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p477 MY DEAR BROTHER [Mr Mayo, Malvern], - Your questions all are really questions as to spirituality. The spiritual man discerns all things, and if thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light. There are as to many details directions as to speaking in the assembly. These of course we have to follow. Not more than two or at the most three to speak, and all for edification. As to being led of the Spirit, while clearly scriptural and characteristic of the Christian (Rom. 8:7, etc.), the realising it depends on the spiritual state. When we are washed in the blood of the Lamb, the Holy Ghost comes to dwell in us, and then leads us on following Christ. We know Him because He is in us. (John 14:17.)

Now the word is inspired by Him, and no path can be His which is not according to it. But in many details of life there is no positive direction. Here the Spirit will guide us, sometimes by motives, love to others or practical righteousness; charity to a soul, or christian kindness, may make me take a long journey, but in all Christ must be the one motive. Then and then only the eye is single, and when not single is evil and requires attention or one may take human kindness for christian love. When the blessed Lord heard, "he whom thou lovest is sick," He abode two days in the same place. Then God's time and will, living there He went. God had allowed death to come in for His glory and Christ's!

This connects obedience, and being thus led. In the days of scripture there were voices of the Spirit. I do not expect this, but it shews that in its nature it was not unscriptural, and I believe He will guide us and may suggest things to do, but the mind must be subject and lowly to enjoy this guidance, and if any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men liberally, and upbraids not, and it shall be given him. Such as are meek, them will He guide in judgment, them will He teach His way. But it will be in the spirit of obedience, not the acting of our own wills, however hidden the motive. The state of the heart and the word hidden in it is always in question here. The word forms the judgment in forming the state of the heart without perhaps a particular text being in the mind, and God is faithful not to suffer us to be tempted above that we are able.

Christ must be the only motive. His Spirit and grace form our spirits, besides His being ostensibly to oneself the motive (Luke 9:55-56), and the motive and tone of heart do correct and guide us from deceiving ourselves. But in everything we should be led of the Spirit; this supposes true liberty in Christ and known salvation. The Holy Ghost first shows us the Father's love is a Spirit of adoption in us; next shows that we are in Christ and Christ in us, and sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts. Its fruits are love, joy, peace, then the walk, longsuffering, temperance, etc. Thus if living near to God He may specifically lead us to special efforts in which the life and spirit of Christ is displayed. But general precepts help to guide here. Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, etc. This will guide in any suggested service. The mere fact of intending Christ's glory, though right, is not enough. Is it what will glorify Him, not me? Paul was to preach to every creature under heaven, but at a given moment not in Mysia, nor Phrygia, not in Asia. A reading meeting is in a general way a most useful thing, and I do well to use it diligently as other things, but we have to seek. But while the one object is the first great thing for light, the principle of obedience must come in; if not self-will, that is, our own will, is a spring of action.

There is one point I have not noticed, though I must soon close. Acts 3:19-21 are quite clear, but God knows beforehand how the testimony will be received, and acts in that knowledge. Our responsibility is quite another thing. Christ presented Himself as Messiah to the Jews to confirm the promises and they were bound to receive Him, yet His rejection was the basis of the accomplishment of all God's purposes. So in Jeremiah you will find calls to repentance and promising blessing thereon and actually accompanied by a declaration that they would all go to Babylon. One was the present responsibility of man, the other the way and purpose of God's counsels which always go far beyond the result of responsibility even if attained, as Christ's heavenly glory and universal lordship go beyond the accomplishment of Messianic promises, though in another way I believe these will be. But long ago it struck me as a remarkable thing that Acts 3 should come after Acts 2. I shall be very glad, if anything occurs to you, to help as far as God enables me. Love to the brethren.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.