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[C Crain] MY DEAR BROTHER, I was very glad to get your letter, and get news of the dear brethren around you. I trust, too, from them that the Lord is carrying on His work. With us numbers have largely increased, and there have been a good many conversions: but the increase of numbers has tended to lower the barrier against the world, and the very lapse of time, for it always tends to come in imperceptibly; it weakens, too, the competency to deal with evil when it arises. I have long felt that Satan was making a dead set at brethren in this respect, but was anxious not to go before the Lord, but wait on Him, and did. It brought on a crisis in London, but God came in most graciously; not that they are wholly out of it yet. But God has stepped in, and He will, if the brethren are humble, complete His work, and I do not doubt it will be very useful. Out of London, it has been an occasion of sorrow, but has not so much affected them directly. He is ever faithful.

I am engaged in translating the Old Testament into French: we are towards the end, but it will have to be revised. It has been a laborious work, and it is not the way of reading scripture that nourishes; still it instructs, and makes one's knowledge of it accurate in detail. It is for others substantially I do it, as is evident. But scripture, and the infinite preciousness of Christ, opens to me more and more: His preciousness is infinite, and yet how near; what comfort in passing through the wilderness! "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." We must seek to realise these things: how little we believe they are real facts.

Have you weighed how Romans is man on earth, as we all are, but full grace towards him, chapter 5: 1-11; then reckoning himself dead (not risen), but Christ his life and he in Him, and Christ in him; experimental, chapter 5: 12 to end of chapter 8. Colossians dead and risen, but on the earth; his hope in heaven and his affections aright; but the presence of the Holy Ghost not the subject. Ephesians on quite other ground (alluded to partially once in Colossians and 2 Corinthians 5) -- not dead to sin, but dead in sins, and sovereign grace putting us into Christ where He is so that we are sitting there; our new place and relationships. Colossians is fitness for the place. Ephesians the presence of the Holy Ghost fully recognised and spoken of; not experience but contrast of the two conditions. This is only for you to search into. Its connection with figures from Egypt to Canaan would be more than I could go into here. Love to all the brethren: may they be kept from the spirit of the world.

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

Pau, 1879.


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[G J Stewart] DEAREST BROTHER, You will have received much later news than I can send you how beloved Mr. Wigram is gone home, and since then the trouble they have had in London. But God makes this, as all else, work together for good to those who love Him. With the details I have had little or nothing to do, being absent in France; with the root and ground of it everything ... . The result is in God's hands, so that I go no further. I have long felt the state of things; and that the Lord will sift the brethren, or is doing so, cannot be doubted. What struck me was, not the evil, I see as much in the apostles' days, but powerlessness to meet the evil. I was most thankful to get the news of brethren in Australia New Zealand, etc. God, I think, is working here in spite of all. There are conversions, and He is binding saints together where there was division and evil ... . On the whole in England there is much to thank God for. We are not out of the place of patient waiting on the Lord, but the mass of evil which seemed insurmountable is wasting to its own real dimensions, and people's consciences, I trust, are awakening to God's presence, and realities, and when we are in God's presence all goes right. I have the Lord greatly with me in it all, though deeply tried. When people were tried with circumstances, I was comparatively at peace, had gone through it with the Lord.

I think I see that Christ is presented in glory as one who leads us on in energy, conforming us to what He is according to the glory; and that when the question is of nourishing the inward life, and the affections and character, it is the humbled Christ on whom we have to feed. This is partly the case in Philippians 2 and 3: the former the inward state and character, Christ coming down; the latter, a glorified Christ, the Object after which we run. But it is taught in many passages. I have been struck also latterly, in connection with a controversy on certain teaching whose soundness was in question, that while Romans gives us death to sin, the old man or flesh, and Colossians death and resurrection, just touching Ephesian ground, this last has nothing to do with dying to the old man. The object of grace is owned as dead in sins, and then a wholly new creation in Christ; so that we have the contrast of the two things, what by the Holy Ghost we are put into, and what we were in the flesh. Colossians is life, not the Holy Ghost; estate, not place. But I must close. We have nearly done the bulk of our work.

Pau, 1879.


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[Dr Walter] MY DEAR BROTHER, Thank you much for your kind note. I suffered more than is any good for me to talk about, more or less for these two years or more, but said nothing and did nothing, but bore, till I gave up everything to God; since then I have been as peaceful as possible, and free to enjoy the unspeakable goodness of God. The state of things forced me to act in this matter alone; and when -- gave expression by an overt act to what was going on, and I knew to be going on, for a long while, and he sent me word, I had a full correspondence with him, friendly, but telling him what I saw to be the working of his act; and it was not till all remonstrance and reasoning was useless that I ceased the correspondence, and told him so. Those who backed him up in evil are responsible for a great deal. I then felt I must act individually which I did, and only stated what I had sure and certain ground for, but that definitely and plainly. I have no particular pleasure in the word 'profane,' but my business was to make plain what his act was. He pretended to have a kind of private inspiration as to it, and long insisted on being led of the Holy Ghost. Now the thing was wrong, done secretly, knowing that all brethren would be against it: none defend it now. He had been thinking of it before, I know, though I paid no attention to it at the time. So little was there any leading of the Holy Ghost, that in three weeks he had broken with the person he was led to, and they were in utter opposition. The bringing in the Holy host for what was wrong in itself, and done in this way, and really to put down the meeting which was and is there, I felt and feel was a profane thing. The mischief which was at work seemed to blind to all the plainest features of what was right and wrong, honourable and dishonourable. This was what made it urgent to be plain. Having given my personal testimony I have never meddled in the discipline part, and indeed, being out here, could not in the practical part, and I had no advice to give. I cast it on the Lord, and He has wrought. Consciences are gradually awakening. I do not think that we have got into clear water, but there is much more sense of where we are and were. I am not much in correspondence with England as to what goes on there; till about a fortnight ago, I may say not at all. But as I believe God is working, I am quite at peace.

I have never had for a moment an unkindly feeling toward -- . I do not think he is the most completely leader in the evil, but it was he who did the overt act; but I do not think I am out of charity with any. I have, up to this, kept the greatest part of what pressed upon me to myself. What I dwelt with was a public act done in defiance of brethren: and the state of things was such that it must have led ere long, not to my giving up what are called brethren's principles, for I believe they are God's testimony and in His word, but those who were pretending to carry them out how I cannot tell. With -- I was cordially united, and there was very true union there, but of course I could not make them a meeting independent of others, and go in there and nowhere else. Stay in the evil and see the work corrupted I could not, when it came before the conscience of others and the very effect of what had been going on was to deaden the conscience. That, I trust, God is awakening up, and if brethren are patient that will bring out clear blessing. I trust God will give me patience still to leave it all to Him, for in seeking to do good we would seek sometimes to hurry His working: but I believe in His mercy He is at work. If brethren are humble and seek His face they will find a blessing. Mere violence against myself I take to be a matter of course; and, save for those who feel it, whom I trust I should be given to meet in the wisdom of grace, it does not in the least degree move me. It is good to be alone with God, and walk in grace with others.

I am glad T. is gone to Canada: it makes links where I can no longer be one, though I should like greatly to see them all again.

Pau, June


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J S Oliphant, Take care, too, that irritation does not come in; the wrath of man never works the righteousness of God. The saints ought to be able to win back to peace many souls, and the way of peace is that which will do it. But let their vexation subside; you will have given up no principle: one's own soul suffers by being constantly occupied with evil. It is not the place of communion. -- saying he gave up brethrenism has put the thing in its true light; and if left to reflect on it, many will find where they had got to; if carried on as if seeking to carry one's point, they will not. You should not mind such as -- . There is a kind of violence which grace is entirely above. It ought to be above all. God's ways are His own and wonderful ... . I have constantly found that bringing things to God, if real, is the way of having them done. Our hearts are very treacherous, and we are in danger of rejoicing in iniquity, if the evil of another proves our point. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and pray for poor -- much. He is one dear -- , as redeemed in the blood, the precious blood of Christ. Many would think this inconsistent with my letter, but it is not. It was occasioned by a public act which threw the whole testimony of God into confusion. Be assured that God knows how to manage His own affairs: He has shewn it. Give people time to weigh and think.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.
1879.


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[G L Bevir] Dear Brother, Though I went through sore trial some time back about affairs in London, I am now a good while in perfect peace. It is good to be exercised, and I was thrown wholly on the Lord. God, I believe, is working, and has owned the testimony. I do not think we are at the end, but if He has begun to work, He will, if we wait on Him, carry it through; but it will be in His own time and in His own way, and patience must have its perfect work. But it seems to me there is quite a different spirit at work. I hear very little from England. My place of refuge and of news is with the Lord, and it is a blessed place.

I am inquiring at present what is the meaning of the cleansing on the great day of atonement being wholly what was within, what was heavenly, but have not yet seized it ... . We are awaiting a letter from -- to know if the hay will allow us to come to the mountain. All is so late that I suppose it will be later than usual. I have yet to see how far my old frame will carry me in mountain work. I am as fresh, through mercy as ever for home and local work, but drawing close to eighty, of course, takes physical strength more or less away.

Pau, June.


[Mr Rule] DEAREST BROTHER, I was very glad to hear from you, and thank you for giving me the information, too, as to the brethren. My heart clings to them all as ever, though far away- and now far on in my seventy-ninth year, I cannot, humanly speaking, look to travelling to see them as I once did: though my mind is, through mercy, free as ever, my body naturally is not nearer home in one sense, nearer Christ I hope in every sense. I rejoice in the blessing, both at Sugar Creek and St. Louis not only for their sakes as I do, but in the Lord shewing Himself in grace. Both places have gone through a sifting, as is common after a first start, and now spring up again under His gracious hand. May it continue and be kept in humility the sure and only way of enjoying blessing. He always blesses, but we only enjoy it then. On His faithful love we can always reckon oh how surely! The Lord is working everywhere, but will have what is holy and true amongst His own. Everything seems to shew we are closing in to the end; at any rate, our part is to be ever waiting for Him, who has loved us and will make us like Himself. It is God's own rest we are called to enter into: what likeness to His thoughts and delights we must have to do so, and how blessed that is! but this is our portion.

Assure dear of my unfeigned sympathy. He had been working for the Lord a good deal at one time, nor am I surprised that this blow should have brought back his heart into that channel, but, with all his little children, he is much to be sympathised with ... .

May God in grace give us all increased devotedness. Soon only what has been Christ in our path will remain. I have been these six months here occupied with the translation of the Old Testament into French, now nearly accomplished. Give my kindest love to all the brethren. May He keep us all close to Himself, where safety, joy, and holiness are found Christ all and in all. I shall always be glad to hear of the brethren and of you, too, dear brother. Again my unfeigned sympathy with -- in this world of death ... .

Pau.


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[Mr Pinkerton] MY BELOVED BROTHER, I had been thinking of you constantly, but was occupied from six in the morning to eleven at night in the south of France, and a good deal absorbed with my work, now finished in the rough that is, it has only to be revised. I was comforted, dear brother, on the other hand, by the grace of God given unto you, and your soul's getting on in quiet resting in Him. I feel daily more that heaven is our place; all our living associations are there, and Christ is all there; the rest is to go through, through grace drawn from Him: "of his fulness have all we received, and grace upon grace."

I do not read the periodicals have not even time for it; but I have the feeling that they have a good deal lost their power, and I think the Lord has in a measure blown upon them. A means of food for many who can hardly buy books is useful, but these are too pretentious, and then they have as periodicals run into a worldly form. Dr. Johnson said his "Rambler" was like the stage coach had to start, full or empty. But there is more; the tone of brethrenism tends to lower with increasing numbers, and the Lord has been exercising them in England, and graciously, though humblingly for their good. They have the truth, but I had feared for some time that they were taking the place of having it as credit to themselves. But the Lord is graciously working with them.

And now, dear brother, about your plans ... it is a question of spiritual judgment and divine guidance. I am sure God ever faithful will guide you. Christ is all, and He will guide and keep you. We shall sorrow at no sacrifice when we meet Him. I find the sure faithfulness of the Lord in working and answering us, though He may exercise our faith.

Liskeard, July 25th.


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Mr Grossy, I cannot doubt that the Lord is working. Had I not had this confidence, I should have left the brethren nearly a year ago, but I felt it would be unfaithful: not as doubting that they had the truth, but as unfaithful to it. I felt it would be hireling work, but God is working and bringing light into the souls of many, and with a little patience He will bring about His will, I mean His blessing. But there is no doubt it was a deliberate plan for breaking up the brethren here. That, at present, is broken down, but in general, consciences are beginning to find that they had got away from the Lord of course not every one and the assemblies trusted a few, and failed in humble reference to God. They had got into a bad state, and this had been brought home to them, but for their good ... . But I have no doubt, painful as it all is, that God is turning it to blessing: the humbling will be useful, and seeing God is working. I trust there may be patience till He has fully brought about a blessing.

Occupy yourselves with Christ that you may be refreshed and strengthened. It is a great thing to pass through sorrows with Him; they are then turned to a well, and grace comes down too. Pray for the saints all of them carry the sorrows to Christ, and in your own spirit bring Christ to the sorrows. The brethren had got puffed up, and were inking from fidelity towards God, and He has visited them in mercy. In waiting on Him, He will exalt the faithful in due time, and rejoice in the Lord always.

London, July 26th, 1879.


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[From the French.] VERY DEAR BROTHER, Our passage down here is a time of wars and conflicts, and it could not be otherwise. Now, if the enemy finds us uncovered, if the flesh is active, he can ever harass us. More than this, we must have the whole armour of God to be able to meet him. It is not a question of strength but of wiles, and God allows us to make the discovery of our state by this means, as in the case of Ai, and of the Gibeonites. But in the work there will always be conflict victory, no doubt, if we are faithful. To stand, that is our business, in the evil days.

I am sure, dear brother, that as to these evil speeches there is only one thing to be done to be silent, and bear them, and cast all on God, praying even for those who speak thus. I have been struck with the place that patience has in the christian life, in the New Testament: "Strengthened with all might according to the power of his glory" what great work is to follow? "unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness:" "Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and complete in all the will of God." Because then the will of man himself, his own spirit, has no place in our walk. Often, even in seeking to do good, we do not sufficiently expect God to act, who alone is able to do good. I hope the brethren who have been evil spoken of will have perfect patience, and God will judge their cause. Let them place themselves at the same time before God, humbled on account of all thus evil, praying God to bring in the remedy Himself. He will compel you, it may be, to exercise patience; He will exercise it Himself; and in His time (and it is the best) He will appear for the blessing and to the joy of those who have waited for Him. Salute the brethren.
1879


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[Dr Walter] My dear Brother, ... A word on the Park Street circular: I did not like it being sent round the country, but dare say it may do good ... . I was not at the meeting nor did I go to any of them, the rather as I was in France The paper, however, was a notification of the conclusion they had arrived at, nor were they the first ... . The various gatherings had to act, because the remains at Kennington (a large number had gone out) positively refused to act, so that each gathering that felt the evil had to clear itself. This was an abnormal state of things, but was merely provisional, and could not be helped. The effect of this action was that what remained at K. put -- out; but a very large number of brethren there had gone out already, and this had to be regulated. The assembly in London being silent is not exactly the point. All are agreed that -- is out, but formal exclusion as been declared -- as to themselves, has been pronounced -- by a great many to clear themselves, and in the country a vast mass of gatherings are clear, and clearer than London. What course the Lord will make it take, I know not at present. We wait to learn what K. has done. But there is a work going on in the conscience of those who hitherto have supported -- . But such a demoralising of conscience and insensibility to right and wrong I never saw. It was high time to do something. And the Lord has worked, and is working, and He alone can do it Some would often go too fast, and others too slow. If brethren had not been demoralised, there would have been deep sorrow of heart for poor -- , but five minutes would have settled the case, when a few facts were known, and did with upright minds.

I am off to France, but shall return as soon as I can.

London August 26th.


MY DEAR BROTHER, Propitiation is properly for sins, as Hebrews 2, and 1 John 2; and Romans 3: 25, 26 is to the same effect: only, Christ having taken the condemnation for sin, persons who do not search out words exactly may speak of the effect as for sin. Sin, as calling for it, was not properly known in the Old Testament. Leviticus 1 does not, as far as I see, apply to this, except in a very general way. It was as a peri; aJmartiva" that God "condemned sin in the flesh" in Christ for us, so that there was no condemnation for us. In Leviticus 1, though blood was shed and atonement made, all is sweet savour. Man's state is no doubt assumed, that is, sin; but the condemnation side is not what is in view, but acceptance. In the peri; aJmartiva" sin is properly in view: in propitiation sins are in view. Substitution is a human word, though a right one; but properly it is sins; that is, the scape-goat in contrast with the Lord's lot. Sin, as such, is never forgiven: God condemned sin in the flesh, but Christ took this place, was given peri; aJmartiva", and knowing no sin, the condemnation of sin in the flesh took place, and that in death, and we are dead with Him for faith: it has ceased to exist -- the condemnation of it gone. Death in Christ involves both. Guilt is from sins. We are dead to sin with Christ, but He has died for our sins. This last is what is properly atonement, and meets judgment. Death to sin is a question of state, not of guilt, though of exclusion from God. A question of defilement, not guilt, refers (and rightly) to what was done in the sanctuary, which was defiled (not guilty), which in full apprehension of the work has its importance. The scape-goat had to do with personal guilt; the blood on the mercy-seat with approach to God, but the sanctuary was cleansed.

The word "atonement" is very vague, and never used in the English New Testament but once, where it ought not to be. In the Old, $$$ rp'K; "to make atonement" refers to the removal of positive guilt out of God's sight. And, as I have said, sin properly does not come into question in the Old Testament, though birth in it is recognised in one place only. (Psalm 51: 5) Even where the sweet savour of Christ's acceptance is figured, man's sinful condition is recognised, and the work that is infinitely acceptable is in view of this. But this, though it assumes it, does not deal with sin in itself. Lost and guilt are different: one my state; the other, my responsibility and guilty failure. I believe I have said all I can at this moment.

I doubt whether you have got all the bearing of scripture as to sin. "Now once in the consummation of the ages hath he appeared eij" ajqe;thsin aJmartiva" by the sacrifice of himself." It is not a question of guilt and imputation that is here. Judgment is according to works, but Christ was peri; aJmartiva" when God condemned sin in the flesh; further, as to sin of the world, we have ai[rwn th;n aJmartivan tou' kovsmou. (John 1: 29). We have had an innocent garden, then a sinful world, then a world wherein dwelleth righteousness. Of course there can be no sin in mere creation, but the status is one of sin, "the bondage of corruption": defilement can be, if not guilt; hence the tabernacle and all the vessels were sprinkled with blood True, because of Israel's sins, but defilement attached to them: "the heavens are not clean in his sight," and He who went into the lower parts of the earth, is gone "above all heavens that he might fill all things."

Sin in the flesh is not guilt; but it would defile, and not allow us to be with God, were it not condemned in the cross through His death who was made sin for us. The full effect will only be in the new heavens and new earth. Since not put away in the lost, I fully admit; but I could not say there was no suffering for sin in the abstract. It is never said sin is put away: I know the work is done, and am at rest. But the fact will not be accomplished as an effect till the new heavens and the new earth. If taking away be not a sacrificial expression, peri; aJmartiva" is, and the sacrifice of Himself is I could not say there is no sin of the world except as regards guilt and responsibility: it does not recognise defilement by sin. Further, $$$ rp'K; applied to the holy place (Leviticus 16, 16-20); so it is to the burnt-offering (Leviticus 1), where there was no actual sin committed. The main effect of the burnt-offering is to shew the perfect sweet savour of the sacrifice of Christ to God, but it was made in respect of sin, but not on account of actual sins committed. Man must come by blood because he is a sinner, and though we get Christ Himself here (not "of his own voluntary will," for that is a mistake, though it was so but for his acceptance" Leviticus 1: 3), yet, as it is for us, the element of sin must be brought in.

As to speaking of atonement, which, although acknowledged he did not bring adequately into prominence, the reason for it is very simple, as you may see in reading Leviticus 1: 4, where it Is especially said to be so in the usual (we may say, technical) word.

Matthew 22: 14 seems clearly profession, or outward calling the chosen, those owned in the wedding. As to Matthew 20 you must connect it with 19. There devotedness and self sacrifice are made the ground of reward. Only the principles of law and grace are so different, that those great in one would be very little in the other. But lest there should be self and self-righteousness wrought by what preceded, the sovereign grace of chapter 20 is introduced, and the converse stated -- many last first, and first last. Here it is grace as to service, only so much work for so much pay is utterly blown upon. The rest trusted the master for what they might get, and free grace acts consequently. God alone can judge what He should do in rewarding. Thus last are first, and first last. Many are called to serve, some chosen vessels, but all in grace.

In a general way we have God's book as a registry. But then you have specifically in the New Testament, "book of life." In one case it is said, "whose names are not written in the book of life of the slain Lamb, from the foundation of the world." These God had written, and it was sure. But they are supposed true, unless shewn to be otherwise as one on the list of voters, unless proved to have no right.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.
1879.


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[F Rowan] MY DEAR BROTHER, ... The two things in the Bible Treasury [June, 1878] are true+, but not connected. But the clear difference was not brought out till the examination of Cluff's doctrine brought it out. If we wait on God, erroneous doctrines become inlets to clearer truth. Dying to sin, and rising with Christ is experimental; but we enter on this ground by faith, or it is a vain human effort to get at it. In Colossians 3 God says we are dead; Romans 6, faith hold we are dead; then 2 Corinthians 4: 10 carries it out in practice. Ephesians is the sovereign work of God setting us in Christ. We say we are dead apart from practice; but it is for all that experimental, but on the discovery of Romans 7, and then, by redemption and the presence of the Holy Ghost, the consciousness of our new place. You cannot connect Ephesians 2 and Romans 6. In Colossians 2: 12 is Romans 6, and resurrection added, and in verse 13, Ephesians -- only not going on to heaven, as Colossians does not. It is as believers we have died with Christ: still God and faith reckon me there when He died, "crucified with him," because the sin in my flesh was condemned then: in God's mind I was there. I only possess it when I have the Spirit, see Romans 8: 9, 10, but then I go back to the work there according to verse 3: but there is no union there. Now there is real union.


+'The believer has died out of his old Adam standing in the death of Jesus, and has been quickened, raised up, and seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.']

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[To the same.] F Rowan, I do not think 'we are hid in God' is right. I have not the lectures+ by me to look at them, but at any rate (and they were only notes) it can only mean to follow the passage. 'We are hid in God' has very little sense to my mind. The point of the passage is Christ is our life, and being hid is merely in contrast with appearing here in glory. 'What we are' would not do. The point is life: "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." I have not seen 'New Creation'++: I have not time to read the journals. But I believe there is a new being: "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

I have run over the article ... . I believe the purpose of it to be right. But the vessel is a part of the old creation. And it is said, "if Christ be in you the body is dead;" because if it be not dead it is what scripture calls flesh. There is a confusion between death and new creation, which is an error. But life is not a mere condition of existence. "In him was life." "The Father hath life in himself." We bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus. And as He has suffered in the flesh "arm ourselves likewise with the same mind." I do not think you adequately recognise that there is a new life in Christ for us.


[To the same.] F Rowan, I do not think that any take eternal life for a new soul and I am afraid your attempt to define will only makes the matter more obscure. Existence is not life: the table exists but is not alive. "In him we live" is not we have life. But the thing I fear is the unsettling the fact of what life in Christ is. Thus "the Father hath life in Himself." Is that a mere condition of being? Again, "that eternal life which was with the Father and has been manifested to us." Your system loses, it seems to me, too much "He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified are all of one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." The life by which the Lord lived in this world was not in the first Adam at all, even when innocent. "Because I live," says Christ, "ye shall live also." He is a life-giving Spirit. Remark, if the tree was not eternal life, it was the tree of life, not of existence, and living for ever, not existing for ever, which is spoken of. So that your attempt to distinguish by definition breaks down the first step. So again, "all live unto him" (Luke 20) breaks down your definition, for the aim of that is to say that though the condition of existence was changed, life was still there. So when you say it is not in us as yet, you touch a vital point: we have life; Christ is our life. "This life is in His Son," and "he that hath the Son hath life." Do you mean that none of us have the Son? then the wrath of God abides on us. The ascribing to a person what is true only of a nature, runs through all John's epistle. "He cannot sin;" "the evil one toucheth him not." It is not a community of being, because He is also God; but we are all ejx eJno;",+++ and because He lives we shall: He gives us eternal life, and we shall never perish. Our condition of being will change, our life not. Scripture adds the presence of the Holy Ghost for the christian condition of being. But "he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit:" what is that so far but community of being? The life of Jesus is to be manifested in our mortal flesh, and this is said if we which live are delivered to death that it may be so. You make it only born of water, but "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Your effort at defining breaks down, and I fear its taking away the reality of a new life in Christ; quite admitting it is distinct from immortality. I have it in Him as much when mortal as when immortal: that is a change in the condition of being; the life, Luke 20 teaches us, is not touched in that change.


+[On the Addresses to the Seven Churches, Collected Writings, Volume 5, page 483.]

++"Voice," etc ., Aug., 1879.

+++'Of one' Hebrews 2.

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[To the same.] F Rowan, Metaphysics will never save souls. The real point is do we receive something new? I am not aware that scripture speaks of life in Christ. We have "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ." But it is said, "Christ is our life." I suppose that is something new for a sinner, or even for Adam innocent. The point in John 3: 6 is not born of the Spirit, but what is "born of the Spirit is Spirit." I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." I believe fully in the immortality of the soul, but that has nothing to do with eternal life That "was with the Father and was manifested unto us." It is Christ the Son. And as to us, it is something in us which springs up as a well of water.

Your speaking of 'being' is unconsciously a sophism, because 'a being' in English means something having life. Life constitutes in ordinary English an existing thing, a being of which the manifestation is spontaneity. But this does not touch this question, but whether, the soul being supposed which gives personality, I do not receive something positive in receiving Christ that I had not before: "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son;" "he that hath the Son hath life: Christ is life. It is never said we have life in ourselves, even when Christians, but in Christ. Of course, born of the Spirit is in contrast with born of the flesh, but born of the flesh is beginning to be, or to have life. Life is not a condition of being; it constitutes it: a material substance without life is not called a being. 'A being' supposes personal spontaneity; only life in scripture goes further than mere power of personal spontaneity: but life is not what affects the state of a being where personal spontaneity already is, but is the source of it: and this for the Christian is Christ, and not what we have from Adam In virtue of that I reckon myself dead to sin, the body is dead," I am not in the flesh. In your system it is merely a modification of the state of a living being. Now that is being born of water, hence the other is added, born of the Spirit. It is not said 'is water,' but it is said "is spirit." Is life in God a mere condition of His being? 'Being' means what has life. Hence to say life is a condition of what has life has by itself no sense. "In himself" may characterise it in God, "in the Son" may characterise it in us not in ourselves. To this is added the presence of the Holy Ghost: "the Spirit is life because of righteousness." He is as the perennial spring to the stream, so livingly united, that "because I live ye shall live also:" we are "created in Christ Jesus." It does not change our personality, even when death affects the body, or present constituted organisation, and we live in our souls for God, though the organised vessel may be turned to dust, but, if Christ be our life, with Him.

As to your reasoning, you contradict yourself in saying life is 'being' in a given condition, and yet that you cannot have being without a thing's having life already: death is a change in our condition of being, not in our circumstances of life. Having the Son as life so that we live by Him is not merely a circumstance of our life. Scripture never speaks so, but says Christ is our life so thoroughly so that because He lives we shall live. What is scripturally defective in your mind is the real reception of the Son as life, the source of a new spontaneity in the soul. And this is a very grave matter.


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[To the same.] F Rowan, I do not look for the meaning of a word in scripture+, save on scripture subjects. Yet in this case it does afford proof. Spontaneous movement is commonly taken as the characteristic of life: some spores seem to have it where there is not anima life, but that is all. But it is said, "In him we live and move and have our being:" the moving is the consequent of life. God works in us to will and to do, but we are already alive. But that spontaneity is the expression of life is the common doctrine of all thinkers, unless rank materialists, as distinguishing animal existence from all below it is identical with life, the expression of it. But in divine things there is no question at all: "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son": "he that hath not the Son of God hath not life;" Because He lives we shall live also: 'this life is in his Son.'

You talk of the power of spontaneity. These words have no sense to my mind unless they mean the source of it. But what I insist on is that there is something, called life in scripture, given; not an operation on what is there, but a gift of something that was not there. So that I say, "not I but Christ liveth in me, not a mere disposition of 'I.' What I fear is that you lose this. What you do is to separate what is carefully put together, and you connect what is carefully separated Nobody thinks there are two souls; but it says, "in me, that is in my flesh:" "It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me:" "Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:" "If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin." It is not merely a condition of the soul, but power that is there by the personal indwelling of the Spirit of God, "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." It acts in the soul, but it is in virtue of it that even the body will be raised. If there were not more than a condition of the soul, how could it be said, "because I live ye shall live also?" When Christ on His disciples, and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost," was it only a condition of soul? It was not the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; but the second Adam is a life-giving Spirit.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

September 9th, 1879.


+'Where scripture teach that life is the source of spontaneity, not only the power of it?'

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Dear Mr Gordon, I could see, without your telling me so, that you have been made up in the teaching of those who deny the immortality of the soul, and make those whom scripture calls the offspring of God," a cleverer kind of brute. What you have quoted from my Geneva lectures I hold, as then, or still more, to be of all-importance. The coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the body was lost in the soul's going to heaven and that through the Platonists, and it was a sign of the ruin of the church. It made no such impression as you suppose on my hearers, for the immortality of the soul was not in question was accepted as a recognised truth by them as by myself. I may say the contrary had never been heard of there. The first person who used the passage left out what guarded it, and I feared that I had exposed myself to the charge carelessly, no one doubting it when the lectures were given but he had to confess he had it in his copy. I added in the next edition more, I think the quotations, but cannot now be quite sure; but that death was ceasing to exist, none of us dreamt of. Hence, too, there is nothing about eternal punishment; the point was that in the public teaching of the church, going to heaven had taken the place of the Lords coming and the resurrection. When I began to preach these, fifty years ago, I was held to be I know not what -- enthusiast or heretic -- and I am thankful to have been the means of spreading it far and wide. The whole purport and character of the church was and largely still is clouded by this departure from the truth. In America men of standing in the professing church deny the resurrection altogether as to men, not perhaps as to Christ -- though the apostle binds them together.

You give an interpretation of Luke 20 instead of receiving what is said. The Lord first speaks of the saints only, those who "shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from among the dead," "children of God, being the children of the resurrection." Then He says, even Moses shewed this at the bush: God is not "a God of the dead but of the living": and then lays the foundation of an absolute fact of which He had not spoken before at all: "For all live unto him." They have died as regards men, but as to God, wicked or saints, all live: It is not confined to saints, but it is so with every one. Before He had been speaking of the resurrection of the saints, and exclusively of that resurrection; now He declares that for God all live. He denies that death is the cessation of existence, and in an absolute and positive way. Nor is it exact to say it is of the question of resurrection Go is speaking, in calling the things that are not as though they were. (Romans 4: 17) He is speaking of quickening Abraham's dead state so that he should be the father of many nations.

There is not a word of the sense you put into [the parable of] Dives and Lazarus in the passage. They were both Jews: it is the substitution of the unseen world for this. Abraham's bosom is a wholly Jewish thought. Hades was well known to them, and is found in the Old Testament in the term Sheol. But it is expressly and explicitly making the unseen world seen in a parabolic description; they both alike died. There is no thought of the cross opening the door to the Gentiles, or breaking down the middle wall of partition. The Lord says they are to hear Moses and the prophets, or one rising from the dead would have no effect. It is a mere effort to get rid of the plain testimony, that the soul subsists after death in the case both of wicked and of just. All live for God. The soul is unaffected by death as to existence, save that it is separated from the body. What was the gulf fixed between Jews and Gentiles by the change of dispensation? What had "thou in thy lifetime" to do with dispensations? It did do this as to Jews and Christianity, that there was an end of riches being a sign of God's favour, but it was not because of a change of dispensation, but that the truth of things came out in another scene, not in this. The purpose is as plain as possible to those who have not been perverted by this false doctrine. Luke 15 shews the grace that seeks and receives the sinner; then (chapter 16) the use grace makes of this world's goods; and then the veil is drawn to contrast the effect in that with the portion of selfishness in this world -- "thy good things." The rich man had a fine funeral, but there it ended for this world. It is expressly declared that death does not reach to the soul. Fear not them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; but ... him who after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell." Mortal is always confined to the body.

As regards the saints an intermediate state is taught as plainly as words can teach it: "To depart and to be with Christ which is far better': "Absent from the body and to be present with the Lord"; "To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise": the express object of which is to teach the blessedness of the intermediate state in contrast with Christ's coming in (not 'into') His kingdom. So Stephen, "Lord Jesus receive my spirit." The passages I have quoted before shew it as to all; and Peter tells us that the Lord knows how "to reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished." Your reference to 1 Corinthians 15 is of no avail here, because it speaks of believers only in what you quote; they are "raised in glory." Nor will any bringing of it to 2 Corinthians 5 help you as to the plain statement there as to the saints, which is as plain as plain can be. He was thinking of dying, as chapter 1 shews; he was not wishing it, as weary of the trials, but looking for an eternal weight of glory, and through them; but having spoken of this as God's purpose, he speaks of what is man's portion through sin -- death and judgment -- and yet, having eternal life and the Spirit, is "always confident," even in view of death. Knowing that if absent from the body, which most assuredly is not resurrection, but the contrary, he would be present with his Lord, that to depart and to be with Christ is far better. He does not quite dislike the idea of death in the first paragraph, but merely says his desire was to be clothed upon, not unclothed, and contrasts it with groaning in this tabernacle, yet not so that he wanted to be rid of it, but to be clothed upon; and in verse 9 formally puts the two cases. I do not agree with you as to identity by the Spirit; I am not the Holy Ghost, nor is the Holy Ghost me. As dwelling in me they are distinguished; He bears witness with my spirit. (Romans 8: 16.) After all your turning about this passage, it remains that when you quit home you are with the Lord, and you are not the Holy Ghost. It just shews where error and our own thoughts drive us. It is not even true that Christ's neighbour on the cross had the Spirit. You confound the life begotten by the Spirit, and the Spirit itself, which dwelling in us, makes our bodies a temple.

As to the question of eternal punishment, the question is always really of the sense we have of the deserts of our own sin, and is inseparable from that of the immortality of the soul; as if I have one and am at enmity with God, I must be for ever miserable as shut out into outer darkness. But you have confounded, as is very common, law and gospel. The Gentiles have no law: "As many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law." So that all your system is wrong from beginning to end according to scripture. Further, it is never said Christ was substituted for all it is that he died for all." You confound the blood on the mercy-seat and the scape-goat: the Lord's lot, and the bearing of the sins of the people represented by the high priest. You will find no Scripture which speaks of bearing the sins of all, but carefully the contrary. The passage you quote from Exodus gives the principles of the government of Israel in contrast with atonement, which Moses talked of, and could not make, each person being to be blotted out for his own sin; and besides that, though forgiving their sin governmentally, declares that when He visited He would visit their sin upon them. All this is a misapprehension of scripture. In quoting "the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," you have confounded sin and sins: one a state in which we are by Adam's sin, and the other our own guilt, and which are carefully distinguished at the end of Hebrews 1. The effect of this work will not be complete till the new heavens and the new earth. They are equally distinguished in Romans as to the believer and as to the remedy: one, Christ dying for our sins; the other, our having died with Christ: our guilt the consequence of our own sins -- our state the consequence of Adam's. You are all wrong as to making law the measure. It was the measure of human righteousness in a child of Adam. But what we have now is God's righteousness, and that without law. Nor is the blessing of Christianity though partially and darkly intimated (for of church blessings there is absolutely no hint, nor meant to be, but the contrary -- see Ephesians 3; Colossians 1), to be found in the Old Testament. Life and incorruptibility are brought to light by the gospel. Nor is the law the measure of human sin, though it is of human righteousness; it is the rejection of Christ, who came when the law had been broken, which is so. "Having yet one Son he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son" -- "but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father."

An immortal soul, hating God in grace, must be miserable. You say you consider that it is inconsistent with God's character to hide these terrible consequences of sin. You had better have looked at what is written (Genesis 3). He did then and there a great deal more than He had said. He told him of nothing but human sorrow and misery, and then death as a man on the earth: so in judging, he was to return to dust, and the woman to suffer in child-bearing. But He did a great deal more, giving in the judgment on Satan, what faith could rest on in hope. He drove out the man, and shut up the way of the tree of life -- exclusion from God and what He had established, and no immortality here below. So that in saying that, you are charging God foolishly, and forgetting that when "God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses" -- come in grace -- they rejected Him. Man under the gospel (in a general sense the world, for "there is no difference") is in a far worse state, though he may be redeemed out of it than when driven out of Paradise, and a final one if not born again and justified. I, as to the flesh, am at enmity with God. Further, if death be all the wages of sin (it is the wages assuredly, but it is falsely quoted as if it were ALL the wages of sin, and so you put it) then I pay the penalty for myself even as a Christian, and Christ need not have died for me, only given me a new life. Further, it is utterly false; for the whole consequences of our sins, save mere animal death (the penal arrest of man here) are after the judgment and the result of it. So that this whole view essential to your system is totally unscriptural and false. "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."

I do say the system subverts the atonement. The theory is that we are animals, and they quote what is said in Genesis to shew that ruach (breath), and nephesh (soul), and ruach-chayim (breath of life), etc., were in animals. I admit it fully, man dies as an animal dies on the earth. God, they tell us, gives eternal life in Christ, but till then we have no immortal soul, but are simply a cleverer, more intellectual animal of superior intelligence. Now suppose God gives eternal life to an elephant or a dog, would a dog be responsible for what he had done before when he was a dog; would he have to repent? If not, neither have I. And what is the atonement for? A mere animal, for that is their theory, is not a responsible being -- is not in this, in relationship with God -- has never been tested as such -- is not at enmity with God as man is in the flesh, so that he cannot please God: there is no law for him of which you say so much. The system falsifies man's whole relationship with God, on which all rests as to him from creation on. It is as degrading as it is false.

You will say, What scripture have you for saying animals are such? There are plenty, and the man who denies the difference debases himself to them; but suffice it to quote 2 Peter 2: 12. But even Genesis 1 is enough: God had formed the whole creation, and having made it complete as such, God saw that it was good; so closes the history of the creation of animals, of whom God had said, "Let the earth bring forth," and it brought forth. Then God solemnly consults about setting a head over it, the image of Him that was to come; then forms his body first, and breathes into his nostrils the breath of life -- making him in His own image and likeness. Thus He placed him in living relationship with Himself. He was His offspring in his created state, responsible, and his responsibility formally tested. Is this mere animal life? If it be as degrading as it is false, it is as false as it is degrading. No one denies man is an animal, a living soul; if you take his blood you take his life as you would a pig's. The question lies beyond that. We are not to fear them that kill the body but have no more that they can do. Animals do not want atonement, and I do: if I were only an animal, I do not. It makes animals responsible to God, and not mere "natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed," as scripture does; or man not so, if he is only an animal: and with responsibility, repentance and atonement disappear. I have confined myself to your statements. I add scripture speaks of everlasting punishment. They use eternal life to prove we have nothing eternal till we have Christ, and then when eternal is applied to punishment, say it does not mean it. The simple answer to shew its normal meaning in the New Testament is, "the things which are seen are temporal the things that are not seen are eternal." But the real question is, What does my sin deserve? The answer to this is the test of where a man is, and settles by divine teaching what scripture declares as to life and punishment.

Yours truly in the Lord.
[1879.]


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[Dr C Wolston] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I bless God more than I can tell you for His gracious working. His way is "in the sanctuary" if His way is "in the sea," and if we are with Him there, the sea bows to His power; but to none else that I know of. After my first deep distress, I trusted His love, though sometimes depressed; and He has worked constantly and wonderfully. I have been surprised all has subsided so soon, but when He works all is soon still ... .

What I now look for is God's grace, that brethren may lay it to heart, humbled before the Lord, breaking off from worldliness, and having their conversation in heaven. I am a poor thing, but I can see that we are not what we were, I fear, in any way; and I do trust brethren will not lose the blessing of this awakening shake they have had, nor of the wondrous grace God has shewn us. It would then be sad indeed. But I trust the Lord may arouse them, and am most thankful for what He has done.

I have written to dear -- , in consequence of your letter. There are, I believe, complications there, but I put the matter before him in itself. But it is more difficult sometimes to get out of a position than into it. But the Lord has shewn so much grace that we ought to count on Him -- only to have patience. As to the other point, the regular thing would be just to follow London without saying anything: I hardly suppose there is any need of doing anything special. What I hear today seems to say that London is getting quietly into its usual course. If so, there is no need. If there were doubt about restless minds at it might be a question of wisdom whether to raise the question there, unless to re-assure others. If London needed the support of testimony from without, there would be a motive; but this seems hardly to be the case. If -- is suspected, but really firm, it may clear itself. In itself it would be an unusual and irregular thing to write and say we accept your judgment; for, unless some special case of remonstrance were there, in a case more or less common to both, it would be of course. The sending everywhere the first notice from Park Street raised these difficulties. No one, I think, judges that to have been wise, but that will gradually quiet itself. If there be any bonâ fide uncertainty as to -- being clear, it would have to clear itself. If it be as you seem to say, it is clear: I see no great use in raising questions in your midst. If there are others to re-assure, grace may do it.

We have had a useful little conference for two days here, and other meetings.

Les Ollières, Ardèche, September 10th.


[Page 25]

Dear C McAdam, -- ... What I am anxious about, now that the Lord has delivered us from this very serious assault of the enemy, and in wonderful grace preserved His testimony amongst us, is a greater though less ostensible work; that the brethren should be devoted, faithful, unworldly (and that in all their ways) and spiritual, Christ being all. It has been a much more serious question and struggle than many brethren suppose, and God in sovereign goodness has preserved us, and, however feeble and unfaithful we may have been, His testimony amongst us. If the brethren do not lay it to heart, both the humiliation and the goodness, as largely shewn to encourage, God will take away the testimony from us, and who shall deliver us then. This is what occupies me now. I look to Him to do it, He only can, for who can make spiritual but He who works by His Spirit? Let brethren know they are nothing, and know no motive for anything but Christ, and all will be well. There is a testimony for the last days, and God will maintain it, but the brethren have been, through grace, the vessels of it. They rose in thoughts of themselves as they declined in consistency with the testimony. When God is at work, it is love for the truth, grief at the condition of the church of God, and separation of heart and ways to the truth, while waiting for Christ -- not thinking of ourselves as vessels of it. It is said of Jehovah Himself, that He was grieved at the misery of Israel. God allowed an assault of the enemy to shew us where we were -- nothing more humbling. In mercy He has delivered us: are we going to learn the lesson He teaches, and to go on with thankful hearts in the path of single-eyed devotedness, to meet the Lord. That is the question now. I have long said, brethren began by practical separation from the world. Though certain great truths for the last days were there, still what the world saw was that they were not of it. Is there going to be this testimony now. It was so in houses, ways, conduct -- many faults, I doubt not, but there was that stamped upon and characteristic of them. It was not a discussion whether they were Philadelphia or not. But I stop: you will understand what I mean ... . But God is good, and has been most good to us and I trust to Him to arouse the sleeping brethren. Many I know have had their consciences awakened: may their hearts follow with faith in God's goodness. We read, "My soul followeth hard after thee; thy right hand upholdeth me."

Here I have not much to tell you of. We have had some good meetings; but it is not in the part I have been, yet in it there is much fresh work. But there has been attention and interest, and they are getting on well in general. They had a little shake themselves, but it has done them good, for they too were getting sleepy. London has had its sound everywhere with those who are aware of what is going on at all elsewhere In about a fortnight or so, I shall be getting (D.V.) to Pau. This is a poor country to get about when you cannot take long walks on foot as I used; but the Lord provides.

Vernoux, September 13th.


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[J G Deck] MY BELOVED BROTHER, -- I have waited to reply to your letter till our London troubles could at least be seen through. You will have sorrow at any rate, but God has been most gracious to us. It was a question of the existence of brethren. Satan made a violent effort to destroy their testimony. I had long felt it was in the air, and it pressed on me to return to England, though till I was back there was nothing precise in my mind. Dear Wigram, three years ago, said (not to me) that it was all over: he did to me in his last illness. But I felt the Lord was above it, and above everything, and so He has been. I suspect it helped to keep him out of England, and I believe hastened his end, though he had long been ailing. But Satan's effort has been confounded. There are details to be brought into order outside London, where, as it seems to me, they acted too hastily, though right at heart. But in London there is common action, and peace, and, save the places I have alluded to, clear conviction all over the country ... . I was in France nearly all the time -- at first suffered intensely, but was enabled to commit it to the Lord, and pray. And though I put my finger on the public act, now judged, I took no other part, unless a soothing one to individuals, and on my return to England went to no meetings about it (but continued to pray the Lord) till the very last. But the Lord's hand was there, and I trust many consciences awakened all over the country; and this is what I have rejoiced in, for brethren had declined, the world crept in, and it was the fullest truth, with generally practice little better than their neighbours. I had, before it broke out, anxiously thought about leaving the public body of brethren, but felt it would not be faith.

What I am anxious about now is that there should be a real testimony; I mean, unworldly, spiritual, devoted, such as ought to be with such truth as is given us, and such wondrous grace. The Lord has spared the testimony. What do we not owe Him, unworthy as we were? But I look to and trust the Lord for it. Who else can do it? I do look to His blessed goodness and love for, to me, a greater, though not so visible work as the bringing us out of the strait we were in. This is the thing that presses on my heart now, that a true living testimony may be given. Bethesda was nothing to what we have gone through, because B. was outside. But except the two places I have alluded to, which may require patience, I do not know one soul that has been lost to the path we are in, God's path I believe. I think of writing a little paper on what I hope for. But at present I am living under the sense of the wonderful goodness of God. I am thankful more than I can tell.

What as to my own state, beloved brother, I believe has kept me, for it is God's absolute grace always, is that I have from my starting had no thought of myself but of being wholly vile. I know it more than ever: as I drew nearer to God I saw more of what vileness was. And I have, though I well know it is all grace, been consciously nearer to God now a good long while -- I trust more consciously and settledly so; yet it is all grace. One cannot be near to Him without knowing it is so and wishing it to be so. He has kept me, even outwardly, wonderfully. I cannot go long journeys on foot as I used, but otherwise, though in two months I begin my eightieth year holding my two meetings a day often, and in the open air. His goodness never fails. Yet I have had sorrows plenty, but that is all right: soon there will be the opposite. What a joy, besides Christ, to see all the saints exactly what His heart would have them; what an immense joy -- all to His glory, the eternal witness to the efficacy of His work! I have learned more than ever in these last affairs to count on the Lord ... . I have been having some good meetings here among the mountains of the Ardèche, chiefly among the Christians.

Ever affectionately yours

September.


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Dearest C McAdam, -- I do not think all is gone through, but I believe God is able to bring it through. Let London keep its place in lowliness, those that are faithful not individually taking part in any evil, and waiting on God's action: "He that believeth shall not make haste." The mass of brethren have need of quiet. I am glad there is a meeting for humiliation; if genuine, as I trust, it will bring blessing. Its tone will distinctly shew where brethren are. Where activity is distinctly wanting is in bringing up Christ to souls, and devotedness to Him, unworldliness, a life where we do one thing, a home, dress, manners, which say that Christ is all. There is danger of being too much occupied with evil. It does not refresh, does not help the soul on. "Abstain from every form of evil," but be occupied ourselves and occupy others with Christ. The evil itself becomes not less evil, but less in comparison with the power of good where the soul dwells. I have almost feared being too much occupied with evil in this letter, for what I really have at heart is to occupy souls with Christ and good. There, too, power is found as well as a sanctuary of peace for our souls. To be simply occupied with evil is always a weakening thing; God is not there, though we may be forced to turn and do it for Him in care for others. It is just going beyond this I have feared in my letter. One only, blessed be His name, can touch the leper and not be defiled. Of all else, even where right to be done, "the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until the evening." God is a jealous and a holy God -- blessed be His name, a God of infinite grace!

I have had a happy and I trust profitable tournée through Haute Loire, Ardèche, etc., and seen the brethren, save in two places, and many who came even thence. We had readings in the different centres, and lectures in the evening: here three days, and there are many around, and large attendance everywhere. Blessings and conversions are given of God, but there is a tendency to sink into things that are seen, as nature does: but I was very happy with them -- four of five meetings forced into open air from numbers. Tired I have been, and threatened with my eye, but it is better. After St. Hippolyte and Montpellier, please God, Tuesday at Pau.

September, 1879.


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[G C McRaw] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- My path is to be quiet, feeding souls with Christ as far as God enables me. It restores the tone of the soul for every emergency. My impression is, my letter expressed the desire to be with brethren in the perilous times of the last day, not any break up of brethren. The pretensions of brethren I had seen growing, and it alarmed me a good deal. But God has been putting that down, and that is a very good sign: "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth." I counsel patience on all sides. Consciences are awakening and getting humbled as to the state brethren are in, and that was what was wanting.

I could not leave brethren, I felt it would not be faith, and I feel I was right. I have never a moment doubted that it was the testimony of God. But there was a regular plan to break it up in London, and, with this, the most precious truths connected with deceit and evil, and this sectarian pretension of what brethren were. This was my difficulty. When a positive act took place, I could deal with it for myself; up to that, it was going on without anything positively culpable to lay hold of. Now we have only to wait patiently the Lord's working. "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass."
1879.


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[Dr Neatby] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- As you speak of humiliation, I desire to reply a word. I think humiliation quite the thing called for, for the general state of brethren -- their worldliness, their decay in positive testimony, their low spiritual state generally. I thought I had spoken to you of Bochim when I wrote before, but I did not, though I did to another, at the same time. I accepted the general idea of Bochim, but not the special character. Bochim was instead of Gilgal, the place of circumcision, where the angel of the Lord (unknown to them) was. That was a judicial giving up of Gilgal. I do not as yet accept that for brethren: God might give us up, and we must bow but as yet I trust that He does not.

The difficulty as to common humiliation was, that what some judged as sin, others advocated and defended, or at least judged very light of. How could there be honest common humiliation? What defended the evil was exactly what the humiliation had to be for. The mere state of brethren was caring for brethrenism, not for God's glory. I do not say there was nothing of this last feeling, but, in general, it was shame for the state, not going to the root. However, God has judged the overt act, and, I suppose I may say, has cleared brethren from the principle that was at work so far ... but godly souls are fully convinced that the demoralisation I spoke of has been manifested. The question of the existence of brethren as a testimony depends upon their recovery from this. If they do not, they will be at Bochim; but there, Gilgal and blessing were over. I trust the Lord will maintain His testimony. I think the question a most solemn one.

-- takes the ground of Hebrews 12: 27, that brethren are to be removed as things that can be shaken, he and a few more being taken up afresh as a fresh testimony before the Lord comes. Now this being done as I affirm it to have been done, is an immensely vital point. If it has that character, it is not of God. It is no personal question. It is a question if, as he affirms, brethren are to be set aside or to remain a testimony for God. He has acted, as privately led of God, to set them aside. Half the brethren, I dare say much more, do not know what is involved. But God has wrought to judge the overt act. It now remains to see if brethren answer to His mercy, in drawing closer to Him ... .

I do not expect the mass of brethren to see the issues involved but I look to God to work by His Spirit to preserve for Christ's glory a testimony to Himself, in awakening the consciences of brethren, and drawing them in heart and ways out of the world, so that He may use them as vessels of His testimony. Your affectionate brother in Christ.

October 1st.


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Dear Mrs. Bevan, -- They confound the whole of the truth in Ephesians. It is the act of God who took Christ, and set Him at His right hand, and us by the same power, setting us in Him, making us sit together in heavenly places in Him. Canaan under Joshua is warfare, and in this sense experience -- warfare carried on by us in grace, as led by Christ in Spirit: and confounding these two things is one of the great mischiefs. But the use of the rest of the images is also false. The Red Sea is, I doubt not, an image of Christ's death and resurrection for us: but it is so as bringing us completely to God, not experience at all, but redemption, dying, and rising again: the wilderness and Canaan are experience. Thus "Thou hast led forth the people whom thou hast redeemed. Thou hast guided them by thy strength to thy holy habitation." They were not in Canaan as an inheritance, but "Ye have seen ... how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." It is God's work bringing them to Himself, complete -- not experimental, as of journeying or conflict experiences. It is all wrong confounding these. Even to Sinai, where originally they were to worship, all is simple grace. There they enter on the process of experimental knowledge of themselves.

The wilderness is no necessary thing nor part of God's purpose, nor mentioned when coming out of Egypt (Exodus 3, 6, and 15.) The thief on the cross never went through any wilderness, nor any Joshua (Canaan): redemption put him straight into Paradise. The "Ifs" of scripture are all connected with the journey and conflict, and met by the sure promise of God, because we and (so to speak) God, for faith, are both tested there. I admit fully there is a deliverance by dying with Christ to sin, in Romans, and to the world, in Colossians. But the wilderness, and Canaan as in Joshua, are not sitting in heavenly places, but man tested in his journey in this world, and conflict in heavenly places with spiritual wickedness. Now, for this last we have to be dead with Christ. Hence, Joshua is "every place that the sole of your feet shall tread upon;" it is active taking possession as the Lord's host, not sitting in heavenly places: in Ephesians we wrestle against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, but having done all to stand. It is confounding the responsible man with the redeemed man. Redemption is always absolute and perfect: the responsible man, whether past Jordan or not, tested. I may war as in the flesh and be captive to sin, and set free and in the Spirit obtain the victory or stand fast. As to culpability and redemption, Egypt is the flesh even when started on the road. The wilderness is a usual but not necessary part of God's ways -- what the world becomes to those who are redeemed, or stand on that ground, and individually tested if they get to the end, viewed not as in heavenly places, but through redemption on a journey there; for scripture does so consider us: so in Philippians, so in Hebrews, though otherwise very different. Joshua -- Canaan -- is another thing; being God's host, we are realising what belongs to those who are risen with Christ.

I may look at redemption as complete in Christ, and then in Christ I am brought to God: I may look at it as the beginning of exercise for myself, tribulation working experience, and find a Joshua and Caleb place through God's faithfulness; or I may be fighting God's battles as the Lord's host; but neither are sitting in heavenly places. I may have eaten the grapes of Eshcol in the wilderness, and fail before Ai in Canaan: but redemption is perfect, and sitting in heavenly places in Christ -- one the absolute power, the other the blessed effect, of God's work. I have no going to Gilgal, constantly there, to renew the moral condition before God which even victory endangers.

Be assured these people never know themselves. There is an anecdote of John Newton: when a person wrote to him he was in his C of Cardiphonia (a work I quite forget), he replied that he had forgotten one trait of C, that he never knew himself to be there ... . We must not confound righteousness with experience, though complete judgment of self ministers to the knowledge of divine righteousness.

I have had a good journey through the Cévennes, and a good deal to encourage, though the world creeps in.

Montpellier, October 4th.


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[To the same.] Mrs Bevan, I agree that we are sitting in heavenly places, in not with Christ; but I do not know in speaking of its being by faith, by which of course it is known, if you have allowed quite enough for union with Christ by the Holy Ghost. Again there are things which we enjoy by experience which are not acquired by experience: every sealed believer is in Christ before God, and his place is to know it (John 14); but there are those who do not, through imperfect teaching. Hence, to the Corinthians he writes as to carnal (not natural) not as to spiritual. "We speak wisdom among them that are perfect" -- perfect meaning simply grown men in Christ. So Philippians: "Let us therefore as many as be perfect." We take the place by faith (beyond Jordan), but when taken we realise being in it by the Holy Ghost; and this is experience. It is not based on experience or progress in it. We are in it if in Christ. I reckon myself dead. But the wilderness is as much the fruit of redemption as Canaan.

It is quite false to make it a matter of progressive experience, as at the end of the desert: it is our identification with Christ's death, and Jordan is identical in fact, though not in application, with the Red Sea. But at the Red Sea it is a redemption wrought for me: in Jordan I died -- not by experience, but I died; that is, it connects itself with our state, though we do not change that state by experience. But I experience that I have changed my position. This is not a play on words. A process of experience is not the operative cause; but I have been brought into a new experience which is the fruit of the change. It is important to see that it is no subject of progressive experience. Experience is that I cannot get it at all (Romans 7) -- no good to be got in me, nor a new position out of me, by any process. I then learn by simple faith, as taught of God, that He has condemned sin in the flesh, which I find in me, in the cross of Christ. (Romans 8: 3) This is simple faith and divine teaching; the effect is I am free according to verse 2, and take the ground of chapter 6. Ephesians 2 is quite another thing; there is no experience at all, but a new creation, if there, dead in sin. The new creation has nothing to do with dying, but we are viewed as dead in sin.

I do not know if you have seen what I have taught, that the wilderness is no part of the counsels of God but of His ways; and that the Red Sea and Jordan coalesce, only at Jordan they go up into the land. Further, in its full character the Red Sea closes all: they are brought to God, to His holy habitation, but not to the result of His plans as to us. The thief had no wilderness. All that experience learns is that I must have a deliverer; and then I learn that it is all done on the cross. The realisation of this (2. Corinthians 4) by the Holy Ghost is another thing; but then it is reckoning myself dead -- always carrying about the dying. It is important to see that Ephesians is on a totally different footing: and when on the ground of reckoning ourselves dead, there is an always carrying about the dying.

As to relationships, it is all nonsense: I may be called out, as Christ Himself was but, save that calling, He was subject to, and afterwards lovingly owned, His mother. If a person is not called out, or giving up all for Christ, there is no question that these relationships are clear duties, and so treated everywhere in the New Testament. If they come into competition with Christ, everything gives way to Him.


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[To the same.] Mrs Bevan, As regards your estimate of my thoughts on our reckoning ourselves dead -- it requires a practical consciousness that we have no force to arrive at it; and there it is so many fail, often mistaking the joy of forgiveness for true deliverance. In Germany there has been much of this, and indeed a good deal everywhere. Practically there must be a single eye upward, or we do not discover our want of force.

As to disowning such relationships it requires the word. It may come to a question between Christ and these ties, and then everything must give way. We belong to the other world as risen with Christ, not to this; but as belonging to it, the acknowledgment of what God has established is part of our christian life. Is a wife to disown her husband, or children their parents? There is at bottom a great deal of self-licence in all this. It is monstrous. Where that is disowned which God has established, self, not Christ, has the first place in people's hearts. If the unbeliever disowns it it is another thing. If he breaks the tie, there is liberty; or if he requires what is contrary to Christ, for he receives his authority from Him, and cannot use it against the direct authority of Christ. We cannot feel too strongly that we belong to another world, not to this; but that is not the question, but the path of those who do belong to it according to the word.

I have written because the idea of not owning the relationships is monstrous. You will find it a difficult task, because I greatly dread any diminution of the feeling that we are dead and risen with Christ, or of having our conversation in heaven. But so false a use of this, which I feel more strongly every day, is just what would tend to alarm upright souls as to the truth.

Yours truly in the Lord.

Was Christ wrong when, after refusing all connection with His mother when engaged in His service, which was of course and in every sense outside such relations -- when His hour was come, in a positive and demonstrative way, He gave testimony to the relationship and acted so touchingly in it? It is remarkable it should be introduced.

There is a loosing from the power of our surroundings (as the Americans say), and sometimes from the surroundings themselves, as called away by the Lord, or as driven out by themselves. The absence of natural affections is an evil sign of the last days; but we have to live in natural ties as those who are not in them, to act from Christ in them. What God established of natural relationships He always owns, carefully so; but a power has come in, which, as sin has ruined all, overrules or makes independent of them.


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[To the same.] Mrs Bevan, Miss -- seems to me to have mistaken the ground on which these matters rest. As to Christians she puts it on legal ground. If I am one, and have even a needless scruple, I must act on it, but that is not the true governing principle; but that another object has possessed it, and the other things, die down, lose their hold as objects. It does not hinder enjoying what God has created; it may and will hinder my seeking it as an object now all is fallen. Christ had seen the beauty of lilies of the field, but who would think of His seeking to cultivate beautiful lilies? In such things the principle is to do all in His name. So an overwrought mind may rest in a changed scene, as He took His disciples into the wilderness to rest awhile. But Christ is to be all.

With unconverted children it is another thing, they have for themselves no such object: then health has to be considered in cheerful exercise, occupation of mind without overstraining, and so on. But where there is wise interest of parents in them, they can, while providing for this, lead children to find their enjoyment with themselves, in kindly care of the poor, and a thousand healthful enjoyments and occupations; and this I have seen done, and children grow up attached to home and family. And this scripture contemplates. For schools I can only speak of general principles. As a rule music is a very dangerous occupation: it cultivates sentiment without conscience: as a general character musicians are not a moral body. It may have to be taught or learned where worldly parents require it.

Yours truly in the Lord.


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H Talbot, I have little time to reply to your letter, which I was very glad to get. I feel ripening on towards Home, and more weaned from the outward activities of the work; but I trust my heart not less interested in it. I have just come from the Rhone and Cévennes district. In more than one place there are conversions, and a great number of Christians in the Haute Loire and Ardèche, and, though the world everywhere exercises too much influence, yet walking in peace, and as far as I know blamelessly. Externally it has been a very trying year; the vineyards rooted up far and wide, and the silkworms a failure. But there is One who is a stay through all.

As regards England, it has been as you know a time of trial. The general state of brethren was really what God was judging. Partisans seek to keep up uneasiness ... . In Kent there was haste in those who sought to do right. This gave a handle, but has been the means of bringing out the party-feeling at work. God saw, I believe, that sifting and purifying was needed there. But for God, the want of principle would have been crushing, but with Him is always peace. And we have to ask "Whither goest thou?" and trust Him. Even if the Messiah and Son of God (Psalm 2) was rejected, it was only to bring out the Son of man in the glory of the Father. God is never baffled. It has been a time of blessing for myself; and many consciences, I would say of all the godly, have been deeply awakened. There was a want of faith in some, but this was not surprising: there is in us at all [times]. We read, "My flesh and my heart faileth me: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." It has made what is eternal more and more everything to me. It was cheering to see how upright souls soon saw all clear. And how precise God's government is! We have only to lean on Him and all is right.

I rejoice in your work as in my own, though I sometimes envy evangelists a little; but we have to fill the little niche God has put us in faithfully, and we cannot do more.

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

Pau, 1879.


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[J S Oliphant] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I am not unaware that a considerable party seek to keep up excitement. I do not think with quiet staid souls they do much except expose themselves: quiet service to Christ is what tells in the long run; it is all I think of doing. But God has acted. I do not expect to be clear of the incubus all at once. Had we more faith, we might see yet greater deliverance. I accept with thankfulness what God has done. A great deal of the talk that meets my ear has no effect upon me at all, at the utmost, tries me at the moment. What you are now feeling, when broken up as a system, weighed on my spirit, in all its collective force, beforehand. I do not see that haste has ever done any good in all this matter. I wait still on God: on what else should I? But I go on with my positive work with the best faith I have, and it is but poor; but feel the Spirit more than ever with me.

I am thankful you take courage to go on helping others. What I look for is to bring in Christ in power; the obstruction of unbelief will then, when people are not restored, wither. It is this, with patience, my soul thirsts after. I would I had more of both, still He is with me. Kent has shewn a deplorable state of things; still, haste brought the actual state of things about, under God's overruling hand. This prolongs our need of patience; but He will guide in this as in all else. It is God's actings, as far as I can, I look to; not, save for their own sakes, the state of individuals.

I do not doubt the state of those whose evil condition I spoke of, weighs down the comfort of those who seek to walk with God, but the question was then, Is the testimony given of God to be given up? It is more locally felt where opposed, but before it was doing its work unrestrained. It is now evil one meets with, too constantly, in gatherings; not a question if the testimony should exist. Our word is, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

I thought only to write a line, for I am very busy.
[1879.]


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C McAdam, My resources are somewhat diminished ... but it is all right: everything is right for faith, save, of course, sin itself. "In everything give thanks"; and if all comes from God it must be right. Even where we have made mistakes, what comes from Him is for good. I am not surprised at the working of evil. That evil I felt all along: my trust is God's working. If He sees fit to preserve the testimony in the hands it is in, He will and He can. In such a state of things every one finds his level. There have been tendencies to haste, through upright separations. If God brings one about, all that are godly and solid will be there. There are a mass of God-fearing men who will be led right ... . The least self-confidence will go wrong. I am tried, but not uneasy. God, I still believe, is working for good. I have no doubt that both unbroken and ill-disposed persons labour to do -- or in a way to do -- mischief; but there is One behind mightier than all that. Nor can I say I am afraid as to God's testimony. Whether 'the brethren' will have it depends on His good pleasure. I trust so with all my heart: but His testimony is more than those who bear it ... . What saints -- what we -- have to do, is to rest quiet and let them go on, and help souls on with something better -- feed them with Christ. I think this multiplying printed papers very undesirable.

I am writing on John, in French, when I have a minute, and again (having left off) on Romans, in German; have been looking over and correcting the hymns, and have two papers coming out; but it is only at short moments I can do anything, but get as fast into heaven as I can. But I have never found the Lord and scripture what they are to me now.

Pau, 1879


[G J Stewart] MY BELOVED BROTHER, -- I was very glad to hear from you, as I always am, and of the beloved brethren too. It is a comfort to think that God, in sovereign grace, will have His beloved redeemed perfected and in peace with Him. Our part here is faithfulness in walk, under His care and by His will on the way. You will desire to know something of England ... . All is not yet clear, but when God works we look for full result. And through it all I never was so happy within, and scripture and what is unseen more real and blessed than ever. I trust Australia will go on quietly and earnestly seeking the Lord and the good of souls for His glory. It is what I seek in England, to drop all this, and seek to minister Christ. It is what souls want, both for quietness, and forming them in His image. It is those who are not with Him who are restless.

I have heard that brethren out in your world have been exercised about dear -- 's teaching, that souls are not Christ's till they are sealed. Now I agree with him, the authority for it being Romans 8: 9. The prodigal son shews what the force of it is; as converted and in the right road, he at best hoped to be treated as a mercenary, had not on the best robe which fitted him to go into the house, nor knew in any way his place as son. But we have to be guarded as to dealing with souls as to this, because they may cry, "Abba, Father" really, yet be kept down by the teaching they are under; and we must not quite confound the "perfect" -- that is, those who know their new place in Christ -- and one who being forgiven, and being sealed can cry, "Abba, Father," but does not yet know what he is brought into: he may be, like the Corinthians, carnal though a Christian. But I am very glad the question is before brethren. The fact of the Spirit being given besides a man being born again by the Spirit, has been so lost sight of, that a Christian's place has been lost sight of with it. And God blesses this truth of the Spirit's presence now; He would have it before the saints. But the knowledge of the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, is different from that into which He has brought us so as to say, "As he is so are we in this world." The latter is more John's doctrine than Paul's (Paul's more the liberty), though you may get the groundwork of it in Paul.

The Lord guide you, dear brother, about your marriage, if still in abeyance: it is ever good to wait on Him, and not be in a hurry, or let our own will work. "I waited patiently for the Lord" is a word of Christ's Himself, and He cares for us and directs in everything.
[1879.]


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Dear C McAdam, -- I want to get this+ printed as a leaflet letter. It is with unfeigned trembling I have put it out, not as doubting its truth, and as to its contents, opportunely, but doing it in the way of addressing all.

Do not give in to the alarm and uneasiness some would create: many things God alone can settle, and there is an effort to give importance to discontent. God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him. He is above all evil, and Christ has gone through everything, and has all power in heaven and on earth ... . The Lord governs, and will bring all about in His own way. The brethren everywhere, speaking generally, are in ten thousand times a better state than they were before the hubbub. There is more conscience, more fear of God ... . Seek the good, leave the evil to God, only keeping a good conscience. He says, "Be still and know that I am God." "I waited," says Christ in Spirit, "patiently for the Lord." And then there will be a new song in our mouths, and blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust.

Love to the saints.

Pau, October 13th.


MY BELOVED BRETHREN, -- I never felt the same distrust of myself as I do now in writing this, and I desire to speak to my own conscience as to you. I should not write at all, but as taking the lowest place, always the best, and now especially the only true and right one. He who is lowest and lowliest will be most blessed.

Let me say a word as to Bochim. Looked at merely as used for humiliation or sorrow where saints have failed, and voluntarily by grace place themselves to own it before God, I heartily enter into it, but taken as it is really in scripture, there was nothing of the kind at Bochim. The Lord declared in judgment that He would no longer drive out their enemies, and they wept when they heard the judgment. There was no sorrow for sin and failure, but for judgment, and they worshipped where they wept. Gilgal, that is circumcision, the removal of the reproach of Egypt, and the Lord's presence by His angel in it, was lost for ever. There was no voluntary confession and humiliation at all. It is all a mistake. They had not faithfully put out the evil that was amongst them, and the Lord, though interfering from time to time in compassion, left them judicially in this state. I refer to this because the word became a kind of watchword with many. But God has wrought a great deliverance for us, much greater than most of those spared are aware of: some have felt it. And what I desire now is, that our consciences may turn and see where we had so- failed as to bring this sorrow upon us. I am not going to turn back and charge any one or refer to any recent circumstances, but to weigh, where conscience is awake, how we brought ourselves into the strait place we were in. I hesitated a moment whether I should say anything, before the details which remain were set in order by God, as I am assured His grace will do; but they do not affect my object.

Is it not true for every thoughtful conscience that the spirit of the world had invaded us? We do not go to parties; if we meet, we meet to read the scriptures and edify one another. Discipline for any gross evil would be, I suppose, exercised with some measure of faithfulness where the evil was apparent: I make no exaggerated statement of evil: many, I doubt not, were walking christianly, I dare say better than myself. But as to the course of this world, had we not greatly fallen into its ways? not, as I have said, in open worldliness -- but was not there that, current, and let pass, which grieved the Spirit of God, and hence weakened all spiritual energy, and spiritual discernment for discipline and for the Lord's mind in all our course -- the loss of discerning things that are excellent "to be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ," "filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding ... fruitful in every good work"? Have we been as purified to Himself for a peculiar people; not our own, bought with a price, as epistles of Christ known and read of all men; living by Him, and close to Him, and for Him; as is said, "Christ is all, and in all," so that whatsoever we should do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus? Were our sole and constant motives Christ, or the common motives of the world? Were buying and selling, our houses, our clothing, ordered on principles which Christ, if there, would approve? Did we walk even as once we walked? Was there devoted service among the poor and needy, visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world? We read, "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." Were we yielding our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God as an intelligent service, proving what was that good and acceptable and perfect will of God, as Christ offered Himself for us a dying sacrifice? Ah! what place had He, has He in our hearts? Do we live to Him who died in love for us? If the testimony of God as to the truth was with brethren, was it the truth as it is in Jesus, the having put off the old man and put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness?

I had long dreaded: the Manchester meeting alarmed me. I was not there, but the discussion was whether we were Philadelphia, or who was Laodicea -- and not at Manchester only. Brethren had got to think of themselves as a body of people, and to say the least, less of Christ and His body. Now God calls us, and that in love, to remember from whence we are fallen and repent and do the first works. He looks for consistency and devotedness. He always does, and I bless His name He does, but He does so call us now by special circumstances Satan, long practically undermining as to devotedness and unworldliness, had made a deadly effort to set brethren aside in their testimony to the truth. God in His sovereign mercy has broken his effort. It has been His doing only. Now comes the positive side. Is that which gave him entrance, and a handle, removed, and the Lord truly honoured? If our consciences do not take notice of His ways, the next thing, though His patience is great and long, would be His judgment. Satan's efforts and power He can easily break, humbling us in the meantime; but His judgment who shall withstand? I ask myself, I ask you, how far can we say, "To me to live is Christ"? That is the grave question for us all now. I do not seek to discourage, quite the contrary. The Lord, in sovereign mercy, has not left us, though we have greatly failed. He has shewn Himself most graciously with us, when we might have expected the contrary. How soon could the apostle say, "All seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ"! He has shewn Himself full of mercy and grace: what I seek is that our hearts may turn to Him according to that grace.

I add, as the passage has been circulated, that Hebrews 12: 27 has no possible application. There God Himself yet once more shakes and removes what can be shaken, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. What man, when God shakes all things, can establish what cannot be shaken? One part of the passage does belong to us to those to whom the warning of God's shaking all things yet once was addressed, namely, "We therefore receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire." Such is His government here, but with that we have boldness to enter into the holiest. May our thoughts be formed there: may we yet remember that He governs!

Your affectionate brother in Christ.


+See below

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C McAdam, I never felt so thoroughly humbled as in writing the leaflet I sent. I have felt more than ever through all this business, what a solemn thing it is to have to do with God -- never practically knew His faithful love so much, and the deep responsibility of acting for Him, and a most solemn thing it is. And then when I set about to write to all, as a kind of resuming word from Him at the issue of it all, I felt and feel now, in looking back at it, this responsibility as, I believe, I never did. And then all I have said and done has been so canvassed, that I had to see and not say a word that He did not mean me to say, and which I might not know how to justify afterwards, at least before God. But if you feel you can do that, it gives great firmness and comfort of spirit with Him, not going beyond His will, and serving Him in it. Of course it is always what we have to do, but it is greatly put to the test sometimes. I have happily not a feeling of unkindness. Character comes out in these siftings, and there are things which morally offend you; but God is above all the evil. It is the essence of Christianity. He can be where, as to our own path, we cannot; but further, this ought to rule in us -- "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us." And we must remember that His saints are precious to Him. This allows no evil in ourselves, nor acquiescence in it; but it should govern our ways towards others ... .

Patience with any human effort to maintain evil will prove its nothingness more than a restless feeling: it gives weight and gravity to the testimony, and it enlists God with us. It is the "God of peace" sanctifies: it is not acquiescing in evil; I would have -- I have no tendency in that direction; but following God, not going before Him. Though often tried, I do trust Him fully.

I have looked through the old 'Poor of the Flock,' and corrected a great many hymns, perfectly astounded that so much short of all the light we had ever passed; but there was often piety, and I have put them in the form of truth where there was. I have already gone through the new one. I am now going to look through other hymn-books which I have, to see if there are any which could be added, and there are two or three of my own from which some verses perhaps may be taken, some of which you have not seen.

May the Lord keep you all in peace and patience! Rousing to devotedness I trust will follow: that God alone can do; but our hearts can be directed towards it, and that, I trust, they may be. There has been a good deal of awakening of conscience ... . I look much to rousing the saints to joyful devotedness, but, I repeat, that is God's gracious work. But after all, our business is to keep our hearts up in heaven, for our own joy and for the life of our souls, and to be able to serve Him on earth God is above all this evil, and can keep our hearts above it. Not that there may not be exercises and fears; still He is there to sustain, and will in His own time -- the best -- bring us out of them. Meanwhile we have to stand fast, trusting in the Lord.

Pau, October 25th.


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[G Biava] [From the Italian.] DEAR BROTHER, -- Your letter has long lain under my eyes waiting to be answered, but all September I was occupied in visiting the assemblies in Haute Loire, etc., so that I was not able to write much. Here it is difficult to do all that I have on hand ... . It is very sweet to have confidence in Him. You need, dear brother, to have the same confidence with respect to Italy. God has wrought there; the work is a work of patience, but when I think of the state of things at Milan the first time I went there, the difference is great. The work is a difficult one: people educated by priests always remain for long years under this influence; I have known it in Ireland, but God's grace is sufficient; it suffices for everything. And then God has raised up labourers. You have cause to bless God for what He has done already; progress that was too rapid would not be so solid ... . Be sure the work in Italy is of interest to brethren; but we must look to God that He may work. I feel increasingly, what we all know, that the work for God is the work of God.

I am greatly enjoying the word: its fulness and perfection are more than ever wonderful to me; but all that we learn in the word is bound up in Christ, and we receive it from Him, from this fulness.

Pau, October.


[Page 46]

W Reid, I hold most distinctly that the assembly must judge: "Put away from among yourselves that wicked person." There are three concerned in the judgment: Christ's glory, the purity of the assembly, and the guilty individual. The second makes it necessary they should act, or they are involved in the evil. "Ye have," says the apostle, "approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." This connects itself directly with Christ's glory. But nothing is done as to the assembly, if it has not acted. I have always objected to brethren going down to settle things for an assembly. A wise and godly brother may counsel from scripture and seek to arouse the conscience; but nothing is really done if the conscience of the assembly does not act. The word of scripture is, "Having in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." The power of God's Spirit was to bring all that was under its influence to obedience to the ways of God. Then came vengeance on disobedience. You may not have an apostolic rod, but you have God's sure government for Christ's glory. Thus, supposing evident sin, as at Corinth, and one supported him in it and refused the clear common consent of all, so that it was a rejection of the assembly's authority when the case and the word were clear, they might hold him guilty with the offender.

But if there were godly brethren who doubted about the facts, or the judgment of scripture on the facts -- provided the rightness of discipline in itself be recognised, so that it is not the principle of retaining known evil, or the denial of the competency of the assembly to judge evil -- then I should say they should wait and look to the Lord to make them of one mind. Speaking of a 'dead-lock'+ is supposing only men are there, whereas Christ is. If the assembly be in a state incompetent to judge, it is for the assembly to humble itself, that through grace it may be able to know God's mind. There is One above it all able to bring about His thoughts, and he who has faith will find the sureness of His hand if He be really waited on. But nothing requires more waiting on Him than discipline, personal feelings are so apt to come in.

October 30th.


+'One unspiritual person bringing things to a dead-lock, and thus the evil would remain unjudged.'

[Page 47]

[B F Pinkerton] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I need not say how thankful I am that the Lord is working. He has been, in the States, and many meetings have gathered in many places. His own work and hand have been very evident, for which I greatly thank God. I should much like to see them all again, but it is very uncertain if I shall. In a little more than a fortnight I shall enter, if spared, my eightieth year, and it requires younger men (though my strength has been wonderfully preserved) to go much about in active work. May the Lord graciously raise up labourers in His harvest! My heart is only there when not with Christ in heaven -- there where, through grace, it will ever be. I find all that is not seen ever more, and alone, real -- my affections sometimes dull, but the purpose of my heart ever there: I cannot conceive having the heart anywhere else. These troubles in England, or rather London, have awakened many consciences, and I believe have done a great deal of good. We were getting sleepy -- nothing outwardly very bad, but Christ was not all as He had been, and that gave occasion to the enemy to come in. Save in giving one plain testimony, after great conflict of heart, before the Lord (by my occupation here, God kept me out of all discussions about it) I cast it on the Lord and did nothing, and when I returned to London did not go to any meetings about it till the last when all was closed. And I have learned of God's ways and trusting Him what I never did before. His faithfulness is very great, and how little we are! The great secret I find is patience, and its having its perfect work -- not going before Him in His ways.

I believe there ought to be much more power than there is, and more being led of the Spirit; but that system (perfectionism) is all wrong, and ignorant of scripture too on the point. The want of spiritual power, so common, gives occasion to it. God is working everywhere. In Sweden, Norway, Germany, there is considerable work going on, and there is considerable subject for thankfulness even in Spain, and manifestly the Lord's work.

I am again for a little while at Pau, to revise our translation. I have withal held meetings in the country, and been comforted. I count on the gracious Lord to keep and bless you always. One cannot do an instant without Him, and oh how blessed it is to trust Him! I feel all our work ought to be directly the immediate expression of God's mind, and it is a very solemn thing to work (and wait) directly from Him. What a thing to say in this world! The Lord keep you and be with you.

Pau, November 1st.


[Page 48]

[Mr Finch] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I do not think you see the bearing of -- 's act. It was not that he broke bread with you or any other isolated Christian. That, and I said so and was reproached with it, might pass. One might desire confidence and fellowship in such actings, but if done in the unity of the Spirit there was no wrong in it. But at Ryde there was a meeting, owned right or wrong by the other gatherings in the island and elsewhere and he went down, while saying in London that it was only to follow what he considered a movement of God, declaring to others that he went also to give a testimony against the gathering that was there -- in fact, setting up something apart from it. This entirely altered the character of the act. 'As to the unity of the body, I feel no difficulty as to scripture or the position of brethren. As to the danger of slipping into sectarianism, that is, making ourselves a body apart, I recognise it fully; but it has through mercy received a rude shock. The printed list of meetings tended to it, for evil slips in unintentionally, and for this reason I never would have anything to say to it, though very convenient, and done with this view. M.'s book,+ which I never heard of till three days ago, strange to say, had from what I hear of it (I have never seen it) the same tendency; but human nature is always disposed to say 'we' if it cannot say 'I': "He followeth not with us": while in separation from the camp, I am as decided as possible. But I never in my life asked any one to come among brethren.

