Section 11

My beloved Brother,—You must not call yourself old as if you were tired. The Lord was never weary, yet the Ancient of Days; you have to renew your strength as an eagle to bear fruit in old age. I have heard little in detail of England, a little while back, only enough to learn that the Lord has been very gracious. I was able to trust Him, though knowing nothing, for I need not say being here does not hinder the brethren in London and elsewhere being on my heart.

I was not surprised at the breaking up of——, nor am I at their seeking some human resting-place now, for it was begun in self-will, and not with God. Often what we have to do is to leave things with God. He will not always use us in everything, but He will always do His own work, and we can or ought to trust Him for it. There are many things where I have had to leave all to Him, trusting Him fully, but feeling my path was to be still and do nothing—some through my own fault, where I had to cast myself specially on Him, some through the fault of others; but He will always do what is right…

I fear sometimes that dear——’s sanguine and hearty mind gives too glowing a picture of us here: still, the Lord has most graciously blessed us and is still blessing us, that is certain; but grace has its conflict with the opposings, and fears of nature as elsewhere. The Episcopal clergy are peculiarly bitter, but it is natural to them as, in certain respects, the worst going. Here they have no pretension to be the religion of the nation, and they have only their superstition and Judaism to lean upon, and those that are saints with a bad conscience.

What an awful show up of the Record… It is surely far better to leave such, even if we know all the details of their evil, without entering into conflict with them. It seems to me that the Established or Episcopal body are very rapidly sinking in character. It is one of the signs of the last days. Here the Wesleyans are hand-in-glove with the Papists, to gain political influence, and have in every way a bad reputation. Yet we have some dear saints from among them.

There is progress, too, among the Indians, among whom dear ——is working. They have three of them been with us in our general meeting, really uncommonly nice people. I purpose in two or three days visiting them again… Our meeting has been really very much blessed, and the presence of the Lord felt really among us. There were a good deal over 100, perhaps 130, about the half men.

I trust dear——, too, has got quite clear. He, too, has learned what the church is; he avows he never saw anything about it… We wait for the result as to the outward form, but the blessing is evident, and God is full of grace and faithfulness…

Poor——, you ought to have profound compassion for him. It is a sad picture of our poor nature, and in this case I do pity him immensely… It is a wonder he does not bow in heart under it all: but what is our nature—what is yours and mine, if grace does not keep us? But we ought to trust Him. In general the gatherings are going on in peace. I believe souls are still inquiring and seeking at Hamilton, and individuals in more than one new place getting hold and having got hold of truth. The testimony still tells on conscience. The Lord make His beloved people faithful and devoted, that His testimony may be made good and increase and keep its hold.

I think one thing characterised the meeting just closing— more care for the church at large—and this gave a certain power, as it always does. It is not surely as full as it ought to be; still, concern for the Lord’s people is dear to His heart.

Affectionate love to the brethren and your own house.

Ever, dearest——, affectionately yours.

Toronto, July 14th, 1863.

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Dearest ——,—I should indeed have been glad to see you before I left; but our place as Christ’s servants is to serve peacefully, where He calls, and to wait for all personal blessing till we get it with Himself, working while it is called to-day. Our sabbath will be with Him. This gives great rest and joy, too, now, but it is a joy which always looks forward.

At Montreal the Lord has been very gracious indeed. I had, too, a nice visit to Ottawa, where, though there were some fruits of isolation, I found subjection to the word, and sincere desire to serve Christ… I got, too, amongst the French Canadians: missionaries are hopeful, but it is as such a sorrowful picture of systematised missions, yet some of them true devoted people, but then chiefly unhappy: their support by the so-called churches exercising the most unhappy influence on those engaged in this work. The work itself is of deep interest to me. All this ought to bring us low before the Lord, and lead us to intercede earnestly for His work and people. I must close.

I still cherish the hope that I may be in Canada next year, but the Lord knows.

Affectionately yours.


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My dear Brother,—I was very glad to get your account of the work, and so happy a one. I am sure true devotedness is the secret of power, and specially in these days; and that the value of brethren can only be if we so live in service for Christ, and for Christ specially among the poor: sunapavgete toi'" tapeinoi'", not “condescend” as so falsely translated in English. (Rom. 12:16.) We must remember that we are in the last days. Things are even going very fast, but the Lord is above all: He gathers together the tares in bundles. Patient continuing in well-doing is our path.

As regards your difficulty as to baptism, I am sure patience is our path there too. I can conceive nothing more false than a baptist testimony—more poor than a baptist church: the whole thing is a mistake. We are, according to 2 Timothy 2, purging ourselves from evil in a great baptised mass, thinking to begin and found, as with heathen, in a false position. But there has been such confusion and abuse that one must have patience with those thrown on these ordinance-ways of correcting them. They do it conscientiously. I should not stir my finger to hinder their own acting for themselves. If it was made a part of the testimony of the assembly as such, I should not go to it. I should not make any fuss, but keep my own place.

Dear —— assumed this position in —— that they baptized believers (himself the most inconsistent of men as to it) but admitted others. I said at once I could not go in that case: I went in the unity of the body, not on sufferance to a baptist meeting, and the thing was withdrawn, and said not to be meant in this way. Nothing would induce me to go to a baptist meeting; I would as soon go to popery. I should have objected to giving up the prayer meeting, and any public declaration of its being a part of their testimony; their private view of it, of course, they are free in. But we are called to peace. They attacked me once about it at——, and I found they could not answer at all from scripture. The person who attacked me was convinced, I think, that they were wrong; certainly they had no answer from scripture. But I would not trouble one of them: I do not admit their baptism to be really such at all; but they do it conscientiously, and believe it such, and I am content, as I accept the ordinance as Christ’s. They must leave my conscience, free, too; I can bear with, but cannot bind my conscience by their ignorance, and Pam sure it is. If the assembly takes the ground of being baptists, of course I should not go But, I repeat, we are called to peace, and no individual (o. multiplied by many) expression of opinion would move me at all. It always does mischief where it is held, and narrows the spirit; but when the assembly is not formed on it, I am freee Seek peace and pursue it. And the Lord give you peace always, by all means.

Here the Lord blesses: numbers are a good deal increased, I have been in the States. Everywhere a growing sense of the worldliness and low estate of so-called churches, and spiritual persons ill at ease; but there must be faith to act. I am off to New York, where the Swiss have called me. And then after Philadelphia, for a visit to Massachusetts, where there is testimony. The Lord has graciously helped me hitherto. I must close. Hold to what is essential and keep close to Christ; of your own thoughts be distrustful.

Ever affectionately yours.

Canada, September, 1863.

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[From the French.

Dear——,—Patience is often a great remedy, because there is a God who acts. You can well understand that the state of Lausanne has been a subject of deep interest to me. But there are cases where we must let God alone do all. If we had the energy of a Paul, perhaps good would be done, and evil would shew itself much more quickly by means of the spiritual energy of a man; but it is hardly so now. I have held also to its not being a personal disagreement between me and ——; but a matter in which the consciences of the brethren should be engaged. This is why I made no inquiries, I did not seek information about anything. I prayed. Perhaps you can remember that is what I did at the dissolution of the old assemblies of ——. I guessed more or less what was happening in principle, but I was ignorant of the facts.

I do not know what letters you speak of that have been published, perhaps those that I received from——a year and a half ago. In any case, I do not pay any attention to insults and personal abuse. I have had enough not to disquiet myself much about them; I hope for sufficient grace to account of myself to God, who loads me with His goodness and pardons all my mistakes. At this moment the contempt in which the brethren find themselves is changed into hatred… I believe it is a good sign. If the brethren only walk well, I do not fear anything. Everything is dissolving. Where there is the truth and intelligence of the position of the church, Satan directs all his efforts against that; faithful, this will only do good; unfaithful, God will replace them by others; the testimony He will maintain. Those who have not the faith of the position will not remain there. It is a question, no doubt, of making united paths for the feeble; this is lacking, it seems to me sometimes, but no one will escape the difficulties and the exigencies of faith, if he walks with us.

I hope, indeed, to come to Switzerland. I cannot say exactly the moment, because I am kept here until certain engagements, of business, are terminated. You should have patience and decision. I desire union with all my heart, but being outside I should like better to see that it was solid before making it… If the foundation of the assembly is solid, it is well; if not, I prefer to wait. Only we should desire union, and have faith in the faithfulness of God to keep His own. If we seek truly the good of His own, we shall lose nothing by it, even though we make for ourselves enemies. If there is not faithfulness at bottom in the meeting, I should prefer to remain alone; but do not take notice of personalities.

