Section 2

[From the French

Dearest Brother,—I have just received your letter here, where I was to have come straight from England when I took Switzerland and France first for our meetings, but I was obliged to return to this place, when I had done that. I am only resuming my former work. It is six years since I have been here, and I have felt in turning my face and directing my steps here, that God was with me. Just now I am busy correcting the Old Testament, which has been already compared, and which I am now comparing with the Hebrew. You must not, on that account, think that I have given up Italy; I am waiting the moment God wills, and am busy with Italian. I am now reading a bad tract on regeneration, published in Florence, but written with uprightness, Wesleyan in its tone, besides other little works, which accustom me to their way of speaking. It will be even better, I think, that you should be a little settled, and should look round you a bit before I come. I could not be sure of the time, for this is a long task which I have undertaken, but a very needful work, and one most useful to me, for I am perfecting myself in Hebrew, and in knowledge of the Bible in detail. Meanwhile, write to me when I may come, and I hope our good and faithful God will shew me the time when I ought to come, if such is His will.

I am always in danger of attempting too much, and as they say, “He who grasps all loses all.” I do what I do imperfectly —alas, not even that—but all the more I expect and hope for guidance from God, and do what I have to do to-day.

Your very affectionate brother.

Elberfeld, November 4th, 1869.

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Dear Mrs. ——,—I should never, and never have, as you know, pressed any to baptise their children, or introduced the subject. Indeed, while fully recognising it as a christian ordinance, I am disposed to think that it is in scripture, for our present condition, purposely left in the background. While eternal life and union with Christ are fixed and sure in Him, the ordering of all on earth till Christ comes, and even then, is provisional; not that we have not duties in the state of things we are in; duties belong to that: but the ordering of things passes. We have a kingdom that cannot be moved, eternal life, membership of Christ; but this in actual full possession is to come, and what we have now, even of divine ordinances, is passing. But I repeat, our duties are now. I shall only therefore present to you what scripture affords me on the subject, for if ever I hesitated, and, like others, I was exercised about it, I have no doubt as to infant baptism of the children of a Christian. But I have a full feeling that Christ did not send me to baptise; I leave to others activities on either side. The twelve were sent to baptise, but as to ecclesiastical matters, we are under Paul.

This for such questions is an all-important remark, because the commission to the Gentiles (on which you and all Baptists rest) was given up by the leading apostles into his hands. But in general he, and he only, taught what the Church was, and it is on that ground we are. Further remark, the commission to the twelve was not from heaven, nor consequently immediately connecting with heaven, but from Galilee, and a commission to bring the nations into connection with an accepted remnant of Jews on earth—not to bring Jew and Gentile into the body in an ascended Christ, which was Paul’s commission especially, preaching withal reconciliation from heaven to every creature under it. His original commission is remarkable in this respect. A heavenly Christ was revealed to him—“delivering [separating] thee from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom now I send thee.” He belonged neither to Jew nor Gentile in his service, but to heaven. Hence he in baptism knows nothing but baptising to death to all man is, and at the utmost resurrection with Christ into a new state of things. With Peter it is: you have crucified Christ, God has raised and exalted Him. Hence they were to repent and be baptised for the remission of sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Nor does he even go to our death with Christ, or our resurrection with Him. Nay, in Acts 3 he proposes to the Jews to repent, and Jesus would be sent back, and the people would be blessed by the times of refreshing of which the prophets had spoken.

You will say: This is a long story on what is simple; but it is on the mission of the twelve you found your doctrine. That was only to disciple Gentile nations and baptise them. Of the carrying out of this we have no account in scripture: the nearest to it is in Mark, the last verse. But we have an enlarged account of Paul’s taking their place; and it is remarkable that Roman Catholics and Puseyites all rest on the commission to the twelve, not on that to Paul. But where in Mark baptism is spoken of it is upon wholly another ground: “he that believeth and is baptised, shall be saved.” It was the gospel to a lost world, to every creature, and if a man believed and was baptised, he was saved. It concerns a heathen or a Jew confessing Christ, who before did not, and what is called joining Christians, and as “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” so “with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Here it had a saving force founded on faith, but that is not the question now. No one can in this sense say a man is saved by baptism, but that is the only use of it in Mark. The Campbellites have this view of it as an ordinance, but with grievous errors, and false in itself, as man’s act and not as becoming a Christian. Further remark, that the hundred and twenty first formed into the Church by the coming of the Holy Ghost, or, at any rate, the twelve, were never baptised. I know it is said they had John’s baptism, and no doubt rightly, some certainly, and all with little doubt; but that was the opposite of christian baptism. It was to receive Christ; christian baptism is to His death— to a rejected Christ as such at God’s right hand; and one baptised with John’s baptism had to be baptised again, as in Acts 19.

The command was to baptise, not to be baptised, and this makes all the difference. It is not an act of obedience, in this the scripture is quite clear. Acts 8 (verse 37 is not genuine4), he says, “what doth hinder me to be baptised?” it was a privilege to be obtained; but the words do not allow the idea of obedience, but exclude it. So Acts 10:47, “can any man forbid water?”—a privilege, no idea of obedience, but an admission into the christian estate consequent on the proof that God would have him: and indeed it would be cruel to make it a matter of obedience, as no man can fulfil it; another must do it for him. The admission to a privilege cannot be a matter of obedience, though obedience gives privileges as such. But the real point is, the passages prove that it was the act of the baptiser, not of the baptised. And this changes its whole nature. It is said, Where are children commanded to receive baptism? of course they are not, nor believers. Ordinances are never the subject of commands. They are ordained and rightly used, but never obedience in him who profits by them; it would deny the very nature of Christianity, and destroy the blessing for him who partakes of it.

Another important principle destroyed by the Baptist system is the existence of a divinely instituted place in which blessing is, independently of the question of personal conversion, and to which responsibility is attached according to the blessing: as the olive tree in Romans, whose branches are broken off and grafted in again or replaced by others who are broken off afterwards, branches where the root’ and fatness of the olive tree is, yet they come to nothing; so Hebrews 6, 10. So 1 Corinthians 10, where the sacraments, so-called, are shewn to be the ground of this in Christendom, and so the house in 1 Corinthians 3, where wood, hay and stubble are built in with false doctrines, but it is God’s building. And in 1 Peter 4:17 judgment was to begin at the house of God, alluding to Ezekiel. So we see it as a principle in Romans 3: “What advantage then hath the Jew?… much every way.” But he was condemned, not converted. So the wicked servant who ate and drank with the drunken: was “that servant” the same as the faithful one and Christ his Lord?

Another principle used by Baptists is that it is a formal testimony to what a person has already. This is quite un-scriptural. We are baptised to death—not because we have died—rise therein, if I bring in resurrection: it saves us, says Peter—is not used as a witness of being saved. “Arise and be baptised (says Ananias) and wash away thy sins,” not in confession that thy sins are washed away. Thus the whole system of Baptists I find to be unscriptural. It is not obedience: that the Baptist brethren now admit: it is not testimony to what we have. The apostles were not baptised, but the twelve were sent to baptise the Gentiles, being themselves received by Christ. Paul was not sent to do it at all, though he was formally sent, from and by a heavenly Christ, to the Gentiles by a new commission, the leaders of the twelve giving theirs up and going to the circumcision.

What is it then? A formal admission into the place of privilege. Water cannot be refused to Cornelius: nothing hindered the treasurer of Candace from being baptised. 1 Corinthians 10 clearly shews that it is the admission into public outward association with God, as when Israel crossed the Red Sea, as the Lord’s supper is a sign and expression of food and drink in the desert. It is not a sign even of life—not of being baptised into Christ’s body, nor of being made children. In Paul’s teaching it is death; in Peter or Ananias, saving, washing away sins, as a sign, a passing from the state of sinful man into the place where God’s privileges were, specially the presence of the Holy Ghost, who is among the saints in God’s house as Satan is in the world. Paul in Titus 3 recognises the same truth.

The question then is, are children entitled to be received? are believers? Believers, clearly, if they have not yet been; if they have, they cannot be again. But supposing they have not, they are clearly received by baptism; and, in an ordinary way, at the beginning, those in received the Holy Ghost, as said in Acts ii., and may be seen in Acts 8 Can children, or are they to be left out where Satan rules? Scripture, I believe, gives a christian parent a title to bring them to Christ, but this can only be now scripturally by death as baptism figures it, for “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” If baptism be the reception of children where the Holy Ghost is, and where they can be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and taught to obey, which till they are Christians as to position they cannot be, the question is, Is a christian parent obliged to leave his child outside with the devil, or allowed to bring him in where the Holy Ghost and the care of God’s house is? Scripture tells one that children of a christian parent are holy, have a right to be admitted, are not as children of a Jew who had married a Gentile unclean, that is, unfit to be admitted among God’s people, but holy. I know it is said the husband was so too. It is not true where the sense is looked to. The Jewish husband was profaned not profane, could not be profaned if he had been: it is what is holy that is profaned, nothing else can be. Now it is grace, and the unbeliever is “sanctified,” not holy; the child is “holy.” The Lord Himself has said, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.” It is said, Why not give them the Lord’s supper? Because that is the sign of the unity of the body, and it is the baptism of the Holy Ghost that forms that. Baptists always reason instead of going to scripture. I have no difficulty with Baptists who think they have never been baptised; of course they ought to be. They have never been regularly admitted among Christians on earth; they may be of the body (as Cornelius) by the baptism of the Holy Ghost, but they have never been formally admitted to the house on earth, the place where the Holy Ghost dwells.

This answers another question you put—the converted and unconverted being baptised together. If it is admission into the house they are all admitted together, cannot be on any different principle. If it be obedience, then indeed there is; but scripture is in the teeth of this: to separate them would be to deny the principle on which any are baptised at all.

