Collected Thoughts from Letters

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The Church is the temple of God. Among its services it has to teach angels, to edify itself through joints and bands in the Holy Ghost, to lead those outside to own God in the midst of His saints, to exercise discipline, to worship as a holy priesthood, and to show forth the Lord's death. It is, moreover, "the pillar... of the truth," and as such must keep itself erect and firm. The writing on it is to be large and legible. Nothing is to be allowed to shake or blot it. Some may claim a right to try their hand with it, and plead many pretenses. They may talk of brotherly forbearance, the gentleness of Christ, and the duty of not judging another man's servant. But the pillar must still hold itself firm and inviolate. No such pretensions or pretenses, nor any other, can be listened to. And occasions will arise when the integrity of the pillar is to be guarded with increased vigilance because of the enemy.
And let me say, I honor the service of those who keep watch in the camp. The trumpet is made, among other purposes, for sounding an alarm on the approach of an enemy. All we can desire is that it may be used with priestly skill, and, when it has called the camp into action, that the action itself be conducted according to the mind or word of God; for the battle is to be in His name, and for His kingdom. I hold, at the beginning, the broken, ruined condition of the Church. I know, and still would testify as ever, that "the great house," with its different vessels, is around us. I will say, as before, that no gathering of the saints can assume to be the candlestick in that place, and treat as darkness all that is not of itself; such order and such authority are gone. This we have ever said and still say. But with all this, we avow it, that we are not together as a convention- a voluntary convention of believers-but as part and parcel of the Church. And we have to take heed that the principles and testimony of the house of God be preserved among us, according to our measure and in the Spirit.
We have to take heed that the order and testimony of the house of God pass through our hands without contracting defilement. And indeed I would add, for my own admonition especially, dear brother, that we also have to take heed of heartless exercise of the mind over principles or doctrines. God is not to be so served. "My son, give me thine heart." Pro. 23:2626My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. (Proverbs 23:26).