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p99 [G J Stewart] MY DEAR BROTHER, - I am always glad to hear from you, though I am a bad correspondent, and, I suppose, a bad one from pre-occupation with much work that lies before me. . . .
Spiritual life wants cultivating; it is this we must look to, that there may be a true testimony. The brethren in England are somewhat aroused, but we have still much to seek that the Spirit of God and the life of Christ may pervade the mass. For this not only the privileges of the church must be held out, but Christ Himself. The other is all right, needed to clear us as to the mixed deadness of the name of Christian, and brighten our hopes; I should ever insist on it, it is what brought me out; but it is not what sustains life and forms the affections. "He that eateth me shall live by me." This alone gives singleness of eye, and fixes the mind as to its object. It is never said of the church, but of Christ He is all. "Christ is all, and in all" - "all" as object, "in all" as power of life to enjoy Him, and know the Father.
I have had, through mercy, a good time in Ireland, and in Dublin a great desire after the word. The brethren have been greatly interested in reading it; indeed, we have found it commonly thus. Kent remains unsettled, but I have heard nothing of it since - began to break bread. It is not what in itself tries me, but a party right in their desire for good, but pretending to set up something new and holy, and, I think, despising God's patience with what I admit has greatly failed; but I feel one must take this, as all else, as under His hand; but I do not see them to be guided of God. I do not believe it is faith. I have to learn, in them, for myself, that patience may have its perfect work. After all, God continues blessing in spite of it all. I dread the world; and a nourishing with Christ, and cementing power of the Spirit is needed, so that both the object and the power should bind all together, and the truth spread by a divine testimony. To His working we must look.
It is a great comfort to think He is always right, and always does right. He loves the church, and in the midst of all our failures carries on His work of loving grace towards it, to "present it to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing." And, individually, such a High Priest became us as was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, made higher than the heavens," yet we have not One "who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are, sin apart." We belong to there, yea, go in boldly; but are here sanctified in spirit for that place which He has prepared for us by His entry there, and exercised and helped here by a sympathy and mercy which, while it is met by dependence in us, is a living and gracious sustainment, and gives blessed confidence. On Him we can count; He loves the church now as ever, and though our hearts are weak, how often have I seen His hand come in where all seemed hopeless. As men have said, 'Man's extremity is God's opportunity,' and so it is, and even in our souls - where to know deliverance is, that we must have learned we cannot deliver ourselves. Peace be with you.
Your affectionate brother in Christ
Dublin, July, 1880.