I respect the conscience of a Baptist; I repeat, if he think he never has been baptised he ought to be, but it is as clear to me as the day that his principles are totally unscriptural.

Nothing can be clearer then, that in the New Testament it is never treated as obedience. If it were, we were saved by our own obedience, have our sins washed away by our own obedience; for this is what is said of baptism. I understand quite well that a heathen coming to baptism does administratively receive the remission of his sins: every one is baptised to it. I understand too that one who has been as a heathen and converted coming to the faith—to such it is practically a first confession of Christ and that they are very happy—but obedience of a believer to an ordinance is all wrong from beginning to end; as to the Lord’s supper as well as baptism. If a man think it is—J do not blame him for doing it, but it is wholly unintelligent. If a friend was to say, keep this in remembrance of me, and I said, I will do what you bid me, my friend would have no thanks to give me. The gift was not valued. You see it is a wide subject, but the great principle is that the children of a christian parent are holy; and so far from children being unfit subjects, “of such is the kingdom of heaven”—not Christ’s, note, on earth.

The truth Baptists have to learn is that there is a place, a system established by God, where the blessings are found— the olive-tree fatness—without the question of conversion being settled, in which heathen, Mohammedans, and now for a time Jews are not, but in which these last will hereafter again be, though not on our footing. I know it is said you are bringing us back to Judaism. I answer, in this respect the apostle does, in 1 Corinthians 10 and Romans 11: and baptism does not refer to the body with which they had nothing to do, nor to giving life (which, if they had, was not brought to light, and they had it only in the state of servants), but the dwelling-place of God, which they were then, which Christendom is now, and according to which, or as which, it will be judged—a very weighty consideration. All is so in confusion that this house is hard to own, but that does not alter the truth of scripture.

A word as to the place of parents; God has given them children; but “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” But the love of God is trusted, and the grace of Christ who receives such, and also the word believed that blessing is there where God has placed it. They cannot leave their children without, in Satan’s world; they bring them to be received as holy, as regards God’s ways and dealings. The Church cannot receive them but through death, but receives them in Christ’s name as if receiving Him, as He says, and the name of Jesus is called upon them through this image of His death too; and while received into God’s congregation where the Holy Ghost is, and where all should be a pattern to them, they are given back to the parents in grace with Jesus’ name on them to bring them up for Him, not for the world, “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” I receive them then because they are holy relatively, because Christ received them, and “of such is the kingdom of heaven,” and I can receive them in no other scriptural way—with the sign of Christ’s death and of His love.

I have no objection to any one reading this letter, but … it is not the time to occupy the church with ordinances.

Ever sincerely yours in the Lord.

Elberfeld, November 4th, 1869.

Beloved Brother,— … I quite feel what you say of the work, and when it is not mere evangelising it will ever be a certain isolation. I remember shocking an excellent sister some thirty years ago by saying, that as one went on one would always feel more alone, be more isolated. So it was with Paul, even as is easily seen: yea, so it was with the blessed Lord Himself, always alone, and more and more isolated as He went on. So He said at first, “Blessed are ye poor” (always true)— at last, “Ye shall leave me alone.” But one has to watch it. Faith is never alone; and as fruit Paul had his Timothy: yea, even the Lord—John nearer to Him than others; though with Him the Father must be all. And when driven out from Judea by the jealousy of the people, it was just then to see the fields white for harvest. And what the word says when this isolation and perception of failure is strongest: “Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Not of ardent Peter, but of beloved John, it was said, “If I will that he tarry till I come,” and we have to take the place God has put us in. I envy the evangelists sometimes, and feel they are better than I, but accept, perhaps as coming from my fault, the place I am in. But I feel, though evangelising heartily all I can, I live for the Church, whatever place God gives me—none if He so wills. It is His, and that is right. I feel too I am growing old, but in itself that is a pleasure—our salvation nearer than when we believed. In a day or two I am in my seventieth year. I think you ought to rest, but if you must, it is also good in every way to change the scene we are in if God allow it. We see the work more as a whole with God, and even the details, and for ourselves the spirit is relieved from the pressure of responsibility as to details. Paul got this by prison: of that perhaps we are not worthy. I may be in London ere very long, though not just yet, but I could run over hence if you were there, and I will in England be your Timothy. I have Italy to go to if the Lord will, and desired work in Pau, but this left to the Lord, or I should be oppressed with too much on my hands. Whose hands? What poor creatures we’ are, and what can we do! I was myself really ill with fatigue, my pulse stopping dead for almost half a minute and then fluttering ever so fast; but it was only being used up, and God provided a day’s rest, and I set off, travelled all night, and began our Vigan meeting at nine, and got better by resting an hour daily when possible all through the meeting. The Lord has made me work at these conferences; Geneva, Valence, Vigan, a day at Vergeze, Zurich, Stuttgard. They needed some teaching and getting into practically deeper water.

We were, all through, mainly on being dead with Christ, surely a most weighty point, on which all Paul’s Christianity rests practically. It has connected itself in my mind with closing responsibility, with the death (for faith) first of the evil nature, and opening into the development of privilege, when God’s righteousness is revealed, but given us and in God’s purpose before the world, for His delight was in the sons of men—wonderful thought! Then, His Son become man, but in connection with responsibility rejected—that, for the full glory of God, met in His death, and so the glory and privileges brought out. But there man is treated as dead “in” sins, not “to,” as in Romans (in Colossians both, and man raised, not sitting in heavenly places), and it is a new creation and all God’s work. The realisation is in 2 Corinthians 4, and indeed 5 as effect. All this marks wonderful perfection in the ways of God as to responsibility and purpose. Our responsibility, so brought to God, is in Ephesians 4, 5, “imitators of God, as dear children”: in connection with Romans, the commandment of chapter 12.

You will find no epistle where courage is looked for in the Lord’s workmen so much as in 2 Timothy, exactly where all was in ruin. The Lord’s strength never fails, and we have to work on in that with the patience and grace that He alone can give, and looking to Him who alone can give result to our labour for good. Remember, beloved brother, if your heart fails at all in seeing yourself hindered in work, that the gracious hand of God is in it, and He makes all things work together for good to those that love Him. I rejoice to think you are in His gracious hands, and fully trust we shall see you better. Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

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I have been through South France a little, and German Switzerland, since then Würtemberg, now Elberfeld, and have had six ‘Guelph’ meetings, small and great, very much on being dead with Christ, though other aspects too.

Elberfeld, November, 1869.

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To the same.]

Dearest Brother,—I am still here hard at work at the German Old Testament. At any rate, I shall be a great deal more familiar with Hebrew in going thus through the whole Bible, of which I had only read parts in Hebrew. But it is very hard work, but I feel the Lord with me, so that when I teach and preach I have been helped. My German is pretty well come back to me, so that I have taught and preached to some four or five hundred in the meeting—of course, with faults, but sufficient for the work, and their following all well. The scriptures are seen clearer and more precious, and the Lord Himself—oh, how much more so. I feel nearer home, and home nearer me. It is a mercy to find it more familiar— the heart more in it—but it is mercy that I know well. The work has considerably opened here. In Italy I trust it is beginning, but there much patience is needed; the education of the people gives a character which greatly requires it.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Elberfeld, 1869.

Dear——,—You may put any letters you like to “James.”5 I rather dislike dialogues as fictitious, but they serve to bring out truth in many cases better as a kind of parable, so to speak. Still I am hardly satisfied… The importance of judging church history, or the state it reveals, is daily more apparent to me. I am not at the bottom of it, but the change from scripture to prelacy, succession of bishops, so-called, has something mysterious in it, along with the fabrication of Ignatius, and perhaps Apostolic Constitutions, which are, I believe, heretical in their present state—a prelacy which is the basis of all subsequent Christendom till the Reformation, and now of high church, and even all clerical systems. But one thing is clear, that all refer to Peter for the system, not one to Paul. The unity of the church as they view it is always based on him; Paul at best only comes in by the bye, swamped in Peter at Borne. And even as to detail, the rising up of scriptural conscience against image worship and evil was from Paul’s writings, and the authors of it, called Paulicians. They had only his writings and the gospels—but this by the bye. This system presses stronger on me than even infidelity, dreadful as it is individually.

As to the gospels and translation, I must leave it over to God: they want to get a French Old Testament and new edition of New; and I have here the Old on hand—the historical part easy, the prophets often difficult, the Psalms done. I should be glad of a little quiet, but I have felt I must do the day’s work, and leave the rest to God, for Italy is before me too. I am expected, but in no hurry. I have thought to run to England when finished here, or before if necessary…

As to the Psalms, I fear you have taken labour in vain. I translated them in America for study and practice in Hebrew, with only a Gibb’s Gesenius, that dear J. Harris gave me some thirty years ago, which I use mostly for a travelling dictionary, very well done for its size, but an abridgment (now I believe out of print); but at your request I was doing all over again.

When I speak of church history, the word is quite enough for me, but the origin of an immense system calling itself the church, is of interest. It may be the Lord meant it to be concealed, that now we might judge by the word: in that I have no difficulty.

Affectionately yours.

Elberfeld, November, 1869.

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[From the Italian.