I cannot say anything positively, I wait the manifestation of the will of God; but I have the thought of visiting Switzerland before very long…

Your affectionate brother.

London, November 23rd, 1863.

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Beloved Brother,—I was very glad indeed to get your letter and hear of the work in Canada, to which, as well as the beloved brethren there, I have become deeply attached. I know not if my years and strength will permit, but I still (if they do) hope to visit America again; but, if allowed, should think of the States too, but that would properly require a younger, more energetic man, and we must look to the Lord to carry forward His own truth… It is a matter of thankfulness to hear of the places opening, and our wisdom is to follow the Lord’s leading in this. I do trust the blessed Spirit of God will continue His own work in spreading the truth in Canada, for it is .God’s truth and a blessing from Him, knitting the heart with Him according to His revelation of Himself, though accompanied with trial, as it surely will be. I see, too, the Lord more jealous of any evil among brethren than anywhere; they profess to have more truth, and He will not allow inconsistency with it, judges it, or puts them to shame. It is a blessing, surely; but still a solemn thought.

Here the truth is spreading: I do not mean merely the numbers of brethren, and meetings increasing, though that is widely the case; I do not now know them all; but around us people are beginning to feel they are in the last days, and all is moving. They want something real; are holding meetings on the Lord’s coming, and the like. The path of the brethren is simple in the midst of all this, to walk peacefully and graciously in the truth, but in it. All this stirs up others, and, feeling justly that the testimony of brethren is at the bottom of it all, they attack them with virulence. We are more hated and less despised than we were. The attacks are violent and unscrupulous, but often defeat themselves, and more strangers come to hear. I have felt the Lord with me since I returned, though a good deal knocked up with accumulated work and this climate; however, I have got on.

Here the brethren are getting on happily, and with a deepened tone and more union than when I left. A real difficulty in this immense place where we have now eighteen gatherings, is to go on as one—as separate in some sense as if they were twenty miles apart in the country, yet necessarily altogether from being raised up in the same town. The Lord has graciously provided, too, more visiting, in sending one or two to London.

I daily see more how entirely new a place grace has set us in. One must not thereby set aside or weaken our responsibility in our old place, which Christ fully met as was needed for God’s glory; but He has let us in by having perfectly glorified God in that work, into the holiest of all by the rent veil, to be partakers of all the holiness and of all the blessing that is there. I find new scenes of delight thus opening to me. I seek in my ministry to settle souls strong in the foundation, and have had interesting fresh developments of the progress of truth in Romans: meeting the old thing (chap, 3); resurrection, only as far as life (chap, 4): love first mentioned (though grace is in a general way alluded to in chapter 3) in chapter 5, and thus leading into the new Adam standing; and in chapter 8, after the discussion of law, bringing us into Christ and Christ in us. My mind is still working on this, that is, inquiring in scripture. I was greatly interested in connecting Titus 1:2, 3, John 1:4, 1 John 1:1-3, and 2 Timothy 1:9, 10. What a character it gives to the life we have now, going into the new and heavenly place by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, before the world, after all its present state, and out of it in spirit now, but (blessed be God) in communion with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ; our conversation and polivteuma in heaven. But I believe I must close.

The Lord give you, dear brother, to keep very near Himself, and to remember that we are in the last days, and have to follow Christ wholly, and serve as those that wait for Him. Kindest love to the brethren, and the Lord bless your labours. I am finishing with two or three talking to me. I leave (D.V.) for Switzerland to-morrow.

Ever, beloved brother,
Affectionately yours.

London, December, 1863.

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* * * There are difficulties in your case which have to be overcome, but I am sure there is grace in Christ to enable you to do so. And “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape.” I should be sorry to see —— leave, because I am sure it is the testimony of the Lord, however feeble the witnesses may be; but comparatively I am little concerned in that, if——hold fast by Christ. The danger is, that if it be the place of faithfulness and testimony, the leaving it is the downward path into the world… We have necessarily a good deal to learn, and till we have learnt ourselves we never know fully the value of Christ so as to leave the heart at rest. But grace can keep us waiting on Him while this process is going on. This is what I look for, for you and for him.

Popery is a rest for the flesh, and Satan is busy in the many distractions of the day in suggesting it; but it is really in its principles apostasy from the truth and church of God; not that I think any safe from it (though God can keep them) till they know redemption. Once I have believed Hebrews 10, Popery is the denial of and hostility to Christ; till then it may look like piety and humility (but is “voluntary humility”) and what not. It does not tell its heresies and abominations till you are in for it, and the spell of Satan is over a person; for its actual wickedness is beyond all belief. But if Christ is my righteousness, it is all a lie from beginning to end. It is really infidelity. Christ became a man to be near my heart and I trust Him, and God thus in Him. They tell me no, I must have saints and virgins, because He is so high above me. It denies His gracious tenderness: men, mortal men and women, are tenderer. This is a horrid denial of what He is. But see you hold fast through grace to a perfect redemption. Study Hebrews 9, 10. Learn your own heart, but cast your need on the perfect grace of Christ, and find what His heart is for us in patient and loving mercy. You will find peace and rest…

December, 1863.

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Beloved Brother,— … In general I have had very good meetings in Switzerland; there is plenty of need; where there have been difficulties, God is, I hope, working, and His good hand is over the brethren. Everywhere the manifest work of the Spirit of God is seen, and the violent efforts of the enemy. What we have to do is to persevere quietly, but with redoubled devotedness, in the Lord’s work. This is a time in which faith is manifested by that quietness of soul which flows from confidence in God, and that devotedness which shews that one has the consciousness that everything traditional, everything external (evil excepted) is crumbling to pieces. The way is a very simple one, if the heart is simple; a very peaceful one, if the heart enjoys communion with God; happy there, we peacefully discern what will be most to His glory. I think that what has been a real subject of grief here will certainly be the means of blessing…

Peace be with you, dear brother.

Your very affectionate brother.

Lausanne, February 7th, 1864.

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* * * The unity of Christ’s body being the ground assumed, all Christians have, in principle, a title to be there, the Lord’s name being maintained as to doctrine and discipline. If you insist on a certain standard of intelligence beyond Christ, before receiving them, you prove that you are not intelligent, and you abandon your own (namely, God’s) principle.

At the same time, it is all well that young converts should wait; it would do them no harm. The great requisite for receiving, is satisfaction as to membership of the body of Christ… The principle is “one body and one spirit;” the resource, now that all is confusion and inconsistency, is Matthew 18:20.


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* * * There are three ways of looking at Christ: as dead and risen; as ascended and seated on high; as coming again. Now of these three great branches of christian truth—justification through the death and resurrection of Christ, the formation of the church in connection with Christ ascended and the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and the second coming of Christ to receive His saints and judge the world—the Reformation did not go beyond the first, the preaching of justification by faith. The last two were not even touched, so to speak. Similarly, Christians in general do not see these truths at the present day. Neither the distinctive calling of the church, nor the character of the Lord’s coming again for us, is entered into beyond sayings and opinions. These are the great truths to present to their apprehension, rather than to begin with ways of meeting…


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Dearest——,—I have been rather wondering not to have a line from you, and some account of all the beloved brethren in Canada… I should like to know everything about all of them in as much detail as possible. I feel knit up with Canada in a way almost strange for beginning it at my age, though indeed the kindness I received, as you know in it, warranted the feeling. But I think it was partly that as it was really a matter of faith for me crossing the ocean, the Lord blessed it in my fellowship with them. But whatever the secondary cause, I have felt specially the blessing of interest in and communion with them. I should be quite disposed, were I younger, to begin in the United States, too, but then it would require patient . and arduous service; that I see… I have been in Switzerland, where I was comforted, though sorrow in the church carried me there. After all, I never had such good meetings.

Everywhere I think the Spirit of God is at work, making men feel that Christianity ought to be something more real. But infidelity and denial of inspiration spread in an astonishing way, but I find in the Lord one is always happy. Did I look, as I once did, even unconsciously to anything here, I should be dismayed and overwhelmed; but I do feel the heavenward path and my home there every day more simply mine. I am here for one of the translations, which a good deal made me leave Canada when I did. The German I have not yet set to work at.

