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p154 MY DEAR BROTHER, - I confess I think the state of this sister unsatisfactory. There was no staying away from conscience at the time (naturally a woman would be ashamed of course), and continual deception for five shillings a week. Still she acknowledged it honestly: so far it was well. If I saw there had been thorough repentance of old, I would not bring it up again, but this hardly appears. …

The great question for me would be the present state of the soul, her true repentance. If I was satisfied she was really humbled, and gave up the pay, I would not proclaim her sin. It might be said that the ancient sin unknown to the assembly had been discovered, but as the soul's state had been restored before it was discovered, it was not mentioned. If there has not been genuine repentance, the lapse of time does not change the state: and I should say that the sin was of a very old date, but as no sign of adequate humiliation was seen exclusion was called for. All depends upon the state of her soul. There seems honesty: is there a real sense of the sin? As to Achan, I cannot doubt if he had put it all back they would have been spared, because then there was, though momentary failure, honest rejection of the sin. But that is just the question here: is there?

I would certainly not bring up sin, if it was judged. The question is, Is it judged? The assembly's conscience was not defiled, because it did not know it. If it had been more spiritual it might have felt there was something hindering blessing, but it was not defiled by permitted sin. Now you have to see if the guilty person has really judged the sin, or it may become so - at any rate in the conscience of those who do know it.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.