Dearest Brother,—We have had a very blessed conference here at Elberfeld. We read the Gospel of John, and afterwards the Epistle to the Romans, but we spoke of many subjects while studying these books. We enjoyed much the presence of God, and I believe that the Spirit of God wrought powerfully in our midst, and that He taught the brethren much, and communicated these precious truths: we were very happy together. They came from various parts of Germany, and several came from Holland: we remained together the whole week. I ventured to preach in the German language to four or five hundred people. With the exception of this week, which has come to an end to-day, we were busy with the translation of the Old Testament. We have finished Isaiah and half of Jeremiah. On the Lord’s day and twice in the week we have meetings; otherwise, I was rather dissatisfied to have no intercourse with souls, and to do nothing directly in the Lord’s work; because from nine in the morning till eleven at night I work at the translation, so that I am unable to visit the brethren. So much, that you may understand that I am not neglecting the Italian language.

[Italian so far.]

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[From the French.

I am very diligent, am I not? I read simple things with sufficient facility; speaking is a different matter, but I accustom myself to the language as well as I can where I do not hear it.

I write in order to say to you, do not be discouraged, and do not despise the day of small beginnings. Italy will need patience, but God knows how to act there as elsewhere. As to what concerns——, act with patience: you will see, perhaps you have seen already, what his mind is with respect to these matters. Do not distrust him, if the groundwork is good: confidence produces confidence and openness… Write to me whenever you like; I shall always be glad to have news. Open your heart if things are going on badly, or if they are difficult; share your joys if you have any. I am accustomed, you know, to expect difficulties, and disappointments sometimes—our own failure, alas! but where we can always look to the Lord. Greet very heartily all the brethren. Remember the Lord is sufficient for everything. While firm in the truth, be patient with ignorance and mistakes, where the will is not active.

Yours ever affectionately.

Elberfeld, 1869.

Dear——,— … As regards S., I should be anxious that a careful distinction were made between false interpretation and false doctrine. This is for me in these days important. I might refuse to go to his meeting when I had done all I could to bring it right, but if there were no false doctrine as to anything that was the faith, I might not have to excommunicate him, though wholly rejecting him as a doctor or a teacher. If what was taught touched the faith it is another thing. If he taught what I thought mischievous I might refuse to go there, if the assembly did not stop it, but that is not excommunication. I have not of course seen the publications, and cannot say how far they go. I know the system as a system, and do not accept it at all. I think I know its bearing, and the difference of Peter and Paul teaching, and how far it goes, and where the Epistle to the Hebrews stands—the heavenly calling as contrasted with church union to Christ. But that is in other parts of Paul’s writings, in various degrees and very instructive distinctions, when the soul is arrived there; the hope only is in heaven in Colossians, and salvation is at the end in Philippians. We are not risen with Christ in the doctrinal part of Romans. But this instructs—does not deprive the church of anything.

I am plunged in the Hebrew work, very useful to myself, but doing it thoroughly is longer than I had hoped, and I am somewhat at a loss as to finishing it, and the English Testament. But the Lord will guide. They are very anxious I should go through with it, and as far as I can judge it is going on very well. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations finished, and seventeen chapters of Ezekiel, but how much more to do! The historical books are in general very easy, and the Psalms done.

I am anxious to get over to England soon, though not immediately, but the Lord will shew the moment.

To the same.]

I forgot to add to my last letter that the Epistle to Philadelphia interested me more and more as to our position in these last days. Nothing can be more lovely than the picture in Luke 1, 2. I had not directly compared it with Philadelphia, but enter into the bearing of it. It is lovely to see such a picture of God’s people in the midst of the awful state of the Jews. May we be indeed something like it… I work freely with my German—was up the country yesterday with a large congregation—and pray with comfort, always the last thing I do.

Affectionately yours.

December, 1869.

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[From the Italian.

Dearest Brother,— … I advise you not to ask for money from——; if God blesses the labours of brethren in Italy, perhaps they will be disposed to give some; but now I do not think that they enter sufficiently into the needs of Italy to have patience with the brethren who are labouring in that country, and to think rather of the work than of the workmen. If the latter love the Lord, and preach Him from the heart, having been called to labour by the Lord Himself, I am satisfied. The Lord has patience, and where He has patience we ought to have it too. I do not understand why, but among the Swiss, life does not develop much in outside labours—I mean that when they are not engaged in the work, they have not the work in other countries much at heart… God has those who are labouring in France, and He has blessed them abundantly. I love these brethren much; I have myself worked much among them, as you know; but we must take all brethren as they are, the Thessalonians were not the Ephesians, nor were the Corinthians Philippians…

And now, dearest——, do not think much about your health. I know that you are not strong; do not do what would harm you, but trust in God and in our good and faithful Lord and Saviour. God always gives the strength we need for the work He gives us to do, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness… May God Himself keep you and the beloved brethren in Italy. Remember that God is love, and that He is always thinking of us: “He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous.”

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Elberfeld, December 21th, 1869.

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Dearest ——,—Very glad indeed was I to get news from New York, and thank you much. The work in America I have much at heart, and N. Y. had much exercised me, but I fully trusted the Lord, I think I may say, and He has brought evident good out of evil. I always feel my work a very poor imperfect one: I sow great principles, truths of God’s blessed word which I know to be truths and infinitely blessed; but I am no wise master-builder. Indeed, in these last days I believe it is not the time for it, but for establishing the saints in those truths, and that separation from the world, and a worldly church, which places them in right testimony where Christ would have them. What a blessing that is! If it is where He would have them it is the right place. And after that we must labour, and labour with Him.

I do not think any one can have a deeper sense of the evil than I have, but we must not be occupied too much with it. It is very possible that it has made progress at N. Y. since I was there, for it does so, and rapidly everywhere. The clergy are at their wits’ end in Europe through the boldness of infidels among themselves, yet cling together that there may not be a division in the church, so-called. When the world is separating into Romanism and infidelity, Christians must have their place, and keep their eye steadily fixed on that: “simple concerning evil,” says the apostle, “wise concerning that which is good.” I do not want saints to be unconscious of what is going on all around them; they are warned, but not to be occupied with it. The passage I have quoted is of every day walk, but there is a principle in it. Two things we need to have—what Christ has in the world as perfect as possible, and to be looking to Him constantly for it. He can give: and He loves the church. Oh! that we might have more of the spirit of intercession, that He might be glorified. It is of every importance that those who do walk, should walk in unity and in power. God has been most gracious in N. Y., and I trust the work will yet go on. Only stick close to the Lord…

I not only have undertaken a corrected version from Hebrew of German Old Testament, but have finished the prophets within a day or two’s work, I trust with satisfaction. I feel the Lord with me in it, but tied up by it, and sometimes say will not the Lord make it soon useless. But the church needs the word above all now. I find it wonderfully clear, and daily all clearer. This dead with Christ, well weighed, opens by practical truth, the truth as it is in Jesus far and wide—God’s ways putting responsibility and purpose in their place—but goes deep into the conscience. I am very hard worked, the rather as I am anxious to finish and be at other labours… One thing I do feel, the word of God is everything under grace: the Church here below a judged thing, the word light from God.

May the Lord keep and bless you, and keep you very near Himself.

Affectionately yours.

Elberfeld, January 3rd, 1870.

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Beloved Brother,—I have some little hope of getting to Guelph this year; I cannot tell. If fine weather, the voyage would be a rest to me: that is not a difficulty. But I am greatly shut up in work. I am at work at the correction of the whole Old Testament in German, from the Hebrew; not a correction from Luther, which is too bad. A German, and a Dutch brother, hold the Dutch and German translations of it, and I the Hebrew, with all other accessible helps to boot. We have, in another day, the prophets done, but still (though nearly all far easier) a great deal more to do; and then I have the English New Testament to complete a new edition of, in which I have examined for myself all the readings far more accurately. In the translation, save a few passages made clearer, there is no change.

The work goes on in England pretty widely, and with blessing. I cannot doubt that the Lord is preparing a people for His coming. All things are rapidly progressing and breaking up; but we have only to be perfectly peaceful and quiet, and earnestly seek from God that we and all the saints who seek His face, may be faithful and devoted. I feel this in the wide-spreading of the work, that we must take care that the testimony to unworldliness be maintained as to actual separation from all around us—it is in a measure—but in the spirit and temper of brethren. Here the work has spread considerably, but there is some want of learning Christ, though they are going on well. But we must remember that in prayer God is ours, power is put in motion, and that if through grace we can bring them up before Him, it is sure to be for blessing… I feel about ——, but the Lord is above it all; there are many dear souls, and by His grace they will be made to feel it is not good to dishonour Him. At New York Satan had put all in confusion, and it is better now than ever…

The Lord prepare His people for Himself. One thing we have to do—to live for Christ, for what is not seen. It will be seen, and then how glorious. But I do not like to look at this as only wilderness, and that as rest and praise. We have the love of God, and the fulness of Christ to enjoy, if we walk with Him; and how free from hindrance then, I need not say. But it ought to be well known, though beyond all our thought. I almost fear sometimes that scripture gets too clear for me sometimes, as a plan or system of God if the parts are not filled up with the fulness of Christ. But it is wonderfully clear, daily more so; yet so as that we know in part. In that way we are little and narrow. However, all is true; and we shall find the fulness of it as a whole, and much more when with God.

The history of the church is to me darker and darker in its character. I begin to have solemn thoughts as to what it all was; I mean, the power of Satan in it. God had His own loved people at all times, but history says little of them. But all this that is now coming up as good and primitive, though mere superstition in many, is in itself the power of evil. Our part is a quiet path in consistency; but it is no harm to be clear, as to what that is, with which we have to do. The word is ample, thank God, for our own walk; but it presses on me as a solemn thought what the working of the enemy was, in that which the Lord had set up so blessedly at first. Yet we are not to be occupied with evil, or be in any way terrified with the adversary, as if the Lord had not the upper hand. He has overcome, and is leading on to a full blessing, when the enemy will be bound. We must go on in the confidence that power belongs to Him, is in His hands. I do not mean that they are not perilous times; but in them, we have to look out of them, to Him who cannot fail us, who is full of blessing, and whose grace is sufficient for us, whose strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Canada is ever dear to me. I do not know how to account for my attachment to it, if it be not all the love I met with in it: that I ever feel. But I am now in my seventieth year; I have had some five ‘Guelph’ meetings since autumn began, and travelled—save some time in London, close work—constantly. Peace be with you, dear brother… How very gracious God has been in N. Y.; He ever is assuredly. I will write (D.V.) to dear H., but my letters get on slowly—from 7 or 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and then have to search out all the hard passages in Hebrew. But every mercy and much faith be with you.

