A LETTER ON “THE PRAISE OF MEN”……J. N. Darby

My dear Friend and Brother in Jesus Christ:
It gives me much pleasure to see your translation of -. I reserve the pleasure of reading it, or rather of having it read to me, for moments in which the Lord says to us, as He did to the apostles, “Come ye yourselves apart, and rest a while.” But I cannot refrain from telling you, my dear friend, that the pleasure that the appearance of your work gave me has been somewhat abated by the too favorable opinion which you have expressed in your preface respecting me. Before I had read a word in your translation, I made a present of a copy to a very dear and sincere friend of mine, who brought me word that you had spoken in praise of my piety in your preface. The Passage produced the same effect on my friend that it did on me, when I afterwards saw it. I hope, therefore, that you will not take in ill-part what I am about to say to you on the subject, and which is the fruit of a tolerably long experience.

Pride is the greatest of all evils that beset us, and of all our enemies it is that which dies the slowest and hardest, even the children of the world are able to discern this. Madame De Stael said, on her death-bed, “Do you know what is the last to die in man? It is self-love.” God hates pride above all things, because it gives to man the place that belongs to Him who is above, exalted over all. Pride intercepts communion with God, and draws down His chastisement, for “God resists the proud.” He will destroy the name of the proud, and we are told that “there is a day appointed when the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man laid low.” I am sure, then, you will feel, my dear friend, that one can not do another a greater injury than by praising him, and feeding his pride. “He that flattereth his neighbor spreadeth a snare for his feet,” and, “A flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Be assured, moreover, that we are too short-sighted to be able to judge of the degree of our brother’s piety; we are not able to judge it aright without the balance of the sanctuary, and that is in the hand of Him who searches the heart. Judge nothing therefore before the time. until the Lord come, and makes manifest the counsels of the heart, and renders to every man his praise. Till then let us not judge our brethren, whether for good or for evil, but with becoming moderation, and remember that the surest and best judgment is what we form of ourselves when we esteem others better than ourselves.

If I were to ask you how you know that I am one of the most advanced in the Christian career, and an eminent servant of God, you would, no doubt, be at a loss to reply. You would perhaps cite my published works; but do you not know, my dear friend and brother – You who can preach an edifying sermon as well as I can that the eyes see further than the feet go? and that unhappily we are not always, nor in all things, what our sermons are; that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” I will not tell you the opinion I have of my will, for in doing so, I will probably all the while be seeking my own glory; and, while seeking my own glory, appear humble – which I am not. I had rather tell you what our Master thinks of me – He that searcheth the heart and speaks the truth, who is “the Amen, the faithful Witness,” and has often spoken in my inmost soul, and I thank Him for it; but, believe me, He has never told me I am an “eminent Christian and advanced in the ways of godliness.” On the contrary, He tells me very plainly that if I knew my own place, I should find it that of the chief of sinners, and least of all saints. His judgment, surely, my dear friend, I should take rather than yours.

The most eminent Christian is one of those of whom no one has ever heard anyone speak, some poor laborer, or servant, whose all is Christ, and who does all for His eye, and His alone. The first shall be last. Let us be persuaded, my dear friend, to praise the Lord alone. He only is worthy of being praised, revered, and adored. His goodness is never sufficiently celebrated. The song of the blessed (Rev. 5) praises none but Him who redeemed them with His blood. It contains not one word of praise for any of their own number – not a word that classes them into eminent, or not eminent – all distinctions are lost in the common title the redeemed, which is the happiness and glory of the whole Body.

Let us strive to bring our hearts into unison with that song, in which we all hope that our feeble voices will one day mingle. This will be our happiness, even here below, and contribute to God’s glory, which is wronged by the praise that Christians too often bestow on each other. We cannot have two mouths – one for God’s praise, and one for man’s. May we, then, do now what the seraphim do above, who with two wings cover their faces, as a token of their confusion before the holy presence of the Lord; with two cover their feet, as if to hide their steps from themselves; and with the remaining two fly to execute their Lord’s will, while they cry, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts; all the earth is full of His glory.”
Excuse these few lines of Christian exhortation, which I am sure will, sooner or later, become useful to you, by becoming part of your own experience. Remember me in your prayers, as I pray that the blessing of the Lord may rest upon you and your labors. If ever you print another edition – as I hope you will – strike out, if you please, the two passages to which I have drawn your attention; and call me simply “a brother, and minister in the Lord.” This is honor enough, and needs no addition.