There is a good deal of conversion going on in France, particularly in the Ardèche and the Doubs, but also in the Pyrenees, and a new field in Vaucluse. In the west also there is blessing, which is a new field of work. And the Lord has raised up some labourers. In Switzerland they are lacking, and the lack is felt. But God is wise in all things, even where we feel loss, though it be to our shame… I think (D.V.) of returning for a while. I am going (D.V.) to England for a short time, inconveniently to me, but the beloved brethren in the north are free Easter week, and have a conference [Bradford, March 25th], and have begged me to be at it, so I would not put them off. I shall have to return here. We are just going to have a little local conference, that is, three days of reading here. The letter of one invited tells us of an excellent evangelist of the free church who is delivered, and of the interesting progress of the work in the west (Charente)… In Germany there is widely extending work.

I hope still to get out again to America; but the Lord will guide. Work is plenty here. But if I go, though longing to see them all, and surely hoping thus to do so, I should think a little of the States, as I have some doors open in one or two places. But all this is in our blessed Lord and Master’s hand. For my part, my journey to America has done me a great deal of good. I feel more than ever to belong to the Lord, and myself and the church not to be of this world, and look upward. The very infidelity current has helped me too, for all things help those who are with the Lord.

I really do not know brethren to whom I have become more attached than those in Canada, and good reason, from all their kindness. My affectionate remembrance to all you may see in your going about. We have had a Canadian winter everywhere, even in Italy, skating at Florence, and weeks of hard frost in Switzerland, and even in the south of France such weather as I never knew there.

Peace be with you, beloved brother, and the Lord’s blessing on your work, with kindest remembrance.

Affectionately yours.

Pau, March 3rd, 1864.

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Beloved Brother,—I felt the death of dear——more than I can tell you, just as he seemed to be coming out too into evangelising work. I felt the deepest interest in him and his countrymen, and it came upon me bowing my heart before the Lord, but I know all His ways are best and good; I have no doubt of His love or wisdom. That feeling was never weakened, but from His hand it spoke to the- heart, not to arouse the will, but to bow implicitly to His wise and holy ways in a world of sorrow; but of His goodness I have no doubt. I am very glad you are a little amongst them: if you see them after receiving this, give them all my kindest love and truest sympathy.

As to the clergy, though you and I have been both somewhat in a similar way amongst them, we must only leave them to their own ways. It is sad, but all else is useless. I do not expect anything from them, when acting as such, but what is heartless and low. I have known many saints among them; but still I say, when acting in the spirit of their order, such (and the world knows it) is their character. There is a distinct loss of moral sense and sensibility. As a system, nobody can describe the horror I have of it, but in general I see no good in attacking them in any way: some I have personally much loved. As to Dr. C. and Dr. C, I do not think much about it. One is so low, that any one of any right feeling can easily judge it, and his ignorance too, and the second is decidedly heretical on the Newton doctrine; but little the clergy care about this; but in such cases it is always the best way to leave it all to God: “Thou shalt answer for me, O Lord, my God.” As to ——, as I once said to another in a different case, you get as dirty in contending with a sweep as in hugging him. But our part is to live above these things, and to think not of attacks but of souls.

The opposition arises from the progress of truth, and from the consciousness they have that all their affair is hollow and crumbling. In England, the judgment of the Privy Council, deciding that the clergy is not bound to hold the scriptures to be inspired, has thrown dismay into their ranks, the rather as it overthrows the episcopal judgment. There is a commission to change the terms of subscription. In France, the result of a question in the Bible Society is the public proposal to make two churches of the national body. Those who would [have] a confession left before: one who is infidel and excluded is founding another on his own basis. Popery, of course, profits by this, yet those same men pretend they alone can meet it. Positivism, that is, that we can believe nothing but what comes under sensible experience of man’s power is rampant; the most absurd and lowest of all forms of infidelity. I asked one the other day if he could tell me if I had a soul. No. That I had not one? No. That there was an eternity? No. That there was not? No: he might probably perish like a leaf. I asked the pupil if it was not leading to absolute ignorance: it was admitted. Another told me he did not know what conscience was; perhaps intelligence and habits mixed, heart and affection, warmer blood. You may conceive the degradation of all this.

It is not to alarm I say all this: the Lord is as faithful as ever, and the work of God is as evident as the power of evil; but it does not influence the world where it is not real. The path of the saint is simpler, only he must be decided to be anything. Those who do not believe in the Lord’s coming say the church is going through a crisis, and will come out brighter: those who do, but are not faithful, are mournful, and embittered against those who see what is going on. We have only to pursue our way, doing good, and I find the doors more open than ever. My journey to America has done me good. I am, I trust, more loose to the world than ever, and feel I belong only to another world, and I bless God for it.

There is one characteristic of the time in many who are getting loose from evil systems, the wish to belong to nothing. It is really want of faith to be decided in what is right, but it takes the form or pretext of liberty and love. Now I delight in spiritual liberty for myself and others: I could not give it up; I would not ask another to do so; but looseness of intention is not liberty, nor carelessness of conscience. I dread narrowness, but the wish to be free from divine restraint and walk carelessly, even as regards the church, or really as regards the world, is not liberty; it is a cloak of looseness of conscience, of insubjection to Christ’s authority. I have no pretension to impose my way of seeing things on any one; but there is a claim, a system of freedom from Christ’s yoke which, I believe, is most hurtful to souls: I never asked a person to come among brethren in my life, nor ever would. It is a current system—I believe fundamentally bad; I know many beloved ones in it. It is a snare to them: I wait to see them clear. There is less of it in Canada; much in England and Ireland. Monstrous effects sometimes arise, things worse than purgatory taught in their common meetings; sometimes in consequence only select speakers allowed; but protestations of the sweetest communion with those who taught them, and an avowal that no common basis of truth was to be looked for.

How blessed to be peacefully delivered from all these things, and yet have the heart open to every saint; for my own part I feel daily more—and with Christ Himself—the blessedness of the position in which He has set me. I have seen weakness enough in my carrying it out, but never in the thing itself.

As regards your difficulty as to the place left you, I think it is often a proof of the weakness of saints—not their waiting to be edified by another, not always there; I see nothing but what is very comely in that—but in not freely, though doing that, taking a simple part as the Lord leads them, in some part even if they do not speak. But it is very often a source of trouble to myself. In very country parts it is often useless to press them, as it distresses them, provided full open is left for the action of the Spirit of God. Where more exercised brethren are, all that is needed is to leave the fullest opportunity for their action, all through the service, and then act in simplicity; but I have been often troubled by it, for even in the act of giving thanks—a service I delight in—leaving it always to one is distressing. When we really seek the full action and liberty of the Spirit of God, the Lord will graciously order all. The drawing out others to activity according to God is a gift in itself.

As regards the work there is nothing very particular. In France there is considerable conversion, and some new labourers raised up; and, in general, occasion for thankfulness, though we might look for a great deal more spiritual power: still, generally, there is progress, extension of the work, and conversion : in the Free Church excessive looseness of doctrine, both here and in Switzerland. There, though I went by reason of sorrow, in one place I never had such good meetings, and hope to return. In Germany the work prospers. In Holland it is stationary. In England and in Ireland, in general, considerable progress; but, I think, some want of knitting together, partly from its extended character. In London they are both increasing and there is very much to be thankful for. Nor do I, indeed, think of any particular sorrow save at one place in Ireland and one in England, which last, however, save for the souls concerned, I think, is rather the contrary. As to numbers, the increase is rapid enough, and I certainly think growth in seriousness and reference to the Lord increased. More strength of union is the chief lack, I think… In all cases our path is simple, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing our labour is not in Vain in the Lord; in due time we shall reap if we faint not—much internal life and intercourse with the Lord, and then devotedness, but the first gives all its power to the latter.

