To the same.]
My dear Brother,—As to your question as to page 36 [“Collected Writings,” vol. vii. p. 305], “This is not atonement, but there is sorrow and smiting”—they had better read what the scripture does say, and see if they believe it, and seek to be taught of God, and whether they understand what is there, than pervert expressions to make them obnoxious. When it is said, “Those whom thou hast wounded” (Psa. 69:26, 27), it cannot mean atonement. The effect of atonement is not to say, “Add iniquity unto their iniquity, and let them not come into thy righteousness.” I say that atonement is not considered here, but the contrary. I believe the smiting was on the cross, and that there the atonement was wrought, but by the forsaking of God as to His soul; He was wounded there for Israel’s transgressions; and scripture thus brings all into one point. But the smiting, or fact of His death, is not solely applied to atonement; it is referred to as cutting Messiah off instead of His taking the kingdom, or the sorrow of death itself; and it is looked at here certainly not as atoning in its effect, though the fact of His being smitten (when atonement was wrought) is spoken of. I believe the cutting off of Messiah is looked at fully in the Psalms as well as atonement. “He weakened my strength in my journey; he shortened my days. I said, O my God, cut me not off in the midst of my days” (Psa. 102:23, 24): this was not the aspect of atonement, though in that in which it was done atonement also was wrought. The thought is separated in scripture. “Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered,” is not, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” It is mischievous to confound anything with the true work of atonement in the forsaking of God on the cross; and the fact of the removal of Messiah so as to scatter Israel, even the just, is contemplated in scripture, and spoken of distinctly. I have not said there were blows which were not atonement, but this—sufferings in which others are associated, is not atonement, though there is smiting and wounded ones spoken of.
As regards the second point. People have taken the description of the state which they were in for whom Christ suffered, as if it was a statement of the state He was in; but ibr this there is no kind of ground. He entered into the sorrow and endured in His spirit what flowed from it, but He was not in it; and this I have frequently stated and went through it twenty years ago, in which I mid this question was fully gone into as an answer to Newton. It is stated there,27 “Christ, then, does enter in spirit into this sorrow of the remnant fully; but it is not His relation to God as due to Him as associated with the people.” This is the tract which has been quoted to say I then thought such sufferings must be excluded. Christ went through what enabled Him to feel for people not reconciled to God. He was not in an unreconciled state; to say that would be blasphemy. But was not He dreading wrath? He had to go through really that which they are comparatively feebly dreading, and never will go through, because He has—He did go through the dread of death, and cried to be delivered from it. He went through it (as I have stated in the tracts) in a different way, because in communion with His Father (not speaking of atonement, but fearing). Was it not Satan’s hour and the power of darkness, He perfect in going through it with God, as I have expressly said? People may call it experience, or anything they like, but if they make it His experience as flowing from the state He was in, it is what I have expressly denied. But the same reasoning would apply to the atonement, though it be—I admit it is—a very different case; but if the suffering a thing proved that one was in the state that caused the suffering, then He was in it then before God.
It is all a delusion applying the state He suffered for, and into the sorrow of which He entered, with being in the state which brings the sorrow. This last was Mr. N.’s doctrine— born in it, extricating Himself out of it. Supposing, as I have said, a mother had her son hanged for thieving, and she was in agony at one so dear to her coming to such an end, would that prove she was a thief, though he was in agony at coming to such an end too; or, that she had a thief’s experience? Yet she is in an agony because of one she loves being in it: it is not mere sympathy—that she may shew too—yea, conceal her distress to do so. There is the difference, that Christ really went on to take Himself the consequences. But it is the most extraordinary delusion to suppose that the description of the state a person is in spirit entering into, is a statement that he is in the state or relationship in respect of which he suffers.
I have never, dear brother, stood up for the expressions. I attach no importance to them—would give them all up tomorrow—have said so in the preface to the tract. But the question has now been raised as to the doctrine: it has been said to be pretty much the same as Mr. N.’s.
It is fully stated in my answer to him twenty years ago, as setting aside his doctrine, and shewing the true force of what he used. When the substance of the doctrine is cleared up, I shall have no difficulty in changing the expressions. The material thing at present is, is the doctrine dishonouring to Christ and false? Explain to any one that is stumbled, of course I am bound to do, but I do not hold to any expressions of it; only, I am not going to yield up the truth.
Your affectionate brother in Christ,
June 10th, 1866.
* * * * *
My dear Brother,—I am glad to have got your note,28 for with the sincere affection I have for you, I was uneasy about you. I do not believe in general, nor in any, that but for N.’s errors, there would have been the least uneasiness as to my statements as regards the blessed Lord. But there has been a diligent effort to bring the character of Mr. N.’s doctrine, and a wrong to the Lord, upon them, from what source and in what spirit, God will judge. I will endeavour to answer you as plainly as I can. I was told only a day or two ago, what I had quite forgotten, of this saying there are two kinds of suffering to the exclusion of a third. Of course, there is an apparent contradiction. But the third class I excluded, as your own note states, was “the subjection of Christ to the wrath of God previous to the cross, as Christ being under wrath would be found in the epistles,” &c. All this I fully hold still. I reject, as I always rejected, the doctrine of Christ being born, as man, or as Israel, subject to wrath from the state or position He was in, or His ever getting into a state or position in which He was subject to it Himself, or suffered for it as being Himself in that position or state—that is, as liable to it. Even in atonement He was not liable to it, but made sin for others. And there is where the essential contradiction and opposition between my doctrine—scriptural doctrine—and Mr. N.’s is. It is not a question of time, as enemies of the truth have said, it is a difference of what Christ and Christ’s place was. I hold to this more strongly, at any rate more intelligently, than ever.
But when I referred to the tract “Observations,” while this expression, “exclusion of a third kind,” is there, in view of this, I found what I have called a third kind, stated in nearly the same terms, only under the head of the second kind, and thus less defined. Have the kindness to read the pages 64, 65 [“Collected Writings,” vol. xv. pp. 144-146] of my “Observations,” which I have now looked at in consequence of your note (I had wholly forgotten the contents of the tract). You will find all this very doctrine diligently used against Mr. N.’s and far more fully explained than I had the least idea of. You will find a series of explanations of Psalms, where they are more applied to Christ than even I should now, following still the influence of much current theology. I light on page 40 [“Collected Writings,” vol. xv. p. 109], “Christ then does enter in spirit into this sorrow of the remnant fully; but it is not His relation to God as due to Him as associated with the people.” Now I still reject in the same way, not only any sin in Christ, but any relationship to God save of, perfect delight, excepting the forsaking for atonement, of course, though there perfectly acceptable in Himself—never as to His work more so.
I will state how people have been misled in a moment as to my last tract. See again the note on page 52. [“Collected Writings,” vol. 15:p. 127.] Now whether this be called a third kind of suffering, or classed under the second head, rejecting another and blasphemous kind attributed to Him, is really very little matter; it is a question of accuracy of form and analysis; but these kinds of sufferings are quite as fully gone into in the tract brought up against me, taken, as a reader of scripture must take them, for granted; and then it is elaborately shewn that they afford no handle for Mr. N.’s doctrine, but the contrary. That by which the minds of some have been misled is that in the tract on the sufferings, I have described the state of the remnant, and shewn the analogy of an upright soul under law, to shew what in them Christ had to help and succour them in, and how the circumstances He passed through enabled Him to do it; and this has been used to say, Christ was in the place Himself. He did suffer it, “in all their afflictions he was afflicted;” He did enter into their sorrows, but that, which is perfectly scriptural, does not put Him into the state which brought in the suffering; and that was Mr. N.’s doctrine, and made a false Christ.
When Christ healed, it is said, “He bore our sorrows and carried our sicknesses;” was He therefore sick? or is scripture wrong? He who puts Christ in that state has a false Christ. He who denies Christ’s entering into our sorrows and sufferings, in order to succour—not to atone—loses half the blessing of what He is, and takes away a large part of His glory. There is the special entering into the sorrows of the remnant. But I have fully stated how He could. He was actually going forward towards wrath, which He did actually undergo; they are dreading it as having deserved it, though because He did, they will never undergo it: they were under the oppression of the Gentiles; so was He—the wickedness of apostate Israel; so was He—the betrayal or denial of friends; so was He. But these were of course circumstances. I do see in scripture that there was the cutting off of Messiah, and the rejection—for the time wholly—as to their former condition of God’s beloved people, which His soul deeply entered into. That which was on Israel was governmental wrath; He did fully enter into it, but not because He was in the state that government applied to. This is expressly guarded in the tract on the sufferings, where the third kind is spoken of, in the passage T. Ryan purposely left out.
I am satisfied that a dead set is made against .the truth of Christ’s real sufferings, by the attempt to confound what I have said with Mr. N.’s blasphemy, to which it is the direct opposite. People have laid hold of His meeting wrath and indignation, and changed it to under indignation and wrath, and even said personally under it, where in the same sentence it is said, “Nor is it His expiatory work” (namely, the particular view of Psalm 102, which I believe to be quite just), “though that which wrought it is here—the indignation and wrath. It is Himself, His own being cut off as man.” Now I ask, in the smiting—where the indignation and wrath which wrought atonement were — is there no sorrow in this Psalm, besides indignation and wrath in atonement? His strength had been weakened in His journey, His days shortened. He had prayed not to be cut off in the midst of His days—and this connected with God’s arising and having mercy on Zion: was this real? The thought of atonement, of that one dreadful cup, is weakened, if we confound it with all these other sufferings, though they led to it, as in Psalm 22, but are there contrasted, with it. If you identify them with atonement, you play into the hands of those who deny its real character and efficacy, and (I judge) blaspheme Christ’s name. If you deny them, you pull down the truth, the most blessed truth of Christ’s true sorrows, of His learning obedience by the things that He suffered, of that sorrow which above all touches the heart and makes us know His perfectness, who could say beyond any Jeremiah, “Was ever sorrow like unto my sorrow?” I have no wish to lose this. I have no intention to mix it up with the one solemn act of atonement which it led to. I think all this an effort of the enemy to injure souls. I am sure the upright and humble will escape, and many have already got blessing by weighing these sufferings more.
