Editor's Letters

by T. Austin-Sparks

November-December 1963

Dear fellow-worker in Christ,

With this issue we close one more year - the forty-first - of the ministry of A Witness and a Testimony, and

"Here we raise our Ebenezer:
Hither by Thy grace we've come."

We lay our tribute of gratitude at the feet of our Lord for His gracious help through all the years, and not least 1963. The difficulties, sorrows, and conflicts of this year have - in some respects - been additionally severe, but we can truly say, "having received the help which comes from God, we continue unto this day". Not only has the ministry been maintained, but there is a steady, quiet growth. Very few mails come without a fresh call - or some fresh calls - for the paper. Our old friends maintain their faithful and loyal fellowship and help, for which we are truly grateful.

During this year the personal ministries have been truly helped of the Lord. In the United States we renewed fellowship and ministry with friends of long standing, including Philadelphia, our dear brother Cressy of Springfield, Pa.; the company in Louisville; a touch with Adison Raws, of Keswick Grove, N.J., whom we first met there in 1925; and eight weeks of ministry at the Gospel Tabernacle (C.M.A.), New York.

It was our regret that we could not, during those four months, visit many others in response to their warm invitations. We are much before the Lord regarding a return to do more over there.

Then, this year's conference in Switzerland reached the high-water mark of blessing in every way. It was a real faith exercise to accept so many who applied to come, in view of the accommodation question. But the Lord undertook and, if there were some minor inconveniences, no one was in any trouble. It was the largest company of all the years. The Lord very graciously made His presence felt. The ministry was more than sufficient, indeed - "twelve baskets full" over. Such a spirit of joy and love abounded, that I think that we all had a good deal of sympathy with Peter's remark on the mount, "It is good for us to be here, let us..." stay!

On our way back to London we had a happy evening with friends in the Landhaus, Schlieren, near Zurich.

Now we are here waiting on the Lord for the next phase, seeing that our personal responsibility for the work at Honor Oak has concluded. At the time of writing we are engaged with the matter of literature. A number of books and booklets have been out of print for some time. We are having these reprinted. Also several series of messages which have been in the magazine during past years are being printed in book form. We are also hoping to have some new books put out in the near future. Announcement and details of all this will be given to our readers when the above are ready, and a full list will be published.

The purpose and nature of this ministry is well known. The very simplicity of the magazine; the absence of either popular features or advertisements, makes it quite clear that it is for such as really need, and feel their need of, "solid food". We feel that there is an abundance of literature which can help in the elementary stages of the Christian life - a very needful thing - but we feel also that there is a need for that which will meet the Lord's people at and from the point where a greater measure of Christ is called for. It is also our conviction that a great world-shaking is coming, when the measure and depth of spiritual life will determine endurance, or even, survival. We may be working for "a time to come". If Joseph signified anything at all, surely it was faith's action and diligence in relation to the need of a time not yet present.

So, although we do not set this ministry above others, we have, even at the cost of not being popular, to "make full proof of ministry", and "fulfil the ministry which we have received of the Lord". If the Lord sees that it is necessary to Him, He will maintain it. We trust that we shall not be insensitive to Him when He sees that there is no longer need for it.

The probability is that some changes will come in the near future, and as this ministry is your partnership, we count much upon your strong support. Thank you warmly for all that you have given.

The Lord bless you more and more.

Yours in His grace,

In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks' wishes that what was freely received should be freely given and not sold for profit, and that his messages be reproduced word for word, we ask if you choose to share these messages with others, to please respect his wishes and offer them freely - free of any changes, free of any charge (except necessary distribution costs) and with this statement included.