Extracts From Letters of J.N.D.

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It has not been my desire to interfere in matters in England, until I could do it seriously on the Lord's behalf, as called upon of Him to do it, and thus pursue it with the advised certainty of His calling, as His service and obedience. It makes all the difference as to one's work, in certainty and effect too; indeed, nothing else is properly work. Save in two places (in the second only with one person), when I was specially asked, I did not touch this question in England. I was in general very happy, always indeed, as to the course this matter is taking. Every provision of God's working in it has taken place, and been surpassed considerably as to blessing. Individual souls have been exercised, and much more reality in Christ exists, without which all is nothing.
A mass of brethren had received blessed truths superficially though really, and they were unconnected with an inward walk which associates the soul with Christ in them. The first wind blew much of this down; but when the inward state of the soul laid the ground for it, all this deepened exceedingly, and strengthened, and made to understand the relation between the soul and Christ in these things, and a large increase of real growth has been the consequence.
I blame myself as unfaithful in passing over many truths for the sake of what is called peace. And God took the matter in hand, and now I doubt not the ground of the truth which God is using will be far more deeply felt and understood, and a path according to it more intelligently pursued by those who, through grace, have laid hold on it. This I thankfully believe God is doing. A humbling sifting was needed and it, and in gracious love and faithfulness, that He has sent us. It will put to the proof whether Christ is preferred to brethren (even though loved), to ease, to everything; and this links our souls with the time when He will be. I regret what was attempted at ____; I regret what was done at ____.... But what was done at ____ and at ____ does not affect me, because it was but a needed expression of what was to bring about the sifting. Hence I remained and remain quiet. When God is acting, it is useless for man to put in his hand.
I do not speak of fidelity when in the circumstances. My path is to consider it a settled question, and to go on in faithfulness in the truth, delivering according to what is given to me, when the case is presented to charity, as from any other evil, but to seek positive good. What is of the world will sink in, somewhere or other. What is not attached to Christ by the Holy Ghost, according to the needed truth by which He is now acting in and on His church, will fail in the conflict somewhere; but I act on the quiet conviction of entrusted truth, and the assurance that what does not receive it, cannot bear its fruit without agitation. Those who do not see what the church is will not stand. But that is not the wickedness itself, but they will not be capable of holding good against it; and I act accordingly, or rather walk, acting only when called on. One may rest sometimes with God, as well as act with Him; for we cannot act without Him, save to trouble, even though meaning to do good.
Along with steadfastness in testimony, the saints in general want building up in Christ, and also personal leaning on the grace of God towards them. In general abroad we have to be thankful..... They are walking in a good deal of simplicity and love, with little public preaching help, and a good deal of dependence on the Lord. The world in general has the conviction that if a man is converted he ought to be there. Save a very few, if any, Christians are there, and the world, as men say, "go to church," but unless one they are all poor. Query- If the rich came, would they remain as simple? The gracious Lord that loved them, keeps them! What a mercy to be kept in the secret of His grace!
My feeling is, and indeed conviction, that there is decided progress, and that of God, though with needed (needed through the state of souls) slowness, in the godly discernment in conscience of what is right and wrong- a coming to themselves in the saint. This is the only work of any account: that we must have, or nothing; I decline all else as useless. Deputations and going up to B____, and all such like are useless and worse, save as God uses everything (and in this I have full confidence), without denying that individuals may do it conscientiously according to the light they have. But it must come to a conscientious judgment in one's own conscience of evil by the Spirit of Christ, or to nothing, And this will be a humble always, not a haughty thing. The rest one must leave behind or cast away.
My purpose is to come to England as soon as ever I can. I am bringing out the second volume of "Etudes sur la Parole”—the only definite thing which, keeps me- but paying any needed visit on the way. I purpose (D.V.) to come to England as soon as that is done....
One great thing we have to seek is, that communion with Christ Himself be as strong as all the doctrines we hold or teach. Without that the doctrine itself will have no force; besides we ourselves shall not be with God in it, and after all that is all. Peace be with you, dear brother, and much of this communion. It is easy for the life within to decline before the outward exercise of gift or activity does. I am sure the brethren want to be more exercised with Christ for them- selves. When the full truth God is using is not held and walked in, there cannot be community of service; that is, where it is denied, for there may be ignorance of it. And further, what would be called the highest truth is the only safeguard against the principles of the worst error. If I am not one with Christ- that is, if I depart from this, I am ready to Judaize and worship angels. It is the easiest lost, because it requires the flesh to be mortified, and that living faith should be in exercise- spirituality; and if this is lost, it admits the worst errors. Farewell. Peace be with all the brethren.
Ever your affectionate brother in Christ, November, 1850. J. N. D.