The Difference Between Desire and Love; the Walk of Faith; Work in France; John's Epistles; Sources of Joy; Tendency of Work

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Very Dear Brother,—Here I am in the Pyrenees, and happy enough with the brothers, considering the short time I have seen them. I have passed one Sunday with them. There is simplicity in their meetings, which B. has cultivated. There have been conversions, and in general I see that there is a sincere desire to glorify the Lord: it is not, I think, a deep and experimental study of the word that distinguishes them, although they have received a degree of light through B.'s means. But there is a measure of freshness in their affections. I also spent nearly eleven days in Pau, where I truly felt much the leading of the Holy Spirit, which has done me much good. One saw the word of life and truth laying hold of souls and forming them and fashioning them for Christ; I speak of souls converted or attracted. It is remarkable when God works, the manner in which the truth becomes as a living part of the soul, and this refreshes the heart.... Up to what point all will persevere is what I cannot tell Many had been of the national church before my arrival, and it was they in general who gave me the greatest pleasure, the truth had been received with the heart. Some will leave Pau, but it is a place for which we must pray, for there are people opposed who will seek a middle course suitable to lead away souls. But I have left them however with joy, feeling that I can trust them to God. This visit has refreshed me. We also read together every day. I have also been at Clairac; there is some good there, and a few persons who feel the need of something better, and I hope that God is working there also. Good is being done also it appears at Nerac. I was not able to go to St. Foy. But these places are worth the trouble of caring for them, and praying for them, for God is working there.
It was only yesterday that I returned here, and I hardly know the state of the work, but I believe that doors and hearts are open to good, but that the actual measure of it is small. Anyway, there has been an evident movement of the Spirit. What need we have to cast ourselves entirely on Him in the work, and how simple it is when we do this! There is one thing that gives strength, it is to keep close to Christ. God works at the same time for us, and gives us refreshment, but our part is to keep close to the Lord. The pressure of the work without that, even of that work which is our duty and our business down here, contracts the heart, tends to make us lose that largeness of heart, that capacity of presenting the love of God freshly to souls, which alone can truly introduce into this world the element that it needs—that these poor souls, withered and unhappy through sin, have need of; and if one has a heart large and full of love apart from this nearness to Jesus, the love evaporates itself into mysticism, in that which is human under pretext of being divine. It is not that I believe that in the work one will be always in that liberty which sees all in the light. It is necessary to walk by faith, sometimes. Alas, tremblingly at least, the best workmen have borne witness to it; a St. Paul, an earthen vessel, himself responsible, placed in a contest between the Lord and the enemy of souls, will feel sometimes the shock of the battle, seeing that it takes place in him and by him and the forces that are engaged. It is true that the Holy Spirit always places us beforehand in the pure and fresh region of a redemption which leaves no longer any question of sin for us. The flesh being in us, we shall be all the more confused, if there is not practical diligence, but we are there.
After all, it is but for a little while, and to form us for the enjoyments which surpass all that we can conceive, but of which we have sometimes glimpses as to their nature; and being rooted and grounded in love, we possess the place and source of it all. It is a profound source of joy to know that the God whom 1 know, who is mine, is He whom I shall know for eternity, and that I do not need another. I know Him in Jesus, I have known Him as Father, it is He whom my heart desires, and whom my heart knows. There is not another, nor could be, that one should desire or know—the only true God. There is a difference between desire and love. Desire has need of something for itself, holy though it be; love possesses and delights in that which is its object. Now God in revealing to us the perfection of our salvation, has placed us in this latter position; only being infinite, He is always in Himself that which gives this energy that seeks the knowledge of Him—depths in Himself beyond what we possess of Him But it is in Christ that all our thoughts are adjusted, set right, judged and purified; for the infiniteness of God Himself staggers the littleness of the heart of man when Christ does not give him a sure support; without depriving him of anything of the fullness which is in God, but quite the contrary, it is in Him that we appreciate what He is, and near Him. This is what is found in St. John; we dwell in love, in God; where do we find ourselves? By this we know love, because He gave His life for us; what more true, more simple, more real, more near to the heart? and a love accomplished, proved, and that certainly is ours.
I close. I am constantly thinking of Nismes, but I wait on God. I have been so retarded in my work and movements, that I hardly know how to arrange for the season of work, but God will show us, and I have always a visit to the mountains at heart, to see those dear brethren. Salute them warmly for me. May the blessing of God rest on your family.
Your affectionate brother in our dear Savior and Master.
A sort of meeting for worship that had been sought to be formed here near us, is already affected. It appears that God will not recognize these efforts to form half-and-half things. What a motive for us to seek with faithfulness and energy His full blessing, and to seek it near to Him! I am sorry to write to you with so little profit, but I did not wish to defer longer my reply to your note.