As regards the New Testament, I say distinctly that a special time of entering into these sorrows (personally, if my enemies like the word) is marked out. “His hour was not yet come”: Luke 22:35, &c, clearly shews this change; and it is said at the beginning of that gospel, Satan departed from Him for a season. So Luke 22:52, 53. I may (though I do not believe it) be forced to give up my brethren, whatever sorrow it may be, but I will not (with God’s help) give up the sorrows and the sufferings of my most gracious Lord. I will not falsify them by mixing them up with atonement, though that may be comparatively a less evil. The only difficulty that I know of for our minds, is the mixture of that which is distinguished in Psalm 22, between the expectation of the cross—His meeting, as I have said, indignation and wrath—and the wickedness of Jews and Gentiles, and Satan’s power of darkness pressed on Him in circumstances, and the power of death. All was converging to the cross; there was the actual smiting, but it culminated in that which is yet clearly distinguished in Psalm 22—the forsaking of God, when sought as an answer to it. Now I cannot confound these; I cannot deny either.
I believe if souls had been seeking edification, and not listening to those who as instruments of evil were seeking mischief, they would have found edification and real blessing, even in my poor writings, with, I dare say, many a thing immaturely expressed, and where immaturely conceived, would have been corrected by grace and mature christian minds.
I find in “The Sufferings”: “All this exercise Christ entered into, so as to be able to help them. ‘This poor man cried,’ &c, when He was upon this earth, the power of Gentile evil was there; the apostate wickedness of the priestly rulers of Israel” and so on,… “pressed upon the spirit of any intelligent saint, if such there were, as in the last days. It was not now in these last scenes of Christ’s life, the manifestation of the Lord in grace to Israel, the revelation of the Father’s name to the few given to Jesus out of the world, but the endurance of Israel’s own case under the government of Jehovah, when guilty and rejecting their own mercies, yet with the sense a holy soul wrapped up in Israel’s blessings would have of such a state before the judgment of God; not made a curse and drinking the cup, but the sense of it under God’s government and Satan’s power.” Now this concentrates, I suppose, the doctrine. But would any fair mind think I meant, when Christ was enduring this in His soul (and which was not merely suffering reproach when declaring righteousness in the congregation) —when I speak of it as “pressing upon the spirit”—that He was guilty, and rejecting His own mercies? for that is what I say He was entering into—Israel’s case. It is said to be the sense a holy soul would have of such a state. Is that saying He was in it—or saying He was not, but entered into it, with death and judgment withal as the consequence of it before His soul, meeting (as it is said elsewhere) indignation and wrath? But this being atonement it is a different thing from merely suffering reproach from men, though there was plenty of that too: His hour was come, and while the cup loomed on His blessed soul and spirit, all the causes of it (even as to Israel) pressed upon Him, and Satan’s power (the prince of this world) was there.
Could Paul wish himself accursed from Christ for his brethren, and Moses to be blotted out of Jehovah’s book, and did the blessed Lord feel nothing for the beloved people of God, whose children He would have so often gathered? Was He not tried by all .this? Did He not pass through the trial? Ask your own heart in reading scripture. I have said He passed through it with God—the opposite to being in the state which brought it, or Himself being under indignation and wrath as to His state before He drank the cup. If once people saw that entering into it was the very opposite of being in it, all would be clear. Mr. N. may use the words “entering into it” for aught I know, but he makes Him to enter into it by birth, namely, to take the place and state to which it applied. What I have taught in the “Observations” and “Sufferings” is exactly the opposite.
You have not given the pages of your passages: I can only take them up as best I can. I have, page 26 [“Collected Writings,” vol. vii. p. 289], “Christ passed through all these kinds of suffering, only the last of course as Himself a perfect being, to learn it for others,” so that the difference of state is carefully guarded. I find “all this exercise Christ entered into, so as to be able to help them”—this I have already explained. I do not find, “passing through these exercises,” as you say. Where the last phrase I have quoted occurs, I have spoken of its being the sense a holy soul would have of it. The most equivocal expression you have not noticed, but then it is accompanied by “into which Christ is entered for them,” so that it is fully explained in the passage. The root of your whole mistake is, taking what I have said was the state of those to help whom Christ suffered, as Christ’s state. This I do not in the tract do. If you read page 54 [“Collected Writings,” vol. vii. p. 332], you will see this fully entered on. The passage which you say pains you, is that I find which I have quoted as concentrating the doctrine. But it is expressly there said, “the sense a holy soul wrapped up in Israel’s blessing would have of such a state before the judgment of God.” Was not Christ there with the judgment of God before Him? Was not Satan using death as darkness, sorrow, and terror? What else was Gethsemane? Did not God’s judgment sanction the pressure of it on the soul? It was just His constant and unfailing perfectness never to take it otherwise. It was not the time of the manifestation of the Lord in grace to Israel: His hour was come. The gospel expressly, as I have said, contrasts that time and His life. It is stated to be the sense of the cup already on His soul. Did He not endure it in the sense a holy soul would have of the state? I believe He did enter as a holy soul into the full distress of it. The denial of the truth of Christ’s suffering being tempted, I think a fatal evil. I believe there is a great deal of it going. It was a holy soul—no temptation, I need not say, from within—but as led by everything in which God’s glory and our blessing was concerned.
I believe He died for the nation as a distinct purpose. I believe Israel is the scene of God’s government as contrasted with the absolute gift of eternal life in redemption. Into the sorrows connected with that I believe He did enter, and (though doubtless often anticipating it) especially when His hour came. I believe that He learned obedience by the things that He suffered. I believe His holy soul when thus rejected, when He was reckoned with the transgressors, did enter in profound sorrow into the state of God’s beloved people which had caused it. I believe Satan used it in Gethsemane to hinder His going through with it, and thus the full extent of the cup itself came before Him: that, blessed be His name, He preferred going through it all to turning aside and having twelve legions of angels, and not fulfil scripture; and the scriptures He fulfilled then were those of the Old Testament, not of the New. These give me the blessed points of the full work, and the history of the facts in which He did accomplish them. I believe He suffered in all this, endured it in His soul. I believe all was before Him that was between God and man, and God and Israel too; the former our special part, but the latter profitable to know. His holy soul was with God in it, save as forsaken in atonement, but His spirit fully entering into it. So I have stated.
I think if people would give themselves the trouble of reading my tracts through, and waiting to be taught of God, they would find, perhaps what was not always clear till it was explained, yet edification, and not a stumbling-block. I dread greatly the setting aside Christ’s real sufferings. The only point remains which has been objected to, and in which scripture is clearly with me, not with my enemies—the whole scene from the pass-over to His death being one, while there are two distinct parts of it. On the cross He was actually smitten and drank the cup; but the shadow and effect of this was cast upon all the preceding hours—as to Him, in holy trial, but in communion, yet bringing all before Him, and all to a test in others, in triumph on one side and desertion on the other. The coming cup gave its shadow and character to all that was passing, though it was not the cup. “Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered”—they were scattered in fact before the cross. “Now is the Son of man glorified.” “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” “Let this cup pass from me,” &c. Yet clearly He was not then drinking it, but in spirit He was entering into it with God.
No: I do not seek to pry into what is beyond me, but no soul shall deprive me of blessed and fruitful meditations on my Lord’s sufferings. I may be obliged, as I said, to give up brethren, but I prefer following Him even in thought. I did offer, or more, stated I should not go to communion, to leave them free from the pressure, and to take away wholly the wretched using of letting me in, to loosen judgment as to Mr. N.’s being shut out. They would not hear of it, so I left it there. I am quite ready, if they cannot stand the pressure of what I consider to be pure wickedness (though honest goals have been troubled by it), to do so still; but if they are prepared, I shall not give up the truth—even if they are not, I do not separate from them.
The one point on which there might be difficulty is the bringing in the smiting, which in act took place on the cross, over the whole period from the supper. This might have been explained (it is at the end of my tract), but for fair minds is no ground of difficulty or objection. Scripture does so fully, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, Smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” They were scattered before the time of smiting was there. “But now,” He said unto them, “he that hath a purse let him take it.” And the Lord’s discourse in John, “Now is the Son of man glorified.” The whole tenor of the gospel is thus to take the smiting as come—the scene, as the scene of smiting.
June 18th, 1866.
* * * * *
Dear, ——,—Many have by patiently inquiring found the solution to the difficulties which others have raised in their minds, and got rid of what (partly I believe from human infirmity was the result of flying from Mr. N.’s blasphemies, partly from want of entering in heart into the sorrows of the blessed Lord) I believe was a fatal practical denial of the true sufferings of the blessed Lord. Where there has not been malice, the judgment pronounced on my doctrine has been the effect of a denial of what is essential to the true sufferings of Christ, and indeed (I quite admit without their being aware of it) a denial of the true humanity of Christ. And they are, after all, obliged to admit a third kind of sufferings.