The word is ever richer to me: I have been lately occupied with the difference of Ephesians 3 and 1. The latter puts the Christian in his position before God, the former fills us with Christ up to all the fulness of God, setting us in the fulness of that divine centre, in the apprehension there of the whole of that in which God glorifies Himself; in the intimacy withal of Christ’s love. I have not yet thoroughly examined chapter 4:in its own place at following this. I see it is the fruit of the power x and presence of the Holy Ghost in us. The prominency of infidelity and positivism has made me feel more than ever how the knowledge of God in Christ is a divine work and? gift; how we owe all to sovereign grace. But as I get on I feel it is a more natural thing to belong to God: to he out of it an unnatural state. This has made me happy, and given a peaceful character to my spiritual feelings. Sovereign grace has put us, in the second Adam, in this relationship; but to be in relationship in peace is the only normal state. And that is peace; but then it makes one so much the more feel that the world is a wholly outside thing, a sorrowful scene of minds, souls actively in confusion. Yet even we have to be athirst for God; if we have seen Him in the sanctuary, not only we long for our Father’s house, but love the ways there, though they pass through the vale of tears—but athirst for God; and in this we are satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and praise while we live, because we have His favour which is better than life. The Lord keep us both patiently and fervently near Himself, drawing from that source of blessing and truth.

My heart still looks to a visit again to America. I am somewhat old to undertake the United States, but I do trust dear ——is raised up for blessing. I have been, however, happy in it, and that I surely have been almost surprised at the way I have got attached to Canada—not, indeed, from what I met with there, for 1 met with every possible kindness, but when reflecting because of my age; but the Lord orders things after all, not man, nor even his time of life. I feel my spirit as thoroughly in the country as if I had been always of it, and more happily. However, our work is where the Lord sends us. Faith, I believe, brought me there, and so I was happy. The need is great here; still, I hope, if the Lord allow me, to see you all again. I know not where you may be. The Lord’s grace and peace be with you, dear brother.

Yours affectionately in Him.

Pau, March, 1864.

* * * * *

Dearest ——,—We have had our conference, and though some points exercised me, yet, I think, with more blessing in result than in others where there was none such; the brethren serious, disposed to own declension of life where there had been such and to accept the humiliation, sound in faith, and some important points as to setting free from sin, and the sinner’s state, very distinctly wrought out into their faith. This was very useful.

France is in a peculiar state. The struggle of infidelity and orthodoxy in the national body is come to a head. In a general conference in Paris the infidels had but some half-dozen votes. But they threatened new elections for the presbytery. They had a counter-work at Nismes, but the infidel clergy—a large majority—found if the laity voted, elders, &c., they would be in a minority, and allowed them no vote, only a consultative voice; but the laity, after discussing, rose in a body and left, a protest perhaps more significant than at Paris. They talk openly of how to form a new church, but the effrontery of the infidels has acted upon many sluggish and indifferent souls, producing the feeling—if we are Christians, after all we must have something real. It is a time of importance. Were I not in America, I should think of being in winter somewhat in France… .

I leave the South en route for Switzerland in a few days, but have a conference at Valence on the way. I have been too much taken up with large meetings lately: I like work. Kind love to all.

Affectionately yours.

June, 1864.

My dear Brother,—I have just received your letter in the south of France, in the midst of a conference, but am anxious to reply a few words. I have not Mr. S——’s book, so that I cannot examine it closely; I looked it over when our brother ——sent it to me; I thought the passage he referred to to be regretted. Other things in the tract seemed to me to be almost of more importance, though not apparent. But I am a little jealous of making every mistake a matter of public discipline by a kind of judgment of a council; sometimes we give importance to what would have none. It is a different matter when evil teaching or doctrine is introduced into a meeting of which I am a part. My impression was that the tract would have died a natural death. I make a difference between a person not rightly dividing the word of truth, and positively teaching on the part of the enemy what dishonours the Person of Christ, or saps any fundamental truth. Few are capable of not overstepping the bounds of sound doctrine, even in opposing positive error. Our beloved brother exposed himself to attacks by expressions. He was sound in his positive truth, but in attacking error wrote so as to commit himself, and the enemy, of course, profited by it. I never for a moment would give him up, though the first to warn him, because I was satisfied he was sound in doctrine, though he had stumbled into regrettable mistakes. I declared, did he hold what he was accused of, I could not for a moment be in communion with him; but he did not… This is for me the question with——. I am perfectly satisfied he is wrong in his views—his letter proves it; his tract I have not here (I will try and have it sent me). But I remember the time when the believing Christ to have been a priest upon earth was considered the test of orthodoxy against the Socinians…

If it was answered that bearing sin imparted defilement, the words would have to be explained, or it would be slippery ground. I do not believe that “this he did once” (Heb. 7:27) refers to His offering for sins in any sense for Himself. But if a person took it only in the sense of representation for His people, I think it a mistake, but there is no thought of his dishonouring Christ. I should examine the book before I said anything more. It seemed, as I read it, a book of very particular opinions and views, where there was confidence in a man’s own thoughts. I dread this, it always leads to notions and errors. I should dread and examine very closely the notion of Christ’s ear, &c, being touched with blood. If it was meant merely that the perfectness of the obedience marked by His death was realised in every act of His life, I might not agree— fear such tendencies—but no harm might be meant.

I do not think Christ was a priest on earth, save as representing Aaron on the great day of atonement on the cross—and I suspect this infects all his views. Aaron was anointed with oil, without blood, alone first. But error in interpretation is another thing from deliberately teaching a system dishonouring to Christ, and I dread excessively for brethren the dissecting of doctrine relative to Christ and His offering. The great traits are vital; pretending to accuracy destroys reverence and leads to infidelity. Mr.——, I fear, through confidence in his own studies, has run into this; the worst of consequences would be the brethren following him into it, even to oppose him… What I dread is any number of brethren committing all to what many may be incapable of entering into.

I have found the tract and read it through; absorbed by one subject, it abounds, in my judgment, in blunders. That brethren have repudiated it for themselves is all very well; I repudiate the statement myself; and his letter adds to the confusion. But I still think it calls for no public action. When needed, the blunders may be shewn. But that is better for all than a fuss about it. He makes priesthood depend on union, which is a mistake. He confounds worship with priesthood, or rather, effaces worship by it—a very serious mistake. He talks of the Father hiding His face, which is a mischievous confusion; but all this is ignorance on points to which his attention probably has not been called. You will be surprised, perhaps, when I say that the whole is, to me, ignorance of self and unsuspected self-righteousness. He little thinks so, if I am, indeed, right. He has meddled with what was beyond his measure; but I doubt he meant to dishonour Christ, and, though I reject the interpretation in the matter accused, I do not apprehend he meant otherwise than that Christ offered for Himself once, and as bearing our sins and identified with us; I do not think this scriptural… This is connected with the grave mistake of making Christ a priest, with blood, during His life. The for ever in his letter is a curious blunder. But then I make a total difference between the blunders of a man and a work of Satan undermining Christ in Himself… He thought he saw far into the matter, and it is evident to me that he is mistaken.

* * * * *

Dearest ——, — I was. just thinking of writing to you, without any particular motive but that it was so long since I had, when I got your letter upon my arrival here in Zurich. As regards the text, Hebrews 9:12, it has occupied all interpreters, and my own mind, in reading scripture. The whole matter is that S——has trusted the English, or overlooked the commonest possible use of diav. “This is he that came by [diav] water and blood.” Whatever characterises, or is as circumstances surrounding, is expressed by diav; so Romans 2:27, where the sense is unmistakable. So chapter 4:11, pisteuovntwn di akrbustia"; so chapter 14:20, diaV proskovmmato" ejsqivonti; 2 Corinthians 2:4, diaV pollw'n dakruvwn; so that genevsqai diav is used in the classics for the active verb. Romans 8:25, dij uJpomonh'" ajpekdecovmeqa; Hebrews 12:1, dij uJpomonh'" trevcwmen.

Further, it was not in virtue of the blood of bulls and goats that the high priest entered in; indeed, what was to hinder his dying himself was the cloud of incense. If it had been alleged that the bullock was for the church and the goat for Israel (not that I should pronounce this), my mind would have been otiose in hearing it; but when he says “both” in that sacrifice, he makes Christ distinct from the sacrifice. In the consecration, Aaron is sanctified alone, without blood; and then his sons with him, with blood, and their garments with him (not “them”), because without him they had no reality of existence. But that on which——rests all his system is wholly without foundation; it is a mistake as to the use of diav. When it is said that God brought Him from the dead, it is ejk, not diav. (Heb. 13:20.) The whole fabric of doctrine is therefore contradicted by an intelligent apprehension of the text of scripture.

