Section 4

Dearest Brother,—There cannot be a more important subject in every aspect than that you refer to. The simpler we put Christ’s dying for our sins, the better. All these great truths are facts, in which I admire the wisdom of God, as the simplest can thus understand them (through grace), and the strongest intellects must bow and take them as such. When we inquire—and people inquire about everything now—there are depths in it which none of us can fathom.

The full claim of God against sinners is that they should serve Him according to the relationship they stand in towards Him of creatures with a knowledge of good and evil: “The man is become as one of us, knowing good and evil.” He was bound to own God and his neighbour in everything due to them, and that as far as covetous lusts in his heart. Of this, even when men were not under it, the law was the perfect measure. But then, in fact, things went a great deal further, because there were dealings of men and dealings of God, both of which brought out what man was and imposed new obligations. Man did not like to retain God in his knowledge, and does not—when he knew Him as God, as he did in Noah, set up devils to worship, and degraded himself below the nature of man. Now judgment is according to works, God taking account of the degree of light in pronouncing the judgment, see Luke 12. But judgment is according to works, and that is judicial exclusion from God’s presence, whatever degree there may be in actual infliction of punishment.

But there is a great deal more behind. The mind of the flesh is enmity against God wholly and always, besides breaking through obligations, and leads to our doing this. Man was driven out of God’s presence at the beginning, and besides future judgment for works, finds, when his eye is opened, that he is lost now; though this be concealed from those walking by sight, when the veil of sense and the show of this world is gone, he finds it is for ever. Now, though the law proved this to the divinely-taught mind, its grand proof was in the rejection of Christ—“He shall convince the world of sin [not sense of sins, also true], because they believe not on me.” Up to the flood, the first world, it was just (with testimony from God) man left to himself, and God was obliged to bring in the flood. Then after it, government came in Noah; promise, Abraham; law, Moses; prophets; Christ; that is, dealings of God with men—a complete system of probation which ended in the proof that he not only would not obey, but had no cloak for his sin, and had seen and hated God in grace—“have peen and hated both me and my father.” Hence it is said, “Now once at the end of the world:” and the Lord—“Now is the judgment of this world.” And Stephen, after reciting the call of promise in Abraham, declares, You have not kept the law, have rejected and persecuted the prophets, killed the just One, do always resist the Holy Ghost. There man’s history ended. He was not only guilty, and subject to judgment, but his mind was proved to be enmity with God. This is not sins, but sin, man not judged, but lost already, while judgment, which is not yet come, is according to works.

Now Christ was just personally exactly the opposite of this; He loved the Father and was obedient. But this was Himself and always; but He had a work to do according to the over-abounding love of God;

He died “for our sins according to the scriptures,” and if a man believe in Him his sins are gone, forgiven and blotted out, the guilt and responsibility met. But when we look into the work of the cross, we see more than this. He glorified God there, and when made sin. This was a wonderful mystery, a perfect victim, spotless before God, perfect in obedience, perfect in absolute self-surrender, perfect in love to His Father, perfect in His love to us, able as a divine Person to sustain the weight of God’s glory in the place of sin—that is, as made sin for us, not only “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” but “for sin.” “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him;” and Christ as Man is in glory at the right hand of God.

As the meat-offering He was fully tested by the fire of God’s judgment in death, and was only a sweet savour: in the burnt-offering He was a sweet savour to God, but it was positive propitiation or atonement as glorifying God in righteousness, love, majesty, and everything He was, in the place of sin, as for sin: as the sin-offering He bore our sins, but that was not a sweet savour, though the fat was burnt on the altar. Christ was thus the Lord’s lot as well as the people’s lot. The bearing of our sins cleared the responsibility incurred, the guilt. This is true of His people; and the blood upon the mercy-seat has perfectly glorified God in all that He is, and laid the foundation for the accomplishing the counsels of God which were before the responsibility ever existed. God’s love provided the Lamb, but God’s righteousness required the propitiation, and by the cross alone the righteousness and love and majesty of God are secured, and what He is made known. The Son of man must be lifted up, and the Son of God is given.

