have some very nice visiting. I try to read a little Hebrew almost every day. You taught me the letters. I am glad to see that it sometimes occurs to you to visit us. I should like to see my substance -- -as you must have been if I was the 'shadow!' I have not had time to examine to my satisfaction the answers to my queries which you kindly sent me. I want to know, Could the Holy Ghost be in any one who is not testifying of Jesus, or could He testify in any one and that person be but a professor, as Hebrews 6? I satisfy

+ A large number of letters from J.B.S. were found among Mr. Darby's papers after his death, most of which were of too private a nature for publication. It is thought that extracts from a few of them here given may be read with interest. When No. 1 of this series was written the writer was in his 20th year.

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myself by knowing that God is love, and if I am led to love God, God must have loved me before, but I cannot answer the questions to others.

There is no reading at -------- but of clergymen. Now, desiring to think in love of all saints, afflicted and rejoicing with you, I am in the Lord's abounding mercy, my very dear brother in Him, your very grateful and loving brother.

PS. -- John L. sends his blessing to you. I am sure I shall like the books you recommend.


I must write you one line of thanks for your letter respecting the revival work in Ireland. I have had so much exercise about it. Since I left the Establishment I have not been more pressed for a clear and assured line of acting. In the Plymouth controversy I saw my path clearly. But to reconcile the work now going on in Ireland, or rather the means employed in it, has painfully engaged me. I did more than once think of writing to you to help me with your judgment as to it, but I felt that I must wait and learn. You see I am very solitary here. I hear what is passing. The effect of it on -------- is discouraging. I think and feel your letter sets forth the truth distinctly, but yet I must confess that I do not go with the means. The little I know of Christ's love and of what it is to be a member of His body, makes me desire for His sake that every saint knew it. I learned it from you, through His grace, and in many a wearied hour, when broken and humbled, what comfort and restoration have I derived from it. Dare I say (what some say at Kingstown) that they never knew christian communion until now!

I feel the Lord is working at --------, and also a little here with reproach and persecution of a certain order.

May every strength be vouchsafed to you, dearest brother, to maintain the truth so precious to the heart of Christ. He loved the church, and gave Himself for it.

Ever in happy and grateful remembrance of old and present services, etc.

PS. -- When I look abroad in Christendom, I see every religious man is evangelical according to his light, and

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there he thinks his responsibility ends; and among brethren how many also there have been who have sought to escape church responsibility under the cloak of preaching the gospel.... 'The Times' can be evangelical for serving the world. One can be evangelical and still entirely in the spirit of the world. I feel brethren ought to be evangelical in the true sense; but more, they ought to be the nurses and guardians of every lamb in Christ's flock because they are dear to Him.


It is grateful to me to write to you -- you were so loved by my beloved son -- and I am sure he owed you much, for unless he learned truth when he was staying with you, I know not where he had the opportunity, for I had seen very little of him since his conversion. His knowledge of truth was so clear and simple; we found in his desk letters written to several, and an elaborate essay on the mystery of the church, in answer to some one who contended with him at Plymouth. His interest for the church and for the Lord personally was very striking, and his ideas of service embodied in a long letter, bearing evidence of being intended for a Mrs. -------- there, shewed very clearly that the Lord was first with him, and service secondary. It strikes me as so different from young Christians in general. Surely this dear one delighted himself in sitting at the feet of Jesus, and now he is beside Him. I could not wish him back; yet I must feel the blank his absence causes. It was great blessing to myself to witness such a tranquil departure.... Blessed be God, He knows how to lead us on, and we ought at this time of day to be able to rely on His love.... May my heart rejoice in all your service, and the Lord cheer you in it, dearest brother. -- Yours affectionately and gratefully.


I rejoice to find that you are so happily and usefully employed. The accounts which come from various quarters are very interesting. It has, I feel, quite a confirmatory effect on oneself to hear and know of the power of the self-same grace in a, country [America] where one has been

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accustomed to think that the inhabitants had but the one object for which they had broken up old ties and associations, in fact, sacrificed every national feeling in order to acquire property in the world -- Zacchaeus-like; but like him their success does not meet the necessity of the heart, and here we all have our own note of praise. What you tell speaks well for the sincerity of the clergymen. I suppose the national system does not obtain there as it does here.

It is curious to see, as in India, where there is very little organised system, how naturally Christians get disentangled from it.

I have read your answer to Dr. Colenso. I had no idea that his objections were so insignificant, though I know many will make his book an excuse for openly avowing an infidelity, active already in their hearts, and only wanting a good excuse, like a broken-down merchant, to take the benefit of the act. These kind of people never seek the moral of any scripture -- it is all criticism and discovery -- nothing whatever for the conscience. The 'Essays and Reviews' will carry away the thinking and intellectual, but Dr. Colenso will carry the thoughtless and immoral.

I am now reading the Psalms, and find that I derive a breadth of feeling which is peculiar in accompanying in any degree the remnant, and the Lord sharing its trials, great and many, and how the mercy and succour of God are learned. The man of earth escaping from the evil and violence of his own confreres, and finding refuge in and help from God. And to think of the Son of God having walked through the burning fiery furnace in order to deliver one of them! One gets such a different impression respecting the earth from reading one of the psalms, at least I do now -- the godly man in it emerging, I might say, out of the mire....

Baptism, I feel, is properly the expression of where man must now begin with God. Before the death of Christ, man, so to speak, was on the ground of trial, he might try to recover himself; the law addressed him on this ground, and John's testimony had not set it aside, but the death of Christ did. All was now ended judicially, and there was salvation to him who believed, but judgment on him who

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refused this salvation. Man could not come before God at all now but through the death of Christ, where he -- man himself -- is ended, for as Christ died for all, all were dead. There is no locus standi now for man, the death of Christ established man in the place of death, therefore in being baptised I own that man is at an end as to all hope or ability before God. Faith, through the operation of God, raises me into newness of life -- quickened together with Him who is risen out of the dead. I, as a believer, could not present my children to God on any other ground -- nor is there any other ground to come before God now. I see that Peter and the apostles were enjoined to baptise. Paul says he was not sent to baptise. Peter called on his people to own their lost condition and accept the sure mercies of David. Paul was a minister and a witness of the things he had seen, and he uses baptism as expressive of a condition morally realised, for if I am risen with Christ, then my place as dead in the old man follows as a necessary consequence.

May the light and joy and strength of every truth given to you be richly experienced in your own soul, and may the gratitude of us who are blessed be known to you through the grace of our blessed Lord in your own increased blessing.


I hope you will find time to write a paper for 'The Girdle' on Divine Spirituality in order to correct and preserve the minds of saints from the subtle notion now spreading, that there is a spiritual nature in every man, and apart from the animal, and that when this dominates man is spiritual, and sowing to it he reaps everlasting life, etc. I do not propose to you to examine the error, which is very like the ancient gnosticism, but to state the truth, and I want Mr. -------- to give the character of setting forth the truth to 'The Girdle', more than simply, or altogether papers for comfort, etc.

I trust you are not much moved by --------'s publications. He had the bad taste to send me an advertisement of it, and I wrote him a few lines stating that the impotency of his attempt relieved me as far as you were concerned, but that

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I was shocked and alarmed for himself because of the dishonesty of his papers, I am sure the great suffering for Christ in the present day more than ever, is reproach and disparagement from those who profess His name, because one stands forth to maintain the truth in its integrity and fulness.

I think it is as nothing to be cut off and despised by the world; but to be accounted heretical by Christians when you are seeking to preserve and to present the simple truth to them, is to my mind the bitterest suffering. Though on the other hand I feel that it binds the heart of every true disciple (however weak) the more to any such suffering one valiant for the truth. It could not be otherwise. What an eclipse to the soul would it be to surrender or be deprived of a particle of the truth which in mercy has been given to us! There is a desperate effort going forward to swamp or mar the truth. The Lord increase wisdom and strength to you to encounter it in all the beauty and majesty of truth and for His sake. I had a very agreeable time with the brethren in London, and am here again in the old routine as if I had not been in scenes so different and so interesting. It is a great rest to feel that the Lord's will is to be our aim and nothing else.


I have no publication worthy of the name to send you. I have noticed the taint where I had expected better things, and from one who had studied largely and carefully, but if truth be slighted and there be no sincere seeking to walk according to it, it seems to me that it only prepares the mind for sophisticated perversion. I should be truly sorry if you were to appear as discussing --------'s commentaries. I believe the subject of the Lord's sufferings in their threefold nature as you have presented them very important. I see the beauty and the order of the truth therein, but I do not touch on them. The Lord's person and experiences are most sacred subjects, and I never feel happy in speaking on any subject that I have not in some measure known in relation to myself. I often wish I could get into prophecy or higher subjects, but I am not sufficiently up in them to speak of them. I am not sensible of personal affinity with

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them, though, thank God, I can appreciate their fitness and order. I believe the soul is often, and by degrees, introduced into wider scenes and views, though it practically be only engaged with the object in the foreground, which determines the perspective. I am so convinced of what you say, that evil is increasingly dangerous to individuals. I have been seeking comfort and support in my own soul from 1 John 4, which to me is a most wondrous chapter, so deep, and yet to know what is the unfailing testimony of the Holy Ghost, and what distinguishes it from every other, is very reassuring to the heart. Now our backwardness of apprehension and our exposure to many false spiritual agencies, ought, I think, to be your call to give a simple emphatic denial to --------.

I desire to save the truth and yourself from any reproach, and while I believe one should be very slow to vindicate oneself, I think one cannot be too ready to disabuse minds of any misapprehension about truth.


I have not been free to give myself with the necessary attention to your correction of my 'Thoughts on Baptism'. As to Colossians 2 I do not feel that the apostle is teaching baptism there, he is arguing from baptism that we must be dead. Circumcision was only, so to speak, a reforming of man, a cutting off of the evil of the flesh; but baptism was a total end of it in the death of Christ. Through that death life reached us, and the action and power of this life in the Spirit asserts dominion over our flesh and silences its activities while we walk in the power of it. "Dead to sin" is only known as life acts in us through the Spirit -- though through grace we are set in the life which is above all our evil nature. As to the Philippian jailer I think "all his" is most important and authoritative for the baptism of our children, and he believing, rejoicing in God "with all his house" -- housewise -- appears to me to give the opponents little or nothing. It seems to me that 'the Baptists' as a sect never get beyond John Baptist. The Romish churches assumed the ground of the twelve. The adult baptists among the brethren skipped over the twelve altogether and only linked themselves with Paul, whereas I believe that I

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must see the twelve flow into Paul like the Rhone into Lac Leman.


... I think they get on faithfully and happily at --------. Might we not expect that the Lord would raise up more ministry in the word among them if they were more truly eager to know His mind and to follow it? I hope you have had a good time at Geneva. I have heard of the Lord's goodness in France and Italy. The Lord keep you in our hearts in full remembrance before Him, which is joy to ourselves, and strength also, because His grace has given us this interest.

Yours, beloved brother, in the deep, true bonds of His love, very gratefully.


I am very glad to get your paper. I trust your visit will be very helpful to the saints and tend to establish them in purpose of heart in following the Lord. At -------- our brother raised the question as to the character of the Sunday morning meeting, and whether it was the time for confessing sins. Mr. Wigram dwelt on the importance of being real. I suggested that knowing the right character of the meeting could not alter the state of soul, and that in the liberty to minister it was overlooked that one must be fit to minister as well as be gifted to minister. Otherwise the low state of the one who takes part lowers the tone of the meeting. -------- was very strong on the claim and concentration the Lord Himself had on our hearts at the Lord's supper, and that depression or confession arose from coming there weighed down with cares and trials instead of getting up at five o'clock in the morning and settling all with the Lord before they came.


... I am cheered by your calm reliance on the Lord. I may say that on the whole everything here justifies the course you have observed. For myself the only thing I fear is the unskilful attempting to explain your exposition of scripture. The animus of the opposed is apparent enough, and

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carries no weight with it to the mind of any who are sincerely walking with the Lord.

