J N Darby – French Letter No. 113 – Perfectionism, Methodism

New York – April 1875

To Mr P

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

Beloved Brother,

… There are two brothers, one from New Jersey, the other from New England, who are disposed to labour at the work, and who read the Word with me. I hope that they will be useful. The increase in the number of workmen is always precious to me, if they are devoted. They are brothers of a calm and sensible spirit, and not lacking in intelligence. They are Americans who are to be desired in most respects.

The desire to go deeper into the Word continues in the United States. Perfectionism,(Methodicism) which misleads much of the world, awakens needs while pointing them in a wrong direction. The same sort of thing happens everywhere. On the other hand, unbelief takes over masses, but all this brings a truer, more real and more genuine Christianity, because that is what happens now.

I think a lot of France, but in general the news is good, God be blessed.

I do not know anything new about the West. Unbelief rises up boldly there, and the lack of Bible learning in the clergy is felt more and more, but the desire to be clear about the content of the Scriptures increases, and true Christians begin to be ashamed of the things that are done in the church. But Christ is all for us. Soon nothing will have value except what we will have for Him. All the rest passes and is only vanity. It is sad to see men occupied with what is going to perish.

Salute the brethren much on my behalf

Yours affectionately in Christ

 

 

J N Darby – French Letter No. 114 – Thoughts about New Zealand

Ohio – 1875

To Mr P

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

Very dear Brother,

… I can hardly give you as much news of this country as you give me from France. It is very doubtful that I will visit France now, although my heart is as attached as in the past by the work which is done, and to the brethren there, if not more so, as the Saviour becomes more precious to me. Nevertheless visits to closer lands can be made, when those that are counted by thousands of kilometres begin to become inconvenient in old age. I am even thinking of making a trip to New Zealand, which will keep me another year on this side of the Atlantic…

I may add that the needs multiply here. The Word is weighed much more than before, and the brethren have the reputation for knowing better than others.   One is occupied with them sometimes in a hostile and aggressive way it goes without saying, but one is occupied with it everywhere. May God make them faithful, that is what I ask Him now; if they are not more devoted, more separate from the world, they will be a false testimony for God. May they be kept.

Salute the brethren affectionately

Yours affectionately in Jesus

 

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.

J N Darby – French Letter No. 115 – More about the USA

Halifax[5] – 2nd April 1877

To Mr P

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

Very dear Brother,

I am happy that you have come to the United States.

The work of the brethren in English begins to take on some consistency so as to warn the world to be on its guard. But the French brethren need labourers. M works peacefully and usefully; L is occupied with the English. At Grand River (Detroit), things are good; I have received news about that through X, whose son has been converted.

Here the Lord is working in a cheering way, so that I have had to remain longer than I thought. In New York, the work makes progress and there is need of a labourer. I have profited from the presence of brother X to get as far as here, more than 900 miles, but God willing I will soon be in New York. I think of crossing the ocean as soon as it is good weather. They ask for me in the West, but I seriously doubt whether I am able to go there; it would be for the month of June. If the work relents in New York, it is possible that I will make this visit, but in this case I will not be in Europe until the month of July.

I have been happy to have good news of dear France; this has rejoiced my heart.

Times become sober; unbelief spreads and hinders souls, but God, His word, warns us of it. We will have combat for the faith once delivered to the saints[6], but modern unbelief seems superficial and hollow, somewhat pretentious as it may be.

I will write to you if my voyage is delayed.

Peace be with you

Yours affectionately in Jesus

 
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.

J N Darby – French Letter No. 111 – News of the Work

Carlisle – 1874

Dear Mr P

Very dear Brother,

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

It does not go badly at X. God has raised up several workmen; there were some already but the wine business had done a lot of harm in this country. When I was there, although visits by brethren had been a bit revived, there was a lot of languor, even where at one time a lot of life was found. This weakness had left the door open to the entry of other Christians in the path of the work, and one could not reproach them. I thought that you could perhaps visit them.

