The Need Of Grace

An Extract from J N Darby's writings

John Nelson Darby

The following brief extract from J N Darby has been issued more than once in many places but it will do well to have it issued again in view of the recurring need among the Lord's people.

The whip and the scourge may be righteous, but there is no winning the heart of man with these.

Nor is it righteousness which reigns amongst the saints of God, but grace, through righteousness, unto eternal life. Alas! how many sins that might have been washed away (John 13) have been retained; how many brethren alienated for all time who might have been won back to God and to us, because we have hammered at the conscience merely, with the heart ungained; with the heart, shall I say? almost unsought.

We have not overcome evil because we have not overcome it with good. We have taken readily the judge's chair and have got back judgment, but the Master's lowly work we have little done. But how little do we understand that mere righteous dealing - absolutely righteous as it may be - will not work the restoration of souls; that judgment - however temperate and however true - will not touch and soften and subdue hearts to receive instruction, that by the very facts of the case are shown not to be in their true place with God.

Man is not all conscience, and conscience reached with the heart still away will do what it did with the first sinner among men: drive him out among the trees of the garden to escape the unwelcome voice.