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                       Extract from letter by John Thomas

                       9 February 1865

                 "Neutrals and Enemies"


"He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad" - Matthew 12v30.


"In the performance of the duty common to all the faithful, I do not wait to be attacked. If no one will go with me to the assault, I go alone, with the determination to scatter them, or be demolished in the attempt; in which, however, I do not expect to succeed, because "the saints are prevailed against till the Ancient of Days comes". Why then labour in expected failure? To obey the injunction, and to prove my own faith.


In this spiritual warfare, whose weapons are neither lead nor steel, but more effective than either for putting to flight the aliens, there are neither truce, armistice, neutrality, nor peace. He that is not with us, is against us; and he that gathereth not with us, scattereth abroad. I, for one, know no man in this warfare as a brother and friend who is neutral or not gathering. A man who is neutral stands by with arms folded and sees the enemy crushing me to death! He believes in the cause I am fighting for, but he calmly views my destruction without any sign of help.


Is such a man my friend and brother? Is he not rather a sympathizer with the enemy? If he helped me, we might prove too strong for the foe; the enemy knowing this cannot look upon neutrals in any other light than his friends. And this is just where Christ puts all neutrals in the good fight of faith.


But, if this be the position of neutrals, what shall be said of those who either oppose or nullify what we believe to be the truth? Who not only so, but seek to destroy the influence of those who have, while they were mere heathens, proved themselves through evil and through good report, and when the truth had few to say a good word for it, faithful advocates of it - what shall be said of them?


They may virtually acquiesce in the theory of the truth, but can we call them friends and brethren? Are they Christ's brethren? How can they be seeing Christ is the truth? If they were Christ's Brethren, they would love the zealous and disinterested advocates of the truth, and would be careful to do nothing that would embarrass them.


Shall I call such enemies of Christ, my friends and brethren? I tell you, nay; I will have none such, if I know it. They are my enemies, and it is my duty to make war upon them...I have no sympathy with a yea-and-nay profession and advocacy of the truth. It does no good to the professor, to those who are associated with him, nor to those dwelling in outer darkness. "The whole world lieth in the evil one" - in Sin; And the only exception to this, are the untraditionized believers of the truth we believe and teach and have obeyed; and are walking as little children therein.


If we are these scriptural exceptions, we have nothing to do but keep clear of this evil world, and to testify against all the traditions it would substitute for the truth, or by which it might seek to nullify it. The greatest and most dangerous enemies to Christ are those who pretend to be his friends, but are not faithful to his doctrine; and they are unfaithful who from any motives of personal interest would weaken the point of the doctrine, or soften it for the gratification of their natural feelings, or for fear of hurting the feelings of the enemy, and so affecting their popularity with him".



'The Ambassador of the Coming Age' April 1865 pages 155/6.


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