Your brother charged me with others of accepting your doctrine as a truth no more to be discussed. I said to him that 'those who get up to judge it were not qualified to do so. They had each of them retired from service from one cause or another. They could not say that they were walking in the light. They might be reputable as men taking care of their families and themselves, but they were not walking where only they could have fellowship with the Spirit, and thus be qualified to judge'. I do not know of one really devoted servant of Christ who has been turned aside. I heard that -------- was troubled, but he is more occupied with his business than with such subjects. No doubt those who desired occasion have found occasion, affording as they thought great and popular plausibility, the thing so much desired. But, thank God, there is nothing to discourage, but everything the other way, if there be faithfulness. All we want, I feel for myself, is to be more in the mind and spirit of the three hundred who followed Gideon. It is "the water" (the mercies of earth) which is diverting the mass of believers from the true and happy walk of faith and service in this day.... The rest of the babe in the Father's forgiveness is the utmost goal of the teaching at M. H., and the consequence is there is none of the life of Christ practically seen. Souls cultivate rest of conscience, and go on as usual. I said openly, 'You do not preach the life of Christ. You preach peace, so far so good; but do you preach the life of Him who gives peace? Do you "never thirst"?'... A sermon was preached against us at the College Chapel, but it did not do much mischief, for, for the first time, I saw three or four students at the room in the evening of the same day! There is a nice, earnest spirit of inquiry and no cavil.... One thing I find is, that other ignorances are exposed in the opposition to this truth of the Lord's sufferings; and for my own part, I believe that misapprehension on this subject is traceable to some imperfection as to foundation truth in souls. I think it would cheer your heart to see how nicely and faithfully the dear brethren get on at --------. The -------- are making money -- bad air for Christianity -- but it is the knowledge of what

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Christ is, in His strength and joy, which they need, and not 'whipping' merely. I have seen none of the young in -------- so truly and earnestly set for Christ as -------- is -- it does one's heart good.


My first and chief thought in writing now is to assure your heart, and cheer you, for surely you must have been deeply tried by all you passed through here before you left, respecting the minds of the saints in general touching the sufferings of Christ.

I find -- and this I have sought to meet -- that souls need Christ for their own relief and strength, and that practically there is very little of that deliverance from present things which is known when the heart is resting in Christ as its resource. In one class of saints it is more an effort to get through the difficulties here, while others are swamped in trying how to get on here. I have such a sense of the wretchedness of nature in myself, and this helps me through grace to insist on the greatness of God's love in righteousness, and that in Christ I am set above every difficulty and want here. I am looking to rise superior to things here rather than to expect circumstances to be altered to suit me. I have found these two subjects (very elementary as they are in one sense), thank the Lord, most useful to the saints -- the very truth they want. Many are not prepared to enter into the sufferings of Christ. I say to some 'Accept the truth and lay it up in your heart, some day it will speak to you'. It is now more than eight years since you first mentioned it to me at --------. It was new to me then, but I saw clearly that there was space, so to speak, for it, and that there was a period in the life of our blessed Lord little known to me then. I believe, as I look back, there was order in the way truth came out to me, and I feel that I accepted truths many years before I knew the good of them, and that I fretted and fumed, had my feet over the traces continually, until I was subdued to the use of the truth. I believe what first came out to me was what Christ is to us. Before ever I was with the brethren, when almost a boy, I heard you preach on 'Accepted in the beloved'. I had peace of a kind then, but I was greatly struck with that

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truth, for you said it was at the beginning of our course. That was in 1833 or 1834. You showed how our own gain from Christ comes out first. Next at Plymouth in 1846 Christ's personal glory came out to me in power, and now the deepest of all, it is what He Himself went through in humiliation. I do not omit in this survey that the church as the body of Christ came first in another line, and the discipline becoming the house of God came next, and it is a fact that every one now who does not understand the church as Christ's body is sure to display his ignorance, and generally stumble there, respecting the discipline, and that which becomes and suits the habitation of God. You may ask -- What is all this leading to? It is this, I am persuaded before the Lord that I and many others have got distinct blessing from entering even a little into the sufferings of our Lord; and hence I feel that you, + most beloved brother -- and I say it with the deference due from a son to an esteemed father -- ought not to think of carrying on the conflict alone and by yourself. If the Lord has given you the truth, why should you not allow us, however feeble, to be in company with you? and on what principle could you stand apart from us if we are ready to follow? I believe it to be a signal interposition from the Lord that you were prevented from standing outside on your return from Italy. The minister of the truth stands on the eminence of the truth itself, while he is the servant in communicating it. Paul did not stand outside the churches in Galatia, nor in Corinth, nor any of the churches in Asia who had all turned away from him. The minister of the truth is surely the angel, and the angel does not stand apart from any who would accept the truth, or at least who would not reject it. I believe many souls are already greatly deepened by the very contemplation of this truth. I see on every side truth pared down in order to sanction the entrance of the world. I may say I fear the world more than bad doctrine, but all bad doctrine opens a door to the world. The world so insinuates itself, and one helps another into the spirit of it, and then the resource and joy of the soul in Christ are lost.

At -------- they are nice and earnest, but few know Christ

+It will be remembered that Mr. Darby proposed to discontinue, breaking bread for a time.

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as the resource of the heart, as well as Saviour of the soul. Many desire to know Him thus, and some are indifferent about it!

I was glad to hear you were so happy in your work; there is fulness of joy when one is really seeking and doing the Lord's will here. It is not murmuring and complaining or running into corners to escape difficulties. I am so happy to feel you and others labouring in the Lord's service are before me in His presence.

May He be so continually with you that you may know He is your strength and solace in your service and walk here for Him.


... I hardly like adding to your labours, but if you could make time to write a short paper on 'Forgiveness and Life' I think it would be useful to many. It is plain enough that many need that truth. I have been surprised to find some along with us ignorant of it at -------- . Mrs. -------- said, 'I knew I wanted something,' and -------- expressed something similar.... The little spring or power of rising above present things -- trials or mercies, of itself is evidence of the ignorance of this great truth.

I have been to many places. Dear -------- is working away. I spent an evening with young --------. He, in a measure, reminds me of dear --------, the simplicity of his habits and ways, and his acceptance with the population around, who feed and take care of him. It is a grave thing -- I trust I feel it more daily -- to be a minister of the truth revealed to us. To me it is an unspeakable comfort to be able to look to Him to repair all one's defects.

I hope I may be permitted to see you before you leave for the West Indies. The faithfulness in one promotes faithfulness in others; and hence I rejoice in your going.... In truest love which is His, beloved brother, etc.


I rejoice to hear of your health and prosperity in the Lord's work. Your paper which you kindly sent I have sent to the printers. I trust it will not be considered confused. I did not quite catch it on the first reading, but I think with a

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little attention it explains itself. I like it much and think the subject so suitable for the time. For myself I only wonder that the old man is tolerated now that I know in any measure these truths, or how I could have expected to walk aright without them -- without seeing Christ's full place. One longs to be able to present them clearly and fully. Surely as the Lord has had such patience with me I may well have great patience with others; and it may be often my fault in presenting the truth. Thank God, I see many rejoicing in Christ glorified, and gladly accepting, that in Christ crucified there is an end before God for them of that which is offensive and at enmity. What I feel is that few really understand the atonement. It is their conduct they see Christ answering for and not for the life. They seek to be justified only -- not constituted righteous in His life.

I must try to give you an account of the different places I have been at lately. At -- Mr. -------- had left the Independents, he did not seem to me sufficiently taken up with the Lord, he was too much taken up with the step he had taken. We had a reading at -------- and on his pleading for the retention of natural status because God had called people differently, I replied that the rich are given more that they may have more to give up for Him. This had a great effect on him and he pressed me to stay with him. I preached in the village -- about 100 artisans present. I spoke also at -------- on the 'start' and 'the race'. I thought -------- avoided me; but two evenings afterwards I spoke on Christ being glorified (John 17) and we here on all sides surrounded by the man for whom He was crucified -- and where are we? -- with it or with Him? he came up afterwards most cordially and would take no excuse but that I must stay with him. I trust he will break with things here. + I spent ten days at --------. From what I had heard of the saints there I feared that I should find little acceptance, but in the Lord's mercy there was great eagerness to hear. There are some truly earnest souls; there were cases of interest constantly while I was there, not connected with my visit but the fruit of former ministrations coming to light. At -------- souls are brighter and more advanced; --------

+Allusions of this sort are always to those who are now with the Lord.

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interested me though working a little too much. The fasting etc. reminded me of our Carhue days. I hope they are not too anxious for large audiences. The "house" is worth sweeping for one "silverpiece".

The thing I fear is lest brethren should satisfy themselves with simply separation instead of renunciation. Do you not think that occupation with outward good conduct often indicates an effete state of things -- not the vigour of resisting unto blood, striving against sin, when the weight and the sin would both be laid aside.

I believe now I have put together everything of interest that your heart would like to know of concerning the flock of God as known to me.

-------- laments that there is not more gospel work in the city. -------- writes from Down: 'There is a most interesting field of labour all round here, as yet quite unformed; but souls are getting free; of course there is great opposition, and no end of tracts circulated.' -------- writes to tell me that he has given up his secular business to devote himself to the work. I replied that if he gave up his business really to labour and not to find ease, nature would be corrected, otherwise there was danger.... There is no doubt great opposition and rancour in many saints outside, but I think you have every reason to be cheered by the assured and deepening feeling of esteem and love which the brethren generally have for you as the Lord's servant. Nothing to my mind speaks so well for themselves. They have also good remembrance of you always. There is a far deeper respect for the truth now than there was two years ago. The breaking out of disloyalty has given a vigour to loyalty. Still, I sometimes fear that if the true type of devotedness were reached that there would be a falling away of many and that something will arise to test the reality of the profession made. Blessed be the Lord, He will keep us if we look to Him. Grateful, truly, for your love and services, beloved brother.


... To my mind neither has suffered so in his service that he makes himself of no reputation, and I see that servants have not moral weight, however much they may know, who

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have not suffered in their service, not offering to the Lord that which costs them nothing. They feel that they are not, as I may say, in power, and while they have no one with moral weight among them to take the lead according to God, they, like republicans, desire to overturn and subvert what is in being. I have expressed to -------- my fears....

I hear of your incessant labours. I have feared at times that you were risking your health, but I must not deprecate this if I desire you to be a greater servant, and more pleasing to the Lord. Your presence in London is a great favour to the saints there, and will test the effect of the truth on them. I can rejoice in their gain, though personally I am not at present at liberty to share in it. I hope to reach London in three weeks, and possibly you may be still there. There is need everywhere, but when one attempts to meet it, how conscious one becomes that it is "by my spirit, saith the Lord" (Zechariah 4:6), and thus what makes nothing of oneself is the abiding cheer of the heart. I am, thank the Lord, very happy myself; as to service, I rejoice in it, though I can, I may say, never speak of results; but His favour is better than life, and there I rest. Though I seldom see you, it is unfeigned cheer to remember you before the Lord as His servant, as much, if not more, to me than to any one, and I am, beloved brother, yours most affectionately in Him.


... I got on beyond my expectations, keeping two subjects before me. The preparation of heart for the Lord's coming, and that the gospel gives, not only assurance as to the future, but also starts one in a new life down here.... Safety hereafter and earthly favours now seem to be the summum bonum of Christianity with many. -------- said over and over again that the truth I was seeking to inculcate was the only truth to keep the saints afloat, and yet I could not say that he knows it himself. They seem so burdened with present care. I told him, as I had practically learned it, that the true place was to take no thought, but to cast all one's care on Him who careth for us, and that he will never rise above his care until he has learned the rest of heart there is in this.... I hear that -------- never prays about his

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circumstances. How simple and bright he is! ... I feel that what is needed is self-denial, and to know Christ is above everything. With increased intelligence there is, I fear, a losing of the sense of the need of self-denial and death to the world. There was more of this when we had less light.


... I was very glad to get the two papers on Matthew's gospel, and the account of your labours in the new and hitherto unopened sphere was very interesting and also encouraging.... Here there is much readiness to hear, and I trust many are progressing; but it is, as I may say, as units. With clear views of the ministry of the Spirit, there is less practical care for one another than almost anywhere. They seem to say, You mind your soul, and I mind mine! They would meet the wants of one another, but they do not seem to care to know or to be burdened with the state of one another. The social tendency of the national character bars and hinders the real bond. There is no pastoral care. Leadership or rights occupy their attention more than their responsibilities; yet, as I said, many are really progressing, with the eye of their souls set on Him who is at the right hand of God.

