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p121 [J R Field] MY DEAR BROTHER, - One of the first signs to me of the evil current as to that point was the Manchester meeting. Brethren were thinking and speaking of themselves, not of Christ. Setting up to be Philadelphia was being of the spirit of Laodicea, as indeed I have often said: I have trusted that God was working towards that, but setting up to be something was the very opposite to that work. Philadelphia is never gone till Christ comes - has the promise, because she has kept the word of Christ's patience, to be kept from the hour of temptation which is coming on all the earth, and the promise that Christ is coming quickly. I trust that there will be a much more decided Philadelphian testimony. That is not what I quarrel with, but the corporate pretension to be it now.

The next thing I object to is making those who open when the Lord knocks, specially excellent Christians who are in this spiritually advanced state. I see nothing of the kind. They are unconverted or professing to be Christians, in so low a state, that all is going to be spued out of Christ's mouth, and they are warned to get Christ and what is real. There is not a word of their coming out and being in testimony; Christ goes in and sups with them. But so far from thinking the promise the highest, I have always thought it the lowest. It is merely reigning - a wonderful thing, no doubt, for such as we, but what Old Testament saints will have too. It is the external glory, not being inside the house. The exhortation is to get what is real from Christ instead of their empty pretension, "that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear," and get their eyes anointed that they may see. I see nothing of extraordinary advance in spirituality here - a most salutary warning in the present state of things, but nothing extraordinarily spiritual, nor any call into a special place of testimony at all. The whole thing seems to me a delusion. Philadelphia is praised because they have not denied Christ's name. They have a little strength: that does not sound very exalted; but to be faithful and keep Christ's word when others are giving up the faith, may be the test of theirs. I desire earnestly to see the beloved saints roused to entire devotedness and strength and constancy of communion; but it is not pretension to be something which characterises this.

When I saw you, you were unhappy because you had not the gold. Now, any one who knows anything about the matter knows where this comes from. I told you you were the gold, that is, the righteousness of God in Christ. … The system you speak of was calculated to lay hold on saints who were desiring something better, but filled them with themselves and fancied spirituality, not Christ. Truth sanctifies, and in these things he had not the truth. That I have from himself: the very thing he was inflating people's minds with, he owns to me was unsound teaching; and women running about teaching as they did, ought to have opened the minds of sober saints.

You say both go on to the end [Rev. 3]: how, then, can Philadelphia be gone? I do not at all object to judging our state, provided it be conscience, not murmuring. It has gained much latterly, through grace; but the earnest desire of more of Christ dwelling in our hearts, I go heartily with. But that is not pretending to be something, and an inflation which does not come from God. …

I believe I have answered all your questions.

London, October 20th.