As regards the epoch of completing the work, it is clear that as the wages of sin is death, He must die to complete that, but there was a far deeper truth in what that involved, and it was equally important that the drinking of the cup of God’s forsaking should be over, because He was to give up His own spirit in peacefulness to God, as He did, laying it down of Himself when all was finished. The forsaking of God was of its own—and the deepest character of the sufferings of the blessed Lord. This He felt anticipatively in Gethsemane, when He was not outwardly suffering; but it cannot be separated from death, because death bore the character of divine judgment against sin, and not an accident, so to speak, of mortality. But it is not in itself judgment; that is, the judgment to come. “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment”; but all possible suffering combined against Christ: betrayal, abandonment, and denial, the bulls of Bashan and dogs also came against Him, and the power of Satan in death, the power of darkness, and His beloved people (Jews) assisting. This led up on the appeal in it to God, Psalm 22—to the sense of being in it forsaken of God—He was heard from the horns of the unicorn; when all was finished He gave up His own spirit, commending it to His Father, crying with a loud voice, and actually died.

I could only rapidly trace in few words what presents itself to my mind in this, that there is nothing like in the history of heaven and earth—that in which Christ could present a motive to His Father to love Him. “Therefore doth my Father love me.” All is looked at as a whole, for the blood and water came from a Christ already dead, and must have done so to be of avail for us. (Compare 1 John 5)

But, I repeat, the more simply in our work with souls we put the blessed Lord’s dying for our sins, the better; but to have a solid and deep work we must know ourselves, and sin as well as sins, what we are in flesh, as well as what we have done (so Rom. from chapter 5:12), but this goes on to our being crucified with Him, which is another truth…

I have been visiting round the west of Ireland, and not had a moment. I found the brethren in a much better state than I thought. The Lord be praised for His goodness to you. Good He ever is…

Affectionately yours in Him.

London, August 29th, 1871.

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My dear——,—I have not much to say in replying to your letter, not from want of interest in your course, but that if you are clear as to going, it is but one thing, to have Christ always before you to work for Him and from Him. It is all-important for us to get to the end of ourselves, not that we do not learn more daily; but there is a knowledge of self which makes us distrust self, and it is a detected and distrusted enemy, so that there is lowliness in our walk and it deepens its character a great deal. All our work feels the effect of our state, and a heart full of Christ and the seriousness of dealing with souls for eternity, which we feel when full of Him and speaking from Him, gives weight and unction to it. It is being emptied of self which enables us through grace, with watching and praying, to do this. But carrying about the dying of the Lord Jesus is the condition of this. The energy of Moses which killed the Egyptian did not stand before Pharaoh, though it shewed the energy which God would use when He had broken the will in connection with it. The energy is just the suited vessel, but we have to learn in the breaking of it, that the excellency of the power is of God. That is, no doubt, gradually learned, but there is a breaking down of self which lays the basis of it. Christ all, is the great secret of power, but when received comes the death of self which leaves the soul free to serve more individually.

A colony tends to let loose, but Christ is sufficient for every place and every circumstance. I do not doubt there is a field out there, and a growing one, but it requires keeping close to Him not to be led off into the self-will that characterises the colonies in general, Australia, I believe, in particular. We shall follow you with our prayers, and be glad to hear of you and those among whom you labour. There is, I believe, plenty of work to do. The Lord be with you and keep you and guard you on your voyage too. I trust that God will give you to be large of heart, but firm in the narrow path in which it behovea the saints to walk in these last days.

Yours affectionately in the Lord.

Vevey, September 19th, 1871.

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[From the French.

Dear Brother,—What constitutes the difficulty of the first chapter of the Epistle of John, and indeed of the whole Epistle, is that the doctrine there is presented in an abstract manner. But, on the whole, I believe that the thought of the Spirit is this: God is no longer hidden; we have communion with Him in the full revelation of His grace—“with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.” Under the law, God did not come out; man did not go into His presence. Now, the Father is revealed in the Son, and has given us a life in which we enjoy communion with Him. But then it is with God Himself—no longer a veil— and God is Light; He is perfectly pure, and reveals everything. Now, since there is no longer any veil, and God is revealed, we must walk in the light as He is in the light. But in this position we are perfectly cleansed by the blood of Jesus; then we enjoy fellowship one with another.

It is this full revelation of God which is of the essence of Christianity; fulness of grace, introducing us into communion, and the Father known in the Son; but it is with God, if it is true, and God is light. The communion is with God, according to His nature, and without a veil. But, if we come to Him, it is as washed in the blood of Jesus Christ His Son, and we are before Him without a veil, white as snow. Now the Christian walks in the consciousness of this, having a nature suited to it; we are light in the Lord. But it must be in the light, as God Himself is in the light; everything is judged according to the revelation of God who judges all things. We are in the light as God is in the light.

