Union Among Saints

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As a general principle, I should have been glad that the whole matter had been more left to work in consciences.... I encouraged in one letter-, to individual courtesy as to those sincere at bottom, though going wrong.... As to the main question, I have never doubted for a moment that it was a fundamental one, for the existence of the testimony of God, and a special work of the enemy on the other hand sifting this testimony, with God's permission, and hence too I was at peace. I am more and more convinced of it. It is no longer any question save of how to serve in it. Begin afresh if there was no other means, rather than yield an iota; and practically, and in the happiest sense it is that—a new state of faith from God. But no compliance, resistance with the face as a flint to the principles in which the others are acting, no matter who, as the worst possible work of the enemy.
I love-dearly, but his idea of union, comeliness, worldly politeness, and so on, and I think an idea of a class of society, has dimmed his judgment; he is morally amphibious as to his springs of action; he loves the church, and knows there is one, and looks too for the Lord's coming as a present desire, but then he had muddled his judgment with journals, and Elliott, and such like, and he has set before himself an idea of something attainable here below for the church and for the individual, which must falsify the judgment. I always knew it acted on his imagination, but find it is a kind of settled principle or doctrine. But his idea of grace to individuals has made him inconsistent.... It is time to go on without thinking of people, in setting up the importance of the Lord Himself. If any have been personally hurt, amends may be personally made for that. What I felt unhappy about was that the matter had taken the character of a personal attack. Satan tried to give that character to my opposition in the affair of N.'s doctrine, but there was really no ground for it.... I am so convinced that it is morally beginning afresh, that I am not anxious about such or such a person, save in affection for them, or such and such a detail—and further, that the sifting of God is a sifting of God for it.
The need of union is felt. Of this there are two kinds, respectable courteous union among men, and the unity of the church of God. That is the true question.... There is the same question here, but it is everywhere tainted with the world. It is not of the Spirit of God, but a miserable effort of the enemy, to discredit the truth and faithfulness. While he could hold up the world in the shape of Nationalism, he did, and called us schism and separation. That no longer goes down with any; the truth has too much hold, and fears on the other side. Now then he sets up union as his cry—namely, sacrifice Christ and the church, all true principle, to worldly civility, to let us go on our way without following Christ. But then there are many dear children of God in, and attracted by, the fair appearance of the snare of the enemy, and the personal part of the question tends to throw them into it. There is the whole matter as I see it, save personal questions.
Here we, or at least I, am going through the fire of the strongest opposition; however, individual souls have received blessing, and I hold good for the present, though I am not sure how far it may issue in judgment for Nismes. In general there is some blessing on a small scale; the field of work vastly extended, but some little languor in working. The progress of the work however everywhere, has raised up every effort possible to work against and to do something, or that all will be carried away—which is not so, for many love the world too much, and faith is not of all men....
We ought to have more faith and prayer, believing the Lord to be nigh, that a people may be called out to meet Him. I feel sometimes that we allow ourselves to be too surcharged with details—that is, want of faith hinders rising above them to larger testimony.
Ever yours affectionately in the Lord.
November 21st, 1849.