F. T. H.
We should not only know but feel the break-up of the church. They would never turn from the path of obedience who were conscious why it was directed for them. To do right things effectively, we must have a sense of what has brought about the doing. Why did the remnant of old hang their harps upon the willows? (Ps. 137). By the sense that they were in a strange land and Israel was in captivity. Others merely joining them would have little interest in their procedure, because not in the same circumstances. So also was the remnant in Mal. 3:16. They did right because intelligently with the Lord, as to his interests here. A remnant would have been out of place in Solomon's day. The visible church is in ruins, but God has a path for His own. However great the general failure, there is a state and service that please Him as well as if all were in Pentecostal order. If we only do right as attracted by those already correct in mode, we need not be surprised at the fall later. At the setting-up of the church, a remnant would have been wrong, for the order of the assembly was of God. The Spirit never recalls the whole when once departed from the path of truth, but raises a testimony in a few who feel the departure and ruin. To be truly in the remnant is not simply to join it; but to be there because He is there. The time of break-up is for the exercise of a living faith. The moment of the shipwreck (Acts 27.) was the opportunity for faith. In days of prosperity there was no demand on faith; but in the break-up the faithless were helpless and the man of faith was master of the situation. It is always in crisis that faith yields its vast revenues. May the Lord help us, that our hearts may rise to Himself, learn His ways and resources in the storm and prove to be more than conquerors as rejoicing in the Lord. To act suitably we must, like Moses, know His ways, not merely observers of His acts or imitators of others. We may do right, without being established in the reason why, or in sympathy with the position which is out of course with what obtains among Christians generally. (Abridged from F. T. H. in "The Voice," 1893.)