These things are written that we sin not. If any man sin, the remedy is in the first verses of chapter 2 But the verses of which you speak teach us that we are in the light as God is in the light. Now, if we speak of fellowship when we are not there, we lie, for He is that light.

September, 1871,

To the same.]

[From the French.

* * * I do not at all doubt that the apostle, when he says (1 John 1), “We have fellowship one with another,” speaks of the fellowship of saints among themselves. There are three elements of the christian life: the first is being in the light as God is in the light—no veil. We must find ourselves in the presence of God fully revealed. If we cannot stand there, we cannot have intercourse with Him. The second is, that being thus in His presence, it is not, with us, the selfishness of the individual, but the communion of saints by the Holy Ghost, in the enjoyment of the full revelation of God Himself. The third is, that we are white as snow, so that we can be with joy in this light, which only makes manifest that we are all that the eye and heart of God desire in this respect—what our hearts also desire, in His presence.

The idea is abstract and absolute; it is the value and efficacy of the blood. It is not only restoration. It is an efficacy, moreover, which is never lost. My soul once washed, I am always before God according to the efficacy of this blood. Restoration is rather by water, although in virtue of the blood. (See John 13 and the “red heifer,” Num. 19) But here, it is the value of the blood in itself: and, mark well, if we are in the light as God is in the light, it is indeed a real state, but the apostle does not say, “according to the light.” It is our position now that the cross has revealed God without a veil. As this passage is generally interpreted, it ought to read: “If we do not walk according to the light, the blood cleanses us”; but there is no such thought. It is at the beginning of chapter 2 that we find provision made, as is necessary, in case of failure. I do not doubt that the light searches us; but here God does not see evil. He sees the man cleansed by the blood of Jesus. With verse 8 begins the consideration of known sin. Without doubt the blood cleanses us from everything; but when we think of the existence of sin in us, while knowing that the blood cleanses us from all, we are led to another truth of the, gospel, it is that we are dead with Christ. (Rom. 6; Col. 2, 3; Gal. 2) This is for walk, and it is directed against the movement of this sin in the flesh. If sin has acted, we are brought to confess, not sin in the flesh, but what it has produced. (1 John 1:9.) Then we are pardoned and cleansed. This is true at the beginning, but true also in the details of life…

The characters that Christ takes in connection with these last days, are these: “The holy, the true.” Yes, that is the character He takes; that which He desires in His own, in their walk, when He is about to come. We have to watch over ourselves and over our brethren, that it may be so. I feel, for my part, that we have, in these days, to watch very specially as to this holiness, though it is always an essential thing for the children of God.

… Evil is in the world, but we are in the hands of God. Christ came in after the evil, and has gained a complete victory over him who was their leader in it; thanks be to Him for it. He holds in His hands the keys of. death and of hades, but the time has not yet come for taking away the evil from off the earth. God uses it for our good, but the evil is there.


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* * * As to we “cannot sin,” John always looks at the truth abstractedly; so he says, “he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” But both are as born of God; he cannot sin because he is born of God. But the flesh is not born of God, but is of the flesh; and if we let it act we sin.

You may remark that there are two assertions in chapter 1. “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar,” for indeed God says all have sinned. Then “if we say that we have no sin”; this is more our state, not what we have done. If Christ be in us as the power of truth we are conscious that, though it may be inactive at the moment through grace, there is another element in us which is not of God—which is sin. If we say there is none, “we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” We may have it in our heads, but it is not in its. Further, you may remark in the beginning of chapter ii., the case is supposed of our sinning, and the way grace then works in our behalf is stated: “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father.” The righteous One and the propitiation are still before God, so that there is no imputation, but sin is not allowed; the work of God, humbling us and bringing to lowly confession, is wrought in the soul—if need be, chastening employed—to restore communion with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. When we confess we are forgiven.