January 3rd, 1870.

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Dearest Brother,—My days pass on so much alike one another, and so confined to the house, that a letter from me cannot have, as to work, much to interest you, but I will not leave your kind letter, which I was very glad to receive, unanswered. I have preached out round on Sundays (as my German is pretty well grown up again after a six years’ disuse) and here on a week day, but I am not yet content. I think they need some deepening, as to being dead with Christ, and here, save in the Conference, which was very happy, I have had little opportunity of much unfolding or pressing it. They have forgiveness, are familiar with being in the wilderness, and the hope of heaven, and the Lord’s coming—not enough I think with present association with Christ—but who is? But they are going on happily, and the work is very considerably spread. Being saved, and God’s love in it, they rest upon—not so much being in Christ before God. Still they have these truths, but a good deal of contrast (which is quite true) not of present association. I speak of the general character of the work, for there is much to rejoice in, and I am thoroughly happy with them all. There is a good deal of kindness amongst Germans, and brotherly love, though in this manufacturing town they see little of one another —I, at this moment, almost nothing—save at the meetings.

I have gone through all the prophets into German; the Psalms were done, and we are in Job—doing all the hardest first in case I should not finish. I am somewhat anxious about staying away so long from England, but trust the Lord may guide. I work by myself from soon after 7 a.m. to 9—breakfasting alone; then 9 to 12:30 p.m. at translation with them; from 3 to 7:30 again, and then I work through reserved hard passages alone, and then often until midnight alone—letters and what I have to do; so I am not idle. As to going out, I go to the post at dinner time, or for ten minutes elsewhere.

I have gone through Hebrews by reason of poor S.’s tracts, and analysed the epistle, making it all very clear to myself, at least, clearer than ever, and leaving no shade to my own mind in any part. It is being copied. I cannot conceive how any one that has closely examined it can doubt for a moment as to it. But it has put the scripture statements in a clearer shape and certainty in my own mind, for there is nothing really new in the doctrine. It is an examination and analysis of the epistle, shewing what it teaches and the ground it takes. I have kept this apart, save stating the ground and some allusions, and then answered statements of the tract in the end part. So that the first, with very little trouble, may be used apart for helping in reading the epistle. I have a paper too, on the Scriptures and the Church for Present Testimony.6

I get on feeling I am old, and as to my body, worn out, but through mercy my mind is as fresh as ever, judging I trust all evil in me, past and present, more earnestly than ever, but finding unutterable goodness and mercy even there, and I hope living more with Christ and more in the Father’s love. But I find intercession weak in me, though I know I love His people. For Himself He stands alone, and grace above us all. Still I should like to be more like Him, more with Him. Even my work absorbs me too much. The steam, so to speak, is spent in propelling the vessel along. Still He helps and sustains; and I find when it has not to be propelled, and a moment’s rest is there—oh! how sweet it is—the steam is there, and rises up in unbounded thankfulness to unbounded grace, by grace revealed, and goodness that never fails. And so I am somewhat consoled but not content.

But I must close… I was at Duisburg for Christmas and Lord’s day, and saw the brethren. A large room Christmas afternoon was filled to cramming. The Lord grant there may have been blessing. I have found at any rate great attention to the truth plainly put, and in several places there is considerable desire to hear. I have encouraging accounts from America. There are at least seven in the States now, who have given up everything and come out to work. New York getting on with Brooklyn, through grace and mercy, happily, better founded through His grace than ever. I always dread my work not being solid…

Elberfeld, January, 10th 1870.

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Beloved Brother,—I thank you for your letter, and thank you for the account of the work. Canada is dear to me for the work’s sake, and for the affection of so very many from whom I have received every sort of kindness, beloved ones in the Lord. When I have laboured in a place I always feel it mine, not in possession, but in the service I have to render to the saints. I have a faint hope, but wait on the Lord as to it, of getting to the Guelph meeting. I should be glad to see them once more, but as I have told some of them, I am in my seventieth year, and though through mercy strong still, we know that threescore years and ten closes the title of man’s active life, though our God can do what seems Him good. It depends a little on my getting through the work I am about here. I feel how great the privilege of evangelists is. I preach here or in the country around regularly, speaking, unless some special hindrance, two or three times a week, but every one has to do the work and fill up the little niche assigned him by God. My work is more in setting souls free, and now in these last days, when all is going so fast to evil, getting, as the Lord enables me, the word of God in its contents and in its purity among those who profess His name. They need being built up here; the work has greatly extended. And besides, I have undertaken nothing less than correcting the whole Old Testament, working it from the Hebrew with all the helps I can. It is a service underground, but I trust will be a help to the saints. They were really without an Old Testament—either an excessively incorrect one, or by infidel translators. We have done (I have helpers for pure German) the prophets, Job, the most difficult of all, and are in good progress with other parts; the historical are very easy comparatively. I had done the Psalms a few years ago for them. I believe God is graciously helping us. I am very happy in the work, but a little anxious as to the time it will take. Then I have three gospels ready of the English New Testament, that and the French being now out of print, and the French are waiting for the English corrections. But if I get another gospel quite ready, I might perhaps get for a couple of months to America and return; if fine weather, it would be a rest for me, and that I somewhat want… I accept my present work while it is so important in these last days that brethren should have the word of God, and that they should have it as pure as possible—and we must expect in these days to have the poor as always when the church got into its own place in the world, at least for the great mass. And I feel I am serving the Lord in using the little knowledge I have of Greek and Hebrew, etc., in furnishing brethren who have them not, with the word of God as nearly as possible as it is. Otherwise, the times call for building them up in the truth solidly as once given, so that I am jealous as to how much time I spend on what is means, however precious, for we cannot esteem the word too precious. It is that which God has given us when the church went wrong.

I rest on the Lord’s goodness towards His people, though I be a poor intercessor for them. I feel the difference of counting on the Lord’s love (that I feel through grace I can do), and using it in the activity of faith, to obtain the blessings it has in store for His people: there I feel weak. God will give surely according to His own thoughts and purpose, but He allows us to have a part in carrying them out, first by prayer and then by service; and while I doubt not all is foreknown and surely ordained, and for those for whom it is prepared of the Father, yet herein comes our responsibility, the place of a single eye that does not confer with flesh and blood. One so wrought from the beginning, holding himself dead from that time, and always bearing about in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus. We, alas! have often to learn how to do it, or do so, at least, after much mixture of the living and the dead. Yet he had to be helped, and have a thorn in his flesh, and be delivered to death; but then it was from God and for Jesus’ sake: the flesh was not different, but the man was. However, the Lord is all we need, and He is perfect.

I have not doubted a sifting time would come for the work in Canada, but the workmen must not be discouraged by it. I doubt not there may have been some excitement and craving after it, still with self-knowledge. I dread excitement, but I do not forget that when the Lord sowed, only one in four came to perfection. I do not mean this as a rule; we do not see it thus when the apostles preached: it is danger, and characteristic, but I use it to check a false judgment upon the work, where some disappointment may come. I am more anxious about what the world and the spirit of it forming a clergy may do, than about the reality of what has been done. I know —— too, but I know the gracious Lord is above all our weakness. It is a great point to know how to serve in what we find, not expect all as we would. Christianity works with what it brings, not with what it finds; and we are poor creatures ourselves after all. Give my kindest love to the dear brethren, and I am, dear brother,

Affectionately yours in our blessed Lord.


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Dear ——,—Whence did this Synopsis7 come? Did I give it to be published originally? I forget it (not its contents) entirely. The more I read it the more I feel the truth precious for those who can bear it, but there is such a sentence as, “receive ye … but not to doubtful disputations.” I doubt not many are able to bear it, and printing goes to all. What is the thought of bringing it out now? and how? I have corrected it, and there are passages I should like better as they were, but if stumbling blocks for the weakest, would take them out of the way. I will send it (D.V.) when I have looked it through; the first pages seem clearer than I should have expected. I not only believe it true, but believe it to be useful and used. But the raising of questions I dread.

It enhances for me, with far deepened feeling, the sorrows of the blessed Lord, and gives an apprehension of them otherwise not had, and makes His Person more divine to the mind. But His sorrows must ever be a depth into which we look over on the edge with solemn awe; we could not be there and still be; but it exalts His grace to the soul to look into that depth, and makes one feel that none but a divine Person (and one perfect in every way) could have been there. But it requires an exercised, and I believe a very humble soul, to look in: but I understand that to an unexercised mind—I mean when human thoughts subsist, and the word is not simply received— it may perplex them as to how He could be there. And though I think the saints needed it very really, and it was so far of God and called for, I think of those others, and should fear as to the sacredness of His Person, raising discussions and provings. The needed work is mainly done; for myself it is all deep gain of soul. I discuss nothing, but seek to learn…

I am just now getting on slowly with my German Bible. We are, or have been, in the hardest part, and now my chief German assistant is unwell. If it was too long delayed, I should get to England and finish it afterwards, but do not hastily move out of my present track. Unless Proverbs be difficult, we have now done all that is so. I shall be anxious to get on with ‘James’ when possible, and then the N. T. I have been reading a little at moments, the most careful rationalist view of the structure of Hebrew scriptures. I am struck with its poverty, though astonishing diligence of research; what has any weight I have been for years ready to recognise, and the rest, not only flimsy, but a total absence of all perception of divine intention and mind—almost more than I could have thought. I think my sojourn here is useful for building up and teaching, and the Lord has graciously given me liberty. They are clear on grace and forgiveness, but need something of the new position, but are going on well. I think I mentioned that the work has spread considerably.