But the principle of scripture is as plain as possible. There was one body on earth, of which all are members. They do not heal in heaven, nor preach, nor use any of the gifts spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12. "If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it:" that is not in heaven. The body will be perfected in heaven (Ephesians 1: 23), but is practically always considered as on earth, and formed there: "by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body." And this was clearly down here. (Acts 2) The Lord's supper is the external sign of this unity: "one body for we are all partakers of that one loaf." It was this, more than fifty years ago, brought me out of the establishment: nor have I any other principle now. This obliged me to own every one baptised with the Holy Ghost as a member of the body. Only in the last days we are called on to distinguish those who "call on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart," which at the first was not called for: "the Lord added daily." This makes the brethren (so-called) not the church of God, but those who alone meet on the principle of its unity. The line between narrowness and fidelity is a very narrow one. But the Spirit of Christ can guide and keep us on it. The unity of the body cannot be touched, for the Holy Ghost unites to Christ: all those who have been baptised by the Holy Ghost (that is, received Him) are members of the body. It is "the unity of the Spirit" we have to keep; that is, to walk in that power of the Spirit which keeps us in unity on the earth, and that needs endeavouring. I dread a gathering in any place being called the church of God. They are the only assembly that meets on scriptural principles did I not think so I should not go there, but It tends to narrow and sectarianise them.

All this seems to me very simple, but it is not so easy to keep the spirits of all here to it, both in fidelity and love, for we are poor creatures. I know those who tend too much to looseness, others too much to narrowness. The Spirit of God alone can lead us in both, and that requires us to walk near Christ. But as to principles I have no difficulty; but without holiness and Christ being all, being emptied of self, we shall not practically succeed. God is light and love, but He alone can unite both and thus give a true and right unity.

November, 1879.


+'The Brethren: their Origin, etc.'

[Page 49]

[Page 50]

[H M Hooke] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I thank God with all my heart for the blessing He has granted you ... . It would seem that God is testifying that He does not give brethren up, at least, that He encourages them to count on Him, and go on; for in France, Switzerland, and elsewhere, there seems a reviving. I have asked myself if it is that He owns what little effort at fidelity there has been. At any rate, He is encouraging those who look to Him ... . As to leaflets, it is at present the fashion, and it seems to me a very bad one. I quite agree with -- that the assembly must act; but I accept neither unanimity, majority, nor minority. Abstract principles do not settle any practical cases. "Put away from among yourselves that wicked person" is clear and decided. Who is a wicked person? -- says we must be guided by the Lord. But who is to decide if we are? All these things seem to me rather labour lost. They go, without despising any, out of my head, with all I have to do, about as fast as they go into it. We want quiet godliness, and, above all, lowliness.

I have been very happy in the Lord, and find the word more rich to my soul than ever, and, I think, heaven more near. But all our thoughts are poor things, but not the object of them. I feel, too, the direct action of God by the Spirit more than ever.

Pau, November 17th.


[Page 51]

[Capt. Scott] DEAREST BROTHER, -- Eternal life in full is conformity to Christ in glory, according to the purpose of God. As life we receive it now: they did even when He was here, though, till the Holy Ghost came, they little knew what they had received. That He did quicken them, see John 5: 25: but when the Holy Ghost came, Christ in glory -- the pattern of this life in glory -- was revealed, and attached itself, so to speak, to the life which existed in the saints, and thus became the hope and formative power of the life of Christ in the saints here, and so their spring of joy. John always unfolds life as in this subjective state in us, but, beholding the glory of the Lord unveiled, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory. So Christ has sanctified Himself that we might be sanctified through the truth. Thus Paul who ever, as his general theme, presents us to God justified and glorified, never really speaks of the present eternal life of the Christian (the nearest to it is Romans 5 and 6; now, one is given in the well of water springing up into eternal life -- the glorious state, that into which it springs up -- and is life in the power of the Spirit, recognising this at least on the way to the glorious result in the mind of God) save at the end of his course [chapter 6: 22], which is generally taken as the close of this life: there is not much difference. The other is a mere image of its present operation.

As to your second question: I have never doubted (since studying it) that the departure from first love involved, in the general history, the final rejection of the professing church. The evil was greatly aggravated, but repentance and return continues for three churches: and in Thyatira space had been given to repent, and judgment, and the Morning Star and the kingdom take the place of the church. The rest are, as Protestantism, beyond as to the basis church structure; and all from Thyatira to the end of Philadelphia refer to the Lord's coming. There are always (Isaiah 5, 6) these two grounds of judgment: what God first made us, and -- Can we meet the Lord? departure in Adam, and Christ coming. So that, as to Ephesus, I agree with you.

As to revision, a very large part is done, but not all, and what is has been sent to another Hebraist for Hebrew and French. That may delay. But I wait for my work to be closed which is very near, and one or two things relating to -- and if it lingers too long, I may very probably return before all is closed, even if I had to return here.

J.G.D. seems failing, dear man; happy for him, but a real loss there. The uncommon kindness of his character was sometimes a snare to him, but he was upright, and God delivered him; and his piety, grace, and devotedness were beyond many -- I might say, most -- and God used him very much out there. If we trust God, we shall see God's end of things. And, blessed be His name! all is just as He would have them; and we are but on a journey. Still God ought to be glorified here.

Pau, November 19th.


[Page 52]

[Mr Spignio] [From the Italian.] DEAR BROTHER, -- Being very busy, I have not been anxious to answer your letter, inasmuch as the urgent matter was done already; but I was always thinking of writing you a few lines ... . Just now my days pass one after another without any difference, always occupied in the revision of our French translation, only the word of God is always new, and His love always more precious. I continually find something new in the word which nourishes the soul and reveals to it the love of God, and His ways.

It is by the Word that we live in this passing world, and it clearly reveals to us the things that are not passing, the heavenly things. "We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." It is a great truth, a great fact, that the Spirit has been given to us; not only that we are born of the Spirit, but that believing in the efficacy of the blood of Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit: by Him we cry, "Abba, Father"; by Him "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts"; by Him we know that we are in Christ and that Christ is in us. The work of Christ is the foundation, but the presence of the Holy Ghost is the power of enjoyment. He gives the consciousness that we are children, and heirs, and He is the earnest of our inheritance until the possession of that which Christ has won for us; He causes us to wait for Christ. Once redemption as a personal matter is known, there are the two great truths presented by the word; we have been converted "to wait for his Son from heaven" (1 Thessalonians 1); and where the Spirit is there is liberty; when He is not grieved, there is communion with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. May our Father keep us in His holy name from thus grieving Him; and may we enjoy His blessed countenance!

I am delighted, dear brother, to see that God is evidently working in Italy; He is indeed working everywhere in these last days, but in Italy the work went on slowly ... but it seems as if the Spirit was working more at present. I do not want to go faster than what would be solid work; but it is happy when He encourages us, and shews us fruit. We must follow God, and not run before Him; and how great was the Lord's patience!

Pau, November 20th.


[Page 53]

[R T Grant] DEAREST BROTHER, -- As the list of meetings has come up and dear -- shewed me what you said, I write a line. It is quite true what you heard: I never liked it. It was the principle; and the gravest things often come from very small ones when a principle is in it. But I never wished to make any fuss or bother about it. It is of course very convenient. Still such motives as that lead to many things. My objection was, that it was making a list -- numbering the people -- and of brethren a distinct sect; as Congregationalists or Baptists might count their churches. This was my grand difficulty, but there has been another. The names put in, by whom I know not, though I have no distrust of the care taken, yet by the fact itself (and this your letter confirms) [confers] a kind of position as elders. Now this may lead, not to the Influence of those who are pillars, which I find in scripture, but soon to a recognised place. I knew the case where there were three, and the order being changed, the one who lost the first place was greatly grieved about it.

Again I wrote to -- about a very bad tract. This man's name was in the book: he had been excommunicated a year before. These were the things which made the difficulty: the inconvenience remedied by it, faith and earnestness of purpose would overcome ... . At first it was much abused -- not I daresay now. But the principle is my difficulty. But as I did hitherto, so I leave it now -- only write a line to you to explain my thoughts. No change in the form would affect my difficulty as you can see, and I have no distrust as to the care it is done with.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Pau, November 26th, 1879.


[Page 54]

R T Grant, The paper on the "Bride" in the "Voice"+ is evidently put in to re-assure those who thought the corporate relationships of Christians in danger of being set aside; so that with its purport I can have no quarrel, as assuredly I have not with its author. But my objection to what I have read is wider and deeper, and I allude to it now only for common profit in reading scripture, making no suppositions which many have made. My objection to what I have read is this: generalisations as to divine teaching in scripture, drawn from slight expressions without any adequate examination of the word, and consequently, when sifted, found sometimes very imperfect and misleading, sometimes wholly false. To this I confine myself here.

We are told that Peter does not name the assembly, nor John the body; Paul does not name the bride. If the name were all, a concordance would suffice to judge of it. But it is not all. The article continues, 'These omissions are characteristic of the writings of each;' so that whatever collateral help we may find in them, this characterises, and so far gives the scope of the Holy Ghost in these inspired writings. Let us examine the facts. Peter does not name the assembly. But Jude does not, nor James, nor John. The last two speak of a local assembly, with which we have nothing to do here. Not even in the Apocalypse does John speak of the assembly as such; on the contrary, carefully avoids it, so that its absence is certainly not characteristic of Peter. That a special dispensation of the mystery was committed to Paul, he states himself, and that has been the subject of teaching about fifty years. But so little is the omission of the assembly characteristic of Peter, that he alone, of all besides Paul, does speak of it in a special, but very interesting aspect. (See 1 Peter 2: 4, 5.) The saints are built up a spiritual house.

But the grand point is that we get the bride in John. The bride aspect, the affections of the heart for Christ, is to be found there only; Paul does not name it, and this is 'characteristic of each.' I read through John's gospel -- not a trace or a hint of it, not a thought of anything corporate place, my answer is, The passage, where what of John, turn to them: total and confounding silence! The truth is, that John is exclusively and carefully individual in all his teaching. This is what, in this respect, unequivocally characterises him. But I forget 'Mary Magdalene, as it were, telling the brethren in the corporate place of blessing'; but this is another example of this misleading carelessness. There is nothing of bridal relationship, nothing corporate. If in this obscure phrase with no tail to it, it be said it is we who are in the corporate place, my answer is, The passage, where what was told is given, leads away from everything else to our wondrous relationship along with the blessed Saviour to His Father and God. Relationship with the glorified Man brings in the body and bride. (See Ephesians 1 and 4) This [John 20: 17] refers to individuals and the place of sons. The whole ground is wholly wrong. In John's teaching what is said to characterise it, is not found at all.

I shall be referred, of course, to the Apocalypse. There I find myself on altogether other and lower ground, however glorious. It is the Lord God Almighty and a throne. If the churches be referred to, Christ is a judge, not a Bridegroom. There is neither body nor bride. In the properly prophetic part we have the divine judgment of the world, we are going to reign over the earth. But it will be said, the bride, the Lamb's wife, is shewn to us. It is; but in what way? Affections for a bridegroom? Not a trace of them. It is a great city. The throne of God and the Lamb are in it. It is a matter of glory and government. The bride has this place, but the place of the bride with Christ as such is not hinted at. There is one word which speaks of it when the contents of the book are closed,++ "The Spirit and the bride say, Come." Here the relationship is alluded to, but assumed, and if I am to know what or who the bride is, I must look outside John, unless I make it a great city and government, for he, in all his teaching, never says one word about it. And where shall I find it? In poor, cold Paul! There, using the image of the wife, I find the ways of the Lord in love in gaining, preparing, and presenting to Himself the heavenly spouse according to the love He bears it. And if I would learn the other side, what we ought to be in this character, I turn to 2 Corinthians 11, "I am jealous over you with godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin unto Christ."

I do not know what is meant by 'naming,' but when I examine scripture, I find every one of the statements of the article baseless, wholly baseless, as to the alleged characterising facts. Paul is the only one who really teaches anything of that, the omission of which, we are told, characterises him. And in John's teaching, not one word is found of that which we are taught to look for in him. Paul is sober on such topics, and would have others not be led away from the simplicity that is in Christ. I entirely disagree, as to the fact, with what is said of the Reformers,+++ but my object is not controversy nor teaching. I would only add, that, pretending to be Philadelphia is quite another thing from being Philadelphia, and tends directly to Laodiceanism of heart. May the saints be kept in the simplicity that is in Christ. Assuredly I can have no wish to weaken true devotedness to Christ, Christ being all, which only is life; but I have not found this the effect of this teaching, but rather filling people with the thoughts of themselves and the wonderful new things they had got -- not a self-judging knowledge of Christ Himself. Nor do I a moment question that John has a peculiar place and character in the teaching of the Holy Ghost, specially in the revelation of the Father, and, through Him, immediate relationship with Him. But then only notice, that in the summing up and guarding of the system found in the article I comment on, what is true is old, and what is new is wrong.


+Volume 13 page 93

++Before the contents of the book are opened, the saints refers to the effect of Christ's first coming; and after they are closed, to His Second. (Chapter 1: 5, 7; 22: 17.)

+++'The assembly as the house was certainly caught hold of by the Reformers.'

[Page 55]

[Page 56]

MY DEAR BROTHER, -- It is high time I should be answering your letter, but if you knew how I have been occupied, and how many I have to write which are obligatory, you would not be surprised at it.

The Lord is as faithful and as mighty to save now as ever, indeed I have found Him more so, that is, had experience of it. It makes me tremble in looking back at what was at work in London, but in waiting on the Lord there is a strength that nothing can resist, and a hand that can move everything, and a wisdom that can guide it, and -- shall we not say? -- alone that does -- I must. But all was the Lord's doing, not that there were none upright and faithful, for there were those with whom my heart went; but some were apt to be in a hurry, and others disheartened. Even those who sought to act aright saw only the details and surface. I saw the evil, and was greatly exercised as to leaving those called brethren altogether, but felt it was the testimony of God, and could not, and then had to take the thing up in earnest, but only to cast it on the Lord. That day only will declare what had to be gone through. Details have still to be dealt with, but the brethren are at peace, and there is good in London, and souls added. Thank God my soul realised the faithful love of the Lord, and my heavenly portion, as it never did, so that this was only a place of work. But I do not expect my spirit, in the human sense, ever to return to its former state. One has now to seek to get the spirit of brethren out of it all, and encourage mutual confidence. For myself, always alone, I am more totally alone than ever before; but I feel the Lord's faithfulness as I never did. What matter, then, where one is as to circumstances?

Kindest love to the brethren in Chicago, if you are there. I am in my eightieth year, and I shall hardly see them all again now, but my heart is as fresh in its affection to them all as ever. There is that which never ends. I have been interested lately in the thought, how the heavenly divine holiness of glory is the only one -- the same now. One has only to draw the veil, and it is there in perfectness, here under a veil. See 1 Thessalonians 3: 12, 13; as many others. This sets us practically, wonderfully in heaven though, in a poor earthen vessel. The Lord keep you, dear brother, near Himself, in all lowliness of spirit, but cheerful confidence!

Pau, December.


[Page 57]

[Page 58]

MY DEAR BROTHER, -- ... As a principle I object to brethren settling things for an assembly, because they have ministerial gift, and was thus rather indisposed, as to this, towards the action of -- , and I am far too little acquainted with the facts to form any judgment, even for myself, in the case. They assured me that it was a case of manifest evil and unrighteousness towards this sister (I forget the words used), and that some were beginning to see it, and had (I know nothing as to number) returned to the Table they had left, so that the case was getting really quite clear. I have a considerable jealousy of individual, practically clerical, influence, though such may of course help an assembly; the conscience of an assembly ought to be exercised and purged: merely judicially putting away is no use without this; there is no purging of themselves without this. It is always well to hear both sides: many questions may arise ... . These two brethren represent it as a very bad and flagrant case of party and unrighteousness. I am habitually slow to form any judgment. But they seemed to think the case was settling itself. This is not the only case in England, and there are cases where God alone can bring all to a righteous standing, and in such we can only leave it to Him, and act where a positive claim on us arises, and then we can count on Him: for abstract judgment we cannot in the same way. But the question would at once arise, Are things in the same state as they were? I am ignorant of the present, and, indeed, of the past facts of the case, and thus cannot judge with any real godly judgment.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Pau, December 13th, 1879.


[From the French.] -- - I am at work from seven in the morning till eleven at night. Then I generally have many things which press heavily, within the range of my responsibility. But I commit them to Him who is mighty above all which this poor world can require, and to whom a burden is no burden at all. He guides everything, just as I, sitting in a carriage, might guide it; and orders everything according to the counsel of His will. It is well to journey thus, and the Lord is faithful in making everything contribute to the blessing of those who love Him.

I have been much enjoying the thought that the whole life, holiness, condition of soul down here, is but the making good of what we possess up there. It is always Christ, and "before the Father." (See 1 Thessalonians 3: 12, 13) This indeed sets us there in Him (and He in us); save that we have the treasure in an earthen vessel, and we increase "to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." There are not two kinds of holiness. Christian holiness is the same which we shall have before our God and Father, when we shall come again with Christ. But although the thing is realised with God, it must be bound up with brotherly fellowship, because love, too, is in the nature of God. Separation from evil is realised by dwelling in Him. and this is shewn in love to one another.

Pau, December 18th.


[Page 59]

[Capt. Scott] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I have no doubt at all of the resurrection of the Old Testament saints. The answer of the Lord (Matthew 22; Luke 20), as well as other passages make it as clear as possible, as well as those you quote. But it is one of the characteristics of New Testament teaching, that it is teaching people, dealing with people, not with abstract doctrine or theology. Hence the teaching of the resurrection is the resurrection of those concerned in the teaching. Thus the apostle has in his mind those he was writing to: 1 Corinthians 15: 18, 22, 23, refer to Christians: verse 21 is more abstract -- resurrection of dead came by man. 1 Thessalonians 4: 14 clearly applies to Christians, verse 16 also. Revelation 14: 13 can refer to the saints which compose the church, but may to those slain afterwards also. Resurrection is always individual. There shall be a "resurrection of the just." That takes in all, but in the body of the passages the apostle is thinking of those he was writing to; and life and incorruptibility were brought to light by the gospel. Daniel 7 gives us the slain saints under the beast as heavenly saints. 1 Thessalonians 3: 13 embraces all, I cannot doubt. But I have no doubt the apostle had specially in his mind those he was writing to. Such, as far as I see, is the mind of God in these passages. But Christ repeatedly speaks of saints in general.

Bordeaux, December 27th.


[Page 60]

Dear Miss Maria Barton, -- I suppose I must have perceived that this objection could be raised, for in the fourth edition,+ which I got to look at it, I have, 'All this (1 Thessalonians 4: 14-16) is a matter which belongs exclusively to the saints -- to those who, sleeping or waking, are Christ's, and who will be, from that moment, for ever with the Lord.' The truth is, the mind is justly occupied with what concerns the church; and so I find in the New Testament many passages refer directly to the christian saints who form the church, because they were there and then before the writer's or Holy Spirit's mind, which yet from other places we may know to be true of Old Testament saints. Here the word 'exclusively' meant to the exclusion of the wicked dead. I do not doubt the Old Testament saints will arise, though in many a passage they are not at all brought before the mind; because the Spirit was founding and encouraging the hopes of Christians then tried, perhaps persecuted, not meaning to deny that Old Testament saints would be in the kingdom. The word 'exclusively' does not apply here to the Old Testament saints, but to the world; but the mass of passages in the New Testament apply in fact only to the church. Other passages say we shall sit with Abraham and Isaac in the kingdom, and the Lord teaches clearly their resurrection. That which the Old Testament saints do not form is the body and the bride.

Ever yours truly in the Lord.


[John James] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- Your letter has lain some days on my table, but I am constantly hard at work, from seven in the morning to eleven at night, and hard head work. The epistle you refer to, you must remember, was written to one who wielded derivatively the authority of the apostle, as his trusted and intimate companion. Still the directions given, when applying to general responsibility, apply now as ever. But you cannot have authority without really possessing it, nor did I over see the case of discipline which could be decided otherwise than in actually deciding it. Where it is a wicked person clearly, the case is pretty clear; but even then the question comes in, he really such? and the state and competency comes in. This was really the case with you, and in this condition of weakness, your yielding, God turned into blessing. If one such as Timothy rebuked, according to the apostle's order, he would carry the conscience of all the sound part of the assembly with him. But rebuke before all is different from rebuking one who not there, nor has it the effect in the same degree of making others fear. But if the assembly, or those who watch over it and carry the mind of the assembly with them, are agreed that it is not wickedness calling for excision, but cannot be passed over, I see nothing to hinder a person's being rebuked publicly. It was done at -- in a case where a man was overtaken in a fault which none would have know had he not voluntarily told of himself, and there was no question of his godliness or state of mind; but the world had more or less known it. And that is now forty years ago, I suppose, and I believe it has been done in several instances. But it requires the existence of moral authority to do it, and must now flow with the conscience of the assembly. If it is a case of putting away, and the assembly cannot decide -- and it is an act of the assembly, "put out from among yourselves" -- they must wait on the Lord to have spiritual unity of judgment; I do not say numerical unanimity. And even for an apostle it was so delicate a thing, that he regretted having written an inspired epistle, and one which had produced the desired effect really, and was deeply troubled and exercised. It is as to this he speaks of being not ignorant of Satan's devices ... . In all these cases I look to the conscience of the assembly being exercised, that the weight of the assembly go with the act if anything short of excision; if it amount to that it is the assembly's act, the assembly purges itself. A rebuke never had that character, it was preventive to others, and a rod to the offender ... .

Pau, January, 1880.


+[The Hopes of the Church of God, Collected Writings, Volume 2, page 468.]

[Page 61]

[Page 62]

[From the German.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- My hearty thanks for your affectionate letter. I have said nothing about this history of the brethren, because I was afraid such a letter might somehow have the appearance of counterpoise to brother -- and I believe it better to write to him direct. I knew that the history was being translated and issued. I always dread whatever would represent the brethren as a sectarian body. But each is free, and I have not occupied myself with it ... . But when people would say that the brethren were Philadelphia, and this was circulated amongst many, I was really anxious about it. May God give us to assume this character practically! But to apply this to ourselves is another thing, and at a time when the brethren in London were in confusion, was something certainly deplorable. It appeared even to some godly brethren, that with such a pretension, God must withhold His blessing from the brethren, and this feeling has been vented amongst brethren in the communications from abroad. I had before I came back from America observed this presumption in very dear brethren also, to whom I was closely attached, and it has given me great pain. I bethought me of the word of Zephaniah to Israel: "I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of Jehovah." "Thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain." God has been full of goodness towards us, He has humbled, but spared us; and in London they are quiet, and God adds to them precious souls, although some would disquiet them. But God is there, and keeps them in peace: and I believe that these events have been full of blessing to the brethren, and that in England, and Ireland also where there was merely care of heart through brotherly feeling. I have never been in circumstances to call for so great thankfulness as in this test of God. He is ever, we know, faithful: I have proved it here. There are some slight remnants of the results in Kent: but God has put forth His gracious hand likewise, and many have reaped abundant fruit; and what remains to be done God will do, I doubt not.

I thank you also for all the details you have communicated to me ... . It will be on my heart -- to say nothing of the welfare of the dear Saviour's redeemed ones, and especially of the German brethren, many of whom I have known personally and heartily loved. I am in my eightieth year, and that brings eternity near: there we have the Father's love, Christ, and His own people. It is, in fact, quite near for me. The word which is eternal is more precious than ever: I have nothing but daily, present blessing. I have suffered much with respect to this confusion in London; yet there was an inner life, and the presence of God is more appreciable than ever. I can no more climb mountains on foot, but my heart is just as much with the brethren before God, nay more than ever. Heartily do I thank you for the news you have sent me. Greet them heartily for me. May God preserve us in a deep, true feeling of our nothingness in England, in Germany, and everywhere, and all will go well.

Your attached brother
1880.


[Page 63]

MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I hold it of all importance to maintain intact the discipline of God's house, as to not eating with those under discipline. I got a dreadful scolding from one for acting on it. Nor do I in the least blame -- . It is very well that the son should feel that the father did not feel lightly his son's getting put out. I should not eat with him, and if he ate at the same table, I should not enter into conversation with him, and if -- did, I should not like to be at the table. If the lad's spirit be at all subdued, and there was fear of alienating him by harshness, I might have him eat at the table, telling him that I could not have free intercourse with him. But as he was necessarily in the house I should not refuse letting him eat at the same table. But I could not keep company with him till he was humbled. This would not hinder anxious love as regards him, and the assurance of it; but familiarity and company at table, as if nothing had happened, I should not accept. I give my son his dinner if needed, I shew him my heart yearns over him, but I could not be familiar and at ease with him. I should not eat with, if even I ate at the same time. Something would depend on the age of the son, and how far he was under the father's authority. If young and under it, I must let him eat, and treat him as I would treat him as one under rebuke. If grown up and independent, I should be less disposed to do so.

[Date uncertain.]


[Page 64]

[W Kernahan] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I remember the same question+ arising in my mind, at least thirty years ago, when writing in French the tract "On Worship." There is one thing which may facilitate your inquiry. John's writings always refer to the individual. Chapter 4 shews that individual worship is recognised. But if this was in intentional separation from all saints, it would be another thing. Love to all the saints is a necessary ingredient in the heart's going up to God. But worship together has a distinct and peculiar character, because there is Christ's promise to be there. "In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." But I do not doubt that if I am alone I can worship God alone. Still scripture is full of joint worship, and so it will be in heaven.

But in an assembly I should think it an unhappy thing for one to set himself apart as superior to others. Our part is to esteem others better than ourselves, and whereto we have already attained, to mind the same thing. If it is something that positively grieved the Spirit, it is another thing. I cannot in Spirit have communion with what is contrary to the Spirit. But while I admit a low estate of soul will be painful to a spiritually-minded person, yet in the case you put, the person has not learned to esteem others better than themselves. "Let each" it is said.

London, February 5th.


Dear E L Bevir, -- ... Very glad indeed to hear good accounts of Italy. I expected blessing. You were always a pessimist, but keeping aloof, looking to God, one is above the heaving and breakers, and walking on a rough sea is the same as walking on a smooth one.

There is as much danger from those who want to be extra, as from those who were at mischief; but God is above one as above the other. And both lived with their minds in evil to justify their discontent: whereas those who seek simply to serve Christ, and to walk in peace, are blessed of God and in quiet ... . I have seen no sign but of positive progress, and firmness when I did not expect it ... but my confidence is not in progress, but in God. If the testimony is more honestly unworldly, I do not fear: if not, what good is it? Trust in the Lord, and work away for Him. May we be found watching and so doing when the blessed Lord comes! ...

London, February, 1880.


+'Is there such a thing in those days (of Christianity) as private or individual worship, or is everything, properly so-called, confined to the gathered assembly! And, as a collateral point, Can a person, forming part of a meeting for worship, retire from it mentally, if he feels it is below his own state, or the like, and go on with God alone, as it were, though in the meeting actually?'

[Page 65]

[To the same.] E L Bevir, It is remarkable that when I heard of B.'s death, suited for Italy as he seemed to be, true and faithful, the feeling that came into my mind was, God is going to bless Italy -- which I could not account for, nor give a reason, but there the feeling was. Not that there will not be exercises and trials: that one must expect -- still rejoice in the goodness and grace of God; and so we ought.

I am not, dear brother, a pessimist, because I may say, since my conversion, I never had a thought of any good in man or myself, while fully admitting amiable and nice natural characters, as I think the Lord did. But He did not trust it: He knew that all true good was beyond and behind. I fear rather drawing the line too sharp and too hard, for there is not a good, but a moral, nature in man. Hence we are born of water as well as of the Spirit: the word is the instrument, but all good is of God. When He loved the young man, He said, "None is good save one, that is God." But I am not disheartened, though I may be cast down, because behind all there is God, One who never fails; and if He be for us, who can be against us? Only we have to know our own nothingness, and wait patiently for Him.

I was thinking lately that Christ is still waiting in patience. "Sit at my right hand, till" -- and not said when. We do not know how deep and wide divine thoughts in connection with man go; but we know the Father has given us to Christ, and we shall be like Him, and brought, identified with Him, into the Father's house. Those whom the Father has given Him, at all cost He will bring back to Him, according to His own heart and purpose. It is a bright and blessed prospect. But I trust Him for blessing quand même as to man, if we have His mind ... . The Lord be with you in your work, and keep you near Him -- the only source of good, and true self-judgment.

Deuteronomy 26 gives the normal apprehensions of a godly soul in that book. He does not go up to Abraham, but merely a Syrian (Jacob) going down to Egypt, redemption and enjoyment of promises in the land, with personal integrity in connection with it. It is a kind of key to the book. The Lord always quotes from Deuteronomy (Matthew 4); it was the ground Israel was on, and not according to promises to Abraham. And He was the tested Man there.

March, 1880.


[Page 66]

[To the same.] E L Bevir, I have been getting on much more definitely with Deuteronomy: though as yet I have found some paths in the wood, I am not out of it. But the scripture is already a good deal developed, and that is positive enjoyment. When I have anything definite, you shall have it. Chapter 4 [leads] up to outside Jordan; Jehovah, jealousy and restoration in mercy. Chapters 5-11 they are passed over -- the covenant of ten words, government and what they were, the legal responsible ground of their possession of the land, Jehovah jealous: restoration not till chapter 30. After chapter 12 it is the plea to preserve them from idolatry. These are some of the paths into the wood, but the divine footsteps can be traced, where they had not so reached yet ... .

The Lord is faithful, and full of tender compassion; of whom should we be afraid, except of ourselves? There we have reason. Trust in the Lord, and be doing good. Our time is a time to sow, but, if faithful, the sheaves will come in due time. It is by faith and patience we shall inherit: God means it to be so. My heart is with you in your work, but, what is better, the Lord Himself will be.

Ever, beloved brother,

Your fellow-labourer and servant in Christ.


[Page 67]

[To the same.] E L Bevir, As regards Deuteronomy [14: 22-29; 26: 12; cf. Numbers 18] you will find in Tobit 1: 7+ what gives historically the fact of the second tithes, and of the third year, which facilitates understanding the text. But the spirit of the difference is important. Worship, in the previous books, was the degree of nearness to God in His sanctuary: here it is thankful enjoyment of blessings received according to promise, only enjoyed before Jehovah, so as not to be detached from Him, and enjoyed in the spirit of grace. (See chapter 26) In chapter 16 you have no eighth day in the feast of tabernacles. It is thus not priestly drawing near to God, but enjoyment of the fruit of His promises, in grace with Him. This characterises the whole book. With us there is not this difference, because the most holy place is our Canaan, and in Spirit we are there, and it is what is there as the fruits of promise that we enjoy.

I was very near forgetting to tell you how I was getting through the wood! But that was by your being a pessimist, saying there is no hope, as if God had forgotten us, and did not see it.

March, 1880.


[H C Anstey] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- In Job 2: 9 you have also from his wife, "Curse God and die." In 1 Kings 21: 10 it cannot mean bless. If taken in this sense it must be a euphemism for cursing The usual explanation is this: $$$ Úr'K; (barak) means 'to kneel,' used for camels even: $$$ ÚreK, (berek) is 'a knee,' hence 'to implore'; and there are two words, one Arabic the other Ethiopic, which have this uncertain sense (I know nothing of these languages). Hence while kneeling is the physical sense, it is to bless from above in Piel, and to cause (camels) to kneel down in Hiphil: but while some Hebraists, particularly Jews -- but Schultens and others -- will not allow the sense of cursing in this derivation of the word, and the Jews translate bless when we say curse, if you believe Gesenius it is as I have said above; others take it as derived from a word signifying 'to dismiss,' 'send off.' So Delitzsch interprets it in Job. In 1 Kings 21, his fellow-labourer also translates 'blasphemed'; but in explaining, derives from 'dismissing, or sending off,' saying, 'Which is the same as blasphemed.'

I judge you are quite right as to the purport of the book, but all God's dealings and care are wonderfully brought out. "He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous" -- had considered Job before Satan; justified Job, by allowing Satan's efforts, from his charge of hypocrisy, and then takes him in His own hand for discipline, making him know himself in grace, and God in majesty; sends an interpreter, one among a thousand; and when he has owned both, blesses him more than ever.

My answer has been delayed, but if you knew all I have to do you would pardon me.
1880.


+'The first tenth part of all increase I gave to the sons of Aaron who ministered at Jerusalem: another tenth part I sold away and went and spent it every year at Jerusalem: and the third I gave unto them to whom it was meet.'

[Page 68]

[To the same.] H C Anstey, The point of the verses [1 John 5: 1-4 etc.] is this. Love to God's children is the proof of love to God. Who are they? Whoever believes Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and he who loves Him that begat, loves him that is begotten of Him. Thus if it be love because of the Father, I shall love all the children, for they are all His. Then comes a counter-check: I know that I love God's children, as such, if I love Him -- not merely a set of people I like, but His children as such. But my obedience to His commandments is the proof I love Him. Love to God's children as such cannot be, because it is not loving Him, hence clearly not His children, because they are such, for I do not love Him. It is the testimony that love to the brethren, to be really such -- chapter 2: 9, because they are God's children -- cannot be separated from obedience, because that proves I do not love God, consequently not others because they are His.
1880


[Page 69]

[To the same.] H C Anstey, You seem to get into a multitude of questions. As to a remnant, it seems to me lost time to argue it. There clearly is a remnant in Christendom; that is, all nominal Christians will not possess the privileges of true ones. And they are in this sense a remnant. But, the result being different, it seems different, because the Jewish remnant remains on earth, to become, as such, the nation; whereas true Christians, going up to heaven, never appear as a distinct body in possession of their privileges, as all the dead saints will be raised and go with them. But in the time of faith, the faithful will be just as much practically a remnant as the Jews will be. That is, I believe, the true state of the case, but there is much instruction in viewing them as such, only we have to keep the truth of the unity of the body in its full force.

London, March, 1880.


[To the same.] H C Anstey, I suspect your good vicar has never read Clemens Romanus, but only his (Mr. Marshall's) epitome: probably it was before he was born that I did. But you ought yourself to have had the answer ready. Clement speaks, § 42, of bishops and deacons: but if there were several that is not episcopacy. There are only two classes -- so in Timothy and Titus, called also bishops and deacons. Titus was to appoint elders, several, in each city; and Paul goes on, "for a bishop must be blameless": bishops and deacons in 1 Timothy 3. So Paul in Acts 14 chose elders for them -- forgot the bishop! -- and in chapter 20 calls for the elders, and then says to them "bishops" -- again forgot the poor bishop or awfully despised him! We have thus the certainty that those whom Clement speaks of, § 42, were several in one place. He always speaks in the plural. They appointed persons, § 44. He does not think those should be thrown out of their ministry, and says, 'Blessed are those elders who, having finished their course before these times, have obtained a fruitful and perfect dissolution.' Clement, like Paul, ignores the existence of a bishop, writes (if there was one) to his church, without hinting at the existence of such a personage. 'Further we see that ye have put out some who lived,' etc. The letter is a letter from 'the church of God which is at Rome to the church of God which is at Corinth.' There is no trace, I repeat, of a bishop at Rome or at Corinth. The passage he refers to is the proof that he objected to their deposing their elders, but has no thought of any bishop, as the word is now used. Speaking of some -- 'You have put out some' -- though it was in the one church of Corinth; and calls them elders, for which archbishop Wake has translated 'priests' -- Chevalier, honestly, 'elders,' with 'presbyters' in margin.

You can easily see why I suspect your clergyman (I have not his name exactly) has read Marshall, which I have not, and not Clement, which I often have, and discussed with others, too. Perhaps he has not read Tertullian or Jerome either. Tertullian says John the apostle instituted them in Asia Minor, a plain proof Paul had not. Jerome says the church got into this plan as the elders were each trying to draw the faithful to themselves, and then they set up one as primus inter pares. In Alexandria, though there was a patriarch, Jerome tells us there was no episcopal ordination till Hesychius and the council of Nice. As to Justin, I do not remember his saying anything about bishops. He speaks largely of a president at their Lord's day meeting, and his praying as well as he could, also of his holding meetings at his lodgings, at Rome, when he went there. But I cannot now look them up; but I have read them more or less, and I am not aware of any such passage, or finding it quoted on the subject. Clement being short, and I having often read it, I could lay my hand on it. As to Clemens Alexandrinus, he may be quite at ease: in his day there were bishops plenty, but the reference is unfortunate, for, if I am to believe Jerome, there was then no episcopal ordination. As to Ignatius, all the rhetoric on the subject [notwithstanding], I have no doubt it is spurious. In the genuine Syriac copies a bishop is mentioned in this way once. Now I do not doubt, according to Jerome's account, they soon came in, possibly, partly through John, too. In Clement's time it is clear there were none such that he recognises -- 'not a trace' -- but what totally excludes the idea.

As to Article XVII., I quite admit that God's predestination is secret to us, but the seventeenth Article is not: it is very plain, and I think very good. I may add, in Clement, § 57, where he exhorts the leaders of the sedition to submit to their elders. I have read some of Hooker, too; but [he was] one whose mind rested in human order, and not on scripture, but a reverend, godly man; but while a standard work with the clergy it is really intrinsically not worth reading. They say he died meditating on the hierarchical order of the angels. As to the Fathers, I have read some, consulted almost all, and some a good deal. But when, many years ago, I set about to read them, I found them as a body such trash that I gave it up as a study: for history they are of course useful, and I have examined them largely. Did Mr. -- ever read Hermas? If that is not enough to destroy all confidence in the early church, I do not know what would. Did he ever read Cyprian or Chrysostom on the state of the church in their days? Talking of looking to the primitive church for some doctrine or morality is the most wicked humbug that ever was: either people have not read what is patristic, or they must love and excuse wickedness. Hermas was read in the churches, and is quoted by Irenaeus as scripture, and Origen speaks of it as inspired. Pretty work you give one to do.

March 23rd.


[Page 70]

[Page 71]

[To the same.] H C Anstey, I write to send you back Mr. -- 's letter, but I do not think of answering it. I think, in general, positive truth is of more avail than controversy. He is upon ordinary evangelical Arminian or semi-Arminian ground, and that is a wide field to enter on in a letter. I do not think that I ever said, as he quotes, 'elders nowhere,' I may have said 'elders, as such, nowhere.' I suspect the seventeenth Article tries him, and it is really a very wise statement as I remember it. Their point of departure is not scripture, and hence they have difficulty in having anything. What I mean by 'doing this' was, that if a friend or a parent was to give me something, and say, Keep it in remembrance of me, to make it a command or a precept would destroy its whole nature. The emphasis is on "remembrance of me."

As to Article XVII., he confounds the counsels of God before the foundation of the world, and our knowledge of our election when we are called and justified, and cry Abba, Father. Whatever the means of assurance, I am necessarily assured that if I believe and am sealed so as to cry Abba Father, I know I shall be kept to the end; one, according to scripture and the seventeenth Article, involves the other. They that are called, says the article -- obey the calling -- are justified, etc., and at length by God's mercy, attain everlasting felicity. So that the question, according to the article is, Can I know I am called and justified? for if so I shall attain everlasting felicity. Now scripture says -- first John as Christ's forerunner came to give the knowledge of salvation, then the blessed Lord says, "In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you" -- and the apostle, "We have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." So John writes, "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake." I need not quote more. The epistles are addressed to saints, to the "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit," and we are said to be saved, not merely as a principle (but in the perfect) seswsmevnoi, actually saved, for He has saved us, and called us with a holy calling -- fruits the proof in others, the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, in ourselves. "Knowing, dearly beloved, your election of God." So 1 Thessalonians 5: 9.

Now I would deprecate levity in so solemn a thing as the consciousness of our relationship to the Father. I had rather see a man deeply exercised in Romans 7 than taking up the doctrine of assurance with levity. And further, I see in the scripture the Christian looked at as not only in Christ, where there is no "if," but as running the race to attain actually the glory, as actual men in this world; and here I find "if," and working out our salvation with fear and trembling, and the responsibility of the saint comes in, but with a sure promise of being kept. And this is the difference in the character of the assurance; one is in an actually accomplished redemption, with the knowledge (John 14) that we are in Christ: the other, glory, is not an accomplished thing, as is evident; it is certain through the promise of God. See Romans 8, "Whom he justified, them he also glorified": the whole chain is there from beginning to end, and depends on His faithfulness in keeping us. And this distinction is morally very important, because it maintains constant dependence, but dependence on a faithfulness that cannot fail, which is most important for practical spiritual life. As regards my path, I am kept, and if so need it, but do not doubt God's faithfulness in doing it. I cannot speak of danger as to redemption, it is accomplished, but for my wilderness journey there is; but there is a keeping which exercises my dependence and faith. (See 1 Peter 1: 4, 5.) See, too, 1 Corinthians 1: 8, 9 -- where he then goes on to blame them for everything -- and the far happier testimony in John 10. I must close. This is more important than ecclesiastical questions or the Fathers. It is "that which is from the beginning."

In Ephesians you will find plenty of exhortations but no "ifs": you do, when we are spoken of as yet on the journey. No doubt we see this, as all things, clearer if we are near to God, because what He is realised, and Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. We make our calling and election sure, not surer, of course, in God's mind, but in ours.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

As regards 2 Peter 1: 3, Tischendorf reads "by his own glory and virtue," ijdiva not diav, but it does not alter much. But in these are given the promises, the word communicates them to us as ours, and thus our moral delight is in them -- escaping the corruption of the world -- the heart is elsewhere. Peter never goes beyond the moral effect -- not the vital source: "suffered in the flesh," not "dead": born of the word, not of the Spirit. "Whereby" (2 Peter 1: 4) is dij w|n, and "by these" (diav touvtwn) the promises; the revelation of the glory and virtue (verse 3) to the soul is what produces the effect.

The difference of 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 is that one is the operation of the Spirit down here, distributing to every man as He will -- simple power, so that it might be stopped, as tongues, if no one understood or no interpreter or even more, at the most, than three prophets. Ephesians 4 it is Christ who takes care of His church, and this cannot cease or fail. Apostles and prophets are the foundation which cannot be laid now, it would be a new church: but these apart, Christ cannot fail to give what is needful for His church, and will to the end. Hence there are no miraculous gifts, so-called, spoken of. I am much better, but have again a cold.
1880.


[Page 72]

[Page 73]

[E Wootten] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- ... As to the book of meetings I take no notice of it as I always objected to it altogether: very convenient, no doubt, but it is a counting up of a company, and as your letter shews is looked at as conferring a kind of authority and representative character given by -- whom? Those who are going to a place can easily find out those they seek with a little trouble ... . I knew of a place where there were three, and the order of the names being changed caused the greatest displeasure to the one who was no longer first!

But I am sure God is working, and will bring about the result which He can take pleasure in. Indeed, from the first, having given a plain testimony I have only cast the matter on God; and I am thoroughly confident He has acted and will act. I said when in England, when asked if I thought He would give deliverance -- Yes, when He judges the brethren adequately humbled. As regards Kent, which He saw needed sifting, and where all went on without my having anything to say to it, I have also left it to God, save answering the letters written to me ... . But I feel, dear brother, that God must bring blessing about in His own way. The evil was deeper than mere present circumstances, or I might have ventured to write. The only thing I dreaded was some taking the ground of making a fresh start, that all was now individual. In one sense it must always be individual. But beginning anew for a fresh testimony apart from what God had raised up was just what -- wanted and attempted to do, and a denial of the one there was. I was long and deeply tried before it broke out whether I should leave brethren, feeling the state of things long before it broke out, but I felt it would not be faith and was held through the storm. But God has evidently wrought and is working in rousing brethren, and putting an end to what I long dreaded in many details. He has wrought in Switzerland, in France, in the States, in Canada, and I hear in Ireland, New Zealand, to say nothing of Sweden and Norway -- Italy too -- and has been giving fresh blessing since all this in London. I have no doubt through mercy Kent will partake of it ... . My confidence is in God only, and there we can be assured, if looking to Him in the way of His will. The attacks of those who are unfaithful I have not even read. I believe in God's acting. All I seek is not to go beyond His leading ... . His government never fails "though he bear long with them," and I trust it will be in peace and blessing for all.


[Page 74]

[Page 75]

[To the same.] E Wootten, I do not believe all I hear, or rather it does not produce upon me the effect it does on some; because the good, of which as the fruit of His own grace God can and does take notice, is much quieter than the evil. Had I not been fully convinced conscience had become swamped or weakened by the influences at work I should not have given the testimony I did. But this conviction made me feel that God alone could maintain and restore the testimony confided to us. Hence having given my testimony I took no part in details ... . The result is in God's hands, not mine, and I desire to leave it there. When people wait on God, His actings and government will always bring them up into the place of His approval.

I have said, both in my first letter as to -- and in the little leaflet I ventured to send to brethren, what I felt as to the state of brethren. But I do not think that setting up to be on higher ground, and leaving the state of things, is the path of faith, but a humble looking to God and crying to Him. There has been an effort to have a kind of common humiliation, which would swamp the judgment of evil, but I was not to be caught by that in my judgment -- for I was not in the way of it locally ... .

I do not look to the state of personal feeling, much as I may desire it, but bonâ fide corporate action. This distinction I have always made, because corporate action (namely in the church) we have God's promise for, not for the state of each individual soul, save in the general principles of grace ... . I am aware there is an effort to get up a party against faithfulness, but for that I trust God. And faithfulness does not want a party, nor can a party help it ... . I desire healing; but I desire no healing which lowers the standard of christian walk, or hinders bringing God and His word to bear on conscience -- first one's own, and then on that of others. Hence I have felt one must leave God to work out the result in Kent, as with all brethren. The difficulties of those who desire to walk faithfully, and with whose intentions I sympathise, are more trying than positive evil.


[Page 76]

[To the same.] E Wootten, God gently clears the way, I believe. From the beginning I have felt that God was sifting the meetings in Kent, and when that is done adequately in God's eyes there will be peace. But the evil that was at the root of all this, besides a party spirit that had long existed, was that there were brethren, and dear brethren, who, from what I believe was want of faith, judged it was all over with brethren, and London broken up, and that they must as standing on higher ground start afresh as a new body. Now I admit that the brethren had got into a low worldly sleepy state, but I do not think it was faith to think the Lord could not rouse them up, nor that it was grace to set up themselves to be the cream of all ... . I cannot say, sorrowful and humbling as it may be, that I regret that the sifting has come. It was from the hand of God because in grace He saw it was needed ... . While I acknowledge in the party who take the ground of purity many dear and true saints, some to whom I am even personally attached, and their uprightness as the governing principle of their lives, I do not believe faith or grace to have been the source of the pretension I have referred to. The enemy profited by the evil, which I admit, to produce the pretension and schism of heart, varying I acknowledge in degree and form. The course of Abbot's Hill I still judge to have been thoroughly wicked, and I have not seen that the conscience has been reached ... . I believe God is working, but He does not heal slightly the hurt of the daughter of His people, as Jeremiah says. I do not believe that hurry in acting is the way of God. I look for conscience being reached and so the root of the evil; then there will be lowliness and the path be plain.


[To the same.] E Wootten, As to the act of exclusion by A. Hill: I look upon it as I always did as an act of wickedness, a false pretence to be the discipline of God's house when it was a violent party act: it was not even truthful. If it was discipline which had God's glory, the holiness of God's house and righteousness as regards evil for its motive, as that discipline should, how can they talk of withdrawing it in grace when other people objected: does grace mean giving these up? Other saints not engaged in these questions in any direct way were unanimously struck with the spirit of their conduct from their own documents. I knew some of those concerned in it, which made it worse ... . But I go on none of these things, but that their act was a very wicked act: I believe it impossible to be with God and not see it. And they have haughtily refused to meet upon the ground of common failure and confession. Mr. -- says it is the Lord's matter. The act was his, not the Lord's: that it is the Lord's to judge it I admit; but people can know by His word whether it is right or wrong before He manifests Himself.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.
1880.


[Page 77]

[E W Ulrich] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I was very glad to hear from you and get news from you all, and surely so much the rather that they are happy ones. I was very thankful you could say that you were going on now, not occupied with your old trials and evil. We may be forced to go through it and be sifted by it, but it never feeds nor builds up the soul; and when it is no longer necessary to do so, it only distracts and tends to irritate, to turn away from the bright and blessed apprehension of Christ and the love of God. I rejoiced greatly that you were getting on with positive blessing, but we have to watch, for the enemy always does, and if we are not looking actively to the Lord we lose our safeguard, and when distracted from Him he gets in, and often unconsciously: duties, occupation of heart with them, loss of spirituality, and the sense of the preciousness of Christ, worldliness, and then all the feebleness of walk which flows from the heart not realising Christ as motive and power, the light of His presence, and the soul in the light before Him. The Lord has been very gracious to you, having cleared you out from all your difficulties, not merely as a part, but not leaving a trace of what might have rested as a regret on your spirits -- haste in leaving, and returning while the evil was still there -- for you have been left clear of it all, and all that went before clean out of question. Now it is only the straightforward conflict with self and the world that we always have here.

You know we have gone through a great conflict here, but the Lord has been very gracious, and shewn that He governs -- a great comfort. There is a great desire to hear the word, I may say in a general way, everywhere. I have some fifty young men to read with me every Saturday evening, with only the word to draw them; and the brethren who have been faithful in our trials are more knit together. Altogether, though all wounds are not healed as to individuals, we have much to bless God for, and the work goes on externally as usual. It is increasedly blessed in Italy: we have lost a very dear man who was the efficient labourer, nor on account of the language can his loss, humanly speaking, be easily supplied, but God is above all difficulties.

What I fear everywhere is the world -- often unsuspected. We have need of positive diligence in seeking His face, so as to prove He is with us. "The secret of the Lord is with those that fear him." Our salvation is accomplished and settled, but the government of God which goes on according to His nature and holiness and wisdom, is a most important thing. He is faithful and full of love; but oh, what a difference to walk in the light of His countenance, to be in His secret! It would be a great joy to me to see you all again, but I am now in my eightieth year, and though my mind is as fresh as ever, that is no help to long journeys. Kindest love to the brethren, some of whom I do not know, and all your family. -- I trust will learn that Christ is worth a lot of lumber, and gold too, and, what is a great thing, worth it for ever and worth it now too. I have not had a shoe on these four or five weeks with the gout, but it has given me quiet.

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

London, March 17th.


[Page 78]

Dearest R T Grant, -- ... I trust you will have been guided in your path. -- has been used to such questions, but only the Lord can guide us in His path; if we have His secret and work with Him, having His approval all is well. May He so guide you! In England we have much for which greatly to bless the Lord ... . There remain some whose activity is of the enemy, I doubt not, and not of God. I feel it a solemn thing that they should be there, or, if there, should not be wholly in the shade. But I have felt all along that, save a positive testimony when called for, my part was to leave it entirely to God, for it was not a case of ordinary discipline, but an effort of the enemy to set aside brethren's testimony altogether. He has come in, and I trust Him for all the rest. Details have to be redressed ... . All is not straight, but, as I said, He who has done much will, I trust, finish the work of His goodness. That is what we have to seek, for San Francisco and London and heaven.

I have been writing in French on John, began for myself, but gone on for publishing, but have found rich blessing in it; what the Lord was really doing and His position in the midst of the Jews comes out so very clearly; His position, indeed, in the midst of the world as the light of God and the life of those who followed Him. He is all to us now, will be for ever. It is a great joy to me, that we shall be eternal witnesses of the efficacy of His work for the whole host of heaven, and even for the Father -- the fruit "of the travail of his soul" -- and not one (oh, how glad will it be!) who will not be exactly what His heart would desire, and so presented to God -- a bright and blessed time. But I must close ... . May the Lord guide you in all, and those who seek His face; do not be in a hurry, He must do the work, and sometimes does the work slower than we fancy doing it; but He does it well.

Hereford, April.


[Page 79]

[H C Anstey] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- Truths are sometimes simpler, when we take them simpler and do not make a system. Thyatira clearly goes on to the end, and the kingdom and the Morning Star -- the church and heavenly Christ -- are substituted for her. She is the great successional church on the earth, and Popery as such -- the ecclesiastical system that has had space to repent, and has not. Here, however, she is reviewed in her religious character. Babylon is more the civil corporate power which she exercises over the beast; but she is Rome, influences the masses, committing adultery with the kings, etc.: the horns -- the power of the ten kings -- and the beast hate and destroy her. But she is the persecutor of the saints, and is judged, not by the Lamb, but by God, and providentially as I suppose.

Laodicea is quite different in this respect: she is in a bad state, nauseous to Christ. It is her religious state, descending religiously from Protestantism -- Sardis; and Christ hay done with her: she is nauseous and cast out of Christ's mouth, disappears as a religious system, before the dealings with Babylon. What the individuals become is not stated, they may be infidels or anything else; but the corporate testimony is rejected by Christ or any in it. The civil political influence of Babylon remains to be destroyed: the blood of all saints was found in her, as in Jerusalem when she was destroyed. Thyatira is judged religiously, namely, for her religious state: she rather becomes Babylon, as judged in Revelation.

This you may meditate on, but I cannot, in haste, form any defined system of interpretation where it is not defined in scripture.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Your correspondent is much more modest. Titus and Timothy were occasional messengers of Paul, going and clothed with his authority for several objects, and no sign of local episcopacy; and John was at Ephesus after and such a delegate could not supersede and govern him, and Revelation 2: 13, 24, etc., prove they represented the body or those faithful among them -- not an individual, nor [do they] suppose such.

April 15th, 1880.


[Page 80]

H Talbot, The Seven churches are the external state of Christendom; and Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea, all go down to the end. All the speculations as to it are mental reasonings. The first three are judged by comparison with what the commencement was, as we with innocence, and the last four in view of Christ's return. This principle runs through all: Israel, Isaiah 5, 6; man; the church. Am I what Adam was? Can I meet the second Man, the Lord? Our part as regards the state of the church is faithfulness to the direct word of God everywhere, but as to special days, 2 Timothy, Jude. What is called the new lump principle is just what is condemned in Jude. They were in their feasts of charity, but separated themselves. The word applies to the state the word speaks of. If that applies to me, the exhortation does too; but in 2 Timothy, the directions are full -- "from such turn away." I cannot turn away from Christendom: I should be an apostate. I purge myself from evildoers, false doctrines and those who hold them.

For myself I have all along been very isolated, but I have never seen God so manifest Himself for those who are faithful is in the last few months or even weeks. I do not say all evil is purged as it should be, but it is not only that conscience is roused as it has been this year and a half, but that God has acted and met faithfulness. It is felt by all attentive souls occupied with it. And never has a door been closed (even before this), and the work went on as really never before, but now in the heart of the evil itself He has set to His hand. With us here in London it has been truly marvellous. I do not think His work is finished, but when He is at work, trusting Him for the issue is a simple matter. Trusting the Lord is always the ground, yet I feel on new ground when I see God acting, and He is.

I trust your dear child may again gain strength. But it is a world where sorrow and death is come; but the Lord is come in after it, and that is our comfort, and has suffered all needed -- "crucified in weakness," but is out of it in power. The Lord sustain you both in looking to Him.
1880.


[Page 81]

[F Haworth] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I had heard there was trouble in New York, but was greatly grieved when I read the cause in your letter, if I have rightly understood what you say, that some, -- among them, cannot worship the Lord. There is nothing new in it: a case happened in England, but the person was refused communion. It is a deep grief to me; I have written to him, which I thought the best way. Anything that touches the glory of the Lord, and our heart-estimate of Him, is of the last moment, and must be near the heart of him who loves Him. The case I referred to soon shewed other thoughts derogatory to the Lord.

As to myself, I am much better; I had a very severe cold from coming into the fogs of London, and it turned into a fit of the gout, from which I begin to be free; but have only put my shoes on these last few days, and that on going out, but I left London for a journey to see the brethren and work. I have had very free, nice meetings, well-attended at several places, and felt the Lord with me. All this trouble in London, which in principle threatened all the brethren, has done me and all of them a great deal of good -- roused their consciences and made them feel the need of looking more to Christ and being more wholly for Him. It was not a mere question of discipline but a regular effort to break up brethren, which I had long felt was going on, but which came fully out, with very corrupting elements. God has graciously broken that up ... .

It is generally a time of blessing ... . But here it will be still toil and labour, in the midst of opposition, till He comes who shall take us up to be with Him in God's rest. If we can only glorify Him meanwhile, all is well. What else have we to do? At the close of life, we see that only is life; but faith sees it all along by His being all: hold fast this, dear -- , and the secret and guidance of the Lord will be with you. It will be soon all over, and His approbation will then be everything. The time of my lying by was a time of rest I was greatly craving, and could hardly have found if I had been able to go out. I must close. We are in His hands, and thank God we are.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

It may be merely an idea taken up by dear -- , which with a little gentleness and scriptural proof he may drop; he seizes points rapidly, and I trust he may be delivered from this, for it affects morally all our estimate of Christ. It affects, in the thoughts and the feelings as to Him, the divine nature; only I hope, by dealing gently with him, he may come straight.

April 16th.


[Page 82]

[Page 83]

[E L Bevir] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- ... I have sent several sheets of John and they have begun to bring it out at Vevey. This has greatly interested myself. The way in which this gospel wholly sets aside man -- law as efficient for him, promises -- and presents Christ, God manifested in flesh, light, connected with what is divine, eternal, and heavenly, is very striking. I believe we have to take up man on his responsibility, and press it upon him in grace, for he has a conscience, the true +Anknüpfungspunkt of God with man, putting man in his place, and, as to this, God too. But if we want to know the truth of the matter, it is that man, cultivated of God so that He could do no more for His vineyard, meets the manifestation of Himself with inveterate enmity, and all is new, and sovereign grace and salvation, and then the Holy Ghost that we may know it. While it is the character of all the gospel, chapters 8 and 9 bring this out distinctly. The word leading to the revelation of "I AM," then brings out the stones to stone Him. What a scene! The incarnate Son is but clay on blind eyes, making innate blindness externally a hiding of light. The pool of Siloam, "the Sent One," gives sight, and the light is seen, and God known. The word is the instrument, for, rejected as it was by the Jews because He told them the truth, and their consciences, I think, evidently uneasy, their wills would none of what pressed on those consciences, and these would know when He was gone into new and other scenes; while the impression on the blind man was "he is a prophet" -- so with the Samaritan woman. The word has divine power on us, and so divine authority: then all can be received with divine faith. Then, chapter 10, He has His sheep: chapter 11, He is going to His Father, His hour was come. But we must begin by conscience.

We have everything to bless God for ... . I feel it is spring-time with brethren, though with gracious sunshine we have March winds betimes; still, as I trusted, God is working, and I wait for Him. My path now here may not please men; but if I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Jesus Christ. I have long, if poorly, served Him; but I believe I trust Him as I never did before. I feel I am a different person, not in myself as if there was good there, but trusting Him; and it is good, dear brother ... . The discipline of what has passed (and I never suffered so) has been most useful to me: He does all things well. The world passeth away and the fashion of it, but he that does the will of God abides for ever. The Lord be abundantly with you and all the dear brethren.

Reading, April.


+'Point of contact.' German.

[Page 84]

[To the same.] E L Bevir, I have often pressed that, while God must open the way, the power of Christianity is not in what it finds, but in what it brings; but it is true that Christians are constantly exposed to follow the influences which surround them. But we must be with God, and so from Him, without ceasing to be with Him in all our dealings with others, representing Him, and acting for Him, in all the service He has given to us; and if we are content to be nothing, and seek Him, this is happily accomplished without effort, for He will be with us. He is faithful and gracious, and the result will be sure in His own time: in general, in these days, we have to await this, to have it solid. Still, we see cases, where the Spirit of God works manifestly; and though revival work is often shallow and superficial, I do not judge it as severely as some do, for I find when the blessed Lord speaks of Himself as sowing, only one out of the four lasts to bring forth fruit. You will be glad to hear that the desire for the word seems everywhere manifest ... . They are dark times, but wherever Christ is fully preached, there are attentive and, through grace, receptive souls. We have only to work on.

Dublin, May.


Dear G McRaw, -- I know no one who does not think that all who believe in Christ are washed in His blood: but washed in His blood is not the same as redemption, though they may be identified as necessarily going together. Peace is not simply a matter of experience, though peace is experienced. Having made peace by the blood of his cross": that is not experience. And when I began to preach peace by Jesus Christ, fifty or sixty years ago, it was very rare indeed for any believer to have it. I object entirely to its being called mere experience: there is faith in the efficacy of Christ's work as well as in His Person, though all who believe in His Person have part in His work. The "therefore" of Romans 5 is lost in the note you send me, and the connection with chapter 4: the writer is not aware of it, but he denies justification by faith as stated in Romans 4, 5. No doubt if I believe in Christ, God sees me clear, but that is not justification. Peace is the consequence of justification by faith. I insist that all that believe in Christ are justified (washed in Christ's blood). But your correspondent leaves out justification by faith in consequence of Christ's being risen, and confounds peace and justification, or rather drops the latter, leaving all as what is in God's mind, or the experience of peace. It is for souls very dangerous teaching, leaving out all exercise of soul, and the reality of faith connected with the sense of sins. Conscience and responsibility are left out of the question and hence so much hollowness of profession. The best gospel preached when I began was, You must be born again, and now examine whether you are in the faith; and three quarters of evangelists are there yet, and object to assurance, though there is an immense change; but very few have the faith of Hebrews 10. Your correspondent shuts out faith as to this. I do not believe he means any harm, but I fear there is too little experience, and too much learned.


[Page 85]

[F Rowan] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I do not take up -- 's objection to your tract, not from any slight of him, but because I have discussed the subject with him heretofore, and I think him the opposite, to say the least, to being clear on the subject, On that point I do not listen to him. But I am not quite satisfied with your tract: the mediatorial character of Christ on the subject of life disappears too much, and the life of God becomes too much the God of life or life in God. I agree with your tract in the main, though it does seek to make mentally clear what can be only spiritually clear, as it seems to me. I do not believe that "the life of God" is merely character of life. It involves, as indeed it always does, a true life which bears that character.

But in John 5: 26 I have what makes me hesitate. It is not said life in Him, as in the Father Himself -- "hath," and "given to have," at once makes a vital difference. You could not say any one gave God to have life in Himself, and that, because He has it in Himself. It is not a question with me of Christ's true eternal Deity -- it is none, but of ejkevwse (Philippians 2: 7), and taking on Him the form of a servant, and so being dependent and obedient, a place He carefully and perfectly continued in. 'That life,' you say, 'which is proper to God dwells as fully in the incarnate Son as in the Godhead itself.' I do not say anything of 'as fully,' but in the same way is not true, for the Father has given to the Son (incarnate) to have life in Himself. This is not true of Godhead. You could not say that God lives diav any being. Christ says I live dia; to;n patevra (not tou' patrov") John 6: 57. And the subject here is just this descent of life and our living by Christ; and the flesh of Christ is distinctly brought in and His death. In John's gospel this reception from the Father is most carefully everywhere retained, while His own proper Deity shines all through most strikingly. Hence your phrase, 'is none other than the life of God -- the life which is proper to God, and which at the incarnation took up its abode, in all its divine fulness, in the Person of the Lord Jesus,' has hardly a clear sense. It never took up its abode in God, and it is never so said in scripture, but that the Father gave to the Son (incarnate) to have life in Himself. This leads me to add here, that "That which was from the beginning," in 1 John 1 is not for me eternal, but the incarnate Word down here, as chapter 2 clearly shews. Further, remark that in John 1, where we have abstractedly what Christ was -- "in him was life," and, I doubt not, divinely and eternally -- as such it is light, which is not received at all.

I do not agree with your interpretation of "gave power to become sons";+ for we are sons uiJoiv by faith in Him -- quickening power was needed to receive Him.

I admit the life is never 'detached from its source'; "because I live, ye shall live also": but 'enjoyed in common'++ -- this tends to destroy its mediatorial character at the other end, for 'in common' is as if we had both received it alike from some common source: Hebrews 2: 11 goes the farthest. And you go so far as to say, 'in common with God its fountain.' (page 34.) Now scripture goes very far in this direction, though not so speaking of life: we dwell in God and God in us. But here again mediatorship is left out. True it is that Christ and God are identified in John's epistle: still, in chapter 4: 9, we get the mediatorial character. I have no difficulty as to divine nature. Christ is our life, and he who has the Son of God has life, and he has the life of Jesus, which if shewn out is there to be shewn out. All this I should insist on, and have long and largely so done, and as I fully admit and thank God for it -- never detached: but 'in common with God its fountain' you will not find. Christ is our life: but Paul connects this with another truth you have not touched. We are raised with Christ, He having become, as to life down here, a dead Man; and in Colossians we are raised with Him, in Ephesians -- quickened with Him and raised, Jew or Gentile, and seated in heavenly places. But here He is looked at, not as a source of life, but as raised by God's power.

I could not say that life was not communicated, for surely if a man is born, life is communicated, only I admit not life in us as a separate thing. "He that hath the Son hath life": God's "seed remaineth in him." In speaking of vegetable and animal life as you do, conscious, voluntary action in mind or body, and important and reflectively only in man, is left out; and, to say the least, it greatly characterises life itself, if not a definition.

Growing up to Him who is the Head, has scarcely its place in your account of holiness. Christ is eternal life: we have Him as life; and it will be complete when like Him in glory, and we "are changed into the same image from glory to glory." So He has sanctified Himself that we might be sanctified through the truth. The nature which grows is holy, I admit, in itself. Your account of sealing (page 39) I doubt the exactness of. When examined in detail, I find it based on faith in the blood and its efficacy in remission, so in the type of the leper. I do not think tevkna and uiJoiv quite so distinct as you make them (page 40), though I admit the difference: Galatians 3 is uiJov"; John uses tevkna; but Romans 8: 14-17 shews it is not merely characteristic style.

-- sent me 'New Creation.' I think nature's relationships are too much lost in it. God holds to all He created in the first creation. "From the beginning it was not so." "God made them male and female." "What therefore God hath joined together": this holds good as long as man, in the body and natural life, is there. I do not know what you mean by the new creation being complete and perfect in Christ.

I have not quoted Christ's breathing on His disciples in connection with life, as it may be disputed; but we have Him "come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly." I rejoice with all my heart, both for your own sake and the Lord's goodness in the blessing He has given you. In general there is much thirst for the word now, so that brethren are a good deal encouraged in faithful service.

Dublin, May, 1880.


+'Christ, or the Last Adam, a quickening Spirit, gives power to as many as receive Him to become children (tevkna) of God, by their being born of God.' ['Eternal Life,' page 33.]

++'This ... the believer has, not as a gift which on its bestowal becomes detached from its source or spring, but in inseparable connection with Himself, where it is enjoyed in common or in communion with Him.' (Page 20.)

[Page 86]

[Page 87]

[Page 88]

Dear J S Oliphant, -- ... Everywhere I find the saints springing up in fresh growth, and happier, and conscience much more alive, and thirst for the word, and the soberest minds feeling the difference. Persevering firmness in holding a true moral ground, and bearing the humiliation of the saints on the heart and not setting up to do something especially excellent oneself, is the path of faith. If God casts the brethren off, it will be time enough to start afresh with something from Him. I prefer trusting His goodness, acknowledging how greatly we have failed. We shall see in result where God will bring us. What I feel is that the whole tone of the spiritual state of brethren has to be raised; and it is rising, though, I doubt not, much remains to be done. But it is by occupying them with Christ and His glory and sufferings, with all that is before us, and the truth as it is in Jesus, that this is to be done. The more I think of it, the more I see that the plain maintenance of moral integrity, and then trusting God, is of all moment now. The former had been so shaken and forgotten, that, unless gross cases of morality, godly judgment of evil was impossible. Many have still to learn that want of moral integrity is not to be borne, but the sense that the Christian must so feel has been widely awakened, and this is a great point. But I say no more -- but this is what is on my heart, was from the beginning. Worldliness will, I trust, have its wings clipped too. Many details pass before my mind, serials and the like; but I go no further.

I trust and pray that God may graciously spare Mrs. -- . A mother, be she ever so sick, is always an immense loss: the bond of the house or family is broken. An eye and a heart are there which, even if they cannot do much, those that make the family refer to, and run in solicitude through all. A man cannot be this in the same way, however kind a father. Still God does all things well, and can turn, however deeply felt, an evil into real and better blessing. Still no one can be a mother but a mother, but God can be everything to us and towards us in all our cares.

Here there is very fresh interest in the word. I am growing old and my gout is a hindrance, still I work away, and all, all is well. If He works, how should it be otherwise? My kind remembrance to Mrs. -- . I trust and pray she may have the Lord very near her in her weak state: weak or strong, it is what we need, and, weak or strong, sufficient for us.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Dublin, May 20th.


[Page 89]

Dearest G (C?) McAdam, -- As regards the brethren, it is not only that I have enjoyed my visits, but grave, sober men, like -- , I found quite cheery as to the way they saw God working among brethren. I do not doubt a bit that there is still much to do, and only One who can do it. I am not surprised at those you speak of labouring to support evil; perhaps I expect such things too much ... .

Now if God is pleased to set aside brethren, I bow to it; but I do not believe it, though we may have deserved it. God has interfered, and checked the tide of evil. I quite recognise there are remains, but I trust Him as to these, as to the body of the evil ... . Wait awhile and you will see the issue of God's dealings ... . The brethren had let things get into a state in which corporate action was very difficult, but God has acted, and will act ... . Brethren had morally declined, and the question was, Had God given them up? Well, I felt faith would not say Yes, and I stayed where I was; but the whole state had to be raised for permanent blessing, and that was an individual, moral thing. Many were ignorant of what was at work ... .

I have no doubt many are sealed who could not explain it, and would fear, from bad teaching to say too boldly they were sons; but an unsealed Christian is unknown to scripture. It is not conversion, but the Holy Ghost coming to dwell in us so that our bodies are temples. In general, it is said, "having believed [Ephesians 1 "the gospel of your salvation"] ye were sealed." If we come to details, I believe it will be as believing in the work and its efficacy as well as the Person of Christ.

"Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart.''

Dublin, 1880.


[Page 90]

Mr Mahoney, I know well how few know deliverance; but it is a great thing to know that I, a poor worm, should be before God and the Father in the same acceptance and favour that Christ is, loved even as He is loved. But it is the greatness of infinite love. Then it is not generally preached with intelligence; next, it is experimental; and, above all, we must be in earnest to have it. Who is willing to be dead to what nature and flesh would desire? Yet that is the only way of deliverance. People will tell you it is our standing in Christ. I admit it as Colossians 3, and as faith owns in Romans 6 and Galatians 2; but who is willing to be in the standing? It is standing, or else we are in the hopeless effort of Romans 7, or an honest monks' labour, which I have tried; and even if we have experimentally learned, as it must be learned, who is carrying out 2 Corinthians 4, so as to have the conscience living in it by an ungrieved spirit? But if experimentally taught, it is of the greatest use to souls; and the joy of being blameless in Christ before God is exceeding great, and one that is eternal and divine in its source and nature -- a wonderful thing; "for he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." The world is a terrible snare and a subtle one, and greatly hinders this deliverance. A soul enjoying deliverance has its object elsewhere. (See Romans 8) Then we must remember, "the soul of the diligent shall be made fat." I press, when souls are in earnest, "My grace is sufficient for thee, and my strength is made perfect in weakness." For we learn we are without strength for deliverance, and walk in the sense of it if we can be used in service; but His grace is sufficient. Knowing we are nothing is the place of blessing, for then God is everything; and the place of strength, for then Christ can put forth His strength. In this 2 Corinthians 12 is a most instructive chapter. Strength for service may be found, in what is within alone between us and God, [and] may be found, in the third heavens; but strength in it is found in Christ, when we are kept in the abiding consciousness that we can do nothing. We all know it. If we have not a permanent thorn in the flesh, we must at any rate return to the camp at Gilgal.

Dublin, May 28th.


[Page 91]

[C Crain] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- These cases of discipline are always difficult, and test the state of the assembly. I do not pretend to have much gift for them, and it depends on the spiritual discernment of those who deal with it. I have no doubt an annihilationist should be put away: it always really denies the atonement, responsibility, the immortality of the soul, and every just sense of sin. The main question is, Does he hold it now? I would say that dear -- , whose devotedness I know, is apt to deal rapidly and harshly in discipline, yet I cannot think it an evil that the assembly has given thereby a plain testimony, that it will not accept those who hold such doctrine: but this testimony it has given, and I am very thankful for it. The question, whether he held it then, does not affect this one way or another The only thing that affects my mind is the subtle infecting poison of these doctrines; and hence the getting assured that not only the open holding of the doctrine, but the infection of the doctrine, does not remain, for it chimes in with the flesh and human nature. But if he be perfectly clear now, the assembly did clear themselves, for which as to it I am very thankful; and I see no reason why he should not be received. It is a good sign that he justifies the assembly, but I may say, that we have no right to keep out God's children if they are sound in doctrine and godly in practice. The point is, Is he really clear, and does he judge the doctrine as evil, and really the denial [of what is] fundamental for souls; for, I repeat, if we have only animal-living souls, responsibility and atonement are gone. If God gave a dog eternal life he would not have to answer for what he had done, nor [need] a Saviour either; and I never met one who had not lost atonement: even if Christians their minds had lost it, and I have had to say to plenty of them. Besides, if death is ceasing to exist, as they hold, Christ ceased to exist, and the foundations of faith are gone; and this was admitted to me by two of the most respectable of them at Boston. Does he, then, clearly judge the evil? Only seek [that there should not be] any breach of unity, for questions of discipline always tend to that. But our trust is, as you say, the Lord is above it all ... .

Kindest love to all the brethren. I am eighty if I live a few months, and I can hardly hope to see them -- a sorrow to my spirit, but it is a going home to them as to me, and not an unwelcome one, though as long as He has work for me here, I am content to stay, and would rather have His will, whatever it be. I shall be always glad to hear from you and of all the brethren.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Dublin, June.


[Page 92]

[B F Pinkerton] DEAREST BROTHER, -- It is a long while since I wrote to you, and I have been some good while purposing to do so. It is not that I have a great deal to say, but I do not like dropping my intercourse with you. My soul draws nearer home: I want but a few months of eighty, and, though fresh in mind, through mercy, that home breaks more and more into my spirit. I feel more and more how ignorant our hearts are of it; yet, strange to say, I am sometimes afraid of being too familiar with it -- not sufficiently adoring affections. And surely that is true: yet one thing I know with joy, that Christ is all.

I had been going through the hymns we have, for a new edition, and the question of hymns to the Father presented itself, and the study of our relationship with the Father was much blessed to me, developing it to my heart. How gracious He is!

I have been laid up with the gout, fruit of over-fatigue in France; but the Lord's hand was in it, for I craved being quiet on my return to London, and it precluded my going out. But, though yet barely able to put on a soft shoe, I worked my way from London here, holding meetings in many places, and found everywhere thirst for the Word. Here also we have had most interesting meetings, reading John, and a great number coming. We read John's gospel, and Christ came personally before us, not our privileges, but Christ Himself.

There are three things I find in the often trying and toilsome life of faith: first, trusting God that nothing can hinder His accomplishing His purpose. All that his brethren did to frustrate the accomplishment of Joseph's dreams, just led to that accomplishment. They sent him to Egypt. The hard and wicked accusation against him in Potiphar's house put him in prison, where he met the butler and baker who brought him where the dream was fulfilled. Next, for us, simple obedience, taking God's mind for wisdom, and doing His will. He has a path for His saints in this world; in it they find Him and His strength, though perhaps the life of faith be dark: then, if we know the purpose of God, light is in the soul. But the path He will guide us in. It may seem dark, but, if His, it is the way of arriving at His rest. But a single eye seeking nothing but Christ is the secret of certainty of walk, and firmness as having the secret of the Lord with you. But what a calling! we have to walk worthy of God who has called us to His own kingdom, and yet what a joy to be thus associated with Himself! And we know His purpose is to glorify Christ, and so we seek that, in walking worthy of Him and serving Him in love.

Did you ever notice Luke 12, the two things looked for in us? First, watching; its reward, making us sit down to table in heaven, and ministering the blessing to us; and then serving in what He sets us to do, and the reward of that, ruling. But the first is wonderful, that He remains for ever our servant in love. How blessed to have Him, and be His! There is progress in the Song of Songs. First, He is ours; next, we are His; and then I am my Beloved's, and His desire is towards me. That is wonderful to say! The riches of scripture, both for knowledge and for affections, is beyond our thoughts -- no wonder, as it comes from God; but it is all ours. But the perfectness of our place is wonderful; and I do not mean now as to glory, true as that is, but morally. He is given to be the Object of our affections who is sufficient for the Father's; and to have Him in His path down here even is the food of the soul. Energy comes from seeing Him up there (Philippians 3), likeness to Him from feeding on Him down here. (Philippians 2)

We are drawing on to the end, and I look to the Lord to keep His own to meet Him in that day. The Lord be with you, dear brother, in your soul and in your work.

Dublin, June 10th.


[Page 93]

[Page 94]

[R Roberts] DEAR BROTHER, -- I do not at all accept the exposition of the Bible Herald.+ You might as well say the great day of atonement was for those already cleansed. Besides, the anointing the leper was not recalling the sealing of the Holy Ghost to mind, but doing the thing when he was cleansed: he had never been anointed before, and the blood put upon him was the ground of its being done. It is an old interpretation, I judge, and a false one. Besides it confounds everything, imputation and uncleanness with loss of communion. The red heifer is the rite that refers to restoration, nor is it a question of discipline -- which is for restoration, not for cleansing by blood.

Dublin, June.


+Volume 4. 161. 'This portion [Leviticus 13, 14] treats of discipline toward a Christian or one who has been reckoned as such, and not of the salvation of a sinner.' 'In thought we must go back to the Lord's death and resurrection as often as restoration is required ... for by His blood atonement is effected and by His resurrection all who believe in Him are cleared from all charge of guilt.' (page 165.) 'But for the atonement we cannot receive the Holy Ghost: without the Spirit we have no power to serve God: of these things the action of the priest [chapter 14: 17] here reminds us ... . The restored one has need to be reminded,' etc. (page 168).

[Page 95]

DEAREST BROTHER, -- I was very glad to get your news, and that thus far the Lord has helped. My conviction is that, though we might like increase of numbers, yet, from the state of Italy, very godly care -- not suspicion -- should be exercised in receiving into communion. Some may stay back thus who ought to be in, but testimony to Christ is maintained in its integrity. Deliverance from popery is a great blessing, and at first it took that character, and I doubt not there are many scattered converted souls, but gathering is another thing: "He that gathereth not with me scattereth." Very ignorant souls may be rightly gathered, if there is godliness and integrity and lowliness; but we are called to walk with those who call on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart.

Here the Lord has added another to the list of places where thirst after the word has been marked: we have had, at their desire, reading-meetings three evenings a week, very well attended, and liberty amongst the saints. We have read John's gospel with unabated interest; and I think the blessing has specially been from its being the blessed Lord Himself that has been before us: not even, however confessedly precious, the church privileges of Ephesians, and the like. Most precious they are, and to His glory, still they are as to us, and not Himself, and there is nothing so precious as that -- Himself. Life, righteousness, power, are all in Him, but that is for us. But in Himself objectively, it is purely Himself. You know I was studying and writing for myself on John at Pau, and it enlarged my apprehensions very much, but even so it was comparatively teaching, and led me on, perhaps, to what we have enjoyed here; for much of what we enjoyed was old truth.

May He keep you -- us -- near Him!

Dublin, 1880.


Dear Mrs. Brown(e?), -- I hardly know how to answer you, save to say to you to look to the Lord, and to do so myself; but that is a great comfort. Labourers in the harvest we have a crying want for here, and the Lord recognises it as a kind of known want, and tells us what to do. For who can send them but He, or raise up such as can go? I know none. In these countries there is far and wide an open ear, and very few to tell the glad tidings of salvation and a Saviour's love, yet there ought to be a sense of it which would urge us to bring it forth to others. After all, you are better off than many a place; yet I recognise the need, and earnestly pray the Lord to supply it. He cares for His church better than we know how. Yet I do not at all deny our responsibility in being exercised before Him for called-for blessing. It would have been a great joy for me to see you all at Boston, and indeed elsewhere, again; but I am forced to remember that I am within a few months of eighty, and have had the gout to boot, and though, thank God, fresh and happy in spirit, and labouring as usual, long journeys become a greater burden, but one is nearer home -- not, I hope, weary of what is here, certainly not of His service, but feeling it the deepest grace and mercy to be allowed to serve when I know what I am, though all around brings the presence of evil home to me, but -- the thought of seeing Him, being in my Father's house and where holiness is and evil cannot be, where every saint will be exactly what Christ would desire they should be, the manifested proof of the travail of His soul, an eternal witness to the efficacy of His redemption.

The door is very open in these kingdoms for the word of God, and everywhere I hear of there is a thirst for it; 80 that besides study work there is plenty for all the labourers there are, and more too, if the Lord were pleased to send such as He would have.

Belfast, June 19th.


[Page 96]

DEAR -- , -- -- 's notion is nothing new; it is held by many mystic evangelicals in a somewhat different shape, perhaps, but it is only a notion ... . The general notion I have alluded to is, that there is a kind of essence or germ of the body which remains, and is glorified, which would involve the exuviae. But I have a horror of all notions, they are not Christ, and His unsearchable riches, and if the soul is full of Him, notions do not rise or suggest themselves. 1 Corinthians 15: 38 answers it: "God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him," and what is sown in corruption is raised in incorruption, and what is sown in dishonour is raised in glory; and if we pretend to go further, we go beyond what is written, and are in danger of being designated a fool. There is no such minuteness of comparison as this notion would find: it takes it to shew generally a resurrection in incorruption and glory, out of the grave of corruption and dishonour; but the exuviae is a thought man's mind adds; but, as has been said of old, we are to bring ideas from scripture, not to it. It was a natural body, and becomes a spiritual body. When the living are changed there are no exuviae: Christ could shew His hands and feet pierced. It is a change; the corruptible puts on incorruption, and what is mortal, immortality. These notions are the product of men's minds, and not what flows from the fulness of Christ, and that is the evil; and if we harbour them, it tends to shut Him out. But we have to bear with idle notions, and not strive. The best thing is to bring in Christ, and they fall or collapse by their own emptiness.