This is always the state of soul to which forgiveness applies (for here also John speaks abstractedly). When first brought to confess my sin, I receive forgiveness of sins viewed as guilt against God. I am forgiven my sins. But there is an administrative forgiveness—what the church can forgive. If one is excommunicated for some wickedness, it is not in this sense forgiven. (2 Cor. 2:7-10.) So God may forgive me in His government over me as a child, or chasten and punish me, though still loving me, yea, because He loves me. This is what is taught in Job. The friends made it a question of righteousness, which was false, but it was discipline, and when he bowed, God’s hand was taken off him. Now when we have failed, our part is to humble ourselves and confess our fault, not with any thought that He imputes it to us as guilt in respect of eternal judgment. But God is always displeased with sin, and Christ’s name dishonoured, and the grace of Christ and work of the Spirit in our hearts is, to lead us to bow our hearts before God and confess it. If one asks for forgiveness, as of a father whom we grieve to have displeased, it is all well, provided it is not mixed with the thoughts of God judging our persons for imputed guilt, because in this sense Christ has borne it and we shall not: but the great point is thorough confession and humiliation, and He does forgive. Asking forgiveness in such case is not spoken of in scripture,, and it is apt, when our place in Christ and His work is not clearly known by divine teaching in the soul, to be mixed in the mind with the imputation of guilt.

[Date uncertain.]

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* * * The intercession of Christ as priest in Hebrews is not for the forgiveness of sins, nor for sin properly at all, but for mercy and help in time of need, to succour them that are tempted, because all the sanctified are viewed as perfected by one offering.

In 1 John 2 the advocacy is exercised when one has sinned, because there fellowship or communion is spoken of, and that is interrupted by sin. Forgiveness, in the sense of non-imputation, cannot be sought by one set free in Christ, because he does know that sins are not imputed to him; but he confesses his sins, and fatherly forgiveness is given him. Confession goes much deeper into the conscience than mere asking forgiveness. There is a forgiveness which applies to Christians, and to Christians only—what I may call administrative forgiveness, which has nothing to do with non-imputation or righteousness. See James 5:15. Compare 1 John 5:16 and 2 Corinthians 2:10. In 1 John 2 the advocacy of Christ is founded on righteousness, and the efficacy of propitiation being already there in Christ. That pardon is plenary on coming to Christ is clear, and to refer to none else, in Hebrews 9, 10, it is largely reasoned out by the Holy Ghost. If not, such sins never could be cleared, as Christ cannot now die over again; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Christ must often have suffered. To make a difference of time is to confound the time of the Spirit’s operation in bringing our souls to faith in Christ and His work with the work itself. All our sins were future when Christ bore them. The way in which “once for all,” “for ever,” and “no more” are used in Hebrews 9 and 10 is most distinct and characteristic.

As to the Lord’s Prayer, it must be remembered that it was given before the Lord’s work was accomplished, and, of course, has the characteristics of the time in which it was given, because it was perfect. Nevertheless statements that accompany it shew that where the spirit of forgiveness does not exist, forgiveness does not belong, though we are imperfect, and no one in his senses would ask for forgiveness from God in the measure in which our forgiveness is perfect, though in spirit and purpose it is, according to the new nature. Christendom and Christians have forgotten that our place and standing is that of Christians, consequent on the accomplishment of the Lord’s work, and the gift of the Holy Ghost thereupon. The things belonging to the Father’s kingdom may be possessed, or partly still desired; but when the Lord’s prayer was given it was not come, and the desires which Christ would teach to His disciples [would] be according to the position they were then in. Hence, also, the Lord’s prayer is not in His name, for the work and plan on which that was founded was not yet accomplished.


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[From the Italian.

Thanks again, dear brother, for your letter… Faith that finds an answer to its prayer must have found God and be in communion with Him, but then this God is a God of love, and in order to realise His power so as to have the answer His power must be realised, and faith has found it; but this communion is not possible if love is absent. Consequently, when we come to ask with faith the fulfilment of our desire, we must forgive our brother whatever we may have against him: otherwise we are in the presence of God with respect to His government, subject to the effect of our sins…

Your affectionate brother.


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Dear ——, — What you say of Hebrews is clear, but to compare the two cases, there are, I think, other elements to be taken into consideration. You have not in Hebrews at all the idea of righteousness and justifying. It is a people looked at, at any rate externally, as in relationship with God, and the question is between the temporary and ineffectual means of the law and the abiding efficacy of Christ’s work as gone to heaven, for a people thus in relationship. This last was eternal as its efficacy as redemption, inheritance, perfecting the man and his conscience as far as entering into the holiest went, by an offering once for all; even the Spirit is called the eternal Spirit; the covenant, the everlasting covenant; hence, as you say, the work done once for all, He is thereafter a priest in heaven, appearing for us and interceding for us, as to the difficulties of the way. Now all this is surely available for the chief of sinners. But here the thought is “the worshipper,” those that come unto God by Him. God is not a judge, man is not justified, the righteousness of God is not revealed.