When servants want to be masters they lose all the value of their calling.

I hope you continue in your usual health, rejoicing in serving Him who cheers you in it. Your zeal and labour provoke us.

In remembrance before the Lord, beloved brother, of your service and love,

Yours most affectionately in Him.


... It was very interesting at --------, apparently very little to hold them together, and yet there was the sense of true earnestness in the meetings -- several preachings in the suburbs on Sunday evenings. My subject, in different phases, I might say was, "Without me ye can do nothing". I hope the force and claim of truth are gaining ground

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at --------, though the elements there are not the most manageable. They are learning dependence, and I trust patience. There is a very nice meeting of simple, hearty country people at --------. It was cheering at -------- to see them valuing and comprehending the truth though there was no one among them very enlightened. I lectured in the school house at --------, they enjoyed it, but they are satisfied to be sure of heaven, and are not awakened to what is due to Christ on earth. I was interested in Cork -- the memories of now 40 years ago came often before me there, while my heart silently acknowledged the mercy I had received through you.

There is a nice company there. Moody and Sankey had come to Dublin the day before, but the Lord was gracious to me, and I trust the right truth came out in various forms. 'Without holiness no man can see the Lord.' It is dreadful to say that God is with them in a singular way as they do, and their followers to assert, and in the same breath -- 'Separation from the evil in Christendom is not necessary.' I brought the subject before the brethren last Tuesday; -------- spoke well. He said that we require two things -- not to give up an inch of the position which God had led us into, but on the other hand to acknowledge the work of God wherever it is. There seemed to me to be a godly determination in the company to stand fast as the Lord had taught us, though the high-sounding work attracts many, and those who have been edging up to it for years will, I fear, be carried away by it. I should not mind an ordinary clergyman warning his congregation against us, but here are men assuming to be sent of God in a remarkable way challenging the fundamental principle of holiness in the house of God.

If you could send me a paper for the present time I should value it very much.


I have received your paper On Rule + I did not intend to dissociate love from rule. I see your point, that the service now is from love, not from appointment, to which I cordially assent.

+See Collected Writings, J.N.D. Volume 27.

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I have been at most of the gatherings in England and Ireland during the last year, and though there is not an increase of power in testimony, I am sure there are many who are deepening in personal affection to Christ....

I do not think the Brethren have the same moral influence now that they are so numerous (1000 to 1) as they had some years ago, but I believe many are looking eagerly and heartily for the Lord, like the widow in Luke 21. Many a one who maintains distinctly the indwelling of the Holy Ghost for individual comfort has not, in my judgment, a real sense of the Holy Ghost here in testimony. I see that there is an effort like the returned captives to retain the advantages of a position for oneself, without insisting on the responsibility in testimony to the Lord connected with that position.

We had a good 'brothers' meeting' last evening. The subject was, What is a Philadelphian? It was very solemn and searching. It would tire you were I to write all I should wish to pass in review before you. It is very good of the Lord that you are so well.


You say that there are worse cases in scripture than with us.... What damages us to my mind is the attempt to copy the power which we have not. The wren may see what the eagle has done, but it is disastrous if it imitates it. + It is marvellous the way the Lord helps when there is waiting upon Him. Samuel and the Nazarite were the subjects at the last brothers' meeting. The removal of beloved Mr. Wigram has in a varied way affected us all. I feel as if he had been gone from us for nearly three years.

There is an attempt made by some to prove that the designation 'heavenly man' is not warranted by scripture. They want to substitute 'Christ-like' for it. I have objected because the latter is character, the former what we are through God's favour. If you could spare the time, a short paper on the subject would be useful.... I have been at

+This is an allusion to the fable of the wren and the eagle used as an illustration.

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-------- lately. They were not only much interested, but amazed to hear that they could not only be sure of safety, but so happy now as to "never thirst".


In the afternoon yesterday I looked in to see Mr. Darby; he is very feeble, but quite collected; he revived much after his tea. As to human ken he could hardly hold out, but we can tell the Lord that He needs him here. The Lord hath need of him here, I believe.


Mr. Darby's valet alarmed us much yesterday.... I went over, and found him quite collected but suffering much from his breathing.

Mr. Hewer called to see him; he was anxious to go to Bournemouth, but gave it up when Mr. H. said he was not fit for it. I returned to sit with him about 12. I sat nearly an hour with him. He said his work was done. I said -- 'Perhaps you never were more useful than you are now, you are a comfort to the Lord's people.' Then (he said) He can keep me here; but did you hear what the brother in America said when some one said, 'The church cannot do without you'? Then (he said) 'I shall die'! I replied, 'I did not say we could not do without you -- but that he was a breakwater; and that it was not for himself I was thinking but for the Lord's people, for of course it would be better for himself to depart.' 'Yes,' he said, 'that it would.' I continued -- 'I speak of you to the Lord as they did of Dorcas.' Then he asked me if I had read his last paper on 'Ifs'... I called in before our breakfast this

+The letters from which these extracts are taken were not addressed to labourers, but are given here as an interesting sequel to the letters to J.N.D.

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morning, he had breakfasted, soon after 7 o'clock, said he mistook the hour. He seemed better.


Mr. Darby reached Bournemouth safely, was very tired but bore the journey well.


-------- came with a telegram, saying Mr. Darby was worse, so I started for Bournemouth. When I arrived I soon heard him sounding my name -- he did not seem to me worse. He talked of everything -- asked me about the meetings, asked was I encouraged of the Lord. He dwelt very much on the rest that remaineth. I said, 'There is none here.' 'But you see,' he added, 'it is God's rest.' ... I helped to carry him upstairs, and he lay on his couch. I left him, thinking he might have a doze, but before long he was at his door calling for me, so I returned and sat some time with him. He talked of several things. 'Dear --------', (he said) 'loved Christ.' I said, 'He never understood the church.' 'But he loved Christ, and that is better than the church.' I returned, 'But one must love the church if one loves Christ.' 'Quite so,' he replied. He asked me what I thought of --------, was he deepening? and of --------, was he simply for the Lord? ... He spoke frequently of God's goodness, as if cheered by the way the work was progressing. He then proposed that we should have 'a little prayer for the church'. He prayed most touchingly for the servants, that they might consider for Christ's glory, and for me individually, ... and then after he had concluded he began again, and prayed for those outside, that they 'might be led into the unity of the testimony'... He then commended me to the Lord, and kissed me.... I was quite overcome. I said, 'I am more indebted to you than to any man living.' To this he said: 'There is Another Man' -- I understood -- Christ, and we parted.


The account today is that he is weaker, but converses very brightly, has spoken his mind to Mr. --------, which

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the latter says he will tell me at another time. He is not seeing any one now but those in immediate attendance. He said to R. E., 'I have no ecstasy, but I have profound peace.' He often says, 'It is the same Christ I have known all these years, not another, that I am going to'.


You may wonder that I do not go down to Bournemouth to be with dear Mr. Darby again, but I have now the most pleasing remembrance of my last interview with him, and I could not bear that that should be deteriorated in any way -- I mean by seeing him unconscious, or in suffering. In all the expressions of true and tender love I hear around me, not one of them seem to reach in sympathy with me. I feel I have a tie to him beyond any other that I have, and I have some very close ones. He seems so connected with the Lord to me, and I revered him more than I could any father, and if I could have had him to myself, and not in a crowd, it is not likely that I should have left him. Now he hardly sees any one.


Your loving sympathy is just what I should have expected from you.... I can truly say I never could sustain a greater loss here than the removal of our beloved brother. The tie has been so peculiar for so many years. I revered him more than he had any idea of, and I had perfect confidence in his love. I feel as if I should like to be quite alone, because remarks, some of the tenderest nature, do not reach what I feel. The tie that links us to each other in the Lord for ever must surpass every other tie, though different from all others. I send you the latest account of him. I feel so thankful that I was allowed to go to see him at the right time. I could not bear to see him in any way enfeebled in mind.... I am so thankful that he is fully cared for, and my one desire now is that his entrance to his Lord's presence + may be brighter and brighter.

+J.N.D. entered into it April 29th, 1882.

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I hear that there is a question raised, how far we ought, in preaching the gospel, to co-operate with saints with whom we are not in fellowship. The question would never arise, in my judgment, were those called 'brethren' alive to the peculiar position and testimony to which they are committed. We are, through grace, properly a remnant, led to see the true calling of the church. We are essentially a few who have emerged out of the general departure which first broke out extensively -- when the apostle could say, "all they which are in Asia be turned away from me" (2 Timothy 1:15). There was a general defection from the truth committed to Paul, and that has continued ever since. Now God in His infinite mercy has enlightened some of us to see how we had fallen, and we have received in measure the light and truth which were given to the church at first. We are not an improvement on the sections in Christendom. We are, or we purpose to be, the only company of saints who contend for the truth committed to the apostle of the Gentiles -- our apostle.

Our calling, characteristically, is not evangelical. We are called to set forth to our fellow-saints the vocation wherewith all saints are called. I do not say there are not to be evangelists among us, far from it, but I do say, that in my judgment, it is not our greatest duty. The evangelist among us who forgets the colours, as I might say, which he has assumed, departs from the highest favour now conferred of God. I hold that enlightenment as to what is due to Christ by His body on earth is, next to conversion, the greatest favour given of God in this day. I feel, and am assured, that the evangelist among us, has a much higher duty than even fulfilling the duties and functions of his gift. He is in a different position to the evangelists who are in the thick of "all in Asia" still. He has been led to revert to the testimony of the Lord and of His prisoner, and this badge or colour he must

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wear more conspicuously than any other. He is an evangelist who openly and avowedly repudiates the course of "all in Asia", and in -------- too, because before he will enter on the duties of his gift, he must firmly insist that he is a revivalist in the true sense of the word, that he is not ashamed of the "testimony of our Lord nor of me his prisoner". He comes with Paul's doctrine; this cannot be compromised, this must first and foremost be owned and guarded.

He desires to do his duty as an evangelist, and every saint, loving the Lord, would gladly aid him, but neither he nor those who have received light as to the claims Christ has on them, as His body on earth, which is Himself, will consent, much less offer to co-operate with "all in Asia". They wish to serve, to break the enemy's lines, but they will not consent to wear plain clothes, so to speak, they are too loyal for that. If they are not accepted in their true colours, and their proper regimentals and armour, they prefer, however insignificant it may make them appear, to be unattached, or at least only a little garrison.

It is, I say, with deep and deepening conviction, a departure from our highest duty and allegiance to Christ, to co-operate with those opposed to or ignorant of what is due to Him on earth, in order to bless man. Man is thus preferred to Christ, and souls are hindered and checked by their own unfaithfulness. I should not hinder others from doing all they could, but I must not weaken the testimony in order to assist them, and thus neutralise my higher duty.

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As to work for the Lord, the simple inquiry for us is that which is recorded as the first utterance of Paul to our Lord, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). That is the duty and expression of every one who is distinctly awakened to the claim that Christ has on him. He feels 'I am taken out of the world, and I am given to Christ, and hence I look to Him for my place and occupation in it.' If we are given to Christ out of the world, it is evident that it is He alone who has right to determine our way and course in the world.

If I believe that I am given to Him out of the world, I have no right to re-occupy any place or position which I had previously held in the world. True, He does not require or permit me to infringe on any legal lord under whom I was held before I was given to Him; vested legal rights are not to be compromised because of my being given to Christ, but I am Christ's bondsman, and if I am, both from duty and inclination, my inquiry must necessarily be, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" The more I own and realise the relationship which now exists through grace between Him and me, the more simply and continuously will this be my wholehearted cry to Him. Now, if it be so, I shall, of course, accede to and attend to whatever He may intimate to me, and this only. That is, the heart devoted to Him, and truly making this request, will wait on Him for guidance and counsel, and will find no real satisfaction in being anywhere or doing anything which is not according to His mind; our place and our occupation here would thus be wholly determined by the pleasure of Him whose we are and whom we serve.

