I would also revert to a remark of J. N. D.’s after a large meeting at Taunton. He invited brethren to meet him there for humiliation. Many of us went afterwards to Bristol (in 1852 or 1853) for conference as to the things which had called for humiliation. Some of those from whom we had separated were also present. Mr. Darby spoke in this way, “When brethren first came out they gave up the world, and there was something in that to do. People got a little proud of what they had given up. But there came a moment when the world gave us up, and brethren did not like that; they did not like the reproach.” It is quite a different thing to give up and to be given up; and, dear brethren, has there not been a return to the world? Have we been content to be a poor and afflicted people? Has there been no attempt to assert ourselves and obtain acknowledgment from the first man? There were those who did come out to the Lord and gave up the world and then the world gave them up, and has there not been a little trial to assert ourselves to be somebody? What has been the result? Look at what an exhibition we have made of ourselves in every way! What a going back there has been! Forgive me, dear brethren, if I bring it before you, but I desire to take the lowest place with regard to it; I am quite sure if we wish to answer to the truth given to us we must accept the place of Christ’s rejection and reproach. The world will give you up, but if we are satisfied with the company of the Lord – and to be a poor and afflicted people, the Lord will be with us. The Spirit of God will not help us to be great here. I remember a verse of an old hymn with regard to the Spirit (perhaps not altogether correct), I suppose it is a reference to 1 John 5: 6:
“He witnessed to the constant guilt
That marked the path we trod;
He witnessed that Thy blood was spilt
To bring us nigh to God.”
There are the two thoughts of man’s ruin, and Christ’s death as bringing us to God, for the Spirit witnesses the acceptance of that blessed Man in heaven, and He has come that we might know Him there.