John Nelson Darby

It is clear, that if two or three are gathered together, it is an assembly, and if scripturally assembled, an assembly of God; and if not, what else? If the only one in a place, it is the assembly of God in the place. Yet I do object practically to taking the title, because the assembly of God in any place properly embraces all the saints in the place. And there is practical danger for souls in assuming the name, as losing sight of the ruin and setting up to be something. But it is not false in the supposed case. If there be one such and another is set up by man's will, independent of it, the first only is morally, in God's sight, the assembly of God; and the other is not at all so, because it is set up in independency of the unity of the body. I reject in the most entire and unhesitating manner the whole Independent system as unscriptural and a positive, unmitigated evil. Now that the unity of the body has been brought out, and the scriptural truth of it is known, it is simply a work of Satan. Ignorance of the truth is one thing, our common lot in many ways; opposition to it is another. I know it is alleged that the Church is now so in ruins that scriptural order according to the unity of the body cannot be maintained. Then let the objectors avow as honest men, that they seek unscriptural order, or rather disorder. But in truth it is impossible to meet at all in that case to break bread, except in defiance of God's word: for scripture says, "we are all one body; for we are all partakers of that one loaf." We profess to be one body whenever we break bread; scripture knows nothing else. And they will find scripture too strong and perfect a bond for man's reasoning to break it.