It is otherwise in Romans. I have man individually, Jew or Gentile, a sinner proved such, and the law cannot justify. God sets forth a mercy-seat through the blood of Christ, a witness of grace, pardon, and the righteousness of God, and this is of perpetual efficacy. It shews righteousness in His passing by the sins of Old Testament saints, a thing He had done continually; but shews His righteousness in doing it, and now, that He is just, and the Justifier of him that is not, which seems a contradiction; but it is thus abiding because a witness of what He is, but while we are not, yet justifying us. Hence it is constant and of constant value. Hence it is not a question of priesthood, which is for the way, but that which being ever in the presence of God proves His justice while He justifies what is not just. It is God’s character (I do not like the word) constantly good. I am not a worshipper but a convicted sinner there, yet held to be free from sin in judgment. Withal God sets it forth to sinners in grace, not for repeated cleansing, but to come and find a justification that cannot vary because God is always just, and the blood of Jesus always adequate…

The few brethren here are getting on well, and occasionally a soul is added. I get on much better than I hoped with my Italian. We have reading meetings in the evening, and I understand and make myself understood so as to develop scripture pretty well. But things are most sad all around— the gathered meetings half dissolved, persons employed as far as they are paid, and morality, even among Christians, at the lowest ebb, upright souls often alone through the state of the meetings. Still there are a number of souls brought to the Lord, and I feel entire confidence in His goodness, but a faithful labourer is needed, as far as men can say, willing to work unknown of men and for the Lord. I can help a little those gathered and bring it before the Lord; but little more. He can do all.

I had a very nice German conference at Zurich, through the Lord’s goodness, of two days, and large meetings at Neuchatel, Geneva, Lyons; the Lord is graciously doing good in Switzerland; but some who could not walk the same side of the street with me a few years ago, have come and said, What you told us thirty years ago is all coming true. The shaking of the world has moved them.

We are in a lodging taken for two months, just out of the town, on the poor side of it, but a very pleasant lodging with a garden and country around. I have a sunny room, and all is well, though I am getting somewhat old to be a stranger everywhere. But I am thankful to have come here to hold up the hands of the brethren. Hence, it is easy to run to Milan, Novi, Laterio, etc. Biava has been the means of getting a nucleus of true brethren in these places, and it is a comfort in the midst of all around: in general, indifference and Roman Catholicism divide the country; of course, the work would be all uphill… Nothing can be more sad; but I have full hope in God He will raise up a remnant.

Affectionately yours.

Pallamaglio, Turin, November, 1871.

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[From the French.

Very dear Brother,—On beginning your letter, I soon thought that you had met these false teachers of whom you speak. It is true that we are only sealed by the Holy Spirit after having believed. But it is not then that we are born of God. If the presence of the Holy Spirit were life, every Christian would be an incarnation of the Holy Spirit. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit that we have of God. Being born of God is another thing. We have not received, as to the state in which we find ourselves, the state purposed for us in the counsels of God, but we have all, subjectively, to be able to enjoy it. We have undoubtedly eternal life. When it is said, “this is the promise that he has promised us,” it is no question of whether we have it or have it not, but what is the promise of God. But the testimony of God is that He has given us eternal life, and this life in His Son. He who has the Son has life, and he who has not the Son has not life. Christ is eternal life come down from the Father. Life eternal is indeed spoken of, as at the end (Rom. 6), because eternal life such as God means by it in His fixed purpose, is in the glory when we shall be like Christ, but we are already quickened. John 5:24; he has life, he is passed from death unto life, and the hour had come already. (Verse 25.) Also John 3:36. We are bound to reckon that we are alive unto God by Jesus Christ. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” When we were dead He quickened us with Christ. We are seated only in Christ, and it is according to the power that worketh in us. God does not quicken in heaven wicked people who arrive there dead in sin! And the soul is not in the grave with the body. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 6: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. And here it is by faith, and down here; he who eateth of this bread shall live eternally: if one does not eat it, one has not life in oneself “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” That is to say, resurrection is another thing; he has life, and made sure to him for eternity; he will be raised up at the last day. He that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. Nothing appears to me clearer than the doctrine of the word on this subject under various forms; born of the Spirit, quickened by Christ, by faith in receiving Him as bread of life. It ought to make the believer perfectly assured on this point. “He who has the Son has life.” Christ is my life. The gift of the Spirit is quite another thing, the seal of faith. After having believed I have been sealed. We are sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and because we are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into the heart, crying, Abba, Father.