The appeal to Psalm ex. is extraordinary; not only the whole psalm is based on setting Christ at God’s right hand, but the whole reasoning of the apostle on it in Hebrews 6, 7; and, indeed, the gist of the whole Epistle is to prove that it is in heaven and not on earth. “Such an high priest became us,” who is “made higher than the heavens” in “the power of an endless life.” He is consecrated eij" toVn aijw'na, and He must be a man to be so. (See chap. 6:20.) Had He even entered into the holy place during His life as priest He would have done so without blood; but He entered in ejfavpaz, “once for all having obtained eternal redemption for us.” The whole of this doctrine, therefore, is unfounded. I dread pursuing figures with an unsanctified spirit; they are most instructive when we have solid truth as the base, but the mind may run into all ideas by them.

The word “associates Himself” with sinners is in itself too vague to rest upon; where it comes in the pamphlet it is a contradiction; either it is substitution—and then it is not “both”—or Christ is distinct and presents Himself distinct as a sinner. I do not know what identity with each other means; is it substitution, or is Christ for Himself apart, as other sinners (each for himself) are, though united in the need of the sacrifice? Where was the need of Christ’s offering for Himself’? Was it the sin of others? Then it is substitution, or taking their place— or some entrance of His own into the place of guilt, not for others, but with—so that the sacrifice for Him, since He was sinless, was an untruth. I find much that is vague and uncertain. In the burnt-offering (p. 15) the animal’s blood was shed, and shed for atonement. Again, “here, too, the Lord Jesus associates His people with Himself”—how “too”? His being associated with sinners as such is not associating His people with Himself; it is the opposite. All this is very unsolid ground, but hardly needs to be taken up and made a crime of. I find on page 17 the same uncertain sound, but on a more serious point. “The same sacrifice serves for all, and brings them near to the same God, in the same place of acceptance.” Now, that Christ is, as man, in the presence and favour of God, after being abandoned for others, is blessedly true; but if the same sacrifice serves for all, that is, Christ and His people, and brings them near, it makes Him afar off Himself, and needing to be brought near; all this is worse than loose. So, that the incense is the prayers of the saints 1 judge not sustainable, where Christ offers it: in Revelation 5:we find the thought, but not with Christ the offerer. I do not know what “we as priests, may sprinkle the blood” means, that is, I do not believe it has any true sense, or that —— could give it any. But I do not doubt that many a poor saint enjoys the urging to priestly character in truth, and slips over the evil, without noticing anything particular; only there is danger of imbibing with it. But they are bee-like; suck the honey from every flower. He has committed himself, by self-confidence, to a series of blunders, founded on ignorance of the use of diav, or inattention to it.

The talking of Christ’s identifying Himself with Himself (for He is the victim), as if He was so associated with sinners that a victim was necessary for Him, and yet He was the victim for Himself as sinless enough to be so, is utter confusion. This is the theory of page 15. It may seem very profound, but it is far away from the simplicity of scripture. That He was made sin for us we believe; but was He made sin for Himself? (unless He be taken simply as the representative or substitute of His people, which, though it may be held innocently, is itself rather forcing expressions)… That Christ was a priest down here, I reject as fundamentally false, save as He, as High Priest, represented the people on the great day of atonement.

As regards the Notes on Leviticus, they were made by Miss T. from lectures at Plymouth, and though I do not doubt the substance in them, I must decline wholly being responsible for the expressions: even when one looks over such, if attention be not drawn to them, particular expressions are overlooked. Nor would I, when the purport is scriptural, make a man an offender for a word.

The part that pressed our own acting as priests in close union with Christ, is the part that has probably attracted pious persons who have not noticed the evil part, taking for granted that it was what is generally held. You have no idea how few are theologians, even in their faith.

I was very glad indeed to hear of the general blessing from God’s gracious goodness. We have had a meeting in Guernsey, common to French and English, and the Lord’s approbation and blessing was very sensibly felt. Of England I know nothing very recent; I think the brethren have an increased feeling that they must be devoted, and expectation of the coming of the Lord.

In France we cannot complain. There is a new and interesting field in the Charente, and in the Ardèche a good many conversions; in some places a want of energy, but in general the work maintains its ground and progresses; here and there one would be glad to see more energy in the work, though this does not apply to all, and God has raised up some new labourers. I sent dear——some account I think of what has been going on in France; outside brethren, much evil, but a reaction of a very distinct character. The Lord willing, I purpose leaving in October for Canada, I suppose by Halifax and Boston.

The letter of——to G. distinctly affirms the point in which he is wrong, and I have no hesitation in saying is founded on bad Greek. The English may be pleaded, but I am satisfied the translators never entered into the doctrine. The notion of Christ’s being a priest for ever, as he states it, is I think the most absurd idea I ever heard of; contradicting the whole doctrine of scripture and of Hebrews on the subject. He could not genhqh'nai ajrciereva [chap. 5:5], was a priest without being a man without anybody to be priest for even, without blood; there is no end to the contradictions; He could not be consecrated, it was only when He was teleiwqeiv" that He was saluted of God according to Psalm ex. (See Heb. 5:6.) The insisting on the word “art” is inconceivable; it is in italics even in the English Bible, Old [Psa. 110:4] and New Testament, while in the New it is applied to the time of His being perfected, after His crying and tears. It is to be remembered that contrast is more found in Hebrews than comparison. But I close this; it is not my object to make a treatise, but you will understand why I thought that with explanation when needed it might have died de sa belle mort

Ever affectionately yours.

Zurich, August 12th, 1864.

* * * * *

Dearest——,—I was for some days back, waiting the moment to write to you (moving about from meeting to meeting in the Jura), moved by the same motive which brought me yours, for which I heartily thank you, and am so far glad that mine was delayed, as I had yours without even one from me. If your strength be spared a little, I hope to see you. I purpose on my way to Canada, instead of sailing from Liverpool, to go and see you in Dublin, and get on board at Cork. I trust the Lord may so order it, but His way I am sure is best. Oh, how truly I feel that! You can hardly think how I feel that, and myself a stranger here. I have ever found in you, dear brother, everything that was kind; nor be assured was it lost upon me, though I am not demonstrative.

Besides the value I had for you, it was not a small thing to me that you, with dear C. and H., were one of the first four, who with me, through God’s grace the fourth, began to break bread in Dublin, what I believe was God’s own work: much weakness I own in carrying it out, little faith to make good the power which was and is in the testimony, but God’s own testimony I am assured—in every respect, even as to the gospel to sinners, what He was doing. I knew, for one, in no wise, the bearing and importance of what I was about, though I felt in lowliness we were doing God’s work. The more I go on, the more I have seen of the world, the more of Christians, the more I am assured that it was God using us for His testimony at this time. I never felt it as I do; but it is not my purpose to dwell on it now, and I fully own our weakness. It is to you, dear brother, my heart turns now, to say how much I own and value your love, and to return it; I rejoice that while I have been the object of many kindnesses on your part down here, it is one which will never cease, which has had Jesus our Master for its bond, though with many human kindnesses. But oh, what joy to know oneself united to Him! It adds a joy untold, to every sweetness: it is the source of it too. Surely He is all. For me, I work on till He call me, and though it would be a strange Dublin without you, yet I go on my way, serve others, say little and pass on. Not that I do not deeply love others, but this will all come out in its truth in heaven, perhaps on one’s death-bed; but I have committed my all to Him till that day. My hope is still to see you, my beloved brother; should I not, be assured there is none who has loved you more truly and thankfully than myself; it can hardly be unknown to you, though with me it is more within than without. Peace be with you. May you find the blessed One ever near you; that is everything. Faithful is He withal and true. In His eternal presence, how shall we feel that all our little sorrows and separations were but little drops by the way, to make us feel that we were not with Him, and when with Him, what it is to be there. Oh, how well ordered all is! I ever long more to be in heaven with Him before the Father, though I desire to finish whatever He has for me to do; and if it keeps me awhile out, it keeps me out for Him, and then it is worth while, and grace…

I am glad to have a moment to finish my letter, though in haste (I am full 500 or 600 miles from where I began it), and somewhat with a child’s joy having nothing to do to-day, from those with whom I have to work here not being arrived, in the house of one most full of brotherly kindness. I have thought too of little fruit. I find that while specially happy in evangelising, my heart ever turns to the church’s being fit for Christ. My heart turns there. God knew I suppose, that I was too weak and too cowardly for the other; but I reproach myself sometimes with want of love for souls, and above all, with want of courage, and love, would give that—it always does; but in the consciousness of my shortcoming I leave all with Christ. He does after all what He pleases with us, though I do not seek to escape blaming myself through this; and if He is glorified I am heartily content with anything, save not to love Him.