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Nothing is so simple and nothing so important in my walk down here as that I belong to Christ, and I find it my happiness and His pleasure to do nothing but as He desires and instructs me. I live where He likes, and I do what He likes. If we did this there would be no mistakes on one side or on the other. But we do make mistakes on both sides; on one side at one time, and on another side at another time. At one time we plan out work for ourselves, and at another we do none. Now the first defect is the most difficult to deal with, simply because the counterfeit deceives one, and hence, while it is comparatively easy to convict the idle and slothful, it is not so easy to convict the active Martha that she is unwisely occupied. The work seems so right and so necessary, that it appears almost impossible that there could be any plan in it. Nothing so deceives and leads astray as the conscience working at a distance from Christ; for instance, if I feel in my conscience that I ought to be Christ's servant (true enough, I am His bondsman), but if I am not near Him, if I am not in His confidence, I may begin to do something to satisfy my conscience, and if so I do it legally, and not as what simply suits Him. I do it to make my conscience easy and satisfied. When this is the case I do not consult what He would like me to do, but I do what I think best to be done. It is not His pleasure that guides me, it is my own mind, as to what is suitable and proper. It may be quite a necessary service as Martha's was, but Martha was evidently thinking of the services which were incumbent on her to render, and was not governed by the pleasure of Christ.

Here is where we fail -- undertaking to serve where it is in a degree creditable to ourselves, and we thus get disappointed (if we are true-hearted) because we have not the acknowledgment of His pleasure. How can He acknowledge what we have undertaken and done to satisfy our own conscience and what we ourselves judge to be suitable? It is evident when I am occupied with services, however useful and necessary, which I have undertaken of myself, feeling that they devolve upon me, that I must lose the sense of His presence. I am not sitting at His feet, Mary-like. There is no growth in Christ. Self is in

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the service. It is most blessed to work for Christ, but if my work engrosses me more than Christ there is damage to me, and I am not really working for Him: "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). If I am truly working for Christ, I am drawing from Christ, and growing up unto Him. Sitting at His feet is the natural posture of my soul. Whenever you find one serving without sitting at His feet, you may be assured that he is Martha-like. When one is sitting at His feet, hearing His word, he will not be behind in true service -- pleasing to Him. If you begin with serving (as many do nowadays), you will never sit at His feet, whereas if you begin with sitting at His feet, you will soon serve well, wisely and acceptably. When the serving quiets the conscience, and the sitting is overlooked and neglected, the enemy gains an advantage, for it is at the sitting that the conscience is enlightened, and the pleasure and mind of the Master become better known.

I never met with any one making his service prominent who knew what it was to sit at the Master's feet; but, thank God, I know indefatigable workers who enjoy sitting at His feet above any service, and it is clear that those who sit most at His feet must be most competent to serve, and most in His confidence, which, after all, is the clue to all efficient service.


I must write to you, as I am not to see you before you leave England. It is a highly privileged post to be one of the 300. And there was only one thing required of them or enjoined. They had been proved to be truly devoted, so devoted that present mercies could not divert them from their service. The one thing enjoined was Gideon's word: "As I do, so shall ye do" (Judges 7:17). This is the order now, and it is very encouraging and helpful because it confines our eyes to Him only. The eye likes to look where the heart rests, so no way could be easier or happier for us to learn our duty.

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Whatever He is doing that surely is the happiest thing for me to do. You must be near Him to see what He is doing.

A servant knoweth not what his master doeth. To see what the Lord is doing in a place, and to follow in His wake, is the sure road to success. When we originate we look for Him to bless our endeavour, and this at best is only gilding the potter's clay. But when He leads and we follow it is all pure metal. Perhaps there is nothing in which the missionary errs more than in attempting to import the line of blessing in which he has been in England into the new country. It is like introducing the treasures of a civilised country into an uncivilised one. True, I am not to surrender civilisation when I go to a less ordered country, but I should have patience in promoting it. How much more when I go as a missionary of the light that is above the brightness of the sun should I learn from the Lord how far He is in the work I am about to enter on, how He has gone before working in their souls. I am not to surrender my light because of their twilight, but I am not, on the other hand, to press them beyond what they are able to bear. Where the Lord is, there am I His servant to be, for He knows where they are, and true teaching and help must reach souls where they are.

Gideon's order holds good, "As I do, so shall ye do". The Lord is about, through you and others, I trust, to shed great light on your native land. It is very blessed that no service can be truly done apart from Him; as the branch is nothing without the sap, so is our work nothing apart from Him. It is not only that dependence is necessary, but there is a positive consolation in the fact that "without me ye can do nothing". The Lord keep you happily dependent on Him, counting it, as it undoubtedly is, the brightest moment of your life when your eyes are simply set on Him, and thus conscious of how you receive power from Him. May He richly and abundantly bless you.

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The real lack in many a true soldier is that he does not apprehend the aim to which he is called of God. Mr. N--------, in his prophetic system, made the fulfilment of events his aim, and consequently he would drag the church through the judgments, thus the Lord's coming as the hope of the church was practically given up. You will find no one can see things according to God who has not God's aim paramount in his soul. Unless Christ's rejection by the world be fully and heartily accepted, God's aim or purpose cannot be apprehended. When Christ was fully rejected the secret of God was divulged. If you do not know the secret it cannot be your aim, and you must be incorrect in everything. Pious souls adopt holiness by faith, prophecy, restoration of the Jews, etc., something desirable, but all out of course because God's present purpose -- His chief Object, is not their paramount object, and it cannot be unless they have thoroughly broken with the world which has rejected Christ.

The Lord bless you much. "Whosoever hath, to him shall be given". The more you accept in faith the more will be given you. Do not only seek the Lord's help in your daily trials, but seek also to be so relieved of your side of things that you may be able to be at His side of things, and in concert with Him there, for that is communion, and that is the basis of all true service.


I find the great thing is to keep the right aim ever before us. A child's aim by nature is to grow to a perfect man or woman. It is inherent in the nature. Have we ever before us the true aim to be here on earth for Christ according to the desire of His heart as well as the measure of His grace to us -- the members of the body of Him who is in heaven? I think there is a great lack in any ministry when the aim is not paramount. Of course, useful ministry must begin where I am, but the minister ought to have the Lord's measure and purpose ever before

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him in his ministry. Like a man building, I put on one brick and then another; I know a great many more will be needed; I am greatly interested in the one that I am putting on -- but it is not a finish.

... I trust that many may be awakened to the responsibility of the assembly. If I understand the passage in 2 Timothy 2:22 aright, the assembly ought to be in such vigour and freshness that every Timothy could easily find the company who "call upon the Lord out of a pure heart". How blessed if it were so! To be like stars in a dark night -- like a haven for distressed mariners.


I like to hear the subject of your lecture. I think when you got to priesthood you might have led them to "part with me". You cannot enjoy Christ as Priest unless you are at His side, "passed through the heavens". You must be of His "brethren" for this, and apart from sin. If in your weakness here you do not accept Christ's sympathy, you cannot join Him where He is; you are rebellious; and then you must turn to Him as the Advocate, and not as the Priest. It is very lamentable that there should be so many devoted servants in this day, and yet so few, like Nehemiah, set for God's object at the present time. Read Nehemiah; he was only a butler to a nobleman, and see how he wrought and suffered for God's object at the time. If I man can suffer and endure as he did for stones and mortar -- an earthly city in ruins -- how much more should you and I suffer and endure for God's present object on the earth -- the body and bride of His Son our Saviour? Every service we render entails present blessing on ourselves in a way infinitely beyond any that was vouchsafed to Nehemiah. I do not see that there can be true affection unless you come to Him first, like Jonathan to David, or like the woman to the Lord in Luke 7. But you must come to Him now as the risen One, in faith that leads you

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outside of man; and you cannot join Christ in the assembly unless you leave the ship, as Peter did in Matthew 14, and are led, by the Spirit, to Christ as supreme above everything here. Thus only can one learn to be here for Him. I believe the soul that is really at rest through His work, will in heart, ask the question, "Where dwellest thou?" -- where is He in this waste? and will thus find Him in His assembly. No one can serve Him to His pleasure who does not begin in the assembly (see John 15:12). "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you". That was said to the eleven; that is the way to begin.

The true servant is educated by discipline. The great mark of the Spirit's power is that He removes the impediment before He contributes. The character of Moses' first discipline is the same as at the end. From impetuosity he had to fly from Egypt; for the same he was debarred from the land.


Intelligence is excellent with devotedness, but without devotedness it is a snare. Devotedness is what we want; we know in a way more than we act up to. One devoted man would do more good than all the learning that is abroad, even if it could be centred in one man.


I heard from -------- this morning: he seems to have enjoyed the late meeting. What I feel is that those kind of meetings should be marked by some distinct message from the Lord through His servants. There should be a certain timidity in speaking, but this with assured confidence in the Lord that it is His message I am communicating. I do not expect anything new, but I expect the wine to be new, and that the word spoken should leave a definite impression. Very often the most interesting address to listen to leaves no mark in the heart, and very often disjointed sentences badly expressed come home to

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the soul with a divine sense. I think 'gift' is very little understood; the gift necessarily indicates something of the Giver. It is not the setting which makes the diamond, though to the unskilled eye the setting may commend the diamond. I am very thankful for the time at --------. It was every way a very happy time to me. As we are in the Spirit, we are in power, and power always severs us from the hindrance to our enjoyment before the latter comes, otherwise the enjoyment would be marred. The prodigal in grace puts off the old clothes in order to put on the new, unencumbered by the old. The thing I am severed from in the power of the Spirit may indicate or predicate the nature of the enjoyment that He is leading me into. If Paul be severed from Jerusalem, heavenly places are undistractedly before him. Every step in advance is thus marked. Human effort is at best only a wish, like a cow looking over the hedge longingly at a clover field. The Spirit causes me to enter the field of heaven, but He places the fence behind me to keep me from leaving the field, so that it keeps me in it instead of its being an obstacle to my entering it.

May you greatly prosper. It is wonderful the amount of influence which a real servant has for good according as his eye is on Christ. We were noticing at our reading this morning how the Lord was affected by the eye of the bride being set on Himself (see Song of Solomon). There is no greater warning voice to me than the Bethesda people, so good and laborious as they are in gospel work, but knowing nothing of the line of interest which occupies the heart of Christ, and which therefore should occupy the hearts of His servants. Paul was treated in the third heaven as the Lord's most familiar friend. He was a bondsman of Christ here, and he was His most familiar friend in paradise. What else could you like to be? May you never like anything lower. The higher you get, the more .I rejoice.

Every servant knows the past of our Lord and many know of the future, but what really helps is knowing Him in the present. Mary's order of work is little known. The witness knows His present mind, and the witness is unacknowledged by man as is He of whom he witnesses.

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As I confidently trust the Lord is leading you to give yourself more to His service, and as I personally rejoice in your being so led, you will understand me when I say I am anxious that you should do nothing which would in any way spoil His leading; and I am sure you will allow me freely to state the dangers which I think I see in your path.