Affectionately yours.

Elberfeld, January, 1870.

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[From the French.

[I come now to the subject of the sufferings of Christ. There are persons who oppose my doctrine, by saying, ‘The Lord Jesus would thus voluntarily have endured non-atoning sufferings—sufferings which do not shelter from the wrath of God those for love of whom He endured them—useless sufferings, which in no measure satisfy the justice of God.’ I reply: Certainly, Christ has willingly endured non-atoning sufferings, sufferings which will not shelter those for whom He has endured them from the anger of God. In denying this truth you reject what is most comforting, and, next to salvation itself, that which is most precious in the gospel. Christ has “suffered, being tempted.” Now that was not expiation, neither does it preserve us from the same kind of suffering; on the contrary, it is our precious consolation, when we are tempted. He has endured the “contradiction of sinners against himself.” From that I gain courage not to grow weary in the conflict; but there is no expiation there, no delivering man from wrath. “If so be that we suffer with him,” it is said. Are those atoning sufferings? The Lord said to two of His disciples, “Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptised withal shall ye be baptised.” (Mark 10:39.) Was that a question of expiation? Haul sought the fellowship of His sufferings, and filled up that which remained of the afflictions of Christ. Were these atoning sufferings? Some say to me, ‘But these sufferings do not extend to death.’ They are mistaken, for it is quite the opposite: “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus… for we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Cor. 4:10, 11.) “The fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” (Phil. 3:10.) These are very clear passages. We have only to read chapters ii., 4 of the Epistle to the Hebrews to find the plain contradiction of the doctrine which some put forth in opposition to what I have taught. That doctrine denies almost all of Psalm 69, and a great part of Psalm 22, where explicit distinction is made between the sufferings on the party of man, and forsaking on the part of God. In Gethsemane, He was not yet drinking the cup, for He asks, if it were possible, not to drink it. Was He not suffering? How can any one say that the sufferings of Christ, which do not satisfy the justice of God, were useless? Is His sympathy of no avail? Is the fact useless that He takes part in all our difficulties, in all our sorrows, in all our temptation, to know how to apply His word to him who is overwhelmed with afflictions? “We have not an High Priest which cannot (mhV dunavmenon) he touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15; compare Heb. 2:17, 18.) But I have said enough for every Christian, who thanks the Saviour for this special manifestation of His love. There are sufferings of Christ, sufferings of an infinite value for us, which are not atoning.

Some have raised a special difficulty with respect to His sufferings for the remnant of Israel. Never will I seek to turn the Christian away from the atoning sufferings of Christ, and from those which form the basis of His sympathy with us in our conflicts, to draw his attention to that which relates to the remnant of Israel. I desire that the Christian should occupy himself, above all, with the atonement, then with the consolations which are bestowed upon us by the knowledge of the sympathy of Him who” has suffered, being tempted. But when it is a question of explaining the Psalms, it is necessary to speak of the sympathies of Christ for the remnant, because that is the principal subject of the Psalms. It is easy to understand that many souls, as dear to God as a Christian more instructed in the scriptures, know nothing of that which the word teaches on this subject. We should not lead the weak to doubtful disputations. I do not think that what I have said would do this. Such souls would perhaps have said, ‘I understand nothing at all about it,’ and would have laid the book aside, for which I should not have blamed them. They might have been able to enjoy it afterwards, but they would not have been troubled, if their attention had not been drawn to this point. Without leading them into a discussion which would not be profitable to them, I shall seek to enlighten them as to what I mean.

Every Christian believes that which I teach, although all do not apply it to the remnant of Israel. The position of this remnant will, in the last days, be as follows: They will see before them the anger of God and will be in anguish, feeling how much they have deserved it; the power of Satan will be there in an entirely special manner; the mass of the people will be upraised against this remnant. Christ has passed through these troubles, although He did not deserve to do so, but He has felt how much His beloved people have merited these troubles. He has accomplished atonement for Israel in such a manner that, finally, the wrath of God will not burst forth against the remnant of this people; this remnant will enjoy blessing. But He has passed through the troubles above mentioned. The wrath of God was before His face, the power of Satan was there, it was the hour of the wicked and the power of darkness. It is said in the word, “In all their affliction he was afflicted” (Isa. 63:9), and I believe it is not there a question of expiation. In Gethsemane, He was not yet drinking the cup, but His “soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” All this appears to me very simple and very certain, according to the word.

Difficulties have also been raised with regard to the idea that this took place particularly after the last supper. But the distinction of that hour is made in the word. “His hour,” it is often said, “was not yet come.” Afterwards the Saviour Himself denotes this special time. He said to His apostles, “When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it… For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors.” (Luke 22:35-37.) He would not drink any more with His disciples of the wine of the passover. Then, this was the hour of His anguish. Does any one believe that He did not suffer from the forsaking of His disciples, the treason of Judas, the denial of Peter?

To the thought that this kind of suffering continued till death, special objections have been made. But Psalms 69, 22, are witnesses of it. Without doubt, the cup of the wrath of God has, so to speak, comparatively effaced all the rest; but it is no less true that these Psalms, of which we have the literal accomplishment in the Gospels, depict sufferings of Christ on the part of men even unto death, and shew that He has felt them. “Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” (Psa. 69:20, 21.) Read Psalm 22:14-20, and remark the contrast between these sufferings and the forsaking of God.

We have already seen that Paul sought the fellowship of the sufferings of the Saviour in death. That Christ was then occupied with Israel, is brought out evidently by His words, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”: an intercession which gave force to the call to repentance addressed to Israel by Peter: “I wot that through ignorance ye did it.” The fact that the remnant of Israel go to the edge of the tomb in their anguish is constantly repeated in the word. Further, the application of the sympathy of Christ to Israel is only a particular application of a general truth of which I have already spoken. It is also clearly set forth in the word, that Satan came to try Jesus in a special manner. In the Gospel of Luke, it is said, that Satan “departed from him for a season.” The Lord declares emphatically, in alluding to His last sufferings unto death, “The prince of this world cometh.” Dreadful words! It was the hour of man, of the Jews, and the power of darkness. I say no more; I do not enter into controversy. It seems to me that what I have said will be received by every true Christian.

I seek not to go deeply into the question here, but to present the truth which is found in the word in such a manner that the weakest Christian may see that what I have said is scriptural. I do not think that the church of God ought to be deprived of the value of these precious facts. The more we see that atonement was made in drinking the cup of wrath, the better we shall comprehend what sin really is, and what deliverance is. The more also will be brought out the reality of those sufferings of Christ which are not expiatory, and Christ Himself will become more precious.

I have endeavoured to present my thoughts in such a manner as to wound nobody, and to avoid controversy. Whatever effects the opinions which are opposed to my teaching have produced in my own mind, I have taken care not to express them in the least. I seek, and that by request of others, to calm all anxiety which the suspicion of grave errors might have produced. “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace.” … It seems to me that sincere souls might find edification in what I have written, and not objections only. I am not senseless enough to maintain that a pen, purely human and feeble, may not have expressed itself badly on such subjects; but I see nothing at all to retract from the statements themselves. I believe, on the contrary, that the Christian may learn in them better to lay hold on the whole extent of the sufferings of Christ, the reality of His humanity, and the infinite depth of His love.]


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[From the Italian.

Dear Brother,—I delayed writing to you until I had read a little of the “Dispensatore,” and I had very little time. I am well satisfied on the whole, and I believe, dear brother, that God has guided you. The articles are simple, and at the same time sufficiently advanced in the truth. I hope you will always keep before the eyes and the hearts of the Italians foundation truths; grace, salvation, redemption, the perfection of the work of Christ; that redemption was completed in His death; and that, in His resurrection, we have not only a new hope, but a new position before God. This gives perfect peace before God, and this is the measure of our walk in the world. What Christ is before God is what we are, because we are in Him; but if we are in Him, He is in us, and His life ought to be manifested in all our ways. I find much to interest me in these numbers, but I speak only of the articles which suggested some observations. Although it is useful to insist on the necessity of having an assembly pure, and of keeping it pure (and I believe this is necessary everywhere, and especially in Italy), I hope you will not go further in speaking of the questions which have risen up amongst brethren. Do not think that I am less strong in my conviction of the necessity for firmness; I am far from being so, but your “Dispensatore” is intended for edification, and for the growth of souls; and I believe that firmness is better manifested in practice where God is with us, when principles have been presented and proved, than in a multitude of words, which give rise to controversy. I must also point out a few little points, and say a word on the source from which you take the articles (I speak only of the defects) so that your paper may be as perfect as possible.

In No. 1 the principles of the article are very good, but I do not think that a person can believe that he has peace before feeling it, because peace is a state of the soul; it is something experienced. I can believe that Christ has made peace, but not that I have it.

In No. 2 page 2. Here also the article is very interesting, and the principles are true, but 1 do not think that “united to God” is according to the word. We are united to Christ. I do not believe that faith unites us to Christ: the Holy Ghost does. Many people say that faith unites, but the word does not. “By one Spirit are we baptised into one body.” “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” I could not say (end of the second), ‘not by preaching the law.’ I acknowledge that the gospel, or Christ, is a better way, but for many hearts, or rather for many consciences, the law is a means of reaching them, and convincing them of sin: certainly it cannot give life or peace.

