Since the days of Constantine (325 A.D.), a great deal of God's original purpose has been lost. Since the Reformation, since Luther, God has been restoring those things, but He continues the principle of veiling His present work on earth. While He lifts the veil on the last thing He restored, He turns and veils His newest activity. He does this to keep the things dear to Him from being cheapened.
We are told, for instance, that 80 percent of all evangelical and fundamental teachings today came from the Plymouth Brethren movement of the early 1800s. That seems to be an established historical fact. But you could never have convinced theologians in the early 1800s of that!
It was not until the mid-1800s that the mainstream of Christianity began to read the writings of the Brethren and, finally, realized the wealth that was there. Forthwith ministers began preparing sermons based on what they read of the Brethren writings. The Sunday morning congregations were very impressed. But structure could not handle everything the Brethren had said. What they taught had to be watered down a bit to fit.
The problem was easily solved; men simply left out the main point. (Now you know why God veiled His work among the Brethren for a whole generation.)
But why did the Lord ever allow the work of the Brethren to come into public view anyway? Why did He ever allow their wonderful insight and experience to become common and diluted? It seems that when the Brethren's message became good sermon material for Sunday morning sermons, their major contribution to church history began to end.
Why? Because He had moved on. God had moved on, leaving the brethren as one of His past works. He had moved on to do a work of recovery somewhere else, a deeper work, and a work hidden from full view.