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THE power which draws saints into communion, by the faith of a once crucified but now glorified Lord is the Holy Ghost. It will be found that it is the purpose of the haul to walk with God alone, which is the inward: fitness for communion of saints, and not intellectual intelligence as to the doctrine of the church. Intellectual intelligence about what the Church was, and should outwardly be may lead to narrow sectarianism; and knowledge of the principles of the Church. without reference to the Form, may lead to multitudinism (as it is called); but to blend principle with practice, in this matter, is the result of walking with God. A common purpose gives a natural and a happy association;1 and when that purpose is the glory of God and the honor of Christ, in a self-denying walk with God, the holiness and the self-devotedness of the purpose will bring and keep hearts and minds together; and, thank God, nothing else can do it.
In the promise of Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20):— “Where two or three are together in my name, there am I in the midst of them;” the words, in my name, must not be forgotten. The gathering must be according to the power and character of the Savior God,” otherwise it is not in the name of Jesus.
We used to mourn man's dishonoring of God, in the power which Satan, had through the worldliness and fleshliness of unbelieving believers in our day, — and how, in consequence of this, the dear children of God were divided one from another, and some found in the Roman, and some in the reformed, and some in the various dissenting churches; but no manifested visible oneness. This is just as true now as it was twenty-five years ago. But some, who thought to work deliverance on the earth, set themselves up, and have been broken. Do I mourn this their breaking, then? No; though I do mourn that, instead of having humbled themselves for the state common to the Lord's Church upon earth (which would have been godly and humble), it new comes out that they thought that they were to work deliverance upon earth. Well the heart (my heart) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked Who (save God) would have thought that the discovery of irremediable ruin would have been so used. A bit of knowledge as to “what the Church was, and what it is not,” turned to mean, “The temple of the Lord are we; come with us, and we will do you good.” I bless God the bubble is burst. Blow it a second time—let who will do it.
Many of these disappointed ones have returned to evils they formerly deplored; some of them have set up their own union (be it multitudinous or sectarian, or both together), and are so angered with God's breach upon them, that they will never forgive those from whom they are broken, until their own idol is mended. A few (would they were more!) have acknowledged the just judgment of God upon pride and folly—have accepted the chastening at His hand, and their broken idol—have not returned to the evils they once left; but have sought to return to Bochim, and there to walk humbly with God.
When I think of the break of “ourselves” (as some speak), I say. “Thank God! True and righteous art thou!” When I think of how little the children of God, in our day (in church and dissent, and everywhere), respond to the glory of God and the honor of Christ as the Church should do. I mourn; and yet if, as to the Church on earth; the Spirit of God is a grieved and quenched Spirit, may I find grace to have my spirit in sympathy with God's, and to feel aright and as He does, as to the present state of things on earth among His professing people.
1. Each of the twelve apostles hail left all to follow Christ. This purpose to follow Him, this life of following Him. gave than an unity and it communion. Just so, though in a higher way, faith gives to each believer now a life of communion with God: obedience to Him, and praise to Him, through the Spirit, and in the Spirit.