May His joy and peace be with you, dearest——, and again thanks to you for your letter, which was a true delight to me. Yours affectionately in our blessed Master, whom no words can rightly praise.

September, 1864.

* * * * *

* * * Our present path is a very simple one. There may be all sorts of evil here and there, and even God’s people are so mixed up with it, that we may not be able to say who are His and who are not. “Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” But we have also a word to act upon the conscience: “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” If you say, I know what I am in is unscriptural, and I am constantly involved in what is wrong, but I see nothing better; I answer that you must not go on with that: “depart from iniquity.” We are told to purge ourselves from vessels to dishonour—that he who does, “shall be a vessel unto honour,” sanctified and meet for the Master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Then, it may be urged, you will have to go alone, or lead in some new thing. But not so; I have to “follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” In these days, however, a great deal of patience also may be needed, as, indeed, Paul proceeds to remind Timothy in his day. Jeremiah was indignant at the state of things he saw around him; but he received the word, “If thou shalt take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth.” (Chap, 15) So, at present, one might be provoked to abstain from having anything to do with persons in the sects, &c.; but we have to remember that there are true saints of God in these associations, whose good we are to seek for the Lord’s sake, and deliverance from all that is offensive to Him. If it be argued that, in this case, we ought to go with them, the answer is, “Let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.”


* * * * *

My dear Brother,—As regards Acts 1:18, 19, and Matthew 27:3, &c.; I take Acts 1:18, 19 for a parenthesis of Luke’s. The passages have been much discussed. The field was looked at as Judas’ field, being purchased with his money; as some even say, he having bargained for it, the priests completed it, and appropriated it to this purpose: he got a field as the reward of his iniquity, his money being employed for this. We have not details enough to connect the two accounts of his death. Some think, being hung he fell down, and thus the catastrophe took place. But I do not reject your thought of the association of Judas and the priests. The account in Acts supposes he went and fell headlong at first—at once—so that the passage does not .imply that he got regular possession by contract himself. It is very possible that “purchased” is too definite; he got a field—with Matthew 27—is bought, purchased. It was probably some poor waste ground, and Judas having thus gone and hung himself there, they bought it formally and appropriated it to this use. It is supposed he fell down on his face when he hung himself.

I do not take yuchv (Acts 2:31) in any other sense but soul. His soul was in hades, His body in the grave: but I do not see how it separates His soul from His Person; the divine nature has nothing to do with place. His soul was separated from His body, but both held by divine power, so to speak, for His resurrection and glory. I do not think leaving out hJ yuchV aujtou' makes much difference, as it is in the psalm and quoted before. But I see no difficulty in the statement; for His soul was in paradise, His body in the grave; a{dou is merely the invisible place of departed spirits without more.

There are many statements as to facts we cannot explain because we have not the connecting link—as supposing the field was on a rock, an easy thing at Jerusalem, and he fell from the hanging place down it. I have no particular notion it was so, I use it as an illustration. If we knew such a fact, the statement is very plain. In doctrines many things are difficulties, because beyond sight we know so little.

Your affectionate brother.


* * * * *

To the same.]

Dear Brother,—I judge the sleep of the soul to be a most wretched and unscriptural idea. The word never hints at such a thing—all live unto Him: a Christian “falls asleep” when he dies; but we have the certainty that it is used for death itself, not for the soul’s sleeping after death, by what the Lord says in the case of Lazarus. But the passages you quoted are ample to my mind and clear. It is a sorrowful thing if being with the Lord is vague; it is a main feature in final blessedness. Both the souls under the altar, and Lazarus and Dives, shew it is false. I freely admit they are figures, and the latter adapted to Jewish notions, but not figures of being asleep…

I apprehend that “the blood of the everlasting covenant” is in contrast with the covenant in and for them and the world in Sinai and for Israel—as in all the contrast in Hebrews. Here it is established in the power of the resurrection, of an endless life, as he says elsewhere. It is that which lasts for ever, is real, and for souls, and in the power of the resurrection.

Revelation 20:4 corresponds, I think, to those slain under the beast, and before, when it might have seemed too late when the saints are gone, and so are especially mentioned as having a part in it.

I am just arrived from Elberfeld.

Affectionately yours.

London, October. 1864.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—Though I am glad of every jealousy as to Christ and His work, yet we approach the subject altogether from a different point of view. You say we should be no losers if they were confined to the cross, because it would suffice to their comfort and help: I wholly reject this view of the matter. My soul rests, I trust, simply on the cross, but I think I am an immense loser if I lose anything of those sorrows and ways of love in which my Master went in grace. I understand the difficulty printing gives, as it presents points to all for which all are not prepared; hence I am not anxious to prove or explain. People will see clearer as they get on; and if they have the essentials, if they lose much, at least they are safe.

You say if the awful hour of the cross sufficed to deliver Jew and Gentile from an eternity of misery, surely it would to supply to their comfort and help while here all such experiences. This is every way false, and to me only shews a soul—forgive my plainness—not peacefully settled on the cross. Our experience and the cross are two distinct things. Atonement gets out of the reach of experience: it only connects itself with experience when its value is not fully known as such. But it further shews, as is consequently quite natural, that you have not before you in the smallest degree the question at issue. The remnant of the Jews will not have the knowledge of that deliverance until they look on Him whom they have pierced, and hence want all that accompanied it as sorrow and distress before deliverance to sustain and hold up their souls; and this is the constant current of thought in the Psalms. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him,” and the like, in a multitude of passages. Besides your principle would make the sorrows of Christ, as suffering being tempted, entirely useless (we should lose nothing) even for us. They are not the cross. I will not enter into your own arrangement of the psalm, and the difficulties you have created to yourself by it, but meet the main points on which your mind rests as to my statements.

The New Testament is most distinct in its evidence that there was something besides anticipation; though anticipation of what closed these sufferings aggravated the passage towards what so closed it. I really cannot understand the state of several minds here except by a growing conviction that they have no real sense of what atonement is. Take the simplest things: was it no suffering to be deserted, betrayed, denied by those dear to Him, to look for compassion and find none? Was it no suffering which made Him weep over beloved Jerusalem? no suffering to give up all He was so deeply attached to in the earthly elect people of God, and His Messiahship as then to be made good? Did Paul not suffer when he had wished himself accursed for his brethren according to the flesh, whose were the promises, the law, the covenants, and Christ according to the flesh? Did he feel this deeply, and Christ Himself not? Was it not indignation of God against Israel? It is the technical term in Psalms and prophets for it. You may see the use of the word as to Egypt in Psalm 78:49; for its use as to Israel see Isaiah 10:5, 25, 26:20: 30:27 applies to the nations, but Israel will be in it: Jeremiah 15:17 where it is exactly the Spirit of Christ entering into what was on the Jews; so Lamentations 2:6, &c, Daniel 11:36, where we have the whole scene of the latter days. The application of indignation and wrath to Israel in government is the just and clear expression of the word of God. (Head Lam. 1, 2.) Do you think, or do you not think, that the Spirit of Christ entered into all this Himself, or was it merely Jeremiah’s feelings? Or did He sorrow over sufferings in Zedekiah’s time, and not enter the least into the far more terrible ones depicted in Daniel and Matthew 25, where it is said as a principle, “In all their afflictions he was afflicted?” Read in Micah 7 and stop at verse 9: has Christ in Spirit had no part in that? Yet in all this there is not atonement, no shedding of blood, no expiation. Those animated with the Spirit of Christ entered in their measure into them, as Jeremiah and Micah, and indeed others shew; but they had nothing to do with expiation. I really see nothing but ignorance, and, alas! often ignorance of what expiation is, as the objections made to what I have said. That such are safe I freely admit; pious even in the confusion they make between sorrow and expiation, I freely admit too; but that they lose nothing I cannot. They lose immensely, and lose what I have no thought, with God’s help, of losing with them. The only detail that remains is the period at which Christ specially entered into this. I may tell you that some of my adversaries find the great sin of all exactly in what you insist as good and necessary. On the cross they declare there was expiation and no other suffering: elsewhere it may be. But I do say, because scripture is express and emphatic on the point, that there was a change in the position of the Lord previous to the cross; provided that it be distinguished from expiation, and that it were not by birth, but by grace when here as a Man, the moment is, comparatively speaking, indifferent, and to be learned simply from scripture. He began specifically to announce it to His disciples on His last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. John declares several times that nobody touched Him, or the like, for His hour was not yet come. That hour is thus distinctly marked in scripture as in contrast with His ordinary ministry. At the last supper He refuses to drink with His disciples as He usually did. In Luke 22:35, 36, referring to their mission in Israel, in which He cared for them as Jehovah Messiah, He marks the difference as “when” and “now.” The same difference is marked in the most emphatic way in verse 53. If that was their hour and the power of darkness, the previous ones were not; nor though they led the way to it, and Christ in that hour turned to His Father’s will in it in His perfect piety, is their hour and the power of darkness expiation. It may result in that hour, in His being forsaken of His God on His appeal from that power to God; but the evil power of darkness and the forsaking are not the same (woe be to him who thinks it so), though they may go together, and one precede the other, and He appeals from the sorrows of one to God against it, and then finds Himself forsaken as no one else who trusted Him ever was. Further, the Lord states, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Tarry ye here and watch with me.” Here was real sorrow, suffering (and not mere anticipation), for it was the present power of death upon His soul, and the power of darkness; yet it is clear He was not drinking the cup, for He prays He may not.