-- has begun to break bread. -- is greatly troubled: I cannot say it did me. I could not ask them to go to A. H. till they gave up their false position, and I could hardly expect them to abstain for ever, and if they acted in starting with precipitation after the action of A. H., there was no way out but one God might open. But there was not the sober weighing of all before God that we ever need, and there was in some degree the pretension to start something extra. -- wrote to me of a prayer-meeting they had in London: but I answered that I had nothing against a prayer-meeting; but I could not be a party to a party, even to resist evil. But it will all get right, but as to men, I fear their seeking their own ease, not simply waiting on God for all.

The Lord be with you! He it is who works, and His Father too. May we lean constantly on Him!

Belfast, June, 1880.


[Page 97]

Dear F Gibbs, -- ... The first resurrection I believe to be one whole thing, as contrasted with the second. (Revelation 20: 4, 5.) Verse 4 brings in those killed under the beast. You have the general fact, there are sitters on thrones; then you have those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and "those who" -- not, and who -- had not worshipped the beast. These all form part of the first resurrection, the Old Testament saints "made perfect" with us. Chapter 6: 9 answers to the first specific class in this verse; those of the beast's time to the last, for whom those of chapter 6: 9 wait. In this last verse there is nothing expressly of resurrection; the question is the execution of vengeance; for this, they have to wait for the last class, who are slain under the beast (such as the two witnesses), who are a kind of supplementary class, and are the saints of the high places of Daniel 7. When judgment is given to the saints (Daniel 7: 22) their trials are over; the same characteristic is found in Revelation 20. 4. The patience of the saints goes on till then. This is over when the Ancient of days comes. (Revelation 14: 13, 14.)

Affectionately yours in the Lord

Dublin, June 24th, 1880.


[Page 98]

[J B Parkins] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- As regards division, I am as decided as possible ... . I wrote that I would no more go with a party against evil than with the evil itself, and quoted Isaiah 8: 12, 13. I knew before I left for France, but found it much more forward than I was aware of when I returned. I do not believe it is either faith or godliness. I am pretty well aware of the springs which have moved in it. It would be still a question whether God was going to set aside the brethren: if He does, certainly I should not go with any party in it. I have long felt that this party that assumes to be the godly one is the one to be feared. They are tried with evil, I admit, but this is not faith ... . Suffice it to say, with no party action will I have anything to do save to reject it. But the conclusion come to at Cheapside favoured no such action.

Dublin, July 1st.


[Page 99]

[G J Stewart] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I am always glad to hear from you, though I am a bad correspondent, and, I suppose, a bad one from pre-occupation with much work that lies before me ... .

Spiritual life wants cultivating; it is this we must look to, that there may be a true testimony. The brethren in England are somewhat aroused, but we have still much to seek that the Spirit of God and the life of Christ may pervade the mass. For this not only the privileges of the church must be held out, but Christ Himself. The other is all right, needed to clear us as to the mixed deadness of the name of Christian, and brighten our hopes; I should ever insist on it, it is what brought me out; but it is not what sustains life and forms the affections. "He that eateth me shall live by me." This alone gives singleness of eye, and fixes the mind as to its object. It is never said of the church, but of Christ He is all. "Christ is all, and in all" -- "all" as object, "in all" as power of life to enjoy Him, and know the Father.

I have had, through mercy, a good time in Ireland, and in Dublin a great desire after the word. The brethren have been greatly interested in reading it; indeed, we have found it commonly thus. Kent remains unsettled, but I have heard nothing of it since -- began to break bread. It is not what in itself tries me, but a party right in their desire for good, but pretending to set up something new and holy, and, I think, despising God's patience with what I admit has greatly failed; but I feel one must take this, as all else, as under His hand; but I do not see them to be guided of God. I do not believe it is faith. I have to learn, in them, for myself, that patience may have its perfect work. After all, God continues blessing in spite of it all. I dread the world; and a nourishing with Christ, and cementing power of the Spirit is needed, so that both the object and the power should bind all together, and the truth spread by a divine testimony. To His working we must look.

It is a great comfort to think He is always right, and always does right. He loves the church, and in the midst of all our failures carries on His work of loving grace towards it, to "present it to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing." And, individually, such a High Priest became us as was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, made higher than the heavens," yet we have not One "who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are, sin apart." We belong to there, yea, go in boldly; but are here sanctified in spirit for that place which He has prepared for us by His entry there, and exercised and helped here by a sympathy and mercy which, while it is met by dependence in us, is a living and gracious sustainment, and gives blessed confidence. On Him we can count; He loves the church now as ever, and though our hearts are weak, how often have I seen His hand come in where all seemed hopeless. As men have said, 'Man's extremity is God's opportunity,' and so it is, and even in our souls -- where to know deliverance is, that we must have learned we cannot deliver ourselves. Peace be with you.

Your affectionate brother in Christ

Dublin, July, 1880.


[Page 100]

[J Dunlop] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I was glad to see your hand and name, and answer you at once. I object altogether to the question What benefit does the world get from [propitiation]? It puts everything on a false and low ground, as if the end and only object of God's ways -- leaving out the claims of His glory and nature in that which angels desire to look into. I agree in general with what you say; but "the Lord's lot" was not for the sins of the people, as guilt, though God's holy and righteous nature was met in respect of their sin. The blood was sprinkled first, on and before the mercy-seat -- God's throne in the most holy place where God dwelt -- and the altar of incense. The atonement was for the "holy place ... that remaineth among them." "That is for the people," (verse 15) is in contrast with Aaron and his house. But what was cleansed and hallowed was the holy place, and the altar, no doubt, because of the tabernacle being among them. As meeting God's nature and character, it was the basis of all. (Compare Hebrews 9: 23-26 and 27, 28.) The taking away the sin of the world was to have "a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" -- is the fruit of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Thank God! our sins are taken away, too, but that is a different thing from putting away sin.

It is deplorable to make putting away our sins, true and blessed as it is, the end of all. God has been glorified in Him (John 13) in such sort, that Man is in the glory of God. In the scapegoat, God's people were represented in their head -- the high priest -- and those only who, as such, were identified with him. In the other there was no such representation -- a most important principle. Though the people's uncleanness were the occasion of it, it was the Lord's lot, His dwelling-place which was in question, and transgressions not in question, save as the means of its defilement; and the blood was under God's eye as the ground of all God's dealings till, and making the security of, the new heavens and the new earth. (See John 13: 31, 32.) Through the cross, God Himself has been fully glorified, and in virtue of it Christ Himself has entered into the glory of God as Man, though He had it before the world was. (So Philippians 2) Man's sin was absolute, Satan's power over all the world, man's perfection absolute in Christ when absolutely tested, God's righteous judgment against sin displayed as nowhere else, and perfect love to the sinner, His majesty made good. "It became him." (Hebrews 2) No doubt our sins were borne too, thank God! that we might have part in the results; but blessed as this is for us, it was really a secondary thing to the basis of the glory of God in the universe, and the bringing all into order, according to what He is fully displayed. So John 17: 4, 5. But in John's gospel there is not a word of the forgiveness of our sins, save as administered by the apostles.

Finally, the people were not represented in the blood on the mercy-seat and holy place; their sins gave occasion to its being done but the cleansing was of God's dwelling-place, that that should be fit for Him, and what He was, perfectly glorified by Christ's death -- to be for ever before Him as eternal redemption. The two goats made but one Christ in different aspects. But propitiation alters the whole ground of God's dealings with man. It is the display of God's mercy maintaining God's righteousness, but opening the door to the sinner -- the ground on which I preach the gospel, and can say to every sinner, The blood is on the mercy-seat; return to God, and it will be His joy to receive you: it is not necessary for Him to judge you if you so come, for His righteousness is fully glorified, and His love free. This may bring out the evil will in man, but it is then "ye will not come to me that ye might have life." There is death in substitution -- He "bore our sins in his own body on the tree" -- "died for our sins according to the scriptures": as I have said, the two goats are one Christ.

The word "lost" is not a different word. Christ came to seek sinners, not repentant sinners. God leads to repentance. We have the repentant sinner in the third parable -- the seeking in the two first. (Luke 15) The "lost" in them has, of course a physical sense as a figure, but there was no thought of their disposition to return. It is a miserable denial of the gospel; "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." The figure of their being carried clean away, not to be found, may be given, but that forgiveness and redemption are by blood-shedding is stated everywhere -- no remission of sins without it. "We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins." Luke 19: 10 is also "lost" -- the same word ... .

Dublin, 1880


[Page 101]

[Page 102]

DEAR -- , -- First, I do not think you have put in adequate prominence, at starting, Hebrews 10, distinguishing the Spirit's work which gives us the sense of our sins at conversion (and can only of past ones) and Christ's work when all were future and the efficacy of which was not only up to the day of our conversion. Next, I believe 1 John 1: 5-10 to be abstract the message received from Christ come. Chapter 2: 1, as you say, is clearly believers; but confession of sins is at the beginning and all along. Walking in light, fellowship, and cleansing, are the three elements of the christian state. Chapter 2: 1, as you say, begins with the saints: it was for them he wrote what went before, but what he wrote was abstract truth, the message But I think chapter 1: 9 is present application: uprightness in confession brings forgiveness in relationship -- not merely justification.


Dear H M Hooke, -- 1 John 1: 7 I believe to be an abstract statement, as I might say, Quinine cures intermittent fever: it is its quality and effect. Abstract, absolute statements characterise John: "he cannot sin;" "the wicked one toucheth him not." As to verse 9, it is the same, only it is subjective -- the state and act of the person. If a person confesses his sins he is forgiven: his soul must be in that state to be forgiven. Only when it is at the outset, it is justification once for all, afterwards governmental: in the first case, non-imputation; in the second, the dealings of God with His people or children. And the difference is important, connected with the revelation made in Christianity.

I thank God for the blessing He has bestowed upon your work. May He keep us near Himself, and that Christ may be all, so that our life may be the production of Christ, and nothing else. His coming will indeed be joy. Our full happiness is laid up in treasure there. We wait for it till He comes. Till then it is the word of His patience and serving Him.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Dublin, 1880.


[Page 103]

MY DEAR SIR, -- I have received your tract, and am glad to have done so, as it affords me an opportunity to give a little more fully the scriptural evidence of the Deity of the Lord. How much it pained me to read it, I cannot tell you; but I apply myself at once to the point. The rash expressions of individuals are nothing to the purpose: the question is, what does scripture say? No Christian denies he should pray to the Father, but it is equally certain the Lord is prayed to -- nay, calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus is, so to speak, a definition of a Christian in 1 Corinthians 1: 2. Stephen called on the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit, and Paul that the thorn might be taken from him. A child prays to his Father, but the administration of the house is in the Lord's hands.

It is a strange assertion that the scriptures do not say that Jesus is God: and I pray you to note that the question connects itself directly with that of What was He before He was a man? "The Word was with God, and the Word was God." "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." You will not deny that that was Jesus: did God, for such the Word was, cease to be God? He was "in the form of God," laid aside His glory, "and took upon him the form of a servant;" but He is called God: Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. (Matthew 1: 23.) The scriptures do therefore call Him God. Again, Jesus means Jah, or Jehovah the Saviour; His name states that He is Jehovah: is not Jehovah God? Jesus received it, because He was to "save his people from their sins" -- whose people? Hence, in John 12, the evangelist cites a passage from Isaiah 6, where the highest glory of Jehovah is displayed, and says (verse 41) the prophet saw Christ's glory and spake of Him. Hence the Lord says to the Jews, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."

Your question as to the Son of David is nothing to the purpose; no one says God is the Son of David: all Christians own that Christ was born into the world as a man: what they say is that the Son of David was also God. Take the end of 1 John 2 and beginning of 3 -- in chapter 2: 28, "he shall appear;" that is, Christ: in verse 29, saints are "born of him;" but they are "sons of God" in chapter 3: 1; but the world "knew him not": that is, the same Person is Christ on earth. In verse 2 we are "the sons of God," but, "when he shall appear;" now it is Christ. No one can read this passage and not see that Christ and God were one Object or Person before the apostle's mind; and so at the end of the epistle, "We are in him that is true, that is, in his Son Jesus Christ: this [He] is the true God and eternal life." And even the Old Testament knows this. In Daniel 7 the Son of man comes to the Ancient of days (verse 13), but further on in the course of the chapter, the Ancient of days comes. (verse 22) So in Revelation 1: 17: "The first and the last" is "he that liveth and was dead." In chapter 1: 8, Alpha and Omega is the Almighty; in chapter 22: 12, 13, it is Christ who comes. In 1 Timothy 6: 14, 16, "the blessed and only Potentate" is "King of kings and Lord of lords," but in Revelation 19: 16 this is Christ. In John 17. He looks to be glorified with the Father, but He had had it before the world was. What He says is that He does and can do nothing as originated by Himself, ajfj eJautou' (John 5: 19) The same is said of the Holy Ghost (chapter 16: 13), "He shall not speak of himself" -- ajfj eJautou' "from himself" as a source. No Christian denies He took the form of a servant, and always so lived on the earth: but who "took upon him the form of a servant"? Not an angel; he is a servant, and cannot leave his first estate. Christ "made himself of no reputation" when He was in the form of God: was it a false form? The Lord forgive the question: I put it for your sake, dear sir. He could say, "before Abraham was I AM." The fulness of the Deity, you admit, dwelt in Him. The Son of David was much more than the Son of David: "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself." Whose thoughts and words were Christ's? were they not a man's, yet whose? He could say "the Son of man who is in heaven." What was He before He came down? Was the Word which became flesh (sa;rx ejgevneto) before [He became so] God or not?

Proving He was Man, proves nothing; we all believe it as fundamental truth: but was He only a man? Clearly not: He was "the Word:" He "came down from heaven." What was He then before He became a man? He claims to be One with the Father (John 10: 30) -- can a creature? If He was not a creature He was God; or we have one not created at all, of independent existence in Himself, yet not God, which is confusion and impossible. "By him were all things created:" who did that? He is the Firstborn of the creation, because He created it: all things, moreover, consist by Him. (Colossians 1: 16) He was "in the beginning," and then by him were all things made that are made. (John 1: 1, 3) He, then, was not made: are there two Gods? He laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of His hands; they perish, but He remains. (Hebrews 1: 8, 10, 11) All the angels of God are to worship Him. (verse 6) "Blessed are all they that put their trust in him" (Psalm 2: 12), but "cursed be the man that trusteth in man." (Jeremiah 17: 5) He and the Father are one: can any creature say that?

I find, then, that He is called God before He came into the world (John 1), after He came into the world -- "God with us." He created all things, and "by him all things consist," is to be worshipped as the first and the last, Alpha and Omega -- which is the express title of the Almighty, King of kings and Lord of lords, the Ancient of days: and, lest we should think Him some inferior God, we are told that all the fulness of the Godhead (qeovthto") dwelt in Him bodily. (Colossians 2: 9) The moral teaching of scripture confirms it. "Christ is all" to the Christian, so that if He be not God, God is nothing. The object of the supreme devotion of the heart, I am to live to Him (2 Corinthians 5: 15); is this to a creature? This is the real question: Is He the creature or the Creator? No Christian denies that He is true, very Man, and that He has taken a place inferior to the Father; but for this He made Himself of no reputation when in the form of God, and took upon Him the form of a servant: no creature could do that; he is one by nature.

He was, as you say, the foreordained Second Adam, but that Second Adam was the Lord from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15: 47) He came not to do His own will surely; as Man, obedience and dependence was His place, but He came into a prepared body having offered Himself to do it. You may say, He is Son of God. What do you mean by that? "Kiss the Son lest he be angry." God spoke ejn uiJw' (Hebrews 1: 1) The exaltation of Jesus, of which you speak, was after He had been "made a little lower than the angels [whom He had created] for the suffering of death," being "made like to his brethren in all things." He "maketh his angels spirits ... but unto the Son he saith Thy throne, O God" -- He does not make Him anything. Would the blood of a mere man cleanse from all sin?

How you can say the scriptures do not say He is God, I do not understand: they do over and over again, directly and indirectly, in equivalent terms. I have not quoted "God manifest in the flesh," "Christ who is over all, God blessed for ever," as critics may reason about them. The last, however (Romans 9: 5) is as plain a testimony as can well be conceived, and the language such as makes it impossible to apply it to any one but Christ. Is it not singular that you should have passed over all the passages I have referred to, and only quoted what shews that Christ was truly a man, which nobody denies -- without which, indeed, His Godhead is of no avail to us? I cannot in the compass of a note pretend to discuss fully such a subject. But all scripture confirms the truth, that Jesus is Jehovah. John the Baptist was "the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord" -- that is, Jehovah (Isaiah 40): so Luke 7: 27, from Malachi 3: 1: so Luke 1: 76: so when He says to the leper, "I will, be thou clean." In Isaiah 66: 15 Jehovah comes with fire and the sword, but we know it is Christ who comes. What is the meaning of Micah 5: 2? Who is Jehovah's fellow? (Zechariah 13: 7.) The cleansing of the leper was Jehovah's work: the feeding of the five thousand, a reference to the Psalms speaking of Jehovah; and though done as Son of man (Luke 9: 10-17 and following) accomplished Psalm 132: 15, spoken of Jehovah. He not only works miracles, which God can enable any one, if He pleases, to do, but He confers the power of working them by His own power on others, which man cannot do. (Luke 9) All these I refer to as confirmations of the direct statements of scripture that He is God, and they are consistent with no other doctrine. And they might be multiplied by reference to every page of the gospel. He quickens whom He will (John 5: 21); can that be said of a mere man, a creature? The Old Testament declares that Jehovah was to come, and His way be prepared, but this was Christ. Hebrews 12: 25, 26, shew positively that Christ is the Jehovah of mount Sinai.

I do not write in a controversial spirit, and beg you to weigh the passages, because it is the greatest of all comforts to know that God did thus come down and become a man -- reveal Himself to us so near us. I know God in knowing Christ, find Him grace and love, and cannot in any other way know Himself. May the gracious Lord give you to see it!

[Date unknown.]


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[P (S?) Loizeaux] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- Mr. -- assures me, for I had written to him, that he is quite sure that he joins heartily in praise and worship to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has only wanted the full sense of sonship to be known and of nearness to God in Christ. Now this is right and many fail in it, and have the feeling they can approach Christ, and trust in His love, but not God. The spirit of adoption is greatly wanting in many. When there was a man at Auburn in Maine (I forget his name) with whom I also had to do, and who opposed prayer and praise to the Lord Jesus, had also a correspondence with him to shew him he was wrong, but then both our efforts were useless.

It is possible some may have objected to it really. If they will not worship a Man, the angels will, and moreover, every knee bow to Him, of men and infernal beings. While scripture puts us into the glory with Christ and like Christ, it carefully guards the personal glory and title of Christ. Moses and Elias were seen in the same glory as Christ, but the moment Peter would put them on a level, they disappear, and the Father's voice is heard declaring He was His beloved Son. The heavens were as open to Stephen (through Christ's death) as to Christ when He came up from Jordan; but Stephen looks at Him as an object, as Son of man, and is changed morally into His likeness: heaven looks down on Christ, and, instead of conforming Him to anything, the Spirit seals Him as He is, and the Father owns Him as He is. It is down here He says, "the Son of man who is in heaven." It is He who came in in subjection by the door, the Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep, who says, "I and my Father are One." If there is the divine and human nature in Him, there is only one Person. And he who says, I will not adore a man, is, to say the least, in danger of denying the unity of the Person. He who has seen Him has seen the Father. The Man who spoke to Philip and washed his feet, could say, and did at the same time, "Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in me?" Stephen full of the Holy Ghost, addressed himself to the Son of man, saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Authority is given to Him to judge "because he is the Son of man;" but it is "that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father." Is that refusing to worship Him? See John 5: 18; the Jews were more consistent.

To separate the Son of man and Son of God is to dissolve Christ. See John 3: 14, 16. See again, 1 John 5: 20, "We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This [He, outo"] is the true God and eternal life." But Jesus is the name of Him who was born of the virgin Mary, and Christ is the anointed Man. And the apostle emphatically adds in contrast, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." There is a most striking passage in 1 John 2: 28 and 3: 1, 2. The inseparableness of personality and the distinction of nature is very striking -- "Before him at his coming," "is born of him" in verse 29, so that we are "sons of God" (3: 1), and yet the world "knew him not" -- "sons of God" (verse 2), but we like Him when He shall appear. All this blessed truth is lost if we dissolve, as I have called it, Christ. And yet I must know Him as a man: that is the distinctness of the nature, for He prayed to God and died, and yet He "was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death" -- when in the form of God, "made Himself of no reputation (eJauto;n ejkevnwsen), yet, being thus, could say, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." "No man knoweth the Son but the Father." But he who loses these things loses the Son. Speaking of worshipping a man is losing the Person of Christ. And if the angels are to worship Him [Hebrews 1: 6], worship is a just service as to what is -- for it is not our being exempt which is in question, but His being entitled to it. And there it is Christ, though His Godhead is brought out, yet as incarnate; for it is said, "when he had by himself purged our sins," and He is "the first begotten" (not the "only begotten"), and Psalm 2 is quoted where He is distinctly celebrated as Messiah -- Christ, or, as in English, 'His anointed."

But I fear there has been too much discussion: refusing to worship the Lord is a very serious error, but discussion about His Person seldom leads to much fruit. I have spoken as plainly as possible, that there may be no mistake about my judgment of refusing to do it. But you or others may have wrongly estimated what Mr. -- wished to put forward. It is not only in replying to me, but in his controversy with the man at Auburn, that he rejected the thought of not worshipping the Lord -- to whom "every knee shall bow" (and that puts Him in the place of worship, as "have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal" shews). But his statement to me is quite clear. It is possible some, not inclined to worship Christ as is due, may have profited by expressions to support their false state of heart. Hasty conclusions are not always wise. Firmness against false doctrine is always right. But there are a great many who are in the Martha state -- "what thou askest of God," who, as not really free, cannot go directly to the Father, nor worship anybody rightly, and cannot worship under the conviction the Father Himself loveth them -- not questioning God's love in sending His only begotten Son, but who do not enter into the present privilege of direct address to the Father, as those who are in His presence and enjoy His love there -- loved as Jesus Himself is loved, wonderful as such a word is, this love being in them ... .

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Dublin, 1880.


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[Mr Slim] MY BELOVED BROTHER, -- It is time I wrote to you, and seek withal to cheer you also, for I hear that you have had trouble. My letter I had headed to begin some weeks ago, but only now could continue. I have not lost my interest in Barbados, nor in pour work, dear brother; but I have been incessantly occupied travelling and visiting the gatherings, besides claims in study work. I have been looking over the hymns for a new edition have my Testament on hand for a new edition, an English translation of my German to look over, am writing on John's gospel for the French, and on Romans for the Germans, and have been laid up in the gout to boot, not to say that I am within a few months of eighty; but enough of myself, only to excuse myself for my delay in writing. And now I must begin again for the third time, with the same excuse, having had two meetings, if not more, daily up to this (Edinburgh); besides the same work as far as possible while travelling, but Christ more precious than ever. I wonder sometimes how in sovereign grace God has revealed Him to me. I feel nearer, more at home in the Father's love, yet conscious of unworthiness, but more in the sense that all is pure grace. That there was no good in me I learnt, in one sense thoroughly, that is as a fact, some eight and fifty years ago, and I have, I hope, a deeper, clearer sense of it now, not seeing it, of course, as God does -- for who does? -- but at least with Him; but thus more in the sense of present, sovereign goodness in Him. And that is blessed, for that is what will be for ever, when no sin will remain and where sin can never enter; but that love is a sanctuary in which we walk while passing through a world of snares, "the provoking of all men ... from the strife of tongues," and the more the crossing and entanglement of what is without, the sweeter the rest of His presence; and soon there will be nothing else, and even here He makes all things work together for good to them that love Him: but the rest is better, but the other leads to it even here.

We are not at the end of our troubles here, at least locally for in the mass in the country they only need ministering Christ to them. And there is a great thirst for the word, so that a door of blessing is richly opened. But besides the positive evil in worldliness, a class had sprung up of true hearts, many of them, but where will, and, in some, pretension was at work, who, tired of the evil which I think they had not faith to meet, would have thrown, as we say in French, the handle after the axe, and cut the connection altogether, and set up afresh -- not tending exactly to make a new body, but that it was hopeless trying to go on. I had been deeply tried by this question before the evil broke out, but had concluded before God that it was not faith thus to leave, that "the hireling fleeth," and I stayed and served, though away in France from the London disturbances ... . Where there has been faithfulness there is more life than before, sensibly so I think, and they are more closely united; but there is wanting a bond of general confidence which, I trust, may grow with time, and is growing; but there is still the feeling, and locally the effect, of the class I mentioned -- the last not large, but it tends to keep the sense of uneasiness alive. One has to have faith for everybody. Yet God is so good; for the work goes on with as much blessing as usual. Except in the locality referred to, a stranger would perceive little amiss, it is the general bond which is wanting: for one's work in testifying of Christ it is quite happy.

I thought you would like, dear brother, to know how things were here, and I have given you as plain and true an account as I could. Those who went wrong are disposed to make and represent all as bad as may be, but as to that I trust God. I have little uneasiness as to that. They feel I believe, when there is a little soundness, that God is not with them in it. I fear more what I believe is the unbelief of those who have felt and judged the evil, and with whom, as to that, I sympathise. The real truth is, God has been sifting us, but I believe in love, and when needed; and in that love I trust, and in this matter I never trusted anything else.

Kind love to the brethren: may God abundantly bless you and them.

Affectionately yours in Jesus.

Edinburgh, 1880.


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Dear Ellen Walter, -- Christ has a priesthood which calls us above, Hebrews 7: 26. Such an one "became us," because we belong there; but a priesthood which can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, because we are down here. He enters into all these all knowing them, and so lays hold on our hearts, but to lead them up to higher and holier associations where God dwells. How gracious! There as an object we see Christ glorified, and are led on, for we are to be like Him and with Him. This gives energy to spiritual life. We look back to Him in humiliation, and this engages our affections and forms our heart and christian character -- gives us delight in His perfection -- "let the same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." Thus feeding on Christ, and eating His flesh and drinking His blood, we abide in Him and He in us. The heart finds its food, its strength, its everything in Him, and our responsibility and the desire of our heart -- so that it is the law of liberty -- is to please Him, and walk as He walked, worthy of the Lord. What a calling! As He is so are we before God; as He walked so would we walk. Would that we could! In one sense we can, for His grace is sufficient for us; but we soon find, in looking at Him, how far we are behind. Cleave to Him. John 14: 19, 20.
1880.


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Dear Mrs. Brown(e?), -- I was very glad to get your account. I need not say how thankful I am for the blessing God has bestowed on the work ... . I do trust the Lord may continue His blessing on the depot and on the saints. As to me, I am growing old, past eighty, and my activities somewhat more burdensome; but till today, and some days of travelling, I have had two meetings daily these six weeks or more, and when in London it is yet harder work. In general there is a very open ear for the word, and we cannot complain of want of blessing. There is nothing very new, but the thirst for the word is striking, nor are conversions wanting. The shake brethren got in London has aroused consciences; they needed it, but the Lord has been very gracious, and though there are local traces of it, God has not allowed His testimony to fail. But there is not the same deadness to the world as at first, but more than a while back: I do trust there may be yet growth in this respect.

What I still dread is worldliness; it weakens the spring of all. For what is there but Christ? He reveals the Father; He is eternal joy, and present life too. We do not enough feel that what is not seen is revealed to us. See 1 Corinthians 2. How could we look upon it if it were not, or how set our affections on things above? Perhaps as one draws nearer we see clearer, or are more occupied with it, but it seems to me all. People go on around me with their occupations, and I suppose must, and I know ought in one sense; but it seems to me another world which ends in nothing. At any rate, the fashion of it passes away -- Christ, and His word, and they who do God's will, never. All that is eternal; only we have to seek His guidance to serve Him, with His wisdom and according to His will.

Kindest love to the brethren. It would, were it possible, be a joy to me to see them, but it is hardly likely now.

Aberdeen, September, 1880.


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[F Cavannah (Cavenagh?)] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- It will be impossible for me to get to Lerwick; indeed, I am already a little uneasy at the time I am kept from getting back to London, and I am getting old, too, though most mercifully kept. I have work claiming completing I can only do in London, and shall probably have to go to France this autumn, and am thus pressed up for time. The Lord has been graciously with me in my work, as I trust He may be with you, as I know indeed He has. Christ is everything. May you be given to keep Him constantly before your eyes. Our strength is to know our own nothingness, and have Him as everything. He never fails, cannot fail, and, if we walk in His path and words, manifests Himself to us, so that we should have joy in our souls and strength in our service. I hear you have been unwell, but a time of retirement is a very good thing in our service; it puts us before God instead of our work before us, and makes us feel, too, that our work is in His hands and not our own. I remember when I used to be ill every year, I always felt if I had been near enough to God I should not have needed it; but it is always grace; but I trust you will be better.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Aberdeen.


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[From the French.] VERY DEAR BROTHER, -- I thank you for your letter. All this interests me much. -- writes to me also of the issue of this division movement of which you speak. It appears, blessed be God for it! that it is coming to an end. Often a little patience to let God act is the remedy, while judging all manifested evil specially when the evil is more in the general state; then it is necessary to seek, by nourishing the souls of those who are Christ's, to raise their spiritual tone. For the rest we must always look beyond this poor world down here.

We ought to be a testimony for God down here, and we must surely remember this. "Ye are my witnesses," said Jehovah to Israel, and with still greater reason are Christians such, who are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. I seek this, I pray God for it, and also that He may maintain His testimony in its purity I believe He will, but for that we must live near Him in spirit, as He lived by His Father, one with Him, in such a way that all He said and did was but the expression of what the Father was. It is what we ought to be for Christ but for that the heart must be with Him above. The first thing is communion with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ, for there the direct power of the life is. But it is a mistake to suppose that the heavenly things are not revealed to us: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit. We have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God." Now, whilst giving us strength down here, and detaching us from the things that are seen, this accustoms us to live in the things that are our eternal portion.

We often make use of the Saviour in His grace, so suited to our need, and that flows so freely towards us -- who thinks of us, of all our difficulties, of all our weaknesses -- and we are quite right, for He makes us pass in peace and safety through a world of sorrow and danger; but it is another thing to have the heart lifted up above the world, whilst passing through it and attached to Him in heaven in such a way that that which fills the heart now is also the object of our hope. It is what I seek, and pray to God for, for other Christians as for myself. But we must have Christ for the journey through the wilderness; we need to know how to count on His faithfulness in all circumstances, and to wait on Him.

May God keep all the brethren very near to Him, this is our eternal position, and it keeps the conscience awake. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.''
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Dear G (C?) McAdam, -- I have thought it well to send you my answer (see following letter) to Mr. -- , who wrote to me+ to announce his separation from brethren. Though I sorrow for him, I do not know that it is an evil that the system of which it is the expression is come to a head. The evil has long been apparent to me.

MY DEAR H J Jull, -- You know nothing of my relationship with Abbot's Hill, nor what I have said or written to them, but that is not the question now, but the position you have definitively taken ... .

You now openly judge the whole body of brethren as unfit to be associated with, on account of their state, while reserving to yourself the right to select certain assemblies and individuals whom you will own. You and this party are characterised by that holiness and truth which are proper to the precious testimony which God confided to brethren, at least by the love of it and fidelity to it; the rest are in a mass regarded as unworthy.

Now I have not seen that those who pretend to this, are more holy or characterised more by what is proper to this testimony, nor more devoted, nor have the good of the church of God at heart. Their state does not approve itself to my spiritual judgment, while owning many of those I refer to as dear brethren. I know among the thousands of whom you know nothing, brethren walking in obscurity, more devoted, more given up to Christ, than those who are disposed thus pretentiously to quit them. You admit the precious testimony of God was confided to brethren, so that it is solely on the ground of their unfaithfulness and your greater faithfulness that you leave them. Now I admit that brethren have declined from the unworldliness which was proper to this testimony, and have borne as God enabled me a testimony to this effect, and the troubles in London have largely awakened conscience, and I may add, I never met in visiting, so great an appetite for the word. But all this was fully before me, before -- 's case arose. I weighed before God, with deeper anxiety than I can speak of here, the question of leaving brethren, and what I should do. I felt clearly it was not faith -- "the hireling fleeth" -- and I remained where I was, though in some things more isolated. I have not remarked that those who have taken the ground you do have advanced in holiness and spirituality, rather the contrary, and I am satisfied it is the path of pretension, not of faith. The question was fully before me, and decided before any of the particular questions arose, though partially occasioned by what brought some of them in result. I therefore, having had the matter fully before me, reject as evil the ground you have taken. Were the movement of those you join yourself to, to break up brethren -- and I have thought of all that -- your party, were I to be with any (which I do not think I should) would, I think, be the very last I should be with: indeed, I should not think of it at all, it is too pretentious for me. I have felt that brethren had got into a low state, and have felt the path was to serve them in it. You have judged that they are in a hopeless, irremediable state, and judged of God to be unworthy of His testimony. God will judge whom He accepts in this. If God has not so judged them, you are clearly wrong. I shall not regret, if He does reject them, having sought to serve them, and Him, in their low estate.

I enter into no details as to -- . It is not the question. Your statement is, 'I am not free to be in their association, as feeling my great responsibility to the Lord and to the brethren.' I believe that under the influence of an evil system you have not been able to resist the effect of the pressure of A. H., and what was associated with it. You cannot be surprised if I act as to you on your own statement, and at the same time reject in every way the system under whose influence you are. I reserve to myself, as it concerns many besides you, the right to communicate this letter in any way I think proper. I leave the judgment of the question, and of the right path, entirely in the Lord's hands.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Perth, September 22nd.


+[''An excited letter written at 4 a.m., but withdrawn the next day, most thankful that he had only written to me." 'No one went with him.'] Reply to Mr. H. J. Jull

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[Cumnock Brethren] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I trust that it is error,+ and not heresy. For the latter there must be the evil will of the flesh; and I trust that this is not the case with our brother. Another thing it is right to add, that it is always right to hear what a person has to say before condemning him. But taking your account of the matter and question, it is quite clear that there must be faith in the word in order to be born again. That we are begotten, and born, by the word is plainly stated in scripture; and the word is received by faith. A word not believed has no effect at all. A person may see men as trees walking, that is true; still the word has been believed. I believe that the source of the teaching is taking up a doctrine in the mind; and, lowliness failing -- it is not experimentally realised, but the mind trusted -- things are put out which are not really of faith.

I do not think the passage in Matthew 13 as to the good soil, applies at all. In every case, save the first, the seed sprang up and grew: the object of the parable is quite another. I should not, on the other hand, use for it (though I do not doubt I have often done it, from not examining it closely), Galatians 3: "We are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus," because it ought to be "sons," not "children." And this, which is christian standing, is contrasted in Galatians iv. with those who were quickened, and heirs of all, but not in the position of sons; that is, believers under the law. The origin of the error I believe to be a hasty and immature taking up of the difference between being quickened and set free. That people must believe the word to be quickened I have no doubt of; but a person may believe in Christ, and not know the value of the work of Christ so as to have peace and forgiveness. Thus the prodigal referred to was brought to know he was perishing, confessed his sins, and set out to his father, and that was the work of grace in him, but said, "Make me a hired servant." That was not knowing his father; nor had he the best robe on him so as to be fit to go as son into the house. When his father was on his neck he does not say, 'Make me a servant'; and, indeed, we hear no more of him but of what his father was to him and did for him.

I have no doubt that He who begins the good work will perfect it unto the day of Jesus Christ; but the work of the Spirit and word, by which we are converted, born again, through faith, is distinct from that knowledge of the work of Christ in the conscience which gives peace, and there may be an interval passed between them; but my heart being repentant and turned to God, is a distinct thing from having the Father on my neck and the best robe upon me. In Acts 2 they believed, through grace, Peter's word and said, "Men and brethren, what shall we do. Peter then presents to them the forgiveness of sins and the reception of the Holy Ghost. Here there was no delay but there were two distinct things; and, from want of a plain gospel, souls often stay some time in Romans 7, converted (by the word), but without peace, much more, without deliverance -- nay, are taught to stay there.

My impression (for, I repeat, it is always fair to hear what a person has to say) is, that what has been taught is the fruit of being aware of this difference, and the mind, having had too much confidence in itself, teaching what was not experimentally learned, and hence immaturely and with mistakes which might be mischievous -- perhaps, dear brother, with a little dogmatic impatience on your part, there being behind truth which you had not learned. But in this case it would be error, not heresy; only the teacher would have to be more a learner, and not to go beyond what he had learned with God I have spoken openly, having confidence in his and your love as brethren, though personally I have not the pleasure of knowing you.

Earnestly desiring you may all find true peace and union through grace.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Perth, September 24th.


+['That a person may have life for years and not know of it; that faith is not required for life, but only for deliverance.']

[Page 118]

Dear W Moore, -- I did not like the article+ by -- at all, and sent him word so. But there is great general decline on this point, and I have a tract in hand as to it, which I hope to get out as soon as possible.++ We must not confound manifested salvation, and being born of God. We read, "To give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins." But before Christ came, souls were born of God; but they could not believe that Jesus was the Christ, for He had not come. They might have believed the promises then which referred to Him who should come: "But life and incorruptibility have been brought to light by the gospel." I can now say, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." But that is not exactly saying, Whosoever does not, is not. We can say, he that, when He is presented, rejects Him is condemned, dies in his sins, and a saving work may be begun in the soul by the Spirit of God where the soul is not clear as to the Person of Christ, but which assuredly leads to it, and which, now that His name is spread abroad, it is almost impossible to separate from it; nor can we ever say that a man has life till he believes in Christ. Still this remains always true and fundamental, "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life"; and repentance and remission of sins were to be preached in His name. Conscience and knowledge may be both there without a quickening work. But there may be a work in consciences in the living power of the Spirit, before the mind is clear as to the truth concerning the Lord, yet ultimately the testing-point; and, the fact of Jesus Christ being the Son of God and dying for us being universally known, it is implicitly believed without the passage to real faith being perceived. We see love to the brethren, love to the word, and we cannot help trusting the work of the Spirit is there, and there is the current faith in Christ with us, as I have said -- the change into reality unperceived. But all this refers to our perception of it, not to the reality of the thing in God's sight. But "of his own will begat he us by the word of truth," and that truth is concerning His Son. We may see the fruits, and so judge or trust that life is there; but the root is not in the fruits.

It does not follow that a person is clear as to the efficacy of Christ's work, because he believes in, and loves, Christ. The sealing of the Spirit goes, as to the detail of the work, I believe, with faith in the work, as well as the Person. See Acts 2: 37, 38, and 10: 43; Ephesians 1: 13. But in a plain gospel they go together. Being in the flesh is being in the standing of the first Adam before God, and not in Christ -- judging from ourselves to God's judgment, and not from His work to our place before Him: "According to this time shall it be said of Jacob and of Israel what hath God wrought?" So the prodigal. "In the flesh" (Romans 7 and 8) is the same. Deliverance and forgiveness are not the same thing. We must learn what we are, as well as what we have done; deliverance is known by sealing, as being in Christ. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty."

We had a most useful meeting at Rochdale.

London, October 14th.


+[ 'When is the believer sealed?' Helps, vol. 3 page 98.]

++[Collected Writings, Volume 31, page 385.]

[Page 119]

[Page 120]

-- - A question was communicated to me by -- 'What would be sufficient to deprive the assembly of the testimony of God?' Now the question is, to my mind, a profound mistake -- that the testimony they bear is the governing object of the mind of saints. It is no new thought to me, but what I have insisted on, I know not how long (some thirty or forty years), that wherever an assembly, or the assembly, are such to bear a testimony, they will be a testimony to their own weakness and inefficiency; because the object of their walk cannot be one which efficiently forms a Christian. When they have a right one, they will be a testimony; but to be one is never the first object. To have Christ, I mean practically to walk with Him and after Him, to have communion with the Father and the Son, to walk in unfeigned obedience and lowliness, to live in realised dependence on Christ and have His secret with us and realise the Father's love, to have our affections set on things above, to walk in patience and yet confidence through this world -- this is what we have to seek, and if we realise it we shall be a testimony, whether individually or collectively, but in possessing the things themselves, and they form us through grace, so that we are one: but seeking or getting up to be it does not. Moses did not seek to have his face shine, nor even know when it did, but when he had been with God it did so.

Wherever Christians, so far as I have seen, set up to be a testimony, they get full of themselves, and lose the sense that they are so, and fancy it is having much of Christ. A shining face never sees itself. The true heart is occupied with Christ, and in a certain sense and measure self is gone. The right thought is not to think of self at all, save as we have to judge it. You cannot think of being a testimony save of your being so, and that is thinking of self -- and, as I have said before, it is what I have always seen to be the case.

Yours sincerely in the Lord.

[Date uncertain.]


[Page 121]

[J R Field] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- One of the first signs to me of the evil current as to that point was the Manchester meeting. Brethren were thinking and speaking of themselves, not of Christ. Setting up to be Philadelphia was being of the spirit of Laodicea, as indeed I have often said: I have trusted that God was working towards that, but setting up to be something was the very opposite to that work. Philadelphia is never gone till Christ comes -- has the promise, because she has kept the word of Christ's patience, to be kept from the hour of temptation which is coming on all the earth, and the promise that Christ is coming quickly. I trust that there will be a much more decided Philadelphian testimony. That is not what I quarrel with, but the corporate pretension to be it now.

The next thing I object to is making those who open when the Lord knocks, specially excellent Christians who are in this spiritually advanced state. I see nothing of the kind. They are unconverted or professing to be Christians, in so low a state, that all is going to be spued out of Christ's mouth, and they are warned to get Christ and what is real. There is not a word of their coming out and being in testimony; Christ goes in and sups with them. But so far from thinking the promise the highest, I have always thought it the lowest. It is merely reigning -- a wonderful thing, no doubt, for such as we, but what Old Testament saints will have too. It is the external glory, not being inside the house. The exhortation is to get what is real from Christ instead of their empty pretension, "that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear," and get their eyes anointed that they may see. I see nothing of extraordinary advance in spirituality here -- a most salutary warning in the present state of things, but nothing extraordinarily spiritual, nor any call into a special place of testimony at all. The whole thing seems to me a delusion. Philadelphia is praised because they have not denied Christ's name. They have a little strength: that does not sound very exalted; but to be faithful and keep Christ's word when others are giving up the faith, may be the test of theirs. I desire earnestly to see the beloved saints roused to entire devotedness and strength and constancy of communion; but it is not pretension to be something which characterises this.

When I saw you, you were unhappy because you had not the gold. Now, any one who knows anything about the matter knows where this comes from. I told you you were the gold that is, the righteousness of God in Christ ... . The system you speak of was calculated to lay hold on saints who were desiring something better, but filled them with themselves and fancied spirituality, not Christ. Truth sanctifies, and in these things he had not the truth. That I have from himself: the very thing he was inflating people's minds with, he owns to me was unsound teaching; and women running about teaching as they did, ought to have opened the minds of sober saints.

You say both go on to the end [Revelation 3]: how, then, can Philadelphia be gone? I do not at all object to judging our state, provided it be conscience, not murmuring. It has gained much latterly, through grace; but the earnest desire of more of Christ dwelling in our hearts, I go heartily with. But that is not pretending to be something, and an inflation which does not come from God ... .

I believe I have answered all your questions.

London, October 20th.


[Page 122]

Dear [Mrs Jeckell?], -- I have been informed that your dear husband is gone to his rest. Though it be long time since I saw him I have not forgotten the pleasure I had in knowing him as a true servant of the Lord. We could not be surprised at his being taken away having been so long feeble, but this does not hinder its being a sorrow and a blank to you. The comfort we have is, that this is not our resting-place, and the blessed Lord never fails in sympathy and kindness for the inevitable sorrows of the way. If He takes away what was long an object, and for our hearts at least a prop, He always comes in to cheer and comfort the spirit. Him alone we can never lose, who is really nearer to us than any human tie, and beside us on to rest and glory. If our hearts now wish themselves with Him we abide in Him, and He in us, and there is no rest like that, nor stay, and then it is a sanctifying stay, and leads us onward towards Him. How real a comfort too, to feel those we love to be surely gone to Him. The Lord expected the disciples to rejoice in His going, for He was going to His rest: well, He is entered as our forerunner, having secured our entry there.

Be assured of my sincere sympathy with you, and with your daughter, who I trust is, for her, pretty well, for I have heard she is again a good deal an invalid.

Sincerely yours in Christ.

London, October.


[Page 123]

Dr Walter, I felt much what has happened to poor -- breaking up his plans and hopes, and yours for him too. But I cannot help thinking that, strong as was the hold the world had upon him, the Lord's eye is upon him for good, and indeed that there is a work of God in his soul, strangely spoiled by other elements, still a work there. The style of young men and young women is, at present, not merely displeasing to a staid Christian, but utterly offensive to good taste. Vanity I expect in this world, as long as the Lord allows it to go on in His patient grace, but there is besides divine life, a respect for what is comely, a moral modesty, which seems going clean out, even where you might expect it, and to characterise the style of the day, and offend, in the young women -- even young men. I do not speak now of -- , for though I might see, of course, vanity, and the love of it in some, I did not see it in them; I speak of what is general. But I think more at this moment of dear -- . I trust his voyage will be of use to him; still one cannot but feel that the Lord has laid His hand on him; in love I am sure, and for his good, still it is a solemn and serious thing for him. May the Lord deepen the work in him, and lead him to peace. God cannot let us alone, and leave us to ourselves when He has begun a work in us, and when anything in our natural character tends to carry us away, He says stop ... .

I am glad your health holds up. But there is more to sustain us than that, a faithful loving Lord, who never fails us and never will. You have, in some respects, a trying place, but He does all things well and makes everything work together for good to those who love Him. There is much more reality in a living loving care of us, than we are aware of. It is faith for us now, but what is not seen is eternal. I often have said, how little they knew they were sending the poor thief to paradise when they were breaking his legs. But I must be off to a meeting.

Affectionately yours in the Lord

London, November 9th.


[Page 124]

My Dear W Moore, -- ... The Presbyterians profess to hold new birth by baptism in a worse way than English Episcopalians, though they have no formulary to bring it under the eye. It was held by all the Reformers. But where sacramental grace is held, the root of Popery and ecclesiastical hostility to the truth is always found.

As regards the kingdom of heaven; the kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of God, only dispensationally spoken of, and is the kingdom of God when the King is in heaven. But "kingdom of God" is a more general term; we have "it is not meat and drink," etc. "Kingdom of heaven" is only used in Matthew in contrast with Messiah on earth. John never speaks of dispensations, but of the reality of things, God being revealed: and so "kingdom of God" is used here, John 3.

The Red Sea I believe to be Christ's death and resurrection and thus redemption by which we are brought to God, as is there said. You have not the saint raised in Romans; he is looked at as we are, a man living on the earth, but having Christ as his life, forgiven and justified, and reckoning himself dead, and giving himself up to God as one that is alive in Christ from the dead. The Red Sea redeems, not from enemies, but out of flesh, and so sin and Satan's power. Pharaoh was not an enemy, but an oppressor. Jordan is death experimentally, death with Christ; then after being risen, fighting begins.

London, November 19th.


[Page 125]

[H M Hooke] DEAR BOYS, -- Thank you for your kind note; I am now, through mercy, in my 81st year and pretty well; but the great thing is, as you know, to be born again. They say, -- , that you are, and love Christ; now a proof of it will be that you bear with patience and submission your deafness, it is a real trial for you and I feel for you, but God makes everything work together for good to those who love Him. I trust you may get better, but He is always right and perfect in His ways. I trust -- gets as sure at six years old of God's love as I am, through mercy, at 80. I can look back along life and see how gracious and perfect He has been all through, and that my years cannot measure all the mercy and faithfulness He has shewn to me.

Kindest love to you both.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

November 19th.


[Mr Storey] DEAREST BROTHER, -- I was very glad to hear from you and of the saints, I do not find absence enfeebles my interest in them. I should greatly like to see them all again, but having now entered my eighty-first year I can hardly look to long journeys and active labours as once undertaken, but ever to Him who, with no journeys to take, ever watches over and visits them in an unceasing and tender care -- a heart that never grows weary, and strength that never decays. I am fresh through grace, and Christ gives me renewed strength still to work on. I have had these last few days three meetings a day, and scarcely less than two for a long time, having been round visiting the saints up to the North of England and Scotland. Thank God, I found the brethren generally happy and much appetite for the word; and others labouring about give the same testimony, and in several places there is a good deal of conversion. You will have heard there has been trouble in London which has been really largely blessed ... . Not that all are clear, but the general state of the work encourages those who are engaged in it, and any evil is sinking down in its littleness. Our conference meetings too have been much blessed. But I do not doubt and have not doubted there had been decline in spirituality and devotedness; and God in His rich mercy gave them a good shake, but it has roused and blessed them. There is far more conscience and reference of heart to God than there was. For myself it deeply tried me, though I had little personally to say to it, which my being in France helped me in, but I never enjoyed the Lord's love, and learned what His word reveals to us, and its power, as I have in these times; and I have felt how good it is to trust Him who never fails.

God makes a difference between mistakes in judgment, and positive wrongness of state. There is a government of God: where there is integrity of heart, He may chastise us because of it for blessing: there is always in such case want of waiting upon Him. But while He may exercise our patience by the other, it will sink out of the place of testimony. Chastening is good for us -- we seldom wait sufficiently on God. He goes on straight in His way to the end of purposed blessing, while the petty ways of man cross each other in a thousand directions and where only men come to nothing: where the Lord is at bottom the motive, He leads us into His straight way in the end -- so faithful, so patient in goodness. The Lord give us to have Himself always before us -- the eye on Him, the heart looking for Him, who shall receive us to Himself, and have nothing imperfect.

Redemption is perfect, absolute: when first known, in itself a source of boundless joy and triumph, and at the end of our course, when more or less we may accuse ourselves of failure (Deuteronomy 9), gives as to acceptance God's judgment, "What hath God wrought," said of Jacob and Israel. (Numbers 23) All that is a work finished and done, and Christ sitting down because it is. But it brings us generally into the wilderness (not as imperfect, for the thief could go straight to Paradise), and that is not a finished work, but what we go through and which tests us, but in which where life is, God helps us by His power: we learn what we are, but we learn what the Lord is -- it is constant dependence or failure, but constant faithfulness to sustain us. But here we go through exercises which humble and prove us (Deuteronomy 8), but learn much to do us good in our latter end. We have the priesthood to help, the red heifer and running water to cleanse for communion, and at the end return to what I have quoted -- Numbers 23; but we must learn it along the way. The redemption is never unsettled. Put Deuteronomy 9 and Numbers 23 together, and much is learnt, but it must be experimentally learned with God on the way.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.
1880.


[Page 126]

[Page 127]

E L Bevir, When I have a moment, what occupies me now is the sealing of the Spirit, and His coming down here -- not anything new, but brethren were becoming muddy about it, part of the general decline; it has an importance in my mind it never had. Indeed, I am sometimes afraid the importance of the great facts of Christianity almost sets aside the thought of souls. This would be want of love, a central, vital point of Christian truth, and of the state of our hearts. I always feel that I fail in it. Christ is everything to me; that I know; there my heart is at rest. Though my affections are poor, the link is there; but I feel that my heart does not go out enough to those He loves. Well, He will be perfectly glorified in every one of us; that is a comfort. Though I feel my want of energy in love, He guides us in what we do. Patience and perseverance I understand, at least, in a general way.

November, 1880.


[To the same.] E L Bevir, I am preparing my head for a volley of stones, for I have a tract printing on the Sealing with the Spirit, which was needed, and I hope will be useful; the part I thought the least of probably the most so ... . I have certainly been nearer the heavenly rest than ever, and to the chamber the other side the cloison (I do not say galandage, for the body is for the Lord). I fear there is not enough adoration in my frame, yet Christ knows what He is to me.

How unspeakable the grace that gives us a place with the Son of God! such a word, "As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly"; then as to standing and acceptance, "As he is, so are we in this world"; and as to nature, origin, life, "He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one." We ought to be empty of all but what comes from Him, and its source in us. As far as it is so, it makes us very serious to be so in derivative communion with God, and then in thinking of the world around us -- full of joy too, and according to the nature of God. Such was Christ's life, and He is our life; but poor creatures we are, even when devoted, but He is our strength, a strength made perfect in weakness ... .

At this moment I am occupied with Adonai who and what He is -- clearly, directly, Christ sometimes, as Psalms 2 and 110. but there is more than that.

December, 1880.


[Page 128]

[P A Humphrey] MY DEAR BROTHER., -- The idea that ceasing to break bread a Sunday, or even two, dissolves the assembly, seems to me without any ground whatever. An assembly may not break bread out of the fear of God, by reason of trouble and confusion at the time through a perverse individual (and I have known such a case), without a thought of dissolving itself, but because it was a faithful assembly and feared God. Why, a persecuting police or violent man might come in and hinder them breaking bread! If it must be by the will of the assembly, it must be a will to dissolve itself. I trust the Lord will put an end to the confusion at -- and I believe He will. What is needed in such cases generally is restoring souls, not the outward state of things. There is an interference often of brethren from a distance which is not of God, and dulls the conscience of the assembly. I do not deny they may be useful if coming to serve and awake the conscience of the assembly itself. Its own folly may dissolve an assembly as a fact.

[Date uncertain.]


[Page 129]

Dear W H Kelly, -- I should gladly give you anything which would enable you to carry out your plans. My difficulty is whether it can be done. I will tell you where I am about it, and you will see I am bringing out a new edition+ as it is out of print. As a had come out, save for learned people since the last, I thought I would give it where it changed anything. This led me a little further, and where I had said T. R. reads, in the note, I have added the principal authorities for and against. I doubt I have done any good by it; still inquirers will see that B D L (and now a generally), and Memphitic go together, and A, later uncials, and generally Syrr (Peschito and Harclean) go together, and so other MSS. further on. My original object was translation, not text. Hence, if all the main authorities accepted it, I did, and in common cases this is all right. When it is a question of mere copying, the older are more likely right, and there is the influence of lectionaries and Tatian ['the Harmonist' so called], which may be often thus corrected. But I believe the old MSS. have been quite as much wilfully tampered with, if not more, than others. We have none the clergy and monks had not to say to: I have no doubt a number of small mistakes -- "answered" for "answered him" or "them," and "Jesus" for "He" -- from lectionaries. But I am not myself satisfied critically, nor do I trust these received authorities.

Tregelles is very accurate, but has merely a selection of MSS. which he approves of because they follow B. It is a system: Tischendorf more complete, but as a general rule following the same. Lachmann, though systematically following early uncials, is very often more with Textus Receptus. But I am not satisfied as to a critical text though many mistakes are corrected in mine. Hence my difficulty in replying to you.

January, 1881.


[To the same.] W H Kelly, I know of no such change as you speak of in my views. I have looked it [Synopsis] over at some, if not all, of the new editions, and am doing the same now for another. Developments thus there have been; the Psalms you will see a note on; the division of Romans got clearer in my mind, and some difficulties in Deuteronomy were cleared up: but there has been no change of views at all that I know of.

I have no doubt at all that Rebekah is a type of the church, and in no respect of the remnant of Israel: to them Christ returns. In every point it is just the opposite.

But as to my Synopsis, I go and learn from it myself sometimes. Nor am I aware of any changes. You may be quite at ease then.

January 14th.


+[New translation of the New Testament. Third edition.]

[Page 130]

[To the same.] W H Kelly, In general it is a mistake about fresh truth. -- did apply to the church some things I should not, as Song of Songs, though to individual souls there may be application, just as individual souls are under the law. It was, on the contrary the discovery of church truth and place which threw back crowds of passages to the Jews. You have only to look at the headings of a Bible of the Authorised Version to see it. There is nothing so fresh as the truth which comes from God, and is always fresh. Opinionum commenta delet dies: I do not trust notions. There is a large linking of truth in scripture; and if people get out of this for notions, these only mislead and hinder, and give importance to our ideas and so to ourselves whereas in receiving the truth one is subject to God, and nothing oneself. I write these few lines because an important principle is involved in it.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

January 21st.


[Mr Pinkerton] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- It is a good while now since I exchanged a line with you; and, in fact, I have been laid up, so that I could do, for some time, little or nothing -- entirely down, so that I did not know whether I should be raised up at all again. It is now near three months that I have been unable to pass the night stretched in my bed -- at first, not at all: now I sit up in bed about a third of the night, but I sleep rather better then, than lying down -- all this of the poor body, but it makes its being left, if not glorified, nearer to us. God may give higher apprehensions of the joys before us, and if all be not habitually and honestly purged before God there may be exercises of conscience, even if we know the remedy. I hardly came so near to going away as that; but I was surprised, in at least looking it in the face, how little difference there was: Christ with me for the way, and Christ at the end for full and perfect joy. It is a difference to go. It is what is eternal, but we live as in Christ in what is eternal; but faith is not sight. But the word is ever precious, which brings what is of God, and God Himself to us, in the power of His own Spirit, and so as from Himself, and this gives it a peculiar and blessed character: soon it will be better still; not from Himself, but Himself. But it is suited to us here, just like Christ Himself -- what is of God and heavenly, but suited to us here -- with a divine flexibility which suits itself to all circumstances and to everything that is in our hearts, but to take us up whence it comes from.

I have written a tract on the "Sealing of the Spirit." I felt its being muddied, as it was, a good deal, and this was the case everywhere; it was a sign of the state of souls. But dear -- was never, I think, clear; I have often told him so, never really out of Romans 7. But how many are there! Yes, very many take for granted they are out of it, while full, perfect, simple redemption is not really known. Ask, not in Palestine, but in Boston and New York, what it is to have "no more conscience of sins," and they cannot tell; and then God for us is not known. This side in the public teaching was wanting at the Reformation. They saw Christ's work meeting our need before God, but "God so loved" was hardly a part of their gospel. On assurance they largely insisted; indeed, justifying faith was, to them, the personal appropriation of Christ's work in an assuring way: it was not sufficiently the object of faith, though it was there, but the state of the soul. But when it pleases God to do so, He works with very imperfect truth, provided it be Christ; it is one of the present difficulties. At the first, full truth flowed from the centre and drew souls up to it; now it works where all is confusion, to bring in divine order and faith through the word -- I mean order as to the truth, But I close.

In general, throughout the country, there is a real appetite for the word -- a happy sign -- and brethren are blessed. In some parts of London, though there is nothing outward, the effect of local troubles remains. But the Lord loves His church, and does not cease His care for it. Nothing will fail of His purposed grace. Peace be with you, dear brother, and constant guidance, keeping near enough to hear His voice through grace.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

January 29th.


[Page 131]

[From the French.] -- - The word "friend" has a double meaning: my friend is a man to whom I can open my heart, and also a man who is kind and friendly towards me; but the term always implies a certain intimacy. The Jews called the Lord "a friend of sinners," and truly He was so. He called His disciples His friends because He had communicated to them all that the Father had given Him. Any familiarity with the Lord, such as one finds among the Moravians, impresses me painfully, and I consider it carnal, even when it is linked with piety. "He is not ashamed, to call us brethren." In this last sense, it is quite improper to apply this word to Jesus, and to call Him our Brother. In the instances which you quote, I think the style is too familiar. But if we say, 'What a wondrous Friend of sinners Jesus was when He gave Himself upon the cross!' or, 'What a Friend to His own is that Jesus who ever lives to intercede for us!' -- the thought assumes quite another character. But we must avoid a freedom which is not becoming.

The meeting for breaking of bread is in principle the meeting together of all Christians in the unity of the body of Christ. Every Christian, then, has a right to share in it. But at the same time, in the present state of Christianity, we are called to maintain, scrupulously, faithfully, and with zeal, the holiness of the Lord's table. (2 Timothy 2: 22.) Now the assembly is in no way a voluntary meeting of Christians who have chosen the assembly, for in that case it would be a sect. It is, so far as such a thing is possible now, the meeting of all the members of the body of Christ. We must have sufficient evidence that those who desire to take part in it are true Christians, and that their walk is moral, christian. Now, if they habitually meet with those who deny the truths of Christianity, they are defiled; and it is so also if they meet where immorality is allowed.

Difference in ecclesiastical views is not a sufficient reason for shutting out a soul. But if one wanted to be one day among the brethren, the next among the sects, I should not allow it, and would not receive such a person; for, instead of using the liberty which belongs to him to enjoy the spiritual communion of the children of God, he puts forward the pretension to change the order of the house of God, and to perpetuate the separation of Christians.

London, February.


[Page 132]

[Page 133]

A Robertson, I was very glad to hear of you and from you, and that the Lord is helping you on. If we look to Him He ever does: He never leaves us. But there is a government of His, in which the enjoyment of blessing depends on our walk with Him, and nothing can take the place of that. But I must turn, with but little time, to your questions.

It was the almost universal opinion of early Christians that Genesis 6: 2 applied to fallen, or rather to the fall of the angels (in this case different from Satan); and Jude 6, 7 seems to confirm it -- compare 2 Peter 2: 4 more generally. But if it be so, God has shut them up in chains of darkness, and hidden the whole scene and its fruits from our sight in overwhelming waters of the deluge; and it is a mercy that He has.

Baptising for the dead (1 Corinthians 15: 29) is, I believe, the nature and meaning of baptism. Alive in flesh, we as a figure take our part in Christ's death; only it is put in a general way, and the force of it -- what is the good of taking a place in death if there be no resurrection? If you take verses 20-28 as a parenthesis, the verses connect directly: verse 29 answers to 18, and 30-32 to 19. This renders the intelligence of it easier.

As to Daniel, Christ was cut off and took nothing (see margin -- the real sense did not take the kingdom then), after sixty and two weeks, that is sixty-nine. Now we learn from the gospels His ministry was as nearly as possible three years and a half, so that for intelligent faith there is only half a week left, and, in fact, only that of the great tribulation. For unbelief -- the beast and the apostate Jews -- there is a week, and they enter into covenant for this time, but he breaks it when half through, takes away the sacrifice, and the great tribulation begins -- that which is spoken of in Matthew 24 after verse 15, and in Mark 13 -- and this only in the Revelation.

I have been laid up ever since my last return here, but am a great deal better; not an illness, but exhaustion from overwork, and the effects of a bad fall at Dundee Station; but the Lord's hand ordering all.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

February 7th.


[Page 134]

Dear W Moore, -- I rejoice that you are helped and happy in your work -- I trust very constantly dependent too. That is the secret of a work wrought with God, and that, though it may seem quiet, lasts, and lays the ground for progress. I can only write a line now, though, thank God, much better.

It is not that there are not deep things in the word of God, but if we search it with His grace and Spirit it is always plain for us on the top; then we have it from Him. The cream is on the surface, not that we do not search and study, but that when we get it from God it is plain and on the surface. Till then we must wait till He teaches us. The passage you refer to is quite general. You must expect in a great house all sorts of vessels, precious and vile. Christendom has become such and hence we must expect such. False doctrine, when it characterises a man, is a vessel to dishonour; sound and exalted doctrine accompanied with unholiness, makes a man a vessel to dishonour; he who builds up sacramental corruptions, as Puseyites, Romanists, Greeks, are -- at any rate as teachers -- vessels to dishonour. I give these merely as examples; but it is left to spiritual discernment, according to the word, to judge what is and then to purge oneself from them ... .

The Lord keep you humble and near Himself.

London, February 9th.


[Page 135]

[G Dennet (E Dennett?)] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I do not like the pages+ you sent me, because they perplex the mind as to what it needs as fundamental truth. The first passage might pass, because the last words save it. But the first two lines state boldly that God does not need to be propitiated, and the second line of page 246 throws all into confusion. 'To be propitiated on their behalf He never needed,' yet propitiation was requisite. Now this confounds two senses of 'propitiate': the disposing to kindness, and meeting justice about sins. Yet it was 'an act Godward,' and propitiation was needed; yet 'God needed not to be propitiated.' This confuses and mixes up the two senses of the word, and indeed the characters of God, as judge and as love. Now as regards reconciliation, I recognise fully God did not need to be influenced to be gracious towards us. In John 3 His love is stated as the ground on which the gift came, by which propitiation could be made. The outgoing of the love of God was the free spontaneous actings of His own grace and nature. This was wanting in the theology of the Reformation and their creeds. They had, "the Son of man must be lifted up," and believed in its efficacy; but they had not, "for God so loved" etc. Christ on the cross had satisfied for believers the justice of God, but God still retained the character of a judge.

The mistake is, confounding the character of judge and sovereign love, which is above all causes and relations. God is a righteous judge; righteousness is a real thing, and God is righteous, a righteous Lord, and requires righteousness. He is not said to be righteousness, but righteous, because it is a relative term; no more than we are called to be love, because it is free and supreme. Now love brought down God to deliver Israel. But the God who delivered them was a righteous God, "of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." He passed through Egypt to smite; and blood, the blood of the lamb, had to be presented to His eye, or He must have smitten Israel. He judged being what He was, according to that which met Him, righteous judgment, and passed over because the blood was there. It was a righteous estimate of the value of what God saw. "The Son of man must be lifted up", and this should have all its value: to reveal God's love and all its manifold consequences, according to the counsels of God, it needed to be the Son of His love.

I read, 'It is not the meeting of the sinner's need, though that results from it, but the providing that God should be able to act in grace.' This supposes that God's activity is only in grace, and that judgment is only a casualty. But this, save as to activity, is false. There exist relationships to which responsibility is attached, and these must be met. There is right and wrong, which bring in judgment, besides grace. Of these the express measure, as to man, is law; nor would grace exist but for this, though love would. When men have failed, righteous judgment ensues, the receiving of the things done in the body. And in bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, Christ directly and intentionally met our need -- this as regards us; but as a general principle, He gave Himself a ransom for all, gave Himself to meet the need as an ajntivlutron. This giving Himself was pure, unbounded love, but it was to meet a need. The blood on the lintel and doorposts was the effect of divine love, but it was to meet a need. Responsibility and its consequences are forgotten in the statements; and the requirements of God's nature founded on it lost, as if there was nothing but the activity of love which had to be kept pure in God, according to some unknown standard and exigency. The love is free and sovereign, but the righteousness and righteous requirement is true and unchangeable: "The Son of man must be lifted up." The existence of conscience is the now innate sense of this. And obligation to God is in these pages set aside or forgotten, in insisting on the love of God. There is a vast deal more: the doctrine of God's righteousness for man when man had none, and the wonderful counsels of God in which grace reigns through righteousness, so that righteousness is itself the fruit of love, and a far, far wider range of thought behind, on which I do not touch, confining myself to the questions you have sent me.

Reconciling God is not scriptural, and it seems to me unworthy of God -- [supposing] some being, superior Being in love, who is so to dispose Him. I add, the words are confounded in A.V. Romans 5: 11: "atonement" should be "reconciliation": and Hebrews 2: 17, "to make reconciliation" should be "propitiation," where the need is clearly expressed: compare chapter 1: 3.

February 18th, 1881.


+[The Christian Friend, September, 1880.]

[Page 136]

[Page 137]

Dearest G Glenny, -- Your letter was not answered, because, first, I was so low, I could do next to nothing; and then it got astray, when I could take care of nothing; and it hung ever on my mind as a thing to do, and I was very glad to get yours today.

I may comfort you concerning England, for as a general rule the gatherings are in a far better state than they were before the trouble, and there is more conscience. I do not doubt much is yet to be desired, but there is more spring, too, in work, and everywhere a great desire for the word. The difficulties found faith very low; and a mass had come in as they would to any other sect with little or no principle, and what occurred found them in this state of weakness. Then there was a revival baptist work, which, while it sought to be accredited by brethrenism, had none of the principles which had formed them ... .

A collateral difficulty arose, that a large number of godly brethren were so disgusted with the duplicity and want of uprightness that they were disposed to leave, and so get clear of it. This was perhaps the most trying part of it, having to oppose men you loved and valued; but, dear brother, the Lord is sufficient for everything. The last difficulty is gone, and the upright ones more cordially united than ever ... . But the mass of brethren are sound, and going on, not occupied with all this, and because they are quiet they pass unnoticed. Occasionally there is a local effort which troubles them, but it is left to God; and if a few who stand in the gap are firm, then all go on peacefully and happily ... .

In general, God has sifted, and sifted for blessing, and has sustained brethren; and I trust Him fully for the testimony. I have no doubt Satan made a dead set at brethren, and God allowed it because they wanted it; but He has shewn Himself in goodness, and He always does well, wisely, and right ... .

And now for your texts. Those who yield feigned obedience [Psalm 18: 44, etc.] are those who, without any heart for Messiah, are afraid to do anything else, and nationally. The sheep in Matthew are the individual results of the preaching of the kingdom, and judged only for the manner they have received the messengers. There is a war judgment (Revelation 19: 11), and a sessional judgment. In Psalm 18. they bow under power to the throne. Matthew 25 is individual moral judgment when He has the throne. (Compare Psalm 18: 34-45; Matthew 25: 31) Only there is a double action He comes from heaven to destroy the beast, and takes the kingdom, and then out of Zion establishes His kingdom on earth, the Assyrian [being destroyed]. This is connected with all His ways as to Israel, His being in the midst of the people or not; Israel owned or not owned. I apprehend the 1000 years will give ample time for the existence of the army at the end. Partial dominion would not do; "every eye shall see him"; He will "plead with all flesh.' (See Isaiah 66) "And there shall be one Lord, and his name one"; "the God of the whole earth shall he be called."

Remember, dear -- , what I have often said in New Zealand and as to England, that Christianity works by what it brings not by what it finds. I have to leave the active field now to younger men than myself; but there is One who never grows old, the same yesterday, today, and for ever, and who cannot fail His own, or in making all things work together for good for them ... .

Ever affectionately yours

London, February 24th.


[Page 138]

[J James] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I have a tract on Sealing which I thought I might have had today; but it is not come. I do not write in any magazine now. I am not at all happy about the brothers' book-selling concerns; the spirit of the world has got thoroughly hold of it. Sealing on the new birth is a mistake in principle; it leaves out the sprinkling with blood for forgiveness. I know of no ground for delay save knowing this (See Acts 2: 38; 10: 43, 44.)

As to eternal life: in the full sense of it it is Christ Himself and that revealed as Man in glory, 1 John 5: 20. But its essence is divine life in the Person of Christ, 1 John 5: 11, 12. In Him was life, and that life He has in manhood, John 5: 24. But this has a double character; the Son quickens as Son (verse 21) and then we are, when dead in sins, quickened together with Christ: in one as Son of God, a divine Person; in the other a dead man whom God raises. Now life and incorruptibility were brought to light by the gospel. For eternal life was manifested in the Person of the Son, and when He was risen and glorified, shewn out in its new full character in Man. If we be risen with Christ, "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory." Now till He came this never was displayed, nor according to God's full purpose in man, till He was glorified: but I have no doubt the Old Testament saints were quickened and they will be perfected. Still it was as much in Christ humbled, as in Christ glorified. 1 John 1 was before the world, and that is its essence, only now brought to light in connection with the incorruptibility of the body in resurrection (or changed) a spiritual body. Paul never speaks of it as ours+ now that I remember: John does, for he always speaks of things in their essence. But it comes in the knowledge of the Father sending the Son, and Jesus Christ as so sent of Him; and the Father, Son, and life come in the Son, and the Father revealed in Him, runs all through John's teaching, connecting us with Him in life. (1 John 4: 9; 5: 11, 12.) We live, but Christ is our life. But the revelation of the Father in the Son, and that as giving eternal life in Him, is the essence of John's doctrine, along with propitiation and forgiveness in his epistle -- not in his gospel. But it is not necessary that it should be in the heavenly glory to be eternal life; but redemption through Christ is. In Matthew 25 they go into life everlasting. The places in the Old Testament where it is spoken of are Psalm 133 and Daniel 12.

Its essence is Christ as life, but in its full thought as to us, is being like Him in glory. But there is quickening by Him as Son, and being quickened and raised with Him -- in both cases life, in the latter known in heavenly glory as the result. God has reserved some better thing for us, but the Old Testament saints will be perfected with us. No one who has not life can have to say to God really. The Pharisees had got hold of the expression, as they had of resurrection. But the Lord goes down to the ground they were upon, if they will enter into life -- God's commandments. But in the Lord's unfolding the subject in John 6, you find having eternal life as a present thing, as constantly in John, but directly connected four times over with His raising us in the last day. Its full development is in the sphere it came from, and in the power of Him who has it in connection with man, and so immortality (incorruptibility) -- the body brought in. Nor, though they have it down here, is this shut out in the final result in Matthew 25, Daniel 12, and Psalm 133.

You cannot separate eternal life and new birth; but though the essence of divine life is there, yet eternal life in Christ as man and finally in glory does go further -- man being quickened as accomplished in Christ glorified. It is the gospel which has brought it to light ... . The moral subjective effect was produced by being quickened, obedience, dependence, reference of heart to God, delight in His will. Hence the saint now can delight in the Psalms, though there is no knowledge of the Father.

I am, through mercy, much better; but, saving a reading in my room, have held no meetings, but been twice to the breaking of bread.

February 24th.


+He does say Christ lives in me and Christ our life.

[Page 139]

[Page 140]

[G J Stewart] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I owe you well a letter, but you know I have been ill, and all this kind of work fell in arrear; but I am a great deal better, and seek to pull the arrear up. Beloved brother, what we have to cleave to is Christ: in Him we know the Father, and He is that eternal life which came down from heaven; in Him, too, as glorified on high, once crucified, we are introduced into the holiest. He has sanctified Himself that we may be sanctified through the truth. It is little noted that what human nature could not see or conceive is revealed to us by the Holy Ghost given to us, "that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." This is the world the new man lives in, to which he belongs, and all the rest passes -- when "his breath goeth forth ... all his thoughts perish."

We have to go through a world full of experiences, and christian life in it thus, with which as ministering we have to do. Our great affair is so in our own souls to have Christ formed in us, and so to know Him experimentally in the little world of our own souls, that all that is of self being judged, then only Christ may come out, whether as testimony of life in the big outer world, or in that which we apply to others in ministry; and to wait on Him so that we may be guided in doing it. I often find the question arise in my mind in service, whether I was enough in the spirit of unitedness -- that is, with Christ -- the sense of His presence -- so as to have had the right thing come into my mind: for "a word spoken in due season, how good is it!" At least we must seek this, and be continually looking to Him so that there may be nothing hasty in our words. I have no doubt that if we kept close to Christ, His Spirit would guide us in our intercourse with others. We are not always conscious of divine guidance, even when it is there; but the word comes from Christ to the souls we have to say to, even if rejected -- as we see with the Jews. But our part is to keep close to Christ, so that it should be "not I, but Christ liveth in me," and thus He acts in our thoughts and ways without our, at the moment, thinking of Him directly; but we always have the consciousness of speaking for Him, and of His presence. "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt," "which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers."

What a life, an honoured life, a Christian's is if it be a Christian's! But all perishes but the word (I mean of what we have as in this world); but that does not -- it abides for ever. For our life first -- "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" -- it is of and from heaven, divine like Christ; but suited, as He was, to a world and hearts which were the opposite of what is divine; and He and it are alone so, and we -- if we eat Him and live by Him and so follow Him. What an immense privilege that we are set to bring out divine things on earth, and soon shall enjoy them where there will be nought else! May Christ keep us close to Himself: we may be assured He cares for His church and cannot fail it. May we judge ourselves and trust Him, and nothing can separate us from His love That is a comfort!

As regards this country: those who went out at Kent will, I suppose, immediately break bread, and for good and all. Some urged them to do it. In general about the country, conscience has been much awakened, and there is much more freshness and desire for the word, and that even in London, too. But the absence of all principle and conscience in those who have formed a party (though the rest leave it to God) cannot, if there are to be gatherings, go on long. But it opens people's eyes. It is a question, Can godly discipline be exercised? And God seems raising the question in different places. I should add that -- was round as far as Aberdeen, and came back quite cheered with the state of brethren. For if Satan is at work, and such audacity I never saw (a little bit once at -- ), the Spirit of God is evidently and happily working too; but the revival work, and the tone which accompanied it, has introduced a mass of persons from whom God alone can deliver us. I keep entirely aloof from them. I am a great deal better, only have no breath. Nothing separates us from the love of Christ, and all things work together for good to those that love God.

London, March 19th, 1881.


[Page 141]

[Page 142]

-- - My impression,+ for it is not the result of theological examination, is that the Lord God speaks of Christ's mission as a whole from the time it was said (if time it can be called) "a body hast thou prepared me" till the service was accomplished He sent that blessed Person with the whole scene before Him into the world; but the actual sending, down here when a man in the world, was from the Holy Ghost coming upon Him when He returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. With quite another object in view the two steps are in Philippians 2, "emptied himself," and, being a man, "humbled himself." So God prepared a body for Him (dug ears for Him); and then, though Son all the while as when twelve years of age, He was sent out as man set apart to bear the witness He was sent for. God had created the world by Him, He will judge the world by Him. But here He is looked at as sent into the world for service; and His whole Person, Son of God and man, is in view as one whole in service. He took the form of a servant; "Lo, I come to do thy will." The sanctifying was the appropriating -- setting apart -- this Person to the humble, in one sense, but glorious service which Christ performed, though service He never gives up. The Father get apart this Person for this service -- did so in preparing a body -- did so in incarnation, and did so in anointing and sealing when the opportune time was come. He was sent into the world, so actually set apart (in divine purpose in Psalm 40) for the service, the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, and then as Man by the Holy Ghost coming and abiding on Him. He could not be sent before He was set apart for it but while actually set apart in Matthew 3, 4, He could not have been actually then if not in God's mind and by incarnation before.
[1881.]


+In what sense is the term "sanctified" used (John 10: 36)? Why does it precede the sending into the world?

[Page 143]

[D Lithgow] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- Thank you for your account. I cannot but think God is bringing things to light. I trust and pray that God may guide the brethren at -- . Waiting upon Him, He surely will. Christ never ceases to care for the church. He may see good to try us, but He is a match for any mischief-maker. But I write properly for two points: First, that I do trust our dear brother will do nothing whatever, but cast it all on the Lord; He will take care of it: I know that. The other is, that unanimity is nonsense, a denial of the power and operation of the Spirit, and clean contrary to the word of God. First, it is nonsense; because till the case is decided the person charged is one of the assembly, and you are not going to make him agree as led by the Spirit in judging his own case. If you do not allow him, you have put him out before his case is decided. It is real nonsense. Waiting for quiet godly men who doubt is all right unanimity is so many men agreeing. The world must go on and so judges by a majority, but for the saints nothing can be done unless all agree -- this is man, not the Spirit of God. Supposing it was a flagrant case of stealing or adultery? Are you to wait till he agrees to put himself out? Again, supposing the person or persons are obstinate, self-willed, evil walkers? The assembly must, in either case, go on with wickedness, with what God judges in its midst, till the guilty think proper to judge themselves, or break up altogether. It is denying the operation of God's Spirit in the assembly's clearing itself: better not to have any discipline at all.

It will be said that we have not the power -- say of Paul. Be it so. But put out "from among yourselves" is a duty, obedience to the plain word of God, not power in the sense of an apostle. Evil is to be got rid of 'that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened." The requiring unanimity is contrary to the plain word of God on the point. Paul says, "Having in readiness to avenge all disobedience when your obedience is accomplished." This puts the case that after the labour of the apostle to produce obedience had produced its full effect, some might remain not subject to the word; then he would come with the rod and avenge disobedience. The case is stated of non-unanimity, and dealing with those who stood out. I quite understand that people may seek to say the power is not here. But that is not the question, but that unanimity is not supposed even when the power was there; and I am persuaded that though power is not manifested as it was, Christ is just as true to His church, and has just as much power now as then, and will shew it. But unanimity is a mere human device: there is no such thought in scripture. It is merely a set of men must agree: the power of the Holy Ghost is denied. The judgment is not valid because men agree, but because God is there: and Christ being there is not supposed by the apostle necessarily to produce unanimity; he puts the contrary case. It is because it falsifies the whole ground of the church's standing and authority that I attach importance to it.

March, 1881.


[Page 144]

W Bowley, As you are so far off I tell you more of these news of different parts; but what we want always is news from heaven, to be at home there, Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith. I find the word richer and richer daily. This has brought us news and blessed news from heaven, and in the Person of Him who is the fulness of them, and is gone back there after accomplished redemption, and, think of it! as our forerunner. And we must not think these things are not revealed -- what eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor is entered into the heart of man to conceive; "but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit." "We have received, not the spirit which is of the world, but that which is of God, that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God." All the other names of God -- Almighty, Jehovah, Most High, Adonai -- have to do with this world, and God shines but through the cloud. But the Father is seen in the Son: this is not dispensational; it is the sun breaking through them: and God known in His ways of perfect grace, Himself known. Christ, the only-begotten Son, has declared Him -- what a blessing! -- and brought us into His own place with the Father, soon in the glory itself. In that name of "holy Father" we are kept; and this is what we have to seek, to walk according to this place as dear children, as sons. May we remember that we are set in Christ before God; that is perfect; but, if so, He is in us, and we are set before the world to represent Him. (See John 14 and Romans 8) And to do it, "out of his fulness have we all received." We must learn experimentally our own nothingness to be there, but it is a blessed (but a very responsible) place; and we must be full of Christ to do it at all -- converse with Him for His own sake, for our delight in Him gives us, if we keep in mind our dependence, His presence and wisdom and strength for all through which we have to pass; and men and the world and the saints should meet Christ in us as they did in Christ. I have no need to say how infinitely and constantly perfect He was, and whatever we are it is still Him and of Him; but then so far weakness is not a hindrance, because God does not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, and then His grace is sufficient for us, and His strength made perfect in weakness. The secret is to keep the sense of that weakness, and look entirely to Him. Man lives by every word; it, and He in it, ought to be the source of every movement, as well as the rule of it, in us; and that is a great secret. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." But I must close. The Lord keep you near Him, and guide your heart within and your ways without. My loving remembrances to all the brethren.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

London, March 22nd, 1881.


