<< previous (3:157) next (3:159) >>

p192 [Mr Bagshore] MY DEAR BROTHER, - Thanks for letting me know about yourself and the work. . . . I quite enter into the need of those gathered to be watched over and nurtured. But it is now as ever, the harvest is plenty but the labourers are few. I believe it is more devotedness than competency to help which is wanting, though devotedness is a large part of the competency. It is this we want, dear brother: we are not our own but His, bought with a price. It is carried out cheerfully and joyfully when we think of Him, not of ourselves. For love does not grow weary of serving, though service may be often in trial as regards the scene - indeed, save with rare encouragement, always in the general run of it, is. "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." But what a thing to say! what Christ could say, save that Paul of course puts in "in Christ Jesus," and of course does not speak of atoning sufferings (how could he?), but otherwise was filling up that which was behind of the sufferings of Christ for His body's sake which is the church. May we know how to follow hard after Him and we shall find His right hand upholding us!

I rejoice at the Lord's opening the way before you both at -, and this other place. I believe He will, though we have to follow Him where He opens the door, but when He opens the door no man can shut it. But He has a testimony, and if we have but little strength He will maintain it. I have not a doubt of this testimony for the last days. We cannot think too poorly of ourselves as bearing it - still count on Him to make good His testimony: and what a testimony it is! I was writing a page or two this evening on what I have more than once spoken of, the end of Matthew 17. The tribute was the tribute to the temple. The question to Peter was really, Is your Master a faithful Jew? The Lord shews His divine knowledge, adding, but we are children, we have not to pay, but less we offend - and then shews divine power over the creature making the fish bring Him a piece of money (a didrachma was due for one, and it had a stater, two didrachmas, ready in its mouth), and says, That take and give for Me and for thee. Do you like to hear Him say, that blessed One, "for me and for thee" - bringing Peter with Him as one of the sons? What sovereign and blessed grace! God in knowledge, God in power over creation, but Son as man down here associating us by redemption and grace with Himself. What would we have more, or more lovingly and tenderly told? and it is always so. It is so with us; "me" must and ought to go first; it would be nothing without it, but "thee" is with the "me" in heart and in the place He has obtained for and given to us. I ask what could we more? and it is ours, and however weak we are, for Peter was holding Him for a Jew. It is doctrinally taught in John 20. But I must close.

You may have heard that I have been ill, had a bad fall which brought old age to a crisis, for I am just entering on my 82nd year. It brought death near me, a most profitable experience, though always true, but it made me feel I belonged to the other world, not to this: nothing new in doctrine, or foundation, but a realising of it all. Then I had a very slight paralytic stroke, which did not touch my mind or limbs through mercy, but left my cheek numb. I am better, but not able to be as active in work; but I get to meetings, and in my study work as usual. Kind love to all the saints, and again thanking you for your letter.

Affectionately yours in the blessed One that loves us.

Ventnor, November 14th.

[53158E]