To be fully and efficiently the Lord's servant, as He has called you, I premise is the point from which there must be no divergence. "If any man serve me let him follow me"; and following there means death to oneself. There must be self-surrender in following the rejected Christ; and there is no serving without following Him. The nature and character of the self-surrender is not stated, but we know it is various. What would be self-surrender to one is not to another, but we must accept that there is no true service without self-surrender, as Paul says of himself, "though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all" (1 Corinthians 9:19). What a self-surrender it was to him to work day and night with toil and travail! I am not saying that is the self-surrender for you; I cannot tell; but Paul says, Have we not power to forbear manual toil? No; this honoured servant must "follow" while he serves; and he adds, "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection" (1 Corinthians 9:27). God, we know, does bring down the heart by labour; and I find, though fully occupied in the Lord's work, that the secular business I am engaged in is very wholesome in testing the extent of my faith in God and the principles of His grace. I am thankful, however, that I am not diverted by secular business from the Lord's work; but I never refused business until lately. I believe unless one is peculiarly called for evangelistic work, that it is happier, and more effective too, to be able to say, with Paul, "These hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me" (Acts 20:34). I see the Lord does provide a sufficiency for those whom He employs

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now in the church, generally in a hereditary way; or they are men who have been ministers in systems, or officers in the army; modes of living inconsistent with the gospel of Christ. But I think it is a serious thing to proclaim that I cannot serve Christ if I continue in a calling which I can follow quite consistently with the path of separation to Him. Is not this partaking of the notion in Christendom that a clergyman cannot pursue any secular business? I always feel checked and embarrassed when pressing zeal in service on a brother in business if he thinks I know nothing of the trials of manual toil. Paul can say on this subject, We were ensamples to you to follow us. It seems to me, except when the gift is a very special one, that it is a reproach to the power and grace of Christ to say in act that I could not serve Him while I continued in a lawful business, fulfilling the fundamental law of man on earth, namely -- Man shall live by the sweat of his brow. I believe that the work of the Lord may call a man to limit himself to a very scanty subsistence, and what I feel in your case is, that you ought not to make the surrender of your business a sine quâ non to your serving the Lord. You cannot have too much purpose to serve the Lord (may the Lord increase it), or too much devotedness in doing so, but my advice to you is to go on with the service and pursue your business, as quite secondary to the service, limiting it to the lowest scale of subsistence which your family can submit to, and then you will be the more prepared to be freed wholly for His service if you are so led. True servants of the Lord are much needed, and I cannot express myself as fully as I would in seeing the purpose of your heart; but I do fear lest you should take any step which would spoil your testimony and be a hindrance to many souls.


I fully agree with you that the Lord feasts us in the service which is after His own mind. Thou shalt not

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muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. He, blessed be His name, fully adheres to this in any service to which He calls us, and we know it as we render it to Him. When we serve as Martha, we are not 'feasted', we are cumbered with much serving. It is a very happy evidence that we are threshing, treading out the corn as He would have us, when we are feeding or being fed concurrently ourselves. I am glad you were able to preach, and that you enjoyed it -- were feasted! I never preached from your text; you had to go to the New Testament to find or christen the king and Jonathan's son! There is a danger of limiting the gospel by taking texts from the Old Testament. Even Isaiah 6, which is fine as far as it goes, is not the gospel. It is only clearance before the throne. In 2 Corinthians 3 you are not only cleared, but the righteousness of the One who cleared you is yours, and you are transformed into similarity to the glory; you are in moral correspondence with the Lord of glory, no disparity, you are "as He is", fit for the Father's love. Love satisfies itself as to its object. I am glad that you feel interest in the souls of the saints. There is much need of the pastor everywhere. If there were more devotedness there would be more pastors. I was pointing out yesterday the two marks of devotedness. Devotedness to a loved one is a delight, and not an obligation. The first mark is that, like Elisha, I want His Spirit to serve Him in His absence, and that only. The second, I want now (in the very time of the winds and the waves) to be with Him where He is. No true heart but must long to be in the place where its object is. That His place is ours determines everything whether as to the gospel or as to the church. I enjoyed very much last evening seeing how God delights not only in saving us, but in having us. Nothing can satisfy love but company. I believe the defect in many preachers of the gospel is in being too much occupied with the sinner's guilt -- not connecting his guilt with his lost state. There is nothing about lost in the Old Testament (Jonah may present a sample of it). If all my sins were forgiven, I am still lost. Redemption includes state for God, and His grace begins with the sinner from the finish -- to bring him from the greatest distance up to it.

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it is a wonderful thing to be interested, with the feeling of the nearest relation, in the progress and prosperity of Christ's own, and to be able, as you say, to lead them on to the higher branches of the truth. It is the Lord's own work, nourishing and cherishing inwardly and outwardly.


I trust that you have not suffered from the strain of the last week, but that, though the sowing time rather over-taxed you, you may reap in joy. I am truly thankful for my time with you. I do trust there will be a large increase of blessing. "They that feared the Lord spake often one to another" (Malachi 3:16). The great evidence of blessing in the assembly is that there is real care one for the other and ability to edify one another. The Lord gives ministry as there is preparedness of heart for it. He is the Giver. I do not mean that a servant is sent now and again, but that He raises up those able to help in the local assembly.

I am very thankful to the Lord for the meetings -- not only for the word ministered, but for the effect which I trust God has been pleased to give to it, which is beyond any ministry; indeed, no ministry is effectual without the operation of God, and I hope you have received something distinctly from the Lord for yourself, which is yours for ever, which has become part of your new self. It is thus that you 'grow thereby'.

Can you tell the Lord's chief work for His servants at this time? I had a very nice letter from dear --------. He remarks to this effect: 'If we lived more above this scene through which we are passing we should be able to shed a ray of light on the moral gloom here'. I hail this as the beginning of a great day for him. I replied that I hoped he would learn the secrets of Christ's heart in his prison, as Paul did in his, and be strengthened to come forth and help. I should consider this a very great favour from the Lord.

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I thank you for your letter about --------. I am thankful to say that I am deeply interested in the prosperity of the company there.... I must own that I desire to see -------- a place where the young servants would be taught the way of the Lord more perfectly. In Christendom the gospel of salvation is made the terminus. You can never rise higher than your aim. The gospel in Christendom is no more than that faith in the sacrifice of Christ shelters you from judgment. The preachers never, I fear, set forth that God has come to man to remove in the cross of Christ everything contrary to Himself, to terminate judicially in the death of Christ the man under the judgment of death, so that the believer is no longer of Adam but of Christ.

I feel that our aim should be the church; of course we must have the gospel if we would have the church, but if the gospel only is our aim we do not reach the church.

... No reasoning in divine things is more pernicious than evolution, that is from the lowest to the highest. God's way is just the opposite; every good and perfect gift cometh down -- God must begin in the dark soul.


... I came here last week; we have meetings each evening, the subject before us is Christianity, beginning with new creation, everything new.

... As far as I see, the great obstacle to progress is the imperfect apprehension of the cause and nature of the distance between God and the sinner. It is incomprehensible to the mind of man that he himself, in the order in which he sinned, must go in death. It is here, as I judge, the lack is in souls individually, while the obstacle ecclesiastically is that the rejection of Christ and His consequent absence are not truly before the heart. Everything in Christendom is set up and ordered with the express object of denying His rejection.

... I long to see you so consoled by Him, and finding Him so indispensable to you -- that you may be here as His servant for Him and by Him.

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I feel every day more and more that if I do not comprehend the mystery of Christ I do not comprehend the church, and if I do not comprehend the church I do not comprehend what is nearest to the heart of Christ; and to this I may add that the feebler I find myself in nature the greater resource have I in the perfectness of Christ; and, in the answer to the travail of His soul, which my own perfectness as a member of His body the church is, through the Holy Ghost according to the purpose of the Father. I hear daily of conversions, but I have my fears lest souls should be taken up with the display of the power of God, as seen in the revival, so-called, more than with nearness to Him. In every age gift regarded apart from God was a snare to the saints, but at the same time it tested and marked off those who were in their affections clinging to the Lord. The faith of M-------- of B-------- has been a hindrance to saints, because they were more attracted by the gift than they were by the Lord. I ask you -- when your soul is happy in the Lord, whether you would prefer the demonstration of His power and miracles to a silent converse with His love? I think if you had known much of the latter you would, after the exhilaration of the former, feel that you more than ever required to reassure your soul of the placid consolation of the latter. We ought to rejoice in the demonstration of the power of God and its effects, but never to allow it to divert us from our known place of nearness to Him, and our secret dependence on that which is invisible. We ought to be no stranger to any of God's works. I believe that God is doing a special work now in the conversion of souls, but does it distract me from my place with Christ, or qualify any truth that I have essentially learned from Him? Not one whit! It rather binds me the closer to Him and makes me long the more to be for Him here. I fear that there is an effort abroad to anticipate the work of God in souls, an effort which, if persisted in, will result in much damage to them. I fear that actors in many of the revival prayer

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meetings and preachings are so intent on making an impression that in many cases there may be mere intellectual conviction in the converts, which I need not say is very detrimental to souls. Let us, dear brother, stand in the truth of membership to Christ our Head, and follow His unerring affections towards every soul wrought on by Him, seeking to help each as His love bids and enables us. I can feel no higher or more grateful interest in any soul, than the sense that he is a member of Christ's body, and loved by Him, and the more I serve such an one the more I respond to that love.


In my course of reading I began Nehemiah this morning, and it interested me much to see a man like Nehemiah, a servant to a Gentile, being so set for God's object on the earth. There is more interest in this day in the conversion of souls than with God's purpose respecting them. Nehemiah, if he were like many devoted servants in this day, would have set himself to find out every Israelite; but no! his heart was set on Jerusalem, where every true Israelite had his place, and so should our hearts be set on the church -- the body of Christ.


I hear that you desire to know something of the state of things spiritually in these home countries (England, Ireland and Scotland). I will endeavour, as far as I am able, to meet your wish.

I think the ministry in the word is the first thing to review, for surely its order and character must colour the flock.

There are two distinct lines of evangelical ministry outside of Brethren, so-called, the evangelical churchman and dissenter, and the evangelical who has broken away from every distinct organisation, having received the

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gospel of the grace of God from and in the revival movement. In the revival there was an appeal to the senses of men, with, at the same time a presentation of the gospel of free grace: human energy was used to produce a sense of need, and an acceptance of the offer made.

There is a distinction as to the lines of teaching between the evangelical churchman and the evangelical dissenter; the former, while preaching forgiveness through the blood of Christ, is leavened and fettered by the system and ceremonial with which he is connected, and cannot lead his converts outside man or what addresses man in the flesh, and hence, though really believing in the atonement made by Christ, their standard, their perfect Man, even when they do not make the law the standard and rule of life to themselves, is Christ as having fulfilled the law; not Christ the heavenly Man on entirely new ground, and hence they either drop into ritualism, which is their proper terminus, or they buoy up their conscience by resisting the inroads of it, like mariners at the pump of a sinking ship. Now, the evangelical dissenter is not hampered by any liturgy or definite articles, and hence he, while preaching the sacrifice of Christ, supplies what he has lost in leaving the Establishment by seeking instead the reform of man. That is, he looks for a renovation of man in the Adamic state, and considers that all the tastes and abilities of man in the flesh are good in themselves and are spiritual gifts; so that, instead of the truth that another -- a new man has come in Christ, it is with them that the sins of the old man having been taken away by Christ, man is beautiful in himself, and that every improvement in society is tending to the spiritual reign of man in moral perfection. It is remarkable how in politics the churchman is conservative and the dissenter a reformer, expecting improvement and progress by change. The saints under each system are different too: under the first they are legal, controlled by authority, and with great reverence for what is orthodox; under the latter they are independent, speculative and rationalistic; so you can see that the seeds of ritualism and rationalism are in the soil where the gospel of free grace has been received, which the faithful servant has carefully and completely to seek

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to remove before the saint can be in Christ in joy and strength.