His suffering as a righteous witness for God in the congregation was not the same thing as His being sorrowful unto death, nor His sense of the cutting off of all the present promises of beloved Israel through their sins, in His own cutting off. Nor was this sorrow atonement. The sorrowing at the rejection of the beloved people through their sins, and the scattering even of the sheep, which made Him withal weep over Jerusalem, and which was accomplished in the smiting and cutting off of Messiah in shortening His days, cutting Him off in the midst of His days, was real sorrow, as the sense of death was real sorrow—“sorrowful even unto death.” As to Israel, it was occasioned by their sins, the judgment of God on them as a nation. But this, though the cross was the central point of it, was not in itself atonement. The cup of God’s wrath, the infinite going out of a holy nature, of eternal judgment against sin itself, was behind all this, so to speak—a thing of infinite depth. From the cutting off of Israel, though for their sins, and having received at the hand of the Lord double for all their sins (a thing impossible to be said of sin as an object of atonement), they, by atonement, can and will be restored. From the true final judgment of sin we cannot be restored. Now Christ suffered in this cutting off, in this depth of Israel’s woes; He suffered in having His soul sorrowful even unto death itself, when confessedly He was not drinking the cup, but praying that He might not. He suffered Himself, not atoningly for others, though, as I have said, it led on to atonement. The dark shadow of this cutting off was on all that hour, and the sheep were scattered before the blow was outwardly struck: was their scattering the effect of atonement? or their scattering as the Jewish gathered sheep by the fact of the Shepherd being cut off? Was it the same thing as, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me”?
Now quite admitting that expressions may be obscure in the first statements of these subjects (but which were explained in the latter part), all this is stated in the tract. And I am satisfied that the loss of the sense of these sufferings of Christ is irreparable loss for those who suffer themselves to be deprived of them. If through their confidence in themselves, or listening to others, they suffer themselves to be left behind in going on towards Christ and learning what He is, the sorrow may be ours, the loss will be theirs. The difficulty was plain—p. 35 [“Collected Writings,” vol. vii. p. 304]. It arose through Mr. N.’s doctrine bringing forward questions as to Christ’s position, and the study of the Psalms consequent upon it. In my answer to him (the answer referred to as my excluding a third kind of sufferings), the whole subject is largely gone into—nearly half the tract—and in some passages with language more open to remark than in “The Sufferings,” though not called a third kind. But it is totally impossible that those who have cited this expression could have read the tract. Certainly, when it said, “Messiah shall be cut off and have nothing,” it was more than man’s persecutions. When His soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, it was more than man’s persecution; yet it was not the drinking the cup of atonement, though, as I have largely insisted, He was meeting this also in spirit.
I have felt the difficulty in Psalm 69, and deeply, but submitting to it at any rate as the word of God, and not reasoning against it to save an atonement not fully received in its true character. I had sufficient sense of that atonement as forsaking of God for sin, this dreadful cup of wrath standing wholly and absolutely alone in its nature, not to have it touched or shaken by any other sorrows I might learn of the blessed Lord, and in my feeble measure enter into. These were the two main points which helped to bring me into light as regards the difficulty: such a sense of sin as gave atonement its reality —that I believe to be the grand secret; and such a submission to the word as received its authority and accepted it implicitly, waiting for God to teach.
I think the sense of atonement (not the believing it made peace for themselves, though that may be weak) fails in its measure in those who object; and consequently they are afraid to look at true sorrows as a man, and as a Messiah, which are not that, though they led up to it. The only thing I dread sometimes is, not the separating these sorrows, but the mixing them too much. They were mixed, because as looking to be cut off He was looking to the cup of wrath too. Refer to pages 64-67 [“Collected Writings,” vol. vii. pp. 347-353], where this point is gone into. Compare pages 46, 47 [“Collected Writings,” vol. vii. pp. 321-323], though there is another point also there. Were all Christ’s sufferings bearing iniquity, His soul being made an offering for sin? Was all beside this the simple fruit of suffering for a testimony to His Father (Jehovah) such as He passed through during His whole ministry, or was there a different kind of sorrow (often anticipated) when His hour was come? If so, what was it? Answer this, and feel sufficiently (though indeed who can do that?), and you will get out of the difficulty. Only, if you cannot explain it, hold fast the truth of the atonement on the cross; be assured that scripture is right, and wait for God’s teaching.
Your affectionate brother in Christ.
June 21st, 1866.
* * * * *
[From the French
Beloved Brother,— … I received the tracts all right, and was surprised to find them so quickly printed, but it is impossible for me to read them at present. All the corrections in detail of the new edition of the French New Testament have come upon me since I came here; English work too, and an incessant correspondence, so that I am rather knocked up with fatigue. But it is always so… I start, God willing, on the 23rd, so there is some hurry.
Dr. Capadose, a man long eminent in the Dutch Reformed Church, a converted Jew, opposed to the brethren, has just published a tract in Dutch—a weighty and urgent one—saying that he separates from every church, whatever it may be, after a year of misery; that such progress in apostasy has been made that any recovery is impossible, and that it is no longer a question of choice between one church and another, but between Christ and Antichrist. I think this will cause some sensation; it will be a testimony. I do not think he sees clearly as to the church, but I have read only half of it. My idea is that he is aiming at Christians gathering together without knowing where God will lead them—just as I did thirty-nine years ago, only I had got the idea of the church, one by its union with Christ. Besides, he openly declares that he no longer belongs to any church whatever, so called; then he insists upon these truths with all Christians.
Here, the brethren get on very well, and there is in general a movement for good.
Your very affectionate brother.
London, June, 1866.
* * * * *
Dear——,—We have had our meeting at Guelph. The heat was excessive, which I mention because on the one hand it was a little depressing to all, and on the other hand proved the interest, for there was no sleepiness. It was not a meeting of so much intimate communion, and so far not so much enjoyment, but this was caused by a great many fresh brethren from all parts of the United States, and some not in communion from Canada, so that it was more communication of truth, and, I believe, more useful, if not more enjoyment. We had, however, great liberty and happiness together, and it shewed the progress of truth, and will, with the Lord’s blessing, be the means of spreading it. We had from eastern States and from western, and even one from Georgia…
We had a good many Indians, and there there is decided progress both in numbers and in spiritual apprehension. We were very numerous. I passed two nights in a tent on the lawn, to leave room in the house for some unexpected Americans.
My present direction is West, to Milwaukee, and so Michigan gatherings or settlements—for one of our difficulties here is the scattering of brethren going out to take farms or places. If earnest, they gather; but sometimes, as you may think, die down in their habits, and sometimes rest faithful alone.
—— has been over here trying to do mischief … there cannot yet be activity of good without activity of evil. The time of rest will come when evil will not be.
I write on another point. I had read carefully over the tract on “The Sufferings,” and papers on the Psalms. But the meeting at Guelph, turning my mind off to general truth, left it more free and fresh to look at what I had published—for one reads till one is half unable to judge by dint of reading sometimes. I have felt all this deeply. I was not a stone to be insensible to how it was done, and who did it. But the main thing that exercised me was, however that might be, no matter—if there was the slightest word or thought to the dishonour of Christ, it was intolerable. I was quite sure I had none such, but I might have followed out a train of thought insufficiently checked by scripture, so as to produce such in my writing. I was quite willing to distrust myself and to search and research, lest there should be. I felt the enemy was in the attack, but no matter, if it helped to remove anything wrong as to Christ I should be glad of it. I feared withdrawing the papers might be giving up truth as to the sufferings of the blessed Lord. The shape it came to me on the contrary did not commend itself to me at all. But further, knowledge puffs up, and charity edifies; I had to consider whether love, and the desire to save these brethren, would not lead me to suppress these papers, even if they were not wrong at all. On the other hand, if it were an effort of the enemy to enfeeble the sense of the sufferings of Christ which the saints should have this would be only playing into his hands.
All this exercised me in prayer, examination of my statements, and examination of the scriptures. As far as I can trust myself, I examined it thoroughly, without the smallest desire or thought of saving myself: Christ’s glory, which was professedly in question, made that quite immaterial. One of my accusers was too dark as to the whole question to let his statements have much result, as such, in my mind; the effect in another was such as to destroy its weight, but this did not hinder my examining it, because Christ was in question. But my mind having been directed to other subjects, as I said, at Guelph, on my return here I again looked over my papers on “The Sufferings,” and on the Psalms. The result is complete relief to my mind. I find one or two phrases to which I might add a clearing word, which are, however, fully cleared up in other passages destined to that. But I am satisfied that there is nothing wrong, but, on the contrary, edification in the statements, where souls are able to enter into it. I have no wish to bring souls, weak in the faith, to doubtful disputations. But it is clear to me that those who have objected are either ignorant or mischievously defective as to the sufferings of the blessed Lord; that it is the darkness of error on this point in their minds—not the light of God, and error in me.
I have no thought of attacking them—God forbid—nor making the blessed Lord a field of battle on which to defend myself. But I shall not shrink from the conflict if they force me to it, nor from making matters plain. Mere attacks on myself I should not answer, but if they do not sufficiently expose themselves (as I believe they would if they come forward), and the truth of God is in question, then I will stand up, and God will judge between us, and clear His own truth. But I have no wish to drag brethren into the controversy, nor make them, and the testimony of God by them, answerable for the standing I take. I am not afraid to be alone. I feel I did right in proposing not to come, nor to teach. It is because I believe brethren are the testimony of God in quiet, peaceful unity, that I would not engage them in my battles, if I am forced into them. It is not their conflict. They are not answerable for what I have stated; some may not be convinced I am right, and they have a common path without this question, though I am sure those who do not receive the substance of what I have written will lose by it. I am going on and shall go on quietly with my work, doing nothing as to it. So I intend to do—having answered all those who honestly inquired —unless the truth is brought into question. Were I not satisfied that it would compromise the truth of Christ’s sufferings, and that the enemy was driving at this, I would withdraw the papers for the sake of those who have been using them against me, without thinking about myself; but I am. This is not what they want. The truth is in question at bottom, and more than that: there is in Christ for us more than the truth. I am perfectly quiet till some occasion to act may arise. I trust the Lord for the rest. I hope I have learned a painful but a needed lesson, but with that I will not trouble others. God is gracious in everything, blessed be His name.