Your statement as to page 2624 is as incorrect as it can well be. I find nothing in page 26 of Christ having the exercises of a soul awakened, &c. What I find there is this: Christ has passed through all these kinds of sufferings, only the last, of course, as a perfect being to learn it for others: I need not say He was perfect in all. Now allow me to say that having the exercises of a soul—your words are as charging me, Christ “had the exercises … learning when a sinner,” &c.; my statement is, Man may be looked at, &c, as in this state, and then that Christ passed through the suffering as learning it for others: now allow me to say, when people take on themselves to accuse they should be exact. I am perfectly sure that it was the impression of your mind, but this I am satisfied flows from not entering into what expiation is, and what Christ suffered. I acquit you wholly of any wrong intention in it; be it so, say that, and I have no more to say. But it is different when we make a charge of what we do not understand. I believe Christ did enter into all the exercises of a soul in this state, and in particular of Israel, to whose state in the latter days the condition of souls under the law is very analogous. They have God’s judgment of sin before their eyes; so had Christ then, but He was not under it as drinking the cup. They are awakened, quickened, upright in desire, yet not delivered: Christ had the life by which they are quickened, and felt all that one perfectly upright could feel; and what He was in Himself they will receive, as nature and desire, through Him. Christ was in the deepest way learning—Himself perfectly good —all that evil was experimentally, as the hatred of man against Him. The reproaches of them that reproached God fell on Him; and here this was come up to a crisis without restraint, and according to the power of Satan in it. No christian man can deny it. He had hatred for His love, and here it came out unrestrained, and all Satan’s power in it; yet He was not yet drinking the cup of God’s wrath, though this hatred of course went on in its effects to the time He did.

It is expressly stated in my tract that He passed through it as a perfect being, learning it for others. I pity with my whole soul those who do not see it; who, being ignorant of the true power of expiation in the drinking of the cup on the cross, do not see the reality of His suffering in Gethsemane, including anticipation, which is distinctly referred to in the passage; and who deny the power of Satan as pressing on Him, which He distinctly declares (“The prince of this world cometh”); and man’s hour as the enemy of God; or suppose that Christ felt nothing about it. Was the full power of Satan let loose upon Him when He said, “This is your hour, and the power of darkness,” which was before the cross, though in its effect continued up to it? Israel will not learn the knowledge of God’s favour resting upon them, and hence dread rejection and condemnation. This Christ went through as suffering far more deeply than ever they will, because He was distinctly anticipating the cup He had to drink, which they were in their measure dreading, but never will. You repeat, Christ’s having the exercises of a soul when a sinner! which is your own imagination, not what I have said. But I think you wholly and deplorably wrong when you say, “What could intensify their sufferings equally with a knowledge of God’s favour resting on them?” They are beset by enemies, treachery, betrayal, all recognised as deep sufferings of Christ. There is the subtlety and besetting of Antichrist, the deep dart power of Satan pressing upon them, using withal the fear of judgment, or the cup of God’s wrath to press upon their soul and turn them aside. It is not a question of “equally,” but of the pressure on them running up into the wrath they dread; and this Christ did go through—as to Antichrist, what was equivalent—before He drank the cup; but anticipating it He declares He did. It is used constantly in the Psalms to encourage the remnant of Israel, as distinct from the subsequent full knowledge of atonement. Satan departed from Him for a season: He came, therefore, back again. Was it not where it is said, “This is your hour and the power of darkness”?

I have been interrupted, and could not finish the current of my thoughts, and I have answered all that is material; and I repeat my full and deep conviction, that where it is not malice, and sometimes when it is, the difficulties or objections arise from the soul not having true rest in divine righteousness, and a just (adequate we never can) estimate of atonement; and hence incapacity to look with adoring peace and interest on the sorrows of the blessed Lord as such. The cross itself, or rather what is called by «uch, atonement on it, is mixed up with our experiences and comfort in them, and immense loss is the result in both respects. This which I have gathered from many souls who had difficulties, and it has been a help to me as to the state of such, is entirely confirmed by your letter. I dare say passages might be made clearer in my tract; as a professed reprint I could not do that; but, as to the doctrine contained in it, all the attacks made have only convinced me that, while Christ’s connection with the remnant may be beyond the habits of thought, which is not always in any way a blame, of many, the want of receiving the testimony of scripture, or ignorance of its statements, is the real and only ground of objections made; and the search into scripture it has occasioned to myself has only confirmed me in the truth of what is said, and the real character of the objections, itself a confirmation of the justness of my thoughts; while I admit, as I said, it may not be for all meat in due season, but what to do when it is printed at all.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

October, 1864.

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Dear——,—Thanks for your letter just come in. I feel that things are rapidly thickening and closing in; but that is a time to look up, and makes the testimony more important, so that it gives courage. Nothing can turn aside the Lord’s testimony and power, and if He gives an open door, no man can shut it, nor can anything affect His suited care and faithfulness to the church. I am very thankful for the saints’ prayers, and value them much. Trust in the Lord, and be of good courage, be strong, and fie shall stablish your hearts. I am not afraid while He lives and is Jesus. Dear Bellett is gone. I cannot quite account for the peaceful feeling I have as to it. But it is well, and he is well. There was truthfulness of heart, as well as joy in the blessed One, at the close.

Grace and mercy and peace be with you, and with all the saints.

Ever affectionately yours.

October, 1864.

* * * * *

Dearest Brother,—I sympathise with you in the loss of your beloved brother, whom though I had scarcely seen, yet knew as walking graciously and well for some years. But this is what the world is made of in its best form for us. Life in it is dreadful horrid enmity against God; death, once the painful fruit of sin, now death to it, and better still, out of it. It is ours now. I look at it as the natural issue of such a place we are in, and now in every sense the blessed issue. No doubt it will be felt as to those we love, but felt sweetly when we think of Him who has died for us and has taken its sting away. The Lord bless it all to yourself, and give it as learning that we are in a world where death is really entered, but where we can die to it.

As regards the subject you mention, it is a very large one, and I find myself always unable to take one up unless led of the Lord to it. Unless on occasions which arise, given of God, I prefer treating such things when I can meditate quietly with God. An active life is not the best for that, though I have long tried both together.

Here, thank God, there has been progress, souls added and gatherings too, and I believe healthily—nothing very striking, but progress. My chief work as yet is seeking to build up, but the Lord is very gracious.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Montreal, December 9th, 1864.

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[From the French.

* * * Why is it said that we are light, and not love? They are the two names that God gives Himself. I have a thought about it: what do you say to it? See how, in Ephesians 5, the two names of God are the models we are given to follow, that is to say, God, under these two names which reveal His nature; and in each of the two cases Christ is the expression of it in man. What a privilege! What a vocation in the world! Ah, how poor we are! When love leads us, men are indeed those for whom we give ourselves; but God, He to whom we offer ourselves. (Chap. 5:2.) This is what renders it perfect. Perhaps this helps one to understand why it is we are light, and not love.

January 4th, 1865.