Now the second class outside brethren, the Revivalists, is very marked and peculiar in itself. The preachers proclaim the gospel of free grace without works, in the clearest terms. They are generally indifferent about any church organisation, loose as to all church fellowship, and have revived with a true gospel in terms much of the old Methodistic excitement, only that baptism is often added as an evidence of sincerity in addition to expressions of feeling. Many have been converted under revival preaching, but not one so converted ever grows in the soil in which he was born, beyond a mere babe. God in His mercy transplants them into better soil, but then invariably they are the warmest and most earnest refusers of the soil and ministry in which they were born. The tendency of this, the revival ministry, little as they intend it themselves, and little as it might prima facie be expected, is to foster the flesh which is avowedly condemned as the source of the clerical system maintained by both churchman and dissenter. The revival preacher asserts that he is called to preach independently of any human organisation, and he repudiates the systems which limit the preacher to their appointment as carnal and of man; but while in leaving these in order to obtain liberty for himself, he asserts this right principle, yet when he acts, he practically denies it, for by his appeal to the natural feelings, and the use of exciting and persuasive words, he, while offering free grace to man as irretrievably lost, indirectly admits that there is some remnant of good in man, on which he can act by human means, and in this admission the flesh is spared, and all its components, and with the flesh, the world, which is man's work, also gets a place, so that with the revivalists neither the flesh nor the world are set aside and the church as Christ's body is never known. A revival preacher is ordinarily still in the world, and hence the ritualist and the rationalistic dissenter contrast themselves as to devotedness and ecclesiastical position with much plausible advantage with the revivalist. If I am right as to the above, and I surely think I am, and if even in measure you agree with me,

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I am sure you will see how definite and marked is the ministry incumbent on those who stand for God in an evil day, as the brethren assume to do, and what their duty simply is. They have to refuse the evangelical churchman's line, the evangelical dissenter's line, and as much as either, because it supports the flesh though avowedly deprecating it, the revivalist line. The truest among brethren, especially the older ones, who have patiently endured, give no countenance to any of these lines of evangelical preaching. They not only insist on the death and resurrection of Christ, as the only ground for safety and righteousness before God, but that the life of a believer is in a risen Saviour, the last Adam, He having borne the judgment resting on the first man, and having risen from the death resting on man, is the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him -- that it is in Christ risen that life and righteousness can only be assured, and if this be maintained simply, where is the man for legality or ritualism as with the evangelical churchman? or the reformed man as with the evangelical dissenter? To faith the first man is gone in the death of Christ, and every believer lives in the life of Christ risen out from among the dead, the Head of a new race. If to faith man is dead, there is nothing either for law or for restoration, every man in Christ is a new creature. These two lines, I am happy to tell you, are refused by all teachers among the Brethren; but, as a whole, I grieve to say that we are not preserved from the leaven of revivalism, though many, thank God, are opposed to that line, and fear the working of it. In a way, it is hard to account for the acceptance that the revival line has met with from Brethren. It is wonderful how men, holding as clearly as they do that there is nothing in man that could be turned to any account, can think and act on the presumption that faith or credence produced by any excitement could be divine or lasting. Ask any one of them in detail, and you will find that though they practice this sensational preaching, they doctrinally believe that there is no capacity in man to receive the grace of God, and yet they belie themselves in that they place confidence in a confession of faith produced by human excitement. I know they would not

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admit this, but facts are great witnesses. There is in many a true love for souls, and they have been beguiled by the success apparently connected with the revival line to adopt this mode themselves. Every one feeling as I do would greatly deplore it, for I believe it has the most baneful effect on souls. It is giving to impassioned expression and appeal a province which only belongs to the Spirit of God, and it thus practically -- not intentionally, I know -- weakens the truth of the power and presence of the Holy Ghost. The conversions are weak and the converts worldly, and because the flesh and the world are not definitely set aside, the general mass of the saints are gradually bearing the complexion of them and losing that of a true remnant for Christ.

There are -- blessed be God -- many bright lights among us -- the veterans, as I may call them, the brightest; but even among the young ministers there are some very devoted and intelligent. Formerly there was more study to be a witness in walk. Now it is more to preach to large audiences without much private study or exercise. I fear there is much less praying among us as a habit of soul, and this is perceptible often in the tone. It is beautiful to see steady consistency and persevering faithfulness in any....


Every servant requires, and as he waits for it receives, preparation for every coming service. He does not know the service for which he is being prepared. Were he to know it, the tendency would be that he would think how to act instead of being simply prepared of God. This is to be noted in the service of every one. There may be the most elaborate preparation for some particular service, and it may be performed in a very orderly, useful way, but it lacks the vitality which would mark it were the servant imbued with the mind of God, and thus made fit for the service appointed him by God, though ignorant of the particular service for which he is being prepared. A true

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servant is like a garden which grows any kind of fruit desired by its owner. He does not know what will be required of him, but he is prepared for the demand on his services when it comes. I believe the lack in efficient service comes from not being thus prepared in secret with God so as to be able to act according to His mind when the demand comes. The greater the nature of the service the greater the need of preparation, and, as I have said, one of the peculiarities connected with the preparation is that the particular service is not developed until we are ready for it. Orders are indeed given, but they are like the sealed orders given to the captain of a ship -- not to be opened or acted on until the moment of demand comes. And the reason of this is that the service itself may not occupy our thoughts and desires, as it naturally would, more than the power needed to carry it out in God's way and according to His mind. Even in the ministry of the word this is the case. I do not mean that I must be ignorant of the subject on which I should speak, but if I think more of the subject than of the power of Christ, and the unction that can only be acquired in His presence, the word will not be effectual, even if it be the greatest truth and delivered in the most perfect way. Every service, be it great or small, is in power according as the servant is prepared of God. Abram was not told that Melchisedec's visit and blessing was to prepare him for the interview with and offer of the king of Sodom. Moses was not told that the forty days he was detained in the glory getting the pattern of the tabernacle would prepare him for meeting the idolatry of Israel when he came down from the mount, and acting for God in it. He got his preparation for it with God and Paul got his preparation for being a 'minister and a witness'.


J.N.D. says that he is careful not to present a new idea in scripture unless he has seen it in all its bearings with other scriptures, and how every truth would be affected by it.

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I have been interested lately in seeing the suffering which each servant was passed through before he was fit to enter on God's purpose for him -- be it an Abraham, a David, a Stephen, or a Paul, their sufferings and exercises in a way indicated the goal, or their promotion. Each of them had a night before a morning. To David, Ziklag was his night; his morning was the throne of Israel. Paul's night was "All men forsook me" (2 Timothy 4:16), but his morning was "the Lord stood with me" (verse 17). To learn by suffering is God's way of fitting us, if I may say, for promotion, be it service or anything else. "We who live are always delivered unto death" (2 Corinthians 4:11). I remark the ready way in which I have often accepted a truth and in great joyfulness, and yet it was not really known to me until through suffering its virtue possessed me, and surely no one is a witness of anything until he is possessed by it, and then he not only sees it and can speak of it, but he is it. Paul says, "What ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, these things do" (Philippians 4:9). When the truth possesses me it is not only the beauty of it which occupies me, but like the man who had been blind (John 9), I know now its virtue by all the exercise through which I have passed. In the long run that man not only has sight, but in solitude apart from every man he is in the light without any mixture, and there the Lord meets him. That man could explain light. Why? Because he had learned it through suffering. Such an one is a true servant and witness.


When there is real working with God there will be no effort to convince ourselves or others that we are doing something. If we are waiting on God and ready for His

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service, He will use us when the time comes. Paul, at Philippi, was going on patiently and faithfully, his own soul was very fervent with God, but without much apparent result as to work, when he was called to effective service. Pleasing God is the highest service. This was Enoch's service, and "Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). Some seem to intimate by their acts that God is a rewarder of those who diligently work for Him. It is true that if I seek Him I shall not neglect anything that concerns Him, but then it is Himself and to please Him that I am seeking and not the work. It is a healthy sign when saints are zealous of good works, but I believe there is nothing so likely to sap the soul as the satisfaction one derives from feeling that one is useful. With all of you I grieve to say there is now more work and less worship than when you were, as a company, fewer and less intelligent. The Spirit is less ruling, there is less oneness, and the outward activity of service is like a cloak to conceal the internal weakness. What we admire much we seek to resemble. If the soul is much occupied with the Lord in worship it must be conformed to Him whom it worships; and then every service or act is so wise, so timely, so convincing that blessing must ensue. When you have been much in active service you need to go to the 'desert to rest awhile' with the Lord. The soul who does not seek this, and long for it, is the soul that needs it most. The tendency of the day is to make work everything, and to overlook worship. I desire to promote the other. David, as his psalms testify, always renewed his spirit by nearness to God, and by the blessedness of His presence.

I feel that there is so little of the power which results from Christ asserting His place in us, so that the old garment is rent, and the mantle, of Elijah adopted instead. Young converts coming in amongst us have but little to encourage them. We cannot say to them, 'We were ensamples unto you to follow us'. We have to renew our sense in "Without me ye can do nothing". May we not only be servants but witnesses. There are many servants

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now, but few witnesses. It is glorious to be a witness of a rejected Lord in the place where He was refused, and to have His chief interest our chief interest. No man prospers divinely whose chief interest is not the same as Christ's. Surely what He is most interested in, there the most of His ways and virtues must be known. The Lord keep us with a simple eye for Himself and His interests, that Shalem may not turn us aside even for a day.


Your letter comforts me in a way that you could hardly understand. I have been anxious about you, and have told my anxieties to the Lord, and it comforts me to find that you have not lost the sense of the unspeakable rest one's soul knows in His presence, in the sanctuary. I have been fearing lest you were so engrossed with the "Merarite" service that you were tending to forget or overlook that you have an altar whereof they have no right to eat. This is, that no Levitical service introduces us into priestly joys before God. You will see by turning to the last chapter of Hebrews that there is the "altar" to eat at, and the camp to go without for service, bearing His reproach. What I desire so much for you, and press on you, because I know in a measure the great good of it, is the sense of being in the sanctuary. I believe all effort is comparatively useless until one has learned the rest of being in an enclosure where Christ is entirely dominant, where everything tells of Him -- He the centre reflected, as I might say, from mirrors all around, for we are there with the consecrated company. Look which side you will He is seen, and when you have seen Him you may rest assured that He sees you! This may be practically tasted of, as illustrated by the queen of Sheba when her eyes had seen the wisdom of Solomon in his glory after having heard of it.

The effects from beholding the Lord's glory are amazing! It transforms you from old tastes without your being

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conscious of it. You are transformed, you cannot tell how, for it is not the process of transformation that occupies you but you are engrossed with the Lord.

May the Lord prosper you much. We are united to a glorified Christ. Where He is at home, blessed be God, is our home, and our life is there.


I am much cheered to read your words: that you 'desire to live and serve the Lord'. Do not be looking for service, look for preparation for it. Joshua was Moses' minister, and he abode in the tabernacle, but his time for service came. I believe every one has to serve an apprenticeship, if you understand me. We do not know what we are fit for, but if we keep near the Lord He will fit us for the very thing for which He has designed us. We hinder both ourselves and His work by attempting things to which He has not called us. Wisdom is the principle thing. If saints made wisdom more their study wiser work would follow. But too often it is work that is their object, and not wisdom. In wisdom thou hast made all thy works. "Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her" (Proverbs 4:8). God never puts us in easy places. He places you where you have either to learn or to serve, and you must learn in order to serve. You may rest assured that every advance you make in your spiritual history will be a great joy to me.


What is your mission? A "pound" has been given to every one. Sometimes our mission, like a body of water, is determined for us by the 'banks'; I call our positive duties banks. We are probationers, constantly being prepared for our mission. It is very interesting to study and comprehend the way the Lord is preparing us for the fulfilment of the service for which He has appointed us. I say we are like tamed elephants who are sent to capture

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wild ones. We were once of the world, but not now; and we are sent back to the world of wild ones to capture and be of use to the wild ones! The Lord bless you, and keep you simple and happy in the path, and within the banks which He has appointed you,

"showing mercy with cheerfulness".
'Walk the path by Him appointed,
All His pleasure to fulfil.'

I believe in the ministry of circumstances as well as in the ministry of the word. The former often makes us attend the better to the latter, and according as we are in accord with the word, the ministry of circumstances comes to be of another order. "We which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake" (2 Corinthians 4:11).


It is an unspeakable favour to be allowed to be of any comfort or use to the people of God in this desert scene. You would find yourself happier were you more interested in the blessing and gain of others, than in anything relating peculiarly to yourself. The knowledge of the love of God gets stronger in our hearts as we act in it towards others, and thus "he that watereth shall be watered also himself" (Proverbs 11:25). There is no one more unhappy than the one who makes himself the object of all his concern. As we have tasted of the love of God we must act in it, and as we do, we increase in our own enjoyment of it. Love makes another its object. Thus it is that God's love has reached us, and as we act in it, we make others our object, not only those who attract us, but every one as they will receive it, and turn it to good account. The sun is an illustration of divine love, but it is only as it is accepted and used that it is really beneficial; yet there it shines, and shines for the benefit of others; it is not selfishly occupied. Seek from the Lord what you can do for others every day; and the

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more you do this, the less will what others do to you affect you except for blessing. Rise every day like a miniature sun, to shine on and serve every one in your circle, or within your reach; not seeking or watching what they will do or will not do to you, but setting yourself to be of use to every one according to the measure given you of God. You will soon find that you view every one in quite a new light, and that every one is more interesting to you, for "with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (Matthew 7:2).