I cannot find it just now, but I think you have spoken as if the Old Testament saints could have been united to Christ. They had received life from the Son of God; but union depends upon the coming of the Holy Ghost.

One observation more. You ought to examine attentively (I ask God to guide you in this) the articles on repentance, and on sanctification. I do not speak about these, but I think you translate much of what dear —— has written; you do well, for his writings are most useful, and they attract the heart, and are much more easily. understood than my own. But amongst our brethren, and in a whole school of Christians, on account of the war they have made against the error which requires so much repentance before believing, and coming to Jesus, and so much sanctification before knowing that we are in Christ, they have fallen a little into the other extreme; they will have no other repentance but faith itself, and no other sanctification but the fact of being in Christ, who is our sanctification. I do not say that your article on repentance is like this. But the one on sanctification does not seem to me quite clear. It is true that Christ has been given to us, made of God sanctification, and it is true that no human efforts can add to sanctification; but though on one side the life given by God is holy—Christ is our life—it is not the whole truth that we are accounted holy in Him. It is evident that the writer loves holiness, but the word, speaks of following holiness (Heb. 12:14): it says, “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” ‘The sanctification that I have in Christ is as perfect as the wisdom and righteousness.’ But the righteousness is always perfect as my righteousness; I possess it, and so I am the righteousness of God in Him. Could I say I am holiness, or I possess perfect holiness? God sees me in Christ perfectly righteous; He sees me, we can say, perfectly sanctified— granted—but, as to righteousness, there is no other righteousness before God but Christ. If I could have any other righteousness, I would not wish to have it; but I do desire holiness; I follow after holiness: could I follow after righteousness? God chastens us, that we may be partakers of His holiness; this could not be said of His righteousness. There is, thus, a difference between sanctification and righteousness, although we have both in Christ. We are, as to our persons, sanctified in Christ, since we have the new life; but our state of soul may be bad or good, and we ought to follow holiness. If this be done before knowing the perfect righteousness of God, before being justified and knowing it, we are not really seeking sanctification, but justification, hoping that if we were more holy God would accept us. There is no true holiness until we have peace; after we get peace, holiness for its own sake is the desire of the soul. We must certainly first of all go to Christ, that is not the question, but what we are to do when we have gone to Him, and have found peace. That we have received an entirely new life, which ought to be developed, and the activities of the heart in prayer, in the use of the means given by God, are things often forgotten when sanctification is spoken of. In your article, the second part makes it evident that the writer desires the yoke of Christ, and brokenness of will, but the doctrine is not entirely clear. I say all this, dear brother, that your “Dispensatore” may be as useful as possible. The greater number of Christians will not observe these little mistakes in it; they will even be glad to find them, and will not consider them to be mistakes, the doctrine as to sanctification excepted…

Yours affectionately in Christ.

Elberfeld, March 3rd, 1870.

* * * * *

* * * Immortality8 is incorruptibility, and applies to the body in life and immortality, nor is mortality applied to anything but the body. The evil is that people confound immortality and eternal life—two things totally distinct. I am just as mortal when I have it as before. They must for their theory make Satan mortal as man. I am not very fond of the expression “immortality of the soul,” as it gives a handle to them. Man is become mortal or under liability to die, but scripture is as plain as possible and as express, that death does not touch the soul. It is the separation of soul and body, or, as the second death, punishment. These things have vogue for a time with unconverted and unstable souls, and some other heresy springs up; but it is when God calls us to it to be earnestly contended against.

Mr. Minton evidently knows nothing of sin and atonement. That I have invariably found to be the case. Look at the article on the deserts of sin. Now Christ and atonement, or what the cross proves, is wholly passed over and ignored. Their system is merely natural religion, and that false. I find them writhe under the testimony of scripture. So in the article on immortality. I deny righteousness and holiness in Adam un-fallen. The statement that death is the cessation of life (save as it is used for life in a body, as we use it now) is formally contradicted in scripture: “Fear not them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” Life is used in various ways in scripture: “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” And I die, or Paul dies, just as much as a sinner, who, according to their own theory, do not cease to exist at all. Christ died. Did He cease to exist? All this is stuff—mere trash—without reference to scripture.

When he says that scripture says that he shall die, it says also that they shall rise again, and “cast body and soul into hell.” I do not talk of continuation but of punishment. Destroying does not mean annihilation. A concordance will prove the folly of it. Change the word and see: “O Israel, thou hast annihilated thyself, but in me is thy help”—”He came to seek and save that which was annihilated!”

* * * * *

To the same.]

Dearest ——,—The great book on the subject is——’s, an American, which I have in a measure looked at when there, having to meet them; but found it best to trust the Lord and have scripture ready, through grace, and meet what I had to meet, an4 the Lord helped me. Some were delivered, and one, through mercy, kept safe. Birks is pretty much, as to the ground he takes, Origen’s; that God had not revealed all the truth, but kept some back that useful terror might be there. But there is another question, What is the truth of what is revealed?

But I find gross ignorance of the gospel at the bottom of all this. Christians are put by Birks as having to answer for their works, and receive the things done in the body just if there was no complete salvation. Give an account .of ourselves we shall; christian responsibility I fully acknowledge. But they leave out divine righteousness and a new position consequent on redemption. They leave us under our old Adam responsibility with a supplement of grace. They confound the wrath which judges temporally with the wrath of God revealed from heaven; our responsibility as men and our totally lost estate in nature. It is not only that we shall not come into judgment because Christ has borne our sins as to our own responsibility as men, but that we are passed from death unto life. This leaves the ordinary evangelical world, though they may be kept in simplicity by mercy, wholly incapable of meeting these questions.

The question besides the atonement is, Is the soul immortal according to scripture? and the distinct holding fast that death is not ceasing to exist, on which scripture is quite plain. Another point is that while God is love, He is perfectly righteous in His horror of sin. Generally these persons mean by righteous that He is under obligation to us, which is a very different [thing] from a holy nature expressed in power and authority against sin. But the atonement always goes when this doctrine is let in, and it must do so. As to details, they see nothing of the earthly judgments of the Old Testament; this clear, nine-tenths of their proofs are gone. All is hodge-podge in their minds (and in such as Birks’) as to the difference of judgments of man here on earth, and wrath, as referred to man’s being hatred against God, revealed from heaven. When death, destruction, and the like in the Old Testament are taken in their true sense, most of what they say falls away as without any force whatever; but here the evangelicals lay themselves wholly open to their attacks. Solemn intimations may be found which the spiritual mind may apprehend, but the dealings of God were on the ground of present judgment. So on the other side, though there were hints, life and incorruptibility were brought to light by the gospel.

I am drawing fast to a close with my own work here, and what we are now doing is very easy. I am only afraid of going too fast. I have no doubt I shall find defects, but the poor brethren will have an Old Testament they can use, which at present is not the case. English, Dutch and Italians are far better off, the last the best of all old translations—Zurich not bad.

I have happy accounts of the desire to hear the word in Madrid. B.’s Italian journal is (up to this) very good in its matter, and not so far back in knowledge; a few slight mistakes not likely to be felt by those using it. We correspond in Italian now, mine bad enough, I am well aware, but he likes it better than French.

Affectionately in the Lord.


* * * * *

My dear Brother,—The denial of the immortality of the soul upsets the atonement entirely. If I have only an animal soul, where is responsibility? I put the case to them, Could God give eternal fife to a dog? They said, Yes. Then I said, It is a new creation, but be it so. But could the. dog feel responsible for what he had done as a dog, as sin? Would Christ have to die for his sins when he was such. If not, He has not to do it for mine when at best, if more intelligent, I had only an animal soul. I repent for the same reason of all my past life—out of the question if I have no such spiritual responsible souL And even if my sins only deserved a temporary punishment as particular acts, Christ’s sorrows and sufferings must be proportionally small. If it be a spiritual nature which is at enmity against God, as the apostle states, then I understand the extent of the evil, and a misery which no mere quantum of infliction could reach. The atonement must be measured by the extent and nature of the guilt, taking in Him against whom we have sinned. If a person were merely puzzled by some clever person I might have patience in hope of restoration, but when a man is a heretic, that is, holds it so that it is the expression of sin in the flesh, he is to be rejected. I never met a person who held it deliberately who did not lose the atonement; as it indeed cannot be otherwise, for when there is not an immortal soul, a spiritual soul, how can you make an animal morally responsible?

As regards the Person of Christ, it is thus I have seen it work in America. They teach that death is ceasing to exist. If it be, either Christ has not died for us, or He ceased to exist. Thus His person was speedily lost; but all have not gone thus far. Some did distinctly state it to me. If it has practically taken the form of a heresy, we are told to reject them; and certainly what destroys the atonement is not the portion of a happy worshipper. They are not on Christian ground: the Lord’s supper has not the same sense as it has for me… Affectionately yours in the Lord.

April, 1870.

* * * * *

One great cause of error on this subject is, that the saints do not make the difference which scripture does between the government of God exercised over this earth and the necessary rejection of sin by God’s nature—His wrath from heaven. The evangelical world does not make the difference, and hence is liable to be misled, and unable to answer, though God may preserve souls by the instinctive sense of what is in scripture. Israel may be carried to Babylon, but Daniel finds it his sure path to heaven. All above twenty years old fall, save two, in the desert, but Moses and Aaron, and very likely many others, find their place in heaven too.