[Page 145]

Dear Mrs Hewitt, -- May I beg you to be my mouth-piece to the other sisters, and receive the same yourselves, to assure them of my sincere thankfulness for their kind interest. I account it a precious thing that the saints take interest in one another. The life of Christ shews itself thus. I was very low indeed, but am much better, but humanly speaking shall never have my breath for work as I had; but it is all in the Lord's hands; at past 80 it is not very surprising. My mind through mercy is as clear as ever, and study work I go on with as usual. God may use us, but the good that is done down here is wholly done by Himself; who else would do it? And Christ has loved His church and given Himself for it, and sanctifies it for and will present it to Himself, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. Man's ways cross and traverse each other, but He goes on in the secret of His own love always straightforward and makes everything work together for good to them that love Him. I should be very glad to see the brethren: whether God will allow me, I know not -- perhaps in warmer weather. It is in His hands. He may use us, but has no need of us, and soon we shall be where the patient continuance in well doing will not be called for. I am very thankful to all for so kindly thinking of me. Yours sincerely in the Lord.

London, March 28th, 1881.


[Page 146]

[J R Field] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- My letter to Mr. -- , though private concerns us all. There is a principle at work which puts external unity before righteousness -- uses unity to hinder righteousness. Now to me righteousness goes first. I find, that in Romans 2, let grace be what it may in sovereign goodness, it never sets aside righteousness ... . The course of Abbot's Hill, I was convinced, was wicked, I was so convinced from the beginning; and it was not a mere mistaken act, but a course pursued, and I could not own them. The question goes far deeper than local claims: whether christian profession, and so-called unity, to which in its place I hold thoroughly as ever, as plain scriptural truth, is to go before righteousness -- God's claim to fidelity to Him ... . I do not think that any church theory, however true and blessed when walking in the Spirit, can go before practical righteousness.

Such is the substance of my letter as to principles, what I have gone on all along ... .

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

April 20th, 1881.


[Page 147]

[Mr Pinkerton], First, Ephesians 2 is not experimental, but that absolute work of grace which has taken us, when dead in sins, and put us into Christ in heavenly places; as it took Christ dead as man for our sins, and put Him into glory. Romans 6, 7 are experimental, though we find liberty in Christ. As to it, we have died with Him: that is Romans. We have risen with Him is also added in Colossians: died to sin in Romans -- from the principles of this world in Colossians. But this, while known in Christ, or it would be hopeless labour, is experimental. But what gives deliverance is seeing it in Christ, though of course when free I feel the comfort of it: but deliverance is the difference of being in the flesh and out of it. A soul earnest after holiness labours after it and does not succeed. The new man craves it, seeks it, toils for it, and has it not. The cords that bind it down are too strong for it, but it is learning a most profitable lesson, that it has no strength. But this is while comparing its own state with what it would be before God, with what it knows God would have pleasure in. It is not a question of guilt, properly speaking, but of practical acceptance. It judges of what God's feelings towards it are, by what it is, and just because it "would" holiness cannot find rest. It is learning it has no more strength than righteousness; when it has really learnt this, and this is experience, and necessary experience -- "without strength" -- it recognises, as taught of God, that it has died as to the flesh with Christ, and that it is not on that ground at all, that it is not on that standing at all. It learns to say "when we were in the flesh," and this by the Holy Ghost, though through the appropriation by faith of Christ's death -- not for sins (that refers to guilt) but to sin. The soul reckons itself dead with Christ to its old position, and now alive in Him, married to Him who is risen from the dead. It is not that conflict does not go on, "the flesh lusts against the Spirit"; but it is not under the law of sin and death -- the cords are cut it could not break. In the experience of Romans 7 you have not the Spirit, but the law. Conflict there is; but conflict with one who ties me down is different from conflict with one whom I have power to tie down.

I am not in the flesh if Christ, if the Spirit of God, dwell in me. I know (John 14) that I am in Christ and Christ in me -- not progress but a new position -- when we have, in the old, experimentally learned we have no strength, whatever our desires. It may be sudden consciousness of the effect. It is by faith; but never till we have experimentally learned that we cannot succeed. A man may have learned the doctrine but he must know himself as having no strength to have deliverance from himself. "We know the law is spiritual": all the rest is "I," till we arrive at "O wretched man that I am!" What is deliverance from bondage if I am not in it? You may be very naughty, but you cannot be in Egypt if you are across the Red Sea. Not that the Red Sea is our death with Christ but it is His dying and rising again so as to make in Himself the new position for man before God. The Passover was for their sins -- non-imputation.

April, 1881.


[Page 148]

[J H Gilmour] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- The divine nature and place of Christ must be held above all question. All men shall "honour the Son, even as they honour the Father": He and the Father are one -- all the fulness of the Godhead in Him bodily: "the Word was God," and created all things. I might quote texts without number to shew it: it enters into the very warp of the whole truth of scripture. I put this in the forefront of my reply. The ADONAI JEHOVAH of Isaiah 6 was Christ.

This is not the question, nor do I believe it to be a question with our dear brother M. Taylor. Did I suppose he denied this as I have heretofore said, I might seek his restoration, but I should as so holding, disown him altogether. But we must remember that no man knows the Son but the Father; that this -- all concerning Him -- was when in the form of God He made Himself of no reputation ("emptied himself") and took the form of a servant and was found in the likeness of men [having] laid aside the form of divine glory, and for our sakes and for the Father's glory humbled Himself even to death "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him"; through which having accomplished redemption He now sits as man at the right hand of God. He has received the glory as man though He had it with the Father before the world was. Hence we find that in the days of His flesh, with strong crying and tears He made His supplication unto Him who was able to save Him from death; that He could say "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and "Father into thy hands I commend my spirit," and now risen can and does say to His disciples, My Father and your Father, My God and your God.

If this humiliation of Christ be lost, all is lost with it. In our relationships, therefore, we say, "to us there is but one God the Father ... and one Lord Jesus Christ." I cannot doubt that M. Taylor has made unadvised and undesirable statements, the effect certainly being to turn away from the worship of the Lord Jesus. I have found this cropping up in Pennsylvania. But I regret deeply the way in which it has been taken up; and, it may seem strange, but I attribute much of the effects, such as existed in Pennsylvania, to the way in which what he said was taken up: because what may have been rash and unadvised was pushed to the utmost possible extreme of heresy, and others from favouring him defended this ... . It is possible, too, he may have sought too much to defend himself.

I do not see any contradiction in these two letters. My present conviction is, that he did not deny worship to Christ, but that he did decline addressing himself to Christ at the Table, though leaving liberty to others. This happened in my own case in Brooklyn. There is a great difference between the worship there being addressed to Christ and to the Father; the whole tone of the meeting is changed by it: this I have long noticed. Though with no formal intention, I seldom give thanks without being led to both, but quite sensible of the difference; and worship, when met for it, is more suitably to the Father, if people are up to it. But if it was taken as objecting to addressing Christ I should resist that. I dare say Taylor made a kind of system of this without being clear. But I doubt a little that the mass of brethren are quite clear as to the real bearings of the question. I believe a little wisdom would have made it the occasion of all getting clearer on what spiritually is practically important, instead of its being a ground of conflict and attack. I have no sympathy with the way it has been done. If Taylor repelled any address to Christ in breaking bread, I think he would have tied himself to a system which marred the liberty of the Spirit in himself; and this, though leaving others free, I cannot doubt he did: a general denial of worship to Christ I doubt; and I somewhat doubt, but from my general acquaintance with the state of souls, that the brethren understood the bearing of insisting on worshipping the Father. There was a system, instead of the guidance of the Spirit in Taylor's mind, and then I fear, some self-defence, as there had been unguarded and exaggerated statements; and the whole thing has degenerated into moral charges.

As I see things now, were I at -- , I should object to the charge of any intended falsehood in these letters. I do not think the explanatory one clear, and I doubt that -- was clear about it; but that is another question: and ill as he is now it would be quite unseemly to press the matter against him. This is a mercy from God for you all. But you must be careful at -- if you decline endorsing the attack of the others, not to get into a separation outward or inward from the rest ... . I trust the Lord may restore peace and mutual confidence; but this is easier lost than restored.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

I doubt there was any definite doctrine as to the Lord in Taylor's mind, but I apprehend there was a theory and system as to addressing Him at the Lord's table, and that it was not the leading of the Holy Ghost at the time.

April, 1881.


[Page 149]

[Page 150]

My Dear J Boyd, -- I did not wait for your letter to express my feelings to the brethren as to the way in which they took up M. Taylor's case. Not only did I not like the spirit of it, but I do not think they knew the bearing of the question. Still there was evil: I think their position augmented it, because others took up what they accused Mr. Taylor of, and defended what he could not himself have maintained.

In Pennsylvania there was an attack made on worshipping the Lord Jesus, and contempt poured out on those who did. When I was at Brooklyn, and had broken the bread, and had addressed the Lord Jesus, one remarked to him, 'Mr. D. can do it!' He said 'He may be at liberty to do it, but I cannot.' He admitted that, though leaving others at liberty, he could not do it there. I do not think he meant to deny worship to Christ absolutely; but in getting fresh apprehensions of direct approach to the Father by grace, he got his mind, often hasty though so true to the Lord, into confusion in putting his fresh knowledge in its place; and being attacked (by what, I believe, was inadequate apprehension, though in the main seeking Christ's glory) instead of humble spiritual inquiry that all might be clear from the word, he defended what he was not clear about.

That Christ could say, "Before Abraham was I am;" that even when humbled and in the flesh all should honour the Son as they honour the Father must be fully maintained -- is beyond controversy for the [Christian]; and it is a fact that many had been led away from this. I justly believe M. T. sound as to the divinity of the Lord; but as to worshipping Him there was confusion, through the thought of worshipping the Father being a higher thing; and this had gone further perhaps than he meant in the minds of many ... .

Ever yours in the Lord.

May, 1881.


[Page 151]

J G Deck, You are, I dare say, a good deal isolated now where you are, being incapable of as much activity as you were wont to employ. I am yet more shut up (from want of breath) from going about. But the blessed Lord is never shut up, nor His heart either. He could say, "Ye shall leave me alone, and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." It is this sustains and holds up in this time of faith; and it is meant to be a time of faith, but a time when "our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ": the Father fully revealed in Him, and we knowing the Father in Him. What could we look for more? save that the Spirit is the power that brings it all to us; and that we have. I find two things in the New Testament as to our joys and sorrows: first, "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice"; and, nothing separates us from His love. Still, we are poor, feeble, exercised creatures as to what passes here and, however faithful, may be cast down, though doubtless ought not to distrust. Then I find, "God, who comforteth those that are cast down." Ah, I say, it is worth while being cast down for such comfort as that! And this is not faith that rises above the circumstances, but grace that meets us in the circumstances: and think what it is to have God occupying Himself with us in our sorrows, when we remember who He is.

I have no doubt you find yourself more alone; at our age it is natural. How few remain of those I once was associated with, but in general I have a happy feeling that they are with the Lord. I was always a solitary soul, thinking more for than with people: but it is good to be more alone -- most good, if it be more alone with Christ. What a place that is!

We get Christ's love to His disciples compared to His Father's love to Him (and ours ought to follow) -- is in one sense above, as the Father was in divine glory, not in trial or sorrows. I have often said there is loving up, and loving down. In loving up, the higher and more perfect the object, the more excellent the affection: in loving down, the more wretched and worthless the object, the more truly divine and without motive the affection. Both were perfect in Christ. He gave Himself "for us," but "to God." (Ephesians 5) But I must close my desultory letter. May the Lord be abundantly with you, both alone and in work. Kindest remembrances to all yours.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

London, May 1st.


[Page 152]

[Mr Pinkerton] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- ... I know of no Christianity where Christ is not all -- increasedly so, and naturally, in these my closing years. But there is a flighty notion of perfection which is merely self, and I think of a bad kind, through the religious pretension it has. There is no perfection but glory with the blessed One, and no other to be aimed at, and this always keeps us lowly, for what are we compared with that? Ah! when we study Christ's life too down here, and what His heart and motives were, how shallow we are, how He must be everything, and how deep and far beyond our view the sufferings of His soul down here!

I would add that the meeting at -- began in a very loose way, and had to be purged of this, and social circumstances added to the difficulty. But God pursues His own ends through circumstances, when we are often governed by them, or at any rate influenced and hindered. And how He bears with us! We have seen the Lord's hand with us wonderfully here latterly. I certainly did look to the Lord, and He shewed Himself indeed in the most unthought of way, so that we have been astounded at His goodness. Here we are happy enough, but the County of Kent matters came up as we expected they must, being so near London, and [brethren] coming up, so that their reception involved the London gatherings. But though we know not how all will end, God has so dealt with the worst cases that His acting being manifest, encourages the heart. Brethren never went through such a crisis as they have in all this matter; but the Lord, while exercising and humbling them, has heard their cry, and I believe preserved their testimony: the testimony, I never doubted He would, but it did not follow -- in their hands. But I felt in praying I could trust Him for that, and I believe He has. But I must close.

London, May 10th.


[Page 153]

[J Workman] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- All depends on its being a private meeting or a public one. It is clear they must not teach, and in the assembly keep silence, and if they have a question ask at home. (1 Timothy 2: 12; 1 Corinthians 14: 34.) I believe sisters have a very honourable place in scripture. They clung to the Lord when the disciples deserted Him; in death and resurrection they, not the apostles, are found, and in life ministering to Him; and the apostle in the end of Romans bears them the highest testimony. But the Lord never sends them out to teach or preach. And then the apostle is peremptory in forbidding them the same as to authority. Everything is beautiful in its place. If therefore it was quietly helping each other among themselves, I see nothing to hinder; or explaining scripture for the gospel to poor ignorant and unconverted women, even if several were together; but a teaching meeting even among themselves seem to me contrary to scripture. Its being in the room makes no difference really, but in circumstances it does: it is a teaching place, and you cannot separate the thought. Whatever puts them into the place of teaching, puts them into mischief, and is not of God. "The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price," is what honours them.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

May 10th, 1881.


[Page 154]

MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I confess I think the state of this sister unsatisfactory. There was no staying away from conscience at the time (naturally a woman would be ashamed of course), and continual deception for five shillings a week. Still she acknowledged it honestly: so far it was well. If I saw there had been thorough repentance of old, I would not bring it up again, but this hardly appears ... .

The great question for me would be the present state of the soul, her true repentance. If I was satisfied she was really humbled, and gave up the pay, I would not proclaim her sin. It might be said that the ancient sin unknown to the assembly had been discovered, but as the soul's state had been restored before it was discovered, it was not mentioned. If there has not been genuine repentance, the lapse of time does not change the state: and I should say that the sin was of a very old date, but as no sign of adequate humiliation was seen exclusion was called for. All depends upon the state of her soul. There seems honesty: is there a real sense of the sin? As to Achan, I cannot doubt if he had put it all back they would have been spared, because then there was, though momentary failure, honest rejection of the sin. But that is just the question here: is there?

I would certainly not bring up sin, if it was judged. The question is, Is it judged? The assembly's conscience was not defiled, because it did not know it. If it had been more spiritual it might have felt there was something hindering blessing, but it was not defiled by permitted sin. Now you have to see if the guilty person has really judged the sin, or it may become so -- at any rate in the conscience of those who do know it.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.


[Page 155]

Dear Miss Jesse Williams, -- The Lord is graciously doing what was and is always needed, making you know yourself. We may often accept the gospel not insincerely, and yet not have the least learnt what we are, that is what sin is in the flesh. As regards confession (James 5: 16) -- the form this distress takes with you -- I agree with -- , it is not a command imposed, but a means afforded for walking fully in the light, a relief if I cannot get rid of something that presses on my conscience; nay, even if I have done from time to time what keeps my spirit fretful, and out of communion, it is given as a means of relief, in order to my spirit's being conscious of being in the truth, to find some one worthy of such confidence, and opening the matter to them. It is a relief to open the heart, only not to be done with levity, but in the true sense of the evil, and gives occasion to the other to pray for us. This is connected with the government of God, and has nothing to do with deliverance. Its true character is lost if we look on it as an imposed obligation; but we make what is called a clean breast of it, and all sense of guile and false appearance is taken away. Sometimes the desire to confess is a mere effort to get the mind at ease without a thorough dealing with God which goes to the root.

Romans 5: 1 is simply forgiveness, faith that Christ has been delivered for our offences. If that be so, God must despise Christ's work before He imputes sin to me: and not only is that impossible, but God has given proof to the contrary in raising Him from the dead, and setting Him as man in glory: and He has not got my sins there. The work God has wrought in Christ has blotted out my sins: the Lord imputes no sin. Then comes another source of distress, even if I am clear that believing in Jesus I am justified from all things. I find my old man, my flesh, produces the evil fruit still; and this perplexes the mind if it has learned forgiveness, and brings doubts and deep distress where it has not. It is always in its nature legal -- that is, refers God's estimate of us, to what we are: namely, His thoughts towards us are dependent on our state before Him; whereas our state depends on His thoughts. See the prodigal when he found his father. (Compare Numbers 23: 23.)

Now our peace as to our sins is simply that they are forgiven and put away: Christ has borne them. If I believe in Him, God has declared this; I am "justified from all things." But for the discovery of our sinful state and getting deliverance there is an experimental process in us. The doctrine is that we died with Christ: that is Romans 6. But the resting on the truth found there as a doctrine, is connected with the experience found in chapter 7, the result then being in chapter 8. Now this experience is the painful learning that we have no strength to make good what we would in what is right. There is a point in this experience which often helps, but is not deliverance; that is, hating the evil which yet works in me, it is not I, for I hate the evil, and I am not what I hate. But after this I find what I hate too strong for me, and I am brought to the consciousness of my being without strength, the point to which God was leading me by it all: "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."

Your anxiety about confession and distress of soul will all disappear, when you have the deliverance which follows this full breaking down. We are conscious then of being in Christ, as Romans 8: 1; and then Christ is in us as the power of life (vers. 2, 3): Christ is substituted for self before God for us as righteousness. What am I before God? Christ. And He having died and risen again and received by faith, lives in us: and the flesh is treated as not me but sin that dwells in us, and we have by the Holy Ghost the sense of being children. In a word, Christ is substituted for self before God, and yet as livingly in us -- "as he is so are we in this world." This is God's teaching; it belongs to every one who believes in Christ, but we do not get it experimentally, till the self for which Christ is substituted is thoroughly judged and broken down -- no good in it, and no means of getting into a better state however much we desire it. And this is the process you are going through, with a pretty strong will to be broken by it. I add, it is of moment in this conflict to avoid all evil -- not that this will give us peace; that comes from being dead with Christ; but if we are not watchful it gives a handle to the enemy.

Christ came to save the lost, and we must get to see we are lost as to our state in order to get deliverance: yet in the grace that came to save us when such, God knows when self is really judged, and then gives peace. In yourself in the flesh you are lost, but we get out of this standing through being dead with Christ. The sin in our flesh was judged on the cross. We hear nothing more of the prodigal son, once he found his father: all is what his father was to him.
1881


[Page 156]

[Page 157]

[To the same] Miss Jesse Williams, It is experimentally we learn what we are, and very humbling it is, but it casts us on the Lord so that we find He is our righteousness, not anything we are or our state, and then we get strength too; for "where sin abounded grace did much more abound." You have a strong will, not accustomed to govern yourself, and hence the struggle is more painful; but the Lord is faithful to bring you through it. You must feel that deliverance is not for you till you get it: our will mixes itself up much more than we think with the flesh, but it is much better to suffer under it, than take it easy as you speak of. When you feel it pressing on your will, look away to Christ at once, and the new man being then in operation the heart gets elsewhere. It is not direct conflict with it, for this being under law, the motions of sin are by it. Then Satan uses it to bring sin on the conscience and discourage us. Resist him, and I do not say you will overcome, but he will flee from you," for Christ has overcome him for us. Then get healthful active occupations: there is plenty to do in thus world, if we have the heart for it. Above all, believe ever -- "My grace is sufficient for thee." When the heart gets on Christ, all is easy; it is away from what is a snare to us. Once we let the devil inside, so that the mind is occupied with what the flesh tempts us with, it is far harder to get it out, than to keep it out. When you speak of gleams of light sometimes, it is what always happens when God is carrying through the process of self-knowledge. He gives us occasional deliverance so to speak, so that we know there is such a thing; like a man rising head above water and getting breath, or he would be drowned, yet goes under again when he has got enough, to shew there is such a thing as being out. Understand that God does this, because while He must make you know yourself because it is yourself, He is above, and can and will deliver. But you will find Christ faithful, and what He shews you thus that you may not despair, He will accomplish fully. Cry to Him -- we ought always to do it, not to faint. Read your Bible as something addressed to yourself, praying Him to give it the efficacy of the Spirit to your soul: no indulgence of will, but ready service, in what the house or any other duty may call for, and you will find -- not that the flesh is not there, but -- that you are not in it.

The power that does it is the death of Christ, not for our sins, but to sin. (See Romans 8.) God has condemned sin in the flesh on the cross, so that there is no condemnation for us. The sin we find working in us is worthy of condemnation, but has been condemned when He was (a sacrifice) for sin; and this we learn by faith, though God makes us learn what it is experimentally, which is just Romans 7. Chapter 6 is the doctrine, chapter 8 the result, when we have gone through chapter 7. The conflict remains, but the Spirit is there: it is no longer the conflict of natures under law. (Galatians 5: 17, 18.)

Look to Christ always faithful and loving, and "sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law, but under grace": that is, God is for you, not requiring, but giving and forgiving.

Sincerely yours in the Lord.

London, May 11th, 1881.


[Page 158]

[Mr Slim] MY DEAR BROTHER -- I was very glad to hear from you and that you were all safe arrived, and thankful too that none had left to follow those that went out. Dear -- will want no spectacles now to see the King in His beauty, and even the vanity which may have hindered him on earth is gone for ever: there is none in the presence of the glory of God, nor with Christ our just and infinite delight ... . It is sweet to think that he is, dear fellow, with Christ, and nothing but the new man remains. That is a comfort for us all, though we ought to keep down the old man here, that we may be free fully to enjoy Christ. I am not a perfectionist, fundamentally not, but I believe there is power in Christ to keep the old man down so that the Spirit be not grieved, and thus communion perfect in our measure ... .

Christ, is the same, dear brother, in Barbados, as in London, and He and He only is life and power, but He is intimate with us, can dwell in our hearts by faith, and so we can not only comprehend the wide extent of glory, and look down its infinite yet perfectly ordered parts as from a centre, but know, blessed be His name! a love which passes knowledge.

It is wonderful, the place God has given us, yet it is, while we were only sin, what Christ's work was only worthy of, so that while pure and sovereign grace reigns, so that we know perfect love, that is God, yet it reigns through righteousness. It has often, for some time, been a joy to me that we shall all be a perfect testimony to the efficacy and worth of Christ's work which brought us into it, as well as of the Father's love, and that eternally. It is what we ought to be here, but we know how feeble it often is here, but there we shall for ever be adequate witnesses of Christ, by the very glory into which He will have brought us, and that is very blessed.

The Lord be with you, dear brother, in your work: we have only to serve Christ earnestly, and in communion with Him, and all is well; the rest passes and is gone. I have nothing much to tell you of things here ... . I do not, as you know, move in and out among brethren, from my bodily state. But God is working on to the result of His own ways. There is the occasional difficulty of letters of commendation, otherwise all around us is as quiet as possible ... . May the Lord be with -- in his work, and all the brethren. I am very thankful to them that they remember and think of me. They may be assured I do not forget them, and earnestly desire of God their blessing and peace in Christ, and that the whole assembly may be indeed as trees of the Lord's planting. Oh that all His saints were! Christ all to them. Peace be with you.

Affectionately yours, dear brother, in the Lord.
1881.


[Page 159]

[From the French.] DEAREST BROTHER, -- I was very glad to receive your letter and news of Switzerland, for which I thank you. England is pretty much in the same state -- more than one place where conversions are somewhat numerous, but nothing very striking. But the condition of brethren has evidently improved; there is more conscience, more life. All the labouring brethren who have gone about the country have returned happy, and with their souls refreshed; and God is acting in a striking way in the midst of the difficulties of London. Brethren can see it at a glance. Everything is not settled, but evil has manifested its powerlessness. We have had only to allow God to act, and who can do so but Himself? As to myself, it is the resolution I have taken from the beginning, and I bless His name for it. We do not sufficiently consider that it is He who works the good, and He alone who can do it, and He arranges everything.

I have been very ill, dear brother: I mean my strength has sunk under the effect of too much work, and of my age, then of a serious fall while travelling. I did not know whether it was not God's will to take me out of this poor world ... . I had peace, I had not any doubt, but at first I felt the ruin of the vessel, when I was alone at night with the Lord. The thought of being with the Lord soon became uppermost, and I was happy in going to Him, if it was His will. What was in question was the activity of my affection for the Lord, and not at all the assurance of faith. That it would be better to be up there with Him, I did not doubt; His love is to my heart a treasure more precious than ever, of infinite value: it is the effect of this experience. I am better now, humanly speaking: the time of my departure has not yet come. I work as usual in my study; I have been present at the Sunday morning meeting, and have taken part in it; then I have been at two meetings for reading the word.

I asked myself whether God's will was still to use me for the brethren: on one side that, on the other to be with Himself. I do not cling to life, but I should desire to finish my course; and brethren have not yet got out of all the difficulties of their position. But God is there; I do not by any means doubt that He will fully accomplish the work of His goodness, and the courage of brethren is revived by His grace. Those who seek good are more united than ever. I am working quietly -- happy, profoundly happy in His love, with little strength, but sustained: bearing brethren on my heart, and reckoning on the Lord for them. It becomes me to remember that I have passed my eightieth year. Whether here or there, Christ is everything.

May God be with you in your labours. Greet the brethren cordially for me. May God give them grace to seek His presence constantly.

Your affectionate brother.

Croydon, June 28th, 1881


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[Page 161]

[J G Deck] DEAR BROTHER, -- ... As to the difficulty in England, you were all wrong in supposing that brethren were not aware that baptism had to say to it. They were aware, but it was all on one side. Two years ago, one of them had said brethren must split on this point ... . For my own part, it was a complete demoralisation of brethren that moved me; and this has fully come out, and those in whom this want of principle really prevailed, form now a party, and seem likely to break off in one or two places where they prevailed. But in general consciences have been awakened, and the change for the better is strongly felt ... . There was a strong movement to leave brethren a year or more ago, on account of the demoralisation I have spoken of; which, having been deeply exercised about it, I resisted, and we have been spared that, and the Lord has wrought wonderfully. One after another has got clear, and the body of gatherings in London are united in their decision: in fact, there is more union than ever. The deep impression of how the Lord has wrought is effectual as the things He has done, His hand has been so manifest. And now, dear brother, if you were to become a Paedo-baptist, I should not be a bit more attached to you, and if you love Christ better, as I trust you may daily, I should. I never was satisfied with the manner of my baptism, though I felt it could not be repeated: I had been received into the ostensible body with bona fide intention of doing so, and could not be let in again. I think the principle more right than Baptist ones.

Since I wrote to you I have been at, what is called, death's door -- told that if I attempted to go upstairs I might die on them. The action of my heart failed, and often at night it felt as if it would cease entirely. The first feeling of the break up of the vessel was a solemn one. It was not doubt of the Lord's love, or of the perfectness of His work, but the fact of the breaking up of the status of my existence; but it has left, through grace, the profoundest consciousness of association with Him, and of His love, and of the Father's too, and as if I had left the world behind me: and this sense of His love is very sweet and of association with Himself. I am much better, though a really good night's rest is unknown to me, but study work I can do as ever through mercy; but am, for my thoughts so to speak, a dead man, for the other world: we all ought to be so, and I had long so held the truth, but it is another thing to be there. All I have taught has come back to me as divine truth from God, and that is a great comfort. I have nothing to regret but my own poor walk, though I had no object but Christ. But of Jacob and Israel it shall be said, "according to this time" -- the end of the wilderness -- "What hath God wrought." My mind is as fresh as ever: so there is your poor old friend, John Darby, looking for Christ in you and nothing else, and knowing He is there.

Kind love to all, and tell the Nelson brethren I have but one thought, their happiness in Christ.

Affectionately yours in Him.

The Lord will guide with His eye, if we look to Him -- at any rate as poor horses or mules, in His faithful love, if we do not.

Croydon, July 10th.


[Page 162]

E L Bevir, You have a more favourable opinion of the Revision than I have. It is not that many passages have not been rightly corrected -- many as I did myself, so that I cannot complain; and I think there are many well composed. But there is, it seems to me, no acquaintance with the mind of God, and great fundamental truth lost or marred. Look at Romans 1: "a righteousness of God by faith," is not known to scripture. It is "revealed by [on the principle of] faith." So (Colossians 1: 16) "in Christ all things were created." They are wholly ignorant of the commonest force of ejn in Greek: so again: "Grieve not that holy Spirit of promise in which you are sealed." (Ephesians 4: 30.) Now all this baffles a plain man, and on fundamental truths; and the word of God is for plain men. They are wholly ignorant of the force of English tenses; as the difference of 'saw' and 'have seen.' Both are past, but the shade of difference practically often of importance. They have not an idea of 'have.' The English auxiliaries vary the force without changing the time, or have two times, the participle and verb. 'Has' is present; 'was' present at another time, known from the phrase, not the word. I was comforted when it came out, finding several things good, and though the criticism of the Greek text vulgar, and the fashion, yet what was infidel or loose avoided. But when I read a chapter or two, I found it, with just corrections, for practical use a total failure. The Americans have generally the advantage of them ... .

The brethren were going on with top-gallant sails set, and that does not do for us; but God has been separating the precious from the vile, and He does well what He does -- better than man. I have undiminished confidence in the result. The Lord is doing what He made my motto in starting, Jeremiah 15, "If thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth." He will, He must, accomplish His own purpose; may we be found only in the way of it.

I have been in sight of death, so to speak, and it was a useful experience as realising things; but I am a great deal better, though broken in physical strength, thank God not in mind. I find my service of God poor, as in me it all has been, and Christ indeed now everything.

July, 1881.


[Page 163]

[C Brockhaus] [From the German.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- I thank you from my heart for your affectionate letter. You must not think that, when I said those speaking French were my field of labour, I loved the French more than the German brethren. I do love the French brethren much, as God has much blessed my work there, and I have experienced all manner of love and kindness from them. I lived amongst them, and I bear them witness that nothing could exceed their friendliness; besides they are simple and generous. A peasant in France is nothing worth, and that is always profitable for all Christians. The blessing too has been great: at Pau, for instance, when I began to work there, it was said there were thirty Protestants and three Christians; now there are almost one hundred that break bread: besides a National church and an Independent congregation. In the south of France everything was pure unbelief, openly; now in most villages there is an assembly, often a numerous one. Yes, my heart says with joy, rich and poor they have all evinced continued love and kindness. One could hardly love brethren more than I the French; but in my spirit and natural temperament I have much more affinity with the Germans than with the French -- more readily at home (French has not the word). What I wanted to say was, that I felt God, out of England gave me the French speaking countries as a field of labour perhaps America also, and in fact this did not fail. In His constant goodness He added part of Germany. I feel, indeed, how poor my labour has everywhere been, and that God alone is the worker of any good result. Who could be that? What source of good is there if not God? and there everything is good. I always thought that; and have learnt it too, and praise God that I am nothing and God everything.

Death has been realised in my experience, dear brother -- no new principle, nothing new as regards truth, no doubt of His love, or that Christ is perfect righteousness before Him. But I found the breaking of every sort of link with life as it is here below a real thing. Now this experience has been very useful to me. I have a much deeper sense of the grace of God and of the value of Christ -- no new truth, I believe -- and my soul rests upon the truths that I have long learnt. All has been made good to my soul. But the consciousness of love is quite another thing. I feel that I belong to the other world. For long years it was my object, because I looked for the glory of Christ, and nothing else but the salvation of souls. But it is sweet to belong to the Father's house and to feel that and to realise in closer consciousness a deeper sense of the endless love and pure grace of the Father, and what Christ and His love is. I know that He is my righteousness, and I have not to think of myself, except of my footsteps here, and it is good to think of God as the Father, and of Christ His Son.

I am much better, and can work as usual in my study. My bodily strength is much reduced. But I have long felt that this has become my present lot for quiet home work. My mind is fresh as ever, and I have taken part in some meetings, but my outward activity is for the most part over. Partly, too much work has reduced me, and I fell to the ground which did me bodily injury. Then, I am eighty, soon eighty-one years old. My hearty greetings to the brethren. Assure them that I was never more at home than among them. The wish and prayer of my heart is that Christ may be ever more and more everything to them. Soon He will become everything, and all else will come to nought.

Hearty greetings to your family and all the brethren at Elberfeld.

Your attached brother in Christ.

London, 1881.


[Page 164]

[Page 165]

Miss Walter, I have had it on my mind to write to you ever since I heard you were sick. But I have been a great deal more sick myself -- more over-worked and broken-down than ill, but so that for some time, though I felt all was in the Lord's hands, I hardly thought I should recover my strength, but leave this passing scene. And this hindered my doing anything but what came necessarily to hand to do. I felt it a solemn thing: it was not doubt as to God's or Christ's love, or the efficacy of the blessed Lord's work in justifying, but the breaking up of the life and its state in which I had lived hitherto, and its being gone. But it was a useful experience. It broke the link with present life a good deal, and made Christ's and the Father's love everything, and much more real to me, and this is a great blessing. I am a great deal better, still feel the effect of it; but, thank God, the effect in the realisation of Christ's love in my spirit is not gone. I did not doubt it before, but I have a keener sense of belonging to another world, though for a little moment remaining in this -- that is, Christ and the Father's house is all. Now it has not come as near you: still your conscious decrease of strength, if it has not been such as to give a conscious snapping of the thread of life, still tells of its passing away. I trust with care you may be better and refreshed in spirit. Still I believe it is good to look the truth of it in the face. I found sovereign grace more precious than ever. That I knew had met all my sins; of that there was no question: but the personal love of the Father and Christ was what the sense of was so greatly increased: thank God! It was a comfort to me that all I had taught and laboured in was of God and from God. It was not on this a question of the workman at all but of the truth: I had long known, and gladly, that I was nothing.

Remember that all things work together for good to those that love God, called according to His purpose, and dwell on the perfect divine love of the Father in giving the Son, and His unknowable (in its extent) love in accomplishing all for us. And then He loves you now. I have not a doubt, though much better, that all this was from God's hand; and so surely it is with you according to that love, only personally applied, which gave Christ for us -- could not be greater. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father, and He assures us we are of value to Him. He makes no mistakes, and there is nothing that escapes His eye and hand. "He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous" -- what a mercy! It is not death in itself which is present to you, that is another thing, but the course of life is broken with you for the moment, and even if you recovered strength, as I trust you may, and rejoice in God's present goodness, still the experience will have been there, and give a tone to life, and that is a great gain. "As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him."

And now, dear -- , be of good cheer: look to Him who is your life -- a life that never fades -- as He has "made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." God has to take care of you for a little while, instead of your taking care of the house, and He does it tenderly, graciously, with His poor weak children. Think of Christ and the Father's love and all will be well, and well for ever. That is what I have learnt ... .

Your affectionate brother and servant in Christ.

Croydon, July 12th.


[Page 166]

[Page 167]

-- - As to "justification of life" (Romans 5: 18) it is that justification we have as being alive in Christ; that is, it goes beyond mere forgiveness of sins as in the old man which are put away. It is the clearance of all imputation which we have as alive in Christ. But the passage gives us something more specific, it refers to verses 16 and 17. Verse 16 is "of many offences unto justification," which of itself goes further than clearing the conscience of sins. Verse 17 further adds that they who have received "abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life." This, while based on the clearing, brings us into the new place in life and reigning in it. Hence we have "justification of life": "by one offence towards all men to condemnation ... by one complete righteousness [dikaivwma] towards all men to justification" (verse 18); but then "in life," a new life in Christ -- not merely, that is, the old sins cleared away negatively, but in the new place by a work of Christ which God had fully owned. He had finished the work which His Father had given Him to do, and was in virtue of it in a new place as Man in life. Life (in us) and justification went together.

I do not know if I have made myself plain. It does not go quite so far as the "in Christ," but it does identify our justification and a new life in Him.
[1881.]


Dearest P Gibbs, -- The tract+ is merely the system of high experimental Baptists, Warburton and Gadsby and company. Indeed I had been the means of the conversion of its last leader when tutor to my nephews. There were godly people among them, but simple faith in the Lord's work little and seldom known; they looked for Holy Ghost work in themselves -- surely necessary, but not faith. But the tract is a moderate expression. The insisting on real exercise about sin for peace I believe to be useful in these days; there is great looseness and carelessness as to it. But there are two decided defects in the tract: the two first parables of Luke 15 are left out in it; and in his system. There, experience is excluded; it is brought in in the third, the only one he refers to; but that, till he meets the Father, is the history of the work in man, of the prodigal, not of the Father; the moment he comes to Him you hear no more of the prodigal. In the two first, all is on the divine side. "For God so loved" is forgotten. All his statement as to being born is drawn from a human illustration which scripture never uses, and not from scripture, and his statement is in the teeth of scripture. He says we are not children till we are sealed; whereas scripture says the Spirit is given to us because we are sons, and that it is when the gospel of salvation has been received by faith that we are sealed for the day of redemption; and we are declared to be sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Christ Himself (only He in His own title) was sealed and anointed by the Holy Ghost come down from heaven. The insisting on reality of repentance I believe to be timely in these days.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Croydon, July 27th, 1881.


+[Referring to a tract by a high Calvinist on "Life before Faith."]

[Page 168]

My Dear W Moore, -- I did not answer your letter, being laid so low myself as to stop my activities. I am better, and seek gradually to clear off old arrears. Indeed, I did not know for some time after your letter whether I was not going to be taken away from this world. I found it a solemn thing, for it was quite present with me, but a very useful, and, in result, blessed experience. It made me much more feel to belong to the other world, and the Father's love and the Son's love and work stand out with a clearness and real depth it never did before: no new truth, but a different realisation of what that truth brought. It has linked me wonderfully more with the sources of grace, but we are poor creatures after all.

As to Romans 6 of which you speak: it is not out of experience, as redemption -- a work done for us, accomplished, and where accomplishment and value is owned of God -- Christ has died for our sins and, as to imputation, we have no more conscience of sins. This (Romans 6) is connected with our state, and yet in one sense it closes experience, that is, the efforts of the soul to get at rest by victory. Chapter 7 is the experience that we cannot succeed; even where to will is present, we have no strength. When fully, experimentally, convinced of this, we find through grace, that as to the flesh we died in Christ's death; that what the law could not do, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin has condemned sin in the flesh -- not forgiven, that cannot be; but that the sin I find working in me and distressing my soul, and which I condemn and hate, but is still there, God has condemned in the cross, so that that condemnation is accomplished for me; but that it was wrought in death, so that if I was there, or am now for faith in what Christ took, it is in death -- Christ's death, the condemnation over, the death come -- I died with Him; so that the condemnation is passed, but I have died for faith. In Colossians 2, 3 it is God's estimate of this my state, "Ye are dead:" in Romans 6 it is faith's through grace; I reckon myself dead, because Christ who is my life died. In 2 Corinthians 4: 10, you have the apostle carrying it out in practice.

Now, Christ's work outside us, for us, is done entirely outside us and accepted of God; we believe in it and God's acceptance of it. But in being dead with Christ, though it put an end to the experience of my own useless struggles, it is something I reckon as to myself; and while it is judicial (according to Colossians 3), and hence is the way and only way of liberty, as I know God so accounts it about myself, yet I have by faith to reckon it according to what Christ has done once for all. I do reckon myself to have died with Him, and God so accounts me as having Him who did die as my life. Still, it goes on in my heart, and so far is experimental. I believe that the sin was condemned of God on the cross, and that God does so reckon it (Colossians 3); but Romans 6 takes it up on the faith side, and I reckon myself -- that is not judicial, though based on faith in what is, namely, Colossians 3, Romans 8: 3 -- and I have to carry it out according to 2 Corinthians 4.

It is then experimental, as that which is the exercise of faith in us, and taking what has taken place in Christ as true of us; not a work done about us and available as accepted of God: it is so far judicial, that it is in seeing the work accomplished, and judicially in Christ, we obtain liberty with God in spite of flesh, and power in the law of the Spirit of life. Conflict remains, because the flesh and temptation are there, vigilance and diligence called for just because we are delivered, to maintain holiness and communion. The thought of imputation is gone or acceptance connected with it; till then, even if justification be known, it is a question of acceptance if not of righteousness. That question, as well as that of our sins, was settled on the cross, and we are free, free with God, but free to be holy, and that is real deliverance; we pass from the effort of a captive against his chains, to conflict, with the strength of Christ, against the enemy. Jordan and Colossians have come in, for Romans only insists on death with Christ, not on resurrection; life there is in Christ but not resurrection with Him. Ephesians is another thing, but that would be too large a subject now.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Croydon, July 28th, 1881.


[Page 169]

[Page 170]

[R T Grant] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I have long had before me as a present purpose writing to you, though I had no special subject before me, but I was brought very low, and for a little while it was more a question of leaving this world altogether than of writing letters. I am better: God did not see good to remove me at present, though for a little while my heart was looking that way. It is a good thing to have it near one. It was the action of the heart giving way from overwork, and I had a bad fall on that, and being in my eighty-first year I am still feeble under it, but sensibly better.

As regards the question you put, it has exercised saints, and the case has been before us of old, but one would not accept a person who would not worship Christ. I took this same ground at Auburn, in Maine. There are certain vital truths connected with the Person of the Lord, which, when possessed, guard the soul from interpretations to which the soul who merely follows the words may be liable. Tell me I am not to worship Christ: you take away the only Christ I know. I have none other but one I do adore and worship with a thankful heart which owes all to Him. The object of John 16: 27 is to give immediate confidence in the Father, in contrast with the spirit of Martha, chapter 11: 22. Here the Lord says, "I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you." Further, the question is not of worship here at all, they should ask Him nothing (ejrwtw') but were to beg (aijtevw) the Father in His name. But all the angels of God are to worship Him, every knee to bow to Him. But more; calling on the name of the Lord is, so to speak, the definition of a Christian. Paul thrice besought the Lord to take away the thorn, and the Lord heard his cry and answered. Stephen was "invoking and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Christ is the Adonai of the Old Testament, as Isaiah 6 and John 12 and indeed Psalm 110 and other places. The Sitter on the throne and the Lamb are associated in Revelation 5: 13; indeed, it is a question if chapter 4 be not the Son in His divine Person. You cannot separate the Ancient of Days and Christ in Daniel 7, though as the Son of man, He is brought before Him; for in verse 22 the Ancient of Days comes. And judgment is committed to the Son "because he is the Son of man" -- yet "that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father." I do not quote passages to prove His Deity -- that He and the Father are one, the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in Him bodily; that He was God, and created all things -- as it is not called in question.

As to the use of the Lord's name in addressing the Father, if it be that in substance the prayer is not in His name, I reject it altogether. The use of the blessed Lord's name did not belong to a lower state, for He says, "Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name," whereas on His going away He says, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name," so that it belongs distinctly to this time. If it is merely the form of words, it is another thing; we may get into any routine of words and lose the force. But our prayers are only rightly directed to the Father in the name of Jesus; and in walking down here, it is not as being in Him we pray, nor is that praying in His name -- true as it is that we are in Him. It is rightly addressed to the Father according to all the value of Christ to the Father, but as a separate Person, and separate from the Father too. It will not do to deny the mediatorship of Christ, the Man Christ Jesus, between God and man. He is both present with God, and Advocate with the Father. The loss of the mediatorial place of the blessed Lord would be the loss of Christianity. To "us there is but one God the Father;" "and one Mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ." His divine nature is not the question in this, and I know of no right prayer that is not in His name; it is not in Him, but "through him we both have access by one spirit to the Father."

One who refused to worship Christ, or who did not own His mediatorship and that in every aspect, I could not walk with. But I think that worship of the Father and the worship of Christ as Mediator has a different character. In worshipping the Father I go to one who in infinite, uncaused love (the form and glory of Godhead never left) has revealed Himself to me, brought me into the place of son, not spared His own Son for me, reconciled me to Himself by Him, and given me His Spirit that I may have the consciousness of the place He has put me in, so that I cry, Abba, Father. It is all through Christ but I know the Father and what He is through Him -- alas, yet how imperfectly! yet so as to joy or glory in God. It is God, but God known as Father, John 4: 23: John always makes the difference. So Christ tells us He was going to His Father and our Father, and His God and our God. It is what the Father is in Himself to whom we are brought, and as revealed in love in the Son, we being made sons, that is specially before us in worshipping Him, though all blessings flow from Him. Now in the worship of Christ become Mediator, I own His divine title though He laid aside His glory -- now taken again -- but it is One who has come down to me, has lived and died for me, loved me, washed me from my sins in His own blood. He was slain and has redeemed to God those far from Him; has made Himself of no reputation; and in unutterable grace to me, has been in all points tempted like as we are, sin apart, can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. Now I quite admit a child owes worship to a loving Father -- all right; but sorrows, exercises, thorns in the flesh, cases where I want sympathy, my wants, and then the administration of everything in the church, connect themselves with my looking to and worshipping Christ viewed as Mediator. It is not a person simply as made partaker of the divine nature, and through the Spirit knowing the Father through the revelation of the Son, who worships the Father as so knowing Him. I come more into the scene as knowing Christ a tempted Saviour, as a Friend tried in the circumstances in which we are. Were He not God this would lose all its value, but it is of inestimable value to every exercised soul. But it is evident that it connects itself more with my state down here. It is just what is precious.

This is true, that the work of Christ has been so divine and glorious, God Himself glorified in it, that it lifts us up to worship Him in respect of the excellency of what He has shewn Himself to be in that, and so we rise up to Godhead: for hereby know we love because He laid down His life for us. This it is important to lay fast hold of for His glory. We at once see the unity of thought, purpose, mind, nature, in the Son and in the Father. Still it is practically true that souls are apt to rest in looking at Christ, however justly, in the mediatorial aspect which concerns themselves, and their worship descends to this. It is not the blessed nature of God in which they joy and glory, and that known in a Father's love as their Father, but in the grace and service and benefits of which they are the objects and recipients, found in Christ. Now this cannot be separated when true from the source of love in Him as a divine Person, but is connected with our wants, infirmities, and failures in a word -- which, though divine grace, refer to self, and in which we ought to think of self, that the sense of it may be real, and we filled with divinely given thankfulness. Both are right, both are sweet, and what we have to cultivate by grace, but different. One lifts us up simply to God for our new man to dwell in and delight in, and surely worship Him. The other brings down that love in sympathetic goodness to our state, though felt and estimated by the new man -- God revealed, but as entering into all we are, and all we want, and that even to our sins. Now that the adoring recognition of this is true worship I fully admit, and the exclusion of it wholly wrong and deadening to the affections of the soul; but it is a different thing from the soul, by the Holy Ghost, being with and adoring the Father, to whom Christ has brought us, loved as He is loved. I apprehend there was the tendency in -- 's teaching, desirous of reaching to the former, to set aside the latter, and that was all wrong; but I fear brethren active in the matter had not learned to appreciate the difference between the two. The result was attack and then personal defences, and many things defended by others as right which were rash and ill-advised statements which might have been corrected.

Take hymns and see how many you have addressed to the Father, or which continue to have Him and not ourselves for their subject after the first verse? You may, perhaps, have hymns to the Father; but in revising the hymn book I found how grave a question the doing it had raised for me as to this: though our spiritual state affects everything we do, yet it requires a more spiritual state than hymns to Christ, though He be worthy of equal honour. But while I make this difference, you cannot separate them by a sharp mathematical line, so to speak. Affections do not flow in that way. And the love of the Father and the Son run into one another. If the Father did not spare His Son, the Son in the same divine love gave Himself. We have known the Father through His revelation of Him. "He that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also." The incarnation, and service which follows it in grace, has given a special character to our heart relationship with Christ, but after all, all is of the same divine source. Worshipping the Father as being in Christ has been spoken of, as substituting it for worshipping Christ; but I find no such thought in scripture. In Christ is our place and privilege; worship is a separate thing which springs through grace from our hearts individually, or, yet rather, collectively; but worshipping in Him I find no trace of in scripture.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

July, 1881.


[Page 171]

[Page 172]

[Page 173]

[Page 174]

Dear Mrs. Browne, -- I was very glad to hear of these different souls whom God is leading on. It is always so pleasant to see God working in blessing, and souls opening under the rays of His grace, for what He does, though it may be in a short moment, is eternal ... . It is not a good sign when people do not like a yoke being put upon them if the yoke be God's word. "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart." We like our own will. There may be a bondage which is not of Christ, if it is that of man on the new man, but subjection of will is the secret of all peaceful walk in this world. It is Christ's work which gives peace to the conscience; but it is a subdued will, having none of our own which in great and in little things makes us peaceful in heart in going through a world of exercise and trial. All in us, morally speaking, is sin, and having done with that, we live in what the Father is for us, and on what Christ is a wondrous exchange. Self is always alienation from God; that is, in its working.

As to Mr. -- 's teaching on Matthew 13: 38-43; I do not know what it is: -- 's interpretation of verses 44, 45, I do, and never received -- his interpretation made it not the kingdom of heaven at all -- nor did I as to the bride: Ephesians 5 and Revelation 22: 17 seem to me to contradict it expressly. But mistaken interpretations are not false doctrine.

Luke 11: 5, etc., is a general statement, that if we ask we shall get. In Luke 18: there is more reference to importunity, but not to its being exactly God's way, but that when the answer, for God's own wise reasons, does not come at once (for the answer may imply many things which God cannot well do), then we should persevere. It is not sufficient to know what is the true ground; there must be adequate motive. Christ must be all to us or we shall soon be discouraged, and this true of everything. When Christ is not everything, and the Father's love the air we breathe for life, we are not going right.

I sorrow over the way Mr. -- 's case has been taken up. I have no doubt he spoke unguardedly and was wrong in certain views; but I doubt brethren understood what was in question I admit his statements had done mischief to some, but the way it was taken up added to it. There might have been a gain of spiritual apprehension; I fear now there may have been loss, but the Lord will overrule it. "That all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father" with whom He is one, scripture is plain enough about, and that it lies at the basis of all truth is a first principle of Christianity. But I trust the Lord will give peace.

I am at a local conference out of London, the first experiment I have made of my strength. It is now some months since I preached, but have been four times to breaking of bread.

Yours sincerely in the Lord.

August, 1881.


[Page 175]

Dearest J Leslie, -- Most thankful am I that your dear child has confessed Christ. At her age it is an anxious thing, as the world has not yet tried their faith; but I do not see that we have any title to keep them out when we have no doubt that they are Christ's. I should put these things before her, tell her where my anxiety was as to her taking on her publicly the profession of His name -- only guarding against producing any distrust of His love and perfect grace -- before I brought her case before others with a view to her breaking bread; and make it a serious thing with her; but of course, if she be Christ's, she has her title there, and there is the place where the care and nurture of Christ ought at least to be found. This of course will also fall much on you and Mrs.. May the Lord keep her in lowliness and close to Himself, that the flesh and the world it belongs to may not strengthen itself by growing years, but the contrary.

We had, I believe, a useful and happy meeting at Oxford, but, besides proofs to correct, it has left me with thirty-four letters to answer, several long unread, so I add nothing.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

August, 1881.


[Page 176]

H Talbot, I did not doubt a moment, when I saw the black edge, that your darling was gone. Be assured of my unfeigned sympathy. It is a world for death, but death is gain in Christ. The Lord has left you other objects to occupy your affections, but I have always seen and felt that the first taken, and her the first-born too, tells more on us than any. Up to now life, so to speak, had been working, and the fruit of life growing up in these dear objects of affection. But now death comes and says Yes, but I am here in the world; and it is more or less written on all that are left. But it is a mercy that God has left all your recollections of dear little pleasant, and that you step from these into heaven to Christ with her. I do not think that there is more feeling in the sorrow than in sympathy with it -- a different kind there is, of course: but the Lord's sense of death at the tomb of Lazarus was deeper far, I believe, than Martha and Mary's, tempered with divine sustainment of life, but feeling what death was more than they did -- not exactly the loss of Lazarus, that was their sorrow, but all that death meant for the human heart, and as God saw it in love. So your little one is gone, but is gone to Christ, and He is the resurrection and the life. Wonderful that He, such in this world, Master of death, steps then into death Himself for us! But oh, how perfect in all things He was! I recommend you and Mrs. -- to Him. He makes up every loss, and in Him we lose nothing. He had a better right, and a blessed right, to -- than even you had, so He has taken her to Himself. We cannot say a word, save that that is what it is; and He has taken her before the fresh buds of divine goodness were soiled or sullied in her. May the gracious Lord turn it all to blessing to you. Since -- my affections were linked up with these little ones, but there is better than what passes away.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.
1881.


[Page 177]

[From the French.] -- - I have been very low -- so low that I did not know whether I should get up again. I had no sense of death, for God -- and, if we have not judged ourselves, Satan -- is especially engaged at such a moment. But, quite uncertain whether I should get up again, I found myself within sight of my end, and I was surprised at the little difference which it made to me: Christ, the precious Saviour, with me for the journey; then, I through grace, with Him for ever -- there was no change as to this ... . Christ is all, beloved: everything else will pass out of sight; but He, blessed be His name, never. He who is not ashamed to call us brethren is, nevertheless, seated upon the Father's throne. It is a wonderful redemption, and He who accomplished it is infinitely precious.

Let us keep close to the Lord, for He would have us there, and let us recognise our own nothingness. The true christian condition is this, that there should not be a thought nor a feeling in the heart of which He is not the source. This is the realisation of the word: "To live is Christ." But what grace, what watchfulness, is needed, for us to come near it!

London, September 2nd.


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[From the French.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- I am much better through the goodness of God. There is a change in me at the end of this nearness of death, not in doctrine, not in my views. In all that nothing is changed, all is confirmed: it is a sweet thought that all that I have taught has been of God. But I have much more deeply the consciousness of belonging to another world. I had it indeed already by faith, but I have the feeling of being of it. I do not know when He will take me, and up to this moment I am doing as always, what my strength allows. To watch and pray is necessary as in the past, but what the beloved Saviour has said is beyond it, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world"; and from whence was He? In this respect there is a sensible change -- and I wait.
1881.


E L Bevir, It has struck me, God continuing to bless through all the trouble. Exercise of faith it has been, and in a measure still is, but it is, after all, a happy thing to be cast on God; rest is elsewhere. Do not do feats as to bodily effort, the Lord's servant has to endure hardness sometimes, and it is a good thing; but there is no good in doing it on purpose. Enduring is right; I would there were more of it; but a single eye takes out of seeking even this. What a blessing to have the heart purified, and all light by this, till we come to where there is no darkness at all -- the blessed place where God is, where Christ is glorified. There all the saints will be for ever adequately to His glory, the fruit of the travail of His soul, for He shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. Think of His being satisfied! His love is perfect now. We need polishing, but there are elements in us, because Christ is there, which will come out in perfect beauty, when the rough stuff, which makes its surface now, is wholly off for ever. Here it has to be worn off, detected by various exercises, that conscience may be exercised with it, and thus the internal, moral fruit wrought; but then it shall be perfect in itself.

I have finished John, and for myself, at least, I have learned a good deal in it; I hope profited. With Him it was only the coming out of the perfect thing; there was no inconsistent crust, not even individuality, to rub off. He was just what He should be to manifest God, and man in perfection to God, every moment. I feel the sense of divine love deeper and deeper, and of patience with such as me.

September, 1881.


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MY DEAR BRETHREN, -- I am not going to occupy you with -- or -- or -- . It is to another they will answer, and I trust they will depend on His grace. I wish to inquire into the truth of your statement, 'he is content to teach from the word of God, and we are equally content to hear it from that alone.' You shall have the teaching you have learned to delight in and what scripture says side by side, and you or any one can then judge if this teaching is from the word of God, in the hope that some of you (may it be all!) may be delivered from what, to my mind, is a Satanic delusion, because on fundamental points it is in direct contradiction with that word.

'The Gentile who is dead does not require forgiveness.'

Luke 24: 47, "That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among (eij", to) all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

Acts 10: 43: "Through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Acts 26: 17, 18. Romans 3: 19, 25: "That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." "There is no difference ... whom God hath set forth a propitiation [mercy-seat] through faith in his blood." 1 John 2: 2: "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for (the sins of) the whole world." Romans 4: 7-10: "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven ... How was it then reckoned? ... Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision." Acts 13: 38, 39: "Be it known ... and by him all that believe are justified from all things." Colossians 2: 13: "And you, being dead in your sins ... having forgiven you all trespasses." Now here we have Gentiles dead in sins and uncircumcision, forgiven all trespasses. Colossians is essentially to Gentiles. (See chapter 1: 27, and as the whole passage here shews.) But they are forgiven. But if, in spite of evidence, it is insisted they are Jews, then the Jews were dead as well as Gentiles. At any rate the teaching is false that the dead do not need forgiveness, for here the dead are forgiven. And this leads me to Ephesians 2: 1, 5: "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein in time past YE walked," etc. These are dead Gentiles, "Among whom also we all had ... even as others" -- these are Jews. "But God ... hath quickened us together with Christ." Here are both together, but both dead and both quickened together, and sitting together in heavenly places in Christ.

This anti-christian statement that sinners of the Gentiles have no need of forgiveness is connected with, partly founded on, a false interpretation of 1 John 1: 9, as if it applied only to believers, that they are cleansed from particular sins; but though this may be supported by souls not yet set free, it is not in the passage. It is not, if we fail the blood of Christ cleanses us, but "if we walk in the light, as God is in the light ... the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" -- from All sin, not from any particular fault. It is the christian state or standing in the light as God is, and cleansed so as to be fit to be there. After that John speaks of particular sins: "These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father." (1 John 2: 1) There is no re-shedding of blood, no re-sprinkling of blood in scripture "The worshippers once purged have no more conscience of sins": "By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." It is not that we do not offend, but there is no imputing of the sin as guilt: "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord doth not impute sin." And in Romans 4, where this is found, it is expressly declared it is not for the circumcision only. It is for all those who believe, "though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also." Your teaching has forgotten that there were those who were not Christians, who were not under law either, and accounted righteous by faith and forgiven their sins. See Romans 4, where this point is fully discussed to set aside what you hold. "There is one God, and one mediator between God and man the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." A ransom is that by which redemption comes, is wrought; to have the good of it Christ must be believed in: but as the righteousness is of God, it is as good for the Gentile as for the Jew, and is needed by the Gentile as the Jew. "There is no difference."

I will now take up the question which your teacher connects with redemption, and where he is very confused. He declares he has only the earnest of the Spirit -- he does not say of what, only goes on to the redemption of the body. That we are waiting for that is all true (Ephesians 1): but in the previous part of the chapter, what is spoken of redemption is spoken of a something we have, "to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins." According to the teaching you have now, this is Jewish, though there is not a word about law or Jews. You are not accepted in the Beloved, you have not redemption and forgiveness, and in your madness pretend you did not need it. The passage speaks of those who are chosen in Him before the foundation of the world: I suppose there were no Jews or Gentiles when "predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." All this belongs, according to this passage, to those who have redemption through His blood.

You are taught that redemption is 'only to the state in which Adam was, that is, Eden: as he was earthy, such are they who are earthy, and can, by redemption, only be brought to the state in which Adam was before he fell!' Why so? Why is the sacrifice of God's Son, made sin for us, to produce no other effect than creation? I read: "He hath made him to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him"; or, as we have just read, "We have the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace"; "He hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." (Ephesians 1) Besides, redemption is identified with the forgiveness of sins. What has that to do with innocent Adam? If it be the intervention and work of God, it has the effect purposed of God, and according to the worth of that work; and that is, that we should be "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." (Romans 8: 17) "So that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2: 7) The whole train of thought in your doctrine denies the whole scheme and revelation of Christianity, which sets us redeemed and forgiven in the second Man, the last Adam, in all that belongs to Him as the glorified Man, as the Son of man. You get the same truth in Galatians 4: 7, where it applies expressly to Gentiles. (See verse 8) "Christ was made under the law to redeem them that were under the law," but He was also made of a woman, the Mediator between God and man.

We are told 'he could not say all have sinned till he proved the Jew guilty; and now having quoted their own scriptures and prophets, he proves them guilty, now he writes "all." 'All right; but then the Gentile is guilty, has sinned, but being dead does not require forgiveness.' 'We have all sinned, are all guilty, but do not require forgiveness.' It is a shame to have to reason about such stuff! And then he impudently says exactly the contrary of what the passage says, 'He brings in the free justification from the law.' Scripture (Romans 3: 21, 22) says "But now without law [apart altogether from it] the righteousness of God is manifested"; and to whom? -- those under the law to justify them from it? Not the least, but "the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, etc., etc., that he might be just and the Justifier of him that believeth." Hence in chapter 4: 11 he expressly tells us it comes on the uncircumcision, not to justify from the law, for they were not under it, but without law, having nothing to do with law (cwri;" novmou). Now you are taught that when Jews are proved to have sinned and be guilty, all are -- Gentiles as well as Jews; and also that 'the word no difference applies between Jews and Gentiles, not between Jews and God.' All right: but then Gentiles have sinned, and Gentiles are guilty. All the world is guilty: all, Gentiles as well as Jews, have sinned. "Being justified freely by his [God's] grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Now this justification and this redemption is directly and unquestionably applied, and formally said of all those who had sinned, all Gentiles and Jews, for there is no difference. All this is largely confirmed and developed in Galatians 4. I do not dwell on Ephesians 1, 2, 3, where Jews and Gentiles are carefully identified in the same privileges, according to the eternal purposes of God, the middle wall of partition being broken down -- Jews and Gentiles, they are all chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world -- it would be to expound the whole epistle. To say those spoken of in the beginning of chapter 1 are privileges only of Jews, is to talk nonsense in defiance of what is said. It is all the saints and faithful at Ephesus, who were chiefly Gentiles (see Acts 29: 9, 10); and Gentiles are carefully introduced, as his own mission is developed in chapter 3 where he calls himself prisoner for them -- Gentiles.

I turn to another point: 'God is not Creator of the unconverted!' It is denied 'that we, before we were saved, were created by God!' I have been asked for a text. I quote Acts 17: 25, 28: "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." He is addressing the heathen and says, "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." 'Adam [before he fell] was God's creature.' Genesis 6: 7: God says, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth." But according to this teaching, He had not created at all what He was going to destroy. Malachi 2: 10: "Hath not one God created us?" Even the poor women have a chance of thinking themselves God's creatures. "For neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man." So in Ephesians 3: 9: "God who created all things." Ecclesiastes 12: 1: "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." Will it be said He is the Creator as well as the Redeemer of the Jews, not of the Gentiles? Then He is God of the Jews, and not of the Gentiles, not "of the spirits of all flesh" (Numbers 16: 22; 27: 16); and Jews and Gentiles are distinct races of beings, have not a common Creator. John 8 refers to Jews. Further, if it be because we come in by ordinary generation, then nothing is created of God; for not a tree, not a bit of grass, but comes from another, as is written, whose seed is in itself. 'God created nothing but the earth, and what was first upon it.' Then "the things which are seen" (Hebrews 11: 3) has no sense. John 8: 44 is referred to: there is not a word about creating. They had the spirit of Satan, murder and lying -- he was the father of it. It was their moral character. So in 1 John 3: 8: 'creature, or God's only work in creating.' This is because the word "made" is used, and that they are begotten of Adam. The poor women were never (not even Eve innocent was) created of God; nothing therefore at all that exists, is created of God! Genesis 1: heaven and earth were created. God created great whales, and all that moves in the sea. (verse 21) The difference of "created" and "made" is imaginary. God said, "Let us make man." ... "So God created man." (Verses 26, 27) And He rested "from all the work which he had made," and in it "he rested from all his work which God created and made" (Chapter 2: 2, 3 -- lit. "created to make"), and "these are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." (verse 4) In Hebrews 11: "By faith we understand," etc. Now that is exactly creation. Colossians 1: 16: "For by him [the Son] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones," etc. But the coming in of sin, we are told, has made the difference -- not as to his being God's creature: "he that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning." And "in this are manifest the children of God and the children of the devil. Whoever does not practise righteousness is not of God." We are the children of Abraham, if we are in Christ; but of creation not a word, whereas sons of Belial is a common expression. They are morally his offspring by murder and falsehood; as the Lord called Peter, Satan, when hindering His obedience unto death, through the influence of the world's Prince. As Christ says in this chapter, "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world." (John 8: 23) To be in the spirit of this world was to be from beneath. I might add as to present creatures Psalm 104, which celebrates creation as it is, and when we read verse 30, after speaking of creatures dying and returning to their dust, "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth." The guilt of the heathen was that they "served the creature more than the Creator." To Elihu who gives us the thought and mind of God in contrast with Job and his friends (Job 33: 4, 6) "the spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." Yet he is speaking of natural life: "I also am formed out of the clay." Again, chapter 34: 14, 15: "If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again to his dust."

As far as I can gather what is taught (for the statement is obscure), the possession of eternal life is denied. That we have the earnest of the Spirit till the full development of it in glory is true. But at present I am told I only have the earnest of the Spirit. But it is said that life is mine by faith. The earnest of eternal life is not scriptural thought. Leaving the statement there, I give the positive statement of scripture. First, it is because we are sons that the Spirit of God's Son is given to us: so that we must have life, be sons, to be sealed and cry, Abba, Father. More is needed, but this is clear; you must be a son, which is by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3: 26), or it is false to say, Abba, Father. This is by the Spirit given to us. (Galatians 4: 6) But I will cite direct statements. John 3: 36: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." John 5: 24: "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." 1 John 5: 11, 12: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

Now this is the result of this short statement of the teaching you accept. You deny God is our Creator. You deny redemption, except of the body at the end. You deny that we have need of forgiveness of sins when converted to God; and unless an obscure sentence be cleared up, you deny we have eternal life -- we have only the earnest of the Spirit. Now I do not touch on ecclesiastical questions, though you seem to me in this also to have cast the truth overboard; but you cannot expect to be owned to be Christians, denying all these fundamental truths. It is impossible. You may ask why I call you brethren I do so, because I trust you may be delivered from these sad delusions of the enemy, in which the fundamental truths of Christianity, as to its application to us, are denied. I might have reasoned a great deal on the statements on which I comment, but I have preferred citing scripture as the adequate reply. May the Lord deliver you from the delusion of the enemy.

Affectionately yours in Christ.

October 1st, 1881.


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[W Loughlan] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I -- indeed I might say we, for the brethren invited to meet the American labourers were here, and it naturally passed on to several -- was greatly rejoiced to hear that God had graciously made your mind clear as to your true position and Christian path before Him. I have been more than fifty years in it, and have never had a shade of question on my mind. I have seen failure in myself and others, but it remained in scripture where God had put it. I am additionally thankful that it is from scripture, not from persuasion, that you have learned it. God can of course use others to lead us on, but we know better on what we rest when it is in scripture itself we have found it. Difficulties I have no doubt you will find; there are a certain class which are only in the path of faith, but the joy of the Lord is with us in them. In the last days, too, perilous times shall come we read, and that we must experience, but the light and strength of the Lord is there. What a bright picture we have in Luke 1, 2 of the poor and unknown remnant who walked with God in the midst of the unparalleled wickedness of Israel! As to your outward path God will shew it to you. We have only to find His will, and we shall find Him in it. -- will I dare say, have told you of our meetings here: there was much happy communion in it.

Croydon, October, 1881.


MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I was very glad to get your letter and hear of the saints too. People newly come out always need pretty constant pastoral care, and especially in colonies where the tendency is to loosen all the habits. It is a comfort to know, that through all the Lord will keep His own; I do not mean that labourers and all saints should not be exercised as to it, but that when they see failure they have this to fall back upon. But we desire to see them as a watered garden. What a joy it is when we see them so! It is the power of the Spirit of God which makes them united and happy together, but then He must work in the individual heart, that it may be so, that they may be as "willows by the water-courses." And there is grace enough in Christ to do it. The text has often been a comfort to me, "My grace is sufficient for thee"; but then we must learn, and experimentally -- so Paul himself was obliged to do -- the other part practically; and this is a very great thing to learn practically -- I mean that we are nothing: we all know that it is true but to walk in the sense of it. It makes the difference between one saint and another; only we must refer to Christ in grace, or we might get discouraged. But a man who is discouraged is not really there: he does not find strength; but where is he looking for it? When we are really nothing we look to Christ, and we know that He can do everything and, while contending in prayer for a blessing, we know that He does, and orders everything. I was saying to a young clergyman recently out, and fearing as to the future of brethren -- the Christian has no future but glory. All he has to do is to do God's will at the moment, and the rest is all in God's hands; only we know that glory awaits us. But this does suppose a just sense of our own nothingness, and blessed confidence in God, so that knowing His love we can leave all to Him, knowing that He does all at any rate, and that He will make all issue in blessing.

I have not much to tell you of these countries. Dr. Wolston thought of asking the American labourers to England, and they came gladly to meet in a home conference those of us who had laboured there, and they enjoyed it amazingly, and we all got unusual blessing. They went round too to various gatherings as the Lord led, and I hear their ministry was very fresh and they enjoyed it much. I quite trust it may be a means of real blessing.

As to the difficulties among brethren, it is a moment in which there is a very great and organised effort to make a party against righteousness. It is of course sorrowful, but in effect I do not know that it is more than the needing sifting of God's hand. My weak state makes it a little trying to me, but I trust the Lord and work on. There is much to be thankful for, but it is a sifting process at present, and we have to await the result of God's dealing. The preservation of His testimony is what I look and pray for. Nor do I doubt of it, but I have left all in His hands, only answering letters written to me.

The Lord be abundantly with you, dear brother. He is all to us, and soon will be so without a cloud, and that will be a blessed time. I have happy accounts of God's work both in France and Switzerland -- in the former where they had, a good while, gone a good deal to sleep. May we be found watching and waiting for Him!

As to the revised version I think very badly of it indeed. Individual passages are more accurately translated, but they have not had the mind of God at all, and that on fundamental points. I have written a paper on it, to be printed, not published. I have had a slight paralytic stroke -- very slight indeed, but it disables me a little in my activities.

October, 1881.


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Dear P Gibbs, It is time I should write to you. It was not for want of often thinking of you that I have not, but what little strength I have has been spent on the French Old Testament and the English New, both laborious work. But I felt you were a good deal isolated, and was longing to write a line ... . All around God is carrying on His clearing work. What I am anxious for is that brethren should see it is His hand which has indeed wonderfully interposed; but that calls for lowliness and thankfulness. The sense of His goodness always humbles. Exulting is never right; but what ground for it when we have allowed to come in and grow up amongst us what God in His mercy has to put out? Still we have great cause for thankfulness and one thing I have noticed too, that God has never stopped His work by and amongst brethren. It is nothing very great, but it has constantly gone on, and is now too shewing itself ... What I have specially had in my mind to pray for as to this is, that He would maintain His testimony, the testimony He raised up among brethren. Nothing is better than visiting work, without assuredly depreciating the gospel. What I feel is to be done, and as far as able always have done, is to seek to present Christ according to the state of the soul one has to say to. I never bother myself about brethren, if God gathers them it will be well; but my business is one -- what does that soul want? It may be deeper conviction of sin: it may be, that Christ has made peace; but whatever it is, that is what I have to bring, and look to Him to seal the word and make it good; and then feed on Him for oneself, for He is there in grace for us, and unsearchable riches in Him.

I am better; in His goodness God has preserved my mind untouched. For study work I am as fresh as ever, and happy and thankful in His love, which is infinite. Eighty-one is not the age to expect very great restoration, but there is One above eighty.

Love to all the brethren. May they, with purpose of heart, cleave to the Lord.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Ventnor, October 21st, 1881.


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[Alek Robertson] DEAR BROTHER, -- I must be brief. I believe Christ bound the strong man in the wilderness after the Holy Ghost coming upon Him, and the Father owning Him as His Son. The relationship and position of accepted man being established there, He goes as such, led of the Spirit, to be tempted of the devil, who sought, if He were a Son, to get Him to put Himself out of the place of a servant and failed. The strong man was bound and He proceeded to spoil his goods, delivering all from his power; but that as his temptations were as to this world and the effects of sin, sin itself remained. He departed from Him for a season (Luke), and then the consequence of taking up the sinner, which was a second thing, came upon Him.

1 Corinthians 15: 22 I believe is all in Christ. But the other sense is true, there will be a resurrection of the unjust, and it only speaks of the body here. But the resurrection of the wicked is not developed: see the verses which follow and verse 43.

I do not think 1 Thessalonians 1: 10 refers to the tribulation, but to the carrying out of judgment by Christ, and first specially at His appearing.

The hymn book is out, and the brethren at Croydon thought it much improved, but I have found a good many printing errors -- partly mine. The Croydon meeting was greatly enjoyed by brethren, much communion, and the Americans very happy. I trust they profited too.

October 21st, 1881.


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My Dear W H Kelly, -- I was glad to hear of you. It is quite intelligible your remaining to help -- , the rather that he is not strong and would require some strength at this season, though the sea may temper it. I know what walking work is, but was perhaps stronger than either of you then, but non sum qualis eram; between my eighty-one years and paralytic stroke, however slight, my physical strength is sensibly impaired. Our real strength does not change and we ought always to know it better, and still more that we have none but that. Keep it in mind, dear -- ; we are all, though knowing it well, apt to forget it. But this stay implies that you have definitely taken your place as given up to the work. May the gracious Lord guide you in it! How does your wife bear the roughing? Real sorrows women often bear better than men, but, of course rough outward life with little comfort, they will feel as weaker vessels. I have well known what roughing it is and long walks, but not only was happier in the work but, I think, never better. Still in the long run it wears; but to serve Christ is blessing wherever it may be -- the best of blessings here below. When I look back (and I look more forward) I see much to judge, but serving Him and He was my object, casts a sweet light on it all, though tempered with the sense of my own poverty in it. But that turns the eye on Him, and that is all blessing. Be content to be tired and work hard, but do not do feats, which some of us are inclined to do -- true labourers too. Do what Christ gives you to do with patience. You see I talk a little as an emeritus. I hardly shall do much more hard work since my attack of paralysis, slight as it is, but nothing separates from the love of Christ. Kind love to all the saints. My kind remembrance too, if she will kindly receive it, to Mrs. -- . I wish her a winter with Christ.

Ventnor, October 31st.


[E J Harding] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I was glad to receive your kind letter, and to know that you are happily arrived and quietly established at -- , though it be a somewhat cold climate; but it is hardly colder for you Canadians than Canada for us English, and I liked it. But, here or there, it is where God would have us, that is our place, and where we may expect a blessing and the consciousness of His presence. He may and does keep us, in His patient and perfect goodness, everywhere, but it is in the way of His will that His presence is revealed to us, so that we walk in the light of His countenance. He kept Abraham in Egypt, but he had no altar from Bethel back to Bethel.

I trust fully that you are both in that way; I do not think it an evil that a young married couple should go through the rough of life a little together at the beginning; it binds their hearts together. Surely there is a far higher and better bond, but as to circumstances the comfort each is to the other, and the sustaining help each is to the other, bind their hearts together for life down here is made up of small things. If it were only when a husband comes home cold and tired, finding ease and a welcome and comfort, as far as may be, and the like, there is the continuous sense of one caring for the other, and that is a great point. They are thrown on one another, and where affection is, this cultivates it, and I believe this is of all importance; and then what accompanies it, entire confidence one in another.

But this is all maintained, dear brother, by Christ being all to each, for self is thus set aside, and the grace of Christ working in the heart overcomes all difficulties, and, while Christ is the motive which rises over all, makes the other the object of affectionate and considerate service. But for our own sakes too He is everything, light to the soul, but the blessed expression and communicator of the love of God; and for this there must be real diligence. All that is around us, and even real duties, are constantly soliciting us away from Him, and tending to weaken us spiritually. When we cleave to Him, all goes on smoothly in the heart, in the consciousness of His love: we know how to confide in and count on Him, nothing separates us from His love. The distractions of the world lose their power, because the heart is elsewhere: nine-tenths of our temptations would not be such at all; as a mother who thought her child was run over by a train would not see fine things in the streets on her way down. And what are really our duties we should serve Christ in. A holy intimacy with Christ is the strength and light of the soul, and He encourages us in it, for He is full of love. How near He brings Peter at the end of Matthew 17. The tribute was the tribute to the temple, to Jehovah, and while He shews He knew all and could command the creatures -- the fish to bring the exact needed sum -- He says to Peter, "Lest we should offend them," -- you and I are children, we do not owe the tribute, and -- "that give for me and for thee." And He spoke as intimately and familiarly to His disciples about His death as He did to Moses and Elias. It is a gracious and blessed Saviour we have; He delights in our being near Him, and soon will have us so for ever, and like Him too. May He make you more and more like Him daily! Oh! cultivate intimacy with Him; it keeps the conscience alive and the heart happy. You may be comparatively a young Christian, and I an old one; but He is all we want, each of us, and suited to each. You can have Him to keep you in the journey before you, and I can look back and see a patience and a faithfulness, a goodness beyond all my thoughts and all my praise. It is a sweet thought that in going on I am drawing near being with Him for ever. If spared, you have more of the toil of the way; with me it is almost over. You have a helpmeet, and I have trod it alone; but all is lost, so to speak, in His grace and faithfulness.

Kind remembrances to Mrs. -- , whom I must learn to call by her new name -- my first attempt -- and thank her for her kind note: I am very glad she already bears it, for when people are engaged I do not think long delays are a good thing, though possibly sometimes inevitable. May the Lord abundantly bless you both ... . I shall be very glad, dear brother, though far off, to Increase my acquaintance with yourself; only may your heart be with Christ!

Your affectionate brother in Him.

Ventnor, November 10th.


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[Mr Bagshore] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- Thanks for letting me know about yourself and the work ... . I quite enter into the need of those gathered to be watched over and nurtured. But it is now as ever, the harvest is plenty but the labourers are few. I believe it is more devotedness than competency to help which is wanting, though devotedness is a large part of the competency.

It is this we want, dear brother: we are not our own but His, bought with a price. It is carried out cheerfully and joyfully when we think of Him, not of ourselves. For love does not grow weary of serving, though service may be often in trial as regards the scene -- indeed, save with rare encouragement, always in the general run of it, is. "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." But what a thing to say! what Christ could say, save that Paul of course puts in "in Christ Jesus," and of course does not speak of atoning sufferings (how could he?), but otherwise was filling up that which was behind of the sufferings of Christ for His body's sake which is the church. May we know how to follow hard after Him and we shall find His right hand upholding us!

I rejoice at the Lord's opening the way before you both at -- , and this other place. I believe He will, though we have to follow Him where He opens the door, but when He opens the door no man can shut it. But He has a testimony, and if we have but little strength He will maintain it. I have not a doubt of this testimony for the last days. We cannot think too poorly of ourselves as bearing it -- still count on Him to make good His testimony: and what a testimony it is! I was writing a page or two this evening on what I have more than once spoken of, the end of Matthew 17. The tribute was the tribute to the temple. The question to Peter was really, Is your Master a faithful Jew? The Lord shews His divine knowledge, adding, but we are children, we have not to pay, but less we offend -- and then shews divine power over the creature making the fish bring Him a piece of money (a didrachma was due for one, and it had a stater, two didrachmas, ready in its mouth), and says, That take and give for Me and for thee. Do you like to hear Him say, that blessed One, "for me and for thee" -- bringing Peter with Him as one of the sons? What sovereign and blessed grace! God in knowledge, God in power over creation, but Son as man down here associating us by redemption and grace with Himself. What would we have more, or more lovingly and tenderly told? and it is always so. It is so with us; "me" must and ought to go first; it would be nothing without it, but "thee" is with the "me" in heart and in the place He has obtained for and given to us. I ask what could we more? and it is ours, and however weak we are, for Peter was holding Him for a Jew. It is doctrinally taught in John 20. But I must close.

You may have heard that I have been ill, had a bad fall which brought old age to a crisis, for I am just entering on my 82nd year. It brought death near me, a most profitable experience, though always true, but it made me feel I belonged to the other world, not to this: nothing new in doctrine, or foundation, but a realising of it all. Then I had a very slight paralytic stroke, which did not touch my mind or limbs through mercy, but left my cheek numb. I am better, but not able to be as active in work; but I get to meetings, and in my study work as usual. Kind love to all the saints, and again thanking you for your letter.

Affectionately yours in the blessed One that loves us.

Ventnor, November 14th.