… We have had good meetings; the Lord, in His great grace, is with me; several workmen are raised up; but there is now a mass of people who leave the systems without having well considered principles. This complicates the work a bit, but the brethren in general do not walk badly, and the work is fulfilled.

P has gone to Egypt, and R has left him and walks with the brethren; he has gone back to America.

At this time, I am making fuller acquaintance with the brethren from the north of England. We had a conference of workers during three days here, and I leave, God tomorrow willing, for Scotland. It is possible, God knows, that I will still go to America. The steam boats make regular trips between San Francisco and New Zealand.

I have good news of Switzerland. N devotes himself to the work in England, and in France we really need workers. Let us ask the Lord of the harvest. For my part, I find that everywhere where a testimony of Christ is rendered, simple and according to the fullness of grace, the attentive listeners are not lacking.

Salute the brethren affectionately… Peace be to you, dear brother, and may God direct you in your labours.

Your affectionate brother

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.
 

J N Darby – French Letter No. 110 – Sad News of a Wayward Brother

December 1873

To Mr P

Very dear Brother,

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

… He was, and I have said this to him, entirely under the influence of this guilty inclination, fallen in heart, if not in body. And when one is thus, in a state of folly and bondage: one deceives oneself, one knows it, and one deceives oneself still. And nothing astonishes me about what has created this state. Look at the beginning of the book of Proverbs; see the epistle to the Corinthians, and how the apostle goes over this point. I do not say that our brother’s soul will not be restored, but I do not know if he has recognised all his prevarication, and how he seeks to avoid the accusations, while doing evil; but once in a fault, with the reputation of Christian and minister, one is guilty of all. This is not hypocrisy, it is the deceitfulness of the flesh. It is a state of soul in those who judge and I do not believe can be the fruit of the Spirit of the Lord. To judge the act, the evil, the loss of truthfulness, everything natural is in the state where this poor friend was, is all very well. But to judge evil as severely as it deserves, is something else than to say that the one who does evil is hypocritical. I fear that he is not bottomed as he must. But there is little spiritual power to restore among the brethren. For there has been among them a very strong reaction following the great confidence they had in him. They feel wounded in their affection, their confidence betrayed. In this I sympathise with them, but their spiritual judgment will have had to rise above the inward wounds of heart. I understand them; but personal regret, however just it may be, does not suit a judge, and in this case they are in the position of judges. However, it is time that the same things are severely smitten … What heartbreak, what a humiliation, what a disgrace it is to the Lord! I am surprised at His goodness, I may say, in not judging, because if God does not keep us, we are all capable of doing this too; but it gives us to think much of the danger in which the Lord’s workmen are, and particularly when, by having superior light, they are put forward. My consolation is that the Lord manifests His government here: it is a sorrowful way to learn but the thing that one learns is very precious.

Pinkerton[2] has found much encouragement; he is now in Syria; he has imported with him a press to print tracts in Arabic; a local person is able to work with him. I have blessed God indeed. In Haifa also, he has found opened doors, this will also tend to enlarge the brethren’s horizon, although it is in a certain sense still within the kingdom.

Everywhere here where Christ is fully announced one finds a numerous and attentive audience, souls everywhere are famished. The Nationalists[3] have been compelled to begin a kind of mission in the churches, which has equally attracted a lot of the world. The floods of evil rise, but evidently God works; the Lord is waited for more. There must be much to encourage in the work here, for one can only suffer here; but He who does all will do His work …

 

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.

J N Darby – French Letter No. 109 – Hard going in the USA

Chicago – 1873

To Mr P

Beloved Brother,

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

I was not deceived about the localities in the West. There is everything to do; every false opinion imaginable to remove by the Word, but at least there is the desire to study it.