Another question is, if this faith is of me, or of God—which I by no means doubt—in me, but in that which grace has wrought in me, “He who stablished us with you in Christ, and who hath anointed us, is God.” “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2:8.) I know well it is said that “that” does not agree grammatically with faith—be it so, but not with grace either; and to say that grace is not of ourselves is nonsense, for grace means of another, but one might say to oneself without doubt, but faith is on our part, as is said; this is why the apostle asserts, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. As to the rest, it is another question. One is a child, born of God, before being sealed. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” God has begotten us of His own will. We do not beget ourselves. He does not believe in a life communicated, who does not believe that it is grace that communicated it. Wesleyans do not believe in a real life communicated: a result is produced by the operation of the Spirit, and this result can disappear and reappear. “Whosoever is born of God,” having received this life, inasmuch as born of God, “sinneth not”; also “the wicked one toucheth him not.” In this life there is no sin, wit! in it is the divine seed. There is no allurement for it in the things that Satan presents. As for deliverance and the seal of the Holy Spirit, it is not only having life that delivers me. It is indeed the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ that has set me free (further proof that I have life), but there is also redemption and the Holy Spirit.

This is the order of these things, as I see them in the word. The beloved Saviour died for my sins; by grace I believe it and I possess the remission of sins. (I may have had life before, by faith in His Person without understanding the efficacy of His death.) Thereupon being washed in the blood of Jesus, I am sealed by the Holy Spirit; thus there are strength and liberty: as in the Old Testament the leper was washed with water, then he was sprinkled with blood, and then anointed with oil. So says Peter, Be baptised for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Thus with Cornelius, as soon as Peter spoke of the remission of sins by Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended on those who heard. We also find it in Romans 5 There is liberty. But for a solid state of soul there is another truth necessary, that we have died with Christ. It is no longer a question of sins but of the old man— not of what we have done, but of what we are as children of Adam. That begins with Romans 5:12: by the disobedience of one, it is said, we are constituted sinners. But having died with Christ, I am no longer in the flesh. Not only are the sins of the old man blotted out, but I am in a new position; I am in Christ instead of being in Adam. There there is no condemnation. Then he shews the state, what that means, the law of the Spirit, etc., and then “what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of flesh of sin, and [as a sacrifice] for sin, condemned sin in the flesh”; but it is in death that this has taken place. Thus condemned it exists no longer for faith. I can say so, because Christ risen having become my life, I recognise no longer the flesh as living, since He has really died for me— He who only is my life, my 1 I do not recognise the flesh; His death is valid for me to this result. (Rom.6:10, 11.)

It is arrived at by the experimental knowledge that no good exists in me, then that sin in me is not I, but that it is too strong for me. Having learnt it, redemption and the power of the Spirit deliver me, and I know that I am in Christ. The apostle, in order to give it all its force, recounts this experience as made under the law (and it is always legal): it may be made after having learnt the remission of sins. I have life, then, very really as soon as I believe, as soon as I receive Christ, and I shall never perish—a sheep quickened by Christ, never to be plucked out of His hands. For again John 10 proves it. I am made free by redemption, and the power of the Spirit of God by whom I am sealed by virtue of this redemption, and I reckon myself for dead as to the flesh.

As for baptism, I confess that I have no taste’ for the discussions on this point. I have no doubt that each one ought to be baptised; but it is not the less true that it formed no part of the mission of Paul. The position of brethren according to my view is to be in the midst of a mass of baptised people (saving rare exceptions), and they have to unite true Christians in the unity of the body as much as possible. It is the admission to the house of God where are found His blessings, as in the wild olive tree; as in Israel gone out of Egypt, see 1 Corinthians 10 It has been forgotten that there is a place where blessing is found, as well as personal grace. The servant (Matt, 24) was servant, and the Lord his Lord, and the servant was punished as such. I believe that according to the word children ought to be admitted where the blessings are. (1 Cor. 7:14.) But I believe that God intended to leave baptism in the shade. The twelve were sent to baptise the nations. Paul was not sent to baptise. The ordinance has not been abrogated; and if any one believes he has not been baptised; he ought to be. What I fear is that in being occupied with the manner, Christ should become less the only object of the heart and of the thoughts, to attach an importance to an external ordinance, which really displaces it in christian thoughts. This is why I have never sought to lead any one to one view more than to another. The activity of those who have baptist views and the manner in which they have pushed their way of seeing, has produced a reaction, and a very large number of baptists have become pædo-baptists, which has annoyed the others, and this has caused this subject to be considered. What is to be desired is quiet, and then each will decide according to his conscience more or less enlightened by the word. I think I see the wisdom of God in leaving it in the shade. Paul, who said that he had not been sent to baptise, had a special revelation for the Supper, although that already existed: it is the expression of the unity of the body.