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[C H Mackintosh] DEAREST BROTHER, -- Thank you for your very kind note. I need hardly say how very thankful I was to know you were clear. I find the great thing is to get enough above circumstances to be occupied with Christ in His full grace you cannot if your own conscience is not clear, but if it is our business is to be occupied with grace and Christ. I said to -- , who was afraid to take any step, not knowing what it might come to in the future -- that there was no future for the Christian but glory, that he had to do God's will at the moment and all the rest was in God's hands, and must be left to Him. It is a great truth and He has settled it all already ... .

My illness and the seeming close approach of death has been more than blessed to me. I feel in quite a new way that I belong to the other world. The truths all abide, but my spirit is over the river. I am a great deal better, and for study work up to it as usual, perhaps not quite for so long a time; but all, even religious services seem to belong to this world, to be temporary, but the Father's love and Christ everything. I believed it before, and in a certain sense acted upon it, but I am in that company now. I always was, but now seem consciously dependent on God, to live or to die. What is eternal is our portion, and Christ fills it ... .

I did not doubt for more than a year before -- 's affair, nearer two, I believe, for it pressed on my spirit before I left America, that it was a systematic demoralisation that was going on. W. had given up all as hopeless; I could not while the Lord was there, otherwise I should have left brethren then, as to which I was deeply exercised, but I felt it was not faith. From that I have never swerved, only I felt sure positive present duty was there as to God, and He has not failed. As it was going, I prayed that He would maintain His testimony to Christ and His truth as He had brought it before us, and I believe that souls are in a far more healthy state than two years ago. We must only leave all to God, and there are things calculated to give deep sorrow. I must close, dear brother, and with many thanks for your kind note, and an affection I heartily reciprocate -- trusting you may fully find the Lord has guided you to -- .

Ever affectionately yours in Christ.

November, 1881.


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[Mr Jeffreys] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I agree much with what you say at the end, that one must find it in the whole as a revealed fact. Thus we need His blood-shedding, His death, His forsaking [on the part] of God; all together make up His work. But when He shed His blood, He did not suffer; He was already dead. And this was important. Had the soldiers killed Him He would not have laid down His own life, it would have been taken from Him. Had He not shed His blood, the great sign that His life was given would have been wanting. Now, I get what expiated and what purified in His death; but He laid down life Himself. Then being forsaken of God -- none of us can fathom what it was to One who had dwelt in the bosom of the Father, to find His soul as a man forsaken of Him, and that as made sin. In the measure in which He knew holiness and love, and that was absolute, He felt what it was to be [made] sin before God and forsaken. And though the physical death came after, then He, morally speaking, drank the cup. It was necessary He should freely give up His own spirit, all being finished, in peace. John's word is not "He gave up the ghost," but "gave up his spirit" -- a divine act when all was done -- and in peace and confidence as a man, as in Luke, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit." The use of the word Father is important here. He does not say "My God" in His life -- not even in Gethsemane for He was in full communion with His Father. In the forsaking it is "My God," though in perfect submission, and saying "My." After His resurrection He uses both, in His message by Mary Magdalene; for now God was for us in righteousness and we children. But "Father into thy hands" is perfect peace in the enjoyment of sonship. But He must actually die, or nothing would have been done; but the sting and curse were gone out of it; and He laid down His life in communion with, and in obedience to, the Father. It is when really already dead, that His blood which had all the value of that death was shed (with the water) to cleanse from sin. It must have the value of death in it, yet death not be by it. Sin gives death its sting, and that must be borne -- yet death have none but be the free giving up of His own spirit. All this was accomplished.

We learn it in parts, but it all made one great sacrifice, from meeting with God as made sin, His personal dignity in giving up His own life, and in the shedding forth the blood and water when all was finished -- the shedding forth that in which its value is applied to us. But it is of all moment to view it adoringly, and not in dissecting it, as it were; only fully recognising as far as we can the import of drinking the cup where all the ingredients that sin had put into death are found It is in the spirit of adoration -- and withal, knowing what sin is -- we must dwell on it, but the glory of His person giving Himself for God the Father's glory and then for our sins, and made sin for us, and devoted love to Him -- that we must look at it.

November 12th, 1881.


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(E?) Cross, I have not the least doubt that the interpretation+ of John 14. 17, though very common, is a mere blunder. "Dwelleth" is the same word as "abide" in verse 16. Christ the Comforter would not "abide" with them as He then was, nor was He "with" them. The other Comforter would abide "with" them, and "be in" them. "Will abide" in Greek would be the same word as "abide," save an accent, and there were none originally: mevnei abides; menei' will abide.

Next, Acts 13: 2 was not the assembly. The prophets were fasting and praying together and the Holy Ghost spoke with authority by one of them, "Separate me." The state++ of the individuals sent had nothing to do with it. God in His government may employ a fitting vessel, but no state of fitness can separate by divine authority a person for a specific apostolic work. And this is the point: the free action, and divine authority of the Holy Ghost; that is, of God. I have no doubt, as a general rule for edification, usefulness in service depends on the state of the servant, but to use this as a plea for denying the direct action of the Spirit is ruinous. It is not a chandelier of light, though each should be filled with the Spirit, but the personal free action of the Spirit. Scripture recognises the diligent use of the word, "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them," etc.: but to use this to deny the sovereign freedom of the Spirit is also ruinous and destroys our dependence on and guidance by Him. In Acts 8 we have first "the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip." Now, I do not doubt that the Lord chose a fit person in Philip, but the angel's speaking to him was not the state of Philip's soul. Then we find the Spirit telling him to go to the chariot. Then the Spirit "caught away," -- a word in Greek or English leaving no pretext for the interpretation+++ given to it -- "and the eunuch saw him no more." In Paul's journey the Spirit of Jesus did not allow him to go into Mysia, and they were forbidden to preach in Asia or Bithynia.

It is alleged that this independent action of the Spirit belongs only to the Old Testament, as Saul, Balaam++++ etc. This is a mistake: Caiaphas prophesied. It will be said that this was in Judaism. But Paul teaches it doctrinally (1 Corinthians 13) "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am ... nothing." The very fact of tongues is an independent action of the Spirit, for they did not understand what they said, and if there was not an interpreter were to remain silent. Tell me that this is lost -- I understand you, but then do not deny that the Holy Ghost so acted. But there is a difference to be made between 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. In the former the Holy Ghost down here acts with divine authority and power, but it is simply giving power (in gifts) to whom He will; but "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets," not more than "two or at the most three" were to speak. The word of God, the authority of Christ in the church, ordered the exercise of the power. If a man spoke with tongues, and -- it was so completely the Holy Ghost -- he did not understand what he said (a case supposed) he was to be silent, unless he or another could interpret. The apostle preferred to speak with his understanding, and edify the assembly, to which end all was to be directed. In the latter case (Ephesians 4), it is Christ ascended on high, who, having received the Holy Ghost from the Father, gives for the spiritual need of the church (and here there are no gifts which are miraculous, in the ordinary sense, but) "apostles and prophets evangelists, pastors and teachers," and the promise that these will continue to the end, and then (verse 16) what every joint supplies in the measure of every part.

But the Holy Ghost has been given, and come down, and all goodness and wisdom in exercise is from Him. He formed the body, He also makes us members. Even Christ "by the Spirit of God cast out devils." We are to be "led by the Spirit," and surely in the most solemn part of our lives here, our spiritual activity in the church of God, this is not to be given up, and we do without it. This is not giving up, or acting without, our understanding. The apostle preferred action with understanding, but that did not exclude the direct action of the Spirit. Men speak of impulse,+++++ so that the notion of the Spirit's action is lost, and it is of man. But if it is not of the Spirit, it is merely of man. The apostle would have the Spirit and the understanding. (1 Corinthians 14: 15.) The saying we could not then judge is a strange blunder of human reasoning, for it was when there was direct revelation they were called on so to judge. Faith, direct looking to God and His power, is identical with the action of the Spirit in its source and results; and what is called faith in Hebrews 11. is constantly referred to the Spirit in the Old Testament. All direct action of God as to the creature, and finally in divine things, from creation on, is by the Spirit in scripture: no good thought in us but from the Spirit, no wisdom. It is the Spirit that lusts against the flesh. Waiting humbly on the Lord, that He may lead us to act, or not to act, and lead us in acting, and that habitually and in all things, is not acting from impulse, but the contrary, and the leading will not fail. If we are to judge, what are we to judge -- whether what is said or done is of the Spirit, or not? If it is not of the Spirit, it is of the flesh: only the paramount authority and order of the word, which is certainly by the Spirit is maintained.

Further,++++++ the Holy Ghost being individually in our bodies, as temples, is not all. He forms the body, or rather formed it on the day of Pentecost -- not by spiritual progress, but by coming personally down, and baptising into one body. Nor is that all. The Holy Ghost is not in an assembly as God's house or dwelling, but in the assembly. In 1 Corinthians 3 they are collectively God's temple, Christendom (see 1 Corinthians 1: 2), only realised especially at Corinth. (Some will say it [ver. 12] is doctrine: it is so, but realised in men; as "the seed is the word of God," Luke 8: 11, "the good seed are the children of the kingdom," Matthew 13: 38.) So, in Ephesians 2, "Ye are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit." That is not individual; and if the Holy Ghost dwells in the habitation, is He to do nothing there, or direct everything? The assembly is as much the house, or temple of God, as it is the body; only all the members of this last are personally dwelt in by the Spirit and members of Christ. As to two Spirits, it has no ground at all. It would be much more applicable to dwelling in individuals, but this is carefully guarded against (1 Corinthians 12), in contrast with demoniacal inspiration. Whatever is not of the Spirit is of the flesh.


+'I cannot see that the Spirit took up His abode in the house, or in them in any way separate from, or distinct from, His being in them individually. By the fact of His being in them individually, and being Spirit, He was of necessity in them collectively, and in no other way that I can see ... "He is with you and shall be in you": on this is founded the whole thought of the presence of the Spirit with us, apart from His being in us, as the leader of the assembly. I understand the Lord to mean that He Himself, having received the Spirit, He, the Spirit, was with them, because Jesus Himself was with them, and He was in Jesus: but that by-and-by the Spirit would be in them in like manner as He was in Jesus that at Pentecost they should themselves receive the Spirit, and that now the Spirit is not with us in the sense in which that verse speaks of His having been with the disciples.'

++'The Spirit in me, if not grieved or otherwise hindered by me, would produce in me a state coincident with His presence in me, in which state I should be alike capable (1 Corinthians 2) and free (2 Corinthians 3) to answer to the leadings of the Lord according to my relative place in the body (1 Corinthians 12) as He took His place as Leader of the assembly.'

+++'Taken off his feet, and carried off.'

++++'These examples are Old Testament, and only speak of the operation of the Spirit, not of His presence, or the manner of it in the Church.'

+++++'I understand the leading of the Spirit as characteristic of the Christian at all times, whether in or out of the assembly. (Romans 13: 14; Galatians 5: 18) But any other leading in the assembly, as from a Spirit separately distinct from us and in our midst, I do not see, as though I should wait upon Him as outside of me till He impels me to act. That I conceive would be inspiration (2 Peter 1: 2), and would hinder any action I took under such impulse from being judged in the assembly according to 1 Corinthians 14: 29; while also the waiting for such an impulse would hinder self-judgment in me as to my own spiritual state. All that is there done should be done tw pneuvmati kaiJ tw noiv (1 Corinthians 14: 15), not uJpo; pneuvmato" (2 Peter 2: 21), as if He were there apart from His being in us; for then no one could judge the ministry as we are now told to do. (1 Corinthians 14: 29)'

++++++'He dwells in the church, but it is He who dwells in us who for that reason is there, and not separately, as though there were two Spirits or that I had to look out of myself to find Him in the assembly, save as much as He is in every other Christian; nor that I am to wait upon His acting on me, but rather to know, and that, too, by the state which His presence in me produces, that He dwells in me, to act by me -- if the flesh in me be not allowed to control me instead.'

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[To the same.] (E or G?) Cross, It is not only the presence of the Spirit in the house, but His acting in the service of the saints, which I look for. As to the other point,+ though I believe that often there is no harm meant, and that by presidency is merely meant that His leading should be followed, where it is substituted -- a rare case, but which I have known -- for the presence of Christ, it is an evil. He is in the midst, spiritually no doubt, but still Himself. I cannot have the same affections towards the Holy Ghost as towards Christ. He was not humbled, did not die for me, and so on. The ministrations are under the Lord, too, as such, but the active power is the Spirit. I do not think, 'leads after Him' is right, because the Father and Christ are objects. In ministry the Spirit is active, but He brings the word from on high: "whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak."

The Spirit does act in us (Luke 12: 12), and I do look to the Spirit acting in me -- I do not say, pray that He may act; I pray to the Father, or to the Lord, but I wait for the Spirit to act. Christ is Head, but it is the Spirit acting in us which gives what He would have said.
1881.


+'The presence of the Lord, as distinct from the presence of the Spirit ... I understand Him to be leader of the assembly (president, it is sometimes said, though I think the word inapt), only that whatever truth the word conveys, it is the Lord that is in it, and not the Spirit. The Spirit as I understand it, leads after Him, but He is the leader.'

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[From the French.] -- - As to affairs in England, it would be difficult to give you a detailed history; but the principle is simple enough, and it is with this we must be occupied, so as to discern what is of God and what is of Satan, and be guided in our walk to the glory of God.

You know that the natural tendency, as numbers increase in the assemblies, is that the heart wearies a little of the truth, which at the outset had authority over us to cause us to walk in the truth in. separation from human systems; and at the same time the mind gets more and more occupied with persons who compose the assembly, till at last the truth gives way to the persons in our hearts, the conscience to the intelligence, Christ to the man, and brethren become, in another way, a system of the worst description: this is Satan's aim, and it is in this way that he assails the brethren.

The first fruit from this bad root is, that brethren are occupied with themselves to the exclusion of other Christians who are equally members of the body of Christ: they think of themselves more than of the Lord. They do all they can to keep the gathering together, losing sight more or less of the great truths which have acted upon hearts individually, and which truths formed the gathering, not as a great work visible and recognised on the earth, but as a testimony from God and for the glory of Christ in the midst of Christianity. It is of the last importance that we should continually remember that brethren are a testimony and nothing else; that is to say, that it is the truth that has kept us for the glory of Christ, and not we ourselves. This is easily forgotten. I have particularly noticed proofs of this in Switzerland for the last six years at least. A late fruit from this root is, that christian conscience has become valueless from neglect of its promptings, and ceases to act. From this it results that brethren are feeble, and become guilty, even in matters of simple righteousness, in such a way that even the world would condemn them. The assemblies of God are little thought of as such, and the presence of the Lord Jesus in the assembly is forgotten and ignored. This is what has happened in England, but the Lord loves us too much to allow such a state of things without reminding us.

But the test is general; it touches closely each one: that is why so many assemblies, and brethren individually in each assembly, are affected by it. In some cases the assembly is of one mind; in others there are two parties, more or less equal one holding on to the truth at any cost, the other thinking more of only what is on the surface; and there may be other reasons acting upon many, leading them to follow a course which seems to them more easy. It has always been thus. Lot walked a long time with Abraham without his faith being put to the test: when the time for the test came he must walk alone, and then is seen for the first time the measure of truth that he really possessed in his soul. This is what is happening at the present time, and no one can determine the precise moment when such and such a soul will be put to the test; and we should be wrong in forcing or hastening the test in any way whatever, and even when it is there, to suppose that every one will be tested in the same manner. All this is in God's hand: nevertheless when such a sifting does come, happy are they who profit by it, receiving the test as from God with searching of heart; or better, seeking to get into the presence of God that He may search it, so that all that interferes with the glory of Christ shall be judged and put away.

We must have patience, and help each other: a lack of patience has caused some to act too quickly, and though they acted with the best possible intentions, of separating themselves from evil, the result has been unsatisfactory. We are quick at seizing the reins when we see danger ahead; but the Lord knows better than we do what has to be done: in due season He will deliver all who look to Him. But this must be real not trying to escape the test, or to delay the time of action when the evil is clearly manifest. Another valuable lesson the Lord would teach us is, I think, to occupy ourselves more before Him with the state of individual consciences. It is easy to neglect pastoral work. One is inclined to act by means of outward pressure, instead of waiting for the inward action of the Spirit, who would lead the assembly by the healthy and spontaneous action of all who form part of it. This ought always to be the aim, but alas! very often it is not possible on account of a corrupt influence which has been already too active, and for too long a time, so that morally, many have become incapable of a spiritual judgment; thus division is inevitable when the test comes to the door. But in any case we ought to wait until God sends the test. A man cannot be hung because he intends to kill me. We must wait until the act is accomplished before taking action, doing all we can, at the same time, to raise the spiritual standard by a healthy ministry of the word, as the Lord in His grace may give us. Then when the test does arrive, some, at least, will be able to act according to God.

The present struggle is between intelligence and the Spirit. It is a subtle thing which exercises the heart to its depths -- must I be guided by my intelligence according to the things that I know, or must I walk in dependence on the Lord. Some pretend to be an expression of the assembly of God when their acts prove that they have no sense of the Lord's presence in their midst. To admit their pretension, would evidently be to deny the presence and action of the Spirit of God, for such walk by human intelligence, and override conscience. This is what happened at Ramsgate, and a division was the result. All was inquired into in London, and three meetings with a week's interval were held on the subject, and every facility was given to arrive at a correct knowledge of facts, in order to come to a conclusion according to God, and this not by any preconcerted measures, plans, or arrangements, but simply through God's intervention in rather a remarkable way. Many ... wished to set aside the decision arrived at on that occasion, and to walk in their own way: hence the reason of the present trouble. The principles involved I have endeavoured to shew to a certain extent. It is scarcely necessary for me to inform you, that the above inquiry was forced upon the assembly in London through a letter of commendation from an assembly in Kent where the difficulty arose; it was necessary to come to a decision, because all means during several months had been used to induce the opposing ones to humble themselves, but without fruit.

November 26th, 1881.


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J Dunlop, I am not a Baptist as you know, but the whole thought of baptism in the Prayer Book is equally wrong and absurd. It was not this brought me out but the presence of the Holy Ghost, and the unity of the body. But baptism is to death; no hint in scripture of giving life. The only connection with resurrection is Colossians 2; but it is to Christ's death. Regeneration is only twice used -- Matthew 19 and Titus 3: in both it is a change of position; in Matthew, the millennium; in Titus, distinguished especially from the renewing of the Holy Ghost of which we are born by the word -- the incorruptible seed of God.

It is overlooked that we are baptised to something -- as to Moses, to John's baptism for the remission of sins -- that is associated with some system introduced for our blessing. Now forgiveness of sins is one grand feature of Christianity -- "repentance and remission of sins." And the person by this door of entry, as an initial rite, is introduced into the divine sphere where these things are. God has been pleased to set up a system where these things are, and so when Saul became a Christian by the revelation of the Son in him, he entered by baptism into the enjoyment of this privilege. So it is said to save us in Peter, but guarding against attributing it to the mere rite. But the connection of life with it is never found in the word. But the English service is too ridiculous. It gives as a present thing by it, forgiveness of sins to an infant who has never committed any, and then has no real forgiveness by redemption at all, pretends only to governmental by absolution. They wash the infant's sins away who has not any, and when it has, has nothing for them -- pretends to give life withal by it of which not a trace is to be found in scripture, but is directly attributed to other things. Saul was baptised like others as the formal professed entrance into God's confession on earth, the institution where these things were. The twelve were sent to baptise the Gentiles who heretofore were strangers to it, a commission never carried out (Galatians 2), but not to circumcise them, and this from Galilee, not from heaven -- Paul, with the things to be had, not to establish that wherein they were to be had, and from a heavenly Christ. The Baptists have lost the scriptural truth of a place instituted of God where His blessing is, as the Jews formerly and Christendom now -- neither judged as heathen; and the Prayer Book, following Popery, puts the possession, as if the being in the place of it was that. Even unconverted, we are not heathen -- perhaps were, but not heathen [now], and judgment (when incurred) on a different ground.

November, 1881.


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[To the same.] J Dunlop, Paul says, "Among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God." The commission in Matthew was only to Gentiles. The remnant were associated with Christ risen, not glorified. I do not doubt Jews were baptised, but there was no direction to do it. Not being baptised was a refusal to own Christ when they believed (I have met the case with a Jew), and "with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Paul starts from a glorified Christ when the last enmity of man's heart had been brought out, and a messenger, so to speak, sent off to heaven, that they would not have this Man to reign over them. Paul only goes to the root of things (save John): Peter, "he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin:" Paul, he that is "dead to sin." Peter though with accomplished redemption and the new birth, goes on with the Jewish system -- never the church as the body of Christ. Peter is the fact and effect on men here. Peter looks for the inheritance above as a hope: Paul recognises it as such (Colossians 1), but looks at us also as a new creation, sitting in heavenly places in Christ, and the inheritance is all things, Christ being heir, and we joint-heirs with Him. Besides personal justification, he deals with the ways and dispensations of God, His counsels, and ways experimentally. John is always individual and brings us into the revelation of the nature of God, and our being in God and God in us according to that nature. It is nature, not counsels ... .

Though I believe the children of Christians have certain rights and privileges, as a general principle with outside souls it is to try to get them converted and then make professors as you say. There is in scripture a reference to households which I do not understand. The truth is, when I have to do with souls I do not think of theories nor of brethren, but of what that soul wants, and so speak to it. But there is one thing we have to remember; at the beginning power was at the centre, and acted from it, and gathered. Now a great corrupt body being in existence, power (assuming conversion) is shewn in separation; gathering may follow: not that they leave their profession, but practically power acts from outside, and draws from the existing centre. God is working ... . He exercises and sifts. He has been most gracious with brethren, and will maintain His testimony. I counted on Him to do it.

December, 1881.


[Page 206]

E L Bevir, The character of what has been thrown off in the skirmish is most marked: what we have to look for is God working. The one thing I desire is that a bright clear testimony to Christ, and devotedness to Him should come out of it all. As to details, I have little to say. My experience is that the work of God is never done without opposition; only God holds the reins, and if He gives peace, who can give trouble? Yet He can say, "Satan shall cast some of you into prison," and even speak of being faithful unto death, as if He could not help it, and had only the other world at His disposal. It is where we are with Him that the blessing is. Here He is with us, the enemy externally reigning (till He takes to Himself His great power), and gives us the privilege of suffering with Him. Here I have felt weak, have suffered the loss of all things I counted gain; but I had a dread of hostile power, though I have had to go through it a little. Any way, I am what He has made me, at least in any good; and there nothing, and He everything. Thank God it is so! only then we have to realise this in every-day life -- Christ all, and that nothing else shew itself. If it were only so! Still we can delight in Him, and joy in His love, and that will never end. Then our joy will not be pent-up; now it is, like steam, to carry on the work of His grace, but oh! what a burst there will be of it when in port, and it does not spend itself, but grows, for the Object is infinite.

I am occupied with a preface or introduction to the French Bible, and have nearly finished it. It has interested me; I was afraid at first of introducing it, but the Lord is good -- I ought not to say He is an austere man -- so I have done it (in French). The Lord be with you; it is a privilege to serve in these last days -- more difficult, perhaps, but a brighter testimony than ever. Devotedness and lowliness, that is what I seek. It is very hard to be nothing, though we know it; the very energy of service takes you out of it, unconsciously: but near Christ, and in love, we forget self; and that is just the measure of godliness and spirituality.

December, 1881.


[Page 207]

[To the same.] E L Bevir, I find it requires the grace of God keeping us near Christ to have the heart free to rejoice in God working ... . I am writing an introduction in French to the Bible. I shrank from such a task; it seemed to me so solemn to be giving a kind of resume and estimate of all God's mind as revealed. Still He is love, and helps in grace, and I have greatly enjoyed the work, and He has helped me. Scripture unfolds itself when you look to God and study it. I go and feed there when weary with man-work, still it is the work of faith -- heaviness, if need be, "the trial of your faith," and it is all good. I have been interested last night in looking at Genesis 3: how to approach God when driven out (but clothed by God before they were put out), and that is, a burnt-offering -- sin, expiation, and all the value of Christ -- not sins committed, but man's state. In chapter 4 it is, "If thou doest not well" (and this confirms me in so taking it), "a sin-offering lies at the door;" that is, there is a remedy, do not distrust and get angry: this is provision for actual evil.

Do not reckon yourself lonely: it is a good thing to be alone with God; I have been always alone, but I bless God for it. Not that communion of saints is not happy and a blessing: Paul thanked God and took courage, but it is alone with Him that we get stuff, and there only; where else should we? And in these last days the true lasting work must be from Himself. There is no true work, I well know, but of Him; but the scripture makes a difference of the last days, where the keen discernment and, therewith, the earnest love and grace alone can be found, to carry us through the tangled web of men's minds -- and always calm because with Him. "They looked unto him and were lightened:" we should wait on His working ... .

You will find plenty to swim over, sometimes rough, without going to Epirus; but we are, and sweet is the thought, in the same boat with the Lord. All things become real as we grow old, through grace; yet He is always the same, sufficient for the young, and sufficient also for the old, and so full of tenderness and grace. May we be kept humble, so as to know Him, and all the resources that are in Him, and they are in Him for present difficulties, and even loneliness -- for He has felt it: "Ye shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me." So you can say, 'I and Christ that is with me.' "That take and give," He says to Peter, "for me and thee" -- to think of putting us so together!

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

December, 1881


[Page 208]

Dear Miss Pygrave, -- I answered your questions by mistake to another person who had written to me about the same thing. The two cases were, one in the Western States where a German (for all this is German, whose religion is characteristically for this world) began by healing his neighbours, he says -- and I had no reason to doubt it by looking to God in faith; perhaps got puffed up, and worked by Satan's power so as to lay a man, who himself told me about it, like a log on the floor, without the use of his limbs; and then it turned to a system of corruption, so that he had to flee the country for his life and said afterwards that at the end it was Satan's power. The other was a more reputable case: a Lutheran clergyman who used to heal persons, but connected it with all the false Lutheran doctrines of baptismal regeneration, etc. I knew personally the case of some really good people at Boston, where it was connected with perfectionism and higher life, falsifying and discrediting by error what is greatly wanted in the church -- to be able to say, "To me to live is Christ." Dorothy Trudel never had peace, nor a plain gospel, till her death bed.

But no mistakes of men take away the plain force of God's word and that He does answer the prayer of faith. James 5 supposes the church in order, and that those, who in a certain sense represented it, could be sent for -- where God's order was going on and His government regularly administered in the church. That is not the case now, but if those who are practically such, and have personally faith (that looks through the ruin to the source of good according to the order) and believe, God will still hear the prayer of faith: I do not doubt it. In general it is only looking for so much physical relief, generally turning aside from what is heavenly. There may be faith in the person also; sending for the elders supposes something of this. But while I fully believe there may be such answers to prayer, the books about them seem to me full of error, and, while there may be some faith as to what is physical, not calculated to edify. But the very prayers of the Establishment for rain, etc., suppose the principle.

December, 1881.


[Page 209]

DEAR MISS -- , -- I have no confidence in the movement for faith-healing, save as it may rouse people to look more to God. I never saw it save in individual instances connected with real sound doctrine. The two cases I referred to were one in the Western States where it turned, though it seemed to begin well, to an out and out work of the devil, the other where it was based on full Lutheran views -- of being born again in baptism; besides (which were not on my mind) it was connected with perfectionism, and I might add Irvingism, but these were not on my mind.

-- and myself are not elders, and the case in point came in thus -- the ordinary local discipline of the church (James 5). This does not hinder my believing that God does answer the prayer of faith. I have arranged that -- and myself will be free at half-past four Monday next, to look to Him for you.

Yours truly.

December, 1881.


[Page 210]

[G C Makrow] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I have known two cases of anointing by request, one at Plymouth ... the other. in Switzerland: both these were blessed to the body; we owned we were not official but cast ourselves on the Lord. I trust by giving it out you may not have a crowd of curious young brethren. Peter thrust them all out. It is "the prayer of faith" which heals. It is not said, that I know, where the anointing should be: but anointing them is the person rather than the place (as if it was a cure), and this has its importance as to its nature.

The Lord be with you in your service.

[Date uncertain.]


DEAR MISS -- , -- I shall be glad to know if you continue better; as to that your faith may be exercised. But both -- and myself were struck with the fact that the state of your soul answered to what he had prayed for, and of your body what I had; so that we should be the rather glad to know how you are.

Yours sincerely in the Lord.

January, 1882.


DEAR -- , -- I was happily away, at [the time of] the Manchester meeting. -- who had a mania for publishing, did so with this, very wrongly. I looked at it hastily, but found it all full of themselves -- Philadelphia and Laodicea. It was we, it was the first alarming sign of mischief: Laodicea began in John's time.

I do not doubt there is a consecutive history in the passage -- which I divide into two parts, chapters 2 and 3 -- for it ends in Thyatira or popery. In chapter 3 we have Protestantism alongside. Philadelphia is a church without pretension which keeps Christ's word and does not deny His name; which further keeps the word of His patience; which still expects Christ, though it may seem He will never come; He is waiting, and in the patience in which He waits for the long-suffering of God is salvation, He is not slack concerning His promise -- taking His word to guide and still waiting; and such will be kept. But it is not the party which outwardly characterises the church which is addressed -- all, in a general sense -- but (I believe) those who have ears to hear.

It is not apostasy which characterises Laodicea, nor heresy, nor Babylon, but much worse, I think; professed light from human sources, from the human mind -- and has not God's eye-salve (nor gold tried in the fire, Christ as divine righteousness), the sense of the value of all things. It is just the reality of that which is divine, known by divine teaching.

I do not think the seven churches go down a regular declivity. Smyrna is God's stopping declining by persecution. Philadelphia is not decline on Sardis. The tendency is there, but it is not absolute, or universal. A great deal that is neither here nor there has been said as to Philadelphia and Laodicea; but those of Philadelphia are not the description of the progress of evil. Not keeping Christ's word, but denying His name, was their danger; and in this they had overcome: the other was dropping the expectation of the Lord, the word of His patience; in this, too, they had overcome: and they had two promises -- kept from the hour of temptation -- they would be off before it (not diav; ejk) and the ecclesiastical powers which had despised them should be humbled to recognise that Christ had loved them. In verse 12 they are singularly identified with Christ. But the faithful in Philadelphia are called to overcome as much as in Laodicea. Faithfulness in the circumstances of each particular assembly is what each are respectively called to.

The Park Street declaration was the act of that assembly -- of Park Street -- being the reception of a letter of commendation, which in no case went beyond the assembly receiving it -- indeed, in most cases would be useless, as people came up for a Lord's Day and went away: only that as it really involved serious questions it was sent down to Cheapside, as courtesy to brethren. Secondly, I never meddled with the original Park Street declaration, and all would not go to the meeting. What I objected to was sending out the notice. What I did as to those outside not being associated -- it had been proposed to them and they would not go -- was to urge that Cheapside had owned them as Kennington when they were going wrong, and could not now reject them when they were going right. I took pains, too, in communication with -- and those outside, shewing them that those who remained in as to their action had now joined with them. Finally they accepted the common action.

Perhaps I should tell you it has been a question with me of dying all night, and even now I cannot answer your letter very easily. But to be blackened -- I am used to it.

London, January 25th, 1882.


[Page 211]

[Page 212]

[B F Pinkerton] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- You must not be surprised if you have a short letter after a long silence. My earthly tabernacle is brought very low, and I cannot do much, but I would not in the love of Christ leave you without writing. I understand that the Egyptian brethren want an earlier forming into the christian position. But the question arises who shall do this, but those who could build up when there? If I found in Egypt a widespread and real faith in their new position in Christ, I should be content. This, however, has been the great defect in Germany; having to do with a large converted number wholly under law, deliverance from that became their great test, and they made little progress afterwards. Still a more advanced state of Christians was generally secured, while much time may be spent, so to speak, in ripening up a few under our hand, where the resulting testimony is after all equivalent. If, indeed, the moral spiritual state answered always to the known position I should hardly hesitate, but this is hardly so; and hence doubt may come in at least where always to be -- in one [place] or the other. But I should be disposed to visit both, and minister according to the need of each. The Egyptian ones coming under other's care is for many reasons an additional difficulty, but the Lord is sufficient for it, and if He opens none can shut. Where I found it to be a case of one or the other I might stick to Syrian work.

Many labourers in America were over here for a conference, and went over the country besides. They seem to have enjoyed it greatly themselves, as our brethren did their presence, and I believe there was blessing by the word.

I believe I must close. I hardly yet know if it be the Lord's mind to leave me or to take me. A little more strength and, humanly speaking, I should be here for a while; there are elements which tend to weaken me. But I am in His hands and peaceful -- of happiness I do not speak: what is best I know well, There are a few things I should be glad to see to an end- but the Lord does not want me for them. The Lord is turning our sifting to manifest blessing, and we have only to bless His name. But I have done.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

London, January 31st, 1882.


[Page 213]

[J G Deck] BELOVED BROTHER, -- I too have been laid aside, and in a great measure am, nor can I walk properly without an arm and a stick, nor do I preach. Through mercy my mind has been left clear, and I am here at my post, beset with those in person and by letter who are getting clear in our present, I might almost say our late, trials. God has been sifting us and it is nearly over: as I have said, we cannot halloa as those that are out of the wood, but we can see the light through the trees, and in that light there is light. Already it has been a real blessing to brethren; and, what is a mercy, work has gone on all the time -- gathering a little stopped in London, but not even there hindering conversions -- and a fresh spring and knitting together which there was not before. God is full of goodness. I heard from -- , and he mentioned more energy in evangelising which, with looking to God, is the real remedy ... .

They do not mind working on another man's foundation: an apostle could not help it, still if there be faithful devotedness and the place be really filled, God is above this danger too; if it be not filled it may be humbling, but we could not desire that God should not call these poor souls, because we were not the instruments. Still I have always felt it in France, where we had begun the work, an humbling thing if inroad was made on it, and that has happened where there has been a decay of spiritual energy. There is a government of God in these things. Paul had to say to such, and there is a time and a guidance when such happens: "he followeth not with us" will not do, if he preaches Christ.

Mais parce que vous êtes malade, I come to visit you, and what shall I bring? Christ. But you have Him and that gives communion, and communion in what is eternal which makes it very blessed; and if we are feeble, the Object is not. It has struck me as very blessed that God should reveal to us all His thoughts and mind in which He glorifies Himself. I have been writing a kind of preface or introduction+ to the Bible, just translated into French, and it presented itself to me in this way; that all time was a kind of parenthesis in eternity, in which all that was eternally in the mind and character of God wrought out on the earth in time, should be brought out in its glorious results and display -- His glory and its accomplishment in the Son in the future eternity. And all this is given us in scripture; the basis connected with man's responsibility in the Old, and the divine operation of grace in the New. The more one studies it, the more one finds God, and alas man too, in the Bible ... .

And now, dear brother, take courage. The Lord watches over us, makes everything work together for those who love Him -- may exercise, chasten us because He loves us; but His love is shed abroad in our hearts by His Spirit which He has given us. The proof is, Christ dying for us when sinners, pure sovereign grace doing what was needed; the power of enjoyment is, the Holy Ghost in us. I think you will find the "ifs" in scripture attach themselves to the journey here. There is an absolute finished redemption in which there is no if, but a "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord" -- a finished work and, with a short prefatory work of pure grace and divine power, it is "ye have seen ... how I bare you upon eagles' wings and brought you unto myself." Then they must get through the wilderness to get to Canaan. It is the experimental learning of what we are, and if life is not there it is just a profession, like a Christendom; but if we have life, thus we get experience, "to humble thee and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart." Here we need, not a finished work save as the basis of all, but an ever living Father and Saviour: we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, but there we have such -- it is God that works in us. He gives us eternal life; we are personally known in precious grace; kept by the power of God. It is dependence, but on what cannot fail; an exercise of faith, perhaps, but counting on faithfulness just as sure, but by a living action, not a finished work. (See 1 Corinthians 1: 8) And then at the end He adds, that there may be no confusion as "at this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, what hath God wrought!" (Numbers 23: 23) That is a good story: go and hear Moses at the bottom of the mountain -- "stiffnecked" and "rebellious," but above, with the answer He hath not seen it: red heifer for failures, priesthood to help us along (to the) close, and then comes God's judicial estimate of what He has wrought. It is a blessed history, but sweet to trust Him by the way, and we need it.

I have been brought down low again by a cold, not able to lie down, but all is love, unclouded.

The Lord be with you.

February, 1882.


+["Collected Writings," vol. 34, page 1, etc.]

[Page 214]

[Page 215]

MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I was very thankful my introduction+ on the chapters of John furnished, through the grace of the Spirit, food for holy affections during your delay at Syra. I had put it all there, that whatever dry criticisms they might be forced to read, they might have some positive food.

It is a great thing to have developed affections. Some are much more demonstrative than others, but it is not merely this, but the development of the affections themselves within, by what is in the Object of them. Still, it comes to my mind that it is a great thing to have concentrated affection -- Christ forming them, so that in having Him in our hearts we may know what is in His; and what a blessing that is! Concentrated means practically, personal; so that I get at His heart, and know what is there, and that there is that personal affection there. As regards this, there is in the sense that we belong to Him -- but then there is development -- the sense of what the exercise of that affection towards us is: interest in our circumstances; thoughtfulness for us; bearing our sin and drinking that dreadful cup; even making us part of His own happiness in glory: summed up in knowing Him in what His affections are. But then how infinite in this case this development is! And after all He loves us personally; but He loves us perfectly in this, that whatever He enjoys He brings us into the enjoyment of. Then it is divine; which stamps its character on all the details. That chapter (17) is greatly the expression of it, as putting us in the same place as He is in Himself. But we must know Him to know what His love is, and it will suffice for ever. But this joy, dear brother, in His love, which is to us known to be unchangeable, is by the Holy Ghost, and we are dependent on grace for it, so that it will be connected with all our life here. I have been interrupted again and again since I began, so you will only have desultory thoughts; happily the foundation of it is in John 17, and always there for the Holy Ghost to use. It is a known love, yet passes knowledge.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

London, February, 1882.


+["Collected Writings," vol. 33, page 143, etc.]

[Page 216]

[W Moore] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- You can hardly compare mercy and grace thus.+ Grace refers more to the source and character of the sentiment, mercy to the state of the person who is its object. Grace may give me glory, but mercy contemplates some need in me. Mercy is great in the greatness of the need, grace in the thought of the person exercising it.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

London, February, 1882.


+Mercy, 'the day spring in God's own being,' 'sovereign and absolute,' reached 'when the divine outflow of grace had been abused,' 'which presupposes this condition of things,' 'confounded with grace to the soul's great loss indeed.' 'When the grace in which all were set has been abused, outraged, nothing remains but absolute and sovereign mercy for all.'

[Page 217]

[Mr Etchells] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- Thank you very much for your sympathising note. There is a difference between work and being laid aside; though I see many things for which grievously to blame myself, yet my work was always Christ, and now my leisure, if such I can call it, is Christ. What comes before me is how far I so realise Christ before me, that the joy of being with Him, awaiting the glory, satisfies my present affections: it is not doubt of the efficacy of His precious blood, of being in Him, of the sovereign unbounded love of the Father who in a thought beyond all our thought gave us to Him to be with Him for ever -- still with this I am content.

I do work, however, somewhat, though I cannot stick to it very long, but many letters on what is passing, inquiries, etc.; still they daily diminish. It is quite possible that if the Lord will I may pick up a little bodily strength, not for any renewed active life, but for some more sedentary service. Yet I feel I passed the barrier some months or a year ago.

Again thanking you sincerely for your note, believe me,

Affectionately your brother in the Lord.

It is not that I for a moment doubt the sufficiency of Christ for my happiness while waiting for glory, but how far I sufficiently realise it now. He has long been all I desire.

February 13th, 1882.


[J Stevens] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- What a happy thought that you and I are tending to see the blessed Lord and be with Him for ever! What a blessed thought! It is often a happiness to me to think that we shall have not only Christ -- which is the great thing -- but that then not one of the saints will be anything which is not perfectly pleasing to Christ. It is what we have earnestly to seek now, and He is our strength and wisdom to carry it out; only let our eye be single and Christ everything. Though we may be, humanly speaking, nearer home than some others, we have need of Him, and His precious and thoughtful grace every moment on to the end.

I am better, and I trust getting better, but I get no sleep, and have not got much strength to write. Kindest love to the brethren. The Lord graciously keep them very near Himself from evil, and in the power of the good that is in Himself.

Peace be with you.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

February 16th, 1882.


[Page 218]

[P Gibbs] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- The unity of the Spirit is what occupied us at Croydon, and though I think I have it clear in my mind, I have some difficulty in making it so to others. The grand fact is, there is one Spirit as there is one body; not only abstractedly, but actually one, forming the body, putting each member in its place in the body; and He is the source of every proper thought and act in the church, now the fact is there. No doubt the end of Ephesians 2 is the great example of two made one, but then that was brought about by death and resurrection putting all on a new footing, bringing in a new state of things founded on it. It is of the unity of this new state of things that the Spirit is the power and characteristic. Now the Holy Ghost brings all these things into harmonious detail, and gives fellowship in them in that harmony; there then is the unity of the Spirit, and this may be of course in a thousand details, wherever the Spirit works. I do not think we can bring in verses 4-6; not that the Spirit has not to do with them, but that they are collateral subjects formed by the same Spirit.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

London, February 18th, 1882.


[Page 219]

[W Easton] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I think you are substantially right,+ only the testimony gone in Thyatira is the whole ecclesiastical system -- Rome, down to the end. The only material difference that I know is, that I should put instead of dissent, liberalism -- in fact, infidelity, with the profession of Christianity. I agree as to Philadelphia also, not any particular body or church of Christians, but a state and condition.

I write in haste and weary, but most thankful to hear of -- , etc.

Croydon, February 23rd, 1882.


[To the same.] W Easton, I do not believe the Greek church++ enters into the account. She forms no part of the history of the four beasts or "times of the Gentiles," and here these two points are from Daniel associated together. Next Thyatira takes the church aspect of this, and the whole history is complete.

I know of no corporate taking away of the candlestick till then. A local church may have suffered this judgment, but as the general history of Christendom -- then only: that is, the whole position of church testimony is set aside. Besides this, from its state certain positive judgments are inflicted on it. The following suffer at the end dissolution and decay. They are not properly an ecclesiastical system. You must remember that there is an apostasy referred to in Thessalonians, and here negatively, which must not be left out of account. I believe this answers all your questions.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.


+'Is the candlestick the united church testimony on earth (no other churches or rather kind of churches), Ephesus standing for the whole when it was there, Smyrna (another phase) likewise, Pergamos likewise, then Thyatira in the same way till the candlestick was removed on her refusal to repent, her judgment being final -- the united ecclesiastical testimony being gone in Thyatira, though popery as a system runs to the end? 2. Does not another kind of thing begin with Sardis. Protestantism, but not having the ecclesiastical tendency, running to the end, and treated as the world; Philadelphia being neither popery nor Protestantism, but a return to divine principles, that too running on to the end that is, the Lord's coming for us; and Laodicea, being none of these but all the dissent which has sprung from Protestantism itself going on also to the end? 3. Thus the last four quite distinct from each other, but running parallel to the end -- Sardis and Laodicea embracing all the dissent, and judged at the Lord's return, Thyatira before by the beast and the kings.'

++'Is it that the whole papal system is the only ecclesiastical right on to the end, only disowned by God in Thyatira, though existing to the end, and as the only ecclesiastical system? And that "the testimony gone in Thyatira" is the candlestick, and removed then only and never before? Does any historical event shew this removal of the candlestick? Where does the Greek church come in, if at all, in Revelation 2, 3 -- is it popery or dissent?'

[Page 220]

MY BELOVED BRETHREN+, -- I feel, in undertaking a few words here, on the one hand a great responsibility, but on the other a real joy of heart, when my mind turns towards that which, I believe, the Spirit of God calls for. That we have passed through a time of humiliation, pain, and exercise of heart, every one feels, no one denies. The state of the brethren required it, "for he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men;" but "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." But then He does receive us -- a very great mercy and blessing. Think what it is to be received as His testimony and witness on the earth, poor and unworthy as we are! Nor, immense privilege though it be, do I speak of it, as such, as acquired privilege. "Ye are my witnesses," says Jehovah to Israel. That is the position and responsibility they were placed in. Every Christian is such in his place, that the life of Jesus may be manifested in their mortal bodies. The seven churches have been so widely introduced into this subject, that it will be well to inquire a little into their true character. There can be no doubt, I think, of their presenting a rapid but most perspicuous sketch of the course of Western Christendom, when through the operation of God it had come into the position of human responsibility. First, its full ecclesiastical character, till it comes -- after time is given it to repent -- under God's judgment; and the kingdom, and the Morning Star -- Christ in heavenly character -- are substituted for it. Thereupon you have a collateral picture of Protestantism running on coincidently after the Reformation, till it be rejected. That part of Christendom had been cleared of its Paganism, and there was much activity connected with this; but Christ had not His place in the heart of Christendom. It had "a name to live, but was dead." It is treated as the world, and the Lord comes on it at an unexpected hour, which is the world's portion. Every one will have remarked the condition given in each assembly, as the ground of special blessing, "to him that overcometh." But remark, it applies to the difficulties and dangers that tend to hinder faithfulness in the position in which the particular assembly finds itself. Some special reward may then be the recompense.

But there is more in these churches to remark, which characterises them. The character -- here [Philadelphia] it is Christ's holiness and truth. However great His love -- as it is infinite and unchangeable -- His active goodness, what characterises our knowledge of Him, is His Holiness and truth -- what we want of Him and characterises our testimony. This is of all moment. That in spite of the power of evil, He it is who holds the door open or shut as He pleases. This is not operation of gift and grace in the labourer, but that He can open the door of access to souls. But this was not all. In the midst of all that was going on He knew their work, and He had set before them an open door, and no man should shut it. His eye was on them for good. The testimony of grace was to be borne, and should not be hindered. Those who set up for traditional religion, would be forced to recognise them, and own that Christ had loved them. Further, the danger is not becoming Laodicean, but apostasy. Laodicea has its own dangers for Laodicea. But, through grace, they had not only kept fast hold of the believer's hope, but of Christ's patience as to its accomplishment -- "kept the word:" divine authority in that book. Christ, to whom all the promises belonged, and to whom it had been said, "Sit at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool," seemed to have sat very long expecting till His enemies were made so. But these saints waited, as He had waited, the accomplishment of the promises. God was not slack, but long-suffering. It is very remarkable to notice that Christ never puts His coming beyond the life of the person He is speaking of or to. The five wise and foolish virgins were the same who slept and wake: so in every case, with one exception -- which makes it stronger -- that Peter should die: but He was not speaking of His coming. Now, centuries have passed, generations succeeded each other, are we with present earnest desire waiting for God's Son from heaven? He abides God's time. Are we firm in hope and present faith while doing so? This was a condition -- not to be fulfilled, but that was -- by the faithful of Philadelphia, and they would accordingly escape the hour of temptation which would come on all the world. But the Lord said more, He was coming quickly, they were to hold fast what they had, that none took their crown.

What certainly chiefly characterises the saints in Philadelphia is the analogy of their position to that of Christ -- at the close of a dispensation, no apparent strength, but the door held open to Him by the porter. They keep His word, they do not deny His name, and specially they keep "the word of his patience." The way they are identified in the glory cannot but strike every one -- blessed thing too! What characterises Him -- most important for us to note -- is truth and holiness: truth, and as a girdle of the loins, for it is the truth that sanctifies. There is no specific Laodicean characteristic in Philadelphia -- each has its own -- nor Philadelphian faithfulness in Laodicea. Each belongs to each. The danger we have seen was quite different.

And now, what I would beg of brethren is, not to be occupied with evil, but if the Lord has set before them an open door -- and He graciously has -- their part is to profit by it; to hold steadfastly by truth and holiness, by which Christ characterises Himself, and be ever as men that wait for their Lord, keeping the word of His patience: and God will assuredly bless them. It is not merely doctrine, but activity guided by doctrine, and a path formed on that of Christ.

London, 1882.


+Found in Mr. J. N. Darby's handwriting in a drawer at 3, Lonsdale Square, London.

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[H M Hooke] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I can only write a line to acknowledge your kind letter and to thank the dear brethren who remember me. I am very low, but very peaceful and happy, and still continue to labour at tracts and small papers, etc. But sleep is a dreadful assailant except at night. I judge it was my fall at Dundee which brought my state to this. I have been writing on Propitiation which the Swedes are in trouble about,+ and Philadelphia which has troubled the brethren, but both very short. Kindest love to the brethren.

Your affectionate brother.

London, February 28th, 1882.


+["Collected Writings," vol. 34, page 201.]

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[R T Grant] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- Only just a line to say that your letter reached me in going out of this world -- and in recollection of many devoted kindnesses -- to recall all the truth that we have taught in Christ, and to urge you on in the full liberty of resurrection to bring that same Christ constantly before souls. His abiding faithful love will guide your steps as to Mexico.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Bournemouth, March 10th, 1882.


MY BELOVED BRETHREN, -- After years of communion in weakness, I have only bodily strength to write a few lines, more of affection than of aught else. I bear witness to the love, not only in the Lord ever faithful, but in my beloved brethren in all patience towards me -- how much more, then, from God: unfeignedly do I bear witness to it. Yet I can say Christ has been my only object -- thank God, my righteousness too. I am not aware of anything to recall -- little now to add. Hold fast to Him. Count on abundant grace in Him, to reproduce Him in the power of the Father's love; and be watching and waiting for Christ. I have no more to add but my unfeigned and thankful affection in Him.

I do add, let not John's ministry be forgotten in insisting on Paul's. One gives the dispensation in which the display is: the other, that which is displayed.


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BELOVED BRETHREN, -- I feel satisfied that if there be a godly recognition of God's hand upon us, and lowly confidence in the purpose of the Father for the glory of His own Son, there will be a great deal of blessing, and spreading forth into the doors which He opens.

March 19th, 1882.


[From the French.] The first and the essential question for every living man before God is, how he can be in His presence, well-pleasing to Him. (Philippians 3: 7-9.) It is no question of a righteousness which should satisfy the claims which He has on man: he is already a sinner, and entirely alienated from the glory of God; he perishes without law; he is condemned by the law. (See Romans 2 and 3) Now the infinite love of God, seeing him in this condition, spared not His own Son (see Romans 8) in order to blot out all the sins of those who believe on Him, and by accomplishing a work which, while perfectly glorifying God, rendered at the same time those who have part in it fit, as the Man who had accomplished it, for the glory of God, so that they became the righteousness of God in Him. It was a part of this righteousness to put them in the glory where Christ was, without which He would not have seen of the fruit of the travail of His soul. Many benefits and a new life accompany this blessing; but I have only laid this foundation.

Receive, beloved reader, this testimony to the efficacy of the love of which I speak, and that He has given peace with God for eternity.

March 28th, 1882.


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APPENDIX

My Dear Mr Lovett, -- My mind is extremely remote from any purpose of institution, but I was led by our conversation to look into the evidences of the practice of the early church upon the subject, on the principles of which, though feeling the opportunity of instruction, I felt no doubt. For I cannot but feel that the religion of which we profess membership, is not an imposition of observance, a law of carnal commandments contained in ordinances (as indeed it would contradict the whole purpose and counsel of God), but an admission to privileges, exceeding great and precious promises, whereby we are made partakers of the divine nature; not merely in our hearts, but that, in respect of our consciences, no man should judge us in respect of a sabbath, or of a new moon, "which are a shadow of things to come." Nor is this any licence to evil, because we are only so far become therein free, as in that we live we live unto God, for all that is in the flesh can never be free from condemnation of the law; but we as alive again from the dead, are not under the law, but made free. True it is that, being in the body in respect of its weakness, even to those who have received the first fruits of the Spirit, grace is ministered; also under ordinance, of which I see Christ Himself, the comprehensive centre; and, for that man is prone to go astray and not only in respect of individuals but more especially when according to the dispensation of God congregations take place, the order of righteousness must be maintained; in this respect laws must be enacted. Yet this is no part properly of Christianity, but the appendage of its dispensation; and even in scripture itself I distinguish between these two things. My mind would gladly go into the nature of precept, which it has had great delight in inquiring into, but it would be far too wide a subject to indulge in. However, in what I give you full leave to account a speculation if you please, I remember, though admiring that God should have afforded such apprehension to a heathen, Socrates ended where Christianity began. He speaks of all the appetites of his flesh as nails which fastened him down to wretchedness and misery, and speaks of death as a benefit which should deliver his soul from this; his other hopes seem to be wholly vague.

But if we consider the nature of the law we shall find its end to be rest from labour; the desire of entering into rest was the foundation of the hopes of the [Jewish system]. It knew the labour of the present, and rest therefore morally was its hope; to it, therefore, the sabbath was afforded, the symbol of that rest derived from the cessation of God from the labours of creation. But we are admitted in some sort by hope within the veil; we know that that rest is not a resting day nor night from the undivided glorifying of the ever living God. This is the new life. To us therefore the earnest is afforded, by Him who is the resurrection, was the Author and Firstborn of the new creation, of this living rest which remaineth to the people of God, aptly signified by the Lord's day. Both, you see, affirmed one day as God's, the witness of His universal right; and, so far, both concur. But to us the mystery is far more fully revealed, and we have the Lord's day -- not a compulsory recognition of right, but the blessed pledge of our inheritance amongst the saints. To him therefore who refuses this, and will not recognise himself as the child of eternity, which is all God's, but will put himself under the law from the freedom of sonship; to him the Sabbath arises again, an unalterable claim of a jealous God. I cannot enter here into the statement of how I distinguish Christianity from all that preceded it, or is out of it, of which the Jewish system is an imputably defined covenant; but I go to what led me to write to you, to communicate to you what my books afforded me on the view which struck your mind.

Now the state of the case seems that all the East observed the Sabbath as well as Sunday; at least the observance of it was settled at the time of Athanasius, when there was, as on Sundays, communion (which, generally speaking, was on these days only), with this difference that they always stood praying on Sunday; indeed that from the first century the Ebionites always observed Saturday as well as Sunday, but they observed it as Jews. They commenced in the first century of Christianity, and became a distinct sect in Hadrian's time. The origin of its observance seems uncertain in the East; it was observed as a festival by the church except at Milan. As a fact it was introduced into Spain about A.D. 300 by the council of Illiberis ... . Constantine passed a law that Christians should not work of a Sunday, except agriculturists, who were not to neglect the seasons God afforded them.+ ...

I adduce these evidences of the course and practice of the church then as to the Sabbath and its nature. All refer the observance of Saturday to deference for the Jews for its origin. Augustine is the first, I find, who directs that the honours of the Jewish Sabbath should be transferred to Sunday.++ At this time the Gallic councils forbid rural labour. In the sixth century early, the council of Orleans says, "Because the people are persuaded that they ought not to travel on the Lord's day with horses and men and carriages, nor prepare any victuals to eat, and use no exercise pertaining to the cleanliness of man and horse ... . And we think they ought to abstain by which more easily coming to church they may be at leisure for prayer"; and many councils under Charlemagne, etc., enforce further strictness. By both the Theodosiuses spectacles were prohibited on Sunday; but it will be remembered that attendance on them any day was excommunication, before the empire became christian.

In the earlier councils I find only enforcement of attendance on worship; in the still earlier fathers statements of the devotional services of the Lord's day, and nothing more.+++ ... Gregory the Great, the author of many of our prayers, says that Antichrist will renew the observation of the Sabbath. I would mention here that, though Brigham himself affirms it, I do not find direct evidence of Saturday being a day of divine service in the week Tertullian has another passage to the effect of the above. I have given no evidence of Sunday being a day of special devotion from the beginning, as it is not questioned, but there is abundant direction.++++ ... I find, by the bye, both my learned compilers informing me that the Essenes (which is singular considering their general principles) only among the Jews, and the antichristian Dositheus carried the Sabbath to the excessive strictness. They interpreted the command of continuing where they found themselves on the entering in of the Sabbath, to their very posture. The Jews determined two miles to be the place where they were, and so held it lawful to travel two miles all around because they did not go out of the place where they were; how foreign to the perfect law of liberty!

I confess my apprehension of the nature of the christian Lord's day (Sabbath clearly it never was called, in scripture or anywhere else, for many centuries) would make it consistent that there would be no direction in the New Testament concerning it, and consequently little notice of it in the early fathers -- and of its actual ordinance there is abundance: notice of this seems to flow with its habit of observance. This no way detracts from its validity in my mind, in fact but founds it on clearer and christian ground: but I am running into the expression of my opinion, of which I would only say that I would be a Christian and not a Jew.

Socrates, the historian, says, in a long and valuable chapter, that the apostles and evangelists have by no means left the yoke of bondage on those who come to the preaching of faith but have left the feast of the Passover (he writes of Easter and other feasts) to the good disposition of those who received benefit in them; and that the observance of Jewish types is abolished. I do not forget that the Sabbath is in the first table as I have observed that God by His prophets identifies it with the recognition of Himself, placing it, I think, on a much higher ground than formal ordinance.

Yours sincerely.

[Before 1830, according to a note made by the original copyist -- 'before he came to Plymouth.']


+[Athanasius, Tertullian, Eusebius are here quoted, but being in Latin and Greek were not given in the copy.]

++[Latin quotation not preserved.]

+++[The interpolated Epistle of Ignatius is here referred to, but quotation not given.]

++++Clement of Alexandria, Latin quotation, and not preserved.]

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[Page 228]

-- - I am a bad person to answer this question, though the blessed Lord has not left me without His presence. Yet I love to get on these subjects. A person, I think, who has really found God must in some measure feel as this person does. The passage of St. Paul in the Ephesians is the answer and expression of this, "Oh! the height and depth," etc. He that, loving, knows God, dwells in God and God in him; and one knowing His fulness must know that he is brought into a depth which none can fathom but God, and be pained at not doing it. It is the way of growth, as a child who uses the compass of strength but cannot reach it; but a Christian's exerts itself (by that solecism) to know that "which passeth knowledge." And therefore the soul, when first learning it especially, will feel at a loss and perhaps pained, nor finds its repose till it knows in a certain sense as it is known ... .+

In two ways it thus dwells upon, and because of this seeks, Jesus. [First as] the unfathomable love of God, that is of love in Himself, he learns and knows that it is this too in itself, yet not as separate from the revelation in Jesus' body, therefore the apostle adds, "Herein is love," etc. Secondly, that it may be brought near to familiarise and make [known] yet diminishing nought of its fulness, it is brought into intelligence in the incarnation, and death especially, of the blessed Lord Jesus our Head. Therefore he says, To know "the breadth and length and depth and height ... that ye might be filled into (or 'unto,' that is, of what fills and its extent) all the fulness of God." So, hereby know we love "because he laid down his life for us." It is the stepping-stone of weakness and emptiness and necessity unto that fulness, and the resting-place of the soul, as to its natural powers, at this inexhaustible fulness of God. Yet this is indeed learning the heavenly, having God, the peculiar and distinctive privilege of those quickened by the Spirit, which alone gives capacity to know and fathom such a thought. But as a motive of conduct it is infinitely wholesome that we should feel pained at how little we reach the fulness of God (for it is in this He has acted towards us, and as Christ is the order of this towards us, so is He of it towards Him) by His Spirit, and ever seek for more full manifestations of the power of this in us, accompanied by simple apprehension.

[A very early copy -- first two pages only preserved.]


+[Copy defective.]

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-- - Plymouth, I assure you, has altered the face of Christianity to me, from finding brethren, and they acting together. There are, as you know, individuals here, but scattered as missionaries over the country.

Dublin, April 13th, 1832.


[J M Code, Westport] MY BELOVED BROTHER, -- I would not leave the country without a line in the Lord to you, though it has been delayed by things pressing upon me: indeed I felt I owed it for all the comfort and refreshment I got at Westport. It is a refreshment now to sit down and write a line simply as in the Lord, from settling controversy with heresy, and looking over papers for [the] Witness and the like, all which I suppose needful, but in which one's spirit no way flows free and blessed in Christ as when in the sphere, and so unhinderedness in principle, of one's own joys -- of Christ's joys (what a blessing to be made partakers of them -- may we -- and what holiness it requires!) of His sorrows, too. Oh, what holiness! for we must be partakers of the power of His resurrection in order, in the power of that holiness, to feel what sin is, and enter in love into the conflict with the power of evil, in spiritual conflict and endurance which Christ's Spirit has according to where He has been and where He is -- in us according to where He is, where we are, and also for sympathy and comfort where He was. It always or love in holiness, brings us into deep conflict, a holy conflict which can be carried on only in sympathy and intercourse with Him, whence indeed and where it flows: its result may be happiness, perhaps peace, and patience. Patience in the hall and before Judas was conflict in Gethsemane: it was gone through with the Father there. Only that as Christ could say, "The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me," so we, as far as we walk in the Spirit, will and ought to say, to Christ with whom we are one, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee have fallen on me. Then we must, like Him in some measure, take care to be faithful witnesses, "The spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you." Oh, if we could be much alone with Him, what fruit might we say would flow!

But I write to say, dear brother, rather how much I was refreshed and comforted in Westport, and I trust the Lord may continue and abound in His presence with you. It refreshed my spirit and quite set me up. I am afraid sometimes, from the difference I find in myself, [that] I find and do not bring the energy and the Spirit, and, instead of trying one's own work, rejoice in another and not in myself. (Galatians 6: 4) However at, any rate they shall reap the benefit. I do not mean that I might not have desired a great deal more spirituality, more devotedness, more power of separated fellowship for us all; but still God is gracious and patient. I did find great spiritual comfort and refreshment among you, and I thank God for you and them continually. May they abound more and more, and that which is lacking [be] supplied, and that which is worldly and hindering purged out -- the conscience affected by it -- and the power of the Spirit (the blessed Spirit of power and grace) shewn, and may He rule very detectingly among you, and in all uniting grace in love, that any that are lacking or in whom the world has power may grow up unto the Head in all things.

Do not faint, dear brother, for if we really labour we must be more or less in conflict, trial, and sorrow; for it is a work of faith, if a labour of love and patience of hope; because though blessed fruits be by the way, and we may see them ripening, it is the great in-gathering is the time of joy. And it is a distinct view and reference to that that gives our work a real deep holy character, such as His was, and will prove real in that day. You must labour in sorrow, for it is in the midst of evil, if you would reap in joy; and if we get our corn up into shocks, still it is unprotected out in the field, and we have the watchful care and anxiety till it is housed, though we may rejoice sometimes in a fine day while going on. I pray the Lord to be abundantly with you, and sustain your soul in patient abounding labour towards Him to whom we owe so much. My love to all the saints, and the whole church. I had an interesting journey from Athlone with two who discussed and entered into all things fully ... . Watching over the saints I feel a very primary thing. Ever, dear brother, with many prayers that you may be blessed and stedfast with all the saints.

Affectionately yours.

Plymouth, August 10th, 1837.


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[From the French.] VERY DEAR BRETHREN, -- So long a time has passed since I saw you, without my having addressed to you one word, that you may well believe I no longer was thinking of it; but it is not so at all. I have been, during many weeks since my return, hindered, whether from reading or writing, by the state of one of my eyes, but I use the strength God in His great goodness has given back to me, to address myself to you all. I hope that several brothers, to whom I was also thinking of writing separately, will forgive my silence. I should feel myself, however, dear brethren, wholly unworthy, I say it in all simplicity to address myself to you, as to a body assembled under the direction of the Lord, a church body, if our dear -- had not requested me to do it; but if this is to be the expression of the strength of my remembrance of the love with which you have received me, which you have always shewn me, and of how sweet it is to me to call to mind always that love, I do it with all my heart.

The remembrance of it is extremely precious to me, and that has been to me, dear brethren, of great blessing, and by the Spirit of God who acts in me, I feel often at my dear Geneva amongst you, while blessing God with all my heart for the testimony of His love, which He has given me in the love of you all, my dear brethren, and my heart expands in thinking of the ties which His goodness has established between you all and my feeble heart. You do not know how it has opened my heart, and how I found the grace of God in my visit to the brethren of Geneva; and I find my joy again in beginning to write this letter. A stranger previously, and for the most part unknown, I found a welcome which was the manifestation of the operation of the Holy Spirit, and one is always happy when one finds oneself in subjection at the work of God.

I will communicate to you news of us, dear brethren, persuaded that you will take interest in it. Our dear brother -- will have communicated to you something of this. Our meeting, where I was able to work in public almost for the first time since my return, has been I believe of great blessing There was a spirit of love and of confidence and of liberty; which always flows from this, which struck even our enemies who were present, and which acted powerfully upon those who there took part. There were a great number of brethren, instructed ones of all classes, a hundred and more from nearly all parts of England and from Ireland. We should have much wished to see some of our Swiss brethren, but God orders all these things. Besides this kindling of love, and the communications of their light among the brethren, and these communings (so sweet) of brotherly love making us anticipate the great congregation which will assemble itself around the Lamb, the direct action, actually manifested, of the meeting was rather upon those who were not of the Anglican establishment. Several deacons who had left their society as not being based upon the word, were much strengthened and confirmed; there was a Presbyterian minister and an Independent fully convinced that their position was false, and they have both acted since in accordance with their convictions. This will produce much more effect in these countries than if it were an Anglican who had left his parish, and will bring out more into light what we seek, and, whatever feebleness there may be, the gathering together of the church of the living God and not any sect, and that we are not opposed to such or such a sect, in particular; and this is what already has taken place, for the report of it has been spread in the two most populous parts of England, namely, London and Lancashire. However, that does not as yet come to much; God only knows what the result will be. It will be, at least, of Him, for we are very feeble, whether as to the number of brethren or as to the number of ministers. So much the better, in a sense. But there is a great movement, though much hidden, among dissenters: those whom I have met, dare not defend their system by the word, and I hear everywhere that they confess constantly in private that there is something bad in their state somewhere; that is indeed the state of all the systems here, stronger outwardly and more active than ever, but all on the quicksands, and trembling within. What I remark is, that they are more openly attached to the world, and act consequently more openly for their private interests, whether established or dissenting. It is God alone who can withdraw His own from the judgment which must come upon the world. I feel it more and more each day; with much external display, the Establishment becomes every day more popish, the dissenters more feeble.

As for ourselves, our meeting has been, by the grace of our God, in very great blessing. All have felt it, more than any previous meeting. Its character was a little different. We were more in public, and there were other circumstances. God continues, my brethren, to bless our little flocks. They have much increased in Ireland since my leaving, and are walking happily in love; it is only, however, a small thing: the enmity against them increases greatly every day. Their conduct, however, from that which I hear, produces effect, gathers strength in the consciences of those who surround them in several places. In England also there are several flocks recently formed, as that which -- visited at Hereford, whence I write; and a great increase in the numbers of brethren in the North (Cumberland), and I am invited this week to visit Edinburgh, where thirty-six are gathered together. As to our churches formed longer ago, several have also been increased since my going away, and there have been in several parts several conversions, insomuch that (although in great feebleness) we ought to thank God for what He is doing. Still, as in Ireland, the enmity both of Anglicans and dissenters increases also. It is what the children of God must always expect, "Ye know that the world hath hated me before it hated you," the Lord says.

You see, dear brethren, I have believed that you would take interest in all that concerns us, as I do in all that concerns you, as if I were amongst you, as I have been, with my heart fully occupied and blessed, so many times. May God, who is good, who alone can establish and strengthen us by His grace and His power, be constantly with you, and may His presence be powerfully felt, dear brethren, amongst you. Be united, closely united, united in that charity which is the bond of perfectness. No blessing without that; nothing will be lacking where love abounds. Perhaps we are not perfected in the order in which we are, as to ourselves here. I am persuaded that we are very far from perfection. The only thing which would give me fear for our brethren here would be to see a high idea of themselves, and satisfaction in their present state beginning to rise up among them; for when I compare this state with the Bible, I find such a distance, although we are, and we ought to be, deeply thankful for what God has given us and shewn. But if there are imperfections it is love and union which will prevent their bad effects, and which will give room to weigh circumstances and to find the remedies that the word of God can furnish to spiritual wisdom; at least that love is the bond of perfectness. I pray God with all my heart that you may be united in heart and in the practices of brotherly love which so much nourishes that love, and that your ties may be strengthened and drawn closer by the Spirit of God, bound fast together in the strength of our eternal union with Christ, and in the strength of the grace which flows like the precious oil poured on the head of Aaron, and which went down unto the skirts of his garments. If I may further, dear brethren, express the wishes of my heart for you, it is that you may be large-hearted towards all Christians, and rigid in discipline towards yourselves; a discipline, nevertheless, of love. We are priests, I believe, to separate that which is pure and impure it is true, but to discern, to purify, and to restore; to wash each other's feet -- not judges of what is not of God.

The desires of my heart are towards you, dear brethren, that you may be more and more as true saints, full of love, the means of satisfying the heart of Christ, and accomplishing the object for which He gave Himself, of gathering together the children of God who are scattered abroad. I salute with all my heart, dear brethren, your pastors and your deacons, by means of whom I have so many times communicated with you all, and all the church. How many beloved ones pass before my spirit in thinking at this moment of -- . Indeed, dear brethren, I have a deep sense of your love. If God preserve us in life, I have still, if it is His will, the hope of seeing you again, and finding again that same affection that I have met when with you. I salute also our dear sisters. May the God of all surpassing grace keep them near Him. I have confidence that -- , although she may think me her enemy, has not been seduced by that fatal delusion of Irvingism. There was a brother at M.'s whom I was sorry not to have seen. May God keep him, or bring him back from such an error, if he has already fallen into it.

I desire so much, dear brethren, to receive tidings of you, how all is going on at -- , how the little meetings in the town go on, if they still exist, if much work is being done among the unconverted, and if there are conversions and souls added to your number. Seek, dear brethren, personal holiness, devotedness, to have your hearts filled with the Holy Spirit, in order that your hearts may carry the savour of Christ, of whom that Spirit is the witness, and may all things enhance Christ to your souls. Oh what peace, what sweetness, what liberty there is when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. May He not be grieved. May God give you grace to seek that all your comings together may be the manifestation of the Holy Being who is in the midst of you, that other Comforter, that you may be the habitation of God by the Holy Spirit. I find that the flesh manifests itself in the impatience which seeks human means to reach some divine end, instead of trusting entirely to Him: may God keep you from this snare. I am persuaded, dear brethren, of the importance of your position. If you keep simplicity, spirituality, and if you do not attempt to go farther than the strength God has given you, the strength that God allows you -- if you keep yourselves from undertaking to be able, by human wisdom, for things in which God, on the contrary, will make the actual feebleness of His church to be felt, from making arrangements instead of following His word God will use you as witnesses, in the world, of the assembly of His own, of His church, in spite of all your feebleness; a testimony of all importance every day. For every event confirms me in the conviction, in the faith, that we are in the last times, and that this conviction is absolutely necessary, I do not say for salvation, but for the walk of the church, and in order that a faithful witness, sure, and according to the heart of God, may be rendered. The gospel may be preached, and God may bless it, as perhaps at the Oratoire or at Pré l'Évêque, but that is not the witness of the church of God to the state in which the world is, nor to its hopes in the midst of the disorder. If you are simple and faithful, full of love, united, and spiritual, separate from the world, waiting for His Son from heaven, you will be able to be it, and you will be it. I desire it with all my heart, for the glory of God everywhere, and in your country, which, since my visit, has been so dear to me. I desire it for you, my dear brethren; may God bless you and keep you. Again I greet you all with all my heart, praying God to keep you in humility. You will pardon me my letter, written in the midst of a work constantly increasing and the produce of a feeble heart. If you receive it as the witness of my faithful love to all of you, I shall be fully content.

I am, very dear brethren, your brother and servant affectionately in our Lord and Saviour glorious and human.

Hereford [not before 1837].


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BELOVED BROTHER, -- A little more leisure enables me to take up my pen to write to you, having long had your letter lying on my table for that purpose. I know not, but I have a little lingered in my energies or I should have been out of this before now; as it is, with what I have to do I shall hardly be in England before the winter is passed. The Lord however knows, but it seems to me -- and yet who knows what the morrow brings forth? -- that certain duties lie before me in -- . There is considerable blessing in certain portions of the work, but in all the older Christians a certain languor seems to pervade. I know not, alas! whether I ought not to class myself among the number. It is not that I have not laboured plenty; but labour, and labour of faith or love is quite a different thing. The Lord fill us with His own Spirit.

Your letter, beloved friend, left the hope in my heart that you might have gone about and visited many places, whatever your centre or Antioch might have been; since then much time has elapsed, and many circumstances. Lately I have received more than one letter speaking to me of the propagation of Plymouth views, one adding that you had yielded. Whatever the first effect, my soul was with the Lord about them, so as to enjoy perfect peace. I trust His love. I feel more distrust of myself, still I trust in Him that He will be with me in all my ways as to it. But the subject is one of sorrow to me. As to mere details of prophecy my mind is quite open, nor do I find that difference of view, when the view is kept open towards Christ, hinders the fullest sympathy in service. But I do feel the position of Plymouth in the testimony of the latter day is completely changed. It was the power of union and brotherly love, the Philadelphian spirit, which stood as a burning bush in the church; and this was a distinct and positive testimony; as poor dear -- said of you, Get into that slough of love at Plymouth and you are lost. Various portions of light and truth might be furnished by different brethren, and supposing difference or mistake, they dwelt together in unity and were glad to communicate to each other their thoughts even that they might be corrected; and progress was made in the truth. But this has, if not absolutely, all as one disappeared; a hard and rigid dogmatism of view has entirely replaced it: nor am I aware of any one place where the views adopted at Plymouth have been the means of gathering the saints, though they have been propagated in many gatherings, and this is not an unimportant feature to my mind and worthy of your study. I do not say that there is no love at Plymouth: there is in many a Wesleyan or dissenting church within. But Plymouth has ceased to represent this: it represents an opinion, and, alas! yet -- is not conscious of what an immense FALL this is, but rather glories in it. If a strange Christian or a brother from another place were to go there, the consequence would be, not that he would find the testimony of the power of love in union and the truth delighted in and sought out, but that he would be instantly subjected to a process of imbruing his mind with certain views. Alas! how sorrowful! and as I have said -- not to be aware of what a dreadful fall this is.

To me the testimony once rendered was the proof needed in the church of the presence of the Spirit: comparatively, a view of the details of prophecy was absolutely nothing, and the assiduity of their propagation a moral evil; but that I pass over. I have seen some of the statements, such as the manuscript letters once circulated, much of which were even contradictory, and some things to my mind absurd. Patiently proposed they would have been the subject of gracious consideration and separation of true and false. But this is not the style of the instruction. Of the future that this holds out I do not pretend to judge: whether the Lord means to sink the testimony into the general mass, and so annihilate it, and have views as the only result; or raise up a new one by the determinate action of His Spirit -- of this I know nothing, but I have the most perfect and entire confidence in His fidelity and love, so that I am entirely happy as to it looking simply to Him. I trust to be enabled by Him to walk abidingly near Him in respect of this, for I doubt not His fidelity.

If I know my own heart I am not anxious for an opinion: I feel assured that the doctrine of the church is lost in this teaching. This I think serious, but I am ready to hear everything; but the more I study the more I see (and it has greatly increased in clearness to me lately) this doctrine overlooked, or unknown, or obscured in their views. God's teaching is not to me doubtful on this.

I have not read all, but I am perfectly assured that the papers on the Revelation are based on an entirely false interpretation of Psalm 110: the basis is all false; but I desire to learn onward myself for the service of the precious church of God, and to move not a thought or a word in all patience but as He shews it to be for the service of the church of God -- His service, when it is His will, as well as if it is His will; for power is with Him and blessing as well as truth. The point important to me in truth is the loss of the doctrine of the church; in this I have no doubt that I am taught of God as far as I have gone, however much I may have yet to learn -- alas! how much! but my desire is unity in love. God knows how long this is to last, or if St. Paul's sighs are to be ours also. At any rate, His will be done: as yet something of it subsists -- at any rate in some parts where there is as much difference of opinion, but where brethren are more valued than an opinion. Peace be with you, beloved brother. My soul is in singular peace as to all this, though not without grave and serious thoughts; for we are in serious times. I trust my love is not diminished but increased, but I feel more and more the Lord's servant, and so of the brethren. He that is nearest to Christ will best serve Him, and there is no serving Him without it. The principle of anticlericalism is making way in and through all that is active for the truth, even where there is notable opposition to them that have been in testimony to it.

Love to all the brethren very tenderly in the Lord. May His abundant grace be shed upon and penetrate their hearts, and all holiness of conversation abound so that His Spirit may be free amongst them. Peace, peace be with them and His presence: my desire is brotherly love.

Very affectionately yours, beloved brother in the Lord.
[1844.]


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BELOVED BROTHER, -- I reply at once to your letter. I did receive your letter, which lay a good while on my table from constant occupation both of writing and ordinary service at Geneva, where I spent two months. I enter into and enjoy the first part of your present letter and profit by the connection of the passages with the seventh; as to the latter part, it is remarkable that the question you put had occupied me independently of these questions in a particular manner for a good while back and I had added a long note to a tract on Romans 11+ on other points which discussions here had given rise to, and I feel that I brought out the point very precisely. And it is precisely on this point, much more clear than heretofore in my mind, that I feel that Plymouth has lost, or for the most part never has attained, the idea which seems to me essential to the church -- that is, which essentially distinguishes it in its privileges. I knew that the system which prevails there placed the church on the same ground as Israel in the millennium, and it was one of the things which convinced me that the notion of the church was entirely wanting. Israel will have many things which we have, but had not all that which distinguishes the church -- those who have prohlpivkasi "pre-trusted in Christ," (Ephesians 1: 12.) Israel believes when they see, but "blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed."

But my answer to your question, Has the church any spiritual things which it has not received through Israel? is -- ALL that is properly essential to it as the church. The church can be looked at as coming in under the promises and grafted in on the spiritual things of Israel, but it is only the lowest form in which those who compose the church can be considered (nor is it then ever called the church that I am aware of) and only in respect of its administration down here; and in this point of view it will terminate and be cut off to make place for something else. But is that all the idea we are to have of the church, and are those who believe in Christ, when He is not seen, in no different position from those who believe in Him when He is seen? Is union with Christ when He is hid in God the same thing as belonging to Him when He is seen in the exercise of judgment in the earth? Though His life [be theirs] the knowledge of Christ is quite other, as well as the position of the faithful. Will they suffer with Christ; are they conformed to His death having the fellowship of His sufferings; are there no sympathies, no knowledge of Christ which is connected with this which cannot exist when He is reigning? Even the very term Son has a different force here; when God sets forth His Son as King in Zion, He calls on the kings of the earth to kiss Him, and gives as basis of the [decree] which places Him there that He is His Son; "this day have I begotten thee." Is this the way we know the Son? I admit the truth of what is stated at Plymouth. The evil is this, that all the higher part of truth is left out, and everything which expresses it reduced to this level. Does "To us a son is born, to us a king is given" satisfy the desires of your heart in your knowledge of Christ?

And now let me take up certain expressions which bring this out. You speak of union with Christ risen: well, it is clear that it is with Christ risen, and not with Christ alive after the flesh or in the grave, that I am united. But I do not believe the scripture ever speaks of union with Christ risen simply as our portion; at least it is not what is habitually set forward as the acme of the glory. We are set down in heavenly places in Him -- will the Jews be that in the millennium? Our life is hid with Him in God -- will He be hid in God in that day? The fact is that the highest privileges of the church are no matter, not merely of Israel's spiritual privileges, but of promises at all; because union with the Son of God one with the Father is no part of promise, but the basis of a mystery hidden from ages and generations, which gives a body to Christ independent of all question of Israel and Gentile, which knows the Son of God as its source above all distinction of Israel and Gentile. In the administration of the promises, I find Jew first and then Greek -- in the church, neither Jew nor Greek; in the administration of the promises, I find Gentiles grafted in who were a wild olive, and natural branches never grafted in at all: but all this relates to the administration of promises here below so that I find the seed of Abraham in the church, the Gentiles fellow-heirs and partakers of His promise in Christ. But I know not where union with the Son of God is promised, where to be loved by the Father as the Son is loved is promised, the result of which is to give us a place with Him in the kingdom -- the immense privilege of suffering with Him now, to see Him as He is, to be like Him.

If it be answered that this will be the result, after the millennium, for Israel during the millennium, I answer: first, there is no such revelation in the word; and secondly, it cannot be, because the Son will have given up the kingdom and be subject that God may be all in all; and further, the distinction of Jews and Gentiles is kept up in the millennium, so that there can be no body of Christ, nor the Spirit, or consciousness in their relationships of the body of Christ which depends on union with Him hidden in heaven in virtue of a life which in its power, thus revealed in heaven, knows neither Jew nor Gentile. I do not recognise that resurrection shuts out distinction between Jew and Gentile (though there be in it the power of a life which does, when its full result is revealed), for "the sure mercies of David" are founded on it -- but the church union with Christ hid in God does. If you examine the epistle of St. Peter writing to the Jews he never names the church; indeed St. Paul alone does. St. Peter sees Jesus to the cloud, and sees Him when He is [manifested] out of the cloud again -- St. Paul only in heaven and the church united to Him there, to Him who said, "Why persecutest thou me?" St. Paul Justifies in its administration by the prophets, a system whose principle and root was above all that they had said. Union with a Saviour hid in God formed no part of the revelation committed to them, nor of the promises made to Abraham though those who have this union are heirs of the promises because one with Him who is so. But union with a Saviour hid in God, the Son one with the Father Himself, so that we are one body with Him, of His flesh and of His bones, is of the essence of the church; and I cannot see that this forms a part of Israel's privileges in the millennium, for then there could not be Jews, and Gentiles their servants and dependants. They will enjoy the fruits of His resurrection, but they cannot be said to be risen with Him; they will enjoy the results of His having gone and received the kingdom from the Father but they will not be sitting in heavenly places in Him, for He is not there.