True love to the brethren.
Ever affectionately yours.
[Received] August 8th, 1866.
* * * * *
Dearest Brother,—I cannot at the moment go through the whole structure of Mark, which with time I may do. He seems, too, to have rather collected the facts as to the sabbath in this place. (Chaps, 2, 3) If so, absolute historical order would be too strong. But I do not judge that the case of Jairus is immediate on the feast. (Compare Mark 2:15, 22; 5:22; with Matthew 9:10-17 and ver. 18.) Two facts not at the feast seem to come in with ijdovnte" (Matt. 9:11)—not “when” as in English—the Pharisees’ remarks on His going there, and John’s disciples who were fasting asking as to it. With this last Jairus comes in, tau'ta aujtou' lalounto" (Matt. 9:18.) The tovte (ver. 14) cannot be taken, if it be so, as an immediate note of time. There is another apparent difficulty in Matthew 9:1. But from the other Gospels, that connection is not immediate. The distance in Mark is mainly filled up with the mission of disciples and parables, not events. But the difference is important because the Gadarene events come after the parabolic break in His history. It is this which would be thus mainly out of its place in Matthew. Here, Mark 4:35—uncertain as Luke’s expression is—shews the visit to Gadara was after the parables, and the same day. With time I may review the subject.
As regards the title [of collection of papers], I should like some such thing as this, Collection of Early Tracts and Papers (as far as they could be recovered—some never published before) by J. N. D., with those published in French (several now first translated), together with a new edition of subsequent publications. The cover title would be simply Tracts and Papers, at top; J. N. Darby, at bottom.
It. was my own feeling led me to write to you, not H. and D. I am not the least uneasy as to myself or as to doctrine. I mourn over these two brethren—that is all. But I am anxious that the brethren’s testimony should rest on its own bottom— the unity of the church of God—and not involve weak ones in disputations that would trouble them, but leave them all united on a common divine ground, not at all on my teaching. Satan would seek to give a character in this way. Hence it was I proposed leaving them out, not as not owning their position, but discharging them from my conflicts. I am not the least afraid as to my doctrine, or the conflict, if there is to be any; but I do not want to burthen others. I go on with my work here just as before. If I am thrown into conflict when arriving in England, in waiting quietly on God, He will not fail to help me. Mere attacks I should take no notice of whatever. I have a much better place in doing work than in decrying others. I think of the brethren, not of myself, that they may be kept in unity on true divine ground as the testimony of God, as I believe they are. I should deplore as ruinous, slipping into the place of followers of a system of doctrine. D. and H. have not produced that effect. God has been gracious in this. It is an attack on me. Be it so. I am sorry for, but used to, it. On the other hand, their giving up sound doctrine and getting on such ground as H.’s mind was on, or giving doctrine formally up for peace, would be their ruin. They would go much farther back. All I seek is that they should be on their own quiet, solid ground. If battle there must be, I can take up the cudgels without involving them; if none, so much the better; if only decrying my doctrine, &c, there need not be any. I am happily uninformed of all that passes. The brethren, I believe, intentionally and very kindly leave me to my work.
As to the question (Luke 22:53): I think the Lord speaks generally; the actual accomplishment was when delivered. But it was seen, so to speak, in the Lord’s mind from the supper; and He contemplates it as a present thing from Judas’ going out. No doubt Gethsemane must have been gone through before it actually came, but the “devil had put it in Judas’s heart, and had entered into him—the counsel was taken. And the Lord held it all practically to be then come. “Your hour” is the time in which the priests and scribes were allowed to have their way under the influence of Satan.
Affectionately yours in the Lord
Detroit, September 18th, 1866.
* * * * *
[From the French.
Beloved Brother,—I received your second letter the day before your first, so that the news of your loss came before the expression of your hope. What a world it is! Surely yours is a great loss. In the same parcel of letters I have received news of four deaths, each one a sad blow to the family. What lessons we get in this world! I understand, beloved brother, how sorrowful this event must be for you in every way. But be of good cheer; our God is never baffled in His ways: not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him—how much more does He care for His children whom He loves and cherishes, His dear children, as He calls us. I doubt not, dear brother, that you will be still more sensible of your loss; it is well to look all these things in the face, that faith in God may be in exercise, and that we may carry to Him all our sorrows as well as ?dl our perplexities. Trust in His love, dear brother; He will not fail you. It is a great trial of faith, but the One in whom you trust is greater than all your difficulties, and an ever faithful love can never fail. He makes all things work together to the good of those who love Him. He weans us in every way from this world, that He may attach .us to that one for which He has created us anew. This is only a place we are passing through, where Christ was cast out. We pass through it, and, bereft of all here, we have only to work for Him and to glorify Him. God’s hand is always better than man’s; His seeming harshness even is better than the world’s favour: the spring which guides it is always love, and love directed by perfect wisdom, which we shall understand by-and-by. Meanwhile, He has given His Son, that we may be able to be certain that all is love. It is a world of sorrow, but where. Christ has left His footsteps, indelible proofs for faith that love has entered this world of sorrow to take its part there in grace.
Look, then, to Jesus, dear brother; He bears a part in all our afflictions; and be sure that the love of God will not forsake you. Do not be anxious about anything, and may God Himself guide you. I shall be glad to hear from you. I do not know how it is that your letters have been so delayed in reaching me, but I was on the other side of the Mississippi…
May God bless you, and keep your heart in full confidence in Him. As for Him, He will surely be faithful, His ways are always perfect. Look to Him constantly, and may these trying exercises of heart be a means of deeper communion to you, and of more entire separation from the world.
Your affectionate brother in Jesus.
Hamilton; en passage.
* * * * *
Beloved Brother,—Thank you for your letter. I have heard nothing. I thought the brethren had kept silence on purpose, as I received no letters; but it may be otherwise, as some forwarded to me in Illinois have never reached me. I am sure, as you say, all is appointed by the hand of a good and gracious God. I felt this attack because of those engaged in it. I suppose it was good to learn that we are not to rely on any human tie or affection. It was painful that whilst I was labouring and toiling, humanly speaking, at all cost to myself, those I should, naturally speaking, have relied on, are labouring to destroy my labour and ministry, without saying a word to me about it. The case soon became plain to me; but I am quite peaceful about it now. I never doubted it was the work of the enemy, and cast it entirely on the Lord, and prayed earnestly the brethren might be kept in peace, and He has thus far answered my prayer. I have never been the least anxious as to myself or my doctrine. I have kept quiet as the best path, save answering inquiries from those exercised about it; but I have known none but such as were stirred up by others. The Lord will judge the matter and the motives of all, and in His hand I leave it. Had I defended myself, it would have tended to make it a party matter, to make the brethren stand on a system of doctrine, not quietly (independently of individuals) on the unity of the body: and a great body of brethren were too little versed in and informed on the subject not to have suffered by a discussion; and the holiest subjects would have been desecrated in their minds. They needed to weigh quietly and learn what divine teaching on the subject was. I therefore answered inquiries and kept quietly at my ordinary work, having thoroughly re-examined the statements to see if false doctrine was really there. Probably I shall never read D.’s book. My statements have been out these four or five years (query, eight years?), so that controversy will add nothing probably to edification. I may correct expressions if I publish a new edition. I can heartily give God thanks for it all, and we have always something to learn and judge in making a return on ourselves before God.
I had a violent attack at St. Louis, which weakened me much, and a laborious journey after; got through safely and well.
Toronto, September 26th, 1866.
* * * * *
My dear Brother,—It is a long time since you wrote, but I have been in journeys on wagons and cars through south Illinois, besides some 1,800 miles of rail, and labour in the word wherever I went, nor was I disposed to answer anything on the subject of your quotation from ——’s letter. I have preferred going on with my work and leaving these attacks to God, and such is pretty much my purpose… Since I returned I read the papers through, not in respect of passages objected to, but to see the doctrine of the papers as a whole; the result has been even to myself deep edification, and such, I am persuaded, they may be to those who seek it. There are three passages (I think) where I should change a word, to take away the opportunity from those who seek it, of troubling simple souls; and there are parts into which those who are not spiritually minded will not (I dare say) enter, but the instruction I believe to be most true and profitable. I am, of course, sorry if any who cannot estimate it should be cast aside, but I must leave that to the Lord, humbling and searching myself as to how far I may have given occasion, but persuaded that for those who seek the truth, the papers, as they at once or gradually enter into them, are most timely and profitable. I am content if the heart rightly receive the sufferings of Christ, and the atonement be clearly held; but for those who can occupy themselves with the ways of God and the perfect love of Christ, the view of these papers will much deepen the sense of the Lord’s sorrows, and intelligence of what those sorrows were, and I know not what greater gain there can be. Strange to say, though a page or two may require spiritual apprehension to see its bearing, there is nothing I have looked over of my own which has interested me so much, nor, I think, from which I have received so much edification. Nor indeed do I see any difficulty for those for whom it has not been sought or made. But of this I will not speak…
I have written to others of the work, so I do not add much. The doors are opening in the west, and gatherings forming and a measure of conversion. Had I time, I should return there. I am now going east. It sometimes has a dreary look to begging but if we wait on the Lord’s leading there is always blessings, goes forth. We have to meet here with all sorts of things, particularly the denial of the immortality of the soul, wherever people pass out of the ordinary routine of the churches as they call them; and all the neutral party if they do not hold it, accept those who do, and join them freely. This which is defining itself pretty clearly, will so far be a mercy that it will free us from them, for they seek in many places to be amongst us. Hitherto we have been kept. At a distance it will seem impossible to you, but people get used to evil when mixed up with people that hold it. I had not heard from England since I was out, till I came here, save, I believe, your letter, till I found some here, but I believe some are somewhere or other in Illinois.