These dealings of God must be in connection with God’s character, and immediately flow from it; but they are not the expression of it: they are His ways in and through men. Life and incorruptibility were brought to light by the gospel. Just judgment was expressed in these ways, but not the judgment of the secrets of men’s hearts, but of men on the earth, for their conduct on the earth. This is so true that, though there are passages which lead the spiritual mind to see the loss and ruin of man (“He drove out the man:” that God was lost to man: that man had left God, the way back to the tree of life being barred), yet the express positive judgment as pronounced does not go beyond this world, even when it reaches death. Man was made out of the dust, and returns to the dust: but that is man, the object of our senses here; nor was more openly revealed. But the breath of God was not dust nor made out of the dust. Hence death, and destruction, and the like, in the Old Testament, though they may imply that displeasure which is the sign of what is connected with eternal misery, yet mean habitually, in the Old Testament, death and destruction by judgment in this world: a solemn and dreadful thing as God’s displeasure, but which is not in itself eternal misery. The state of the soul afterwards may be learned from other truths, but what is expressed is present judgment without the smallest hint of what comes of the soul afterwards. It is judgment here.

The New Testament recognises this even to death, as judgment here too, but passes on to the revelation of what follows, because life and incorruptibility are brought to light, and that the absolute incompatibility of God’s nature and sin (not merely His governmental approbation of righteousness) is plainly revealed. But these, those who deny the immortality of the soul confound; and for the most part evangelicals too. The latter hold the truth in effect, but they accept the application of terms and passages to what is eternal, which puts a weapon in the hands of those who teach error, against which it is logically hard to defend themselves, though their faith may be right. Universalists are in the same error, but it does not so immediately affect the question on the surface of the matter; but it does as really, because the nature of sin and wrath is in question. Another source of error for the Universalist, allied to this, is the not perceiving that an entirely new life is given in Christ. The evil of the flesh of the old man is unaltered. They confound and forget, in looking only at the practical effect on our state, the real gift of life, and suppose that a process after death can form the soul for God. Where eternal life is, punishment can break the will, give seriousness, restrain under the sense of God’s hand, and so work effects; but no punishment can ever give life, nor does grace alter the old man. I only speak of general principles, which lead to these errors here, because in universalism either Satan and the evil angels, to be more precise, can be saved without propitiation (and so can we then too), or their plea of God all in all is false, and mere human selfishness; and the evil spirits remain unsaved, for Christ did not take up the cause of angels.

But I return to general principles. The Old Testament passages which furnish the vast majority of alleged proofs of the destruction of the wicked, speak of judgment and destruction in this world only. All beyond, save glimmers which traversed the gloom for faith, was dark and invisible. That system was the government of God, not salvation for God’s presence and eternal life, though these were saved and quickened. Destructionism holds that eternal life is given in Christ alone, but confounds eternal life and the immortality of the soul, two entirely distinct things. As regards spiritual divine life, we have no life in us at all; we are dead. It is not merely that it is not immortal life; we have none. It denies that we are alive—not that the soul is immortal but that we have life in us. They might as well, and more truly, use it to prove we are not alive at all—for that is what is said—than that the soul is not immortal. It does not apply to the, question.

As regards destructionism, another false assumption, which formed the basis of thought in most minds affected by it, is that death is ceasing to exist. This is wholly groundless. Indeed it begs the whole question. It may or may not be, as far as man can say from what he sees; for beyond death he sees nothing. He may reason that the cessation of outward organisation does not and cannot affect that of which he has the consciousness, and have the strongest ground for rejecting the supposition when ‘to be or not to be,’ that is the question. He may speculate with Plato, or reason closely with Butler; but he knows nothing. As far as the intimations of the Old Testament go for faith, they furnish the thought which Pharisees had thus acquired of the subsistence of the soul after death. Thus Samuel is brought up: David says, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” Enoch and Elijah gave yet brighter hopes in the darkness, though darkness still was there. So that the Lord could rebuke the Sadducees as not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God in rejecting the resurrection; and the resurrection involved the necessary truth expressed in Luke 20:37, 38, that “all live unto him.” Nor did scripture know in this respect any difference between saints and sinners: not only was He the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (“not the God of the dead, but of the living”), but the ground of this was not their piety, but that for God all lived, even when for man they died. Sadducees are no new race; but they “err, not knowing the scriptures.” The Old and New Testaments alike forbid the thought that in man’s case death is ceasing to exist: believers die, Christ died just as much and as really as sinners. If death as such means ceasing to exist, then the saints and Christ ceased to exist. Nor can what has ceased to exist ever be raised again.

But there is another vital point in this question. The atonement is lost, and the responsibility in us to which it applies. If I have no more soul than a beast, though a more intelligent animal nature in degree, responsibility is gone. You cannot make a dog or an elephant responsible for sins. When I am converted, I repent, I judge my past sins; I feel I have failed in my responsibility; I learn that through infinite grace Christ has died for my sins. It is not merely that He becomes life—new life to my soul. Thank God that is true; but He died and has made atonement for my guilt, my sins, when I had not yet that life. He died for our sins; and this that I might live. If eternal life were given to an animal, it could not repent of previous guilt; the Lord, with reverence be it spoken, could not make atonement for its previous sins: He has, blessed be His name, for mine.

Responsibility and atonement disappear with this doctrine, and in its value with universalism too; because, in’ the latter system, sin does not bring exclusion from God, but merely a measure of torment: the nature .and character of sin is denied —by some, indeed, expressly. And in the destructionist system, even the punishment of sin, temporary punishment after death, has no ground. If I have only animal life, and can no more really sin than a dog or an elephant, what am I tortured for afterwards, and so destroyed?

It is well to remark, that not only do the two systems of destructionism and universalism denounce each other as utterly unscriptural, but there are two parties among Destructionists. One holds death to be death, and the end of man as of a beast. They are consistent, at any rate; for if we cease to exist, we cease to exist. But then, if scripture be owned at all, we read “after this the judgment”; and so the other party bring them up again, though saying death is ceasing to exist, and then destroy them gradually in the fire: though, as I have said, what for, it is hard to tell if they have only animal life; or who is raised, is hard to tell if they have ceased to exist. But there is the judgment after, death; that is, they have not ceased to exist at all. The soul is a distinct thing; it survives the body: “All live unto him.”

I only seek here to review the bearing of the question, not to enter into detailed proofs.


* * * * *

Dearest ——,—We have three colours: blue, or rather purple, tlkT (tekeleth). This was on the table, on the candlestick, and on the golden altar. ynvtuloT scarlet; and /mNra reddish purple—this last on the brazen altar: the scarlet on the loaves. I believe the first to be that which was heavenly, or the divine, in man. All relate to the person of Christ or the display of what He is. The table was divine righteousness in character, which is the base of human order and administration. This had the tekeleth; the candlestick the spiritual perfection. The altar was the same character, only within, in intercession. Hence all on the journey were so covered. What we know of them has this character, only within, in intercession. Hence all on the journey were so covered. What we know of them has this character in going through the wilderness.

The loaves were covered with scarlet, that is displayed royalty in perfect administration itself. So, over the ark; there was first the veil—Christ’s human nature; then guarded on the earth in spotlessness untainted, by the badger skins; and the result was the heavenly or divine in man manifested here.

The reddish purple I suppose to answer to the altar of sacrifice, and to the more heavenly royalty; the exalted man the consequence of self-sacrifice to God. It is lordship glory or reign, but not so much displayed from and displaying heaven, as brought into the same, as answering to suffering. It was more as conferred—though the same one way—than displayed in peace; though it will be displayed. The transfiguration displayed it, not the lowly Saviour. This is what has struck me, but we must distrust any imagination getting in. The things they are in, and their place and nature suggest them—I hope under guidance.

Affectionately yours.


* * * * *

Dearest——,—I am, under God’s mercy, going again, which I did not think to do, as you know I am well on in my seventieth year. I do not think to stay; I suppose many will be at the Guelph meeting, and I shall see the principal gatherings, but I hope to be back by the end of August; staying, say two months the other side: a long journey for a short stay, but there was need, and I am the servant of the saints for Christ’s sake.

I am greatly attached to Canada, but the breaking up of ail things here claims attention, both as to popery and infidelity, and I am expected in Italy, the Lord willing and helping, this autumn. I have been over-worked; I do not mean as to my body, for I am very well, thank God; but not a minute save a few on Sunday, to sit down and say, Thou art good; and my work scarce at all direct activity, searching out souls; and though willing to do anything, this, in a certain sense, was starving work. But I have been helped in ministry, and there is a great desire to hear. But my heart longs to be more and more with God, and study and feed on Christ—what else have we?—and that, in unutterable grace, we have. But I am dragged out—in danger of not feeding enough; yet the word has unfolded itself to me a good deal these latter times, and I wonder at the graciousness of God in keeping His poor saints and leading them on, and gathering out, and keeping them steady; and on the whole the saints are in a healthful state; only I should like to have more intercourse with them… I rejoice to hear of the blessing; meetings are springing up everywhere, so to speak. What a responsibility it brings before us! But I comfort myself with the thought that there is One who cares for His own sheep—and what a comfort it is!…

Peace be with you.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

London, 1870.

* * * * *

Beloved Brother,—I have no objection to call the Holy Ghost Lord as a general title in glory and Godhead, just as Jehovah our God is called Lord—regularly so, in the New Testament. “The Lord said unto my Lord,” Jehovah to Adonai, and thus I am quite free, and have no quarrel with those who do, because He who is God must in a certain sense be Lord; and I think that 2 Corinthians 3:18 does connect Lord closely with the Spirit; but verse 6 gives it a peculiar force, when after a long parenthesis verse 17 takes it up again. The revelation of the Lord is in the present power of the Spirit of God; and that is the way in which we have even the new covenant. But he identifies this with the present power of the Spirit in saying, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

I do not think 2 Thessalonians 3:5 amounts to a very distinct testimony. It is the general expression for the ordering guiding power of grace” over His people, and without any definite distinction. It is Christ that comes, if we define, with the term Lord to the mind. In the regular use of the word kuvrio" is used in two ways in the New Testament. The 70 have always translated Jehovah by kuvrio" and so it is used as a name without any article in the New Testament. I have given a list in my French New Testament in the preface. Then we have Christ set as man in the place of Lordship. “God has made this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Every tongue shall confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” “To us there is one God, the Father … and one Lord Jesus Christ.” This truth is very distinctly taught. It is not a question of nature, but of a place He has taken. And in this character the church or Christians constantly address Him: “all that in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, theirs and ours.” It is a name of relationship—“theirs.” “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” “I besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me.”