In a word, all that is distinctive to the church is lost in this system, for that which is distinctive to it is not the subject of promise; though the church is heir by her union with Christ of the promises which are in Him as the true seed of Abraham; for "to Abraham and his seed were the promises made." But is that all? Where is the promise which conveys to me, "In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you?" And even in administration, when all things are united in one head in Christ for the administration of the fulness of times it cannot be added for them "in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things, after the counsel of his own will." These words are the Spirit's contrast of the church -- "that we should be to the praise of his glory," etc. Many, many are the consequences which flow from this: to be ignorant of it may be loss, but to set it aside -- I will not say oppose it -- is more than loss. I can only give you the outline of the principle. It is a matter of faith and divine teaching which God gives according to His sovereign goodness; but if this be a part of the glory of Christ, the privilege of the church, and the glory of God in the church throughout all ages, it is a serious thing that Christ should, in the minds of saints, be shorn of it, and their condition, and consequently their affections, reduced to those of Israel in the latter day, and deprived of Christ as He is given to the church. That is where I see the evil, and I trust, carry it to God. I rejoice in all the joy and blessing of the saints, and I trust that a true apprehension of the relationship between Christ and the church will be manifested in holy and patient love, that others may profit by it if so it be. May the abounding of the Lord's peace and grace be with all the brethren. "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated ... without partiality and without hypocrisy; and the fruits of righteousness are sown in peace to them that make peace."

Ever very affectionately yours, beloved brother.

Lausanne, November 14th, 1844.


+["Collected Writings," vol. 1, page 472, new ed.]

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MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I hardly know how to give you any answer without going into a long detail of evil that I shrink from when needless, otherwise than by stating to you what I stated to the meeting when I left. I do not know whether you are aware that Mr. Harris, though he did not leave communion, declines further ministry, and proposes leaving Plymouth. I stated that practically I felt God was displaced -- that was the general ground. I then stated three things: subverting the principles of our meeting; evil and unrighteousness unconfessed and unjudged; and the refusal to re-establish a certain Friday meeting where anything occurred was considered, so that the means of remedy were cut off -- this had been sought previously, and the proposal entirely slighted. I expressed my love to all and value for many, that I believed the great body quite innocent in it, but that there was one Table and one bread, and that they were therefore responsible, and as I felt so myself I could not identify myself any longer with the evil I knew. I did not go into any details then; since, I did, on the demand of a large body, but stated only what had led to my leaving though, alas, much more was known to me. The great body have felt Harris's leaving very much; he was the only one (brother) who visited the poor.

The evil was both in the assembly and in individuals, and in individuals leading and taking a prominent part -- I judge positive actual evil, and it seems to me of a very sad tendency. I have great peace since I left, only doubting very much whether I should not have done better to have left before, when I first thought and spoke of it. It may have made my way clearer, but only by the most sad means of much more individual evil, and grievous evil in the public assembly. At any rate, patience has been had. I think they are comfortable at the results, but I see no softening of heart or repentance in those who have been leading it on -- indeed much evil in many. Such is all the sad tale I have to tell you; to enter into all the details would only make you miserable and me, too, and I am not aware that it would do any one any good; publishing evil of others is seldom glorifying God. Kindest love to all.

Ever very affectionately yours.

Plymouth, November 10th, 1845.


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Dearest Alex Ord, -- It is to know where the marks are not, not where they are, which is difficult. Compare Acts 2 and 4 and see; though I admit that did not last long. The great yet simple secret is the presence of the Holy Ghost in the body being lost as to power (for He is there), disowned. The ruin then shews itself in various ways, leaning on human wisdom; leaning on clerical importance to give decency and credit to the world; so that it can join the church without suffering or the cross; leaning on particulars, "I am of Paul," etc., for schisms in the early church were not separations. I suspect the first separation to have been a godly, though an ill-formed thing, that of Novatus; corruption drove him to it, but he had enough of corrupt principles, or habits rather, in his mind, to go wrong in the formal ground of separation; the incapacity to discern the working of the enemy; the having ceased to expect the Lord; not merely divisions but the scattering of the sheep, so that they are not in any division at all, but in the world (Satan's place) alone. Scattering I think much stronger than division: "he catcheth the sheep and scattereth them." Nay worse, the building up of immense worldly systems with perhaps some sheep in them, hidden, and starved often too, and calling these immense systems the church; setting up Satan in it as in popery, or selling what they pretend to be the bride of Christ, and where many of Christ's sheep are, to kings and princes for money; yea seeking them, as Jeremiah reproaches Judah, instead of their seeking it. Is not this ruin? Say a few of us have escaped and fled out. Why so? Because it was all ruin. The denial of the Spirit would be found in the denial of gifts, or in gifts denying the body, no matter which, for the Holy Ghost is in both. But ruin is found in this that the church, such as God formed and fashioned it, does not exist at all save as He sanctions two or three meeting in the name of Jesus. When this is done, if it be in the spirit of the unity of the whole body (woe to them if it is not) the Lord will be there. I am not uneasy about a hundred meetings; they broke bread from house to house. If it were separating in heart from brethren, or a fleshly spirit of self-will or self-importance, or excluded any saints really walking as such, then of course it would be evil; and a spiritual person would find it out the first day; but, if in unity and love, twenty meetings in a town are all one to me. I like small gatherings provided they are really in the unity of the Spirit. The brethren may come to need them yet. Great power, I believe, would bring them; little power needs them. It is clear self-importance or chagrin may set them up without God; but that which has brought in the ruin I believe to be moral. "All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's"; "All men forsook me." "All they which are in Asia are turned away from me" -- not from Christ absolutely, but they would not go the whole path of faith with the apostle; they feared the cross, the rough and unseemly road the Spirit of God led them. The world had come in in the shape of ease and respectability; it is the first form which the devil puts on, for it is order and comeliness for the flesh; but it is the world and Satan, hence power is wanting for the purpose of resisting the other forms, heresy (in opinion) and clericalism; and the vessel of power becomes obnoxious because his standard troubles the conscience, instead of his spiritual power acting on the heart as well (for when the former is reached in a Christian, and not the latter, he kicks against it) and the church goes its own way into the hands of Satan in a worldly clerical road. Wise was God indeed to choose not many mighty, not many noble, not many rich; they find it hard to submit their comforts and comeliness to God's. A rich body of Christians will become practically poor and simple, or practically worldly. Such is my thought said in haste.

The ruin I see how none can deny; our feelings in it are a further question because they depend on our sympathies with Christ, and that is spiritual power. Every one would not [have] wept over Jerusalem even though not going with its guilt. I judge that dwelling on divisions marks a very feeble estimate of the state of ruin the church is in, but if it be not a name for acquiescence in evil, which is an abomination, I hail every apprehension of the truth. Whatever the door of approach, once in the truth by divine teaching, it will be perceived on every side as men grow in the conscience of what the church is. For where is the bride of Christ, His beautiful flock which He gave us? But, I judge, divisions are rather falsely apprehended, for what are called such in scripture were not separations, but divisions in spirit, etc., among those united; separation there was none but of abandoners of Christianity. I remember the text alarming me on quitting the Establishment, "They went out from us because they were not of us," till I said, To be sure, because I was not of them; that is just the truth, and I would not be.

St. Hippolyte, April 14th, 1847.


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Edward Foley, I do not judge temperance societies to be good or scriptural, because they impose another law, and give other motives and other obligations, than scripture or the doctrines of Christ give, and though in particular instances where followed with an unfeigned desire for good, God may have in sovereign mercy overruled them for good (as I dare say may have been the case), yet their general moral effect has been harmful, as all unscriptural things must be. But this is not the ground I go on here, though it is a monstrous thing to substitute an unscriptural invention of man for the institution of God, in a matter which, as to institutions, forms the central expression of the christian system. Further, I think all vows or undertakings of this kind to be positive sin: and am I really to give up the scriptural remembrance of Christ to support a system whose basis I believe to be really (though unwittingly) a sin?

But what is the character of the act? It is not respecting the scruples of others, and leaving them free to act on them, even if seeking to enlighten them, but it is claiming to impose a law instituted by man on the whole church of God, a law which they cannot pretend to see in scripture. This is not respecting individual conscience, nor could I tolerate that the institution of Christ should be subordinated or made to vary for the fancies of men. It is not a question of a certain number at -- , who may perhaps have no very clear idea of the importance of the question. You are changing the institution of Christ for the whole church of God, if indeed in principle you count yourselves one body with it, and imposing unscriptural inventions on the whole body of Christ. Supposing other Christians to come to -- who have clear enough judgment to condemn morally the whole notion and principle of temperance societies, and who felt scandalized at the institutions of Christ being subjected to the inventions and vows of men, what are they to do? I avow to you I would not break bread where I saw Christ's order (in a most touching part of His service too) made the sport of man's inventions. It is the very idea of the dishonour done to the Lord's institution which offends me: the acquiescence of twenty or thirty saints in -- , dear as they may be to me, could not affect that.

To me, therefore, I avow to you, it is intolerable: I mean the pretension to subject the whole church of God (for, let it be well weighed, that is what it amounts to) to a notion which is not or cannot be pretended to be a rule of scripture, and which I judge to be sinful in its very nature, and to subject the institution of Christ to it. I judge Christians ought not to break bread where it is knowingly done.

April 21st, 1848.


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[J Lakeman?] BELOVED BRETHREN, -- I have no intention of commenting on the proceedings in the case of poor Mr. Morris, as I never had any part in it, and believe that the enemy and not the Spirit of God was working in the whole matter; but as some one has sent me "A Letter addressed," etc. (I do not know who), I felt desirous to make a remark to you, beloved brethren, whose names are appended to it, as to all who concur, though there be but one to whom I am known after the flesh, and present to you a very important principle which seems to me involved in the statement you have made -- or, at least, leaves it in a dangerous uncertainty: that union in "faith in the blood of Christ, the Son of the living God," is to become a kind of allowance of error in those who may claim fellowship on that ground. This principle, I judge, it is of all importance to repudiate. Whatever means may be used, I am bound to see that no man fail of the grace of God, and that there be no root of bitterness, whether it be manifested in doctrine that alienates from God, or in any carnal workings. I should fail in charity towards humble, simple souls did I not. Heresy is a work of the flesh, as other grosser things, and surely has to be checked: words may eat, as doth a canker. Errors are often found to affect fundamental truth which many a simple saint may not perceive to do so.

There is another thing I apprehend sorrowful in your paper; you appear at least to excuse the doctrine, and you lay as a basis of this, that the only sense in which it would be said to affect the doctrine of the cross is asserting that there is another way of obtaining pardon of sin besides the death of the Lord Jesus. Do you think, then, that Satan will always declare his object? This is surely most dangerous ground to take. Supposing it was said that the Divinity of Christ was not necessary seeing suffering was not eternal -- an argument, I apprehend, difficult to answer -- or for whatever other reason; would that not affect the doctrine of the cross? An inefficient atonement is as bad as another. I use the word suffering instead of punishment, because it seems to me that the word punishment is used a little equivocally; and that to call eternal punishment where the punished person no longer exists is something very like evasion.

What pains me is that you seek to justify the doctrine or excuse it, and not merely to blame the conduct of certain parties as to Mr. Morris. Degrees in punishment do not do away to my mind with what we mean by infinite punishment, no more than degrees of glory with infinite bliss. You give out a deliberate opinion and commit the whole of the meeting to it, not that M. was ill-treated, but that his doctrine does not affect directly, or undermine, the value of the cross or of the Person, work, or blood-shedding of our blessed Lord and Saviour. He who communicates with you must do so on the footing of accepting this theological statement -- at least, that he is bound also to accept all such, and hold full communion anywhere and everywhere with Mr. M., and any others who receive and publicly propagate this doctrine. This is a very serious position you have taken. It effectually identifies you with M. and his doctrine. For if it does not directly nor indirectly affect that, and you pronounce him guiltless in holding it, you oblige communion with those holding it and teaching it. It is not, you say, connected with faith in Him: an astonishing statement, as I know of no truth that is not. If any person is convinced that your theology is wrong, and that the wonted doctrine of Christians is to be maintained, and resistance distinctly to be made to the view in question, or that seeking followers for it is heresy, you exclude them completely from your communion: because that serious error and truth are to be on the same terms in communion is a principle insupportable in the church of God. You affirm it is not important, hence nothing ought to be done. You will find it hard to convince the great body of Christians of it. And indifference to error makes truth no truth at all.

I say nothing of the excommunication, as you well know I could have nothing to say to it; and I see in your tract the expression of that of which I have been long conscious -- the result of what all know I have considered a work of Satan elsewhere. But I look to the goodness of God, dear brethren, to set it all right: His power is above all the workings of the enemy. I have never been at in my life, and it is very possible never may, but as your letter was sent to me, I should have failed in faithfulness and in love, too, if I had not communicated with those who have signed it, and with all the brethren adhering to it. It is not a blame of the excommunication, but a theological judgment on the doctrine as a ground of the reception of persons teaching it. You have committed the meeting to the doctrine being harmless and blameless. I only want to press this fact, beloved brethren, on your consciences before God, and that you may consider the position in which it places yourselves and others. Though I address my letter necessarily to one, I shall feel thankful if it were communicated to all. I have nothing to add but unfeigned affection in Christ to all.

Taunton, May, 1848.


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[J H Eccles] DEAREST BROTHER, -- Thank you much for your note. The prospect of the death of your dear mother gave me a peculiar feeling of rest and peace in the Lord. I felt it well, as it were that one who had gone through many storms and trials, and known and served Him through them, should be at rest with Him; and that rest and His love seemed exceeding sweet to me. It Is not that I do not feel what an object and link and centre of affection has been lost to you all, and your dear mother was so eminently calculated to be so; but the world is made for that, and whatever new ties and new affections come in they never after all, though occupying while the mind is busy, destroy in the secret of the soul the consciousness that some are lost for man, as water spilt upon the ground that cannot be gathered up again here. There is one tie that never breaks and that your dear mother has now sweeter and more intimate enjoyment of than heretofore and, freed from all hindrance what her heart desired. It is all well, and far better. I had thought of running down, but on pondering it before the Lord I have relinquished it. My place is rather in service, fulfilling as a hireling my day until I am called away too. Could I have been useful to your dear mother living; or if she had not been surrounded with love and honour from her own and the saints now she is gone, I would have gone twice as far; but that I know she will be in far better hands than mine, and that the dear saints at Hereford will surround her grave with all that could soothe those who are in sorrow around it. Give my kindest love, I beg you, to all your family ... . Peace be with you all, and much of His blessed presence in committing the body of your dear and valued mother to the care of Him who will produce it in glory and beauty in that day. I had thought she might yet have been a blessing among the dear saints at -- , but the Lord had a shorter and therefore happier path to rest for her, and it is all well, for we are not at the end yet ... .

Ever, beloved brother,

Affectionately yours in unfeigned sympathy, and I pray you to say so to all, for indeed there were few I valued as I did her who is gone.

[Exeter, June 20th, 1848.]


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[From the French.] [J R Rossier] DEAREST BROTHER, -- It appears to me that what is said in Romans 8: 13 is, like a great many of the dicta of St. Paul, the expression of an abstract principle which belongs even to the nature of things, or rather of God Himself and His principles of government, comprehending certain great truths connected with them, as, for example, here, "through the Spirit." Any man whosoever who lives according to the flesh, shall die; this is the end of a life according to the flesh. He reaps what he has sown: one may listen to the flesh, and that for long enough; and the remorse and anguish and distress, and, in the end, the getting out of this condition, shew that there was a principle which was struggling with the flesh, and to which God, at last, gives the victory. Still we may be in doubt for a time under what principle such a case ranges itself, but God knows those that are His. In Romans 2: 6-10 there is a similar abstract principle, of which the apostle makes use in connection with the introduction of the Gentiles. Also it is not a question of the Spirit in chapter 8; he had already said enough to introduce the power by which this life acted, and the principles or the rule by which it was guided. In this point of view the passages seem to me very simple, only, as it has happened in so many cases, in the application there are to our undiscerning eyes some very equivocal cases -- but this is a matter of discernment which, besides, does not concern us often, and does not touch the interpretation of the passage ... .

Probably at V -- one needs to be steeped in love; love covers a multitude of sins, which are necessarily the subject of reproof if they are not covered. For that matter there is no remedy but an increase of love, for if they are not covered, they ought then to be judged; and the spiritual feebleness which leaves them uncovered, shews plainly the incapacity to act aright with regard to them when they appear. We have to seek power from on high for such a condition of things, and Jesus is faithful, perfectly faithful to intervene, and to answer the necessities of His people. The little public discipline is harrowing, and it is most hurtful to piety. But what is to be done if full grace does not sustain holiness? My comfort is that the Lord is watching over these dear friends at -- dear to Him, thank God, and through His great grace, very dear to me. I hope that His goodness will cause them to avoid the snares that there are in the separation of the brethren into several meetings, and that it may grant to the brothers to watch as to this by an increase of mutual love and openness at other times, and in seeking each other out.

Greet them most affectionately from me. I desire earnestly to see all our dear brethren in Switzerland. I do not know when God will grant me this sweet privilege.

Your very affectionate.

[Plymouth, July 27th, 1848.]


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Dearest A Ord, -- As regards Isaiah 66, there cannot be a doubt that the Lord's words refer to Hinnom, where they burnt the filth of Jerusalem; Isaiah 66 refers to the same; Gehenna is the valley of Hinnom. I take the passage as simply as possible, that the apostate Jews judged at the coming of the Lord will be then a memorial of their folly and the Lord's judgment to those who come up; their carcases also I take simply as such (it is used, it seems, of man or beast), left there an instructive spectacle of divine judgment terrible to behold. But this is just what shews that it has nothing to do with souls, nor resurrection for judgment.

But the use of Gehenna in the New Testament, beyond all controversy, goes beyond this. In Mark 9: 42-48, it is evident it is no question of the judgment of Jerusalem at the last day. But Luke 12 puts it out of all question, where the Lord says, "Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell;" and, Matthew 10: 28, "Able to destroy both soul and body in hell." These passages shew that though the Lord uses the figure of the valley of the son of Hinnom, He uses it figuratively in reference to what is not of this earth; and hence "worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" must be used in a like way.

The quotation of Isaiah 66 is absolutely futile, and proves nothing at all about the matter, save as a figure; and the figure is, that the judgment should not disappear, as in ordinary cases. I know they would use the word "destroy," but that is not the question here, but the value of Isaiah 66. I have discussed it elsewhere; it is false to suppose it means to cause to cease to exist. I do not remember the three passages in which aijwnivwn is used for the past, but I think there is pro; crovnwn aijwnivwn used in reference to all the dispensed ways of God. The promise of eternal life was in eternity, before the question of dispensational dealings, for in Christ was life, and we receive of His fulness; but the word crovno" here gives the clearest force (it is 2 Timothy 1: 9) to aijwvnio" as aijw'na tou' kovsmou touvtou . There is no doubt that aijwvn is used in this way, the end of this aijwvn, etc.; that is not the question: is it not used in an eternal sense? Now several passages prove it is; as eternal God, eternal Spirit, eternal covenant, eternal life, along with which is eternal punishment. As to Romans 2: 6-10, there is no doubt that eternal life is presented as the portion of those who are characterised by the conduct there described, leaving aside, that is, Jew and Gentile, and fixing the portion given of God on realities, realities of moral state, be they found in Jew or Gentile. I do not see any difficulty here; he shews plainly enough how this can be found in a man, that is, solely through Christ, but it is found in those that are really His.

As to Romans 5, it is not exact to say that all sinned in Adam; though, as a general expression, I should apprehend a person. All fell in him who descend naturally from him, and are under sin, katestavqhsan aJmartwloi;, which it is important to maintain; but in dealing with conscience we have always ejfj w| "for that all have sinned." Death does not merely follow as a corruption of nature -- that is a terrible mistake; death came on Adam and all his descendants at once by sin, as a judgment of God -- a very different thing. Moreover, Satan has the power of death; that is not mere corruption of nature, as the Lord fully felt, who had no corruption of nature. "Sinned" is ambiguous, because it conveys the idea of personal responsibility in will; all were involved in sin, in Adam's sin. If you have further difficulty in this, let me know, for it is important to be clear ... .

I have no doubt the Lord is sifting, most rightfully, and I am disposed to think God in grace has stepped in and turned the tide, and that blessing may flow -- I speak of England. But the sifting was needed; corruption and laziness, Laodiceanism, was creeping in, and fearfully; it was quite polite to be a brother. Peace be with you. Kindest love to the brethren around you. The Lord be with them and all His beloved ones.

Your affectionate brother in the Lord.

Nimes, December 12th, 1849


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[T K Rossier] [From the French.] DEAREST BROTHER, -- I apply myself to the critical questions in order. I see no proof whatsoever that either Elijah or Moses is one of the two witnesses; I see that the two witnesses are in the same moral position as these two saints, but no proof that they are identical. Besides, if John the Baptist was not Elijah, he never can be literally. That the same person should be "angel of his presence," and afterwards be man, is indeed possible; but one who is not a certain individual can never become so literally. "In the spirit and power of Elias," well and good, but we are speaking of personal identity.

I believe that the 144,000 of Revelation 7 are the twelve tribes as a whole; the mystical number of the elect of Israel in its totality; the 144,000 of chapter 14, the special remnant which will have suffered intelligently in the times of trouble at Jerusalem, and which, having been in the same position as Jesus on the earth (according to the thought of grace) will be with Him in the earthly royalty, although they will not be in heaven. They understand and learn the song, being more associated with heaven than any other. They form a part necessarily of the whole; this is the reason I said not absolutely.

Again, as to Hebrews 10: 12, you are mistaken in supposing that there is transposition, for there is none; on the contrary, I say, that to connect eij" to; dihneke;" with prosenevgka" is neither order nor sense, and that a person who in some measure seized the habits of expression could not connect them. Mivan ... prosenevgka" qusivan eij" to;dihneke;" is not, I take it upon myself to say, without pretending to be very learned, which I by no means am, a Greek expression, nor is it even intelligible; whilst eij" to; dihneke;" ejkavqisen as the effect of this sacrifice is perfectly natural, and follows, and connects itself with the train of reasoning; and that no other way of taking the words is admissible. Besides, eij" to; dihneke;" is not the same thing as eij" to;n aijw'na; it is used in contrast to the business of the Jewish priest, who got up, and remained standing, being a priest, and in order to renew the sacrifice, whilst Christ is seated continuously. This force of the word becomes so much the more manifest because the use of the word with sacrifices has quite a different sense in this chapter even, and to attach to it the sense that you suppose in connection with the sacrifices would overturn the whole reasoning of the apostle. In the sense that I attach to it, all is simple (and it is its true sense). Look at verse 1. You have there sacrifices offered continuously eij" to; dihneke;". Give to the word in this passage the sense that you desire to give it in verse 12, and the apostle cuts the ground from under his feet before beginning his reasoning. The priests offered them continually -- nothing more simple. Efavpax is the word to express what you desire to attribute to eij" to; dihneke;". I take eij" to; dihneke;" (verse 14) in the same sense; there is no interruption in their perfection which demands a fresh sacrifice. (Apply this to the question of forgiveness.) This implies perpetuity, because if the sacrifice is not renewed, its efficacy is perpetual; but the conclusion that the apostle draws from it is oujk e[ti prosfora; peri; aJmartiva". There are many of these things about which I have deliberate convictions, and of which I am more or less ready to give an account, but on which I do not insist when I do not see that the profit of souls is involved in it; and about which in any case I do not like to enter into a contest, because this very seldom tends to profit. Here, for example, I do not admit that the original bears any other translation than that of the English version ... .

As to myself, you should never consider it a reproach to have thought differently from me. In general, I like better reading what is not according to my own thought, because one always gains (if there is piety, and the foundations are solid) something by reading it. Divine truth is of such vast extent, and is so many-sided, taking up the nature of God, His dispensations, His ways with men, their responsibility, the positive revelations of His counsels, the moral and eternal relations which flow from what He is, and from what other beings are; that on all points the truth may be looked at in many ways, and one fills up the gap left by the others. I see this even in the apostles. John speaks of the nature of God; Paul of His counsels; Peter of His ways. All have the same truths; only as one goes on everything becomes increasingly absorbed in Christ, and if even there were mistakes in what the man writes, one eliminates them through grace, and one takes what is given of God, which is not according to one's own way of looking at things. So that it does not trouble me to find in your work ideas different from my own. Besides, if the foundations are well maintained, I like that there should be great breadth amongst brethren, and not a party formed upon certain views, provided also that devotedness and separation from the world, and the truths that lead us to this, be also maintained in all their energy, because the blessing of souls is in question in this.

I think, indeed, dear brother, that, as you say, you have studied too much, and read the Bible too little. I always find that I have to be on my guard on this point. It is the teaching of God and not the labour of man that makes us enter into the thoughts and the purpose of God in the Bible. We search it without doubt, but the cream is not found through much labour of the mind of man. I do not think that any one will believe that I do not wish that it should be much read, but I do wish that it should be read with God. It seems to me that there is too much labour in your way of reading it; but in this, as in all else, man learns himself, and purifies himself. I doubt whether the literal application which you sometimes make is warrantable, and whether the ways and the scope and the purposes of God bend and limit themselves to human accuracy, to what man divines as to accuracy. I am perfectly sure that all is divinely accurate, but the subject being vast, and seen only in part, to reduce it to human accuracy is, at times, simply to falsify everything. I see two ends of an immense rainbow, I suppose that they never meet. Were I able to see the whole, I should only deem that my parallel line has only destroyed the bow; that not only are the beauty and the unity lost, but that which was in the nature even of the refraction which is necessary to the existence of the phenomenon. The word of God is the communication of divine things to the understanding (rendered capable by the Spirit) of man; but we know in part, and the whole not being communicated as God knows it, as indeed it could not be, and ought not to be, we often lose it by attempting to put it into a frame.

After this long, but as to its principle, important preface, I come to the wise and foolish virgins. I think that the virgins who accompany the queen (Psalm 45) are probably the cities of Judah; but the use of the same figure to signify the same thing (a thing common enough among students of prophecy) often betrays the one who uses them thus into serious mistakes; and there is still less ground for this when the nature and the moral order of the writing is entirely different. That the virgins in Matthew 25 should be the cities of Judah, is a thought that never crossed my mind till I saw it in your letter, and it seems to me that the passage would not allow of it for an instant. I have never had any other thought than that which interprets them as Christians, from the rejection of Christ till the rapture of the church. Bellett, for a moment, wished to make it the Jewish remnant. I did not deny the analogies, but he gave it up himself. I am fully and perfectly assured that it is disciples during the Lord's absence, not the church as a body, but those who take the place of professors in the responsibility that attaches to it. Up to the end of verse 30 in chapter 24, we see what concerns the Jews and Israel as a body complete and entire: all His elect are gathered from this whole people. He resumes (chapter 25: 31) to shew the judgment of the Gentiles; between the two the Lord gives the instructions needed for His own during His absence. This is why the bride is not named. I admit that chapter 24: 32 to 44 looks at the judgments in relation to the earth, and does not speak of the rapture of the church; but from verse 45 the Lord considers the conduct of His people as to their responsibility during the whole time of His absence. In the parable of the talents it is so unquestionably; in this 24: 45-51) that of servants. The thing is clear in principle. Now, when responsibility is in question for any one, it is always a question of the manifestation of Jesus. This is what takes place here. The conduct taken account of is during His absence. When Jesus appears the effect of this conduct will appear; thus the tovte is but the time of the application of the manifestation of Jesus to the conduct which preceded it. Now the conduct here is the conduct of professors, I do not at all doubt. All the elements of the parable confirm for me the application that I make of it. I do not see in the case of the Jewish remnant or of the cities of Judah, anything resembling the going forth of the virgins to meet the Bridegroom, the sleep during the delay of His coming, the awakening afterwards which causes them to rejoin the Bridegroom before He reaches the bride -- such as takes place in the case of the virgins. Nothing is more simple than the application of it to professors. Going out to meet Jesus is the calling of the faithful; alas! they have fallen asleep. The cry of the Bridegroom awakes them, because they accompany Him when He comes to Jerusalem. In the parable they have nothing to do with the bride. The heavenly bride is never the relation of the members of the church in their responsibility; the bride enjoys without fail her privileges in heaven. The Bridegroom does not enter, as you make Him do, into His earthly kingdom before the marriage at Jerusalem: it is there that He is king. There is no question of the Son of man in the parable; the passage where the expression is found (verse 13) is rejected by all the editors.

As to your remaining explanations, I consider them without foundation, because when Christ will be at Jerusalem, Antichrist will be destroyed. It seems to me that you seek for details too much, instead of seizing the bearing of the passages. You say, dear brother, "that it is certain that the word of the Lord tells me that when the Lord shall descend with the church, then the kingdom shall be likened unto the virgins." Allow me to tell you that the word of the Lord does not say so at all. You think, I do not doubt, that you can prove that this is what the passage means, but the word of the Lord does not say it. I admit that the church is not presented here as the heavenly bride, but the virgins are not presented as friends of the earthly bride, or in any relation with her whatsoever, but exclusively of the Bridegroom, which is the place of the church alone, that is, of its members, for we are not speaking here of angels.

As to the result of your researches, I do not see any harm in your having given it forth, but it is possible that you would have done better if you had kept your work for some time in order to weigh it in the presence of fresh light; but God makes all things work together to the greatest blessing of those who love Him. It is my habit scarcely to put one foot before the other in the study of the word, and to give forth nothing until I am able, in measure, to say (while still liable to make mistakes, of course), This is the mind of God. This makes me go on very slowly, but I seldom have to retrace my steps -- a few details that I have adopted from others, without observing it, affecting sometimes, but rarely, the thoughts that I have received. And now I am about to make a confession to you which may perhaps annoy you; I have not read your work on the Revelation, except a part on the seven churches. I had more than one reason; amongst others, I do not like reading in fragments anything on which I have to form a judgment; I take the whole. I am waiting until the whole has come out, and I shall gain this by it, that the controversy will be over, and that I can with greater calmness make my own of what is good, and pass over the rest in silence. This is what I do when I have time to read works, which is seldom the case. We need to know how to use the word by the Spirit; without this the letter killeth; it is only a labour of which the mind of man is capable, nothing but a concordance is needed for it ... . I own that I think that you rest in the letter in such a way as often to lose the purpose of God ... . I do not doubt that I shall find useful things, and others that I can profit by in many ways, although I do not accept the conclusion to which they lead you. I often find brethren who have received ideas from the Spirit of God, and I profit by these; the conclusion which they draw from them, what they like as the system which they have formed from them, I totally reject; this is by no means an unusual case. A good many brothers seek edification, and are not able to suck the honey and leave the flower, however beautiful it may be, without further occupying themselves with it; sounding, comparing, judging between rival systems is not their part. This is the reason I have thought that perhaps it would have been better to devote Le Témoignage to what would not have required this kind of labour -- but no matter. In short, when all has appeared, I hope to read it and examine ... . A want of agreement about details is not for me a reason for controversy; it must be something essential.

As to repentance, God proposed it as a matter of government and of His ways with man, as a means of obtaining pardon; and if Israel had repented in this sense they would have been pardoned. In the end they will have received double for all their sins. In fact, God forgave His people individually, always in view of the work of Christ. (Romans 3: 25, 26.) We must never forget this; otherwise the foundations are shaken, and the meaning of all the sacrifices from Adam on. If man had received Christ, this would have proved that he was good, and there would have been no need of the sacrifices; but it was far from being so, as the rejection of Christ has proved.

As to the other point, it is impossible that our sins should be imputed to us; "once purged" we "have no more conscience of sins." God, as judge, sees the blood which has taken them away, and His unchangeable righteousness has now been manifested. It is here that we find the force of eij" to; dihneke;" . Besides, when once sprinkled with the blood of Christ this sprinkling is not repeated, its efficacy lasts for ever; but with the Father I seek forgiveness as from a Father whom I have offended. I am humbled before Jesus because I have dishonoured Him, but I have no thought that anything can be imputed to me which demands the sprinkling of blood. The ashes of the red heifer, and the washing of the feet are the figures to apply here; the sprinkling of blood has been made, and it is not repeated. In the sense of imputation and sprinkling, forgiveness is not now sought; in the sense of having offended one's Father, it is. The confession of one's faults with humiliation is all right, if grace is fully maintained before the heart.

I beg you earnestly, dear brother, to be diligent about your temporal business. You know well that I am very far from wishing to see you leave your work, but what our hand finds to do we are to do it with our might. Limit your expenses at once, if they exceed your income, and arrange your business as a good steward of the Lord. Disorder in one's business is dishonouring to the gospel, as being careful to increase our wealth like the world dries up (one can do no more) the soul. The word has told us that it is the way and the root of every sort of evil. But the principles are simple; to live simply in order to be able to give of what one has, and to be faithful in one's own things, making use of them as having been entrusted to us to have in order to use them according to the Lord. The Book of Proverbs teaches us clearly in detail about these things.

There is a practical difference between oneself and one's sins. The renewed soul is much more pained at the discovery of the root which shoots up after the knowledge of the love of Jesus, than at the remembrance of past sins, the forgiveness of which it much more easily understands. Besides, you put the judgment of self before the judgment of sins, whereas sins committed generally act first on the conscience; after that comes the experience of what the flesh is, and this is so true that often in the early days of conversion one thinks that there is no more sin in one. That of which I have spoken as coming afterwards is not exactly the knowledge of sin in oneself when judging it, but the fact of being in the presence of God -- what we are in the presence of the light. To judge the flesh, myself, is a different thing from being in the presence of God in judgment, being such. What you quote from your letter to -- is perfectly right. When he says that the knowledge of self is the business of the whole life, I think this a very sad idea. God makes us known to ourselves simply as a means; the object of life is to know Christ. Fathers in Christ have known Him who is from the beginning; and one does not even know oneself except by knowing Him. To be occupied only with evil (and there is nothing but evil in oneself) is a sad life, and it is not the thought of God. His desire is that for our happiness we should be occupied with Him. It is a thought as false as it is sad, and it means nothing but ignorance of the grace of our God. The truth is just the opposite of this, that I ought to be occupied only with Christ, and that this is the grace of God to me. Sometimes, when I have neglected to do this (so much the worse) to bring me back again He is forced to occupy me with myself; but I cannot say that the knowledge of myself is the first element of faith -- the knowledge in general that we are sinners, and even that there is no good in us -- be it so, but we know ourselves badly, very badly, and God causes us to pass through a spiritual eighth of Deuteronomy in order to understand our dependence on Him and His grace, a very difficult lesson for the heart of man to learn.

I must stop; I am called elsewhere. Greet warmly our dear brethren, and after all my severe criticisms receive, dearest brother, the assurance of my sincere affection.

Your brother in Jesus.

Pau, March 25th, 1850.


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[W K] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I am at last come to England, and with the hope, the Lord willing, of working there a while exceedingly happy in the thought that it is with the Lord's will.

My declaration at Rawstorne Street was, in general purport that, without condemning or justifying any one, not having been here, nor even knowing what had been done, I began on my own definite ground of Christ, and the unity of the church of God; that I felt the need of being on the ground of, and occupied with Christ, and seeking the blessing of His church -- not as undecided, but because the question was for me decided, and that, being on the Lord's ground, as I did not doubt I was, and a service to perform to Him, I could deal with each case individually as it arose, as His servant. I believe it relieved and set free many who were arrived there in need and desire, and this furnished the positive expression to their minds. I am very immovable on this ground, the Lord's strength helping me. I accepted the entire humiliation; and told them that I thought we should only have a blessing in proportion as we did. I believed I had failed but not in being decided but in being so too little, or rather too late; so that I bowed but that I believed the Lord now permitted me to resume my course -- I believe with more blessing than ever, though different (less agreeable, perhaps, but more real and deeper). I feel very strongly indeed on the ground I am on, and that it is the Lord's, of and with Him, however poor an instrument I may be when there.

I have not entered into the discussions on Craik's doctrines. I dread dissecting, if I may venture so to speak, Christ, it is not the way to honour Him. Very few will speak so as not to commit themselves; "No man knoweth the Son but the Father." We may know many precious things of Him which enable us to condemn error, but nice definitions of what He was, and how He was it, human language and human thoughts are not competent to, I judge. I do condemn many things I have heard said, but I have not examined into the details of the teaching objected to, having been out of the country. Most of the papers I have never read, nor have I an intention, unless for the need of some soul; that is the ground I go upon, each individual soul to whom my service applies, and I wait till the Lord brings things before me. I have seen and heard what I doubt not is very bad, and fear it is much worse. I have also looked at Bellett's paper. I see expressions liable to objection, but I have no doubt of his soundness of soul and doctrine as to Christ. I apprehend I judge what he says; but it says, I think, nothing; revelations of what Christ is, or of such, I accept -- definitions, scarcely, for what is it that defines?

I had a letter from -- which I answered. I do not think his conscience is adequately awake to the evil at Bethesda; but I have never thought that souls have been sufficiently individually dealt with. When one is on unquestioned ground with Christ Himself, one is able then to do so. That is the ground I take, and with God's help I shall not get off it. I act broadly as being right; we shall see whether God sanctions and justifies it. I hope to act in grace, being right.

I know nothing of how anybody has been dealt with anywhere; I am willingly ignorant of abroad: it is undesirable to meddle in the details of what you cannot be answerable for in principle, and are unable to set on any footing in which your conscience can act. I refer to your question as to Plymouth. I repeat, I begin and afresh on the broad ground of my service to Christ. If alone, I act alone; if with others, so much the happier for me. I apprehend things are opening out in a renewed and somewhat altered character of service in England -- altered as to form and machinery of work, I mean, but this is only beginning, but so it seems to me: what our need is is spiritual energy and love to work. But God is, I believe, working to produce a new movement in work. Here they seem to me in a very gracious spirit, humble, and accepting the humiliation as of the Lord, and hence surely for good; and the meetings I have been at have been happy, serious, and godly, free too with a very godly freedom. I have been very happy at them. There is less dispersion than I supposed; I should think it had all done them a deal of good: indeed, the gracious Lord makes all things work together for good.

I close. I am working hard, having much study work, but happily; occupied somewhat with books in connection with attacks on scripture; it has at any rate enhanced it to my eyes. What a difference when you have found the universal mind of God in the word! In vain people reason -- if kept by grace -- there they are, blowing with their breath at a mountain to upset it; it remains just where it was, and the character of presumption looks like madness if it was not malice, and the total ignorance of what they are, and what the mountain is -- the only thing proved; but the believer gets truth out of it, and the eternal power of the word is more clearly recognised. Peace be with you, dear brother ... .

Many doors were open in France, and blessing; only I felt my duty here, I should have been unwilling to leave; but I am at peace because I did. The Lord grant you to walk in love and grace towards others, serving Him for the time is short ... .

Your affectionate brother.

London, July 25th, 1851.


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[To the same.] Dearest W K, -- I do not hold that the church is to be ignorant of the times because her period is not determined by them; There are many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time." Surely if Pharisees ought to have discerned [Matthew 16: 3], we ought. She ought by the word morally to discern all things, but she is doctrinally by the word set outside these times and signs. The Revelation is given to the church that she may understand her place; that does not necessarily place her in it. She is not of time, though in it; not of the world, though in it. As to the second remark as to the author of the Apocalypse being the same as of the Gospel, etc., it is merely ignorance, which would lead me to judge the author incapable of any sound judgment at all about the matter. The relation of the Father to His children never appears in the Revelation. It is the throne, and the language and style and spirit so unique as to prove totally the contrary to what you refer to. -- would have been wiser if he had heard both sides, but in his position he is not likely to be free from the deceit of the enemy ... . I do not meddle with other people's judgment as to Bethesda, because I have my own, and as I believe this is a deceit of the enemy; unless delivered from it I do not expect a sound judgment. The word abiding in us, and the unction of the Holy One can alone deliver us from the world, and Antichrist in his various forms. The world and its spirit are not discerned else, so that I expect delusion.

I have not seen the last edition of Horœ Apocalypticœ. I read the third, I think, a year or two ago. As to four parts of the earth, there seems no ground for it at all. The Vulgate follows the corrected order of the words adopted by all the editors. As to the "measure of wheat," others have had the same thought before him; still one man's daily food for his whole wages is at least a scarcity, for as the commentaries say he may have a wife and children, and at any rate must have a house and clothes; however it would prove scarcity, and exact measurement rather than famine: moreover, I pronounce nothing upon it.

As to Hebrews 12: 22-24, kaiv divides the terms. You are come to Mount Zion; to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; to an innumerable company of angels, the general assembly; to the church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven; to God the Judge of all; the spirits of just men made perfect; Jesus, Mediator of the new covenant; and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel. It ascends from the lowest point of millennial glory uniting heaven and earth, the earthly seat of royal grace in contrast with Sinai the nation's responsibility (Zion was after Ichabod), and then gives the heavenly Jerusalem in contrast with earthly Zion as in general the city of heavenly glory. He then opens out the whole panhvguri" the great multitude of angels just there meeting his eye; then as a special company he singles out the elect heavenly church: this gives the full display of grace in its heavenly character. Then he rises up to God, but in the character of righteousness which, whatever the life-giving grace needed, was His character in connection with the Jews or Israel, "God, the judge of all;" hence he next sees "the spirits of just men [an Old Testament designation, as Zacharias and Elizabeth in Luke] made perfect," (perhaps from the use of that word for the winning combatants not yet crowned) that is, the saints of the Old Testament; then, to the means of establishing the new covenant with Israel, "Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant," and the blood which cried for grace for the earth, for sinners and for Israel. The whole order of things in connection with millennial blessing is introduced, giving withal the present condition of souls, and the efficacy of what was accomplished to bring it in, leaving it, as continually in the Hebrews, open to heavenly or earthly accomplishment, though addressing those concerned in the heavenly.

I have no great light and no great difficulty as to the glorious place. I believe there will be a visible glory which will have in a certain sense a place for man to see it; it is the glorious state of the saints, not the saints simply. But then we must not leave out what is the very object and value of a symbol moral characterisation. In Hebrews it is a place, but that place is the church's glory hereafter, which, for instance, Abraham may enjoy, though not it. In Hebrews it is always an objective thing, for the epistle never rises to it as a condition ... .

Affectionately yours in Christ.

August 28th, 1851.

I think the seven angels are the mystical representatives of the churches in connection with the authority to be exercised on Christ's part in them, in whosoever hands that may be found.


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[To the same.] My Dear W K, -- Not having any proper answer further on your mere summary of Mr. Brock's, I put your letter to be answered as soon as I could, having already replied to the particular arguments you had asked me about. I am occupied with Newman, so that answering error and grasping systems of it, I had pretty near enough of for the moment, but I have made some progress in it. I have not the least doubt that Dr. Lees denies any real sacrificial atonement. The patristic Platonic form of denying the divinity of Christ is ancient now, and accompanied with the denial of atonement and everlasting punishment. Thus in Bristol, a man teaches that in Christ God was manifest in the flesh, not He was God, etc. They hold that the Logos or wisdom, not word of God, dwelt abundantly in Christ, so that what God was was manifested in Him, that He was Lord and is now glorified. They hold forgiveness by love, not by expiation. There are various shades, from a subtle Platonism, such as Justin Martyr's, almost allied to orthodoxy, down to Newman's, who went on to the denial that Jesus was the Christ and of all revelation. He passed through this phase, if phase it can be called, where really all is denied. The Logos is not held to be a person: God's wisdom in God was manifested in Jesus. Hence he speaks of God's being the spirit and source of all wisdom and love. One is manifested in Christ, that is, the lovgo" (reason or wisdom) was, and the love or mercy announced in the mission of the Messiah, and therefore in the forgiveness of sins. This excludes evidently expiation, and denies that Jesus was God in any personal sense.

As to begotten, not made, it is ambiguous: he may believe Christ to be Son as born into this world, or he may hold the Platonic notion, modified by Christian doctrines as Justin Martyr (if my memory does not deceive me, though elsewhere orthodox), that is, that the lovgo" was eternal in God as His wisdom or mind, but was begotten and produced into a distinct existence before and for the creation. His creed does not say which, and I cannot determine; but the real existence of the lovgo", as a very Person, uJpovstasi", who could be with God from all eternity, I am confident he does not hold. He believes in one God the Father and one Lord Jesus, using this to exclude Jesus from being Himself God (though man also), and making Him only the wisdom of God manifested in this man, begotten perhaps in a remarkable manner by the Holy Ghost. As to the Holy Ghost, I cannot tell what he holds. I suppose some vague idea of an emanation. Newman calls it, though an avowed infidel, God in the heart.

It is a speculative Platonic system, using Christianity to enlarge its system and incorporate its ideas; but there is no faith at all in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, none really whatever, nor in expiation. This kind of thing is emerging now a good deal ... .

Affectionately yours, much pressed for time.

December 13th, 1851.


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MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I doubt the John the Baptist half week, the cycle system is interesting, at least that part which relates to the time of judgment not counting, but it seems to me the reasoning is entirely in a circle. This does not make me reject it, because if the moral proofs are adequate they are the strongest for a child of God; on that I am not prepared to pronounce. But it is externally proved by what it has to prove. I am printing, or ought to be, on Daniel (I left it in France) a critique on Gaussen -- short, but destroying in toto all his alleged foundation. I do not feel a very great inclination to nourish myself with all the errors propagated on the subject of prophecy, nor to occupy general readers with them. To say that 1 Corinthians 15: 28 explained in the ordinary way makes the first coming an exaltation of Christ and the second a humiliation, is nonsense. God humbled Himself in becoming man, but man was exalted to reign. The passages quoted as to paradidw' ("delivers up") prove nothing at all; they all relate to teaching. Who in English would reason that b cause I delivered a lecture, it was evident that when I deliver a prisoner I keep him still! If a kingdom be delivered up by man to God, that God may be all in all, it is that the human holding of it should cease -- its mediatorial character paradivdwmi signifies giving up to another. I admit the emphasis on the word God, because man has held the kingdom, but it is precisely what shews the force of the passage. He must reign till -- and then He will give up the kingdom. Nothing can be more simple. It is not Christ who makes all things new, but God. Christ reigns, subdues all things, work that God the Father has entrusted to Him, all in this creation. Then comes all things new of the new creation, where justice does not reign but dwell.

Citing 2 Samuel 7: 13 is confounding His reign as Son of David with the universal glory spoken of in the New Testament which is a totally different thing. Daniel 2: 44 is the worldly kingdom also; 7: 14 also -- peoples, nations, tongues, languages. Luke 1: 33 is the kingdom over Jacob, the throne of David. 2 Timothy 4: 1 proves nothing at all save that His appearing is the time of His kingdom. 2 Peter 3 proves the instability of created things against those who based their hopes on their stability, and laughed at the coming of the Lord. None of these passages, nor any in the Old Testament, touch the universal headship of Christ spoken of in the New Testament, the eighth Psalm alone giving in its general language the connecting link. In another sense, Christ does reign for ever and ever, and so do the saints; but it is not the human kingdom in contrast with God's being all in all. "We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty," is the language of Revelation 11 -- the worldly kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, that is, it is the power of God as contrasted with man, begun in His taking in hand judgment and rule in the world; and that power could never cease. The kingdom thus viewed is God's in contrast with man's evil, and that is for ever. In 1 Corinthians 15, which is as clear as possible, it is Christ as man having held it for purposes of subjection, who gives up this special kingdom which puts down other authority, to God that the power may be God's exclusively. As partaking of the divine glory we reign for ever and ever (Revelation 22), but it is not in war or in judgment given to man.

I will examine the subject of eternal priesthood according to Aaron, which though not finding entrance into my mind, I have not, perhaps, thoroughly examined.

My mind had gone on to fresh inquiry on the sufferings of Christ in applying the sufferings of Gethsemane more exclusively to the effort of Satan as the power of darkness, though using the cup Jesus had to drink, in the view of oppressing Him; and that this was closed before He left it, and thus Satan's power of death properly closed. On the cross it was the wrath of God, and out of that also Jesus emerged before giving up His Spirit to His Father. This, connected with what death is, and what life was, had occupied and interested me a good deal. All that relates to Him is blessed.

Affectionately yours.
[1851.]


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[J A Von Poseck][From the French.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- For a long time I have intended writing to you, but have been constantly occupied (thank God), happily, in His work, but in such a manner as to leave me hardly a moment free. This immense city absorbs one's time in a way of which those who have not lived here can form no idea.

I have received your translations of the Epistles to the Romans and Hebrews, which now constrains me to write to you to acknowledge receipt of the same, and testify to you my Christian affection, and all the interest I feel in your labour, dear brother. I had hoped to come as far as to you, but God has fixed me here for the present. Nevertheless, I still hope to see you and comfort myself at this delay with the hope of being able to acquaint myself a little more with German, for the study of which I endeavour to find a few moments.

In every case it is where God would have us to be, that we find His precious blessing. Without Him we can do nothing. When He works in His grace, how happy one is to be the instrument of His power and goodness! The exercises of our hearts even, in the difficulties of the work, lead us to Him and everything that does this is in blessing for us. Besides one acquires that kind of knowledge of self, which strips us of self. Alas! why are we not dead to ourselves in the practical sense, in order that we may be nothing but pure instruments of His wisdom and grace! Still it is good for us to feel our nothingness and entire dependence upon Him. There is always much to learn in this respect. But if we keep near Him -- and it is there alone we feel what we are -- He is faithful not to permit us to be tempted beyond our strength, so that we always can walk in safety in dependence upon Him. One is conscious of it. When we are weak, then we are strong. No doubt, later we shall see, how much of self, alas! there has been mixed up with our labour. At the same time we shall see that God has not permitted this weakness to lead us to a fall, nor to do harm in His church, provided we have not pretended to do more than He has given us to do. But it is of all importance that our inner life should be kept up to the height of our outward activity; else we are near some spiritual fault. Elijah was able to cause the four hundred prophets of Baal to be killed, and Jehovah to be recognised by the whole people. A few days after he flees through fright at the threats of Jezebel, and tells Jehovah that all was in vain notwithstanding his zeal; though God had still 7000 who had not bowed their knees before Baal. This happened to a man who went up to heaven without dying. What a lesson for such as we! May God in His infinite goodness keep us near Him.

My brother has kept me somewhat au courant as to your labour, and my soul is much interested in it. May God keep you very near to Himself, dear brother. This is the best prayer I can offer to our faithful God for you. Everything depends upon that -- humility and everything else. One is never really humble but there, and at the same time one has the precious sense and consciousness that He is with us, and what strength this does give us! At the same time it keeps us from going astray, our natural character is kept in check, our will is kept down, and we enjoy the light without trusting in self. May God Himself keep us there. It is sweet to feel, dear brother, that without seeing each other, love binds us closely together because of our common life in Christ, and for His own sake by the Spirit. May God bless and keep you, dear brother.

Greet affectionately all our dear brethren, though I do not know them. It matters not. We are one in Jesus. But my brother has mentioned to me some of their names. May God help them and lead them by His Spirit in all their ways. Peace be unto you. If I have to make any remarks as to your translations, I will write to you when I have examined them.

Your very affectionate.

I shall be very glad to hear from you. I still have some hope of seeing you in the summer. But all depends upon the will of our God. May the Lord Himself come! This would fulfil our highest desires.

London, [1851].


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Dearest A Ord, -- I have very happy news in general from the south of France, but nothing since the Revolution save that they were quiet. I should feel cordially disposed to join in any humiliation with brethren, and feel it very desirable. I think Wigram dreaded a little the appearance of a distinct formal body. If this meant not owning all saints as one, I should indeed object to it as ruinous and sectarian; but that brethren so called, as such, should publicly (as far as that is used in a christian sense) take the place of humiliation, I should feel most desirable; I wait only the Lord's time for its accomplishment. I quite take this ground myself before God, and before all those who walk wrong, other Christians and all. I trust God is working, in His grace, very fruitfully in the hearts of His saints: may He keep us humble, and near Him, so that we may not yet more need humiliation.

I apprehend as to the passages, that Hebrews 6, they were called to learn, that is, go on from what had been learnt in a puerile way of truth and Christ, and go on to what the Holy Ghost had brought out of the powers of the world to come If they had left this latter, it was no good to go back to lay the old foundation again: if they had it, they ought to go on to something else, so that it was no good his speaking of the old part. All short of the Holy Ghost's revelation of a glorious Christ would connect itself with the beginning of Christ, I apprehend. Paul was bringing Hebrews out, just before the destruction of Jerusalem, of what linked them with what was ready to vanish away -- outside the camp -- into that which he had founded as the church in connection with Christ glorified: only this, for this reason, somewhat transitional, the church is not itself developed, only the power of the new thing.

Covenant is an obligation to another which does not enter into the idea of being my own body, or my own child; but then those who form this body, or are these children, are subjects of what in substance was a covenant, though I do not know that it is called so, for the word covenant is rather what God has condescended to assure man's heart by; but when Christ says, "Lo, I come to do thy will," He undertakes something and the Father having given Him power over all flesh to give eternal life to those whom He has given to Him, He accomplishes all, so as to present them according to the thoughts of the Father's love perfect to Him. All this ordering of wondrous divine counsels, Christ having undertaken all needed, and obtained by redemption, and given, as the Father has sent, the Holy Ghost to accomplish the rest in us, being, so to speak, undertaken by parties, if one may reverently so speak, has been called a covenant; and I apprehend the apostle speaks so alludingly when he says, "through the blood of the everlasting covenant." But in general, save as an allusion, covenant is an inferior idea to this taking up their own place in this glorious counsel of God by the Persons in the Trinity. I doubt that scripture would speak of their covenanting among themselves, as if they had had to bind or assure one another. It is called for us an everlasting covenant, but this, though it embraces all this really, is rather the idea of God assuring man by its being an immutable, unchanging thing, secured to man by Christ's blood: not the Persons binding themselves among themselves. However, this is a matter of words, and those who use the expression; though they lower the notions of divine things. It is well to be true to these, because one is here to God's glory, and no stumbling-block is put in the way of others; but those who use these ways of speaking are so in purpose of heart, and substantively; so that one may be at ease with them.

I should not answer very dogmatically as to Genesis 4: 7. Those who take the sense of sin-offering argue on that on account of which you argue against it, the word being applied to the lying down of an animal, the victim is there before you at your door. "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? -- and unto thee shall be his (Abel's) desire, and thou shalt rule over him." Then there is the parenthesis, "If thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door." Now I do not doubt that this speaks of the culpability of Cain; the only question is, if it does not present this culpability, as God has presented it to us, that is in Christ as the sin-offering. Other translations take the whole thing in another sense; I apprehend that the primary sense is, sin is there before you; you meet it in going forth; it lies at your door. He could not escape finding it attached to him: only God has laid it before us in the sin-offering in Christ. I do not doubt the English is right, and in general the other translations wrong. I believe these were all the passages you asked me about, so I close, dear --

Affectionately yours.

[January 14th, 1852.]


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[M. Rossier] [From the French.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- I have examined a little the passage in 2 Thessalonians 2. I do not think one could translate ejk mevsou gevnhtai 'rises out of the midst.' Givnomai means to be or to become; thus ejk tivno", a man who exists from another order than himself; but a man who comes out of the midst is, as to the sense, taken away from the midst. The only fault in this translation is that it expresses the thought that there is someone who takes away, which is not said. There is a passage quoted in our dictionaries -- perhaps it is in Pape -- of Plutarch's, which has these words. The lexicographer quotes it as proof of the ordinary sense attributed to these words. He is no longer present. The English translation gives "he who letteth will let." There is no need however of the addition. "Only there is now he that withholdeth until he be taken out of the way:" this is, I doubt not, the true translation, movnon oJ katevcwn a[rti ew", etc.

God be praised that the brethren are walking in peace. I am at a good meeting of prayer and humiliation, which I believe will produce much good. God certainly helps us at this moment He makes us go back over the effects of former negligence, but He brings us out of it. Conversions also are not wanting, and souls are added at least in London, and in other places. I believe the sense of His goodness spreads in hearts and encourages the brethren ... The Lord reveals Himself more and more -- this is what is clear, and places His children on a simple ground -- only they must break with the world to walk there. But souls are exercised.

Exeter, March 20th, 1852.


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[M. Rossier] [To the same.] [From the French.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- Now for your reasoning on 2 Thessalonians 2: 7. I see we have the same thought as to the truth, so that I am not very anxious on the subject of the Greek. I suppose that you think that from the midst of the mystery the wicked one will arise, who will embody iniquity, so to speak, in his person -- the Antichrist who will be destroyed. I believe it; only if I have rightly understood you think that the beast will exist no longer. But it seems to me that whether it be Daniel or the Apocalypse, they require that the beast shall be there until the judgment that will destroy it. The question remains, whether Antichrist is the beast embodied in its last head, as France in Napoleon (the 1st emperor); or if he is the false prophet who accompanies him.

Now as to the translation; the usage of the language is the way to understand it. Now ejk mevsou is an expression which hardly leaves room for discussion with regard to a particular interpretation. A thing is ejk mevsw when it is placed before every one, as a prize for which they strive; for example, in a word when a thing is there before (the object, or able to be the object of) the thoughts and pre-occupation of those who are there. Thus the adulterous woman, when all her accusers were gone away, was ejk mevsw still there. On the other hand, ejk mevsou gevnesqai, or ejinai is an ordinary well-known phrase for being no longer there. It is not a question of being in the midst or from the midst of something; but in such a way as to be the object of the feelings and thoughts of the spectators. Take Pape if you have it: he will certainly give you proofs of it. I furnish you three from Wetstein, as you may not have access to it. nu'n ejk tou' mevsou hJmi'n ejsesqev . (Herod. VIII. 22.) mikro;n hJ teqnhvka hJ panta; ejk mevsou, I have Anton. VIII. 12. e[gnw xh'n kaqj eJauto;n ejk mevsou genovmeno" . (Plut. Timol., page 238, 3.)

I believe that the aim of the apostle is not to designate him who hinders, but that there will be something that hinders, and that consequently the wicked one will not be revealed until that shall be gone -- movnon oJ katevcwn a[rti ew", etc. The wicked one would have been revealed before his time by the movement of the principles and will of man, if there had not been something which arrested, bridled. The exterior form may vary, I believe it has varied. God now restrains it until the moment known to Him arrives. Then it is ejk mevsou, and the wicked one is manifested.

Be assured, beloved brother, of the sincere affection of your brother in Jesus.


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[J A Von Poseck (M. Rossier?)] [To the same.] [From the French.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- I hope that all occasion for uneasiness as to the representations made to the government may by this time have disappeared. In every case we have only to present them to Him who directs everything, and holds His high hand even over the counsels of the princes and principal men of the earth. It is a comfort to know that He makes all things work together for the very best for those who love Him.

As to the brother who has left you rather than give up the editorship of his paper, you must not be astonished about it. Alas! these things occur but too often. They have happened to the Lord Himself before they happen to us. But this serves to keep the church and the heart in lowliness, a thing very important for us. We have need to remember that the world and the church -- at least, if the latter be faithful -- do not accord, and we shall cleave to the one and despise the other, or we shall hate the one and love the other. It is sad if it is Jesus that is forsaken, or even His words. One may forsake the faithful without absolutely forsaking Jesus. I do not believe that all those of whom Paul complains had forsaken Jesus. But they lacked the courage necessary for walking with Paul.

We must pray for that brother, and for all those whom the world still retains as captives in its chains of vanity. As to the contempt which this tends to bring upon us, this is just our true place. It was there that the Lord our Leader was to be found. He was the despised and rejected of men. It is good to be in His place; it is to be in His school. It is easy to leave the world It is when the world leaves us that the heart is put to the test As for the reproach which you may bear, my heart desires to bear it with you all, dear brother ... .

Thanks be to God, the work here, on the whole, goes on in peace, and with some blessing. There is nothing striking, but God gives us new souls, and the brethren enjoy the sweetness of mutual affection. In London it is not like in smaller towns and villages. In an immense town of two and a half millions of inhabitants, we scarcely see one another, and brotherly relations are more difficult to maintain; but here also God is sufficient, and certainly works in the midst of brethren, not in London only, but elsewhere.

I rejoice much, dear brother, at the doors which He opens for you. The work is our common work in the Lord. In the South of France He has manifested His good hand, and the work proceeds with blessing. We have had some of our brethren in prison, but this has rather turned to a testimony. Take heed to testings and exercises of heart whilst pursuing the work. Our dear Master has had them. If only we look steadily at Him, all this ripens us for His presence, and He recognises it as a service rendered to Him. We are more than conquerors through Him who has loved us. Greet the brethren affectionately (though I do not know them personally); they are all my beloved ones in the name of the Lord.

Your most affectionate brother.

London March 31st, 1852.


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[J A Von Poseck (M. Rossier?)] [To the same.] [From the French.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- I have not been able since my last letter to continue the examination of your translations with the care required to do it properly, but I have only put it off just for the present I was obliged to answer an attack directed against the views of the brethren in a pamphlet printed at Geneva, and to occupy myself with other writing, which was pressing and had accumulated because of the local work and the general work for this country ... .

As to the Baptist sect, I see, beloved brother, that God has guided you in your views and actions. This question has caused agitation (by means of some one who has laboured at it) in a department in France where the work of brethren has been blessed. But by being firm, and leaving to every one full liberty of conscience, it has passed away, and God has granted full peace to the brethren, and the storm has passed by without doing harm. I do not wonder at people being in doubt in the state of confusion in which the church is, so that I have no difficulty in respecting the consciences of brethren who believe that they ought to be baptised. If their conscience tells them that they have not been baptised, they do well to get baptised, if they do it peaceably. I say peaceably, because it is no longer the confession of Christianity, but an act which seeks to repair a fault of negligence. But if one makes it a sect, it is a very great evil: baptism becomes the centre of union instead of Christ.

Baptism in order to receive the Holy Ghost is a miserable falsehood, for they receive Him no more than others do, but, on the contrary, are deceived by the enemy. I have seen this in South Germany and England and elsewhere. It is nothing but a miserable fallacy; facts are there to prove it If people say they have received Him by this means the proofs are there to shew what it is worth. Now the Holy Spirit has never been received by the baptism of water. Samaria and Cornelius prove this. Finally the 120 had received Him without having been baptised. I do not deny that in general people were baptised before receiving Him, and that this was the rule because baptism was the public confession of Christianity. I am perfectly certain that the reasonings of the Baptists are false in principle and denaturalise Christianity. But If a brother felt [thus] in his conscience, I would leave him the most; perfect liberty in this respect. Let him be fully persuaded in his heart. By so acting, avoiding a sectarian spirit, leaving the conscience entirely free, and seeking unity in Christ, and asking of God the peace whereto we are called, you will be kept, I hope, and will get without loss over a trying moment. I will write to you more at length, beloved brother, what I think on the baptism of infants, but I care much more for the peace of the church than for any opinion about that. I have never tried to persuade anybody I believe that every one must act according to his own conscience.

I believe that the children of believers are relatively holy and that this passage (1 Corinthians 7: 14) has precisely that bearing but I respect the ordinance, and those who think they have not been partakers of it do well to be baptised. I deny entirely that this is a matter of obedience, and those who treat it so upset, without being aware of it, Christianity in its very first principles.

God be with you, dear brother, and with all our beloved brethren, and help you to get over this, to you, trying moment and keep you from a bad sectarian spirit and from false and proud pretensions, which I consider to be something very different from respect for scruples of conscience. The doctrine of the remission of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by baptism comes, I doubt not, from the enemy.

As to the conscience, I would leave it perfectly free on that point.

When they say that one cannot preach the gospel, that is nothing but nonsense, because God has blessed the gospel preached by all kinds of persons who hold the foundations of Christ without troubling themselves about the pretensions of -- , and others of the same kind.

I write in haste.

Your most affectionate brother

London, April 28th, 1852.


[Page 278]

[W Trotter] BELOVED BROTHER, -- I stated at large in the meeting at Bristol that I did not see anything wrong in the circular. I asked one who was there If he had known any principle of great evil working anywhere, would he have done wrong to warn brethren of it. The last phrase in the circular was the effect simply of the feeling that I ought to be open as to my own path and feeling with brethren, that if they did not wish this of course I need not repeat it. But I withdrew the letter as being alleged to be a stumbling-block in others' way, just on the grounds you have done. It had another effect in my case: as I had left (as I may say) every one when I left Ebrington Street, my circular, the meetings being clear of Newtonism, became a recognition on my part of the old meetings in a measure, and implied connection with them. The withdrawal of it placed me again personally out of all connection (formally) with any; but I said I trusted I should be only the closer knit to those who really walked with God in the best faithfulness they could. Bethesda would stand on its own merits without 'What have you written, and what have you said?' So that I feel my position clearer and more solid as to it.

Affectionately yours, dear brother.

July 26th, 1852.


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[J A Von Poseck] [From the French.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- ... We are happy, that we have nothing to do here on earth but to serve our precious Saviour. When I think of His granting us such grace, and that we already possess the life of which we shall live eternally with Him, my joy, however quiet in feeling my own littleness, is boundless at the grace that manifests itself towards me, and at the sight of the love of Jesus. Soon shall we see Him. May He deign meanwhile to keep us near to Himself, and may we walk in simplicity with largeness of heart and faithful conduct, until we see Him as He is, and be for ever with Him.

I now leave you for a moment, dear brother. Strengthen yourself in the Lord, and may His peace so sustain you, that you may be able to walk in peace. In spite of everything, Christ watches over us and over His church. This is our comfort and safeguard, whatever may betide.

Peace be with you.

Your very affectionate brother.

Paris, August 17th, 1852.


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[J A Von Poseck] [To the same.] [From the French.]

DEAR BROTHER, -- I was very happy to receive your letter and those of our brethren. The account B -- gives us of your position at -- and in its neighbourhood has greatly interested the brethren at our conference. They were just discussing the question of how it could be managed to have more frequent intercommunion between the labouring brethren, and also to knit more closely the links of brotherhood among the labourers, whilst leaving each one to full individual liberty and to the guidance of the Spirit of God in his work. At the beginning this was less difficult. The field was smaller, and they saw one another oftener, the whole of the work was more easily surveyed, and all was done more in fellowship. Now that the field has greatly widened and increased on more sides than one, sometimes a labourer and a flock find themselves rather isolated, seeing nobody else for a year or two. The brethren who travel in the work are, up to a certain point, a medium of fellowship; yet there is room for improvement in this respect. Your letters came just in time to make us feel how much these communications interested hearts in the labours and services of a brother. In the main this was what took place everywhere more or less, and it was felt one self-same work of the Holy Spirit which unites us in the ways of the love of our God. I hope to see you at the end of the summer ... .

Your very affectionate.
1853.


Dearest W Kelly, -- I trust you will have found blessing at the meeting; I have no doubt the Lord's hand was most abundantly in it. Of course it can be only so far as our hearts really humble themselves, each one for his own evil, before God, that we shall find real and permanent blessing. At the meeting at Bristol, I declared that I had withdrawn my original circular as to Bethesda. This took a stumbling-block out of the way of others, and left the ground entirely on its own merits, putting me entirely out of the question. I was questioned on it and cross-questioned: I only resumed all my liberty, that is, position of duty to Christ for my future path; so that Bethesda stands on its own merits, and the discussion on it and its relationship with brethren I am totally free from, as that is the only act I ever had to say to. This I felt its effect, I withdrew it as taking away a difficulty from others, only taking care I should be bound to nothing as to my course by it. It was asked; I have acceded. I did not see any great sense (feeling, I did) in asking the withdrawal of it; but if it met that feeling I was content, provided I was free to do what was right unconditionally in whatever I have to do, that is, that it was understood I preserved this liberty intact.

Now as to the millennium, Mr. Browne's reasonings are null, because at the beginning, the Fathers did expect the Lord as a present thing; during the 1260 years they thought very little about it, and at the end it did not hinder the present expectation.

As regards the word "hour" (John 5: 25, 28), I know of no one who has spoken of an unbroken resurrection hour. Wra has nothing to do with the continuity of other facts which may occur in it, but of the unity of the epoch, so as to make one time or season of it. Thus it is used for a year because it is one epoch; yet spring, summer, and winter, seed-time and harvest, very opposite and not continuous facts, are found within it. The hour is not the hour of resurrection, but resurrection takes place in it. This indeed is evident upon the face of the passage. If the hour derive its character from the resurrection, the whole argument is certainly unfounded; for there are two resurrections distinct in character, and no continuity derived from them. If it does not derive its character from the resurrection, then the fact of having two resurrections in it, a thousand years apart, does not destroy its continuity. Two periods were in the first "hour" (verse 25) characterised by Christ's presence and Christ's absence: the wra derives its unity, not its continuity, from something else. There was an epoch when souls should rise at the voice of the Son, another (verse 28) when bodies should. What gave unity to that epoch is another question; of the answer to it I have little doubt -- the presence of the Lord in glory, and the kingdom in that power in which He rose from the dead. They were not to marvel if He quickened souls, for, at another epoch, He would be in such manifestation of power that He would raise the dead.

I know nothing of a voice in 1 Corinthians 15: 51. There is a trump (but the wicked have clearly no part in the statements here); there is the archangel's voice in 1 Thessalonians 4: 16: so that I do not exactly know what is meant about a voice, twice citing these passages. But a common resurrection is totally unscriptural, and the argument goes much further than the millennium. All scripture shews a distinct act of resurrection, if there be only a minute between; them that are Christ's are not confounded with the others, whatever the interval. There is nothing whatever said of a trumpet sound with the wicked; they are carefully excluded in the two passages where the trumpet is spoken of.

The argument as to 2 Peter 3 has, with equal confidence, been used for burning the earth at the beginning of the millennium. But I do not admit the day of the Lord to be a day, but a period; in that period, were it a million years, the heavens will pass away. In the passage itself twice the apostle declares to us its importance with God. I do not see anything very new or very wise in this settlement of the matter -- very reasonable to put it out as his way of thinking; but the mass of testimony, of direct instruction which it controverts, makes the nice casuistry it is founded upon of no comparative weight. But it is all very well it should be discussed.

Affectionately yours.


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[W Kelly] DEAR BROTHER, -- I forgot to notice 1 Thessalonians 4 Sir E. Denny raised the question on some statement of Trotter's, and was even anxious about it, which I was not. All were agreed as to doctrine. I have long hesitated over the passage, having thought of bringing the souls back, bringing them up from the dead, and their coming with Christ with the rest when He appears You will remark that it is God brings with Him, not Christ, this had rather long ago made me hesitate if it was not God raising them as Christ (the sun would be as suzhvsomen): they will be brought from the dead as much as, and as Jesus. However, on the whole, I am disposed to think it is "bring with Him" when He comes and appears, the result of their resurrection. They will not be absent, or lose their place in the glorious appearing, no more than Jesus did by dying; they will rise first even. God's bringing them with Him is not out of the order of the apostle's thought; "which in his times he shall shew who is the blessed and only Potentate;" God shews the appearing of Jesus; so He brings the others and shews them with Him. But I am not prepared to dogmatise on it, nor to say as teaching, that is God's mind in the passage, at which Sir E. is astonished.

I have got on beautifully as far as this, but am rather obliged to travel like a gentleman.

Affectionately yours.

Paris, February 28th, 1853.


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[J A Von Poseck] [From the French.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- I was very glad to receive your letter, which has followed me here.

It is needful for us that we should pass through the sorrows as well as the joys of the work of the Lord, happy if our sorrows are His and His joys ours. The nearer we are to Him, and the more we thus reproduce the faithful image of what He is, the more we shall encounter the opposition of the world when it awakes; and still more shall we experience the want of sympathy from Christians who will not walk in His footsteps; and they will even oppose us, forming as they do for themselves a system on principles that are less according to God. What trouble St. Paul had because he insisted on maintaining the gospel at the height of the grace which had been revealed to him! We shall not escape it. But if we suffer with Jesus, we shall reign with Him. In short, your account has given me joy. For the testimony, it needs decided, morally decided persons, persons who for the love of Christ have broken with the world. One such is worth more than a thousand laggards; I am speaking of the testimony.

The question of baptism has tried the brethren here also, but by having patience it has calmed down. They have had themselves baptised without opposition, and the walk of those who insisted much on it has not commended itself very much to the consciences of several. But one is quiet, and there has been no rupture nor trouble ... .

Peace be with you, beloved brother. May the presence of God sustain you and gladden your heart in all your labours Greet all the brethren affectionately from me. I have a great desire to be able to speak German better in order to converse with them. I read a little in order not to forget what I know I hope that your imprisonment, through the goodness of God will pass off easily, as it did before. We have in France several brethren in prison, or fined for the gospel; it is little, but still it is suffering.

Your very affectionate.

Montpellier, March 13th, 1853.


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Dearest A Ord, -- It would have been a joy to me to have assisted at your meeting at Torquay; I am most glad the brethren meet together, and thus place themselves before God. God alone knows what He can do in breaking down barriers, and uniting in testimony those separated. But I fear, humanly speaking the world has too strong a hold on those with whom I cannot walk, to hope, humanly speaking, much. It is not as a reproach to them I say this, for there ought to have been spirituality to prevent it, and grace to overcome it; so that before God I take every share of blame and humiliation; but I fear, sadly fear, it is the part which, in a measure, accepts the worldliness, which is broken off, save some dear souls, who are just the grief of heart to me and others, who may have innocently entered. I should always more earnestly urge taking up each individual case; but I apprehend the path of those who walk by faith is to pursue in peace their course, seeking all that God can give them of souls for Him in earnestness of zeal in these latter days.

The only remark I have to make as to the meeting is that I judge the study of scripture would be a most useful part of it; to take a book or chapters, as God. may direct you, and study it detailedly and diligently onward; this kind of meeting, or employment of time in great part at the meeting, I am persuaded would be of the greatest use, and place the hearts of brethren most usefully before the word. We have at this moment a meeting of this kind at Lausanne ... .

I shall hardly, I expect, be in England so soon as October 5-12; but my heart will be with the blessing of brethren.

Ever affectionately yours.

Lausanne, September 13th, 1853.


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Dearest W Kelly, -- I had overlooked Liverpool ... . They resolved not to receive without examination, perhaps more; but P -- who, with a great deal of the manners of grace (what is called charity, of which I have the greatest dread) and, I doubt not, a good deal of real grace, which I trust I appreciate -- like all Irishmen whom grace has not total mastery of (I forgot you were one!) has an amazing confidence in himself; so that, though there is a healthful change, I believe I should look before I leapt; for who could tell where an Irishman would lead you? There is an inconceivable looseness about them: excellent in Ireland where all are so, it has a strange effect in England where men are not so, and in religious things has a peculiar danger of its own.

The connection of hJma" and aujtou" is not so difficult (Revelation 5: 9, 10) because the elders were offering up the incense of the prayers of others in their vials and the aujtou" is extraordinarily far from hJgovrasa"; though Revelation Greek is unusual.

As regards Maurice, it is a mind dissatisfied with the stupidity and narrowness of dead orthodoxy and having no spiritual reins from God by the word and Spirit, that has run loose to make a God such as he would have -- and the common course of middle-age heresies. Often real witnesses and sufferers for God and the truth, but not guarding themselves from the seductions of mental heresies -- sometimes, no doubt, this last a one; and the persecuting church, which kept nominal truth (a thing the Fathers never did), was very glad to lump them all up together, charge them all with the worst things, and burn them, doing the devil's work with both hands earnestly in another way. They seldom escaped the superstition and paganism of the hierarchical iniquity and corruption, without the mind getting loose, and meddling with and spoiling the things of God. It is this that shews what a total ruin the church of God was and is. I have found a solemn and most affecting consideration -- what love God must have had to His elect to carry them through it all, and bear with them, as He does indeed with as cold and lifeless ones in, perhaps, things more hateful to Him than these helpless wanderings of mind. Such is M.'s case, in a measure, but he has the misfortune to be the original mover in the mental wandering. Will is in it, and hence, I fear, unless God steps in, that it is one of the many ways in which the devil is let loose in these days to unsettle everything. Men cannot be satisfied with death; God Himself is rousing them; and Satan would seek to bring in an activity not subject to, and outside God's word, the only guide in such cases, not merely into truth, but hindering the will from being active, which, acting by the mind, just makes heresy, and (whatever the thoughts) cannot profit, because it makes God subject to it. I do not see much grace in M.; he will have, not truth, but liberty to put God out his own way. He is not willing to suffer, nor suffer for the truth; he likes the Establishment; it is a comfortable place -- so it is, no doubt -- and he would seek to maintain a liberty in it which would leave free his will without its costing him anything. God may lead him into subjection, but I do not see it yet. In the present universal unsettling it is possible God may allow this one in addition, and not allow the dead barrier of orthodoxy and authority to settle and quiet the matter; sometimes for souls for His elect's sake, He does. If I can, I will look into it.

I have been a little occupied with heretics lately, Paulicians, Albigeois, Waldenses, Bohemian brethren, and the like. I find historians generally superficial somewhat; but it is a deeply sorrowful inquiry on one side, and yet exalting God's grace, as I have said, on the other. The ruin was utter as regards man -- the Reformation a wonderful thing, but Luther's flesh terribly strong -- a mixed thing, though the action of the Spirit of God astonishing -- God's work. It is not Luther himself by himself proves it to me; he was merely one remarkable instrument in it. It is just its springing up here, there and all around that proved God was at work. As far as Luther is personally looked up to, it has made one of the most stupid, bigoted churches (as they call them) in existence, where if piety entered -- gave birth to rationalism because of the dull bigotry of their orthodoxy; for the Pietists are the historical parents of rationalism, strange to say. What a world we live in! "I have seen an end of all perfection, but thy commandment is exceeding broad."

I trust God is thus working around now in England: His good hand is surely seen among brethren; there is a movement of His Spirit in many places. Humbled we must be, and then God can bless ... .

Ever your affectionate brother in Jesus.
1853.


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[To the same.] Dearest W Kelly, -- There is no doubt, I believe, of the emigration of a large part at least of the north and west emigrating from the east. The Cushites, Goths, Scyths, are all the same name and people. The Druidical religion is undoubtedly Persian, and the Druids have been traced across the north of Germany to England. The north of India was one great settlement of this race. They were called there Indo-Scyths, and settled in High Thibet and the Himalayas. You are aware of Epiphanius's division of the progressive corruption of barbaric (quaere Patriarchal) religion into Scythism and Ionism, as some say original Buddhism and Brahminism in India, and Parseeism (Sabaeism) and Hellenistic, Egyptian, Babylonian idolatry in the west. How old are the divisions of man, how little his history! Still Druidism partook too much of the elements of original Grecian or Babylonian idolatry to make this quite clear ... .

I apprehend as to seething a kid in its mother's milk, that one of the characters of idolatry, of Satan's power, is to destroy the order, affections and comeliness which God has established in nature. Christianity raises above it, but respects it all. He degrades in every way by what is unnatural. The way this was done in idolatry is remarkable, and diligently and horribly. This was an example as to tender and kindly affections. If you are at all acquainted with the horrors of idolatry -- a profitless learning, I am sure, morally -- or even remarking what scripture refers to briefly, but perfectly, you cannot but see how true this is. All this the law forbade. As to 2 Peter 3: 10, 12, I apprehend it means but the materials of which the crust of the globe is composed. It will be melted down by fire (as it was once inundated by waters) to form a new earth, atmospheric heaven, etc.

I had seen the Annotator, but did not feel much attracted by the company and olla podrida character it had, though writing in it crossed me. Quiet service I like better if I can.

In haste, ever affectionately yours.


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[W Kelly][To the same.] I am afraid I can help you but little with Zechariah. There is a difference in the characters of chapters 1 and 6. In chapter 6 we have not men, that is, we have merely the providential agents; in chapter 1 we have angels who stand before the Lord of all the earth, and overrule the working of these agents, though the agents are in view. The man among the myrtle trees, or angel, pleads for Jerusalem. I have thought that the red might be God's judgment. Babylon had been this in the Lord's hand on His people. Then the man upon the red horse was the one who on the Lord's behalf had executed the judgments, and was now using Persia as His instrument of judging, and so favouring the Jewish people.

Abstractions alone meet symbols; the white are not Christ the sun is not Christ. White are victorious triumph, and so a white horse; it is Christ triumphant, or His enemies, if they are on white horses. The sun is supreme power; when Christ takes it He is supreme power: so with the red or any other If Babylon was judgment it would be of such a colour; if Persia, that also. But I do not pretend to give the sense as an "oracle of God."


[To the same.] Dearest W Kelly, -- As regards Mr. Aitkin's letter, I think it the most arrant stuff I ever came across, but falling in with the current of the principles by which Satan is generally working now -- very proper and likely to deceive rich or poor, putting conscience to sleep, and settling in the apostate form of self-righteousness; namely, the "voluntary humility" connection with ordinances. I have no doubt from some parts of it there is a direct power of Satan in it, the points of conformity to Irvingism and Popery leave no doubt at all on my mind. I stated long ago my fears to -- . This paper leaves me no doubt upon it.+ It does not follow that no Christians may not get into it, to their almost [certain] ruin but for Christ; as there did into Irvingism, and I dare say, and indeed know, there are into Puseyism. But it is entirely to be treated as Satan's work, whatever Christians may get into or work in it, as there are in popery itself. But it is to be treated as directly Satan, and it will have no force. I have been looking over Archdeacon Wilberforce's book, and noticing the main point of it. The letter falls in with a mass of previously prepared habits of error in the mass of minds, and some fresh truth which gives a gloss of new knowledge calculated to take among the ignorant, to whom it is wondrous, so as to have an attractive and subtle character in this respect; but I denounce it as directly and positively Satan in se. I keep the letter to have a copy, but, as I do not know to whom it is addressed, shall not use it beyond myself without knowing to whom, and with their permission. I keep it for my own reference, which, as shewn to me, I feel free to do, not to mis-state or mis-conceive anything in it.

