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Watchman Nee's great Christian classic tracing in practical terms the steps along the pathway of faith and presenting the eternal purpose of God in simple terms. Its central theme.
The great Chinese writer and preacher Watchman Nee was for many in the West a symbol of Christian steadfastness under the pressure of totalitarian government.
Here are an Excerpts from the Book
We must always keep in mind that the real, actual, and prevailing function of the elders is to minister life, to feed people. Based upon this principle, I would like to pass on a very crucial and practical point to you. The elders should stay away from the saints’ practical life matters such as marriage. The saints may come to you, especially the young ones, to get your help concerning their marriage, their choice in marriage, and even concerning their dating. I do not mean that we older ones should not help them, but there is a great temptation in helping them in these kinds of things. Eventually, we could fall into directing them or even somewhat controlling them. This is very dangerous.
When young saints came to me forty-five years ago, I always had some principles and regulations to pass on to them. I always had the instructions ready, and I fully trusted that my principles were really right and prevailing. After a period of time, I learned not to do this. Today if anyone comes to me to talk about their marriage or about their choice in marriage, I have no burden and no interest. I have learned not to give the young saint's advice concerning whom they will marry. I even told my closest relatives to just trust in the Lord concerning their marriage. Only the Lord knows who is a good match for another person. We do not know.
I saw many cases of wonderful brothers who all became “ugly” in their marriage. Also, some nice sisters became different persons immediately after their wedding. There have been a number of cases like this in the history of the church life. About fifty years ago, we had a marvellous, promising, young group of medical students in China. Nearly all these medical students were saved. A good number of them met with us in the church. We expected great things from them, but after their weddings, most of them gradually became cold and did not go on in the Lord’s recovery quite well. This was mostly due to their marriage. Therefore, in the church life, all we can do concerning the young people’s marriage is to minister life to them. We must help them to look to the Lord’s leading, to learn how to walk in the Spirit, and we should also help them not to indulge in lust or to have their own taste or choice. This is all we can do. We should not try to conduct them into a marriage or match them.
To invite a brother and sister together to dinner for the purpose of bringing them together should be done with adequate consideration. Do not do this in a loose or subjective way. There should not be any kind of controlling among us concerning the young saints’ marriage. I do not believe that there is anyone controlling, but there is a temptation that the older ones among us would think that they could help the young ones. This, however, is the human hand, not the Lord’s hand. We should not touch this matter. For example, a white shirt may be very clean but after this shirt is touched by us for five days it becomes dirty just because of our touching. Our hands are not absolutely clean.
The matter of marriage is very complicated and is most perplexing. We should try to be very objective and try to render life to the young ones. Never try to bring two people together without any caution. This is dangerous. Some of you may feel that you did this once and that you were very successful. You may have been successful in one marriage, but do not take that as an encouragement. There is no need for us to touch this matter in a natural way. We should leave this matter to the Lord and pray for the ones concerned. We should render as much life as we can to help them and never indicate who is their best match