I am at present in Italy. I know the language sufficiently for intercourse with the brethren. I do not preach. There is only a handful of brothers, but they are doing well. The state of the work in general is deplorable. The churches that the various sects have formed are full even of immorality. In many places men of conscience leave them, and they fall to pieces little by little; but there is, all the same, a good number of converted souls dispersed through the country, and, for my part, I am full of hope; but it needs a devoted workman, and more than one. There is no lack of paid workmen, but they are too much at the service of those who pay them. Peace to you, beloved brother. May God be abundantly with you.

Yours very affectionately.

Italy, 1871.

* * * * *

* * * The passage is clearly wrong, I suspect doubly. There are two classes (1 Cor. 1:2): the church of God, saints by calling, in contrast with Israel who had their place by birth as such. It is possible some may have deceived themselves, it is supposed possible in the epistle; but till proved they are taken to be true saints: then are added “all that in every place call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, both theirs and ours.1’ This is profession and individual, still, though only taken as profession, assumed to be sincere, unless there was ground to judge it false. The difference is that this is profession on man’s part, taken as such: the others are created as saints by God’s calling, and of the assembly. Compare Ephesians 4:4, 5, where we have an analogous classification. I remember this being before us.

As to the question for ——, I reply, we must distinguish between the work, in virtue of which sin is not at all imputed to them that believe, even as to those as to whom there was no question of baptism as Abraham, and the actual administration of the blessing upon earth—both fully revealed and actually applied, the work on which it was grounded being accomplished. This revelation of remission is clearly pointed out. It is promised in the new covenant, recognised in the New Testament in the institution of the supper: “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”: John the Baptist was to bring the “knowledge of salvation unto his people, by the remission of their sins.” The apostles were to remit- sins and they would be remitted. And the commission in Luke, the one on which all preaching in the Acts is founded —Peter’s or Paul’s—is “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name”; and while in past times it had been forbearance, righteousness not being revealed, Christ being offered, righteousness in the remission of Old Testament sins was proved. God then not only announced this to souls individually (for, however many heard, it was individual) but set up a system on earth in which the new blessings were found, based on two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s supper—one the entrance once for all, the other the continual memorial of the Lord’s death till He come, and sign of the unity of the body. Of this last it is not our business to speak now. But baptism was the entrance into that system,11 within the precincts of which all christian blessings were found as externally administered on earth; the first of which was the remission of sins, on the reception of which came also the sealing by the Holy Ghost. But even if this were extraordinarily given, as to Cornelius, still he was admitted in an orderly way to the enjoyment of the common blessings of Christians here below.

But the first grand blessing needed was remission of sins; through this was knowledge of salvation and actual reception of it where it was received. Repentance and remission of sins were to be preached in Christ’s name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Peter does this when they are pricked in their hearts, and says these are the things looked for; if you repent and enter into this divinely-administered door of blessing, you will receive the promise of the Spirit. He does not say, Be baptised and you will receive the remission of sins; but be baptised with the baptism to this—become a Christian where this blessing is found. They were baptised to it, as John Baptist, to Moses, to Christ, to Christ’s death. It was the truth and fact they were brought to and owned, and then they would receive the Holy Ghost. It was the profession they came into. If true faith and repentance were there, they got the actual present administered remission: if it was not they did not, as Simon Magus. It may be a hardening but not blessing to him who is a hypocrite. For remission is not the fact of non-imputation by the death of Christ—that Old Testament believers had; but an actual status into which a person enters. I may have forgiven my son perfectly in my mind, but he has not forgiveness till it is pronounced upon him. Here there is no outward sign. Where there is it may be abused to self-deception, as 1 Corinthians 10. I use the simile to shew the difference between non-imputation on God’s part, and administered or declared forgiveness. See the case of Nathan and David. Hence also the connection of forgiveness with discipline, where non-imputation is not at all the question. Hence when Paul was converted it is said to him, “Arise and be baptised and wash away thy sins.” He entered then into an actually administered forgiveness. “Wash away thy sins” is of course a figure: it is not putting away the filth of the flesh does it. But I enter by it into that which is proclaimed as the first blessing of Christianity into which I enter, becoming a professed Christian. If faith is there, my conscience is perfect according to the christian system, and the other blessings follow. If not, and there is profession, I am in the case of Simon Magus or 1 Corinthians 10; but I have been baptised to that. In Acts 2 and 22 the call is addressed to persons publicly under the power of the revelation and word of Christ, who are then told what to do to obtain the blessings of Christianity actually here on earth—the path to perfect ones above. This must not be forgotten, for then they did, and for the first time, enter into the blessings attached to Christianity on earth. Hence Peter can say the like figure saves us, taking care, as the proposition is general, to shew it was not simply the outward sign that did it. Hence when Peter addresses those pricked in heart by his word he pats the whole thing, on the inquiry what to do, according to the mission in Luke. They inquired for a good conscience and got it. They were baptised to this truth and administered fact—the remission of sins, and received then the gift of the Holy Ghost.