As to the day and star (2 Peter 1: 19); there are two ideas, but not two subjects. In the night as to the government of this world, prophecy, which tells of God's judgments, gives light as to it, and helps the soul till it has a better, the dawning of a day on the soul in spiritual understanding as soon coming, for He is ready to judge being exalted; which, being accomplishment, does not need prophecy, and which presents the Person of a Christ already come and known, with whom we have to do before the coming in of the day which will close prophecy in accomplishment. Both are the intermediate state consequent on the position taken by Christ between prophecy and the day; but Christ is the personal object in the Morning star.

I am weak and little able for work, but I have begun meetings again, but not much to visit ... .

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

P.S. -- I remember before I left the Establishment meeting a tract saying there were no priests under the New Testament, and Robert Daly and another putting in 'sacrificing' priests. Though great evangelicals, they are tied up by their system.

July 25th, 1854.


+[See Collected Writings, volume 15, page 293.]

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MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I know the love of the brethren will be glad to hear of me, and that they will rejoice to hear something of the work ... . The Lord has been most gracious to me; even the weather has favoured my work. I was at Haarlem and Amsterdam, besides breaking bread at Ostend with a Dutch family. The Lord so ordered it that a brother I well knew who was the means of their conversion, was on a visit to them, and I thus came to know them. The wife and her sister true and decided, the husband, a personal friend of the king, much less so, though very decidedly converted. Thence I went through Rotterdam to Haarlem, where I was able to hold a good deal of intercourse with those who speak French. I knew a brother there also, with his wife, having stood alone for the Lord's sake. I felt the Lord with me. We broke bread there again on Sunday; there also I made acquaintance with another Dutch family, converted and safe as to their path through the means of brethren at J. I held a meeting in the room of a brother with whom some meet, rather in a disputing way, but amongst whom several are getting clear, and again in a fuller room where many came. I made also a good many visits and felt the Lord very much with me. The brethren I first mentioned accompanied me and stayed some days to make more. The door seems decidedly open in Holland, chiefly among the upper classes on account of the language ... . I can already use the Bible pretty readily in Dutch, but that is not speaking. I then left for Germany. The first ten days the labouring brethren met together to study Scripture. We read John's Gospel, 1 John, Galatians, Matthew and a part of Luke, with very much of the Lord's presence, and I trust profit to all. Matthew and Luke were only a synopsis, but I never had Matthew so clear. On the Monday after I set off to the hills to visit one of the working districts, the first time. They were not in a happy state. They do not break bread there yet. The clergy are rationalists, but there is little life and union in those who meet to seek better edification; however, we had a meeting and I said some things in German. Then to a very dear brother's, chief smith in a manufactory, where I held a meeting and slept. Before the meeting I dictated an article on Romans 4-8, for the brethren's publication -- also a compendium. Thence, three hours' walk to a village in the hills where we finished the paper and translated some of Romans, and had a meeting in the evening. The next day to a very wild village in the hills three hours further across the waste, mostly new, where we had a meeting and conversed on Scripture. The next day six hours' walk further up the hills to a brother engaged in the work, who has been greatly blessed there. I stayed there Friday evening, Saturday and the Lord's day, and it was pretty much a meeting, save Saturday evening, all the time. We read most of Ephesians through. They came from five hours round and more, so that we were many on Sunday and had a very happy day -- not merely the joy that accompanies such a meeting with a little excitement, but I really believe the Lord's presence and blessing; we broke bread in the afternoon. Many could not get there. In the evening, I spoke on the Lord's coming. I cannot expatiate in German, but I can set forth the truth, and they understand me very well now. At 12 at night I got with a lantern through the wood and took the coach back. You may suppose it was not Hornsey Place or Tollington Park. In these villages no question of meat in four out of six places, but rye bread and vegetables and a slice of bacon. One night I slept on chairs, another on straw.

I made through mercy six hours' walk the next day, and held the meeting without being tired; but the beloved people give me their best with all their heart. In the last two places they were very hearty in the Lord. We had a sort of meeting on the way from the last named place but one. The evening before they thought it wiser not, so we held it where I mentioned on account of the police, and we visited them on the way. I thought to have gone further, but we deferred in the hope of getting through a version of the New Testament which is grievously wanted here -- a serious undertaking -- but I have been long exercised in it in English and French, so that it is easier for me of course. I have a native German for the actual form of the phrases, and I have a Dutch (which is the best I know), English (which rivals it), and pure German translations to refer to, with my two critical Greek Testaments. We have done Romans and now there is a moment's hindrance, but I trust the Lord to remove it, and I feel assured that I shall get through this work also. My journey up the hills was very happy and, thank God, on Scriptural subjects I can make myself very well understood in German. I have been of course at the meetings, but I only knew the principal brothers much, for usually they are occupied much at their manufactures, and at the study with the workmen; and having only an imperfect knowledge of the language, it is helpful to myself, I find, to get out into the villages and be with the saints, where from their position it is as a stream in a thirsty land. The blessing is very real and continues; trials and proofs of the flesh accompany it. You will suppose I would draw no false pictures. In many towns I have spoken of there is trial from coldness and failure; nevertheless there have been a good many conversions, and the working of God's Spirit is large and undoubted, and most of those I saw are rejoicing in the conscious acceptance of it. Many of these poor peasants are as advanced in substantial knowledge as the brethren in London are, and in many the life of the Spirit is very sensible. The Lord bless you, beloved brother, and all the beloved brethren in London. My heart desires their blessing and their growing up into Christ in everything. Peace be with you all.

Affectionately yours.

Elberfeld, September, 1854.


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MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I am delighted that the beloved brethren in -- interest themselves in the work of the Lord and beg you to salute them affectionately for me. I rejoice that they should pray for the Lord's work, for me, and for all saints that they may be fully blessed and glorify the Lord; but I am a bad hand at giving an account of the work, and I have an instinctive dread of publishing the work. Man gets in so easily and God's glory is hidden proportionately. However, I will do what I can, for with their interest in heart, my heart goes along thankfully and heartily.

I have been myself mixed up with the work on the Continent only since the end of 1837, and since then the Lord has certainly granted a large and rich blessing, at least in proportion to our poor faith and efforts, and has raised up many dear labourers in His vineyard, though their number be, as the Lord has warned us, still so small. But His ways are perfect. It began in Switzerland. I preached and taught what I knew. And the full and holy liberty of the gospel, the assurance of salvation in contrast with the law, the standing and privileges of the church, and the coming of the Lord Jesus to receive her to Himself, together with the dwelling of the Holy Ghost in the church and in each member here below, were spread abroad and received by many. Gradually assemblies were formed by the truth; subsequently some young men who desired to work for the Lord wished to read the scriptures with me. I feared a little giving up my own work but would not refuse them, and for a year at one time and a good part of one at a subsequent period, I had ten or twelve, not always the same, with me, and we studied the word together. Most of them are now engaged in the work. They gradually got into work as the Lord called them. Others, already long labourers in the field got clearer light and worked with it so that many conversions took place, and gatherings were formed by the working of God's Spirit. This took place chiefly in three cantons, Geneva, Vaud and Neuchâtel the whole extent of the three not being very great. Still many hundreds were gathered and through grace persevere. Perhaps small and great there are fifty gatherings in all, of which the largest may be about 200, another 170 or 180, one or two of 100, and so on to very small ones. The most of the work took place in the course of a few years, but then in some districts there was a decline of energy, in some places very sensibly; and there were no circulating active labourers, though the gatherings persevered.

The Lord had much blessed the word in the mountain valleys; there had been about 70 or 80 converted in three or four months. Latterly, thank God, the Lord has revived His work, and for three or four years back there has been pretty constant progress and conversions in Neuchâtel and latterly a very considerable blessing to the canton of Vaud, partly on new ground, partly on the old. In general the accounts are happy. The Lord sent them back one or more active servants of His grace and labourers in His field. Some of them, young men, went to France, some of them having come indeed thence, and one or two others who had received the truth clearly and given up everything to serve the Lord. A brother whom God raised up in France and who devoted himself to the work, but preached the law, had through his devotedness opened the way in a very wide country though he was not clear. God had used him independently of the work in Switzerland. He fell sick and one of our brethren went to help, three of them who had broken bread with me being of that country. In some four years 300 or 400 received the truth there. God raised up some labourers also, one of whom has worked in Switzerland. Also one of our Swiss brethren went further on into the mountains; there are I suppose, in all there, some 700 at least or more who were converted. The blessing was remarkable these four or five springs in succession. They had leisure then. There was no preaching without a conversion.

Last year there was a good deal of blessing in a part of the field. The work under God's hand went further south, where another French brother also who had received the truth went down to work. In general all was dark and opposed with the exception of three towns and one village. I joined in the work at this time. There many meetings have been formed, some of them numerous. Last year in one station which had seemed motionless, first some sixty in a short space and then, after a smart persecution and fines and imprisonments, some forty more were converted, and in the east the Lord worked simultaneously, and some 300 came together in three or four villages. One of these has been dreadfully decimated by the cholera last year, but the brethren continue and even with more seriousness since Quite at the other side of France (Casta Tarbes and Orthez) a Christian but lately deceased, who had laboured there before, returned and worked there. It is directly at the foot of the Pyrénées close to Spain. There also there were conversions and some 200 meet in five meetings; lately the Lord has been working sensibly afresh there, more truth; thence also in Lot et Garonne, the Lord has gathered a good many, and also on the Tey. Lately He has been at work also along the Rhone in the Departments (counties) of Upper and Lower Rhone. This is a work only beginning, where a French brother once a clergyman has been and is active. The first work I spoke of in France was west of the Rhone. It then extended east of the Rhone, and there a good many meetings were gathered and many conversions, in one part almost entirely Roman Catholics. There the brethren have been fined and imprisoned, but it did not hinder the work. In Marseilles and near to the foot of the Alps in the Isère, the Lord also has blessed the word and gathered souls; so in the Department Hérault and Auvergne, the Lozère, though the gatherings are not so numerous in these, but in some lately the Lord has been working sensibly.

Lately, these two last years, the Lord has been working in Germany. Some years back the truth was brought into the neighbourhood and tracts of brethren setting it forth were pretty widely distributed. There were conversions and the truth spread and some gatherings were formed. But some two years ago in the town I am in, where there were many Christians connected with the Establishment, a new work went forth. They had learned that they were not under the law but under grace. There was a society employed readers and preachers. The clerical part of the society sought to hinder the liberty of their service and their preaching. Those whom God had called and who had learned what God's liberty is, could not give up their service, and they came out and laboured trusting to the Lord. These have been largely blessed over a pretty wide extent of country from the borders of Holland to Hesse and Nassau, perhaps some sixty or eighty miles; as has the first work I spoke of near the Rhine. I cannot say how many there are, but a good many hundreds of which the greater number far have been converted within these two years. The conversions, thank God, continue. In Hesse they are a good deal persecuted in every way. Lately the secretary of the local tribunal was converted. He was ordered out of the country in eight days; but the Lord blesses the work much. They have been persecuted around the country, but at present are quiet. The king personally favours the saints and religious liberty. He has received most, if not all the tracts and sent to thank me for them. He sent to see a brother who was in Berlin, but he was gone; perhaps the Lord so ordered it for good. There are here some seven or eight, more or less entirely devoted to the work, and others who labour in their neighbourhood.

It has extended into the province of Guelderland in the kingdom of Holland; the numbers are not great there, but they are getting on very happily. My own work in Holland was not much, but I was very happy there and felt the doors were open. I knew a brother who was travelling with his wife for her health -- was brought to see clearly and remained faithful and I went to visit him. Another was blessed through means of a French brother in Italy, and others came to see clearly through a brother in Geneva, in Switzerland. So does God prepare things when He is pleased to work. When I landed at Ostend, I could spend my Sunday with the 2nd family and we broke bread together. The brother, set clear in France, opened Haarlem to me and Amsterdam, so that I had intercourse with many and meetings there, and he was holding meetings at Leyden which are well attended. The third is in Amsterdam and I hear he as well as another also got clear (long a Christian) through the tracts and my visits; they are going on very steadily and well. They have broken bread together. I know not whether they do it regularly, as it was all new to them; but desires were awakened in many and they wish me to visit them again. I do not speak Dutch, so that I can only speak with those who know French or perhaps German; but that does not hinder the Lord. For those who receive in French communicate it to others in Dutch. But I was very happy in my short work there, and felt that the Lord had opened many and happy doors there.

At Frankfurt also they meet; and at Hamburg in Lippe and nearer Frankfurt, Khenbach Büdingen, there are outposts and centres of work for brethren. But the Lord has strengthened and blessed the gatherings in these places, and through them and the visits of brethren the work has reached other villages also.

Such, beloved brethren, is in few words a brief general account of the work. I rejoice to give it to the brethren; but I must beg that nothing like publicity be given to it. It is for brethren, for their hearts and prayers, that they may bless God and pray for the brethren that they may glorify God, that He may bless the work and guide those gathered in holiness and devotedness and love. But it is to be between them and God, and not to talk of to men. Were this done I should expect some chastening and humbling. I have so often seen works hindered and spoiled when brethren, perhaps with the best intentions, have made a noise about them, that I dread much anything of the sort. God is pretty jealous of it. He is working on -- man frail is full of weaknesses and shortcomings.

I am sure I have felt (in my small though widely-scattered path) all sorts of feebleness of faith; but God has worked wonderfully and His blessed truth has been widely spread by it even outside those gathered. I ask (not a mystery) but that it may be between God and the souls of the brethren. Greet them heartily. I long to see them and hope to do so if God will.

Ever, beloved brother, most affectionately in Christ.

Elberfeld, 1855.


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DEAR SIR AND BROTHER IN CHRIST,+ -- Since I saw you, I have been continually on the move, so that it has been difficult for me to prepare the account which you desired to receive. It seems to me that the best way will be for me simply to mention the various circumstances as they transpired, in as far as I was personally concerned, at the time when this work of God first commenced. You will easily understand that numbers of others have laboured in that field, and many with much more devotedness than I, and with a far more marked result as regards the blessing of souls. But my concern now is with the work of God, and not. our labours; so that you may gather from the account what will suit your purpose.

I was a lawyer; but feeling that, if the Son of God gave Himself for me I owed myself entirely to Him, and that the so-called christian world was characterised by deep ingratitude towards Him, I longed for complete devotedness to the work of the Lord, my chief thought was to get round amongst the poor Catholics of Ireland. I was induced to be ordained. I did not feel drawn to take up a regular post, but, being young in the faith and not yet knowing deliverance, I was governed by the feeling of duty towards Christ, rather than by the consciousness that He had done all and that I was redeemed and saved; consequently it was easy to follow the advice of those who were more advanced than myself in the christian world.

As soon as I was ordained, I went amongst the poor Irish mountaineers, in a wild and uncultivated district, where I remained two years and three months, working as best I could. I felt, however, that the style of work was not in agreement with what I read in the Bible concerning the church and Christianity; nor did it correspond with the effects of the action of the Spirit of God. These considerations pressed upon me from a scriptural and practical point of view; while seeking assiduously to fulfil the duties of the ministry confided to me, working day and night amongst the people, who were almost as wild as the mountains they inhabited. An accident happened which laid me aside for a time; my horse was frightened and had thrown me against a door-post. During my solitude conflicting thoughts increased; but much exercise of soul had the effect of causing the scriptures to gain complete ascendancy over me. I had always owned them to be the word of God.

When I came to understand that I was united to Christ in heaven, and that, consequently, my place before God was represented by His own, I was forced to the conclusion that it was no longer a question with God of this wretched "I" which had wearied me during six or seven years, in presence of the requirements of the law. It then became clear to me that the church of God, as He considers it, was composed only of those who were so united to Christ, whereas Christendom, as seen externally, was really the world, and could not be considered as "the church," save as regards the responsibility attaching to the position which it professed to occupy -- a very important thing in its place. At the same time, I saw that the Christian, having his place in Christ in heaven, has nothing to wait for save the coming of the Saviour, in order to be set, in fact, in the glory which is already his portion in Christ.

The careful reading of the Acts afforded me a practical picture of the early church, which made me feel deeply the contrast with its actual present state, though still as ever, beloved by God. At that time I had to use crutches when moving about so that I had no longer any opportunity for making known my convictions in public; moreover, as the state of my health did not allow me to attend worship, I was compelled to remain away. It seemed to me that the good hand of God had thus come to my help, hiding my spiritual weakness under physical incapacity. In the meanwhile, there grew up in my heart the conviction that what Christianity had accomplished in the world in no way answered to the needs of a soul burdened with the sense of what God's holy governmental dealing was intended to effect. In my retreat, the 32nd chapter of Isaiah taught me clearly, on God's behalf, that there was still an economy to come, of His ordering; a state of things in no way established as yet. The consciousness of my union with Christ had given me the present heavenly portion of the glory, whereas this chapter clearly sets forth the corresponding earthly part. I was not able to put these things in their respective places or arrange them in order, as I can now; but the truths themselves were then revealed of God, through the action of His Spirit, by reading His word.

What was to be done? I saw in that word the coming of Christ to take the church to Himself in glory. I saw there the cross, the divine basis of salvation, which should impress its own character on the Christian and on the church in view of the Lord's coming; and also that meanwhile the Holy Spirit was given to be the source of the unity of the church, as well as the spring of its activity, and indeed of all christian energy.

As regards the gospel, I had no difficulty as to its receive dogmas. Three persons in one God, the divinity of Jesus, His work of atonement on the cross, His resurrection, His session at the right hand of God, were truths which, understood as orthodox doctrines, had long been a living reality to my soul. They were the known and felt conditions, the actualities, of my relationship with God. Not only were they truths, but I knew God personally in that way; I had no other God but Him who had thus revealed Himself, and Him I had. He was the God of my life and of my worship, the God of my peace, the only true God.

The practical difference in my preaching, when once I began to preach again, was as follows: When a parson, I had preached that sin had created a great gulf between us and God, and that Christ alone was able to bridge it over; now, I preached that He had already finished His work. The necessity of regeneration, which was always a part of my teaching, became connected more with Christ, the last Adam, and I understood better that it was a real life, entirely new, communicated by the power of the Holy Spirit; but, as I have said, more in connection with the person of Christ and the power of His resurrection, combining the power of a life victorious over death, with a new position for man before God. This is what I understand by "deliverance." The blood of Jesus has removed every spot from the believer; every trace of sin, according to God's own purity. In virtue of His blood-shedding, the only possible propitiation, we may now invite all men to come to God, a God of love, who for this object, has given His own Son. The presence of the Holy Ghost, sent from heaven to abide in the believer as the "unction," the "seal," and the "earnest of our inheritance," as well as being in the church, the power which unites it in one body and distributes gifts to the members according to His will; these truths developed largely and assumed great importance in my eyes. With this last truth was connected the question of ministry. From whence came this ministry? According to the Bible, it clearly came from God by the free and powerful action of the Holy Ghost.

At the time I was occupied with these things, the person with whom I was in christian relation locally, as a minister, was an excellent Christian, worthy of all respect, and one for whom I have always had a great affection. I do not know if he is still living, but since the time I speak of, he was appointed to be archdeacon. It was, however, the principles, and not the persons, which acted on my conscience- for I had already given up, out of love to the Saviour, all that the world could offer I said to myself: "If the Apostle Paul were to come here now he would not, according to the established system, be even allowed to preach, not being legally ordained; but if a worker of Satan, who, by his doctrine, denied the Saviour, came here he could freely preach, and my christian friend would be obliged to consider him as a fellow-labourer; whereas he would be unable to recognise the most powerful instrument of the Spirit of God, however much blessed in his work of leading multitudes of souls to the Lord, if he had not been ordained according to the system." All this, said I to myself, is false. This is not mere abuse, such as may be found everywhere; it is the principle of the system that is at fault. Ministry is of the Spirit. There are some, amongst the clergy, who are ministers by the Spirit but the system is founded on an opposite principle; consequently it seemed impossible to remain in it any longer.

I saw in scripture that there were certain gifts which formed true ministry, in contrast to a clergy established upon another principle. Salvation, the church, and ministry, all were bound together; and all were connected with Christ, the Head of the church in heaven, with Christ who had accomplished a perfect salvation, as well as with the presence of the Spirit on earth, uniting the members to the Head, and to each other, so as to form "one body," and He acting in them according to His will.

In effect, the cross of Christ and His return should characterise the church and each one of the members. What was to be done? Where was this unity, this "body"? Where was the power of the Spirit recognised? Where was the Lord really waited for? Nationalism was associated with the world; in its bosom some believers were merged in the very world from which Jesus had separated them; they were, besides, separated from one another, whilst Jesus had united them. The Lord's supper, symbol of the unity of the body, had become a symbol of the union of this latter with the world, that is to say, exactly the contrary of what Christ had established. Dissent had, no doubt, had the effect of making the true children of God more manifest, but here they were united on principles quite different from the unity of the body of Christ. If I joined myself to these, I separated myself from others everywhere. The disunion of the body of Christ was everywhere apparent rather than its unity. What was I to do? Such was the question which presented itself to me, without any other idea than that of satisfying my conscience, according to the light of the word of God. A word in Matthew 18 furnished the solution of my trouble: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." This was just what I wanted: the presence of Jesus was assured at such worship; it is there He has recorded His name, as He had done of old in the temple at Jerusalem for those who were called to resort there.

Four persons who were pretty much in the same state of soul as myself, came together to my lodging; we spoke together about these things, and I proposed to them to break bread the following Sunday, which we did. Others then joined us. I left Dublin soon after, but the work immediately began at Limerick, a town in Ireland, and then in other places.

Two years later (1830), I went to Cambridge and Oxford. In this latter place, some persons who are still engaged in the work, shared my convictions, and felt that the relation of the church to Christ ought to be that of a faithful spouse.

By invitation I went to Plymouth to preach. My habit was to preach wherever people wished, whether in buildings or in private houses. More than once, even with ministers of the national church, we have broken bread on Monday evening after meetings for christian edification, where each was free to read, to speak, to pray, or to give out a hymn. Some months afterwards we began to do so on Sunday morning, making use of the same liberty, only adding the Lord's supper, which we had, and still have, the practice of taking every Sunday. Occasionally it has been partaken of more often. About that time also some began to do the same in London.

The unity of the church, as the body of Christ, the coming of the Lord, the presence of the Holy Ghost here below, in the individual and in the church; an assiduous proclamation of the truth, as well as the preaching of the gospel on the ground of pure grace and that of an accomplished work, giving in consequence the assurance of salvation when received into the heart by the Spirit; practical separation from the world; devotedness to Christ, as to Him who has redeemed the church a walk having Him only as the motive and rule; and other subjects in connection with these -- all this has been treated of in separate publications as well as by means of periodicals; and these truths have been largely spread abroad.

A good many ministers of the national church left nationalism in order to walk according to these principles, and England became gradually covered with meetings, more or less numerous.

Plymouth being the place where most of the publications originated, the name "Plymouth brethren" became the usual appellation given to such meetings.

In 1837 I visited Switzerland, and these truths began to be known there. I returned there more than once. The second time, I remained a considerable time at Lausanne, where God worked in conversions, and gathered a number of the children of God out of the world. There were already, in Switzerland Dissenters who had suffered faithfully for the Lord during twenty years previously. But their activity had declined considerably, and it even seemed that the movement was about to disappear. The work of the brethren has, to a certain extent by the goodness of God, filled the country, conversions having been numerous. In German Switzerland, the work spread to a much less degree. On two occasions of my spending a protracted time in Lausanne, some young brothers who desired to devote themselves to gospel work spent nearly a year with me in order to read the Bible. We also partook of the Lord's supper together every day.

At the same time, quite independently of what was going on in Switzerland, a brother who was labouring in France had awakened an interest in a considerable district where the people were, in general, plunged in infidelity and darkness. Some also of the young brothers of whom I have spoken, and two or three others whose acquaintance I made, but who never stayed with me, went to work in France. Other labourers, belonging to societies, believing that they would be happier working under the Lord's immediate direction, and not as subject to committees, gave up their salaries, considering such arrangements to be unknown, both in fact and in principle, to the scriptures, since their very existence attributed to the possession of money the right to direct the work of the Lord: these began to work in simple dependence upon the Lord, trusting to His faithful care. God raised up others also, though it still remains true that "the harvest is great and the labourers are few." God has blessed these labourers by conversions, numerous, thank God, especially in the south of France. From the beginning I have visited these countries and shared with joy the troubles and fatigues of these brothers; but it is they who have actually laboured at the work. In some places, I had the first troubles; in others I have only visited, taken part and helped, when the work was, thank God already begun. He gave us to be of one heart and one soul, mutually to be helpers of one another, seeking the good of all, whilst recognising our individual weakness.

Almost about the same time, in the eastern part of France, a like work had begun, independently of this one. It has also been visited, so that at the present time the work extends from Bâle to the Pyrénées, with a fairly large gap in the districts of which Toulouse forms the centre. The country is more or less covered with meetings, and the work, by God's grace, is still going on.

I ought to say that I have never meddled in any way with the calling nor with the work of the brethren who studied the Bible with me. As regards some, I have the conviction that they had not been called to it, and they have, in fact, gone back into the ordinary routine of life. As to others, I only helped them in the study of the Bible, in communicating to them the light which God had given me, but leaving entirely to themselves the responsibility of their calling for the work of evangelisation or teaching.

We had the custom of gathering together occasionally for some time, when God opened the way for it, to study scriptural subjects together, or books of the Bible, and to communicate to one another what God had given to each. During several years, in Ireland and England, this took place annually in large conferences which lasted for a week. On the Continent, and latterly in England, they have been less attended; and consequently, with fewer numbers, it has been possible to spend a fortnight or three weeks studying some books of the Bible.

My elder brother, who is a Christian, spent two years at Dusseldorf. He is engaged in the work of the Lord, wherever he may happen to be at the moment. He has been blessed to several souls in the neighbourhood of Dusseldorf. These, in their turn, have spread the light of the gospel and the truth, and a certain number of persons have been gathered in the Rhenish provinces. Tracts and various publications of the brethren have been translated and largely distributed; and light as to the soul's deliverance, the true character of the church the presence of the Holy Ghost here below, and the Lord's return, has been disseminated.

Two years later, helped, I believe, by the knowledge of these truths, but entirely independent of this work, a movement of the Spirit of God began at Elberfeld. There was in that town a "Brotherhood" which employed twelve labourers, if I am not mistaken, whom the clergy sought to forbid from preaching or teaching. Enlightened as to the ministry of the Spirit, and moved by love for souls, they would not submit to this interdict. Seven of these labourers, I believe, and a few members of the "Brotherhood" detached themselves from it, and certain of them, with others whom God raised up, continued their gospel work, which spread from Holland to Hesse. Conversions have been very numerous, and many hundreds assemble at the present time to break bread. More recently the work has begun to get established in Holland, as also in the south of Germany. By means of other instruments, two meetings in Würtemberg already existed.

Gospel preaching in Switzerland and England has led to the formation of some meetings amongst emigrants to the United States and Canada; the evangelisation of negroes led to others in Jamaica and Demerara, as also amongst the natives of Brazil, through a brother who went there and has since died. I am not aware of any other who knows the language sufficiently to continue this work, which has been blessed. The English colonies of Australia have also meetings; but this sketch will be sufficient for you.

Brethren do not recognise any other body but the body of Christ, that is to say, the whole church of the firstborn. Also they recognise every Christian who walks in truth and holiness, as a proved member of Christ. Their hope of final salvation is founded on the Saviour's expiatory work, for whose return they look, according to His word. They believe the saints to be united to Him already, as the body of which He is the Head, and they await the accomplishment of His promise, expecting His coming to take them to Himself in the Father's house, so that where He is, there they may be also. Meanwhile, they have to bear His cross and to suffer with Him, separated from the world which has rejected Him. His person is the object of their faith, His life the example which they have to follow in their conduct. His word, namely, the scriptures inspired of God, that is to say the Bible, is the authority which forms their faith; it is also its foundation, and they recognise it as that which should govern their conduct. The Holy Ghost alone can make it effectual both for life and practice.
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+To Prof. Tholuck.

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G V Wigram, I have been writing on Colossians with much instruction to myself, so that I am reading it once again. But all one does is so imperfect as to execution. It seems "Matthew" is enjoyed by the saints. I get on enough to be dissatisfied with what I have done before, though the truth into which one has been led by these inquiries retains its value.

I trust the bonds (or peace at least) between -- and the others is consolidating. He is uncommonly amiable were he somewhat deeper- but we must, and for good, take men and the saints as God gives them to us: they are His, not ours ... . A real workman, a "man of God" is a great, the greatest treasure in the world ... .

Elberfeld, February 5th, 1855.


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[W K] DEAREST BROTHER, -- ... As far as I have seen everywhere, this connection with Bethesda is united with the returning influence of the world and, through the appearance of devotedness at B., united to real worldliness, that is, a fair show in the flesh, universally falseness, want of openness and straightforwardness. It is a question of deliverance of souls from the deception of a system I left long ago, somewhat painted over. I have not a trace of doubt as to its character. It may be a matter of humiliation that there was not more power to stay and keep it out, but its character is clear to me as the sun at noonday. I have no more thought of walking with it than of abandoning all the principles on which grace has made me act these thirty years. But separation is a very serious thing, or rather the attempt to form a second table, as men speak; because if the Lord removes the candlestick, He does not always light up another. It is not His way; He is judging and removing it, and power is needed for lighting it up. Conscientiousness though equally honoured of God, is not this. Great quietness and isolatedness is the path called for in such cases. I met today, in a French tract which had no reference to these matters, a principle I have always accepted, that I would never separate where I could recognise the body as on the principle of the church of God after I had left it; and the principle is an evident and plain one. I might avoid going to the place if I could do nothing better. When one has to separate, then quietness and retiredness is the path till God comes in afresh ... . Things always find their level, individual level, in a sifting.

I had heard of poor dear -- 's death. I was not surprised he died in peace; his head was all wrong, but his heart all right, so as to make me often ashamed of myself, and that is better.

As to -- , circumstances, I forget what, led me to look at it when he was at one time here. I judged the expressions very unhappy, and in themselves unjustifiable, and he was very unhappy when he saw them (before I spoke to him), so that he had lost his rest for a night or two. To accuse him of any doctrinal heresy is mere malice; unjustifiable expressions, or even ideas, are totally different from explained and justified doctrine. He is not a person who discerns and is guarded in his expressions, but who follows his ideas, but of his soundness I have no doubt indeed found him much matured and grown, and more reason to be attached to him than ever. The simplest thing for him to say is that the expressions are not justifiable, while no false doctrine is maintained now, or ever meant to be. We had the case before with Bellett. The plainer he condemns them the more is it evident that he is in no error himself; and the Lord will honour him because he seeks thus only His glory; that is the secret of all happy walk and happiness. If he is with you, give him my kindest love.

In general there is blessing here and progress. It is a blessed thing to trust the Lord in everything, in light, and in darkness as appears. He always governs, and always according to the principles we love because they are the expression of Himself.

Affectionately yours.

Lausanne, May 29th, 1855.


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J H Eccles, It is a great mistake to think that I am less decided as to neutrals; it is quite the contrary. Neutrals, when Christ has been dishonoured, are in the worst position of all, and I think Christ has been dishonoured, I mean at Bethesda. I do not understand how any one caring for Him can think otherwise, and I believe the Lord is distinctly putting His seal on those who are faithful, and that the moral standing of those who are not is lowering every day. That is not saying that there are not a great many faults among those who have stood firm, but failure on a sound standard is a very different thing, bad as it is, from lowering the standard. -- wrote to me inviting me to Barnstaple, to come and have intercourse, more than half a year ago: I wrote word when the dishonour done to Christ was judged, till then not. I leave myself, of course, entirely open to meet any one when the Lord leads to it; but it will not, the Lord helping, be on the ground of being not decided as to neutrals. My principle is the same as ever; my experience has made me more so ... .

As to the withdrawal of my letter, -- said it stood in the way of some as a stumbling-block; on this ground I withdrew it, and said so when I did at Bristol, as I wished no particular act of mine to be such. But that changed nothing of my principles, nor did I think anything wrong in it; the only thing which might have been left out was the statement of what I meant to do, which I made as a matter of openness with brethren. I have no doubt the Lord is working, but I believe it is in connection with firmness on these points ... . I do not see the poor put about half as much as the rich ... . I have not the thought of an unkind feeling towards any.

August 17th, 1856.


[Page 308]

[To the same.] J H Eccles, Thank you very much for your kind note ... . In general it is a time of unequivocal blessing for the testimony of brethren, and the witness they have to give spreads beyond my hope, so that I often wonder. The brethren know I always felt they must get into the low place before they could rise. It is the truth of the church's place. Plymouth got out of it, and the candlestick was taken away; God does not light it up as soon as He has put it out; but I am perfectly satisfied that if the brethren are content to wait on Him and abide His time they will see His hand, and all the rest is nothing. We must be content to take the place that faith has, but I am persuaded God will own this to be His, and that is what a heart filled with Christ wants. The Lord may sift till all that are not a witness or for a witness, are gone -- so He did with Christ's followers -- but then He will make them one, and a plain one. The brethren are happy here; many new ones want perhaps building up. Give my kindest love to the brethren.

Affectionately yours in the Lord

London, February 19th, 1858.


[Page 309]

DEAR MISS -- , -- Your question depends on many points in the state of the soul. The first question would be -- have you ever got settled assurance of conscience before God so that that should be true of you which is said, "The worshippers once purged should have no more conscience of sins"? When we have not this, every fault mixes itself up with the question of the light in which God views us, and the question is not restoration, but recovering some sense of standing before God, which is a very different one. God is not really known in love, though we may believe generally that He is so since He has visited us in mercy. If I am not out of Egypt, that is, if I have not a clear knowledge of God as a redeeming God, and I am looking to God who defends me against His judgment by blood, my thought of Him is yet wholly imperfect, my failures give fears, not pain properly, to my spirit. The great point is then to know and believe that He has redeemed us in love, and taken us in the resurrection of Christ out of the whole state and condition I was in before; that He justifies me, not that I am justified before Him -- and both are right, but the former only is liberty. When this is fully known love is never doubted, but we are brought to feel it is grieved; but it is therefore still known to be there; and hence, when the heart really looks to Him it is soon restored, though the Lord may keep it so long in suspense, as to communion, as may be necessary to probe the heart as much as needed. If you have the full assurance that God is love to you at all times, the witness of His Spirit in communion will soon be restored to you.

But there is another question. When I have not a positive sin on my conscience, I cannot properly excommunicate myself. Hence, the separating myself (as to profession outwardly, of course, I mean) from the unity of the body of Christ, of which the Lord's supper is the sign, is a very serious thing; and we are not justified in doing it except on very positive ground. If I felt there had been serious neglect of God, and He was positively dealing with me seriously about my sin, I should rather stay away, but it is a very serious thing when once one sees that it is the unity of Christ's body; but then one ought to take up the matter very seriously indeed with one's self. In many, the abstaining from communion is much too light a matter. On the other hand, if it be as is the case in some souls, only a distrust of God's love, of which the enemy is taking advantage, abstaining from it would only increase the uncertainty of soul. The word of scripture is not, Let a man examine himself, whether he should eat, but, "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat." This is the general rule; not to do it lightly -- but, in judging evil, to do it. If the peace I first spoke of is not possessed, we cannot judge rightly, because restoring love is not known. The first great question for you is, Do you know really the love of God in an assured conscience (not merely attracted heart)? If so, I should say, go -- but do it seriously, so as not to trifle with any evil -- unless some definite dealing of God with you about evil be in hand, then you would do well to refrain till that be settled. I know not whether speaking thus generally (I could only do this, of course) will be of any avail. Look to the Lord; He will guide the meek in judgment, and such as are humble them will He teach His way; and trust His love, only truly judge yourself. If I can be of any further use I shall be happy.

Very truly yours in Christ.

The table is the place of full communion; but it is a different thing to stay away voluntarily, when one is there, and to hesitate in going at first. Seek whether you have ever had your conscience fully at peace with God, and then, daily power for communion, which is surely in Christ for you when walking in the way of God's will.

London, February 3rd, 1859.


[Page 310]

Mons. Pignet, The common notion is that brotherly love is charity, and indeed its most perfect form: this is a mistake, as this passage (2 Peter 1: 7) shews. That brotherly love is a most sweet and precious fruit of grace, is most true -- precious in the heart that is filled with it, and precious in its mutual development; but it is not charity. We are told to add to brotherly love charity. The reason is simple: if brotherly love, brethren are the object, and though when genuine and pure it surely flows from grace, it easily in us clothes itself with the character which its object gives it, and tends to limit itself to the objects with which it is occupied, and be governed by its feeling towards them. It is apt to end in its objects, and thus avoid all that might be painful to them, or mar the mutual feeling and pleasantness of intercourse, and thus make them the measure of the conduct of the Christian. In a word, where brotherly love ends in itself, as the main object, brethren become the motive and governing principle of our conduct; and our conduct as uncertain as the state of our brethren with whom we may be in contact. Hence the apostle says, "Above all these put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness"; and another apostle, "And to brotherly kindness charity." Now charity is love; but will not this seek to exercise brotherly kindness? Undoubtedly it will, but it brings in God. "God is love." "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." Hence it brings in a standard of what true love is, which mere brotherly kindness in itself never can. It is the bond of perfectness, for God, and God in active love is its measure. Brotherly kindness by itself has the brother for the object: charity is governed by, exists in virtue of the conscious presence of God; hence whatever is not consistent with His presence, with Himself, with His glory, cannot be borne by the heart who is filled with it. It is in the spirit of love that it thinks and works, but in the Spirit of God, by whose presence it is inwardly known and active. Love was active in Christ when He said, "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers"; in Paul when he said, I would that they were even cut off which trouble you."

Charity, because it is God's presence, and that we feel His presence, and look to Him in it, is intolerant of evil. In mere brotherly kindness, the brother being the object before my mind (and, if God's presence be not felt, we do not realise it, nature coming in so easily and here in its most unsuspected and kindly shapes), I put man before God, smother up evil, keep kindness going, at any rate so far exclude and shut out God. Charity is His active presence though it will be in love to man- but it gives to God all His rights. He it is that is love, but He is never inconsistent with Himself. His love to us was shewn in what was the most solemn proof of His intolerance of evil, the cross. There is no true love apart from righteousness. If God is indifferent to evil, is not righteous, then there is no love in grace to the sinner. If He abhors evil, cannot suffer it in His presence, then His dealings with us as sinners shew the most perfect love. If I have ten children, and they go wrong, and I say, 'Well, I am to shew love to them,' and I take no account of their evil ways; or if some of them go wrong and I treat them as if there was no difference to my mind in their well doing or evil doing; this is not love but carelessness as to evil. This is the kind of love looked for by unconverted man, namely, God's being as careless as to evil as they are; but this is not divine charity which abhors the evil, but rises over it, dealing with it either in putting it away or in needed chastenings. Now if God were indifferent to evil there is no holy being to be the object of my love -- nothing sanctifying. God does not own as love what admits of sin.

London, February, 1859.


[Page 311]

[Page 312]

[To the same.] Mons. Pignet, The words, "Judge not, that ye be not judged," are often employed to hinder a sound judgment as to the plain path of right and wrong. If a person is walking in that which I know by the word of God to be wrong, I must judge that he is walking wrongly, or give up my judgment of right and wrong. I may trust he may be misled, or that difficulties and temptations may have overcome him, and consider myself lest I also be tempted, think the best I can of him; but I cannot put evil for good, nor good for evil. There can be no right motive to do what is wrong to do -- a thing contrary to God's will. There may be ignorance, want of light in the conscience, and I may and ought to take all this into account, but I cannot say that the person is not doing wrong. Woe be to me if for any personal consideration I enfeeble my own sense that a wrong path is a wrong one. The saint must be very careful not to allow any sophistry to modify his submission of heart and conscience to God's judgment of good and evil. As regards the church of God, the scriptures plainly declare we are to "judge them that are within, but them that are without God judgeth." This is no imputation of motives, nor habit of forming an opinion on other people's conduct, which is an evil habit; but the duty of not allowing evil in the house of God. It is positively commanded to us not to allow it.

Again, many apply this to judging whether people are Christians; but this is founded on a fundamental mistake. It is assumed that people are supposed to be Christians unless proved to be the contrary. If the faith of the soul be a personal thing, and I value Christ, this cannot be. I am not called upon to be volunteering to pass a judgment on the point whether such or such an one is a Christian; the person who blames me for saying such an one is a Christian, is judging that he is so of course, which is quite false. The apostle says "The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead." Believing this, it is a joy to believe that any one has passed from death unto life. That is not a judgment: it is the rejoicing of the heart that faith in that person has brought him into the blessed place of a child of God. It is a most horrible principle that we cannot know who are God's children, Christ's disciples: it destroys all godly affections. If the children of a family were told that they could not know and ought not to judge who are their brothers and sisters, what would become of family affections? The Lord has said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." How can this be if I do not know who are disciples, and towards whom this love is to be exercised? We must know each other to love each other as children of God, to "love as brethren." He who objects to judging that such and such are God's children objects to the love of the brethren; he is rejecting the spiritual affections on which the Lord and scripture so much insist.

There is a wrong spirit of judgment: if I occupy myself needlessly in thinking of others, and expressing an opinion of them; if in questionable cases I ascribe, even in my mind, wrong motives; nay, if I do not hope in such cases that the right motive is at bottom, I am in the spirit of judgment, and away from God. If severity of judgment on the person, when I am bound to judge he is faulty, possesses my soul, thus is not the Spirit of God. But to weaken the plain, unequivocal and avowed estimate of right and wrong under the pretence of not judging; or to deny the knowledge of one another, and mutual love among the saints, under pretence that we have not a right to judge, is of the enemy, and a mere cover to a man's conscience to avoid the conscious pressure of that judgment on himself. If I am to maintain a divine standard of right and wrong, I must judge those who do wrong to be doing so. I am not always called to occupy myself about them -- then, if volunteered, the spirit of judgment comes: but if I am, I must judge according to the word of God. If I am to love the disciples of Jesus, the saints of God, "the brotherhood," I must know who they are If there is a disposition to distrust, or to impute motives, then the spirit of judgment is at work.

Beloved brother, I have written in haste, when just about to start and half asleep, some general principles as to judgment on others. It will be seen if this may be useful. I am starting for Switzerland for three weeks, God willing ... .

Yours affectionately.

London, February 25th, 1859.


[Page 313]

[Page 314]

Dearest W Kelly, -- As regards the introduction of Matthew's version into Luke (11); it is remarkable enough that it is in the Itala and not in the Vulgate. Its presence in D is thus understood. It is a practical Latin arrangement. C however has it, not latinised, but has it substantially. A, I think, fails here. Jerome doubtless corrected from Eastern copies for the Vulgate. I cannot therefore myself doubt that B etc. have it right. All seem to be agreed as to "Deliver us from the wicked one" not being there, at least Scholz, who does not accept other changes. But I think Luke, who always takes up the general present principles of the kingdom and not its dispensational arrival, would very naturally leave out a phrase which I apprehend has special reference to Satan's power in that day. Saving out of temptation, watching and praying lest we enter, is clearly of all times: deliverance from the wicked one is when he has special power, as he has for a short time.

I have given the paper to M. I am not anxious about its publication. My reason is that this contemplation of Christ's sufferings goes beyond the habits of christian thinking in general, and they get into it as a doubtful question. Were it direct truth for Christians, this would do nothing; because they ought to learn it then. But this concerns the Jewish remnant, the interpretation of the Psalms, and though thus most interesting when one gets beyond one's own wants, and useful to avoid wrong interpretations, yet one cannot expect the mass of Christians to enter into it. I am in the fullest way confirmed in the interpretation I have given and I doubt not received, though some expressions might be misapprehended. I have since written on Psalms 40 and 69, and have been in the fullest way confirmed in it.

Where I think dear -- mistaken is in attempting to get over the word ejkklhsiva and contrast it with body; this I judge is a mistake. Body, as you already know, I think is in that sense contrasted with house; but assembly is a general word which determines nothing save that there is an assembling. I have written a part of my paper on it, and now that I have finished my French translation hope to go on with it. The scriptural part is nearly done, but the Fathers only just looked at.

The doctrine in the paper on Hebrews is just the same as that in the papers on the sufferings.

There has been a little persecution in France, but very slight; and unless perhaps one brother already twice in prison, all passed, and graciously only turned to good; and what does not?

Ever, dear brother, affectionately yours.

London, March 5th, 1859.


[Page 315]

-- - I regard all pretence in any to priesthood, save that which can be attributed, and which in scripture is attributed to all saints, as the principle of the apostasy in its present form of development, and the denial of Christianity. Judaism had priests, because the people could not themselves go directly to God where He revealed Himself; Christianity has none between God's people and Himself in their worship, because Christians are brought to God and have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. To set a priest to go for them as one nearer to God, is to deny the effect of Christianity. Besides, priesthood has essentially to do with intercession, or sacrifice and offerings and in the Lord's supper there is no sacrifice, nor is it intercession. The whole idea of priesthood on earth is to be rejected, therefore, as utterly contradictory both to Christianity and the act of breaking the bread.

But, on the other hand, it is a mistake to think we partake by breaking the bread, or that we break it. The whole force of the thing consists (as to this point) in our partaking of already broken bread. It is His body broken for us that we take and eat. We are not the breakers of His body, properly speaking. So that, I apprehend, the true partaking of the Lord's supper is after the bread is broken. The breaking of the bread now is, of course, a necessary accident to such participation, but is no part of the communion at all. And every one acquainted with scripture on the point, knows that "blessing" means simply giving thanks, and not consecrating the bread. See 1 Corinthians 11: 24 and compare Matthew 26: 26, 27; Mark 14: 22; and Luke 22: 19. So in Luke 9: 16, the miracle of the loaves and not the Eucharist, He blessed them and brake; in John 6: 11, 23 Mark 8: 6, 7 (also Mark 6: 41), the terms are united; in Matthew 14: 19 He blessed, and in chapter 15: 36 gave thanks. In 1 Corinthians 14: 16 we find incontestable proof of what indeed the previous passages can leave no doubt on to a reasonable mind. "Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?" Blessing is blessing God, a giving of thanks. So the apostle says, in chapter 11, "the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks," and in 1 Corinthians 10 "the cup of blessing which we bless." Matthew and Mark, speaking of the bread, say He blessed; and speaking of the cup, say He gave thanks. In Luke it is simply, He gave thanks. Thus, the blessing which precedes the breaking of the bread is a giving of thanks; and in this, of course, all join, as in every thanksgiving, though one may utter it. Every saint is essentially competent, though in a large congregation godly order of mind may leave it to such as may have justly earned the respect of the body; yet, as the feeling of priesthood is readily slipped into, I should think it desirable that it were not always one.

The breaking of the bread is in itself no religious act; it represents the putting of Christ to death, and, as an outward act, was consummated by wicked men. But the Lord did break it in the last supper, shewing it was a dead Christ they had to feed on; and hence he who gives thanks breaks the bread. The communion comes after and is on a broken body. The breaking is the killing of Christ, and though absolutely necessary as a figure, because His death was absolutely necessary and is the very point shewn forth, yet the act of doing it is no religious part of the thing which one has a privilege in doing. And as to pouring out the wine, it is done no doubt often, but is no part of the Lord's supper at all. The wine is, in the institution, supposed to be already in the cup, still pointing to the great fact, that the communion refers to an already dead Saviour. The blood is out of the body -- "my blood which is shed for you." The act of pouring out would not represent death, because the body is not thus represented, and hence it is not referred to at all. The already shed blood is given thanks for or blessed, already poured out: "the cup which we bless," etc. There is the breaking of the bread as significative of the breaking of His body; but this is preparatory to communion.

It is this consideration which shews the terrible import of the Roman Catholic doctrine as to the Eucharist, and how Satan has taken them in their own wisdom and, so to speak, mocked them. The laity are deprived of the cup and are consoled by what is called the doctrine of concomitancy; namely, that the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus are in the bread (indeed in both species). But if the blood be in the body, and not shed and separate, there is no redemption. It is shed blood, not blood in the body, which is the power of redemption; without shedding of blood there is none. This confirms the view, taken above, that it is a body already broken, and blood already shed, of which we partake. Thus, though the bread must be broken as it was by Christ, by him who gives thanks, this is but preparatory and forms, strictly, no part of the communion; and, as representing the putting Christ to death, it is no part of the holy service itself, though needed to shew that it is of a dead Christ we partake: it is of no living, existing Christ, but of a dead Christ, and there is none such. Remark further, how this sets aside transubstantiation and consubstantiation; for no such Christ exists as that celebrated in the Eucharist. As in the Passover a slain lamb, so a dead Christ is represented there, and shed blood; but there is no dead Christ now, He is alive again for evermore. As risen with Him, we remember the sorrows and sufferings which gave us a place there. That atoning death is accomplished and passed, and sin is put away for us, and we are alive with Him for evermore.

I would just add, that the expression in 1 Corinthians 10: 16 has no reference to one or to many, but to what Christians do in contrast with Jews and Gentiles. The apostle is treating the question of idolatry. Jews were partakers of the altar, Gentiles drank the cup of devils. What we (Christians) partake of is communion with the sacrifice of Christ. We are identified with the sacrifice, we cannot be with the cup of devils too.
[1859.]


[Page 316]

[Page 317]

[Page 318]

[Mr Ware] DEAREST BROTHER, -- Had I not known that several brethren would have been with you as a testimony of respect for your beloved departed one and sympathy with you, I should have at any rate turned my steps back to -- , as they are just able to get about; and somewhat overdone by getting up to London for fresh materials for study work, and through mercy beginning very slowly to get a little strength, I feel I should do wrong in attempting the journey and retracing my steps. I have indeed a fortifying reason. I feel that by this accident in my knee the Lord has set me aside for a while from outward work, so that I felt it the Lord's will to remain quiet; not, be assured, dear brother, from any want of sympathy with you in the -- to man -- terrible blow that is come upon you, when I think how truly she was attached to you, and, I knew, you to her, and of your four little ones.

I feel what a world of sorrow it is, and how real a share you have in that sorrow; but a world where, if sin and sorrow have entered in, grace has come in after them; and now love has risen above all the sin and sorrow, and, having entered into the worst of all it could bring on us, has given us a place out of it all: into the place from which it flowed the spirit of your dear wife has entered, and is with Him who entered into all that sorrow here that He might deliver us from it all; and, if you remain in the scenes of it down here, that very love has revealed itself by coming down into them that we might have it here. Jesus was a man of sorrows, and indeed none like His. And His love is perfect sympathy as well as deliverance. Look to this, dear brother, and you will find it in your sorrow, and raising you out of it, not by destroying the feeling, but by coming into it, taking all human will out of it which causes regret and bitterness, and bringing His will into it, and Himself in love with us in it. His grace is sure, in its path does not fail; nothing escapes or happens without it. This. is a great comfort -- first our will, subtle as it is and meddling with the best affections, is broken and there is submission; then comes the sense of positive love. Any sense of failure even on our part, if such there be, is lost in the sense of the perfect love and ordering of God. He takes the place of the reasoning of our minds and all is peace. This is a wonderful thing, for after all even as to our ways we cannot answer Him nor account for one of a thousand. He does use all to set our hearts right, and gives softened peace like a river.

But I will not trespass on you, dear brother, with many words at this moment. Only look to Jesus, and believe in and count on the love of God towards yourself -- towards her there is no difficulty, she is where all is clear -- for your dear little ones and believe that He is sufficient, and wait upon Him who knows our sorrows and difficulties and trials. Be assured of my unfeigned sympathy, for indeed I feel that your loss has been very great, but I am sure my God is able to supply all your need according to His riches in glory. Peace be with you: be much with Jesus, and the God of peace shall keep your heart.

Your affectionate brother in Jesus.

July 4th, 1859.


[Page 319]

[J A Von Poseck] [From the French.] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- We were engaged in a conference when your letter arrived, which has delayed my answering though I had begun a letter. We have always had from time to time such readings here as they have also even more regularly in Germany, and growth of knowledge, and general unity of doctrine is through grace promoted and fellowship in labour and service They have such regularly in Somersetshire among the labouring brethren, and if carried on under the Lord's eye and grace I am sure they would be useful in Suffolk.

I am very well, but somewhat tired between conference, lectures, and work of all kinds. I am not so young as I was and work almost, or quite as hard from early dawn towards midnight in my 60th year as in years past, but I feel it a little more. But I have singularly enjoyed the word in all its parts latterly, and particularly in John and now in Matthew. I think new divine light continually breaks in, and I am most happy in going peacefully onward to a sure, most blessed and divine rest, across the toil and exercises of the desert ... .

The Lord keep us in the way of His steps and in the abundant witness of His grace. It is a time in which the Spirit of God is evidently working in a wonderful manner, for which we have to be abundantly thankful, but I think I see signs of its being in judgment on the professing church. The Lord avert it, and prove me wrong, but I fear it is so ... .

Be ever content with quiet service and seek much communion and constancy with Christ in His work, and the Lord bless you in all things. He is goodness itself.

Ever your affectionate brother in Christ.

Nimes, April 3rd, 1860.


[Page 320]

J A Von Poseck, Our partaking of the divine nature is a real+ thing. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." All are born of God. Christ is become our life: He is "that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us"; and hence it can be said, "Which thing is true in him and in you." But that "light was the light of men." Christ was "the image of the invisible God." This life was a true, moral, subsisting thing, which could be communicated. There is a divine power in it which contains and unfolds all things that pertain to life and godliness. It is faith which lays hold, by the power of the Spirit of God, on that which is life, that is, Christ. We are "the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." Christ is the Word -- the expression and revelation of all that is in God; and we, in knowing Him, are renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created us. The word, as a testimony, is the seed of life when brought into the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost; because it is the revelation of Christ, and the bringing in, by that power, of Christ livingly there. It is Christ, by the word, by faith, in the power of the Holy Ghost, the operation being the operation of God. But it is by the revelation of Christ. Hence, we are said to be begotten by the incorruptible seed of the word (1 Peter 1: 23); and James 1: 18, "Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." And so it is expressed here. Grace and peace are to be multiplied, "through the Knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us by glory and virtue, whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be made partakers of the divine nature." It is not a law to flesh, calling them to walk rightly where man already was; but a call by glory and virtue to get on to this new place of peace in which Christ is, and that by the revelation of Him glorified, and the assurance of our portion in it. But thus, by divine power, it is livingly communicated to the soul. But this is the glory of the divine nature in a man, into which we are to be formed: but we are livingly formed by its revelation in the power of the Holy Ghost now. It is the real communication of the divine nature. Only Peter looks at it, even in its affections, desires, qualities, as under the impress of the revelation of Christ, rather than as the simple fact of life. But all scripture tells the same truth. For every nature has its own character, knowledge by which it lives and is formed, its tastes, and spirit, and objects, which make it what it is, though its existence is the first and wonderful truth.
[1860.]


+'What is meant by being "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1: 4), and how and when is this effected? Does any scripture speak of it?'

[Page 321]

J A Von Poseck Two things require to be noticed in replying.+ First, the supposition of the same degree of knowledge in all is quite, as it seems to me, unfounded. Secondly, we are little aware of the immense difference of common knowledge current in the church by the presence of the Holy Ghost -- that unction from the Holy One by which we know all things, which will not be then thus present with the remnant; though He will act in producing longings after deliverance and good in the hearts of the remnant, and directing their thoughts to the scriptures of truth, with an intelligence which the cravings of want alone give. Another point to be noticed is that there are wise ones, who "instruct the many in righteousness" -- wise ones who understand. How many now appreciate the real calling and standing of the church of God? The godly of that day will cry to Jehovah in their distress, and the more profoundly convinced they are of their sins, the more will they understand the prophetic declarations. They are directed to the law and the testimony, all that is in the Old Testament, and all short of the church, I apprehend, in the New Testament open to them, such as Matthew and Hebrews. Certainly all concerning Christ, as revealed in prophecy, is before them. They will not understand personal forgiveness and acceptance till they see Him: the rejection of Messiah they may feel as their national guilt. How many now have not found personal acceptance with God? The repentance after seeing Him will be wholly different in nature and kind from that before; it will be under grace, and less egotistic. Psalm 8 can be only hope, with a question -- shall I be there? But the thought of Messiah, as they have not pardon, will be at the utmost as in an awakened soul who has not the Spirit -- the sense of a guilty nation, uncertain whether they will participate in a blessing which faith believes will come. The degree of the sense of guilt will, of course, vary.

I apprehend the Psalms are specially calculated to minister expression and direction to their feelings in that day. Isaiah 53 gives hope to the nation, not peace then to the individual. They may know from Psalm 68 that He is gone to heaven, from Psalm 110 that He is at the right hand of God. How little the Jews understood it we learn from the Saviour's question. (Matthew 22: 43) But though there will be individual wants, the nation, their common lot, will be more in their thoughts than personal forgiveness and peace; God's government rather than individual salvation. And all is coloured by this. When they see Him, each will mourn apart. Some, I hardly doubt, will have seized the Old Testament instruction as to Christ -- perhaps those who are killed and taken up, the saints of the high places. Yet even they will, as to their testimony, be more associated with the God of the earth than we. As regards Daniel, the wise will understand. But he does not speak of atonement nor any passage I know but Isaiah 53; and that is for the nation as they would then understand it. I cannot doubt the guilt of a rejected Messiah will shine in on some souls as regards the nation.

The difficulty for a Christian is to enter into the state and habits of thought of those concerned in these prophecies in that day. It is clear that all the Old Testament prophecies will be before them. But the Holy Ghost, not dwelling in them to guide into all truth, they will seek in distress of soul the answer to their need and circumstances with the feelings of a people. And the wise will instruct the many. I apprehend the church, and the divine glory of the Person of Jesus, will be understood by none till they see Him -- certainly not the church -- and then only from without.


+'On the supposition of a Jewish remnant, distinct from the church of God now in process of formation, and the object of God's dealing after we have been caught up, and before we appear with Christ in glory, how far will they all know Jesus Will they enter into His sufferings, or His glory in heaven? How far will they apprehend the teaching of such Psalms as 8; 68; 80; 110; or of such prophecies as Isaiah 53; Daniel 9; Micah 5; Zechariah 12?'

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DEAR -- , -- As to John 1: 16, I think you will find that ajntiv thus used signifies accumulation -- one thing on another. For one blow comes another. Hence, it must be translated, "grace upon grace." You may see passages cited in Kuinoel and Bengel on the passages. 'Calamities on calamities.' ajntj ajniw'n ajnivai (Theog. verse 344): eJtevran ajnqj eJtevra" frontivda. (Chrys. de Sac.)

Further, in "denying the Lord that bought them," the simple answer is, there is no reference to redemption at all. The ordinary word for redemption is ajpoluvtrwsi". The price for it is called ajntilutron, applied to all (1 Timothy 2: 6), but ajpoluvtrwsi" is not. Redemption from under a given state is expressed by ejxagoravzw in Galatians 3: 13; 4: 5 -- deliverance from under the law. The only other two passages are in Ephesians and Colossians -- "redeeming the time," rescuing an opportunity (kairo;n) which offers, so as to profit by it for good -- not making a good use of all time, as usually supposed. (Comp. Daniel 2: 8.) I do not believe that ajgoravzw has ever the sense by itself of 'redeem': it is simply to buy. I know it is so translated in two or three passages, as Revelation 5 and 14; but it is simply "bought."

The passage in 2 Peter 2, I am persuaded, refers to the idea of a slave bought in a market -- the contrary of redeemed from a state of slavery -- and who, though his despovth" (not kuvrio", the Lord) has his right over him, will not own it. You may remark, that in the passage of Jude treating the same subject, despovth" is applied to God also: they deny "the only despovth" qeo;n." The question of redemption out of a previous state does not enter into either passage; but the denial of a divinely inherent or acquired title over them. The strongest expression connected with this, and referring to all, is that which I have quoted -- ajntivlutron uJpe;r pavntwn -- "a ransom for all." Nor can the well-instructed saint desire to weaken it. Christ has a title by His dying gift of Himself, not merely by creation, over all flesh. If rejected, He is rejected as the accomplisher of a redemption work, the guilt of the rejection of which lies on all who hear of it. And He has an absolute title by it over all flesh; giving, in virtue of it, eternal Life to as many as the Father has given Him. But apovluvtrwsi" -- actual redemption -- is never referred to at all. But I comment as well as criticise. Autrovw, to redeem, as well as luvtron, a ransom, or luvtrwsi", redemption, bear out the general statement above.
[1860.]


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-- - The Mediator,+ Christ Jesus, has appeared. The work is done -- the blood shed. But the new covenant is not yet made with the two houses of Israel and Judah. Hence, in Hebrews, it is remarkable how the apostle, writing for those who now anticipatively enjoy its spiritual privileges, constantly waives the discussion of Its direct application. In fact, that is reserved for converted Israel by-and-by. There is really no difficulty. Those of the Jews, and we of the Gentiles, who now believe in Jesus, come into a distinct position as one body, but possessing all the moral blessings of the new covenant. The fulfilment of it pertains to the Jewish people in the last days, when Messiah reigns over them. Jesus died "for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." His death will avail for both purposes: the time and order of applying it is another question. In fact, we know that Israel refused the message, and hence the blessing remains in abeyance till the fulness of the Gentiles is come in. Then, and when the Redeemer shall come to Zion and out of Zion (for both are true), "all Israel shall be saved." Of course, all the efficacious value for Israel then, as for us now, is in the blood of the Lamb. If Israel will have sacrifices, as well as an earthly temple and priesthood, they will be only commemorative signs of the one great offering of Christ. The epistle to the Hebrews excludes these for the Christian. The question of the Jew by-and-by is answered by their own prophecies.


+'What are the views entertained about the new covenant with Israel and Judah? (Heb 8: 10) Is it not made? If not yet, when and how is it to be ratified? The blood of bulls and goats is clearly unavailing to purge the conscience. (Heb 10)'

[Page 325]

MY DEAR BRETHREN, -- I have hitherto been engaged in visiting France and Switzerland, though it has been rapidly gone through; I am far from having completed even hurried visits. But the Lord has been most graciously with me; almost everywhere I have not had room for those who came desirous to hear, or at any rate the place was exceedingly crowded, both in France and Switzerland. Part of my work has been in settled civilized places, part in most wild and out-of-the-way places, and mountains, far from all common comforts, but in both happy and helped in the work, and especially in the wild places in evangelizing. We had the Police after us once; they took the names of those who had taken part, but except two appearing before the Mayor it had no further troublesome consequences. A soul was brought to the Lord in the meeting. There are in France upwards of 100 gatherings and 25 labourers, besides those who act in the meetings locally, as in the meetings. I do not count parts of evangelization, nor do I count the Swiss gatherings, or workmen visiting all these or most of them once.

A country nearly as big I suppose as England without Wales, you can easily conceive takes some time, but the door is opened, so that I have sometimes hesitated whether I ought not to give up more time to it, though I have had the feeling that having long been abroad in these countries, I owed more time to England. There is besides these countries, Germany, where there are many brethren, and now some 15 meetings in Holland. In Switzerland there are between 60 and 70 gatherings. All this has grown up under my own eye. A great part of the labourers having studied the scriptures, or doing so as they can, with me, so that you may suppose it interests me duly. Yet I think I put it as distinctly as possible in the Lord's hands, and the work without a thought of myself; but this makes it the nearer to myself and the more interesting. It does not detach me from England. I feel that they and the work and gatherings in the latter land are in the Lord, and for the Lord.

The work of evangelizing spreads in France. The weakness in some of the elder gatherings still works. Yet oh, how I should rejoice to see more living energy in those gatherings and in all. Yet patience and faith is what we have to exercise looking ever to the Lord who can help when all seems very low. It is sweet to count upon Him; in all circumstances, and in all states we can.

I have had a slight attack in my eye, and feel I am beginning to get old for going through hardships, but I never felt so free in the gospel, or its preciousness so much, or Christ so precious. His faithfulness too is unfailing. If I were able to serve Him -- as I am sure He is precious in service -- it would be famous. Outwardly in quantity I could hardly do more- what I want is a deeper well of Christ in my own soul to draw from for the blessing of others. That is the point, dear brethren. I do not doubt I have Him. I know His love, but I want more undistractedness in the purpose which moment by moment occupies me, but I know that He is all, and in Him my spirit has rest. Thank -- for his kind remembrance of me. Give my kindest love to all the brethren. Peace and the Lord's grace be with you.

Affectionately yours in Christ.

November 10th, 1860.


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-- - The remark is right as to the ambiguity of the English,+ because 'come' is also the participle 'have come,' and the natural connection is, "sinned and come short." But it seems to me that uJsterou'ntai does not refer to exhibiting. With a genitive, and particularly in later writers, it has the sense 'destitute of,' 'wanting,' 'failing to have.' Now that sin has come in, we must meet the glory of God or be excluded by it. In a state of innocency man enjoyed favour, and the question of consistency with the divine glory had not been raised. Now, we say, "All have sinned, and do come short of [fail in meeting, or standing in the presence of] the glory of God." Christ, as Son of man, has glorified God on the cross, and human nature has a place in the glory; oujk uJsterou'ntai, and so we in Him.

This point of meeting the glory I believe to be an important one, and to run through the gospels. John 13 specially treats it with immense depth, though briefly. I add that hmarton, the aorist, is the historic fact, which is the ground of the present state expressed in uJsterou'ntai . We have sinned, and are outside of, away from, morally wanting in what meets and gives us a place in, the glory of God.


-- - It is not sound doctrine so to say.++ Abstractedly everything is eternally present with God, and there is no time with Him; but, then, I cannot say 'when' or 'before' in this point of view, because there is no when or before when there is no time. And in the scriptural view, such language is wholly unwarranted; because in due time Christ died for the ungodly, "when we were yet without strength": and "having been justified by faith," etc. We are not justified without believing, but by faith, through faith in His blood -- not without it or before it -- nor hence without being at the same time born of God "When we were dead in sins," we were quickened together with Him, etc. "By grace are ye saved through faith." We, were by nature children of wrath, but God, who is rich in mercy, when we were dead in sins, quickened us. It is a new nature which we as persons never had before it was communicated to us, when we had only the old. To say we were eternally believers, is nonsense. In the same sense, we were eternally unbelievers, too, and eternally glorified, for all these things were before God's mind together, without time. It is not true that Romans 4: 25 means because we were justified; 'because we were justified' is not in the passage: dikaivwsi" cannot mean it, but 'for justifying us'; it would have been, dia; to; dikaiwqh'nai hJma'". Hence, when the part. passive is used, faith is added; wherefore, dikaiwqevnte", "having been justified by faith."

Ephesians 4: 18 proves the contrary to what it is alleged. They were "alienated from the life of God" when they were in darkness; and then he talks of learning Christ -- that is, when unbelievers, they had to learn Him: if they had, indeed, learned Him according to the truth in Him; namely, the putting off according to the former conversation the old man, and being renewed in the spirit of their mind. Now, here is a work clearly wrought in them; if they had really learned Christ, they knew what it was to put off the old man; they had it before, and put on the new, which they had not before. To say that a man is born of God when he is in sins, is false; that he is created again in Christ Jesus when he is a mere sinner, is nonsense Scripture does not speak so. Justification is referred to faith which I have not, assuredly, before I believe. High Calvinists have this manner of speaking. If they merely mean, that all was in God's thoughts and purposes, it is all right. But scripture never speaks as they do, but puts a man as a creature, who belongs to time, into time, and deals morally with him. If it be said, that the life which we get existed eternally, for it was Christ who is our life, it is all well. But it is not ours till we have Christ, and before that we are children of wrath; at least, so says the scripture. The work may be all viewed mentally in Him, when the power wrought; but if it be referred to the saints, so that it is only their knowledge of it which is now given, it is untrue and mischievous, because God purifies, the heart by faith, as well as justifies us. Scripture says, "what is, the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe according to the working of his mighty power," etc.; not to the elect. It had been only wrought in believers. I do not know whether it is held that faith is eternal.

-- - No doubt, pwvrwsi",+++ being the active form of nouns, like dikaivwsi", may seem to raise a question; but if adequately considered, the difficulty disappears. For pwvrwsi" has the simple sense of a callous place, as one might say, 'it is a hardening of the skin,' though the form 'hardening' be active, because it was a gradual act, while it is now a state. So nevkrwsi" is applied to Sarah's womb; and again, we are to carry about the nevkrwsi" of the Lord Jesus. But this is, I apprehend, in no way the case with justifying, or dikaivwsi". Diav always means "on account of:" the question is, does it here signify previous to, or after, the resurrection of Christ? People often cite the verse, as if it meant that Christ was raised on account of our having been already justified before He rose. This, I am convinced, would require some such phrase as dia; to; dikaiwqh'nai hJma'", which essentially differs from that which Paul employs. In the present case, there would be no process like that of pwvrwsi", or nevkrwsi" (which words express a state as result), but a state existing by the simple act of another, a relationship in virtue of an act done. This, the active form, does not, I believe, express; an effect to be produced it can express. The great doctrinal mischief of the alleged rendering, 'because of,' is, that it excludes faith from justifying, which is Calvinism, or ultra-Calvinism, but wholly unscriptural.


The change from "heard and seen" (verse 1) to "seen and heard" (verse 3) is because of the manifestation, I apprehend, spoken of in verse 2. But as hearing His word was the way of knowing Him and having eternal life, Christ having given them the words the Father had given Him, and by His title the Word, hearing was the first thing. They had thus His authority, believing Him (not their sight) as groundwork But they did see Him. He was a real, living man then: and this was all-important. So we have "looking upon," or contemplating, Him added. It was not a momentary vision. He was seen as a man walking amongst them. They had "handled" Him too: He was a real man come in flesh. This was the very essence of what they had, Jesus Christ come in flesh.

"If we say" in verse 6, etc., is this: grace and privilege are always in John connected with the Father and the Son; responsibility with God as connected with His nature. The first part of this chapter (vers. 1-4) gives the privilege and joy simply and fully. Verses 5 and 6 test the profession by the divine nature -- purity -- which, as light, revealing itself, detects everything. If they pretended to have the joy and were not in the light, it was a lie. The true knowledge of God, revealed in the soul such as He is in holiness and truth, must exist to have fellowship in grace. Though it is not necessarily according to the light, it is in the light -- only reality is supposed, walking in the light. The next, "if we say," is a question of truth in us. (verse 8) If Christ be in me as the truth, I shall be conscious of another principle and nature in me, which in itself always has its own will and fruits. I have not the truth in me, as the life of Christ is the truth in spiritual intelligence in me, if I do not know sin, which it is conscious of and judges, because it -- truth -- is in me. Sin here is the whole condition of the old man, though learnt by indwelling sin -- specially this last. Then, if I say that I have not sinned (verse 10), I make God a liar; for He has declared all men have sinned: Christianity is founded on it, and the death of Christ declares it. God's word, in such a case, is not in us; for it reveals that all have sinned.
[1863.]


+Romans 3: 23 interpreted to mean "have come short" instead of "do come short": the tense contributing to make the meaning clear; namely, all have failed to exhibit the glory of God, rather than all fail to obtain it.

++'Is it sound doctrine: that believers were justified, quickened, raised, etc., in and with Christ, when He died and rose again; that is, that they were justified before they were born, and that faith merely gives the knowledge of it?'

+++'I believe there is no sufficient reason to doubt that Romans 4: 25 means that Christ was raised "for our justification." I have heard it argued, however, that dia; th;n pwvrwsin, in Ephesians 4: 18, which beyond question means "because of," and not for "the hardness," etc., sets aside the reasoning grounded on the form of the word dikaivwsi". What think you?'

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MY DEAR SISTER, -- I was right in reading the postscript of your sister's letter, for, as I supposed, it shews much more of the state of her mind than all the rest. She has her mind bent on a place of ministry; and I do feel that, blest as she has been, she is on the brink of a precipice, though, as yet, she may not have fallen into it. I do not question that women had gifts. It is evident; the scripture is quite plain. So that all the passages brought to prove this, prove only what is fully admitted, before the real question is touched. Further, that women laboured in the Lord, that is also true, as I doubt not many have most sweetly, even in these days; and for my own part I should most entirely rejoice in it. But that is not the question. The question is about the assemblies of God: and these the word of God is as plain as possibly can be, to forbid it positively. In 1 Corinthians 11 after giving directions for the modesty of the manner of a woman's praying or prophesying, he goes on to speak of their coming together in verse 17: the previous part having nothing to do with an assembly, the directions for which commence with verse 17. He continues on through chapter 14. the question of assemblies, having treated of gifts in themselves, and compared with charity (chapter 13) as necessary to the subject, and resumes fully in verse 23 the assembly; and having spoken of "all assemblies of the saints" -- God being the author of peace in them -- He says positively, "Let your women keep silence in the assemblies, for it is not permitted unto them to speak." In 1 Timothy 2 the apostle says, "I will therefore that men pray everywhere ... . In like manner also that women adorn themselves ... . Let the women learn in silence with all subjection: but I suffer not a woman to teach ... but to be in silence." Now if the gifts were denied to have been given to women, passages may be produced which plainly shew they had them, and overthrow such denial; but there is nothing whatever to modify these rules. Only two or three prophets were to speak in the assembly; there might be twenty that had gifts in it, but the order of the assembly was such for men: for women it was to hold their tongues. The possession of a gift by a man did not warrant their breaking the rule laid down by the apostle, whose directions were of authority; nor did the possession of a gift by a woman warrant her breaking the rule as to woman. There being neither male nor female in Christ Jesus has nothing to do with gifts in assemblies, but their unity in life and privileges in Christ. No question of expediency can warrant departure from scripture regulations, and departure from them will soon end in sorrow and confusion.

My advice to your sister is, that it is she herself that is setting aside one passage by another: because I admit all her passages recognise the gifts in women and their labour. But as man's exercise of gift was regulated (the spirit of the prophets being subject to the prophets), so also was woman's, and differently: they were not to speak at all in the assemblies, nor to teach. You should urge upon your sister these passages, and that she is going positively contrary to the word of God; and I say to you, I do really think she is in a very dangerous path.

Very faithfully yours, dear Miss -- , in the Lord.

[Date unknown.


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-- - The scripture is plain,+ that it forbidden to a woman even to ask questions. It is not seemly for angels or men. If any strangers are allowed to come in who wish it, I should consider it a public assembly; but if it be an individual meeting for any beyond the saints, then it has a private character, and I think the woman's place is as in any other private assembly: only that in divine things, and in christian women, modesty and a retiring spirit is of great price with God. If it be a regular meeting of the assembly, the woman's part is surely to be silent. In a private meeting, it is merely a question of the modesty that becomes them. We are called to peace.
[1861.]


-- - Remember you are young at the work, and carry it on much before God. Seek to be emptied of self, and see only the Lord and souls in it: you know, if any real work is done He does it. Be much with God: do not suppose I say this to discourage you. If there is one desire upon my heart, after the blessing itself, it is that God would give and encourage true labourers to go between Him and souls: but this is what it must be, or surely we have nothing to bring, nor (if not much with Him) any power, if we know the truth. He is to be revealed, and He alone can do this; but when much with Him we always learn, and oh! to what profit, our own nothingness.
1861.


+'What is the woman's part at religious meetings?'

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-- - Baptism has nothing to do with the church+ properly speaking; that is, viewed as the body of Christ. It is by one Spirit we are baptised into one body. Baptism does not, in figure, carry faith further than resurrection. For the body we must have the ascension of the Head, and the consequent sending down of the Holy Ghost to form it: of that the Lord's supper is the sacramental sign. Baptism is therefore individual, and is as a figure the bringing out of the individual from the flesh and his old life in Adam by death into a new individual position in life (but on the earth) in resurrection. Two great truths seem to me to accompany this: the revelation of the Persons of the Godhead, for the Father sent the Son, and the Son and the Father too have sent down the Spirit who reveals them. The revelation is a revelation of God. If thus born of God, even this truth enters into all my relationship. God is my Father; in Christ risen I have the form and power of sonship and it is in the Holy Ghost the spirit of adoption is. It is, however, mainly the revelation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost which is in question. The other great truth brought out in Christianity is, that Jesus Christ (that glorious Man) is Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ. This, while closely connected with the glory of His Person in the name Jesus, is the anointed man, the Christ.

This revelation of the Godhead and of the Lordship of Christ forms the basis and substance of Christianity itself as a profession, along with the subjective truth that flesh -- fully proved already -- can have nothing to say to it. I must enter by death into this new sphere, into relationship with God, and, as risen, become the servant of Christ, as Lord. Hence, in Ephesians 4, we have one body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism. The first is the full heavenly and essential thing in connection with Christ; the second, the profession upon earth in connection with the Lordship of Christ. Hence, also Paul, who saw Christ only in heavenly glory, and to whom the ministry and revelation of the church was committed, was not sent to baptise; and in Matthew, where the commission referred to was given, we have not the ascension at all. Here Jerusalem is gone, and Christ is associated with the remnant in Galilee already around Him, and they were to disciple the nations. This does not connect itself directly with the millennium, but with the ministration of the gospel of the kingdom, which precedes it, and does go out into all nations before the end comes -- the end of the age. The millennium is brought in by the coming back of the Lord in glory from heaven. This precedes it. Hence in Matthew He says, "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age;" that is, the age which precedes the coming of Messiah in glory to set up the kingdom publicly. Hence, I do not see why this mission should not go on when the church is gone up. It does not directly contemplate the church, but so neither does baptism ever: it does profess Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and the Lordship of Christ, when He is not yet revealed from heaven.

Baptism, therefore, is the public testimony of reception by death and resurrection. That is, now Christ is rejected, we have the public witness that flesh has no place with God; that life is in the Son and given of God -- that it is on the ground consequently of the revelation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (the Father who has given this life in sending Jesus, in whom it is, and the Spirit's witness of it because He is truth) -- all this is on earth, as the Apostle John's witness always is; and that, walking in this world, we own and are subject to Jesus as the Lord.

The formula I only so far attach importance to as being the expression of the truth. If one were bonâ fide baptised in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to the present Lordship of Christ, I should consider them baptised, though the words were not used. Though, in saying that, I think the maintenance and holding fast a form of sound words has its place and importance: and I need not say we have none better than those of scripture, of the Lord Himself and His apostles. I only mean, if they were not used, but the person bona fide baptised in the acknowledgment of the thing, it would be real baptism. For my own part, I always use both. And I believe every one rightly baptised is baptised to the Lord Jesus, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He is given up to Christ, once dead, but now risen, and Lord, through death and resurrection -- to Him as Lord, but according to the revelation contained in those words, "Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." We do it when He is not manifested as such before the world. We do it through the knowledge of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that is God so revealed. They are not baptised to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We join the risen Christ as Lord by baptism: we are baptised to Him; but it is in the confession of this wonderful and complete revelation of God in grace, and in truth, too, through Him, but by the Holy Ghost, who is truth. Of course this involves the acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ; and thus we are baptised in His name. It is the thing we are to look to, not the mere formula.
1861.


+'Is the instruction in Matthew 28: 19, to baptise "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost," the formula of baptism for the Church? If it is, how is it we have no mention of the use of this formula in the Acts, but have repeated mention of believers being "baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus"? (Acts 8: 16; 19: 5) Is being baptised "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" and being baptised "in the name of the Lord" one and the same thing? If not what is the difference; and which are we to observe?'

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J A Von Poseck, That the saints are caught away before vengeance+ bursts upon professors is quite certain, because it is when Christ appears that He executes vengeance. 2 Thessalonians 1: 8-10 and a multitude of passages.) Now when Christ appears, we appear with Him. (Colossians 3: 4) Matthew 13: 41, 43 only proves that, when the wicked are judged, the righteous shine forth; but they had been previously gathered into the garner, in order to do so. In verse 49 the judgment severs the wicked from among the just. This is not the rapture. Judgment leaves the just where they were; one is taken and the other left, as in Matthew 24. In this last case the sphere is narrower, but the principle is the same. It is well to remark that the explanation does not refer to the same event as the parable explained, but gives further particulars. This is a general rule of interpretation. The public visible judgment of God explains what has to be understood when it is not visible. Privilege is a matter of faith.

As regards suffering and death for His name, it is a privilege compared with those left on earth; but it is only in this case for righteousness and the prophetic knowledge of the name of Jesus, for "the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus." They did not confess and know Him as Son of God, as the members of the church did. When forced by growing wickedness, through grace they would not deny divine hopes, and they will have their reward. They would have done better to have owned Him in peace, when not so forced; but God is wise and perfect in all things.

The tares are declared to be taken in hand before the wheat is gathered into the garner; but, as we have seen, when the tares are burnt, the wheat is already in the garner and then shines forth. As regards the unparalleled tribulation in Matthew 24, and the passages from which that is taken, it is exclusively Jewish. There is no passage to prove there is such a tribulation but those which prove it is Jewish. As to the more general tribulation mentioned in Revelation 3, it is only mentioned to declare that the saints shall be kept from that hour. Then, again, a countless multitude come out of the great tribulation in Revelation vii. Revelation 19: 14 and Colossians 3: 4, of course, agree with and confirm all other scriptures on the subject. These only go, however, to prove distinctly that the saints are with Christ before He appears; but not how long they have been so.

