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p334 Dearest G Owen, - I had been praying as to this matter in - Street. That meeting began with the activity of some with little fellowship of brethren on that side the water, and became a refuge even to those who sought agitation. God has shewn the weakness, but delivered the simple. There may be some to be regretted (all in one sense), but if those delivered walk in grace and firmness, and individually so too, as grace gets the upper hand in the others, they will be delivered too: complete break with some, in the state they are in at present, I look upon as a mercy, a great mercy. There is sometimes a little tightness at -, but they are united and care for one another.

All this abuse of brethren I look upon as a sign that God delights in their testimony for truth. I feel in every respect, more than ever, the immense importance of their position, and that in respect of the question of truth too, only it is a narrower path. Standards and church authority are proving an utter failure, infidelity making, alas! often cobwebs of them. I hear dissenters are in the same perplexity. The matter of Colenso is most significant. That there is grace for union, and union holding fast the truth, is just the best and only testimony that can be given for God now; and if we look to Him He will maintain it.

Union without the truth many would have. The dissenters uneasy, yet in practice (here at least), hold it for indifferent. God has exercised us for this point by the Bethesda question, which I look upon now as the greatest mercy. There is an attempt to keep up unity by mere organisation. There was organisation at the first, but that too is a failure: three have tried it in different ways among brethren, and have in result broken up what seemed to have power, firmness, grace and knowledge. It has not stood. I believe in the ruin of the church, but I believe that Christ will be where two or three are gathered together in His name.

As to dear -, I do not see that it is more than "I have not faith in it." I think I could explain that to him. I have faith in God for it, feeble faith, and in presence of all kinds of difficulties, but I have faith in God. I have never known Him fail those who trust in Him. Obedience is the path of power - that was settled in our controversy with the Irvingites - but not of apparent power, but of having God with one, a little strength, not denying Christ's name, keeping His word, keeping the word of His patience. That is what we have to look for now, not apparent strength; obedience, grace, and union in dependence on Christ, waiting for Him, waiting as He is waiting. Where there is this, there will be a testimony, and just what the world cannot understand. "Infirmities" is the weakness in which Christ's power is displayed by maintaining what is so weak. Why attack brethren so much, but that they feel there is what they cannot deal with - what works on the conscience? From what you say of the pamphlet which I have not seen, I should think it would do good, as the unbelief is betrayed in it.

I have answered the Record,* Quarterly Journal of Prophecy,** &c., since I was here, but my path here has been very quiet. I have been kept here at Hamilton longer than I thought, as many serious souls are getting blessing. I know nothing as to their joining brethren, as it is called, nor have I inquired; but they are getting peace, seeing what the church is, and hence what the state of things which are so called is, getting through grace faith according to the truth. I have never asked them a word about brethren, but the work is full of interest - not numbers, but souls in earnest. Yet everywhere I have been souls have been added or restored. Of course there are fears and opposition, but this must be expected, yet there is distinct, evident blessing for souls in earnest. I have the bush to visit yet. . . .

{*"Collected Writings," vol. 7, p. 459}

{**Ibid., vol. 10, p. 49.}

Some new towns are opening too, where our brother E., who has been greatly blessed, had not been. He really (though there were individuals who had come out, but recently got loose and had material things) may be, viewing it as a whole, considered the founder of the work in Canada. I have followed his footsteps where he had laid the foundation, save here, and in one or two new places, and even here the nucleus was indirectly through his means. In general there are very nice brethren here indeed, and caring for one another - of course ordinary trials, but grace and fellowship.

I had a tolerably bad attack in my eye, but thank God am quite well. We have had fine weather hitherto, and often pretty much like England, only drier.

I have set about the Synopsis of the Revelation since I have been here and have enjoyed my study of it.

Peace be with you; my kindest love to the brethren, and many unfeigned thanks for their prayers. The Lord sparing me I shall see them again, but I do not see my work in Canada finished yet.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Hamilton [received], December 12th, 1862.