Extracts From Letters of J.N.D.: Mercy and Grace; Is the Testimony Our Object?

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A question, had been asked as to "the difference between mercy and grace."
"You can hardly compare mercy and grace thus. Grace refers more to the source and character of the sentiment; mercy to the state of the person who is its, object. Grace may give me glory; but mercy contemplates some need in me. Mercy is great in the greatness. of the need; grace in the thought of the person exercising it." J. N. D.
The inquiry had been made," Is the testimony our object." -
"A question was communicated to me by.... “what, would be sufficient to deprive the assembly of the testimony of God?” Now the question is to my mind a profound mistake, that the testimony they bear is the governing object of the mind of saints. It is no new thought to me, but what I have insisted on, I know not how long- some 30 or 40 years- that wherever an assembly, or those in the assembly, are set to bear a testimony, they will be a testimony to their own weakness and inefficiency, because the object of their walk cannot be one which efficiently forms a Christian. When they have a right one, they will be a testimony, but to be one is never the first object.
To have Christ,—I mean practically to walk with Him and after Him, to have communion with the Father and the Son, to walk in unfeigned obedience and lowliness: to live in realized dependence on Christ and have His secret with us, and realize the Father's love; to have our affections set on things above, to walk in patience and yet confidence through this world, this is what we have to seek, and if we realize it we shall be a testimony, whether individually or collectively, but in possessing the things themselves, and they form us through grace, so that we are one (i.e., a testimony), but seeking or setting up to be it does not. Moses did not seek to have his face shine nor even know when it did, but when he had been with God it did so.
"Wherever Christians, as far as I have seen, set up to be a testimony they get full of themselves, and lose the sense that they are so (i.e., full of themselves), and fancy it is having much of Christ. A shining never sees itself. The true heart is occupied with Christ, and in a certain sense and measure self is gone. The right thought is not to think of self at all- save as we have to judge it. You cannot think of being a testimony save of your being so, and that is thinking of self, and, as I have said before, it is what I have always seen to be the case," J. N. D.