Guarding Against Independent Assembly Action; Evil Among Brethren; Outward Fall Not the Beginning of Evil; the Effect of a Full Gospel; Unity of and Common Action in London; the Lord's Ways With Peter; Restoration to Be Sought; Revivals

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
I thank you much for your account of Ireland. I had heard of dear -'s departure. I had heard, too, that the world had enticed away her husband, and, I trust, this may have awakened his conscience and heart. I feel such cases as -'s overwhelming. I ask myself why such things occur, for there have been one or two-if anything in myself, or in the ways and teaching of brethren even, to give occasion to what we all abhor. It is well we should judge this. I have no doubt as to the utter dishonesty of ordinary evangelical teaching, nor do I hesitate a moment on the need or glory or truth of simple full grace and salvation. It cannot be separated from Christ's glory, nor Christ from it. It is a part of eternal truth. I know the stupid objection of unconvinced and self-righteous sinners was alleged against Paul's doctrine, and that Peter had to say, "As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness." All this is foreseen of God. But, I ask myself, Is there any check in practice or doctrine overlooked, any onesidedness in the way of putting it? That in the late revival, not among brethren as much as elsewhere, but generally, there was un3criptural language, I judge, as to repentance and sanctification. The reaction against error over-stepped the bounds of scripture; but I think there must be more than this-something in our ways, in mine it may be, that God judges. I have seen that God has never allowed any allowed evil in brethren to be hidden, and I can thank Him for it; while elsewhere it is hushed up. Still it is very sorrowful that the Lord should be grieved, and those we love dishonor themselves and Him He can restore, that is the comfort; I trust he will poor -. I am sure He is righteous in all His ways, and such falls are not the beginning of departure from Him, not sudden, but the result- I would trust, the end-of departure from Him. Still I would trust that in a certain sense he was taken in a fault, and our part is to restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering ourselves. Judgment on evil is all right, but the restoration of the sinner is the object of divine love; he will never, nor any one, be restored till the origin of the evil be judged. Christ does not reproach Peter with denying Him, but He does say, "Lovest thou me more than these? "-he will have to judge all that led him away from God. If we go down into Egypt, we have no altar till we get back to the one we had at the first, when God brought us to worship Him where our tent and our altar were in the land of promise.
The question you speak of in London has been pretty strongly before brethren. H. sought to make them independent churches, saying London was as populous as Galatia.—intrigued with all his energies to excite jealousy against the Saturday meeting; and a man, whose name I forget, who also was seeking to play this all off at the Priory, wrote and printed and insisted on their being churches. The difficulty in practice is real, in principle none; in practice because of the size of the town, and fidgetiness of individuals as to their local responsibility being meddled with. But hitherto a little grace and patience have met these difficulties, and God's grace can, and, I trust, will. It was this W. meant when he said, what was laid hold of for their purposes, that the one church of God in London, judged, in referring to cutting it up into churches—taken hold of to mean we only were the church, and all else outside. But the point was then pretty fully up and met. I took my part in it, and should again, if it came up; only I feel the fruits of righteousness are sown in peace, and I have had toil enough in this world to seek the ministration of the fullness of Christ for myself and for the saints. It is as clear as daylight in scripture that the church of God was one in each city or place. The size of London makes difficulty; the sending the names round was that all might help each; and such cases have arisen. In ordinary ones one has to trust the brethren of each locality; and even the few of them who inquire fully alone are acquainted with the facts, and we have to remember it is not really admission to membership with us, that is a sect, but ascertaining that they are members of Christ, walking godlily in the truth. There was no trying at first. We have to try, because we are in 2 Timothy. The Lord lead the beloved brethren on in peace and godliness....