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p52 [R T Grant] BELOVED BROTHER, - . . . I quite feel what you say of the work, and when it is not mere evangelising it will ever be a certain isolation. I remember shocking an excellent sister some thirty years ago by saying, that as one went on one would always feel more alone, be more isolated. So it was with Paul, even as is easily seen: yea, so it was with the blessed Lord Himself, always alone, and more and more isolated as He went on. So He said at first, "Blessed are ye poor" (always true) - at last, "Ye shall leave me alone." But one has to watch it. Faith is never alone; and as fruit Paul had his Timothy: yea, even the Lord - John nearer to Him than others; though with Him the Father must be all. And when driven out from Judea by the jealousy of the people, it was just then to see the fields white for harvest. And what the word says when this isolation and perception of failure is strongest: "Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God." "For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Not of ardent Peter, but of beloved John, it was said, "If I will that he tarry till I come," and we have to take the place God has put us in. I envy the evangelists sometimes, and feel they are better than I, but accept, perhaps as coming from my fault, the place I am in. But I feel, though evangelising heartily all I can, I live for the Church, whatever place God gives me - none if He so wills. It is His, and that is right. I feel too I am growing old, but in itself that is a pleasure - our salvation nearer than when we believed. In a day or two I am in my seventieth year.

I think you ought to rest, but if you must, it is also good in every way to change the scene we are in if God allow it. We see the work more as a whole with God, and even the details, and for ourselves the spirit is relieved from the pressure of responsibility as to details. Paul got this by prison: of that perhaps we are not worthy. I may be in London ere very long, though not just yet, but I could run over hence if you were there, and I will in England be your Timothy. I have Italy to go to if the Lord will, and desired work in Pau, but this left to the Lord, or I should be oppressed with too much on my hands. Whose hands? What poor creatures we are, and what can we do! I was myself really ill with fatigue, my pulse stopping dead for almost half a minute and then fluttering ever so fast; but it was only being used up, and God provided a day's rest, and I set off, travelled all night, and began our Vigan meeting at nine, and got better by resting an hour daily when possible all through the meeting. The Lord has made me work at these conferences; Geneva, Valence, Vigan, a day at Verg├Ęze, Zurich, Stuttgart. They needed some teaching and getting into practically deeper water.

We were, all through, mainly on being dead with Christ, surely a most weighty point, on which all Paul's Christianity rests practically. It has connected itself in my mind with closing responsibility, with the death (for faith) first of the evil nature, and opening into the development of privilege, when God's righteousness is revealed, but given us and in God's purpose before the world, for His delight was in the sons of men - wonderful thought! Then, His Son become man but in connection with responsibility rejected - that, for the full glory of God, met in His death, and so the glory and privileges brought out. But there man is treated as dead "in" sins, not "to," as in Romans (in Colossians both, and man raised, not sitting in heavenly places), and it is a new creation and all God's work. The realisation is in 2 Corinthians 4, and indeed 5 as effect. All this marks wonderful perfection in the ways of God as to responsibility and purpose. Our responsibility, so brought to God, is in Ephesians 4:5, "imitators of God, as dear children": in connection with Romans, the commandment of chapter 12.

You will find no epistle where courage is looked for in the Lord's workmen so much as in 2 Timothy, exactly where all was in ruin. The Lord's strength never fails, and we have to work on in that with the patience and grace that He alone can give, and looking to Him who alone can give result to our labour for good. Remember, beloved brother, if your heart fails at all in seeing yourself hindered in work, that the gracious hand of God is in it, and He makes all things work together for good to those that love Him. I rejoice to think you are in His gracious hands, and fully trust we shall see you better.

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

[52028E]