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p338 Dear C McAdam, - I do not alter my judgment as to the Saturday meeting. Tuesday monthly, partially supplies conference, though only on general subjects, not inter-communication of receiving or exclusion. But if these meetings, you call county meetings, do not come, why are they kept on the list? A certain obstinacy, under the idea that it ministered to communion, made the thing fictitious. At South Croydon, they only read what concerned themselves, and give letters of commendation; and the proper local responsibility of these meetings which are not London, is in several cases weakened. I do not at all want to weaken the Saturday meeting, but to make it real. For the meetings in London, it was very useful, it did maintain the consciousness of unity, difficult in such a place as London. Had there been timely pliancy in dropping off meetings outside, the thing would have pruned itself. It became impractical, cumbersome, and fictitious. Croydon, Mitcham, and Plumstead, are not the unity of London.

In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the local gatherings must form the judgment, but if they are to walk in unity in one place - in such a place as London, where people slip about not to be known, mention of cases in all the gatherings ought to take place. I have known a case where a person was known, far from the place where he sought entrance, and the brethren spared the admission of a bad person. The difficulty of a person copying beforehand is that it is on the paper before any conference. The received names might be so copied, and if even objection came from a gathering, a stroke of the pen suffices. I see no objection to brethren from suburban places coming if they wish. … My objection to it is, it is not real now. Begin by not putting a quarter or a half as you say on the papers, and make it real, letting these brethren freely come if they wish. But the character of the meeting has falsified into a registry, useful in its place and way, and a reading-meeting for young men if there was time. It ceased to be a collective work of those interested in the gatherings. No discipline, I quite admit, could be exercised there, but cases might be spoken of and conferred about with the common light of brethren from the various gatherings in London. Generally the local brethren alone know the details necessarily, but many general principles of the word and correctives might come in by common counsel.

I have seen nothing in print of what you sent me, but I feel it useless to read such things. We have to give our testimony in the midst of acknowledged ruin; the more we feel it, the better. What you refer to here, is a regular plan, forming union by exchange of pulpits, but godly souls are feeling it. It raises the question, Is truth to be held to? The coming of this state of things exercised me deeply in 1827, now I work in the midst of it: "save yourselves from this untoward generation."

The clergy are simply evil, and as such minister to evil, but our business is with positive truth, and good, a testimony as clear and full as we can, and a walk holy, devoted and unworldly. If we look to Christ's people, the Lord will work His work as to them - and preach the gospel with earnestness while time yet remains. The testimony of the truth has certainly told on many consciences here, in the east of America.

Save a short sojourn at Philadelphia, perhaps a run to Washington, I am on my way west; but labourers, efficient ones, and patient ones, are wanting. I am told doors are open at Washington, and some good going on there.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Concord, 1875.