Tracts and books we cannot get enough of for the States.
Your affectionate brother.
Toronto, October, 1866.
Dearest Brother,—I was very glad to hear from you, and I reply, though as to mere news I have not much to communicate. While in the west I had no letters, and I have replied to those I found here on arriving, and let brethren know as to the work. I am here only in passing, going east after a pretty hard campaign beat with the weather, roads, and being unwell, but the Lord helped me through. If there were any one who could undertake it through the gifts God has given, a younger man would be better. You may ask, Have you them then? I answer, I have the desire to serve, and have done what I could: it requires a person able to bear as well as to do. But there is progress, thank God. Of all the evils, and in this sense difficulties, loose principles, what has got the name of neutrals .is the worst. In certain respects they are worse in this country than in England. In England many of them deny the church. Here they receive all these truths, and even exaggerate them; take the ground some did in Ireland—outré views of brethren as to grace. The leading and most influential one holds Bonar’s doctrine in the main, and accepts persons denying the immortality of the soul, the pest of this country; and those who follow him teach it in one place at least, though not wishing it to be known that they hold it. One preacher, out from among the neutrals in England, threw himself, openly avowing it to myself, among those that hold this, though saying he did not hold it, but that there was no fixed truth to judge by, and when I said we must have the truth, quoting John, “whom I love in the truth,” he said, “What is truth?” It was in one sense then a mercy, for we were pestered with them, and it will keep them as a distinct thing apart. My horror of this loose system is daily increasing; the utmost largeness of heart when—as to which people have to be fully persuaded in their own minds—the faith is not in question. But the faith of God’s elect I must look for, and nothing inconsistent with it. The efforts to charge me with N.’s doctrine have only made me stronger and more decided, as being an effort of the enemy to try and swamp this…
The condition of the States spiritually—indeed, every way except money-making—is frightful. The common course for Christians is to go to balls, &c, and enter fiercely into politics, though there are exceptions; assassinations of daily occurrence in the large towns, so that the newspapers do not put them in, unless from some special circumstance. But that they have had enough of it, there would probably be a war again, they speak of it openly. I do not expect it; they have too recently felt what it is, but all is confusion and ill-feeling. Thank God, I pass through it a stranger and a pilgrim; meet sincere kindness and opportunities of work; for myself, have only to be thankful for what I met with—I need not say, had no more to do with such things than you in England, only testifying when the question arose that the Christian is not of the world at all. The word has little authority, but God is working.
I am (D.V.) going east—not very sanguine as to any great apparent result. Excitement with an attractive preacher would easily be, but steadily walking as not of this world is another thing. Tracts and books of brethren go out very freely: the vast majority of what go out, go to the States, though they become just double in price. I think some steps will have to be taken to print in the States… In general, the gatherings (as is common), after the first reception of new truth which gathered them, have had a measure of sifting in one form or another and are going on more happily after it than before. We have a trial here, less known in England: moving about, going to the States to get work, &c. This, of course, tends to unsettle the gatherings, sometimes forming a new nucleus where there is energy of faith. Out of Canada, it is now in a measure planted in the west, but all is to do there. May the Lord graciously work. All through the States the truths are drawing attention. Ministers come even here to see what it is. Alas, how feeble we are as a testimony. I read, “Be careful for nothing,” and I do look to the Lord, but I am, alas, feeble at intercession; that is always for me a bad sign as to myself. I fancy often that I shall soon, if still here, settle down quietly in some place; but who, awaiting the Lord’s coming, will give himself up to the work?…
You have thus an account of the moral circumstances in which the work is; otherwise it is pretty much as elsewhere. I did not do all I hoped in the west, being kept by the work in some places, but I had some opportunities I did not expect.
Your affectionate brother.
Toronto, October, 1866.
* * * * *
Dear——,—I have not seen poor D.’s book, only its title, nor have I at present any intention of reading it when I do, … I know, I suppose, fully from their letters what they object to, so that I have nothing to gain on that side, and the rest I gain nothing by. Quietness is often God’s way of dealing with such cases. I trust no brother will set himself about answering any of these papers. The objections are known, they have been discussed by those anxious: all the rest is attack, and no answer is the best answer. It does not then become a matter of useless controversy; it probably tombera dans l’eau—its best issue, for the fruits of righteousness are sown in peace. At present I find I cannot occupy my mind with it before God. The adversary may use it as a hindrance when occasion is sought: it will, I am persuaded, be the loss of those who let themselves be so hindered. This may be a cause of sorrow, but it is one we must, alas! expect.
I look sometimes for antecedent causes on God’s part, to see if there be anything to judge in myself, or even in brethren’s ways. One may profit by sorrow thus. It is very good for me I am sure, as exercising me, and keeping all sound in its place, and so I seek to use it or receive it at God’s hand; its immediate causes are not the error of what is attacked. Were there false doctrine I should not so look at it, but the more I weigh the whole teaching, the more I see profit for the brethren—expressions to be made clearer, so as to take away any handle; yet these to a willing, fair mind would have afforded none. It is a mere attack of the enemy, and thus I am not afraid. I have sometimes feared it might not have been in due season, minds not prepared for it, but then it was [not] a remedy, if it be sound, leaving them without light; and I believe for those who seek God’s face and His word it will prove a positive blessing. Those who are cast on the bank I mourn over—am satisfied it is their own previous state—but only search myself to see if I have given occasion whereby that which was lame should not be healed. I earnestly hope there may be no replying or discussing, but that the brethren may walk on peacefully in their own path, seeking God’s will and wisdom. I suppose it is the will of God that there should be these attacks just now…
Boston and New York will now occupy me, the Lord willing. Labourers are wanting here as elsewhere. In general, we have to be thankful for the Lord’s gracious care and guidance, but there might be more earnest labour amongst us all. Those you know by name are, I suppose, more and more useful… There axe now in Canada and the west as near seven hundred as possible whom I have visited, save two small gatherings. It is little or nothing, it is true; still the testimony is spread by this, and the progress though in its infancy has been regular. It is the day of small things.
Affectionately yours in Christ.
Toronto, October 15th, 1866.
* * * * *
My dear Brother,—I thank you for your note and its enclosures. I am still going on, through mercy, with my work, helped and happy in it. I have just been to Quebec and to the eastern townships, and am soon on my way (D.V.) to New York; I suppose this week. I have seen none of the attacks on my tracts, nor have I sought to see them, as I know the objections, and I look on them simply as an evil attack on myself, which I can freely leave to the Lord. Yesterday and to-day I have heard they are in Canada, and I leave them in Canada to their readers as I do in England, and have not sought to see them… As to the substance of the matter, I am perfectly satisfied that my adversaries and not myself are in the wrong. The case seems to me so sad a one on their part, that I am glad to be silent, and leave it to God. What may be needed to relieve brethren’s minds I will do, but defend myself I am fully settled not to do. I believe that to every willing mind my statements are blessed and edifying, some parts I suppose difficult to be entered into by an unexercised mind. I believe the acceptance of their views would be partly error, partly a fatal principle (which is really N.’s), or I would have withdrawn my papers for the sake even of those two brethren and peace; but I believe it would have been the acceptance of dishonour done to Christ, once the question was raised. I have a much more decided judgment than brethren are aware oi in the matter, but waited clearness as to the Lord’s judgment on how I should deal with the matter, as it might have been leading the weak to doubtful disputations… That only was what I feared might have been the evil of my original papers. When you print it is for all necessarily, but so far am I from thinking there is error in what I meant, that if I could I would have that truth with brethren, if not, without them. I may wait anxiously to see the right way of dealing with the attacks, or the anxiety of the brethren, or judge myself as to the opportuneness of the original publication; but the truth as to the Lord’s sufferings I am not going to give up, nor what will edify me; in adoringly inquiring into them, I have gained immensely, and what I am not going to give up…
My question is how to deal with the case for the good of brethren and before God. It is possible we needed humbling from the blessing we had received. It may be that the going out was necessary, that it might be made manifest that they were not all of us. It is sad, but God has never allowed what was contradictory to principle, or evil, to remain concealed among brethren, though He has dealt most tenderly and graciously with us. I have no doubt He will secure His own testimony, though if we have got out of a low place He may put us into it. We may have Bochim because we have not Gilgal. I am anxious at any rate not to get out of the place of meekness, and to take Abigail’s advice, and in nothing to avenge myself. Patience must have its perfect work. The effort of Satan is much more to swamp godly exclusion of connivance at evil doctrine, than anything as to evil doctrine itself; but here there is a principle which will only be so much the dearer to godly brethren. The Lord watches over His church: “Rejoice not against me, oh my enemy,” &c. I expect, of course, the diligent circulation of attacks by those without… But as we say in French, “L’ennemi fait une æuvre qui le trompe.”
Your affectionate brother in Christ.
En route to New York, November, 1866.
