Reading Meeting at Edinburgh

2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; Hebrews 13:11‑13  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 4
Ques. What would be looked for rightly in a person who was seeking fellowship?
Taking it on simple ground, it is that he should have the Spirit of Christ and be walking according to it.
Ques. Being a member of Christ's body?
Well, that is having the Spirit of Christ.
I have these two great principles to get hold of, the original principle of the unity of the body; and, then again, that we are outside the camp; or at least, I am; I don't know if everybody is.
Forty years ago there was nothing but the recognized systems, and so far the path was simple; but now, the idea of liberty to meet together is spread all over the country. Indeed, what they call the universal freedom of Christians as in the evangelical alliance is just on that ground, only they accept, in practice, the camp.
One has to reconcile these two principles, which I believe is simple in practice, where there is singleness of eye. There is no difficulty if people are but real.
Ques. What is the " camp "?
It was an arrangement of religion for the world. In Israel, God raised that question for man as he was, and it could not be carried through. Then, as we know, God brought in His Son but He was rejected, and was taken up to heaven. God did spare the Jews, but as they rejected the testimony of Stephen, heavenly things were brought in; there was thus an end of the camp, i.e., of God's owning it, for the cross had already put an end to it; then the supplementary grace through Stephen was refused, and he was put to death. This put an end to the camp, and you get the church formed with a heavenly character.
Gradually it gave up its heavenly character, and settled down to the earth, and became a camp.
It still pretended to be the body.
But now in God's mercy, we turn back to the heavenly character of it, the heavenly calling, and the unity of the body; and maintain that, and go outside the camp, i.e., the worldly system of religion. And that is where the difficulty comes in.
Here is a person who is a member of the body, but who stays in the camp, now we have carefully to maintain the unity of the body, or we have no ground of fellowship at all.
Whoever has the Spirit of Christ is a member of the body, and that we own; though if one be walking inconsistently, and in some actual thing that calls for it, he must be put out. For fellowship, therefore, he must be not only a member of the body, but also a member of the body walking uprightly.
Ques. How would you define the camp?
It is an earthly religious system, connecting the name of God with it; whatever does that, has the character of the camp. It is a matter of spiritual discernment and judgment. The word ‘camp,' of course, refers to Israel, and to Moses, pitching a tent far off from the camp. He, himself, went back into the camp in testimony, but Joshua did not.
Ques. You said the true thing became the camp?
Yes, that which had been the true thing in the first instance. One great thing that characterizes it is, de facto, the clergy. I do not say this constitutes it; but that is its flag.
Ques. Then would you have anything to do with one of them?
I should not go habitually with clergymen. I could associate with any Christian on grounds that are scriptural; but where there is openly that which is not scriptural, it must make a restraint as to communion. But if I meet a saint in a train, I do not ask him who he is.
Ques. Then could you acknowledge a church? I should not go into one at all. But as to individuals, you find various perceptions of principles, and must discern.
Here was a good man with meetings at his house, and he asked me to go; I did not refuse to go down to a reading meeting in his basement; but, I said, if I stand up there so, I should be standing up as a clergyman. But he stuck to his system, and would not alter his way.
Ques. Then is it wrong or not to go on with Christians in denominations for the furtherance of the Lord's work?
Well, I did for a little while, but I found the trumpet gave an uncertain sound.
Ques. If a clergyman were to ask you, would you go into a fair, and stand up with him to speak?
It might be, but that would depend. If I saw him hooted I might stand by him as a Christian, though I could not as a clergyman.
I should say, keep your feet in the narrow way, and your heart as large as you can.
It is of no use trying to make fellowship; it is not real; you can't shake oil and water together, and not find that they will soon separate again.
[Reference was here made to much connected with " Bethesda," and is omitted.]
There are cases where you could do nothing. For ten years I did not go to Italy, because they were half Newtonians, and so I left it with the Lord. Then they all got into such a bad state, that I could go clearly, and no difficulty be raised by it.
If I found that any one's manner of work was not right, I could not go with it or them.
There is a large system that recognizes the camp, and that I could not do.
Ques. If you owned them in any way, they would want you next Lord's day to break bread with them as well?
Very likely.
Ques. Do you not find that most of them are holding some bad doctrine such as that Christ bore the sins of all?
That is very often so.
Ques. Is there not sufficient work to be done among those who are true, without going to seek it elsewhere?
I believe there is plenty. We are often charged with narrowness in not going on with others, but that I don't mind. It is a narrow way that we have to walk in, but it is the narrow way that is objected to.
Ques. To go back; if you receive a person to the breaking of bread, it is on the ground of his being a member of the body of Christ?
Quite so.
Ques. Could you work with every one who is breaking bread?
Oh dear, no; I break bread constantly with some with whom I could not go to preach at all.
Ques. What about those whom you sometimes hear of who wish to break bread as Christians?
I should insist that such should put no condition on the church of God, any more than the church should put a condition upon them.
Ques. Should not a person be baptized to be received at the table?
As to order, he should be baptized first. If any one refused intelligently and deliberately to be baptized, I think he should not be received.
Both as to reception and as to fellowship in work, specially the latter, there are plenty of difficulties, which nothing but spirituality or communion with the Lord can solve. And the difficulties grow.
Remember you put ships into quarantine from ports where it is known that disease is raging; and that is done in ports where otherwise all ships would be received. When I met T. I did not ask him whether he were a thief or not, because I had not the remotest idea of such a thing; but if he had come from a thieves' home I should have liked to know if he were clear.
Ques. What are the evidences of a soul being really a member of the body of Christ?
Ques. What would you judge as unmistakable proof of a person being sealed?
Does he say, " Abba, Father," really?
Ques. But then a person may get into darkness after that?
Ah! but I don't think such would have the consciousness of the relationship. And therefore I said "really." You may find "Father" said from habit of training as to words.
Ques. Do you think a person sealed ever does get into the seventh chapter of Romans?
I do not believe that a person who has got hold of the redemption that brings him out of Rom. 7 ever gets into Rom. 7 again.
There is a distinction between the person and the work of Christ. A man may believe that Jesus is the Christ through God's work in his soul, and then he is a child of God. He may believe that, and not know that Christ's work has put all his sins away. That may happen, and it did happen when they said, " Men and brethren, what shall we do? " It was because they believed that Jesus is the Christ, and that they had crucified their Messiah and all was over with them, and they were lost, that they said so.
Ques. Then do you connect the sealing with the knowledge of forgiveness?
I do. But I should not dogmatize upon it.
The Scripture order is, washed with water, sprinkled with blood, anointed with oil.
Ques. In Rom. 8, " If any man have not the Spirit of Christ "-is that the Holy Ghost?
Yes, certainly. Only in applying it, it is necessary to make allowance for all the bad teaching people get.
Ques. But every quickened person is a child of God? Yes, surely.
Ques. Can one be a child of God and not be washed?
Yes; that is to say, he has not got it in his own conscience though he has it all in God's mind for him; but then he has the glory in God's mind, though, clearly, he has not got that yet.
Ques. And " dead with Christ," too?
Yes; but many of those breaking bread-and who are rightly doing so-do not know what it is to be dead with Christ. The resurrection is the seal God has put upon the value of Christ's blood.
Ques. What is the earnest of the Spirit?
The Holy Ghost dwelling in me is the earnest of all the glory which I have not got yet.
Ques. What is the difference between the earnest and the sealing?
The earnest is a particular operation in my heart of the seal.
Ques. What is " anointing "?
It is all the same thing. Christ anoints us with the Holy Ghost, and that is putting the seal upon us, which is the earnest.