We have two meetings a day for lectures; the gentlemen who are active in the city come there; it seems to me that there is more attention and more sobriety than at the beginning, and I believe that there are indeed truths which penetrate into their spirits. Grace is little, or hardly known, and, when it is preached, in general it is a manner which is false. The difficulty lies in this that the first fundamental truths are false: what would be in general a point of departure still requires scriptural proofs; all is to be remedied. The truth in the beginning only confuses, because it is mixed with false ideas already received; a passage is cited to show something; it is used it to fantasise; and it has first to be made clear. All the same, progress has been made under this condition; one is more subject to the Word, and one feels that there is a power in the truth which is different from opinions.

At Springfield[1], thirty or forty people propose to meet and to allow themselves to be led by the Lord. I hope to go there soon. Other difficulties will be found there, but the Lord suffices for everything.

Here, we have had to abandon the Ephesians and take up the epistle to the Romans; there was not yet enough establishment on the foundation of the truth.

The brethren go on well, save one or two among them, come here to make their way. The world has taken possession of their hearts; there still, the Lord’s grace suffices, but they must have their experiences.

Salute the brethren affectionately.

Your affectionate brother

_hat heartbreak, what a humiliation, what a disgrace it is to the Lord! I am surprised at His goodness, I may say, in not judging, because if God does not keep us, we are all capable of doing this too; but it gives us to think much of the danger in which the Lord’s workmen are, and particularly when, by having superior light, they are put forward. My consolation is that the Lord manifests His government here: it is a sorrowful way to learn but the thing that one learns is very precious.

Pinkerton[2] has found much encouragement; he is now in Syria; he has imported with him a press to print tracts in Arabic; a local person is able to work with him. I have blessed God indeed. In Haifa also, he has found opened doors, this will also tend to enlarge the brethren’s horizon, although it is in a certain sense still within the kingdom.

Everywhere here where Christ is fully announced one finds a numerous and attentive audience, souls everywhere are famished. The Nationalists[3] have been compelled to begin a kind of mission in the churches, which has equally attracted a lot of the world. The floods of evil rise, but evidently God works; the Lord is waited for more. There must be much to encourage in the work here, for one can only suffer here; but He who does all will do His work …

 

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.

J N Darby – French Letter No. 108 – A Saint taken to be with the Lord

Turin – November 1871

To Mr P

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

Dear Brother,

If I revealed all the things that I know, I would have a lot to say; and do you know that the best means of keeping a secret is not to let it be seen that you have one? To act thus, the world deceives and speaks in a misleading way – not the Christian, because if he is content only to say what God wants him to say, he has only to be silent and if he is accustomed to acting thus, the thing becomes entirely simple …

Dear C has been taken. She left this world a very short time ago. Her husband was absent; he found her dead on his return. She died in peace; she had said, ‘I know that I am going to die, but I am peaceful: I do not say more’. There is the end of small proportions, but for some one of great proportions to this poor world.

God was revealed to her soul, then God has taken her; now she is in heaven. How histories are told in few words which on a small stage have indeed filled hearts with anxiety! If one passes through this world with God, one confides in Him, while suffering for the present things more than others suffer them. One passes through without disturbance because God is there; one is not even disturbed by anything; a soul more in heaven led by the faithful Shepherd, there is the true fact. Some souls are afflicted, this is natural in this world, as when a stone falls into the water: a little noise, some circles that spread out, then disappear. The water goes on as usual, flowing with the noise of its own. No sign of the stone remains, but there is a soul gathered to the Lord and who will no more go out of His presence! What an immense joy, what profound blessing! May the Name of the Lord be blessed. One has told me that her brother is much afflicted, that is understandable; her poor husband also surely needs our sympathies.

I will tell you, dear brother, that we are going to have, with God’s help, a study into the Word in Nîmes, for ten or twelve young brothers who have consecrated themselves more or less absolutely to the work, principally in the Ardèche, but also elsewhere.

