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p258 Dearest J B Stoney, — The question as to what the testimony to be rendered is, is one of great importance — what to put out before souls; but the passage (2 Tim. 1:8) is as simple as possible. Not to be "ashamed of the testimony of the Lord" is the testimony itself — not what it was. He was not to be ashamed of bearing witness to Christ the Lord. Paul was in prison for it; Timothy was not to be ashamed because shame was put on him who had borne the witness, but to partake "of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God." Persons who live in the ease of Englishmen do not know what it is, but where Popery is rampant and liberty unknown, to be put in prison, or taken by the gendarme daunts and cows people. The world's reproach is on them. How many remained with the blessed Lord when He was taken, or with Paul even when he was? They were ashamed of the testimony of the Lord and of His prisoner — without considering what the various exigencies of the church were to give a character to this testimony. Indeed, in such cases this development has no place. The testimony reduces itself to its simplest elements — not being ashamed of Christ, set before the world in testimony.

There is good in Italy: at this moment, Satan seeks to trouble them partly by attracting publicity by the flight of a poor girl from her home by violent persecution, partly by efforts to raise the question of Bethesda among those who know of course little of the facts, when, wearied with the nothingness and even sometimes bad conduct of the paid agents, they turn to something better. But God will turn all this, through grace, into good. Only I see the devices of the enemy at the moment, but I do not distrust the Lord. There is progress, and the kind of work I feel needed, though more aggressive, may come in time. …

As to the work at Edinburgh, I dare say there may have been conversions, and one must bless God for that. But Moody before he came to England denied openly all work of grace in conversion, and denounced it as diabolical in his own pulpit. I hear he has got on in this subject, that M.'s tract did him good, which is in a great measure a résumé of brethren's teaching; the author not concealing in his intercourse with others where he learned it. But some of Moody's false doctrine was taught in his public ministrations at Edinburgh, according to R. and M.'s account, which no doubt is correct, for we discussed it at Chicago, and he held it there, namely, that no man is condemned for his sins, but for not coming to the refuge — sins are all borne and put away for everybody.

I am quite satisfied that the Scotch revival will make Christians more worldly and godliness more superficial than ever where it works. It takes means and avows principles which make unworldliness and spirituality impossible, and will make indifference to Christ's will, and to evil in the church, more powerful than ever. But then poor souls, stirred up by what was going on, and brought to hear that there was salvation, and that they needed it, may have been met by grace, and have found life and Christ, and that is joy. All the rest will, I believe, be positively evil. It has stirred up Christians, but to throw them on what is routine, not personally on Christ, and what will not really meet their need, and on working — which is all right if flowing from Him, but not as replacing Christ for peace and blessing. Next year I will tell you the rest, and shall always rejoice in every converted soul, and so will the Lord. I know the effect of the system in America and under Moody's own care. Here it is new, and may awaken.

There is blessing in Switzerland: of Italy I have spoken; the effort I have referred to is the rousing of the enemy, but the Lord is the strongest. … The Lord has His own way of doing things. We must expect the enemy's working to oppose, and look to the Lord and His grace.

Yours ever affectionately.

March, 1874.