I am grateful to our brother Ben for drawing this letter of JN Darby to my attention. It was current in 1881; maybe it is current in 2014!
- The first fruit from this bad root is, that brethren are occupied with themselves to the exclusion of other Christians who are equally members of the body of Christ: they think of themselves more than of the Lord. They do all they can to keep the gathering together, losing sight more or less of the great truths which have acted upon hearts individually”
- We must have patience, and help each other: a lack of patience has caused some to act too quickly, and though they acted with the best possible intentions, of separating themselves from evil, the result has been unsatisfactory. We are quick at seizing the reins when we see danger ahead; but the Lord knows better than we do what has to be done: in due season He will deliver all who look to Him. But this must be real not trying to escape the test, or to delay the time of action when the evil is clearly manifest. Another valuable lesson the Lord would teach us is, I think, to occupy ourselves more before Him with the state of individual consciences. It is easy to neglect pastoral work. One is inclined to act by means of outward pressure, instead of waiting for the inward action of the Spirit, who would lead the assembly by the healthy and spontaneous action of all who form part of it. This ought always to be the aim, but alas! very often it is not possible on account of a corrupt influence which has been already too active, and for too long a time, so that morally, many have become incapable of a spiritual judgment; thus division is inevitable when the test comes to the door. But in any case we ought to wait until God sends the test. A man cannot be hung because he intends to kill me. We must wait until the act is accomplished before taking action, doing all we can, at the same time, to raise the spiritual standard by a healthy ministry of the word, as the Lord in His grace may give us. Then when the test does arrive, some, at least, will be able to act according to God.
- The present struggle is between intelligence and the Spirit. It is a subtle thing which exercises the heart to its depths — must I be guided by my intelligence according to the things that I know, or must I walk in dependence on the Lord. Some pretend to be an expression of the assembly of God when their acts prove that they have no sense of the Lord’s presence in their midst. To admit their pretension, would evidently be to deny the presence and action of the Spirit of God, for such walk by human intelligence, and override conscience