I am in the north of Italy. I know enough of the language to explain the word of God, but I do not pretend to preach. In some weeks, I leave, God willing, for France. God has rather revived the brethren in Switzerland, and I believe that He does so in France too.

It is possible that I will come to America next summer. God knows.

I can no longer do journeys on foot, otherwise I work as usual, and I am better away from London than in this great city, but in his seventy-second year, one cannot think of doing what I did when younger.

Yours affectionately

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.

J N Darby – Lettre No. 107

Turin, novembre 1871

A M. P.

Cher frère,

Si je révélais toutes les choses que je sais, j’aurais beaucoup à dire ; et savez-vous que le meilleur moyen de ne pas trahir un secret, est de ne pas laisser voir qu’on en connaît un ? Pour agir ainsi, le monde trompe et parle d’une manière détournée, – non pas le chrétien, parce que s’il est content de ne dire que ce que Dieu veut qu’il dise, il n’a qu’à se taire, et s’il est habitué à agir ainsi, la chose devient toute simple…

Cette chère C. est délogée. Elle a quitté ce monde il y a très peu de temps. Son mari était absent ; il l’a trouvée morte à son retour. Elle est morte en paix ; elle a dit : “Je sais que je vais mourir, mais je suis tranquille : je n’en dis pas davantage.” Voilà la fin d’une minime partie, mais pour quelques-uns d’une grande partie de ce pauvre monde.

Dieu s’est révélé à son âme, puis Dieu l’a prise ; maintenant elle est dans le ciel. Que d’histoires se racontent ainsi en peu de mots, qui, sur une petite scène, ont rempli d’anxiété bien des cœurs ! Si l’on traverse ce monde avec Dieu, on se confie en lui, et tout en souffrant pour les choses réelles plus que d’autres n’en souffrent, on le traverse sans inquiétude, parce que Dieu est là ; on ne s’inquiète même de rien ; une âme de plus dans le ciel amenée par le fidèle Berger, voilà le vrai fait. Quelques âmes affligées, cela est naturel dans ce monde, comme lorsqu’une pierre tombe dans l’eau : un peu de bruit, quelques cercles qui s’élargissent, puis s’effacent, et l’eau continue, comme par le passé, à couler avec le bruit qui lui est propre. Nul signe de la pierre ne reste, mais il y a une âme recueillie auprès du Seigneur et qui ne sortira plus de sa présence ! Quelle immense joie, quelle profonde bénédiction ! Que le nom du Seigneur en soit béni. On me dit que son frère est bien affligé, cela se comprend ; son pauvre mari aussi a bien droit à nos sympathies.

Je vous dirai, cher frère, que nous allons avoir, Dieu aidant, une étude de la Parole à Nîmes, pour dix ou douze jeunes frères qui se consacrent plus ou moins absolument à l’œuvre, principalement de l’Ardèche, mais d’ailleurs aussi.

Je suis au nord de l’Italie. Je sais assez la langue pour expliquer la parole de Dieu, mais je ne prétends pas prêcher. Dans quelques semaines, je pars, Dieu voulant, pour la France. Dieu a passablement ranimé les frères en Suisse, et je crois qu’il le fait en France aussi.

Il se peut que je me rende en Amérique l’été prochain. Dieu le sait.

Je ne puis plus faire de courses à pied, autrement je travaille comme de coutume, et je suis mieux hors de Londres que dans cette grande ville, mais dans sa 72ème année, on ne peut penser à faire ce qu’on faisait plus jeune.

J N Darby – Lettre No. 107

Londres, mars 1871

A M. P.

Bien-aimé frère,

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

J’ai été heureux d’avoir de vos nouvelles ainsi que des frères, et tout premièrement de nos chers frères de France. Dieu les a gardés ; il est toujours fidèle.