The Holy Ghost is the accomplisher of all grace in us. In that sense He carries out the lordship work in us. It is not a question of the Holy Ghost’s nature or being or personality. They that lie to the Holy Ghost, lie to God. He distributes to whom He will; and as thus acting He is practically Lord. Still though He exercises the authority in and over us, yet He refers our hearts to Christ. There are diversities of operations, but one Spirit. There are diversities of ministrations, but one Lord. So as to unity—one Spirit, one body, one hope of our calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Thus in the practical sense the Holy Spirit acts as Lord. We are led by Him. The Holy Ghost said “Separate me.” But the title as appropriated is Christ’s, or Jehovah, or the general divine authority and rule. The action by which Lordship is exercised in grace in us, is by the Spirit, as in 1 Corinthians 12—distributing: but the title Lord in administration is in Christ.. If Christ directs my heart, the Holy Ghost would do it in me.

In Acts 4 it is another matter: it I mean in verse 24; as “the Lord that bought them,” “the only Lord God”—despot literally—bought them, being the comparison of a master buying a slave. In verse 29, it is general, but if defined refers to Jehovah. “Child” (ver. 30), is servant, Christ as man (exalted) is looked at as not dou'lo", bondsman, but the servant of God.

But though Christ be made Lord and Christ as man, yet through His oneness with the Father and His being the true God, it runs up into a divine title; just as in the case with Son. He is in the place of Son as man, or we could not be with Him. “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God;” but it cannot be separated from divine and eternal Sonship. As man He becomes and enters into—is in so far as He is a man in—the relationship with the Father as divine and eternal Son. In all the works of God we find this co-operation of the Persons. The Son wrought; yet He could say, “The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works:” and, “If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” I know not that I can add more to make it clear. Definitions here are not man’s part: he receives, thanks and worships…

My kindest love to the brethren. I rejoice in their blessing and joy in Christ, as my own—in some sense more. The love of Christ directs the eye on them He loves. All is going on very fast here, but towards what? But the blessed Lord is as sure for this as for every other state of His saints, and the truth and the word of truth increasingly precious, Christ more all— at any rate, more separately and contrastedly… Peace be with you.

Ever, dear brother,
Affectionately yours.

P.S.—In reply to the fly leaf I had not sufficiently noticed, I add: It is not any question of Person or dignity as to the Holy Ghost that hinders His being the object addressed in prayer, but the place He holds in the divine economy. He does govern as we are led by Him, but our communion is with (objectively) the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It is eternal life to know the Father and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Yet without the Spirit, and a divine Spirit, we could have no communion and no knowledge. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given to us: our bodies are His temples. But it is as in us He works, leading us objectively to the Father and the Son. But God dwells in us: by the Spirit we know the Son is in the Father, a divine Person thereby; we know we are in Him, and He in us. And in Romans 8 we find Christ and the Spirit in this respect identified. The Holy Ghost is a divine Person and in the unity of the Godhead adored and worshipped. He is the immediate agent of all that God does— immediate to the effects. But His place in the divine ways is not in the same way objective—as divine and as personal, but not in God’s ways so objective.

May 10th,1870.

Beloved Brother,— … I have heard something of the work and rejoice in it; of the attacks I think little, if the brethren go on well. Toronto would give me ten times as much, but I was able to trust the Lord for it, and He comforted me: combat I know it will be to the end. Mere attacks I feel are never to be answered. If we have failed—acknowledge it; if not— leave it to the Lord. Occasionally, one may have to take up some great truth or error in controversy, but in general the way is to work on with the truth itself…

As regards my translating work, I look upon myself as a “hewer of wood and drawer of water”; only I say if the wood had not been hewn, there would have been no offering on the altar; and as it is the word of God, I am content to serve the saints: that word is so important in these days. However, in Germany I had three preachings or teachings weekly, and larger congregations than here, though the places are crammed, and there was a most attentive ear. Here I have it every day but Saturday. But I have the feeling of a kind of impossibility of getting through the day’s work, though I know we have no more to do than what the Lord has for us to do, and time for that. But I sigh a little, to get out of the critical examination of the text, to the use of it. But the word, I think, has power here, at least a multitude of young men and labourers come and are very attentive—considerably more men than women. But most of the day I am poring over Greek editions and MSS.; and I love not only to preach, but to be in direct communication with souls as to their relations with God—saints, and sinners yet more. However, if I serve the saints I am content, and the word, and specially now-a-days, is of endless price… Hoping to see you, dear brother, ere long,

Ever affectionately yours,
In the love of the Lord, in haste.

London, May, 1870.

Dearest ——,—I write a line to say we are all here well, every way favoured in our voyage. But I have delayed my letter that I might give you some account of our conference. The evangelists had brought so many younger converts, that the beginning of the conference gave less communion than earlier ones, but met the need of the moment. Questions, though reading Ephesians, on how to preach the gospel, Christ dying for all, how to put bearing sins, and the import of the blood on the mercy-seat and the scape-goat, mixed with dying for our sins and our dying with Him, responsibility, and counsels, and such like, but all useful. After Sunday, when we broke bread, I suppose some four hundred, a very good time, many had to go away, and there was more study and following out the subject—we had got to the armour—and then a synopsis of Matthew, John, and Hebrews, for we stayed another week, and, indeed, a few of us are going to read 1 and 2 Timothy to-day. Many came from different parts of the States, and all our evangelists were there, some under tents. The happiest spirit reigned throughout. A few left for England before we had finished. On the whole, I think, through mercy, it has in some measure met the need of the case.

Some of the converts in the Ottawa valley are dispersed, but a very real work has been done. The evangelists had in some places shut the door against themselves somewhat, by preaching against the denominations and baptism, which alienated the minds of some, but I do not think the former made as much difference in result as might appear, because in the long run it was found out it did separate. But it made this difference, it gave a different tone to their testimony, and in——, where they did not, the people were disposed in their favour, because the clergy attacked them and they attacked nobody. Both subjects came up at the end of the meeting, though I had abstained from it, but said what’ I thought when others brought it up. But there was no jar on any one’s spirit; it was quietly inquired into. The Lord has been gracious to us, and I am thankful.

I now for a brief moment purpose running round one or two places: all is open. On souls just coming out, the speaking or praying (so to speak) against denominations does “harm. I fear one interesting labourer was driven away by —— doing so at the beginning; but all is in the Lord’s hands.

I still hope to return in August, though there is plenty to call for labour and interest here. Till the last two days it was very hot. We were in a large tent.

Affectionately yours.

Guelph, July, 1870.

* * * * *

My dear Mrs. ——,—P. communicated to me the question in your letter. John 13 is advocacy: that is not access, which is the point in Hebrews, but cleansing, and restoration to communion, as in 1 John 2—the intercession of the blessed Lord when we are actually denied, when, being washed (bathed), we have denied our feet.

In Hebrews we are perfected for ever by the offering, and have boldness to enter into the holiest. Here it is a “part with me,” and the present enjoyment of that is interrupted. The priesthood is for mercy and. grace to help in time of need. We are feeble, have infirmities in the Hebrews, having to say to God: the word judges, the priesthood helps with grace in our position with God. In 1 John 1 we have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

John 14-16 refers to other subjects: what Christ was on earth as to His Person so that His coming again should have its value, what the Spirit would be to them, what He was in relationship to them in contrast with Israel, what the Holy Ghost would be revealing the glory, and then His presence on earth. Chapter 17 is neither priestly nor advocacy, in the sense of Hebrews and 1 John 2. It is essentially putting the disciples in His own place with the Father, and doing and looking to the Father to do when He was gone, all that was necessary for their being, and being maintained, in this place. It is not priesthood with God for mercy and help for feeble man, perfect in conscience with God, but feeble as man here; not failure calling for advocacy and cleansing as 1 John 2 and John 13 It is the Son looking to the Father to keep in, and fit for, His place on earth, those whom He had put there (vers. 1-8) when He had gone on high glorified. Only the three last verses add a heavenly character to their joy: the rest is their place here, even in glory: this is the Father’s house. But Jesus is Son here, not properly Priest or Advocate. Only the Son, while God, and one with the Father, never from chapter 1:14 gets out of His place as Man in John, but receives all as such. I can only give the suggestions of the great leading principles. You must study the passages with that help which alone can make us understand the word, and is never refused to those who, not in searching merely but in all things, seek His face. He gives to all men liberally and upbraids not.

Very truly yours in the Lord.

September 11th, 1870.

* * * * *

4 Griesbach rejects it, and it is cancelled or rejected by Grotius, Mill, Wetstein, Pearce, Tittman, Knapp, Lachmann, Tischendorf, and others; it is not found in the Vatican MS., nor in the ancient Syriac.

5 [“Familiar Conversations on Romanism.”]

6 [“Collected Writings,” vol. xxiii. p. 172.]

7 [A compendium or abstract of Mr. D.’s Synopsis of the Psalms, by G. 5 W.]

8 [See “Collected Writings,” vol. xxiii. p. 94.]