J N Darby – French Letter No. 134 – You do not need a Meeting Hall

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby


London – 12th January 1866

To Mr B

Beloved Brother

I have already written to brother R to take charge of Les Etudes[1], to send them to you for these two brothers, and to put them on my account; you will get them to these brothers, and it is a pleasure for me to give them to them.

Do not be discouraged, dear brother; now that you are in Italy, I urge you much to remain there. This is the precise time when faith is exercised. May Mrs B also be encouraged and have patience as to the language. I think it would be better that you should not have a meeting hall straightaway, and that the truth should spread by its own influence. A meeting hall would have the air of showing a formal opposition; it may be that the time will come when you will have to have one, and I am sure that there are brethren who will help to pay the rent when this is so – myself first. But your place is evident now: firmness and love, in seeking the presence and blessing of God. There was a brother in the United States who left the town where he lived and gave up the job he had, because he did not find anybody to walk with him except his mother. I said to him: ‘this is precisely the time for faith’. He stayed, and now there is in this place a nice little meeting which is growing. I visited them last year in the backwoods; they started to break bread, in the town, and their testimony is very clear …

On the question of Bethesda, it seems that we are getting towards the end. Even the neutrals declare loudly that they would not go there, and in general right souls see the evil clearly. In general, the neutral meetings break up. One feels that God is not there. The young evangelists in Ireland have broken with them; they are not clear but at least this step has been taken. There is an interesting work there. Many people are leaving Nationalism[2], more because of the evil that is found there than through true intelligence as to the unity of the body of Christ, but some have received this truth and there is progress. I have been there (to Ireland) and am thinking of returning. You must always have before you, and set before the brethren, this truth as to the unity of the church, of the presence of the Holy Spirit and of the coming of the Lord. I say ‘the brethren’, that is to say that I suppose that they are not only founded on the remission of their sins, but sure even of the precious fact that we are dead and risen again with our precious Saviour, and this is deliverance. We are not in the flesh; it is not only that the blood safeguards us, but we have left Egypt by the power of God and the deliverance which He has wrought. We are in Christ; the blood of Jesus has bought us pardon, we are in Him. The first truth, the remission of sins, has to do with what we have done, and effaces it for ever; the second, our death with Christ, sets us in an entirely new position. To enjoy it, it is necessary that the ‘me’ is judged: “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, good does not dwell”[3]. You will find that Romans 3: 20, up to chapter 5: 11, deals with the first question; and chapter 5: 12 up to the end of chapter 8, with the second. The first part speaks of sins, the second of sin.

Greet the brethren affectionately, even though I do not know them; your wife too – may she have good courage. If her turn has come to carry the cross for the love of the Lord, she will not repent of having done it by faith, and courageously.

Your affectionate brother in Christ


Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013

Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

[1] ‘Studies on the Word of God’, later translated into English as ‘Synopsis of the Books of the Bible’

[2] ie the National Church, see Note 24 to Letter 13

[3] Rom 7: 18

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

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