The Lord lead you so to value His nurture that you may grow up like an olive tree, "planted in the house of the Lord, and so flourishing in the courts of our God".


I hope you visit some one every day. It is the most useful occupation when really done to the Lord, and I am very glad you are so highly favoured as to have the opportunity for it without the numerous obstacles which exist in other places. It is not so much what or how you contribute in word or in deed, but that you will see what is needed, and you will know how far you are able to meet it. Many think they can get on very well until they try. You may think it easy to minister comfort to a tried soul, or peace to an anxious one, and you may know very well the way and manner in which the Lord has comforted and cheered yourself, yet when you come to offer help to another you will find how insufficient you are, and the sense of this throws the visitor back on God, and he finds his real level.

A young artist thinks he can paint, but when unapproved he is undeceived and mortified. The sense of inefficiency does not damp true energy, it only makes one humble and more reliant on the Lord. What spoils people's work is that they have not a true sense of what efficiency is. A daub may pass for a painting when the original is unknown, but when we feel that the only merit in any moral

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picture is the likeness to Jesus, we are kept humble as to ourselves and as to our greatest services to others. The more you see in visiting that which needs care and help, the more you will find how inefficient you are, but it will not discourage you from making another effort; you will have to ask yourself, in order to preserve a good conscience -- Have I the colour -- the likeness to Jesus that I feel this or that poor woman needs? and if I have not how can I skilfully impart to her what I am deficient in myself? So I say -- visit, not so much to do good, as to get good, and so to be better qualified for doing good. Be satisfied with nothing but a good likeness -- every divine colour in its true place. Himself as He walked down here is what you have to express; set your heart for this, and the imperfections of others will lead you to watch and to judge yourself, while their perfections will stimulate and encourage you, for what grace has done for one it can do for another.


The mark of a good servant is that he gives the household meat in due season; we are called to a variety of services, and were we to confine ourselves to one routine, like a horse in a mill, we should soon wear out, and we should lose the fresh energies of life as well as its usefulness. We all require to be more even. The greatest proof of divine power in a servant is that he is even. Do not go into extremes.

How little we know the depths of Christ's interest in His own, and, on the other hand, the way He regards the dislocation and paralysis of what is so dear to Him. M any speak of Christ as He was or as He will be, but few of what He is -- His present feelings about His own. "Why persecutest thou me?" That is Christ in the present. When a loved one is removed, the only way to demonstrate affection for the absent one is to love and care for any remnant of his here. Thus David felt for Jonathan. Thus we should feel for what is of Christ here now in His

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absence. You can never know the fulness of Christ's heart, you cannot comprehend what He can confer all round until you have gone in company with Him as His bondsman and become His friend. Then you enter into His feelings about His own, and then you are made sensible of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and what it really means that the Christ should be at home in your heart by faith. He, the Christ, must be domiciled in your heart before you can comprehend His domain. May the Lord fit you every day more for Himself and His service. The more we are in His interests the less tied we are by other interests, and yet the better are all other interests which are subject to Him promoted.

If you would be perfectly happy, live entirely for Christ here. I feel that if I were to be absolutely in the current of His mind my joy would be unspeakable. May you be led into and kept in this blessed association.


To be Christ's servant, doing His will in everything in a world and a nature that simply seeks itself, is a wondrous privilege and a calling of great dignity. What discipline such a life would afford us if we were simply studying to fulfil the good pleasure of His will in all our course! How every little thing would call forth an expression of His mind, and a displacement of that which is against or unsuitable to Him. It is such a different thing to live for Him who is no longer here, or of this scene, and to live for man even in the most exemplary way. To be a good man, a benefactor, is creditable to man. The Christian, the servant of Christ, takes different and higher ground; he seeks to commend Christ, not man, and as he does so he goes contrary to all that is around him and even to his old self; but his spirit is succoured by the Lord and enriched by communion with Christ. Goodness to man will not be by any means wanting in him, but it will

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come out in quite a different way. If Christ be the object of the servant's heart he will neglect no opportunity which is offered of commending Christ. The good work will be as easy as the good word. The importance of the work is regarded in relation to Him to whom it is done. When He is the object, the eye is single, and as the heart is true to Him who is outside everything here it longs to be here entirely for Him, and as He is outside of everything His servant would be so also. If you knew that Christ was on some lonely mountain, apart from all human associations, how you would like to join Him there! But now He has sanctified Himself, set Himself apart, that we might be sanctified truly; shall we not then walk in separation from everything here, and find in the fellowship of the Holy Ghost that it is only in this separation we can be here for Him, for it is only thus that we are in company with Him. It is not in the things here but outside of them that we can be here for Him or serve Him. This makes our path singular and very serious. To be in a scene which is natural to us, and at the same time to be through the Spirit united to One who is not only not in it but who is also not of it, and with whom we walk, and whom we serve, is a wondrous thing. In order to serve Him truly we must be outside of the order and current of things here, and morally in the sphere in which Christ is.

How to be thus, simply and naturally, is the next question. As we live in any order of things, we find it natural and easy to live in that order. Now the order for us is to live morally with Christ in glory. Can any order be more perfect or blessed? Such are its moral qualities, and so much does it confer that if we are even a little conversant with it, we necessarily are, because of its greatness, made conscious that it is divine, and entirely different from any other order, and seeing that, as we behold the Lord's glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) we are transformed into the same image; we are not only impressed by this superior order, but we acquire power to be here in accordance with it, and the great difficulty of being here when He is not here is solved. As we are with Him where He is, we get so used to and formed into the things where He is, and which suit Him, that, as walking here, we are almost

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unconsciously pursuing, as if natural and easy to us, the order of things in which we have been formed by association with Him. We are not looking around to see how we ought to act; but in company with Him where He is, we seek to find space for Him here where He is not. As we are with Him and formed into His order of things, so do we unconsciously exhibit His virtues in the path through this wilderness, and this produces a separation, a tone, and an exclusiveness from all around, and yet a power to contribute to all around us which is heart satisfying, because in it we are linked with Christ, and above the vanity and desires of the men of this age, and this is true service; so that, in a word, the great thing for us all, and especially for the servant, is to keep the eye on Him, and thus transformed to His image and order, our works down here will be the expression of Him, and we shall serve Him, and be in His interests in the truest way.

May we be so transformed into His order of things that gleams of heavenly light may be seen in all our ways and words to the glory of Him who is the object of our hearts, and the source of everything to us.


I was saying to myself this morning how the Lord's service makes up for every privation here! It more than compensates for separation from all that is interesting to one naturally. If we are going in His way His joy remains with us and our joy is full. I am sorry -------- is going to --------. There is an effort to be metropolitan. In sadness of heart I say, How many are there in -------- who would stand up for the truth without the tendency to compromise? I wish I knew of more in -------- who have a circumcised ear that I might sound the voice of alarm!

I feel it is daily coming to this issue! Is the gospel simply and solely man's benefit from it? Is good to man to be the centre and object of everything on earth? or, Is God to be the sphere where man is to find his fullest

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blessing and God that which satisfies Himself? If it be the former, everything sinks down and is limited to man's benefit, it is all human. If it be the latter, man is brought to God and set in the Beloved according to the good pleasure of His will.

I spoke on Psalm 18:19, 29, 39 -- three grades of power; first -- Where His grace sets us. Secondly -- What He makes us, strong in God like David in the wilderness; the recruits developed into strong men through faithfulness. God has grace for us, but it is not available to us unless we are fit for it; that is (and it is so in everything), He has a supply for us, but unless we are walking righteously He cannot give it to us. Christendom has lost faith in the presence of the Holy Ghost. God could not support a man in a wrong position. Some servants are like Joshua (see Joshua 7) lying on the ground, and questioning whether there is any power to deliver the people; he ought to have said -- There is power but there is something wrong in us so that we cannot be helped. I must be assured of two things, first, that there is bread (supply for me here), and secondly, that I must have clean hands or it will not be given to me. If it were given to me without clean hands it would be to support me in what is wrong; there must be righteousness before strength; and thirdly, if you are made a soldier you are fit for the battlefield.

May the oil of gladness cause your face to shine.


I was glad to get your letter and to read the interesting enclosures. It is evident that -------- is not in the testimony himself, or he would not be so ready to place work and success above it. The men of the testimony are men for God, and they set forth what is the purpose of God in fullest blessing for souls. Those who work outside the testimony, however true and earnest they may be, are not for God simply, but for man absolutely. The tendency of christian preachers in the present day, is to present a

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Christ to suit man's need, and not one to bring man to God. Now, I believe the more truly and faithfully the testimony is maintained, the more will Satan oppose, and therefore the servants who are witnesses for Christ will be hindered in every diabolical way, while those who make man singularly their object and despise the testimony will not be opposed. I do not say that Satan will really help them, but I believe he will not oppose them, and they will sweep along in one tide of human success. It was so in Paul's time, those who turned from him had apparently an easier time than he had. James had more followers than Paul. Amongst us in a very remarkable way success has never been an evidence of real prosperity, whether I take -------- or --------. When the success is very apparent you may assuredly reckon that there is some deep undercurrent of mischief.

As to your own letter, the question which you raise is a deeper one -- whether God does not, as in Hezekiah's time, accept a lower platform, because of the state of His people. In one sense I should say God will accept you on a lower platform if you do not assume that it is the highest one. If you aim at the top, but in truthfulness own that you are not there, He will meet you where you are, and lead you on to where you seek to be, and this is just what He has done with the brethren. They felt they were not in church order according to His mind, but though they felt and owned that they were not, yet they were not content with their state, but really like the captives at the river Ahava (see Ezra), sought the Lord in prayer and fasting how they might reach the place of His pleasure. I believe that the moment we say 'We see it all' we are in danger. If I propose a lower platform than the one the Lord has appointed, it will be only another Zoar; but if I seek with purpose of heart to reach to the very top in answer to the purpose of God, though I am only on the lowest round of the ladder, He will meet me. One thing is very remarkable in His dealings with any remnant (I .mean by a remnant the residue of His people, who after departure from their calling sought to return to it), and that is, that He helped them more. His intervention, though not in display, was more marked and more effective

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than in the days of their youth and vigour. Joseph was the first remnant, and as far as we know there was more power exercised on his behalf than towards any of the fathers, and when Paul was forsaken of all men and alone in the testimony, the Lord stood by him....