* * * * *
Dearest——, … I was informed M. would want a new edition of the paper on the “Sufferings.” If that be so, it would be a just occasion for any remarks I have to make… I know not that I have much to add on the sufferings of the blessed Lord. I understand as I understood from the beginning, that few apprehend His interest in the remnant of Israel; still fewer, how the question of good and evil was met and settled. But I begin to suspect that very little spiritual apprehension of Christ’s true sufferings, and very little true subjective capacity for it by a work within—the exercise of the senses to discern good and evil—to be the general cause of the difficulty. Of the truth of my teaching in general, I have never had a question. That many things have been more clearly defined in my mind since all the questioning is but natural, and the ambiguity of the word ‘suffering’ in English, external infliction and internal pain,, used perhaps without drawing attention to it, may have been an occasion to those who did not seek profit but controversy. But what has been opposed to me I utterly reject as evil: it is the truth which is denied, not the ambiguity discovered. The gracious Lord deliver them.
If I get out this new edition, I shall freely point out, without changing them, all the passages which contain the accused statements, and clear from ambiguity. But I have no wish to take it away from its character of edification. Scripture was followed in it with that view. The whole subject is more methodised in my mind now. I have gained by it, but not so much as by the deeper apprehension of the Lord’s sorrows originally acquired, and that I wish others to have. Whatever ambiguous expressions have been cleared by the attacks is all gain. I may be sorry at the way, and yet glad, and indebted for the result. People will see whenever it comes out.
Ever affectionately yours.
New York, November 22nd, 1866.
Dearest Brother,—I got your letter. ——, I think, has never been able to look at it peacefully, or I think to trust the Lord as he ought about it, though himself all right and anxious to help others, but too anxious about it. This to me really is more trying than the attacks… I doubt that any correction of my papers would have the smallest effect in removing the hostility of those who have attacked me. I do not think, or for a moment believe, that the doctrine was their motive. I doubt that most would have found other than edification in reading the papers, even if imperfection be there. I am sorry those I have loved and walked with in charity should have fallen so much away from the path of simple faith. I do not say much about it, lest I should be ensnared into any want of charity; but the whole matter is as clear to me as the sun at noonday. It is to me very bad indeed, and therefore I say nothing about it. I certainly had rather been myself than they at present; but I greatly prefer remaining quiet. The fruits of righteousness are sown in peace. The Lord has His own wise and blessed reasons for allowing it, and I bow before it. I do not mean, if occasion occurs, I should not republish my tract on “The Sufferings,” correcting, or noticing what had to be corrected, but I have no thought of entering into the strife of tongues. I have replied to those who wrote to inquire. Charity demanded that; but I have no thought of defending myself against attacks. Hence, as I knew their real objections, I had no anxiety to see the papers written against me…
Perhaps from my being older, I feel nearer heaven than such a strife would be, poor and unworthy as I may be; as I said, I have not the most distant anxiety about myself. On the brethren’s faithfulness and position it is a rude attack, and, of course, a stumbling-block to those without; but there the case is, and, though grieved, I can trust the Lord for it. I mourn that those I have loved should come to be tools in Satan’s hands; but in some respects I am not surprised, nor should I, if in part it should go farther and surprise others; the gracious Lord avert it. As I said, it was because I saw it was a rude joust of Satan that I proposed to leave brethren on their own ground, discharged of the conflict. I ask myself how far in anything I have given occasion to it before the Lord; but my only anxiety is as to the testimony, and the hindrance to souls, and for that I look to the Lord. “There must also be heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest.” I shall not trouble any brethren who might be troubled by my presence. I am satisfied with the approbation of Christ if I have that. He will judge who has sought His glory, and who has not. I inquire with myself what state of the brethren, if such there was, gave occasion to the Lord to allow this trouble to come upon them; I am sure in quietness and assurance will be their strength; if it was leaning on me, it was of course so much the better. If it was Paul, it was God working in them, not Paul.
Your affectionate brother in Christ.
New York, November 22nd, 1866.
* * * * *
* * * Thank you much for your account of Ireland, which I was very glad to receive. I have no doubt, nor indeed ever had, that souls simply seeking edification on the sufferings would find blessing in the paper on the “Sufferings.” I dread only too great dissecting and explaining them: the truth is, the added explanations clear up everything; still, it is all right to meet any minds who have difficulties. I am thankful, too, that in the main the brethren have stood in the pressure that came. I think it will have been a certain crisis for them, and that it will be a strengthening of their conscious position. I do not think they are wholly through it, but pretty near…
I fear multiplying papers on the subject; but as many have been anxious I should, I have written a kind of introduction and notes to add when a new edition comes out. Save errors, and making a sentence or two clearer, I shall not alter the tract. I thought people would be glad to see it as it was, the dangerous dragon’s head itself; they will better judge of what has occasioned such a fuss. The explanatory papers at the end made really anything more unnecessary. However, I have unfolded the debated points in the introduction, and I hope for edification…
I do not think it such a difficult time to the simple-hearted. Faith in one sense is a difficulty only solved by God’s grace. It is a difficult time if we seek to mingle the world-church and the path of faith; but the path of faith itself is always the same, and the word to guide and the Lord to give strength. It may be an evil time, the days evil, but that is not a difficult time; it was an evil time when the blessed Lord was born, but I do not know that the Simeons, the Annas and Marys and Elizabeths found it a difficult time. Such will be sorrowful times, and they require the patience which separates the precious from the vile; but following the word is always simple for the simple, and humble, and always happy, because the Lord will be with us. I mourn with all my heart over poor D. and H.: I trust they may be restored, but they have committed themselves terribly, and it will cost them much; but the Lord is gracious.
I have nothing more particular to tell you of these parts. I am getting every day into contact with fresh souls desirous of truth, and I think the Lord is graciously hearing and working, but it is in a small and humble way, but as far as I can see, sound. We are clear of all the heretical movements, broken off from the worldly bodies—a difficulty we had to deal with. The neutrals throw themselves unhesitatingly into all this, and go along with it. This makes the path clearer.
I have not written much lately; indeed, nothing but my new “Notes on the Bible.” Brethren must not over-write themselves: better to have what is right, good and fresh, than a quantity. I am not aware that I have written more than what God has given me for others’ use when He has done so. If laid by, by old age, I might have more of this work. I am in my sixty-seventh year. Peace be with you. The Lord keep us very humble and waiting upon Him.
New York, November 29th, 1866.
* * * * *
[From the French.
Beloved Brother,—I rejoice much at the news you sent me with regard to Nice. I specially recognise God’s goodness in it. When a place has been long under the power of the enemy, and thus without testimony, or worse, it is a great and precious proof of the goodness and the working of God Himself when a testimony is raised up; when, by this goodness, a candlestick, however small it may be, is placed there, and a lamp lighted there. I am glad that God has given you grace to take part in it; this is the fruit of His goodness, and an encouragement for you…
Here it is the day of small things, the beginning of an effort to have a little reality in the midst of an enormous mass of profession, where there is no lack of activity, but balls, theatres, whatever you like, are allowed, and a certain number groan, but know not what to do, and where the notion of the progress of man and of the gospel governs everything; while they feel that all goes on very badly… In the midst of that which we, all the same, contemplate in peace, God is forming a little assembly; a small thing, but I believe it is His work…
It is devotedness that I seek, that God will have: everywhere, alas! in my own case, that love for souls which seeks them out with more activity easily grows slack. It is not that I do anything else, or that my life outwardly is not occupied in this way—it is. At Ephesus, they were working; but one may lose one’s first love as to the work while continuing to work. May God kindle in us again that energy of love. I know I am growing old, and I feel it; but grace does not grow old. However, He is always good; He tries our patience, for our own good, in His work. In general, I have very good news from Ireland and England: opposition is pretty strong, but there is nothing new in that. But the brethren go on well, and God has shewn His goodness on their behalf, and has caused the work to make progress. May God bless you and your dear children, beloved brother, and guide you.
Your very affectionate brother in Jesus.
New York. 1866.
* * * * *
Beloved Brother,—I accept your statements quite, as far as I see. Meddling metaphysically with the Lord’s Person is beyond our power, and only does us harm. But we are right in seeing what the sense of cwpiV" aJmartiva" in Hebrews 4 is; and I have never doubted for many a long day (and have so translated it, if I remember aright) that it means “sin apart,” namely—He was not tempted by sin as we are. So long ago as Irvingism I took this ground on it against them. In taking scripture thus simply without pursuing it further metaphysically at all, the soul gets a resting-place. I know that that blessed One had no sin in His human nature as I have, and it is a comfort and a rest to me. I know there is, and know a sinless humanity, and that is a relief to my spirit. But then as a saint I am tempted, not by sin within merely, but by attractions and distress from without. In me it is often mixed up with combat with the flesh within; but then I blame myself that I let it thus be alive, and I may not in such case always draw the fine thread of God’s word between the two. In Christ the temptations were there—all the kingdoms of the world, and the distress of death. One met repulsion, as taking it from Satan; the other, perfect submission, which was what was needed. It was perfectness— not a moment’s acquiescence. In one, Satan sought to introduce lust as he did in Eve, in the other to turn away from the path of painful obedience. Blessed be God, in both it was only triumph over him, and more than the mere absence of evil, though that was there. But if we, being saints, shrink (I do not say feel it) from trial, or feel attracted in will or lust by temptation from without, we have to recognise the still practically living flesh, which we have a right to hold as dead, not because we are as Christ was alive, but because He has died: He had to be able to die sinless, and to sin—we, to hold our-selves to be dead thereby to it. Hence, we are not called upon to be what Christ was, but “to walk even as he walked;” while we can say as before God, “as he is so are we in this world.” Though of course ripening in it (as it is our privilege to do), all that ground I had to go over in scripture in Mr. Irving’s time, some four-and-thirty years ago, and have never had any difficulty—except, alas, in making it good—since. We are, thank God, as He is, through grace, in this world. It seems paradoxical to say we are as He is in glory, and cannot say we are as He was in humiliation; but it is easy to solve for the believer: I quite agree with what you say.
