How to Keep the Unity of the Spirit

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This unity has remained untouched by all the failures of the Church. It is a unity which cannot be destroyed, because it is the Holy Ghost Himself. He is the unity of the body of Christ.
The Church of God was responsible to have maintained this unity of the Spirit, in practical outward and visible oneness. In this she has failed. The unity has not. It remains, because the Spirit of God remains. It remains even when the oneness of action is well nigh gone. The unity of a human body remains when a limb is paralyzed; but where is its oneness? The paralyzed limb has not ceased to be of the body, but it has lost the healthy articulation of the body.
Still, no matter what the ruin may be-no matter how terrible is the confused and unhealthy state in which things are-Scripture never allows that it is impracticable for the saints to walk in the fellowship of God's Spirit, and maintenance of the truth. It is always practicable. The Spirit of God pre-supposes evil and perilous days; still God enjoins us to endeavor "to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." He enjoins nothing that is impracticable. We never can restore anything to its former state, but we can walk in obedience to the Word, and in the company of the Spirit of God who enables us to hold the Head. (Col. 2:1919And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (Colossians 2:19).) He will never sacrifice Christ and His honor and glory for His members. Hence we are exhorted to keep the "unity of the Spirit" (not the "unity of the body," which would prevent us from separating from any member of the body of Christ, no matter what his practice). The Holy Ghost glorifies Christ and, walking in fellowship with Him, we are kept specially identified with Christ.
In this endeavor, I must begin with myself. My first duty is to separate myself to Christ, from everything that is contrary to Him-"Let every one that nameth the name of Christ (the Lord) depart from iniquity." 2 Tim. 2:1919Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Timothy 2:19). This evil may be moral, practical or doctrinal; no matter what it is, I must get away from it; and when I have done so, I find myself practically in company with the Holy Ghost, and a nucleus for those who are likewise truehearted. If I can find such, that is, those who have done the same, I am to follow righteousness, faith, peace, charity, with them (2 Tim. 2:2222Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)). If I can find none where I am, I must stand alone, with the Holy Ghost, for my Lord. There are, however, the Lord be praised, many who have done likewise, and are on the line of action of the Spirit of God in the Church. They have the blessed promise as a resource, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20). They are practically one, as led by the same Spirit, with every member of Christ in the world who has done likewise. I do not now refer to their absolute union with the whole body of Christ, but of the practice.
The basis on which they are gathered (that is, the Spirit of God, in the body of Christ) is wide enough in its principle to embrace the whole Church of God-narrow enough to exclude from its midst everything that is not of the Spirit of God. To admit such would put them practically out of the fellowship of the Holy Ghost.
This endeavor does not confine itself to those who are thus together one with the other. It has its aspect toward every member of Christ upon earth. The walk of those thus gathered, in entire separation to Christ and practical fellowship of the Spirit, and maintenance of the truth, is the truest love they can show toward their brethren who are not practically with them. Walking in truth and unity, they will desire that their brethren may be won into the truth and fellowship of the Holy Ghost. They may be but a feeble remnant, but the true remnants were ever distinguished by personal devotion to the Lord who ever specially watched over them in the most tender solicitude, and associated Himself specially with them.