'Some of the saints' is vague. It speaks as if they were one common category. The day will not take any by surprise that go to heaven. They will be gone before the day which comes at Christ's appearing. But there is a difference. The saints who have fallen asleep, and those belonging to the church alive, will be caught up to meet Christ in the air when He descends then from His Father's throne. But neither 1 Peter 4: 17, 18 nor 1 Corinthians 3 applies to this. One applies to labourers even in the apostle's days; the other to the contrast between the righteous and the ungodly. Those who are not manifested as members of Christ when He receives the church to Himself will either remain on earth as God's people during the millennium, or if killed, as we have seen, have part in the kingdom on high. 1 Corinthians 15: 51 applies, as is there seen, to the manifested members of the church of God. Matthew 24: 22 has nothing to do with the matter. It is the sparing the Jewish saints or remnant, saving flesh, in the time of their peculiar trouble. When Christ appears, all the saints, conformed to His risen image, will appear with Him in glory. He will "be glorified in his saints and admired in all them that believe, in that day." He will also come attended with all His holy angels. It is evident that He can come with only those who are with Him. The people spared on earth, when He comes and judges, do not come with Him.
[1861.]


+'Whether the saints will be caught away ere vengeance bursts upon the professors. If so, how is Matthew 13: 41, 43, 49 to be explained?' And is it not a matter for joy when they are called upon to suffer unto death for His name?

'Or will the saints be suffered, except those fallen asleep, to go through all the tribulation, and then delivered and blessed, after the tares have been taken in hand, at the revelation of Christ? If so how are Revelation 19: 14 and Colossians 3: 4 to be explained?

'Or will some of the saints be taken before the others, one class being abundantly, the other scarcely saved; one received a reward, the other saved so as by fire; one consisting of those who will open to Him immediately, and the other of those whom that day will more or less take by surprise? See, too, Revelation 3: 10. If so, how are 1 Corinthians 15: 51, Matthew 24: 22, and generally those passages which declare that Christ will come with all His saints -- how are such to be explained?'

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-- - I see no reason to doubt that all saints+ who have died will be raised up when Christ comes and changes us -- the living that remain to the moment of His presence -- and both shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air "They that are Christ's," in 1 Corinthians 15: 23, seem to me a category put in an expressly large style so as to embrace the saints before the church as well as such as compose it. Compare Hebrews 11. And this is confirmed by the special communication which begins at 1 Corinthians 15: 51: "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." Here there is a secret beyond the Old Testament which revealed no more than the resurrection, and the coming with the Lord in the day of His appearing. (Job. 19, Zechariah 14) But the apostle was inspired to add both the manner of raising the dead saints and especially the change of us the living, then found here below, who shall all be alike changed, and, according to 1 Thessalonians 4, caught up to meet the Lord above. Hence in this latter scripture, "put to sleep through Jesus," may be said of dead Christians (the occasion of the need of comfort to the living, verse 13), while the next verse speaks with greater comprehensiveness of those fallen asleep in general. Again, the dead in Christ need not be restrained to those since redemption; it is in contrast with the dead in Adam, or after a merely natural sort.

There is nothing said of raising saints from the dead under the seventh trumpet, though I do not object to the conclusion that as it is the winding up of God's appeals to the world and the introduction of the world-kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, so it announces the judicial recompense in broad terms up to the end. The time of award to His "servants the prophets, and to the saints," etc., does not fix it as the moment of their resurrection -- they may well have been raised before. At any rate, nothing of the kind can be built on a passage which is silent as to that for which it is alleged.

Nor is there the least warrant to connect "the seventh trumpet" with "the last trump" of 1 Corinthians 15, nor even with the "great sound of a trumpet" in Matthew 24. "The seventh" is of course the closing one of the Apocalyptic series and of the general course of the book up to the kingdom. "The last trump" of 1 Corinthians 15 means Simply the final summons when the heavenly saints leave their earthly sojourn to join the Lord -- a figure, like others in the chapter, taken from familiar military matters. The trumpet in the gospel all rather connected with the divine call to gather Israel from all lands according to the prophets. There is no doubt that when this point is reached all the departments of the kingdom, heavenly and earthly, will be occupied and displayed by Christ, the risen saints, and the people of God, nor will it cease till every creature, even of the lost, bows and confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Daniel and Job will be there, of course, among the rest.

The scripture which is most to the point (of proving saints raised just before the millennial kingdom begins) is Revelation 20: 4; but I see no reason to doubt that the first class already enthroned includes the Old Testament saints with the church, while the two classes particularly described and then raised in addition to the foregoing are only the Apocalyptic confessors. This then gives no countenance to the view, that the Old Testament saints are reserved till then. The sufferers at the end of this age are specified as then made to live and reign with Christ: else they might seem to have lost all as regards the kingdom. No others are said to be raised at that time.


+'When will the Old Testament saints be raised? Are they included in "they that are Christ's at his coming" and raised when the Church is caught up; or are they only raised on the sounding of the seventh trump (Revelation 11: 15-18), that being the final one of this dispensation, thus in keeping with the word to Daniel (chapter 12: 13) and that which Job says (chapter 19: 25-27)? Was not this expecting Him on the earth, as in the Millennium?'

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-- - The sacrifices+ spoken of in the first chapters of Leviticus present to us, 1-3, the intrinsic value and character of the sacrifice and self-offering of Christ, as estimated in communion. In chapter 4-6: 7, the case is put, "if a soul sin;" that is, it is to meet the positive need of a soul, its positive sin, of whatever character; and he is, or they are, if it be all the people, forgiven. Atonement or forgiveness is not spoken of in the sacrifice for the high priest. The statement may be carried on, as all intercourse is interrupted for the people, to verse 20; if not, it is an exceptional case. In Leviticus 16 it seems to me more the establishment of relationship with God; or, more accurately, the ground of relationship. We do not hear of forgiveness. Sin is put away; the character of God is made good and glorified, and the sins all borne away -- uncleanness removed, so that things are clean. The priest goes in within the veil, so as to give God the ground of a relationship with the people by blood when sin was there, and the tabernacle was sprinkled so as to be suited for God's dwelling, and then all the sins carried away into a land not inhabited. Thus God could be with the people. Personal, individual forgiveness was made good by the sin and trespass offerings. This double character was partly connected with the imperfect character of the sacrifices which required repetition and the veil not being rent. But we acquire thus the knowledge of the double aspect of the work relationship sinless, righteous relationship -- and forgiveness.

This subject is treated in Hebrews 9, 10, where the day of atonement having been stated, as in chapter 9, as once for all -- leading God's people to look for Christ, for whom He will come apart from all sin, because He has put it away for them -- chapter 10 applies it, and shews that the yearly sacrifices (Leviticus 16) served as continual remembrance of sins, that they were not put away: that Christ has offered Himself, setting aside through the body prepared for Him, all the sacrifices of Leviticus of every kind, in the work that He did as accomplishing the imperfect figure of Leviticus 16, because, by that work which He wrought to reconcile us to God, He bore and put away all sin for those that believe on Him, so that there is no more sacrifice for sin. The general statement of chapter 9: 12-14, takes up the day of atonement and the red heifer, and shews the purging of the conscience by Christ. This is opened out in application in chapter 10.


+'What is the difference of the offerings of sweet savour, those for sin etc., and those of atonement-day?'

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-- - The question+ is a mistake. The prophets are not considered as a distinct body of persons at all. It is not oiJ profhvtai, but such. In verse 31 it is stated, "You may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged." "Let the prophets speak" is a false translation; so is "the spirit of the prophets." It should be, "the spirits of prophets." Hence the whole question falls to the ground. The passage is the same as if the apostle should say, '(As to) prophets, let two or three persons speak and the rest judge. If there be a revelation to another person sitting by, let the first hold his peace. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets (that is, he can control himself, and stop, if another has anything to say). For God is not the author of confusion (two or three speaking at once), but of order, as in all assemblies of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the assemblies, for it is not permitted to them to speak.' To all others, it is permitted, if the Spirit gives them anything.


+'1 Corinthians 14: 29. Does "the other" mean the rest of the prophets?'

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-- - It is important to bear in mind that, whatever+ may be the display and power of grace, the principles of righteousness are in no way set aside, but, on the contrary, maintained thereby. The day will declare that God renders to each according to his works. Life eternal He will give to those who, by patient continuance of good work, seek for glory, honour, and incorruptibility. He will give this, I say; because here eternal life is viewed on the side of glory, not as a present thing, as St. John does; and hence it appears as the issue of a holy, fruit-bearing course. On the other hand, to such as are contentious and disobedient to the truth, but who obey unrighteousness, there shall be indignation and wrath, tribulation and distress, on every soul of man that worketh evil, etc. (compare John 5: 29; Galatians 6: 8) Mark the two-fold truth. "Each of us shall give account of himself to God." Yet shall the believer not come into judgment (John 5: 24) -- not into condemnation merely, but judgment. Doubtless, in the unbeliever's case to give account of himself will be, in effect, both judgment and condemnation. But neither is true of the believer. Nevertheless it is certain that the believer will be manifested (not judged) before the judgment-seat of Christ. All must be manifested there, in fact, whether saint or sinner; that each may receive the things done in (or by) the body, according to what he has done, whether it be good or evil. Even for the believer, all his ways are far from being the fruit of righteousness by Jesus Christ. As for the labourer, there might be work done with sorry materials, and this will have its consequences in glory, though the person is supposed to be saved.

It is just the same principle in the last passage, as indeed in a crowd of others. 1 John 1: 9 does not modify, much less contradict, this. It is involved in repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Nor does Hebrews 10: 17 clash either, as some might think. No sin is remembered as a question of pardon; nothing is forgotten as a question of divine vindication and retribution. We shall know as we are known, and God be magnified in all His ways.


+'I much wish to know your thoughts on the following passages "Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory and honour and incorruptibility, eternal life, etc. etc., but glory, honour, and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." (Romans 2: 6-11, 16)

"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Romans 14: 12)

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether good or BAD." (2 Corinthians 5: 9, 10)

"But he that doeth WRONG shall receive for the WRONG which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons." (Colossians 3: 25)

'Note the last passages in reference to "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, "and Hebrews 10: 17.'

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DEAREST -- , -- The objection+ as to Thyatira is all a delusion, as to the principle of the addresses. The churches are addressed as churches and in the character of churches; that is, as standing on the principles on which Christ had placed the church, though noting to the church thus responsible the evils that were coming in. The address is not to Balaam or Jezebel, but to the church, and therein to such as had ears to hear -- to the church in character, and in fact to those who had the consciousness of the responsibility in which a Christian stood in that character: the character then, not necessarily the extent of the evil or state, whatever it might be, is noticed. If that state was general deadness, that of course is noticed; if seduction of false doctrine, that is, not to what extent it has acted; the principle of the church being the birth-place of children to Jezebel, and of her adulteries -- not the number of her children, but that true saints accepted this condition of things -- all this leading to the Lord's coming. In the first church it had left its first love; it is not said how far: that remains true up to Laodicea, but does not characterise the evil which those who have ears to hear have to judge (at the beginning it did), it was the evil with Jezebel allowed: it would have been out of place to say so, though of course it was true. The churches give the distinction of the character of evil, and those in whom good is found, as specially manifested and directed in respect of the state described. No doubt it literally applied to Thyatira at the time, and was to be so received; while for him that has ears to hear it has a voice in all times -- what voice? something not applying to a church state at all. For the direct proofs we must go over the general arguments and details, such as the promise to Philadelphia. (Revelation 3: 10)

Lacking of love, tried faith, persecution, succeeded it -- not how many were persecuted. Satan's seat. Then there was infidelity as regards evil in the professing church, and faith was called to look on to the Lord's coming and be faithful: given those who had not mixed themselves up with Jezebel, the rest would be chastened if not cut off. I do not think Protestants are the synagogue of Satan: they are much more Sardis -- those who insist on traditional successional religion, religion of ordinances, the modern Judaizers -- these are the synagogue of Satan as to the spirit of the thing; and that they thoroughly are, though saints, and Barnabases may be ensnared by them.

As to Revelation 17: 12 -- the question is a wider one than the texts cited can decide, not that they are not to the purpose: wran in John 4: 52 is the object of "inquired," as in the form 'inquired the hour at which' -- as well as at what hour. So Revelation 3: 3, ouj mh; gna'" poivan wran. Whereas lambavnousi has its object basileivan: and in Acts 10: 3 wJsei; marks it as a point. But all this is somewhat beside the mark. I apprehend it is as used to be said, katav left out, and the idea of period, a point, depends on the context in the nature of the word: kata; to; mesonuvktion [Acts 16: 25] -- a point evidently: kata; de; eJorth;n, during, at the time of [Matthew 27: 15]: wran eJnnavthn points to the epoch evidently [Acts 10: 3], which wsei; confirms. But with mivan [see Revelation 17: 12] -- not prwvthn -- it is a period. Indeed eJorthvn is not exactly time, but the time having that character. In general it is a known rule, the time at or in which a thing happens, genitive -- during which, accusative. As to this I see no great difficulty: it would be merely technical. In Revelation 17: 12 I do not see the smallest doubt. I have nothing to uphold here, for the kings receiving the kingdom at the same time with the beast is equally true: the other mode only determines the equal duration also. Acts 10: 30, we have at the ( ejnnavthn wran -- there also it is evident) ninth hour: with mivan it is not so, it could have no such sense. See Matthew 20: 12; Mark 14: 37. Matthew 26: 40. Whereas kata; mivan sabbavtwn, 1 Corinthians 16: 2, has necessarily the sense of the first, because it is after the sabbath. There is no mivan wran by itself but for during one hour.

The view of the temple is a mistake. The temple or house is always God's house and always the same house. "The latter glory of this house" is Haggai's (2: 9) word, not "the glory of the latter house;" and whoever sets up in it or has built it, it has never ceased to be God's house. So 1 Kings 9: 3, "I have hallowed this house which thou hast built to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually." It will be built as God's house, much more truly than Herod did it. So Christ calls it "my Father's house;" not in reference to who built it (nor did God in fact dwell there -- in that sense He was the temple), but because it was by God's original declaration, at all times, God's house. Further, I do not believe in the vast power of Antichrist, though I do in the vast mischief, spiritually speaking. I believe he is the second beast. (Revelation 13)

As to life, it is all captious (though true souls may be troubled by such) from using life in two senses. When I lay down my life I live still with the very same soul I had before. Now I may use life for the state of living, and as living in that state. I live in flesh and blood, and that could not go to heaven: I lose my life, but that only in the state in which I had it -- I am just as much alive as ever, "for all live unto him:" "He is not a God of dead but of living." But if it was said that I had the life I had before, it would be wretched and false; because before, or laying down, refers to the state I had it in. Yet I have the life I had before if I speak of my soul, and of the life of Christ I have received. I use this to shew it is merely a false quibble by using life in two senses. I never die if I take what my life is -- I do, if I take its status and condition; I die and take, or am given at least, my life again. I say this, not that there is no difference in Christ, but to shew the point of the fallacy. But Christ clearly never ceased to exist if we take Him in His human soul, to say nothing of His divine nature. But when He laid down His life and took it again, it is not taking again the existence of His soul or His divinity, but the fact of reuniting His soul and body as a living Man. What was essential to Him as His life, He could not take again. It was a living status of soul and body united; as in dying He had given up a living status: but the living status He took up was not the same living status He laid down. This last is distinguished as "the days of his flesh." He has now as risen a different condition in manhood than that He had, neither can He die any more.

But I have no wish to enter on these questions with objectors: [difficulties] produced in minds I may meet, but reasonings on them I am not disposed to meet, because I do not believe in the sincerity of the motives of those who do so. And there is no good in reasoning with such, unless to confound them personally where forced to do it. Half and much more of the cavillers I meet are best met by silence. It is the proof that you do not account that they really desire the truth. It is well to let some things die out, and not give importance to them by combating them. One may have to meet such in individual cases, and then may count on God's help, but positive truth fully taught best meets error. Heretics are generally unsound on something beneath, and deeper than their motives.

I am at this moment doubting about arousing Maurice by a tract on annihilation, and resuscitating one who is evidently to me dying out. Yet he has exposed himself by the greatest effrontery of blundering and done mischief. My conviction is -- God has raised up a standard against it (annihilation), though mischief has been done, and it has got into the churches (so-called) ... . I should hardly think a person who took ouj mh; ... eij" to;n aijw'na ++ for 'not for ever' worthy of replying to; it is evident perverseness. The Greek evidently would be ... oujk eij" to;n aijw'na, etc., at any rate, not mhv .
[1861.]


+[Elliott's.]

++[John 8: 51, 52; 10: 28; 11: 26.]

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Dear Mrs. Barrett (Jarkett?), -- Thank you for your kind note, and the many kind services you have rendered me in times past. I bless the Lord that now that you require more rest and less labour your soul can enjoy so peacefully the Lord's gracious and faithful love. It is a comfort, after the toil and labour of the way, to feel that after all one's own proper portion is preserved and kept in Him, so that even before we go hence we can, when He give us a little leisure, rejoice in His infinite and precious love. The perfectness of Christ, when the soul rests on Him, fills and satisfies when we can occupy ourselves with it, as it has sustained and helped us through the toil and danger of the road. He has been manna for the journey through the wilderness, and we are entitled to feed on Him as the corn of the heavenly land, when in spirit we pass beyond Jordan. This supposes that our souls have perfect rest in Him as the true sacrifice, and our effectual and accomplished redemption.

Surely indeed we may say that goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life. In the various scenes and many conflicts I have been in, and the experience of my own weakness, I can bear testimony with my whole heart to His most gracious, faithful, and unfailing love, and bless Him for His great patience, too, with me. It seemed, no doubt, here a somewhat changed house when you were not here; but all changes but that to which God would attach our hearts for ever, and He ever more weans our hearts from all that does change, to make us perfectly happy in Him.

You will be glad and thankful to hear that I have been greatly comforted and rejoiced in meeting the brethren here. The Lord makes all things work together for good to them that love Him. Mr. -- had left, so that the brethren were left very much to themselves as to public ministry, but it has cast them much on the Lord, and I found them, I think, in a very gracious state. In their prayer meetings there seems a reality and humbleness so that you might be sure God was going to bless. The Lord keep us all there. It is not as if many answers from Him were not still needed; but they seem very truly before Him ... . Peace and grace be with you, and the joy, comfort, and strength of the Lord's presence, and believe me, dear Mrs. -- ,

Your affectionate brother and servant in Christ.


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[From the French.] F Ponae, I was very glad to get your letter and news of our dear brethren in France, now that I am busy in England, where the work is extending ... . I always hoped that our dear brother -- would one day be useful. I hope that he will keep very near the Lord, and that he will read the word much for himself. I say for himself, not for his work. That is the right way to read it -- "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink, and out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." You drink for yourself, you thirst for yourself, thus it is that rivers flow from us for others ... . Is the word always very precious to you, and do you read it with power? I see the practical power of the Spirit in the christian life more distinctly than ever; in the word, too, the absolute distinction there is between the life of the last Adam and that of the first. It is nothing new, but more distinct and deep in my heart, as well as the new position in which the Christian is placed ... . What a picture that is of Acts vii. for the outward manifestation of these things; the man that resists the Holy Spirit, and the man that is full of it. But I was speaking more of the things in themselves.
[1862.]


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-- - This is an important ordinance.+ First, there is tender compassion for the poor in the things of God. Next, as to the sacrifice itself, weighty principles are contained in it. No sin could be forgiven without a sacrifice or offering for sin. This particularly characterises this part of the instructions as to sacrifice. If one failed to discover what he knew, when adjured, to hide sin; or touched, without even knowing it, what was unclean; when he was aware of it, he was guilty. No poverty could bring compassion into play without an offering. Let one be ever so dull in the apprehension of sin, or, consequently, of atonement, still guilt was there if evil was touched. On the other hand, if truth of purpose was there in owning it, and owning it in such sort that the need of atonement before God was felt, which alone consequently is recognised as owning sin, the poverty of apprehension does not hinder the perfect forgiveness. That rests on the value of the sacrifice; only Christ must be seen as a sacrifice for sin as one rejected, a sin-bearer for us. The fact of its being fine flour without blood hardly affects the principle of blood-shedding. It comes where blood-shedding is universally required for sin, and is only an exception in view of poverty to shew that, in no case, without a sin-offering, is there forgiveness, and carries as an exceptional case the character of blood along with it as the principle. It is not that one kind of sin requires blood and another not, but incapacity by poverty puts this in place of a bloody offering, and it is so accounted. Only if a real sense of needed atonement be there, the want of apprehension of the full import of sin and death, that is of Christ's death and blood-shedding, will not prevent the getting the benefit of that death and blood-shedding.

The female sacrifice was accounted of less value. In Leviticus 5 it begins with a female. It was not in the first instance a bad conscience in doing it.
[1862.]


+'What way are we to understand Leviticus verse 11, which speaks of the offerer bringing a sin offering of the fruits of the earth (without any sweet savour it is true)? We know "without shedding of blood there is no remission." In chapter 4: 28, we have a female offered -- why?'

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-- - As regards the estimate+ which the Old Testament saints formed of the sacrifices and types of the Old Testament, no one can speak definitely. That estimate was as various as we now see the estimate of renewed souls as to the value of Christ's work is, if by value is meant the intelligent estimate of it. All that any one could speak of now is what the Old Testament afforded them, so that the Holy Ghost could act by the word upon those who had spiritual intelligence according to the measure of that day. Now I know of no fact in Christ's history which is not testified of in the prophets -- His birth, His sufferings (even the details), His ascension, His sitting at the right hand of God, His coming again, and all the glories that should follow His sufferings. The only truths, that I am aware of, which were not revealed were the church, and His present intercession at the right hand of God -- truths, it is remarkable, equally omitted in John 1, in the catalogue of the glories of Christ there given, as well as (but for another reason) the fact that He was the Christ. Hence, the only question is, when they had the prophets, how far they were spiritual enough to connect these revelations with the types in order to understand them?

This depended on individual spirituality and divine teaching; only we must remember it could not be said, "Ye have an unction from the Holy One and ye know all things." They had not the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, to guide into all truth. This makes all the difference as to intelligence. Further, it was not the intention of God, while the veil was unrent, to put the consciences of saints in the position in which the rending of it was to set them -- so that "the worshippers once purged should have no more conscience of sins." Alas! many Christians are in a Jewish state in this respect. Had this been the case, the free admission of the Gentiles by faith on the same footing would have been the consequence, as this was not intended. On the other hand, there was the thought, that the time was coming when the nation's sins and iniquities would be remembered no more, and this faith could look forward to, as to the then rejoicing of the Gentiles with His people, and a heavenly portion for the departed saints. This leads back to the original promise of the seed of the woman bruising the serpent's head; and it, again, held out to faith a full restoration of man from the ruin, which though vague might have been complete in expectation. The clothing with skins, and Abel's sacrifice, and Noah's, point to covering and acceptance through a sacrifice; Isaac's, to the faith of resurrection. But when sacrifices were legally instituted and the law given, hopes of forgiveness and restoration in peace in a coming age, but no purged conscience, save occasional at the present time, marked the condition of the worshipper. Before that time it was a larger expectation of restoration and goodness, and founded on sacrifices and covering iniquity and nakedness before God; but, though larger and more complete, more vague, of course, by the seed of the woman, resurrection and heavenly things coming in. For this both Enoch and Abraham, and even Job, furnished evidence. Under the prescription of the law the conscience was more brought under the yoke, present occasional forgiveness by a sin-offering more definite, but it was narrowed into present occasional clearing, and the hope of deliverance put into the age to come and connected with Messiah, as we know also it will be.

With all this was connected a feebler estimate of sin and of the need consequently of divine righteousness, though this was prophetically intimated, but also in the age to come. There was sense of sin, of being shapen in iniquity (but no intelligence of a conflict between flesh and Spirit) and thus as a present thing righteousness looked for in the Lord; but, before the law, divine favour and the averting a curse by sacrifice; under the law, a definite sin-offering meeting the actual sins of the individual or of all, and a general sense of maintenance of heart in divine favour by the day of atonement -- the state as I have said in which most Christians are.


+'How far did the Old Testament saints understand the types and offerings, and sacrifices, and what was the extent of their knowledge of Christ; and did they see Him in those types, etc.?'

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-- - I do not, in reference to the questions asked,+ attach any importance to the presence or absence of kurio" . Griesbach retains it, the more recent editors give it up, with several Uncials and other authorities. As to the question itself, I judge the ejx oujranou' to be more characteristic than relative to any 'descent' from heaven, but that character to be drawn from the place He came from: origin is universally used as characteristic. Race and kind are the same word, gevno" . Thus the genitive (or really generic) case, and ejk, which expresses origin, are in very many (perhaps all) languages used as characteristic, and in force are adjectives. In Hebrew it is well known, as in Greek, in French, English, and other modern languages; so that it may be considered as belonging to the structure of the human mind. This may be drawn from place or origin, or the material of which anything is composed. It so far differs from an adjective that it is constitutive of character, not the character itself simply.

Here we have ejk gh'" coikov" ("of the earth, earthy"). The former is the constitutive cause, the latter the actual character. But the cause was from origin; so with ejx oujranou' . It is characteristic, but because of the place of origin. He has not ceased to be it now; but what is expressed is not what He is now, because gone to heaven, but His character because of His origin. It attaches to His Person. He is so now, because He cannot be otherwise: because His origin was such, He was so on earth. The full display of this is when He takes the place of the ejpouravnio" (verse 48); that gives the fulfilled consequent place, and, from the subject, is more than characteristic, though it be that. I judge, then, that ejx oujranou' is character from origin, or the place the Lord belonged to, as ejk gh'" . Not that He came from, but that He was from, and of, and ever is. The result is, that the first is coikov", the second ejpouravnio" . This is on high, the natural, normal, and purposed place of one ejx oujranou', who is become a man. But still it is character and nature, though the ejpi; suggests a place, I think. Hence, there is for it an abstract consequence of conformity, not a statement of what will happen: "as is the coikov", so they also that are coikoiv; and as the ejpouravnio", so they also that are ejpouravnioi ." Then the form, not merely character and nature and time, is brought in. It is in the second case future. "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." Thus origin, participation in nature and character, abstractedly given, and then actual conformity in glory, are successively, each in its place, introduced. It will be seen that, without much affecting the question, what I have said tends to justify the omission of kuvrio" . If it be retained, I apprehend it should be read -- "the second man, the Lord, from heaven." Not that I desire to separate "the Lord" from "from heaven," but to preserve the characteristic force of the latter.

As regards any difference in meaning in "second" and "last," I think the Spirit of God means a different thing. "The second" contrasts Him with the first. It is not a modifying or sanctifying or setting right the first, but setting up a second (we cannot have both to continue together) One of and from heaven. "The last" declares that this is final and conclusive. There is no other afterwards. If He be ejx oujranou', that is easily conceived. In these days, both these truths are of first-rate importance -- the non-restoration of man, the first man who is set aside and under condemnation, and a new Man, a second Man, is brought in; and then He who is made known is the last Adam, the One, and only One, in whom blessing is to be found. Men will own Christ, even infidels now, to set up the first Adam; they will with hardihood declare Him to be the excellent in His day, but that there is progress through increasing light. Scripture, which foresees all things, declares that He is a "second," in contrast with the first; and that He is the "last," so that there is and can be no progress beyond Him: the perfection in which God delights, and the centre and end of all His ways, to which those who are to be blessed with Him must be conformed.


+'1 Corinthians 15: 47. Does the expression, "the Second man is [the Lord] from heaven," necessarily mean descent? That is, is it affirmed of Christ, as now on high, or of Him in incarnation? It is known that "the Lord" is expunged by the beat editors. Is there any difference in meaning between "the last Adam" (verse 45) and "the Second man?"'

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-- - As to aijw'a", Hebrews 1: 2, I am not disposed to reject Alford's view;+ that is, so far as it accepts a course or plan of God in the idea-world. But no person can have entered into the spirit of the Epistle to the Hebrews and seen its connection (that is, the way it meets the Rabbinical and Philonic views, giving God's thoughts on the subjects they were speculating on), and not see that aijw'a" is not merely "ages" or "epochs." It is kymlwo[ b r, or more specifically mlw[ arwb, the Creator of the worlds. You may see Bleek, Delitzsch, De Wette, Lünemann, Schleusner, Schirlitz, Wahl -- not that I accept all they say, but for the use of the word. Schoetgen (Hor. Hebrews) says it is so common that it is useless to quote examples. Further, Hebrews 11: 3 seems to me to leave no possible doubt, because it continues, "so that the things which are seen were not made of the things which do appear" -- distinctly intimating that he speaks of visible creation. I do not see how it is possible to overlook this, or after it to call the interpretation in question. Pro; tw'n aijwvnwn shews, I think, the connection of the two. The critics refer to Ecclesiastes 3: 11, as proving the same use of sl;wo[ . Hebrews 11: 3, and the evident and constant use of the words in Jewish literature of the time, and the character of the epistle, leave no doubt of the meaning on my mind.

The notion of the word of the Son, in connection with His being placed heir, I should demur to. That it was the Son who spoke++ when it is said, "He spake, and it was made," I have no objection to whatever; but the heir constituting the ages I cannot accept here, because the statement is, "God spoke" -- ejn JUiw' . For oJ Qeo;" lalhvsa" ... ejlalhsen hJui'n ejn uJiw', and so dij ou| k. t. aijw'na" ejpoivhsen is one phrase with one subject; and He who spoke is He who established the Heir of all things. So that I do not see how there is any possibility for the interpretation sought to be given; otherwise there is much I agree with.


+'For whereas Ebrard includes God's revelation of Himself in a sphere whose conditions are time and space, and so would understand by it all things existing under these conditions, I would include in it also, these conditions themselves.'

++'It is not the word spoken by angels, or fathers, or prophets that made the ages, but the word spoken by the Son. This follows from the Son being made or placed heir of all things, and that the heir constitutes the ages,' etc.

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-- - I send the Psalms. I dare say I may send you a paper on the Song of Solomon, its connection with the remnant. I am not disposed to take up the question on John 6: 53-58 till the way be matured as from the Lord in my mind. To raise discussions on the nature of Christ, or the union of the natures is the last thing I should desire. All of us would go wrong, and piety be eaten out.

I have no doubt C. H. M. has expressed himself unguardedly in his expressions, but the accusing him of denying the true humanity of Christ is simple unrighteousness. He is just as plain and clear as any of us on it. The poor church people glutton on what attacks brethren. I am sorry for it, but how can we help it? That is all the feeling I have about it. It is a very bad sign for them. That tract of Dr. Carson's+ denies the first elements of Christianity, and they cannot find it out.

July, 1862.


-- - "From the beginning++ is Christ in flesh, the beginning of God's ways in grace. Man, as man, was only a field for bringing this out, however real a place he had in moral responsibility for this (which assuredly he had); but as to counsel, Christ is the object. Man develops, progresses, changes. "What was from the beginning" in what God does, is perfect. This is a root-principle of Christianity, and makes the Person of Christ the foundation of all -- His work displaying God's moral nature for others, but the Person being that in which He is; and adherence is to Himself. This cannot change. The essence of Christianity is, therefore, that there is no development in it. (1 John 2: 24)

+See Collected Writings, Volume 10, page 49, et seq.

++What is meant by "from the beginning"? (1 John 1) Why the change from "which we have heard, which we have seen," etc., in verse 1, to "which we have seen and heard," in verse 3? Why have we the further words, "which we have looked upon and our hands have handled"? And what is the point of the three "if we say" (verse 6, 8, 10)?

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-- - I do not think that 1 John supposes that a Christian does not live without sinning. It shews that a holy provision is made for him, in case he does. It declares that he cannot say he has no sin, but sinning is put in the past. James, however, declares de facto we all offend in many things.

1 John 1: 9,+ speaks neither of the time of our conversion, nor of our failures after it. Like John's usual statements, it is abstract confession, which, and which alone, is true integrity of heart, and actual forgiveness goes with it. We are personally forgiven all trespasses, and stand abidingly in the power of that forgiveness, so that nothing is imputed to us personally (that is so as to put our persons out of grace). There is the present grace wherein we stand. But as regards the government of God it is another matter. Then I read, "If he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." Hence we are to pray for those who have sinned not unto death, to confess our faults one to another, and to pray one for another. Hence in its place the church, and Paul in his, could forgive sins, as we read in Corinthians. There was a binding in heaven of what was bound on earth, and a loosing in heaven of what was loosed on earth. So, when at Paul's first answer all men forsook him, he prayed that this might not be laid to their charge. The Lord's warnings to His disciples that, if they did not forgive, they would not be forgiven, equally apply. It is not a question of justification with the believer, but of present relationship in divine favour, which some seem to forget altogether. It Is not merely that we have the fruit of forgiveness in restored communion, though that be true; but in the positive present aspect of God. As a Governor over those in relationship with Him, He is displeased with certain things, may cause me to die through His displeasure, if I do not judge myself -- has done so, as we learn in scripture, both historically and doctrinally.

The passage in John 13 (as does indeed the red heifer) shews distinctly the way of cleansing when a man has defiled himself in his walk. He is cleansed by the washing of regeneration once for all, but needs to wash his feet and must have them washed. And this it is which carries up, farther than mere discipline, the forgiveness of the church. We are to wash one another's feet, but we need this washing in its place to have a part with Christ. God takes care we shall be clean; but we must be clean to be with Him, not by renewed blood-sprinkling in respect of imputation, but by washing the feet with water, that we may have the truth in the inward parts with Him, and have no defilement of walk on us.

I do not know what the question as to Christ's prayer means. It was intercession. The character of intercession may be different now that He is on high, and refer to a different standing in which we are, but praying for him (Peter) was intercession. The Lord's intercession for us produces, as its result, the fruits of grace, of which confession is the fruit in every honest heart.

Christ's intercession is to make good our present state in conformity with the place justifying forgiveness has placed us in. It is founded on "Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation." These being perfect, our faults (instead of bringing imputation, or being allowed to harden the heart and produce falseness in the conscience) call out His advocacy and the soul is restored. Forgiveness in the absolute sense is righteousness, as regards clearance from all imputation of sins of the old man; but in Christ, we being in heavenly places according to God's righteousness, everything inconsistent with our relationship to God as brought there is a just cause of God's actual displeasure. God is not mocked; but Christ intercedes for us, and, by that which rests on righteousness and propitiation, the fault becomes the occasion of instruction and a deepened work and state in us. Now, for every true saint, this present condition of our souls with God is the capital thing, founded on the fact that he is reconciled to God, and accepted perfectly in His presence in righteousness. It is being thus in His presence which is the ground of all present relationship with God. God's character is not changed because we are brought perfectly near Him; but that character acts on our conscience, and forms it. "We walk in the light as he is in the light"; and if we do not walk according to the light, we find it out, because we are in the light; and to this effect Christ's advocacy comes in. We know God's displeasure against sin. I do not talk of imputation. I say it is displeasure against sin; and if we have sinned, apprehend that in the light. It is not merely loss of communion, but knowledge of God's displeasure with the thing. If we do not walk with God, we have not the testimony that we please God, but displease Him. "The righteous Lord loveth righteousness." Christ's intercession does not lead to forgiveness (as to imputation, it is founded on the removal of that), but regards God's nature and character and our present actual relationship with that. By reason of righteousness and propitiation sin calls out (not satisfaction in us with non-imputation, that is hardness and sin, but) the advocacy of Christ. Sin is taken notice of, estimated as an evil in God's sight, in my soul, but in grace -- not in God's favour, however, as simple non-imputation, but in Christ's advocacy active about it, so that my feet are washed. Filth is there. neither I nor God are content -- not I, when His word searches my heart. He is displeased when He sees it, and as to my present relationship He does see it. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Ghost -- to God -- and God knew it and was displeased with it; those who profaned the Lord's supper the same. The discipline exercised was only the expression of it, but it was exercised because of the displeasure. Judging ourselves, we should escape this. Godly sorrow works repentance. Are we to repent and not to be forgiven, nor rejoice in having it? For this, we must confess. It is absolutely stated, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us." If my feet are defiled, they are not cleansed till they are washed. Christ's intercession is the proper means of this. If any one sin, we have an advocate.

The meaning of John 16: 25-27 is this. Up to that, they had never gone directly to the Father, nor in Christ's name. But as Martha said, "Whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee." Now He puts them in direct relationship with the Father: not as if He was to go instead of them and He only could, as Martha said; in His name they were to go themselves direct to the Father. That was when in gracious desires or wants they had to look for something. It has nothing to do with when they had sinned and got away from God in their hearts. Christ's interceding for them is unasked. We do not ask Christ to intercede. He is an advocate through His own grace when we have sinned, not when we ask. I return to the Father in confession, because He has asked when I went astray; as Peter wept because He had prayed for him -- not that He prayed for him because he wept, or looked up to Him. What Christ says is, they should not be asking Him about anything, but go directly to the Father: that is the contrast -- not with intercession, when we have sinned or need grace and do not know it.

It is not said, as supposed,++ Christ is able to save us from our sin, because He ever liveth. But He carries through all the snares, difficulties, dangers of the way, and Satan's power -- restoring our souls if we have failed; grace to help in time of need, as well as restoration -- because He ever liveth to make intercession for us, is on high immutably to carry on our cause. For we go through the conflict of good and evil, and have to overcome, though nothing is imputed and we are sure to be kept to the end; but we need to be kept. He will deliver us from every evil work and preserve us to His heavenly kingdom, but we must be delivered.

The book of Job gives us a full account of the case in its operation in man, without reference to any dispensation whatever. He was a godly man, none like him. God saw defect in him. Satan appears, on God's speaking of him, as his accuser. God withdraws not His eyes from the righteous. He deals not first here with outward sin but inward working of ignorance of self, and then its breaking out through God's ways into actual sin; so that it got out, when brought into God's presence as a detected thing, into Job's conscience. The effect of the revelation of God's presence is, first, submission, and then confession. "I have uttered that I understood not ... I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." And God restores him to full blessing. Elihu interprets these ways. These ways are interpreted -- "one among a thousand to shew unto man his uprightness." Job was not upright in the full, true sense of it; there was not truth in his inward parts (though till he cursed his day there was no outward sin) till he abhorred himself and said so; that is, made confession. Then his flesh became fresher than a child's again. What we have to add is this: Christ's advocacy, founded on known righteousness and accomplished propitiation, carries on the administration of this for us in heaven, where we have to be in spirit with God: "such a high priest became us." Next, below, the church in its ministrations and acts ought to be an interpreter, and deal with the conscience, and administratively wash the feet here below: an individual may be by grace, the church (2 Corinthians), elders (James), individuals (1 John). At any rate, in faithful grace, the Holy Ghost by the word so deals with us. The result is always confession, certainly to God, it may be to man. There is no uprightness without this. If I have sin, know it, and come to God to commune with Him, as if I had none, I am in that a hypocrite -- hiding iniquity in my heart. We see here where the accuser comes in: he is "the accuser of the brethren."

The advocate+++ is one who manages our affairs, and carries on our cause. It has been said "patron," in a Roman sense; because he supplied the need of his clients -- was bound to plead their cause and case for them.
[1864.]


+'How does our being forgiven if we confess our sins (1 John 1: 9) agree with chapter 2: 12, and many other similar passages?'

++'Is Christ's being able to save us (Hebrews 7: 25), from our sins eternally, or from all the dangers of the way, to the end? And what has intercession to do with it?'

+++'What is the meaning of Christ being our Advocate? Is it in sense of pleader, or more as a friend at court? It has been translated "Patron."'

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-- - The main difference between Hebrews and 1 John 2: 1 is+ that Hebrews refers to our drawing near to God, and includes the whole analogy of the priestly service, even including the sacrifice. Christ stands between us and God to this effect, and for the whole means of obtaining mercy and grace to help The Advocate is with the Father and supposes a believer and a son, and is for the maintenance in practice of this relationship, that is, our life in it, and in point of fact refers only to the case of one who has sinned being in that relationship, one who has the privilege of fellowship. It refers to fellowship with the Father, not approach to God. I do not say the advocacy is confined to this case of sins. It is stated as a general fact but it is only applied to this case.

We are and ought to be priests for each other before God, intercede for each other, wash one another's feet, bear the failures of our brethren on our heart in intercession.

The sprinkling is not in itself, however, properly a priestly act: if my conscience is pure before God, I may apply the word according to the holy power of Christ's sacrifice to the heart and conscience of another.

The last question is answered already. We could not be priests at all, if we could not do this. But no man can doubt, if he loves another, he can intercede for him -- in Christ's name and in virtue of His sacrifice, but still plead and intercede for him.


+'How do you distinguish the office of High Priest and Advocate especially as reference is made to sin? "If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father."

'In what sense can we be said to act in our priestly character towards each other? We cannot say we are priests to each other; but may we not be for each other before God? In the type of the heifer, the clean person was to sprinkle the unclean: is this, spiritually, a priestly act?

'Practically, we are not always in priestly condition of soul. May not then, a spiritual believer draw near to God on behalf of one who practically cannot, without allowing the thought of any one coming between the soul and God?'

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-- - The question is a very natural one, and the first part+ of it more obscure, for me at least, than many parts of prophecy. I give my answer under correction -- I mean the precise, relative time of the return of the ten tribes. My present impression is that chapter 28 does not refer to the ten tribes as returned as such, but to the Jewish people localised in Ephraim. They are treated as the twelve tribes, and by a word expressing a whole even in the New Testament. Anna was of the tribe of Asher. In Chronicles several of the tribes have their part in the return from the captivity. Further, it is recognised in Ezekiel and as distinct from the ten tribes proper. (Chapter 37: 16) We have the stick of Judah and for the children of Israel his companions; and another for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and the whole house of Israel his companions. They are then united and are all recognised as children of Israel, which is the subject of Ezekiel, not properly Judah. This final union takes place after the deliverance by judgment, when they then come under one head. The ten tribes are purged from transgressors before coming into the land. (Ezekiel 20: 33-38) The Jews are purged from transgressors in the land. (Zechariah 13: 8, 9, and many passages.) Hosea 1, 2, confirms the thought that the final union under one head is at the close of all this process of purging, as it naturally must be if Christ is to take them (Compare chapter 2: 19-24) If this be so, the ten tribes as distinguished from the stick of Judah will not be in the land when the king of the north comes up: their rebels never enter the land. I believe the last coming up of the Assyrian is Gog. The term is geographic, whoever is king of the north. In Daniel I do not believe it is yet directly Gog, though perhaps dependent on him- for he is mighty, but not by his own power. (Compare Ezekiel 38. 17.) Of course, the millennial reign will not commence before that invasion, but the then destruction of the beast by Christ from heaven will cause the Assyrian, or Gog, to find Him, the Lord, in Jerusalem, so as to be destroyed by divine power, but by that of His earthly government in Jerusalem. Christ will have established His power there; but He will yet have to destroy Gog and purge intruders out of the country belonging to Israel.
[1865.]


+'Isaiah 28, 29 -- If these chapters are mainly prophetic of the last days, how is it that the first attack of the Assyrian falls on Ephraim? Will the ten tribes be in the Holy Land when "the king of the north" comes against "the king"? Can his second attack and fall be identified with the invasion and ruin of Gog in Ezekiel 38, 39? Will the millennial reign begin before that invasion, or will there be a transition, after the judgment of the beast and the false prophet, before the Lord reigns with His saints over the earth?'

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[W Kelly] DEAR BROTHER, -- I send you a brief outline of the order followed by the Epistle to the Romans in treating the principal subject it presents. This exposition of the order of the epistle necessarily implies a development of its doctrine on the subject of our justification and of our standing before God. This outline, while pointing out the form of the epistle and the distribution of the subjects it treats, will, I think, be profitable to your readers, as regards the doctrine itself. At least, I can say, that I have myself found this point of view both profitable and interesting. What I have to say will be very simple, while, at the same time, it connects itself in part, with the experiences -- often so intricate -- of Christians; but it explains them also.

The seven first verses of chapter 1 contain the address of the epistle: only, while presenting the claim the apostle had to the attention of the saints at Rome, they give the contents of the gospel which forms the subject of his apostleship, the fulfilment of the promises made with regard to the Son of David, and the testimony given by resurrection that the same blessed One is also Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness. Then, to the end of verse 17, follow a few explanations, as to what had hindered him from seeing them before: and these explanations close with the declaration, that it was not that he was ashamed of the gospel; for in that gospel the righteousness of God Himself was revealed, on the principle of faith, to faith.

This naturally introduces his subject. But he first of all declares the need there was for that gospel on account of the condition in which man was. The wrath of God was upon men, a wrath which the condition of sin in which man was had kindled. But it was no longer merely a wrath which was kindled on account of the repeated rebellion of a people, which He had taken unto Himself on earth from among the nations that had spread over its surface -- a wrath which manifested itself and was appeased through punishments, which, as to their sphere, did not go beyond the world where the visible government of God was exercised and manifested; but it was the wrath of God, which was revealed from heaven upon all impiety, and upon the unrighteousness of men who hold the truth while walking in unrighteousness (that is to say, upon all the world, both Gentiles and Jews). He develops his thesis from verse 19 to the end of the chapter. The awful condition of the Gentile world is presented. (Vers. 19, 20) They are guilty, on account of the testimony of the creation (verse 21 and following); they abandoned the knowledge of God when they possessed it.

Chapter 2. The apostle condemns the philosophers, who moralised and were not better than the mass, and who were thus treasuring up wrath for the day of wrath. For God demanded realities. The form of the law would be of no avail. All shall be judged according to their works, whether Jew or Gentile; and the Gentile who, pressed by his natural conscience, fulfilled what the law required, would be in a better case than the Jew who possessed that law and who broke it. As many as had sinned without law should perish without law, and those who had sinned under law should be judged by law, in the day when God should judge the secrets of the hearts of men (not the conduct of the nation by earthly judgments) according to the gospel committed to the apostle.

Such is the general exposition of the ways of God in judgment upon every soul of man, judgment founded on the testimony of the creation, the knowledge which man (in Noah) had got of God, the testimony of the natural conscience, the positive testimony of the law, adding that one despised the goodness of God which was leading man to repentance. But the Jews, who pretended to special privileges, needed a few words beyond this. The apostle, by the law itself, brings them out guilty. The Jew, towards the Gentile, boasted in the law, in the light he had, in the divine teaching he had, and afterwards he did the very contrary of that which that light and that law required from him. Again, I say, God demands that which is real and true, and the Gentile, who, having no law, did what the law required, should be in a better place than the Jew, who had the law and broke it. Had not the Jew then any superiority above the Gentile? He had, without any doubt, and every way. Specially he possessed the oracles of God. Now, says the apostle, let us see what they say. The Jew was saying, They are for us alone; the Gentiles have nothing to do with them. I agree to it, says the apostle. Whatever the things the law says, it speaks to them who are under the law. It will shew you therefore what you are. Here you are: not one righteous, not one who seeks after God, not one who understands. According to your assertions, that is what it says of yourselves. The Gentiles have nothing to do with it: outside all righteousness and slaves of sin, it is no question of them here. Such then is the picture that God gives of your condition, and every mouth is stopped, and all the world become under judgment to God.

I come now to what led me to send you these lines -- the remedy which God Himself has prepared, and which He presents to us, for the condition of wretchedness into which sin has plunged us.

From chapter 3: 21 to the end of chapter 5: 11, the apostle takes up the question of sins; and from verse 12 of this last chapter to the end of chapter 8, the question of sin. In both cases he shews the blessing which is the result of God's intervention in grace. At the end of chapter 3 the blood of Jesus is presented to us as the means of our justification. God Himself has presented Jesus to us, as a mercy-seat, through faith in His blood. The righteousness of God in the passing by the sins of the Old Testament believers is manifested, righteousness which becomes the foundation of our hopes in the present time, that is to say, since the accomplishment of the work of Christ. In chapter 4, he speaks of the effect of the resurrection of Christ on this question. He has been delivered for our offences, and has been raised for our justification. The efficacy of the death of Christ has been clearly shown by the resurrection, as well as the power of a new life for us -- the life of Jesus risen -- which has its place, when all our sins have been atoned for by Christ. But all this refers to sins -- to what has been committed: He has been delivered for our offences, and has been raised for our justification. The first eleven verses of chapter 5 shew us the blessings which flow from this, peace and grace now, glory in hope, and the knowledge of the love of God by the Holy Ghost which is given to us; so that we also boast in tribulations, being made capable, through that love, to interpret them; then we make our boast in God Himself. This chapter goes even farther than the eighth in this, that the fifth presents to us more God Himself in His sovereign grace, and our joy in Himself; whereas the eighth chapter shews more our position before Him and what He is for us. Nevertheless, in the latter, there is deeper experience.

At chapter 5: 12 begins the teaching of the apostle with respect to sin. The difference is evident. If it be a question of sins, you, my reader, you have yours, and I, I have mine. If it be a question of our nature, of our flesh, we are but one, one sole nature, one sole mass. Hence the apostle turns to the heads or sources of our nature, whether as to good or as to evil: Adam and Christ.

Now, to the end of chapter 8, it is a question of sin, and not of sins. Sin shall have no dominion over you -- sin taking occasion by the law. Here Christ died to sin, not for our sins. I learn, not what I have done, but what I am. I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, good does not dwell. Thus the experience is deeper; often, also, gone through after having understood the forgiveness of our sins, and, consequently, casting the soul into perplexity and uncertainty. But peace, also, is much deeper when once it is founded on the truth which is taught here; but it is learnt in an experimental way. My faith here does not rest upon the fact that Christ died for my sins, but on the truth that, He being dead, I am dead with Him. Hence, mark it well, there is no question of forgiveness here. I forgive my child his faults; I do not forgive the evil disposition which produced them -- I try to correct it. The correction of sin in the flesh is death. Now, we are dead in Christ. The apostle begins this teaching, by shewing that, by the obedience of Christ alone, those who are linked with Him in the sight of God, are constituted righteous; that, as Adam's disobedience placed in the position of sinners before God all those who were connected with Adam by descent, so the obedience of Christ placed all those who would be found connected with Him by grace in the position of righteous persons, and this in contrast with the law that killed each guilty sinner for his own faults. No doubt we, each one of us, have committed our own sins, completing the evil each one to his own account. But it is none the less true, that, if by the disobedience of Adam we are constituted sinners, the obedience of Christ has constituted us righteous -- us, I say, who believe in Jesus.

The objection made to the doctrine of justification by the obedience of Christ first presents itself to the apostle: the value of the work of Christ does not stop in Him who accomplished it, but it extends to others; it matters little, therefore, if they continue to live in sin. Here is the answer: How live, if we have died? It is a very simple thing. We are baptised unto His death, identified with Him in the likeness of His death. Our portion -- in that He died to sin once for all, and that He lives to (or, for) God -- is to reckon ourselves dead, and alive to (or, for) God in Christ Jesus. We thus obey, according to the new life of which we are made partakers. This same truth as to death applies (chapter 7) to the law, for it rules over a man as long as he lives. But we have died; nature, the old man to which the law applied, no longer exists. We were in the flesh: we are not in it (that is, not in Adam), but in Christ. The end of chapter 7 is the experience gone through, of the effects of the law on the soul of a renewed man still under law; known now as being spiritual.

In these experiences the soul learns, by the teaching of God, that sin is not the true I (which, in effect, detests sin), but is the sin that dwells in me; then, that sin has dominion over the I, although the latter wills that which is good. The soul learns that in it (in the old I, that is to say, in the flesh) good does not dwell. Such is the lesson which is so needful, but so humbling. One has come to the end of what man is viewed as he is, a child of Adam, enmity against God; but he who, though not willing it, had been a slave, is delivered through redemption. He is in Christ dead to sin, and alive to God by Him. He gives thanks to God; he is not in the flesh at all. It is not, as we have said, Christ dead viewed as bearing our sins in His body on the tree, that the believer owns as his Deliverer, however precious and needful this truth may be; but Christ dead to sin, and the believer dead with Him. Our resurrection with Him is less in evidence here; but we must reckon ourselves dead, and alive to (or, for) God by Him.

Thus this second part of the teaching of the epistle shews us as dead, as to the old man, as regards the flesh, for faith (that is, as to our position as children of Adam), and alive to (or, for) God by Christ. The effect of the desires of the new man, when we are under law, is to render us unhappy; but we learn, through this moral discipline, to have done with the flesh for faith, by distinguishing between self and the flesh, and having learnt that the flesh is too strong for me. But then redemption comes in; and we are in Christ risen, and not in the flesh; we belong to the second husband, Christ risen, and not to the first. But we learn that the flesh has been -- not forgiven, but -- condemned. When? When Christ was made (a sacrifice) for sin. The flesh is dead and condemned already, when I belong to Him who is risen; but I am not in the flesh, I am in Christ. In this second part of the doctrine, we find therefore our place in Christ, before God; as we saw in the first, that God has blotted out our sins, as responsible beings in the flesh, by the death of Christ.

I do not develop the happy consequences which the apostle draws from this in chapter 8. We are children; the Holy Ghost dwells in us, shews us our inheritance, helps us in our weaknesses; while everything is secure, seeing that God is for us, as He who gives and He who justifies, and that His love in Christ (who has, in grace, gone through all our sorrows, and is now at the right hand of God) keeps us when we realise the experience of it.

Chapters 9, 10, 11 conciliate there being no difference between Jew and Gentile, with the special privileges of the Jews; they form a supplement, added to the main doctrine of the epistle. But I have attained my object, if I have presented clearly to the Christian the difference of the work of Christ for our sins (chapter 3: 21 to 5: 11), and of Christ dead to sin, and ourselves dead with Him, so that, for faith, we have done with sin (chapter 5: 12 to the end of chapter viii.), sin having been condemned when Christ died on the cross, and ourselves as having part in His death, dead with Him to that which was condemned, belonging also to the second husband -- Christ risen. We have peace through forgiveness; deliverance, by the Spirit of life, in that we are in Him, and alive by Him, in consequence of accomplished redemption.

Christ died for sins; Christ dead to sin, and we in Him, in consequence of redemption: such is the doctrine of the Epistle to the Romans, which distinguishes clearly its two parts.

Dublin, 1865.


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[Mr Biava] [From the French.] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I received your note in due time, but waited to read your paper before replying; and I was going about to meetings from morning till night, sometimes because brethren from the neighbourhood were brought together, sometimes (in Ireland) because there was a remarkable movement there. I have been overwhelmed with work; still, I have read it. I have but one observation to make. You give the churches a more formal position than they have in my mind. I do not speak of error, for I see plainly that you recognise the church as the body of Christ, but only of an impression left on my mind. I do not recognise that there may be members of a church; I do not know that you said so: it is only an impression. Perhaps what comes nearest to it is the expression 'the several members with their respective churches.' This does not say so, it is true; but it would perhaps imply it to those who are accustomed to this thought. Do not think, dear brother, that I say this because I wish to find fault with the pamphlet; I thought it very good, and I am pointing out the one thing that presents itself to my mind as possibly raising a question. I hope it will be a summary very useful to your countrymen. I intended to have written to you when I had read half your paper over again, and had a little more quiet here in Edinburgh ... .

Union is always good in itself, but faithfulness to Christ comes before even union. I am very glad that you saw those two dear brothers. I would beg you to carefully seek information on the subject of the meeting, before committing yourself in this respect: not -- God forbid -- to make difficulties, but to ascertain whether the holiness of the Lord's table is really maintained. I can rejoice in work if, in the main, souls are delivered, even if I cannot go along with it. With regard to Bethesda, certainly I should be very clear that they were fully delivered, before mixing myself up with them. I should never have thought of introducing these questions into Italy; but they have been introduced. It is this which has hindered my going there or mixing myself up with it. I said to myself that it was a cruel thing to occupy brethren who had just come out of Popery with these difficulties, and impossible to walk with the Newtonians; and I committed the matter, with much prayer, to God, and have been waiting on Him, for the work has deeply interested me. Now, dear brother, Bethesda and the fruits of the spirit which reigns there shews itself more every day -- the worldliness and the destruction of all integrity and all conscience in those who are implicated in it. It has been found to be so in Switzerland, France, Germany, everywhere; where one could not say that it was party spirit. So, if the meeting at M. is in fellowship with it, certainly I do not go there. Probably most of them knew nothing of the matter, so that they would not be personally defiled; but when once they have taken their side (those who know it) they will be assailed. And it would be important that these two, and that other who is not ignorant of it, should be very decided. Do not be in a hurry. The Lord's table -- secured from this known corruption -- sufficient discipline -- this is what would be absolutely necessary for me. I would yield to much weakness and infirmity in the condition in which they are, if only the foundation were good; I mean always that the principle of meeting was the unity of the body of Christ.

You must understand, dear brother, that if you mix yourself up with it, and do not continue in it, and others leave the assembly, you withdraw under the weight of an imputation of causing division. For my own part, I doubt that if the truth, as you possess it, should penetrate there, all would bear it. You must weigh all this, and not be in a hurry, while you receive these dear brothers cordially, and make things as clear to them as you can. Be brotherly towards them all; at least if they do not individually maintain what is wrong: in that case, faithfulness, and even brotherly love, oblige you to shew that you cannot go on with evil. Do not relax fidelity to Christ and the truth for the sake of avoiding narrowness. Our normal condition is having but little strength, and not denying His name and His word. The Lord had but a hundred and twenty to gather (around Himself) after three and a half years' work; "the servant is not above his master." ...

If they give up the salary, which causes endless trouble, they must trust in God, and not in the brethren. Still, I fully own the duty of the brethren to help those who devote themselves to the Lord. The path is a path of faith; for the wealthy in the established systems are annoyed when one gets free, and when their wealth no longer influences the course of the church as it once did. But this is just what is needful in order that the Spirit of God may resume His place, and His rights in her. God grant this; and may He give these brethren, and all who are labouring, faith to allow the Spirit of God to act freely. How good God is to go on working, in spite of the infirmity, the failure, the sins which are in the midst of His own people! Be cordial then, dear brother, not hasty. Take care that they are fully cleansed from the defilement of B.; and that in principle -- even where there may be feebleness -- the holiness of the Lord's table is preserved. I desire nothing more than what you set forth as true in your paper. Keep to that, with as large a heart as possible. I shall be very glad to have news of you, and of your work. There are many important details, but it is impossible for me to enter on them now. Remember me to the brethren with you, though I do not know them. Many have lately broken with the Bethesda system; some of them were labourers in Ireland, who did not know how the case stood. I believe God is working in this matter. I dare not say that they are all able to keep the meetings, which are being formed in pretty large numbers in Ireland now, pure.

We have lost, as far as this life goes, our beloved brother Trotter, and another well known evangelist can no longer labour, but He has raised up fresh ones, and the meetings are increasing very much.

Peace be with you; and may our good God, always faithful and full of grace, guide and sustain you. Never be discouraged or anxious about anything, but make your requests known to God, and His peace shall keep your heart. Remember that Christ is ever faithful, and cannot fail His own.

Remember me affectionately to those two evangelist brothers; I earnestly desire anyway that God may bless their labours.

Yours affectionately in Christ.

Edinburgh, December 13th, 1865.


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[Mr Biava] [From the French.] BELOVED BROTHER, -- ... You must ever keep before yourself and the brethren this truth of the unity of the church -- of the presence of the Holy Ghost, and of the coming of the Lord. I say the brethren, because, I suppose, they are grounded not only in the forgiveness of their sins, but also in the precious fact that we are dead and risen with our precious Saviour. This is deliverance; we are not in the flesh. Not only has the blood sheltered us, but we have been brought out of Egypt by; the power of God and the deliverance which He has wrought. We are in Christ. The blood of Jesus has procured pardon for us; we are in Him. The first truth disposes of what we have done, of all the works of the flesh; the second, that we are dead with Christ, places us in an entirely new position, accepted in the Beloved. The first disposes for ever of what we have done; the second, of what we were in the flesh, and that we are no longer. To enjoy it, self must be judged -- I know that in me there is no good thing. You will find that Romans 3: 20 to 5: 11 treats of the former question; 5: 12 to the end of 8, of the latter. The first part speaks of sins, the second of sin. Remember me affectionately to the brethren, though I do not know them; to -- , too. Let her be of good courage; if it is her turn to bear the cross for love of the Lord, she will not be sorry for having borne it in faith and bravely.

London, January 12th, 1866.


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[Mr Biava] [To the same.] [From the French.] -- - Keep close to the Lord, dear brother, and get your strength from Him. I have been struck the last day or two with how, at the end of John 1, He makes Himself the centre of gathering outside the world; this is to be God, otherwise He would turn us away from God; afterwards He shews the way, as Man, through the world in which we are -- "Follow me;" then, as Son of man, heaven opens upon Him. He is the object of the delight of God. The angels, powers in the world of creation, become the servants of man; we have part in it, as heirs with Him. Many other things in this chapter struck me, but I stop.

Your affectionate brother in Christ,


-- - A human attempt at precision sometimes leads us astray.+ The blessing meets the particular want of the church and characterises the ways of God towards it as to the encouragement needed for its faith; but this does not mean that the church exclusively has the blessing. Thus in Laodicea he that overcomes will sit at Christ's throne -- the lowest degree of promise, I apprehend; but that does not mean that only they will, for all will. Escaping the hour of temptation is not true only of Philadelphia; all who have died in the Lord before it comes will have escaped it. But this characterises the blessing of Philadelphia, because they come so near towards it that a promise to escape it is of the greatest value to them -- a cheering and welcome message and truth, in their weakness and consciousness of the power of evil and little strength. Others than those of Ephesus will eat of the fruit of the tree of life, others than those of Smyrna will not be hurt of the second death; but those were the suited encouragements to lead to overcome in the states and difficulties there described. We must seek elsewhere a positive revelation on the subject, and not draw conclusions, nor, would add, the least weaken the warning; for the warning applies to the state in which Philadelphia is. A like conclusion has been drawn from "all those that love his appearing," and "to them that look for him will he appear;" but all the wise virgins were awaked to look for Him, and even others, too. We must distrust conclusions from scripture, for ever man's mind enters into them.

Those in Laodicea who open to the Lord reign with Him; and He enters in and sups with them, and they with Him -- have their part with Him in fellowship and joy under His reign. I do not say there may not be speciality in results which take the shape of reward; but the promises apply to the state of the church in which they are found, and woe to him who neglects them so applied, not to the exclusion thereby of others. Thus in Thyatira the whole millennial blessing of Christ Himself and the reign are promised, because it is the close of the ecclesiastical system, and the whole succeeding blessing is substituted for it: Christ, the heavenly Christ Himself, and the kingdom of power and judgment, for those who had been oppressed by the idolatrous rule of Jezebel.

The quotation from John 17 proves exactly the contrary of that for which it is cited.++ That to which ejk applies, they are to be kept wholly out of; they are not to be taken ejk tou' kovsmou, but they are to be wholly and absolutely ejk tou' ponerou': so here (Revelation 3: 10), wholly and absolutely, not 'through' and 'in,' but ejk th'" wra" .
[1866.]


+'Revelation 3: 10 -- The promise here seems made to a particular class described as those who have kept the word of Christ's patience, and who appear to be contrasted with those who "dwell upon the earth," which I presume, expresses a moral condition. If this be so, on what ground can the whole Church take this promise to themselves?'

++'When the Lord prays that His disciples should be kept from the evil of the world, it is plain He does not mean that they should be taken out of it.'

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-- - It is not as if God forgot the things, but He does not+ remember them -- hold them in His mind -- against them in any way. If I say I forget as well as forgive, it only speaks of the completeness, not, if the thing is called up, that my memory has ceased to know it as a fact. If I give an account of myself to God, I must do it completely or I should lose something of the goodness of Him who has called and saved me. Paul lost nothing in saying, "Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee."


+'Hebrews 10: 17 -- "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." How is this to be understood in connection with 2 Corinthians 5: 10? Will the sins of a believer's unconverted days be again brought before him at the judgment seat of Christ?'

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-- - As regards Romans 6: 2, the wished-for translation+ is the result of a misconception of the whole passage. It makes it a motive drawn from a previous evil result and no more; whereas it is perfectly certain that the passage contemplates our dying in becoming Christians, not by our sins. Those who have been baptised unto Christ have been baptised unto His death. We have been made one plant with Him in the likeness of His death; and this is in order that we might walk in newness of life. Hence it is perfectly certain that the doctrine of the chapter is dying out of our old man, and living in newness of life -- not our dying by our sin so as to be afraid of living in it now. And such is the whole tenor of the chapter; "our old man has been crucified with him;" and the use too of the dative at the close. How the writer can take novmw in Galatians 2: 19, as "by the law," is hard to conceive; because it is preceded by dia; novmou, meaning "by the law," which makes it simply impossible. 2 Corinthians 13: 4, is ejk dunavmew" . I suppose he only quotes this for the sense.

Living in sin, and being dead in it, is not the same thing. One is the continuity of the old man in sin, the other is his state in respect of God; but both are true: "alienated from the life of God." A reference to Colossians shews, in the analogous passage, nekrou;" o[nta" ejn toi'" paraptwvmasi kai; th' ajkrobustiva. Now ejn can be used as an instrument or power too. But I think no intelligent Christian could doubt what it means here; and I do not see how it is possible with ajkrobustiva to take it in any other sense than "in." Besides, nekrouv" would not be the word. It signifies properly "a corpse." It is not dying as a punishment for them, but a state in which they were. Then God creates again. They are viewed not as dying by or for their sins. It is not ajpeqavnete, but being nekrouv" He has quickened. The first work in the corpse is quickening with Christ, God's act. In Romans and Colossians, being alive in sin, ye have died (ajpeqavnete) in Christ. In Ephesians, being nekroiv, we have been quickened with Him: it is a new creation. It does not seem to me there can be the smallest doubt of what is the right translation.

As to 1 Corinthians 15: 3, again, I know of no objection, if used in a general way of saying, Christ died for any man's sins. In the passage, however, Paul is addressing believers as such, but still speaks vaguely, so that "he that hath ears to hear" may apply it. "He is a propitiation for the whole world." But this is never said of bearing sins. That is carefully avoided in scripture. It will not be found other than dying for our sins. But 'bearing sins' in all parts of scripture is thus specifically confined. So we read, "We pray in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled ... for he hath made him to be sin for us." Scripture is accurate here -- a propitiation set out before all, and sure remission of all, if we come; but bearing sins never extended to those who are lost, or His doing it might be in vain for believers. "Our," to saints or sinners, is the scriptural way of putting it.


+'Dead by sin. If sin is such a dreadful thing as to have exposed us all to the punishment of death, from which Christ's death alone frees us, how can we think of continuing in it any longer?'

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-- - Your result in the tract paper,+ that is, fourth paragraph, is all right; but the third seems to me to confound a little the water and the blood: we have both in Christ. Living cleanness is practical, but does not cleanse from guilt, though the two cannot be separated because Christ is both and cannot be the one without being the other. But one is not the other; and if an exercised and troubled conscience had to find the living cleanness quite white, in order to know forgiveness, that is, non-imputation, the soul of such an one might be perplexed and cast down, as is often the case. It is mixing internal and living righteousness with non-imputation. Being quickened with Christ, I have part in the righteousness in which He is before God, but the working and effect of that life is not the measure of that righteousness before God, nor for peace of conscience. Conscience will be exercised where the Spirit is, as to the living righteousness; but it rests on Christ as its unchanging righteousness before God. We are righteous by faith objectively before God, not subjectively by experience; though there will be experience according to the working and judgment of the Holy Ghost in him who is righteous by faith. The Holy Ghost witnesses to one and works the other in us, or refuses inconsistencies contrary to it. But it carries on this moral discipline within in those that are at peace through the other; otherwise judgment of practice always puts us and must put us under law.

Whenever we believe on Christ, or on Him that raised Him up, righteousness is imputed to us. It is not a question of progress, it is always simply true of the believer as such. It is God's judgment on his behalf of the value of Christ's work and His position as risen before Him; but grace reigning by righteousness is the principle on which the whole matter rests. It is the principle of Christianity.

Righteousness does not reign: it will in the day of judgment. Grace reigns yet. God cannot but maintain and require righteousness, but Christ has accomplished it in a divine way and it is settled for ever in heaven, and this not for any temporal blessing or particular promise but for eternal life. Grace reigns Sin has reigned through man unto death: had righteousness thus reigned, it was everlasting ruin. Now God who is love has had His work; and grace reigns and righteousness has now been established, divine righteousness through Christ. "Him that raised up Jesus" is not merely a confidence in power to be employed as Abraham, but in power already employed in deliverance, already accomplished in the very place and matter of our bondage, and in a God of love who has come down in such sort in power to our estate to take us out of it in Christ. God acts in love and power and the work of deliverance by it is accomplished. But death for offences and resurrection for justification is not a stage past; it is a work done outside us of eternal efficacy, [by] the grace that reigns through it. For now righteousness being accomplished and established for us love is no longer straitened, as it was till God's claim of death was satisfied, and Christ baptised with that baptism. And grace reigns through righteousness; and all blessings even to the fulness of glory, flow from and are dependent on this, but Romans 4 gives us the same basis. Only here we have the source and principle which was at work and has triumphed so as to have all its own way in this time and for ever in them who are brought in by it. God and His work has taken the place of man and his, as the ground of our relationship with God. Hence, of course, all blessings flow.


+"If you whitewash your cabin, it gets dirty again, and you must give it another coating. And lo! it gets dirty again. So it is with confession and absolution (as far as that goes). Trespasses and sins return, and you go again, and so it goes on like the whitewashing."

"Now ask any one that is anxious to please God, and whose sins are a real trouble to them, whether this is not so. Is it not, therefore, a poor remedy that never brings a surer cure?"

"But if the walls of your cabin had a pure and living cleanness in them, would they not be freed continually from this growing dirt, and be purified continually?"

"So it is with the heart that receives Christ into it by faith, and loves to have Him there, that looks to Him as the true and living righteousness given to us freely of God. Such a one shall find a living cleanness springing up in their heart, purifying them continually, and they rejoice in Him who bore all their sins."

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-- - I have read your tract. I am not sure that scripture ever speaks of life being given because we have righteousness. God in giving life does so after righteousness is accomplished, so that when we receive life we enter into divine righteousness already perfect; but never that I know into life by righteousness, gave as wrought in the resurrection of Christ, so that the communication of His life introduces us into it. 'If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." But righteousness has been wrought out, life freely given by love and that in Christ, so that we become the righteousness of God in Him. We can say grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life in the sense of our full ultimate enjoyment, and what Christ has accomplished for this purpose ... . Righteousness was accomplished in Christ before life was communicated to us; and when through grace it is communicated to us it places consequently in that righteousness in which He is before God, thus it produces it in us as fruits according to the power of the Holy Ghost given to us as seal of that righteousness, and which sheds abroad the love that is in God, who has done all this, in our hearts.


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[L E Lovef (Indistinct writing)] MY BELOVED BROTHER, -- I have not the hope of satisfying every restless mind, unless they judge their own way of dealing with these questions, and the views by and from which they judge. I do not find a statement in any paper (it may have escaped me) that Christ entered into the experiences of souls conscious of sins, and not knowing the fulness of grace. I think I recollect it in Mr. Hall's accusations, but could not find it then. But such a soul, when upright through grace, dreads death, dreads judgment -- is before God in view of it. Christ was perfectly upright, feared death, feared wrath, cried to God under the sense of it, and can enter into such a soul's exercises, so as to minister needed grace to it.

As to smiting; I do not believe there was any direct infliction of wrath from God on Christ by reason of any state or relationship He was in, save only as atonement, when made sin for us. But since all these questionings, I have examined scripture, and I cannot find there smiting used for atoning work, but always for the fact of the cutting off of Messiah, and not for the atoning value of His work. I have no objection to the vague using of it, giving it this force; because as I said, all infliction of wrath from God was atonement, and smiting is so understood. But the question having been raised, I have done my best to ascertain what scripture says, how it speaks, and "let God be true and every man a liar;" as far as I can find it speaks so. Divine wisdom has decided how to speak, and how to express itself. I have sought here by positive statement as to what I do not believe, to relieve the mind of a brother from the effect of false statements; but a Hebrew and Greek Concordance will give the best answer to the question, where the word smite hk;n; or patavssw are used in scripture.

I believe Christ is competent to enter into all the sorrows of the human heart by means of what He went through, sin apart I believe in a special manner He entered into the sorrows of Israel. The fundamental and mischievous error of my accusers is, assuming (just Newton's error) that entering into the sorrows of any one's position meant being in the state or relationship which brought the sorrow on. But I think the doctrine of my accusers horrible, and a total denial of the truth of Christ's sufferings. It is those who have been under the pestilent influence of thinking sorrows or sufferings of heart in Christ implied the state that had brought them on man (an error on which all H.'s reasonings with me depend), who are troubled and uneasy. My good friends will have to learn that they can go wrong as well as those they are in such a hurry to condemn. If they fall into the snare of taking other people's representations of my doctrine, or read my words under the effect of them, they will have to deal with God about it, and see why.

As regards my taking up the matter on my return, I did fully take it up, and searched my own publications, scripture, and my accusers' correspondence, as fully as I could. I replied to every one who wrote to me honestly to inquire. If brethren. think I am going to give up my direct service committed to me (however unworthy I may be) by the Lord, to pander to what I believe to be mere wicked accusations, I can only say I cannot do so. I am persuaded that more spiritual apprehensions of the sufferings of Christ, and true knowledge of conflict in their own souls, would have made brethren capable of juster decision in the matter. Not suspecting the kind of attack and accusations, expressions might be found in my papers which gave a handle to them; hence I have taken no high ground, but patiently awaited brethren's minds clearing up.

I do not think an upright willing mind could for a moment have interpreted what I have said as has been done. It amounts to the allegation that Christ was a condemned sinner, a saint through grace, and learning when a sinner. I do not believe my adversaries think I hold this, however my expressions may afford a handle to what they say; and I must take them (my accusers) as I find them, seeking to feel as God would have me feel, but I do think that their views ought to have awakened brethren's minds to a sense of the false grounds on which their accusations rest. What they deny forms an integral part of my Christianity. I should as much think of giving that up, as of accepting their views. But I have not neglected the subject since I left England ... . But see what I have to deal with, or rather what troubles the minds you speak of. It is alleged that I say Christ entered into the experiences of souls, etc., which I cannot find -- this means in their minds that He had these experiences, and He is then considered as Himself involved in them from God. And it is next added, it must be from the relationship He was in; not one word of which I have ever said or thought, and it flows from the abominable false principle that Christ suffered only from atonement or sympathy; that is, that besides atonement He never really suffered at all, and if there were any other, He must have been in the relationship that caused it. I must again express my astonishment that such doctrine, which is avowedly Mr. H.'s, has not opened people's eyes.

The only real ambiguity I know in what I have written is the word suffering, because suffering may have the sense of outwardly inflicted pain, and inward sense of any evil; and when I say Christ passed through these sufferings, it may be taken as inflicted on Him (and as to circumstances, outwardly in the main He did go through them), or as inwardly entering into the pain and grief of it, in whatever way brought to His soul, As to His being in the relationship and meriting it (or, as Mr. H. wrote to me, God smote the wrong person), I can only look at as an evil denial of all Christ's true sufferings except atonement. But the ambiguous sense of the word suffering gave probably a handle to those who sought it.

You will please to bear in mind, as to my not satisfying people, that I have answered to every one who has written to me. I much prefer giving people's minds time to get clear on the subject, than being in any hurry to defend myself. I can trust the Lord if they cannot; nor do I expect to be able to satisfy the cravings of those who do not. When I think of what doctrine it would have been the acceptance of, I am quite thankful I did not withdraw my papers.

As to the alleged entering into the experiences, allow me to ask: Do you think Christ can enter into the sorrows of a broken and contrite heart, fearful, and pressed within? If so further, do you think what He went through on earth enables Him to do it in a special way? Yet it has nothing to do with His being contrite -- though I by no means think this is the highest way of looking at it. The true aspect of it all is objective, the "man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." I believe I have no more to add as to the papers called in question.

Ever your affectionate brother in Christ.

Those who have written against me were fully aware that I denied holding what they allege to be my views long before their pamphlets came out. There is another source of their error. Having assumed that smiting is infliction of atoning wrath from God, or, at any rate infliction from the state or position Christ was in, they have concluded I involved Him in this position. Now Messiah was cut off, the necessary consequence of Israel's state. In this He did go to accomplishing the work of atonement, or wrath against sin, which He bore from God; but in scripture it is not used for the atoning part of the work. In God's wisdom that in which Messiah was cut off was made to be the accomplishment of atonement for Israel and for us. It is this the Jews discover in Isaiah 53. The mingling both would not stumble me, but it makes the Psalms unintelligible and has led those who deny scriptural language as to it, to deny all Christ's sufferings, except atonement.

New York, November 21st, 1866.


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[C Owen] MY DEAR BROTHER, -- I thank you for your letter. I have always been ready to explain any expressions, and have admitted the human infirmity of them now these eight years. For, strange to say, my papers have been published these eight years, a plain proof that it is, as of God, some other cause than mere doctrine, and of man and the enemy too. It is this which one has to weigh. I am not afraid of the result, but as a passage it has its importance. I have no wish at the present time to have an exhibition of a controversy among brethren. But it is not only that I have been willing to explain, I have done so whenever I have been written to; and, of course, should; and many minds, I know, set at rest. You will remember as to reading Mr. D.'s and Captain H.'s pamphlets, that I had a long correspondence with each; and I am told that D.'s is substantially his letters without mine. Did I read them I might have to answer them, and that I should with difficulty be brought to do. There is a day when all will be brought to light. I bow, I trust, sincerely to the present chastening; feeling a great deal more for brethren than for myself. I am persuaded with patience everything will find its place ... . God's meaning in what takes place, I should, and do, weigh with him. It is, of course, an additional pressure on me in my more direct work in this very difficult country, but I do not feel it much now. I am still very glad I offered to stand outside. If it was not to be so, God has His own purpose and blessing in it. If it were to be so, yet I have not as far as yet a thought of giving up a hair's breadth of what my real meaning was. The world with me or against me, I hold [it] firm and unmoved. My judgment is that while I might relieve them by leaving them (and the doctrine is no proper business of theirs) their yielding to D. and H. would be the first step in their ruin.

What I always desired was that they should go on quietly on their own ground; that is their business; but not be terrified by the adversaries.

Was death as death a suffering and sorrow to Christ, for instance in Gethsemane (where H. admits Christ was not accomplishing the work of atonement) or not -- I do not mean man's pure action in it, but death as death -- when the sorrows of death compassed Him? Was His cutting off as Messiah nothing to Him? Atonement was in the cup, suffering for righteousness all His public course (at any rate) through. Was there no heart-suffering, but man's outward persecutions because He was righteous, and His feeling them -- nothing that pressed on Christ's heart but atonement or persecution? They do not seem to know what suffering means, and apply it only to outward actual things coming on a man; nor the true mind of good in the midst of evil. Heart-suffering for others, I suppose, they have never known; I do not envy them. It was neither sympathy for others, nor atonement, when Christ looked for compassion and found none.

November, 1866.


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-- - I thank you much for your account of Ireland. I had heard of dear -- 's departure. I had heard, too, that the world had enticed away her husband, and, I trust, this may have awakened his conscience and heart. I feel such cases as -- 's overwhelming. I ask myself why such things occur, for there have been one or two -- if anything in myself, or in the ways and teaching of brethren even, to give occasion to what we all abhor. It is well we should judge this. I have no doubt as to the utter dishonesty of ordinary evangelical teaching, nor do I hesitate a moment on the need or glory or truth of simple full grace and salvation. It cannot be separated from Christ's glory, nor Christ from it. It is a part of eternal truth. I know the stupid objection of unconvinced and self-righteous sinners was alleged against Paul's doctrine, and that Peter had to say, "As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness." All this is foreseen of God. But, I ask myself, Is there any check in practice or doctrine overlooked, any one-sidedness in the way of putting it? That in the late revival, not among brethren as much as elsewhere, but generally, there was unscriptural language, I judge, as to repentance and sanctification. The reaction against error over-stepped the bounds of scripture, but I think there must be more than this -- something in our ways, in mine it may be, that God judges. I have seen that God has never allowed any allowed evil in brethren to be hidden, and I can thank Him for it; while elsewhere it is hushed up. Still it is very sorrowful that the Lord should be grieved, and those we love dishonour themselves and Him; He can restore, that is the comfort, I trust he will poor -- . I am sure He is righteous in all His ways, and such falls are not the beginning of departure from Him, not sudden, but the result -- I would trust, the end -- of departure from Him. Still I would trust that in a certain sense he was taken in a fault, and our part is to restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering ourselves. Judgment on evil is all right. but the restoration of the sinner is the object of divine love; he will never, nor any one, be restored till the origin of the evil be judged. Christ does not reproach Peter with denying Him, but does say, "Lovest thou me more than these?" -- he will have to judge all that led him away from God. If we go down into Egypt, we have no altar till we get back to the one we had at the first, when God brought us to worship Him where our tent and our altar were in the land of promise.

The question you speak of in London has been pretty strongly before brethren. H. sought to make them independent churches, saying London was as populous as Galatia. -- intrigued with all his energies to excite jealousy against the Saturday meeting; and a man, whose name I forget, who also was seeking to play this all off at the Priory, wrote and printed and insisted on their being churches. The difficulty in practice is real, in principle none; in practice because of the size of the town,