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p364 [G J Stewart] MY DEAR BROTHER, - I now hope to come to Melbourne. They talk of some general meeting about Easter, and I hope to be over. I do not expect to go beyond Melbourne, save that if going to San Francisco, I may go to Sydney, whence the packet starts; but I must be wending my way towards England.

As regards the subject of your letter - evangelising, I should assuredly seek to serve in and promote in every way I could. And I can quite understand that an assembly, not having one gifted to preach, but desirous to reach souls in the love of them, seeks that it may be carried on, and helps those who do, and - I mean if the door be open in the place - where they are. But I do not reckon as scriptural 'our evangelist.' The evangelist is the Lord's servant only, though the sympathy of brethren is most happy and desirable. It is just the old denominational plan, so - 'the assembly sought him to preach the gospel for them.'

The meeting of a few caring for the saints and serving them, is very desirable, but they cannot act as the assembly, though they may serve it in every way. This question has arisen in New Zealand. They had got into this habit; so that the conscience of the assembly as such was not exercised. It may be the means, if godly care of souls be carried on by those so meeting, of sparing the assembly many harassing details: but where the conscience of the assembly is concerned, there the matter must be before the assembly, that the conscience of the assembly may be right before God. This habit of a few judging for the assembly (nominally giving notice to gather brothers) has become pretty general in N.Z., resulting in leaving it to two or three, often to one of more active mind; but we have the matter before us, that the conscience of the assembly may be in exercise when it is called for. In putting away it is always so, though in investigating and getting the real moral bearings of the case, grave godly brethren may be most useful here too.

I have no doubt that the case at - is a proof of the mischief of opening the door in this way because the person naturally acquires influence, and all becomes loose; but 'our evangelist' is itself a mere dissenting church position, and does not recognise gifts in the body, each in its own place serving the Lord according to the grace given. …

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Wellington, New Zealand, February 11th, 1876.