DELIVERANCE……THE BEGINNING

To answer your questions on deliverance:  I can only share with you the concepts the Lord gave me; my “history” with the Lord.  I had learned the Romans 6-8 (sanctification truths) and  knew they were not in my life and walk with the Lord….how to apply was a mystery to me, but as I read what the apostle Paul had written about the Christian life and the early Plymouth Brethren writers, I knew there was another experience:  one of joy and peace and contentment (versus the depression, sorrow and grief that I was experiencing).

I knew the reality of these truths were not based upon “good circumstances”…i.e. money in the bank etc., but based on the source of the Christian life: knowing Jesus Christ. So, I learned to ignore my unstable emotions and thoughts (see 2 Cor. 10:3-5,7) and  stand upon the word of God. All this means is believing God’s Word….believing what He says, though it may not be in your life.  He will make all things clear…He will work it into your life in time. (Heb.13:21) I am sure you have “tasted that the Lord is gracious” and are able to believe He will give you what He has promised through His Word.  Our “part” is to rest in Him and His Word while He works in us.  Now resting does not mean doing nothing.

When He in His perfect timing, brought in the “sifting” and “those things that are shaken” (Heb.12:27), He brings us “low” (as J.N Darby said) and humbles us (as George Mueller said.).  This hopefully causes us to be teachable and not bitter. We are to be “tenderhearted” throughout His dealings with us.  (keeping that fellowship with Him..1John 1:3-9).  There is a “turning point” (see Deliverance papers by William  Kelly and J.N. Darby) where we look “outside of ourselves”…He now is our focus more and more rather than the trials.

What does the Word of God say about us?  For one thing:  “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”  Reading this is not enough.  We must dig…what does it mean to be “in Christ” ?  We are  now identified with Christ…not our sin or our sin nature.  Not that we take a “light view” of sin…but we confess and leave it with Him.  Wonderful gift from Him.  I read and read…especially Romans 8.  I may have told you how I wrote the scriptures from that chapter on 3×5 cards and taped them to my cupboards.  Hannah Whitall Smith said in one of her books:  “He saves me now.” Present tense.  That went up on the cupboards.  The discouraging thoughts came like waves that rolled upon me, but I was standing upon those verses.  Gradually, I realized in my experience freedom as I “refused” to dwell on the discouraging thoughts.  And the thoughts diminished.  So it is with refusing the sin nature on all levels.  This is a miracle and what our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross (see Romans 6:6-7,10; 2 Cor. 5:21; Romans 8:3).  

As we continue to believe what the word of God says about freedom from the sin nature and we apply the truth, the pull of the sin nature fades.  Not that it won’t pop-up in some other way, but the answer is the same.  We “died” with Christ positionally and now the Holy Spirit makes real all those “riches of His grace” in us.  First we must “know” the sanctification truths before we are able or even interested in experiencing freedom from the power of the sin nature in us.  Truly this verse is fulfilled in us as we study His word:  “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb.11:6) If we study “lightly”, we will know the freedom from sin “lightly.”  If we are a divided man (James 1:6-8) we will be unstable.  The Lord revealed to me during my “wretched man” time that I put my loved ones before the Lord.  I did not realize I had done this all my Christian life.  This process is very necessary…and very personal.  What He reveals to one believer will obviously be different than another.  We learn that He must have preeminence in our life.  Out from that relationship comes love for others.  

The Lord brought me to Romans 12:1 and 2 Cor. 5:15.  Years earlier I would go forward on an altar call as we were urged to obey Romans 12:1.  It was all for naught…I did not understand.  It takes time and it is a work of the Holy Spirit to reveal “self” to ourselves.  I believe as we have been taught that Romans 12:1 is a one time thing that we look back on.  But it is no issue now..I belong to the Lord.  The epistles are full of our “riches in Christ”…our positions in Christ.  We do not experience the truth but as we stand upon them, our thinking changes.  You asked how we “cooperate” with the Lord in our growth process.  This is where submission comes in…some call it yieldedness, some brokenness.  “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”  In our Bible classes , we learned the definition of humility:  a lowering of our minds to God’s mind…His written word.  We chose to believe what the Lord says in His word over human viewpoint.

We accept the humbling of the Lord in our circumstances…that He does all things right so this circumstance is from Him for my spiritual good.  We may experience suffering as we yield to the Spirit…as we are “crossing the sinful nature” but it is as nothing when we realize the blessings of walking in the Spirit…versus the reaping of the flesh.  There is much “reaping” in the flesh but even that is turned to our spiritual good. We learn thoroughly that doing things His way brings the peaceable fruit of righteousness.  Read as the Lord leads you; there is encouragement for us in our “wilderness journey” here.  lkp