I sympathise with dear——, but we must expect these trials. I would I were there to help him, unpleasant as it is; but we must never expect conscience or delicacy with heretics. Our part is to trust the Lord, and be as firm in testimony as possible. I have always found gracious patience with mistakes the way, but when with God, treating Satan as Satan, when I saw it was so, by grace, he had no power. I have seen most striking cases of this.
Here there is nothing new or flattering. The loose gathering is now in the hands of M., and openly denies the immortality of the soul. It was preached there last Sunday. We are getting united, and to know each other, and there is a little individual testimony.
I think, were I staying here, I should gradually get among a few—a very few I have. In general, money and churches satisfy them, but there are those who groan at the state of things. They are not a happy people, such is my impression, though I find them easy to live amongst.
Ever, beloved brother, affectionately yours.
New York, .
* * * * *
[From the Italian.29
Beloved Brother.—Our brother B. has written to me, and has told me that you are thinking, I will not say intending, to leave the society, and to labour in the Lord’s work independently, and to walk by faith in the Lord’s path, and to get for yourself a business occupation, so as to provide for the necessities of life down here. If I had had your address I would have written to you direct, but I had not it here in America. We spoke together a little on this subject at the railway station at Milan, and now I am going to speak to you again on this point by means of a letter. I do not believe that a servant of God, sent by the Lord Himself to work in» His field, ought to be the servant of men, but free from all to follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost. But if he works faithfully, being really called by the Lord, and walks humbly and blamelessly in the ways of the Lord, I believe that brethren are under an obligation to support him, an obligation of christian love, and a real privilege of Christians; thus they are helpers of the gospel itself. Thus the faith of the servant is exercised; he depends immediately on the Lord, and is entirely free to follow out the will of the Holy Ghost and to follow His guidance. On the other hand, if he walk badly, brethren are also free to keep the Lord’s money which has been entrusted to them. As to brotherly love, it is exercised without suggestion, likewise all gifts. Without doubt, for such a life, faith is needed, and that is the only difficulty. Brethren cannot promise help; it would not be faith; also money or love might fail; but the Lord, who is ever faithful, cannot fail us.
As to an occupation, it is a question of circumstances. If the gift of the Lord’s servant is not sufficient to occupy his whole time, he does well to work in order to gain a livelihood. But if God has called him to labour in His work, and especially if he is an evangelist, then business is an obstacle to his service, and hinders him from following the Lord’s call, and from fulfilling what the Lord has called him to do. These are my thoughts, dearest brother, as to the Lord’s labourer. We need to take counsel with the Lord in order to know if He has called us: faith is needed to enable us to follow His voice; but He is faithful in enlightening our minds, and giving us the strength needed to walk according to His will. I have seen it thus after forty years, and more, that He is faithful and never fails us; He never has failed. I know that brethren are disposed to do all they can while you and other brothers labour faithfully in the Lord’s field according to the truth of the gospel, and to leave you free in your work. I believe in the faithfulness of the Lord; man can neither do anything, nor promise anything, if the Lord does not give him strength for it. But I know that the path of faith is the path of peace and of joy. I hope to get news of you.
I am at present in America, in order to spread the truth—a country full of worldliness; people must have money, they must have pleasures. Christians even desire to enjoy them. Still God is working. Many have learned that Christianity is quite another thing from this world; many have found peace: several have understood and believed the Lord’s .coming, and some, the unity of the church, and its present condition; and there are also conversions of worldly people to enjoy eternal life. I have not found amongst Christians any soul possessing peace— doubts, fears, never the peace which the Lord made for us upon the cross. Good-bye, beloved brother… I do not know how to write your language well; I hope, however, that what I have written is intelligible. May God, who is always good and faithful, bless you, and give you all the strength needed to walk in the way of the Lord—He is faithful to do it.
Your affectionate brother.
* * * * *
My dear Brother,—1 had little difficulty as to——’s letter, but on a scriptural word or phrase I never like to answer without examining it thoroughly; one often learns oneself a good deal. As regards the use of reconciling the Father to us, it is quite evident that it cannot there30 have the meaning of bringing back into favour, or it would be bringing back the Father into our favour, which is clearly not what the article means. Though in a certain sense, this is nearer the scriptural truth, absurd as it is when so stated; because God has wrought in perfect grace to win our confidence to Him, and so far to be in our good favour. The simple expression, baldly given, would of course be absurd and shocking, and I refer to it here to shew that, in the article, it is impossible to use it in the sense Mr. —— would give to the word. His argument goes to another point: that the use of it in scripture as regards us, for it is confessedly never used of God expressly, is equivalent doctrinally to the use of it in the article as regards the Father. But this is a mistake, and begging the question. Reconciled means, he says, restored to favour: supposing it were so, it does not follow therefore that restoring us to favour was by changing God’s feeling towards us. Reconciling does suppose hostility, as we see in scripture in ejcqrov", “when we were enemies we were reconciled”— “alienated and enemies in our minds by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” This leaves no doubt as to the meaning of ejcqrov" or katallavssw. God is unchangeable in His nature and estimate of good and evil, and when we turn through grace, or the precious word of Christ is presented, that same righteous and perfect estimate does necessarily favour us. He is angry, and His anger is turned away: He is righteous and just to forgive. Hence “propitiate” is a true word, and God forbid it should be changed by any Socinian enfeebling of its force.
The nearest verbal justification to be had is “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people;” but there it is iJlavskesqai “to make propitiation:” so Christ is an iJlasmov" and an iJlasthvrio". This is fundamental truth, and it is just because reconciling takes it off this ground, and puts it as if God was against us and Christ for us, so as to turn Him, that the expression is mischievous. And I do not think the Reformers were wholly clear of this, at any rate, in the liturgical part of their system. It is just the Popish view of the matter: only with them Christ has to be turned too, and Mary is the gracious person—’that God retained justice unto Himself and granted mercy to her’: ‘He (Christ) finds Himself in the same disposition with the Father towards sinners, namely, to reject them; so that the difficulty is to induce Him to exchange the office of a judge for that of a supplicant’: so Mary ‘appeases the wrath of her Son.’
All this gives a false idea of God, even where Mary has nothing to say to it. The sense of unchangeable holiness cannot be too strong, so that propitiation is needed; but what weakens the sense of love in God Himself, as the source and spring of all, destroys the nature of Christianity. The Son of man must be lifted up, but God so loved that He gave His only-begotten Son. Now I must say that the article does not give this aspect to Christianity; nor am I aware of any that does, so as to correct the impression which it leaves. If I were to say you had done everything to reconcile your father to me, certainly I should not think that his love was the source of it all. Reconciling does suppose entering into good graces, where it is mutual, but that is properly diallavssw, as in Matthew 5:24. And even in 2 Corinthians 5:18, the mind thinks of the world entering into favour with God, but by the activity of God’s love, not by His being reconciled; and the work wrought is wrought, or sought to be wrought, in the world’s mind, not in the mind of God: God was doing it. It was not done in Him, though the effect might be His favour. Katallavssw is to change, even as money; and the change was to be wrought not in God’s state but in the world’s, though it might be true it is implied that His favour would thereon flow out: But reconciling Him is quite another thing. From man’s nature we suppose hostility to an enemy, and favour to return on their being reconciled, particularly the last when there is authority. And so far Mr.—— is right. But to apply this to God is just the evil. Hostis in Latin originally only meant a stranger, Cicero I think tells us. There is not a trace of such a meaning of ejcqrov" as—— suggests31 in the New Testament.
Ever yours in Christ.
* * * * *
Dear ——,—Though I sent you a paper for the Present Testimony, I am not disposed to send any for publication in brethren’s publications till all these questions on the Sufferings are over; but wait till I am, if God will, returned to England, when I can act on my own responsibility. I have to-day received for the first time the attacks against me, sent by I know not whom—not the authors. … I have not occupied myself with them. I allude to papers here, because a good deal of additional materials have been brought out in my mind in studying scripture here. … I have sent the matter for the new edition of the tract “On the Sufferings;” a thing I have no satisfaction in; but as brethren wished it, I have done it. My own present feeling is that it is a great mercy these matters came out. I am satisfied that my adversaries are thoroughly unsound as to the sufferings of Christ. I fear for them. I would not hold their views for any consideration. But I take no steps of any kind while here, nor leave my work because of it. In these last days nothing but what is material for the church will make me act; and the brethren’s testimony rests on other ground: but were I alone, I should rest alone with the truth I have sought to put out there. The ground taken against me, as far as I have known it, makes me immovable in rejecting their views, and holding the substance of mine. I trouble myself little about petty objections. There is a grave question for me, but it has been raised in my mind by their statements, not by my own. I am a little surprised brethren have not seen it.
As to the work here I have not much to recount. In a large town it is a work of patience and detail, but though patience be exercised, I have felt encouraged. The brethren whose deliverance I had sought are now with us, and getting to know those here, and confidence growing. The testimony stands wholly clear, and in contrast with prevalent heresies (annihilation) as a rejected thing, and the ground of insisting on the truth openly taken. Two who were not prepared to take it remain outside—one a great deliverance. In this country one great obstacle was that those who held the Lord’s coming and other truths, were—or bore with annihilation and Newtonism. All this is now clear, and at least the foundation is laid of holding these truths apart from systems, and sound doctrine insisted on more than anywhere else. We have gathered up a few more stray souls, and with occasional testimony outside; that is the sum of-our work… An audience as yet we have none, yet the truth has been spread, and souls have found peace, and know the gospel is there as it is not elsewhere. The rest our God must open the way to. I dare say that staying here I should gradually get to know people and spread the truth, but that is hardly my place. There is more apparent open door at Boston, but I was anxious to get what was scattered, or not gathered, a little solidly together here before I left. Some I looked to take part and who would have been a comfort and help are elsewhere—one dear man in heaven; then others form a little nucleus where they are gone: some I have still to look after. People know not how many who have left England or Ireland in communion are scattered in the world here. It will be a resource to many, in such a centre as this, to have a place where they can commune in peace when they come.