Vous aurez su comme tout le monde qu’il y a eu un second siège de Paris, les Communistes s’étant emparés de la ville. Des maux plus sérieux que dans le premier siège en sont résultés ; des batailles, des assauts livrés, puis pour empêcher le progrès des troupes, on a mis le feu à la ville en bien des endroits, et incendié des monuments publics. Vous en savez probablement plus que moi, car je ne lis pas les journaux ; cela me distrait, et le monde va son train, que je les lise ou que je ne les lise pas.

Les frères de Paris ont continué leurs réunions et ont été heureux, malgré les difficultés du temps. On a envoyé des fonds d’Angleterre, de Hollande, de Suisse, et on est venu en aide, au fur et à mesure de leurs besoins, aux ouvriers qui s’étaient endettés, ayant manqué de travail.

La Suisse va assez bien. Des frères anglais y sont actifs, et il y a eu un renouvellement de vie.

En Angleterre, en Ecosse, en Irlande et en Allemagne, dans le Canada aussi, l’œuvre du Seigneur fait toujours des progrès, mais le mal aussi, et d’une manière encore plus évidente. Pour ma part, cher frère, Christ est toujours davantage le tout de mon âme. Je vieillis, mon salut est plus près que lorsque j’ai cru. Toutefois, je travaille toujours, mais le travail me fatigue davantage ; ce n’est pas étonnant à 70 ans passés.

J’ai médité Matthieu à Londres, et j’ai excessivement joui de la présentation de Jésus, Jéhovah le Sauveur, homme dans ce monde, manifesté en chair, mais le modèle de notre position, le vainqueur dans notre combat, tout en étant Dieu en grâce, au milieu de nous.

Nous imprimons la seconde édition du Nouveau Testament français, avec les corrections et notes nouvellement ajoutées de la seconde édition anglaise, la troisième édition allemande, avec les mêmes corrections, ainsi que l’Ancien Testament que j’avais traduit la dernière fois que j’étais en Allemagne, ce qui, avec le travail ordinaire de l’œuvre, ne m’a pas laissé oisif. J’ai dû consulter plusieurs nouveaux manuscrits et m’occuper d’autres travaux critiques qui ne nourrissent guère…

Saluez affectueusement tous les frères.

Votre bien affectionné en notre précieux Sauveur.

 

J N Darby – French Letter No. 107 – Brethren in Paris during Franco-Prussian War

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

London – March 1871

To Mr P
Beloved Brother,

I have been happy to have your news thus about the brethren, and first of all of our dear brethren in France. God has kept them; He is always faithful.

You will have known as everybody that there has been a second siege of Paris, the Communists being in charge of the city. More serious evils than in the first siege have resulted; battles, assaults delivered, then to hinder the progress of the troops, the city has been set on fire and also its surroundings, and public monuments burned. You probably know more than me, for I do not read the newspapers; this distracts me, and the world goes on its way whether I read them or do not read them.

The brethren in Paris have continued their meetings and have been happy in spite of the difficulties of the times. Funds have been sent from England, Holland, Switzerland, and help has come to them, according to and in the measure of their needs, to the workers who were in debt, having lost work.
Switzerland goes on well. The English brethren are active there and there has been a revival of life.
In England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany, also in Canada, the work of the Lord ever makes progress, but evil does too, and in a yet more evident way. For my part, dear brother, Christ is ever more the all of my soul. I grow old, my salvation is nearer than when I believed. However, I still work, but the work tires me more. This is not surprising at past seventy years old.

I have meditated on Matthew in London, and I have exceedingly enjoyed the presentation of Jesus, Jehovah the Saviour, Man in this world, manifest in flesh, but the model of our position, the conqueror in our conflict, all in being God in grace in our midst.

We are printing the second edition of the French New Testament, with the corrections and our newly added notes from the second English edition, the third German edition, with the same corrections, besides the Old Testament that I have translated the last time I was in Germany, which, with the ordinary labour of the work, has not left me idle. I have had to consult several new manuscripts and been occupied with other critical work which does not give any nourishment ……

Salute all the brethren affectionately

Your well beloved in our precious Saviour

 

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.