Gladly shall I try and say all that is on my heart, though it is a solemn thing to do so, lest that by any means, or rather in any way, I shall be found hindering instead of helping. However, the gracious Lord judges the intents of our hearts, and He brings about the good which is desired, even when we spoil or delay it by our inter-meddling. I assume that the Lord has given you a heart and an ability to serve His people. The extent and the measure of it I know not, but the existence of the gift or ability is known by the possessor, not so much by what he can show, as by the simple fact that there is an understanding between the Lord and his own heart that he ought to serve Him, and a desire which does not seek display. I believe where the desire is most real and where there is true godliness, the service will be most unobtrusive, because the servant does not seek countenance from man, but rather fears the countenance of man. His delight and rest of heart is with the Lord, and he desires to serve Him, but hesitates lest it should not be acknowledged as service by those whom he seeks to serve. A servant fears to offer anything in the way of service which will not be regarded as service; we all know that an officious person is not a good servant. I believe that when there is a gift that it moves one like the way the Spirit moved Samson between Eshtaol and Dan (see Judges). I think I may confidently assert that the Spirit of the Lord has been moving you, and as He has, your natural timidity is no evidence that He has not, but only a safeguard, as well as a proof, that the leading must be of the Lord, for you are not

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naturally confident; I mean that your natural timidity preserves you from rushing into a service where another with self-confidence, and perhaps with little or no ability, would come forward boldly. I do not think the gift ever alters the vessel, but as there is subjection to the Lord the vessel is controlled and made fit for His service. No horse goes under a cart of his own accord, but after a while he becomes steady and tractable, but he must always be harnessed and driven. I do not think your timidity is a real hindrance. I believe that it will only make you have more sense of dependence and the need of it. I freely admit that the less a servant is affected by anything around, the more simple and genuine is his ministry. But, believe me, there is often a cause for this timidity, I have traced it in myself -- and that is when one cannot present himself before his fellows as personally an exponent of the truths which he sets forth. The Lord only supports me in public as I maintain Him in private. I feel it involves no small amount of the surrender of self-ease, and a thousand things which evangelists in Christendom retain, when one comes forth as a teacher or help in the church, and the clearer my conscience is, and the nearer my heart is to the Lord, the less can I venture to press on others what I do not feel has had a true effect on myself. Timidity in itself is only an occasion for dependence, but the Lord will not help me when my heart condemns me. Now I do not say that your heart condemns you, I only want to show you that there is no real obstacle in natural timidity, but the Lord often allows it to obstruct His servant, either where he is not wholly cast on Him, or when there is something in his heart which condemns him, and hinders his full confidence in the Lord. The vessel is the Lord's. What I really feel about you, and what I deeply desire for you for the Lord's sake, is that you should make His service your chief business. You would find true and wholesome co-operation every way in dear --------, but I think and feel that you ought to take heed to the ministry which you have received of the Lord that you fulfil it. I do not say, never go near the office, but I do desire that you should be known better as the Lord's servant than as the merchant. I think and am assured that as you devote yourself to the

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Lord's service that things that may now hang loosely about you will drop off. The light above the brightness of the sun made Paul blind. If a man is blind he cannot be much interested in visible things. "Who is blind, but my servant?" (Isaiah 42:19). I have the feeling that the Lord has called you to the ministry, and I have thought that in view of it He has so often led you into Arabia -- into retirement. Imperfectly I have conveyed my mind to you, such as it is. The Lord alone can give effect to what is of His own mind. I have the comfort of feeling how I shall rejoice in your prosperity and this is of blessing to myself because it is of Him.


The account you give of the Lord's work in -------- is very cheering, but I cannot say I agree with you in supposing that numbers are a sign of usefulness. I think it is a favour from the Lord when one is used to lead His people into true devotedness to Himself.

If there be many of His in a place, as in Corinth, the faithful servant would be used, and kept there to be used.

I see the Lord Himself having more confidence in the few -- taking only three with Him to the mount of Transfiguration, dining with seven after the resurrection, and appearing to two as they went to Emmaus. And we always find in scripture that the greatest testimony has been rendered by the few. Ten thousand fearless ones are too many for Gideon. The three hundred only are fit to learn the secret. The secret is to put the lamp in a pitcher, and to do as Gideon did -- the treasure in an earthen vessel, and the life of Jesus shining through the fractures of it! We gladly receive the ten thousand, but the three hundred are the working bees. They are keepers at home, that is, housekeepers -- the inner circle is all their attention and toil.

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I feel, though little able to maintain it, that every grace is only a means to one great end, and that is simply to live Christ in a world which has refused Him a place, and to reach this, one must begin within, and as one is within at the altar, one will be without with regard to the camp -- the angle of incidence equal to the angle of reflection.

Can you say that all the saints under your care are ready for the Lord at His coming? Well, if you carry them all to the "inn" in this scene, they will be ready for 'home' when the Lord comes.


I see that no one is led now beyond his conscience; when I bow in my conscience to God's favour to me the Spirit makes it good to me. Your question about the Holy Ghost has opened out much to me with relation to Him. I wonder that one is not in more power; power is being equal to the occasion. We were speaking of the gravity of ministering in the assembly, and how solemn it is to break a silence unless led by the Spirit. I spoke briefly on having faith at the time, and that the ministry being to edification marks it as led of the Spirit, but for this there must be faith at the time; there may be gift, yet if there is not state, the Lord's mind is not apprehended. If Christ were the one Object of the servant he would get more light, and there would be better service, but when service is the object one is occupied with one's own usefulness.

I feel very much that some are being blinded; they have rejected the light, and therefore they know not at what they stumble. It stings me to the heart the way I see decline. --------is set for the highest things; alas how few are.

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I am interested in seeing that it is no doing of mine, but of God's, to fit me to be a witness! Again, no one is a witness until he is in the thing that he witnesses of. You may suffer a great deal for the truth, and yet there may be no interposition on the part of God until to human appearance all is gone! ... The man who is helped of God has the appearance of it, as well as the sense of it. Moses' face shone. Elisha wore Elijah's mantle. You may enjoy truth, and yet not be an exponent of it. J.N.D. said of -------- that he was trying to explain with his mind eternal life, which must first be understood in the soul.

Brethren were called out to be a light to the whole church of God, and the testings all along the journey prove that we must go on! If some lag behind they are in danger of the enemy, and we are grieved for them, but we must not stop for them, we must keep well in front if we would be of any use to others.


By what instruction may the servant lead saints to love God, and what is the evidence that we do love Him? There is nothing we are so ignorant of as the love of God, and it is only as I am able to form some estimate of the love of God, that I am able to receive, even in measure, the things that God has prepared for them that love Him; therefore the apostle prays that we may be rooted and grounded in love, in order to comprehend with all saints the love of Christ; otherwise you would not be able to acknowledge the vastness of that glory which He has prepared for them who were aforetime His enemies. The Lord's exhortation to His disciples is-"Continue ye in my love" (John 15:9). This would lead them into obedience to His precepts, for if they abide in His love they must observe

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that which would keep them in the course of its desires; if I continue in His love I cannot oppose His pleasure. If I do not continue in His love I lose the great moving principle of practical conduct here, while continuing in His love insures my ready acquiescence with all His desires and decrees. Now if I tell you to continue in the love of Christ, it is a very different thing from telling you to see whether you love Christ. I do not think it is correct or helpful to ask saints -- Do you love Him who suffered for you? and so on; I the rather seek to convince them of His love to them. "We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Press on saints as much as you can how Christ loves them, and that they have to continue in His love, then you will have a practical company, for continuing in the happy sense of His love is everything. You need not then trouble your soul about how much you obey, for if you continue in His love you must obey, it is a necessity to your heart to do so, and the more you continue in the love the better you will obey. People begin at the wrong end, and therefore they are often hesitating to adopt this or that course, whereas continuing in the unbroken embracings of His love must lead you into obedience, for if not there would be an interruption to the enjoyment of the love, and this is well known to the one who lives under its banner, and to whom it is sweet. If you ask saints to love, it sets them searching their own hearts and building their consolation on their own sensations which are not abiding, instead of resting in that which abides for ever in Christ.


The vow of the Nazarite was voluntary, and from simple devotedness to the Lord. This always involves sacrifice and an abnegation of the excitements of this world; the Lord must have us all to Himself, and we do not want the wine -- the excitements of this world, when devoted or separated to Him. He will entirely satisfy your heart, but He will not acknowledge your separation if you take the

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wine -- any part of it, from the kernel to the husk. You must be simply and entirely His. What was required of a Jew in natural things is true as to us spiritually. The Lord will not own my separation if I am not satisfied with it as the portion which He gives, distinct from the cheer that the earth offers me. This is the first condition; the second is, that my external appearance must declare my vow, and though nature may disapprove of this, God owns it. Thirdly, I am not for any relation, however near, to make myself unclean. If I mix with the world -- the dead men around me -- I know, like Samson, that I have lost. I may shake myself in vain, the distinctiveness of my character is lost, and with it the inward power to sustain such a character. But there is recovery in expressing that you have totally forfeited your title to this mark; this simply means a complete humiliation and building nothing on a former character. The Nazarite who has defiled the head of his consecration must shave his head in the day of his cleansing. You stand before the Lord without a hair! asserting nothing for yourself, and, on the other hand, asserting atonement and a sweet savour in Christ. Thus you are restored.


In Joshua 6 we see the first great lesson taught the children of God as regards the world. When they are established as to individual blessing and full acceptance with God, they have now to learn how to act towards an adverse world; how to walk in testimony before it, in daily patient service, disconnected from it, yet every day around it. There is to be no aggressive act from them, but they are to be simply in happy union and concord, bearing about the name of the unseen God. In the march round Jericho the armed men took the lead, thus showing their readiness for conflict; the priests followed, blowing the trumpets and bearing the ark of the covenant, declaring aloud the might and majesty of Jehovah, and the host followed.

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Each one giving, in his measure, they all gave one unbroken, constant diurnal testimony, and when Joshua said, "Shout", they shout. The saints cannot shout until their Joshua shouts. The Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout. Thus, on the very threshold of Canaan, in the very moment of their introduction to the enjoyment of Canaan's blessing, the terrible world is set before them as that to which they have to exercise a daily, and perhaps a long continued, patient testimony, in the assured hope of its utter fall. "Babylon is fallen" is written in distinct characters upon the world, and most surely read by all thoughtful believers. The fruit of all this service was one despised family! -- Rahab!


Willingness to serve flows from a settled interest in Him whose service I undertake. I need to know Christ as the Amen, the One whose "Word endureth for ever". It declares fixity and endurance; a silent, positive, unalterable purpose -- the One who says, and it is done. Hence, if I know Christ to be the Amen, I know that whatever I do in His name and for Him, He is able to ratify and will ratify; my labour will not be in vain; and the consciousness of this does induce one to be "stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58). In fact, if I know not Christ to be the Amen, I have no sure foundation to rest on in my labours.

Following Jesus is always service. His sheep, the weakest, hear His voice and follow Him. The Lord says (John 12:26), "If any man serve me, let him follow me". But this is impossible while you regard your existence here. So He says first, "He that loveth his life shall lose it" (verse 25).

Isaiah was ready to serve as soon as the live coal had touched his lips; then it was that the people of God, the honour of God's house, was deeply interesting to him, and when God says, "Whom shall I send?" (to His people) Isaiah replies, "Here am I; send me" (Isaiah 6:8). So was

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it with Paul. The highest point that the servant can come to is to consider entirely for God and not for himself -- really not caring for anything but for God and His glory. For the work of Christ Epaphras was nigh unto death, not regarding his life that he might repair the failures of others -- himself and his comforts were forgotten for service sake. This is the spirit of consecration -- the hands filled with consecration. See Exodus 29:22 - 26.


I conclude you have heard of the passing away of dear G. V. W. I believe a great check to evil and a great encouragement to good has been removed, like a ridge of mountain forming a natural breakwater for the only harbour.... It only remains for us to unite together in divine masonry to supply the loss through God's grace. I remark that every departing servant commends the saints to God and not to a successor. In the Old Testament there is a blessing for the survivor given by the departing one.

I do not think, if I were dying, I should so much regret the time I had lost as the way I had shared my heart with other things beside the Lord. The more we know of God the more we seek Him; thus the objective produces the subjective, and the sure mark of progress is seeking Him. Much will have more. Love and pray!


I find the Lord (in John 14) assuring His disciples that His absence would be compensated for by nothing less than the presence of the Holy Ghost in them, and this is the peculiar characteristic of His office that He was to abide with them for ever. Christ did not abide for ever with His disciples, but He sends One from heaven whose office

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it is to abide always. On this He grounds the expediency for them of His going to the Father, for "if I go not", He says, "the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I go, I will send him unto you". Thereby, though absent in Person, He could be in Spirit with His people, which doubtless is as puzzling to many now as it was to Judas in that day, though he understood it afterwards, for we find in his epistle that his primary precept to the church in the last times when disorder and confusion were beyond reformation, was that they were to "pray in the Holy Ghost". The Spirit's service to me is, that He comforts me in the absence of Christ, and He declares the glory of Christ -- things that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man" (1 Corinthians 2:9), are revealed to me now by the Spirit. I, who once read the Bible in ignorance and infidelity and with reluctance, now read it with joy, faith, knowledge. He is come in the name of Christ from the Father, teaching the doctrine and will of Christ, and giving intelligence in it, not communicating a new revelation, for all that is necessary has been given; and infinitely valuable and precious is it in this day of subdivision of opinions that there is a full and perfect and written revelation of the will of God that I can appeal to, and by which I can judge all the assertions of men.

No one knows the things of God but the Spirit of God, therefore it requires the Spirit of God to understand God's real mind about a single verse of scripture.

Mr. Darby's great power has been that he was imbued with the Word of God -- the Spirit of scripture; his mind was dyed by it, therefore he must see things in the light of it.