I have much time here, as few can be seen till after business hours. Besides reading, I have set myself with some zeal to grammatical Hebrew. One can profit by everything, but Hebrew points and their changes are not exactly my line of things; but constant interruptions had made me very far back in any accuracy. I used it, but with a vague and uncertain knowledge, or next to none. Courage and patience will do everything but give love; that the soul must have with and from God. That is what I want most.
New York, January 2nd, 1867.
Dearest Brother,—I am most thankful that you have resigned your place. I could never have hesitated a moment as to what I could have desired, but you cannot press another beyond his own faith. But there is a gracious and faithful Lord who cares for us, and will never leave us nor forsake us. I suppose you have little, humanly speaking, to depend on. So best—I say, so best. It is the highest place, if through grace we have faith to walk in it. And I will answer for the Lord, that though He may let your faith be tried, He will meet and bless it. I am sure there is plenty to do, and it is, as ever, labourers that are wanting.
“Nots” are dangerous things in scriptural subjects, because the Holy Ghost teaches by positive truth, and we must know every case to use an exclusive not. The object of Ephesians 1 and Romans 8 is I think clearly to shew what we are predestinated to, but when it says predestinated us, it is hard to say it does not refer to persons: “Whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate.” Now this shews that in the main the object was to teach what they were predestinated to, but then it is affirmed of the persons whom He foreknew, that is a distinct class of persons so foreknown — not, predestinated those whom He foreknew would be conformed (which was the Axminian scheme); but those whom He foreknew He predestinated to be conformed. Election suppose a large number out of whom God chooses; and if we take it as eternal, or no time with God, still a number are in view out of whom a choice is made. Predestination is the proper purpose of God as to these individuals: even supposing there were no others, God had them in His mind—surely for something, which is thus as we see connected with it; but it is a blessed idea that God had His mind thus set on us without thinking of others. “The good pleasure of his will” is connected with it, and if we ascribe it to grace that we are elect, that thought, though we stop in it, does suppose others. We are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”
I accept then the positive part of what you say, but am afraid of “not.” I should not say a sheep is a sheep from all eternity, because the person did not exist; but I clearly hold he was a sheep before he was converted, for Christ says, “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring;” and, “My sheep hear my voice,” &c.; and, “Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep.” No doubt He delights to look upon and lead them as such when called, but they are called such before. The main object of the apostle in both Ephesians and Romans are those that are members of the church, but the passages do not go into church privileges as such, but children’s and brethren’s place. Election properly is more in Ephesians 1:4, and in verse 5 the peculiar place belonging to these; and in both, though the principle go beyond, the apostle is speaking actually only of us: not that I exclude others, but these were then occupying the apostle’s mind. He is always practical. Romans 8:28-30 does not say us. In verse 31 he begins with us: it is applied.
It thus involves and supposes the persons as you say—“not persons, but rather the state and conditions to which they are brought;” but then “they” are persons, and some special ones. Now in Ephesians he only actually speaks of “us”: in Romans it is general…
I thank God that you are free.
Ever affectionately yours.
Boston, February 13th, 1867.
* * * * *
Beloved Brother,—Thank you for——’s little account of Mrs. ——. All around her knew how she was valued and beloved by us all. But I feel as to her it was just a sheaf of corn fully ripe, so that it was natural—so to speak, time for her to pass into rest; so that in this sense it is a happy feeling, and though the loss will surely be felt, this will be the soothing feeling of those who were more immediately her own. It is a happy thought that those we love are gone home where peace and rest are. I have sometimes thought that seeing so many as I have, my turn was nearly come—fairly come, so to speak. But the present opposition to the truth makes me feel somewhat different. I am not disposed to leave the conflict in presence of this new work and dodge of the enemy, and do pity these men with my whole heart. To see them thrown into the arms of those they know were for years resisting the truth and testimony of God, and were helping on Satan against it. Oh, it is very dismal, and those who once helped it, and with whom I was associated. I am perfectly persuaded that Satan only has, and Christ not one particle, to say to the matter. I only search, anxiously submitting myself to God, what occasion I have given. My full persuasion is that the occasion, not the cause, was the publication of my writings.
I have stated what you refer to in the introduction to the new edition. I purposely did not speak of it in writing privately… I desired that brethren should have their minds exercised on the points (answering merely what they asked in my replies to them); and they were so frightened many of them that, in the presence of bitter adversaries whose conscience I could not reckon on for a moment, I felt I must wait, going on as God led me, not throwing them into their hands. Traditional expressions had such influence that one had to let them compare them with scripture for themselves as the questions gradually arose. Now I have put out my own statement, I have stated it clearly and simply. As far as possible, I did not desire to take it out of the sphere of edification nor raise questions which half the saints just as pious as others could not solve. In no objector have I seen the smallest trace of the working of the Spirit of God. In every case it is the sign, and characterised by a state of fall and the action of self, in some deplorably so.
But then I have to judge myself as furnishing any occasion to the outbreak. It will (I doubt not) turn to blessing; God is above it all, but it was a subtle and sad effort of Satan, and so sad, that those we had so known should have fallen into his hands. It shewed too, I think, an enfeebled state of things —a reaction from N.’s work of evil. But I think it will do the brethren good.
I cannot find that smiting in scripture is ever used for atonement, though when smitten He wrought it. But it is clear to me that the sense of Christ’s sufferings was lost among brethren through the dread of Mr. N.’s blasphemies. But my desire is that they may go on quietly with the profit of their souls, and not get into questions even when right.
I rejoice to hear of the blessing; here I find many souls so thankful to get plain truth, and full truth.
Peace be with you. Best love to all the saints.
Ever, beloved brother,
The Lord keep you near Himself.
Boston, February 13th, 1867.
* * * * *
[From the French.
Beloved Brother,—I received your little note, and was glad to hear from you. As to 1 Timothy 5, verses 24, 25 relate to verse 22. Timothy was not to lay hands hastily on any. In the case where the walk of one on whom hands had been laid should turn out badly, Timothy would, although involuntarily, be concerned in the evil, through placing the man in a position which had his sanction. This exhortation gives the apostle occasion to add, “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment.” Manifest to every one, they proclaim beforehand, like heralds, the judgment which awaits those who commit them. The sins of other men were more hidden, but would, nevertheless, come into open day. It is the same with good works. Now the fact that sins might be hidden, was to make Timothy prudent in laying on of hands on persons who presented themselves to him with this object.
We see Very clearly, in comparing together the two Epistles to Timothy, the difference between the order of the house of God, such as it had been established by the apostle, and the walk taught by the Spirit of God, when disorder had come in after Paul’s decease. The first epistle presents to us the established order; the second, the walk requisite in the disorder, when the Lord alone knows them that are His—a state of things very different from that in which “the Lord added to tike assembly daily such as should be saved.” Then, the mighty action of the Spirit of God manifested His children, and set them in their place in the church. But, in the times of which the Second Epistle to Timothy speaks, “the Lord knoweth them that are his,” there may be some hidden in systems not according to His will. Then the responsibility rests upon the individual: he is to depart from iniquity, to purge himself from the vessels to dishonour, and associate himself with those who call upon the name of the Lord out of a pure heart. It is here that we find our place, only remembering the unity of the body, and seeking to realise it. We have the character of a remnant in these last days, but of a remnant which recalls the first principles on which the church was founded at the beginning; a simple and happy path, but which demands faith, and the boldness that obedient faith supplies. May God give us, in His grace, to walk in it with a firm, peaceful yet decided step. If we look to Him, all is simple; we see our way clearly, and we have motives that do not leave the soul a prey to uncertainty. It is the double-minded man who is unstable in all his ways.
Then, that which is eternal becomes ever more real to us, and nearer. This is what gives strength, and excludes all the motives and influences which might mislead us. How happy we are to be under the guidance of the Lord, to have the heart filled with Him whose thoughts are eternal, and who is love, who has so loved us and given Himself for us; who gave Himself to God, as to His own perfection, but still to possess us —blessed be His name—and to have us with Him for ever. It is sweet to feel that He nourishes the church and cherishes it…
* * * * *
27 [“Collected Writings,” vol. xv. p. 109.]
28 “I suppose that you would regard the sufferings of Christ in Gethsemane when anticipating the cup, as being different from the two kinds of suffering spoken of in the Epistles: but still I do not see that this opens the door for the admission of a third character of sufferings which are not atoning sufferings, nor suffering for righteousness’ sake, such as Christians may have to say to, but suffering and distress under the government of God. Now that Christ in the garden passed through the deepest distress in anticipation of the cup He had to drink for Israel’s sake, as well as for ours, is blessedly true; but that He suffered thus as being in the position of the remnant, and passing through their exercises—Satan using death as darkness and sorrow and terror with God’s judgment sanctioning the pressure of it on the soul—appears to me as contrary to scripture as it is to other parts of your tract, and to your teaching elsewhere?”
29 My first Italian letter; there has been nothing before except my tract.
30 [Second Article, Church of England.]
31 [“One who is hated,” or “under wrath.”]