The Coming of the Lord; True Humility; Work in Switzerland; Union Among Saints

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Very Dear Brethren,—My heart has joy in turning towards Lausanne, where God has given me to work so long amongst you. And in looking back, in order to reflect upon all the time I spent among you, and upon the work which has been done at Lausanne, I find indeed that for which to bless God; and I think I may say, much loved brethren, that while owning many shortcomings in myself before God, I have never sought anything amongst you but the glory of Christ, and the welfare of you all. I had much upon my heart to say a few words to you the Sunday before my departure, but I had not courage for it, and could not bear the idea of turning looks towards me when we had been occupied with the Lord. At any rate, I felt the need of pouring out my heart just a little, and saying thus to you a word of affection and of thankfulness. I suppose, dear and much loved brethren, that with more faith, and thus more knowledge of the will of God, one would have done more for His glory, and for the manifestation of life and the power of His grace in the assembly of His children, for His glory in the church. Notwithstanding, I do not doubt, on the contrary I see, and praise God for it, that He has acted in the midst of us, and that it was His work, and I am astonished sometimes at His grace and goodness. Alas, with more faith, one would have much more still of His glory; but if we think of what we are, we shall bless God from the abundance of our hearts every hour, that He intervenes—and those who are working, so much more than the rest, because they know with what vessels of clay the work is done, and all the shortcomings of their own hearts. At all events, dear friends, as I have said to you, I have the sweet consciousness of having only sought your welfare; and now let me urge on you to seek union among yourselves, and to attach yourselves to one another, seeking the presence of God, which makes the strength of His own; that will be (be well assured of it) your strength and the means of His glory. Do not forsake your holy assemblings; profit by that which God gives, while seeking His presence more than any other thing. For my part, I believe that there is something yet to be gained with regard to the assembly. The principles which I believe to be the truth in our present position having been laid down, I believe that we shall have to seek more union, and more being together, and it is to this I shall apply myself, if God permit me to see you again, as I much hope, and that before long; for to tell you the truth, I am astonished to find to what a degree I am a stranger here, and the distance from Lausanne, instead of separating me in heart, has made me feel how much I was bound to you all. I believe fully that my journey was according to God's will, and thus I am convinced that it will be in blessing to you all, as to myself. It is a very sweet thing to feel oneself conducted by His good hand. I am trying also to get rid of the feeling of being a stranger here, while at the same time being content to feel myself a stranger everywhere. My stay upon the Continent has been blessed to me in every respect, and that one among others. Thanks be to God, the affection of the brethren is stronger than ever, also they have prayed much for the work in Switzerland and in France.
In general, the work here has extended greatly, but it seems to me, from the 'little I have seen, that in the following out of that, the links need to be made firmer. There are places where blessing continues and increases; some, where the enemy has sought to make ravages, but God, I believe, has turned his efforts to good, although the circumstances were humiliating for all, for hitherto the hand of God has been in a remarkable manner with the brethren. Let Him be blessed for it, and may they also be kept in humility; without that assuredly He will resist them to their face. I hope, dear brethren, if I come back to Lausanne, according to my thought, by the goodness of God, to apply myself more to making fast the links between brethren individually, and to be myself more amongst them. I have sought it when I was habitually in the town, for latterly I was often absent, but I was not yet content, and I will try to make arrangements so as to be able to meet more often among ourselves. I believe that will be the means of strengthening love, of making us all grow, even in knowledge, and of giving more strength and unity for the glory of Christ. Meanwhile, I do not doubt, dear brethren, that God will bless you. Seek to tighten the links of charity among yourselves; without making any great external appearance, but in simplicity, attach yourselves to each other, while seeking one sole end, the welfare of all—the being together, staying yourselves on God, and in the seriousness which His presence gives. His presence always gives humility; one is more firm, but self is annihilated when one is before Him.
I beg you to think much of the younger brethren and those less confirmed in the faith, and to surround them with your care and your affection, it is just they who have need of it. I have several upon my heart, but I leave it to your charity to think of them. God adds His blessing when one acts in charity, and that is not only the simple effect of our cares, but He is Himself in the power of His blessing and feeblest hearts are established. I am sure that my absence will be for blessing to you. I have full confidence of it before God in looking to Him. Adieu, dear brethren. Be united, walk in love and unity more than ever, as we have sought to do it in our feebleness, and God will establish you, and add to you still more. Do not think that I attach much importance to myself in venturing thus to give you all these counsels, or rather exhortations, but I desire your welfare, and the glory of the Lord Jesus, because in my feebleness I love you much.
Receive this at least, as a testimony of my affection. I thank you much, dear brethren, for all that I met amongst you. I am very sensible of it. I salute each one in particular, whilst in my memory passing you all again before me, and ask much your prayers for all the church. May God bless you, in keeping you in the way in which the Spirit leads those who belong to Christ, in unity and in light, and may it be given to each one to seek to perfect his sanctification in the fear of the Lord.
My heart is with you, dear brethren.
Your affectionate brother and servant in Christ.