* * * * *

* * * I do not know what else we have to do down here but to know God better and to serve, but I look especially for devotedness in brethren now. I have no doubt their place is just the testimony of God, not from any wisdom of ours, but the sovereign goodness of God, and more or less knowledge; but the testimony is not filled up or made good if there be not the devotedness. I do not deem the doctrine unimportant. The more I go on, the more I see that the evangelical body has lost itself—never has had, and resists the doctrine of Paul —not merely the church, that has been long clear, but even as to our whole standing as Christians. I am daily more distinct, when occasion requires, in bearing testimony to it. Striving may be of no use, but I think, clearness of testimony is, and no fear in giving it; the times are too serious, only one must know what one is about, what the real point is.

But the controversy about righteousness, and so about law, has brought the matter out; are we in the first or second Adam? Save the most useful and searching Epistle of James, the writings of the New Testament do not treat of justification, save those of Paul. John takes up the principle involved in it, but not in that shape—of course, confirms it as of one Spirit; but being risen with Christ, and so presented before God, is Pauline: only one has to watch that the divine character is fully developed, if we are occupied with this (I mean in one’s own mind and faith), and that is fully done in Paul in his own way—of course I mean in that channel of truth in which the Holy Ghost led him—and wonderful it is how it is out of and above law; for these legalists are in their doctrine contemptible. We are to be imitators of God—Christ being our pattern—and shew divine life in our entire offering up of self, and that to God, that the principle may be perfect. I have been occupied with this lately, and am thinking of sending a paper to the “Girdle” on it.

I think God has been somewhat helping brethren in their publications lately, which is mercy from His hands, but we have to fill up a vastly greater framework of testimony than we do. Workmen must have faith in all they have to do with. Often laments and inquiries as to the state of brethren are mainly the want of faith as to those who express them. Yet I fear the world for them—sometimes rash statements, but that is a less evil—but devotedness, and separateness from the world, nonconformity to it—that is what I look for.

Blessing has gone on here. There has been life enough to increase everywhere in numbers without any special gift, and healthful, comfortable additions. Our meeting (conference) at Toronto was a very happy one indeed. One, who I trust may be a workman, at any rate a witness, got his soul cleared on a multitude of subjects, once connected with Adventists, before a Methodist preacher: our communion as happy as possible, and scripture much opened and enjoyed. I am here arrived at Collingwood in a heavy snowdrift (if you can find the Georgian Bay, which makes a large part of Lake Huron, but all this part is now under ice), though it has not been particularly cold, but pretty early, and steady, once ten degrees below zero: but save snow, the cold is delicious weather, and not felt, unless when there is wind—then it is no joke. A few meet here, but it is wild enough. Last summer enormous districts of forest took fire and were burnt down, and the deer this year easily taken; but I came in railroad carriages with stoves, in this country where endless forests, and the highest degree of civilization strangely meet together. But the Lord is the same everywhere—and so is man morally!

Kindest love to the brethren, whom I remember with true affection and thankful love for all their kindness.

Affectionately yours.


* * * * *

Very dear Brother,—I am glad you are working, and glad to hear you are doctoring. It is well to labour thus if we can. W.’s pamphlet came by the same post as your letter. I do not see any sign of his being taught of God in it. I see many truths he has learned from brethren, and a quantity of mixed confused stuff he has added, and no real statement of his views; with many things quite wrong, the moment he leaves what he has learned from men. But it is well brethren should learn from it. If they have left their first love, they are called to humiliation and repentance. I feel nothing more important than singleness of eye and devotedness at this moment. It is the way of light, the way of joy of heart with Him who is the only source of true joy, and the source of eternal joy. Oh, may the brethren have fast hold of this! all they have learned is of no use without it —yea, in their faith and for others, they will lose. That heart devotedness to Christ and obedience will only be thought of value in the past, when we come to meet Him.

As regards the want of moral tone in the gathering, we and you and they ought to lay it deeply to heart—pray over it— if we do with faith, we shall find the blessing; if two, a direct answer. But patience is called for in our dealings. The tone of the whole meeting has to be raised in these cases, to judge particular facts. Had we power, a letter would do it, like Paul’s first to the Corinthians. That we have not always, but we have always the sure resource of the faithfulness of Christ the blessed Lord, who loves His own, and has purchased them at the price of His own blood, so that we can count upon His desire to bless them. But it is a trial of faith, because, meanwhile, the name of the Lord is dishonoured, and alas! often felt as the honour of the body dishonoured; but if remedy may be, we must go through this for His sake and the sake thus of His, and He will make good His own cause at the end: only surely it is loss and humbling meanwhile. The Lord arouse His saints by His power, that He may give them light.

Here, on the whole, in detail we are blessed, though I cannot speak of power; the additions (and they are pretty numerous) are generally precious ones, and there are souls both converted and awakening: what is sometimes striking, and a wonderful grace of God, that if the purposes of heart are right, He will bless in conversion and gathering where there is not the most union, and thus keep up the health of a gathering. I do not say we ought to be satisfied, but He does so. I have been up the country and in the bush—pretty cold, 26 degrees below zero; but found mercy, and the Lord carrying on His work. It is spreading about more or less, and souls inquiring. In the States too, so far we can heartily bless God—when should we not? only we wait for eternity to do it well. My kindest love to the brethren: may the gracious Lord sanctify them to Himself… . The good Lord keep you near Himself.

Your affectionate brother in the Lord.

Toronto, 1865.

Dearest ——,—I had forgotten your enterprise,25 and am frightened when I see the extent of the publications. I should think some of the Notes would require some revising, but I have no objection to them if they are useful being printed as Notes. Even the sermons contain things I should not accept; they were first published with a notice that I had not revised them. Some of the earlier publications would require a note or two, where clearer light was acquired, but had better not be altered. I ought to have somewhere a copy of my letter to the Archbishop. I forget it. But his course was ruinous—really stopped the deliverance from popery of masses, perhaps of all in Ireland; they were leaving from seven to eight hundred a week. He required the oath of supremacy and abjuration: it stopped as by a shot.

As to oJ nikw'n kaiV oJ thrw'n (Rev. 2:26), it is difficult to answer for grammar in the Apocalypse; but they have only to be viewed as separate in idea here, and this is, I apprehend, intended: oJ nikw'n is the general character in every church. Here, another special character is spoken of by itself as a distinct thing, though therein he may overcome. We have once nikw'n without oJ.

As to hJ ajlhvqeia (1 John 5:6), I have no difficulty, because it is only what the Spirit says which is truth. All He says is truth, and only what He says is truth. Just as Christ is hJ ajlhvqeia in John 14; so, as a witness, is the Spirit.

Here we are getting on pretty well: a good many have been added everywhere, and new meetings in birth. Our general meeting at Toronto was delicious… One who may be very useful, got his soul all cleared, or rather filled with truth, at our meetings. He told me he saw plainly that what brethren taught was the recovery of Paul’s doctrine. So it really is. I am daily more convinced that evangelicalism with partial truth is the abandonment of what Paul taught. I feel far more deeply the ground on which I am than ever. The Lord be praised for His goodness to you and Mrs. —— He is always good and full of goodness.

Ever affectionately yours.

Delicious weather, with a good deal of snow; 38 degrees of frost this morning, but I opened my window when getting up to enjoy it. For 16 or 20 degrees I do not put on my gloves, when there is no wind.

Toronto, 1865.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I have no doubt as to the two questions you put to me. Clearly persons ought not to separate from the Table while they own it to be the table of the Lord. The very statement proves itself, for so far as the act goes, I am separating myself from the unity of the body of Christ and from the Lord’s table. Besides, it is the individual taking upon himself the whole judgment of the church of God. If a person says I do not own it as the Lord’s table, the communion of the body of Christ, of course the relationship is ipso facto broken.

As to the second question: the theory is that the flesh is allowed to act in nothing, though the strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and the assembly ought to carefully maintain the truth. When it is mere imperfection of knowledge and ignorance, and the main purport is godly, there we have to forbear; but teaching contrary to the truth clearly ought not to be allowed.

The Lord in mercy still blesses us. It is a trying time, I may say, for all temporally, and our poorer brethren are thrown out of employment in more than one place, not all, of course, but it scatters them.

As to the work, we want energetic workmen more than work to do. As to C, the candlestick seems put out, or something very like it; if it be so, no human efforts will do, but it was never wholly begun, as far as I can see. But we can cast our care on the Lord; that is one comfort, and it is mine.

Affectionately yours in Him, in haste.

Toronto, March 7th, 1865.

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24 [“Collected Writings,” vol. vii., p. 288.]

25 “Collected Writings.”