I am not aware that I can add more. It is always important to look at the context. If a person being not a professed Christian—a Jew, for example, or a heathen—was convinced that Jesus was the Christ, or Son of God, and would not be baptised (the case has happened to me), I could not say his sins Were washed away or that he was saved. (See Mark 16:16.) But I see nothing of quickening spoken of in connection with baptism. The question raised is sins, not life—washing away or remission. It is not a question of non-imputation of sin, nor is it before men; but the administration of forgiveness here on earth, as the privilege conferred freely on the conscience in Christianity. Christianity administers forgiveness as a present actual thing. I enter into this position by baptism; though being sacramental it may be merely a form, as stated above.

Here we have not much to say, but I think three have been converted, and two feeble ones restored, and I hope two manifested at Novi. I leave here (D.V.) Thursday for Milan, but only stay at most a fortnight, and then France, where I have an evangelist school for two months before me.

I see, I think, a progress as to baptism from John the Baptist to Paul, but I do not enter on it here.

Affectionately yours.

Italy, 1871.

* * * * *

Dear Miss ——,— … Mr. —— told me that when you left the Establishment your father would not hear of your going amongst brethren, so-called, but acquiesced in your going to——. Now this in a measure acquits you of any knowledge of the principles of that meeting… But this ought to shew how instinctively the world makes the difference, and that the reproach of Christ was not there. Forgive me if I say that it would have been happy if this had struck you at the time. I am far from thinking the brethren perfect; I know more faults in them and myself than the world would cast on them, and just where the world would think them more reasonable. Still as a fact they are under the ban of the world: they have sufficiently preserved their separation from it to be rejected by it, not only at——but everywhere; and this is right. Those who fall in with the evangelical world have not. Church people of course do not like dissent, but there is more or less of the camp and the clergy, and it is tolerable; but following Christ wholly the world or the human heart will never stand. I thought after speaking with Mr. ——, I would notice this one point, partly as owning in one aspect the excuse, but a tale to the conscience on the other.

Nice, January 1st, 1872.

* * * * *

To the same.]

* * * Allow me to say one word in reply to your note, not to combat your isolation, which I leave, as it is at present, though I do not think it a definitely right one. I speak of a principle: the rejection of masses. Suppose a mass receive deliberately blasphemers; can I walk with that mass, and consequently myself with blasphemers in principle? If not, I reject the mass. But the question goes further. Supposing a Christian coming from that mass, but walking deliberately with them on that principle: are they not exactly in the same position—guilty individually of that which makes the mass guilty? The piety of the individual only makes the matter worse, as he sanctions the evil by his piety. Having said this much to make the principle clear, I can only commend you unfeignedly to the guidance of God, who is full of grace.

Yours truly in the Lord.

Nismes, January 12th, 1872.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—Thank you very much for your letter and account of Ireland. I bless God with all my heart for the blessing He has given, and for the part you have had in it through [grace]. Be assured of my unfeigned sympathy in your proposed union. Always a serious thing, it is doubly so for you, occupied as you have been in the Lord’s work: for it is, and specially in such help or a great hindrance, even where there is genuine affection, and the Lord is not individually the first object, because each will have the other for themselves. I trust it is not so with——. I pray you may be blessed. It is a serious thing beginning, when in the work, life afresh (so to speak); but it may be a helpmeet and a resource in solitary labour. I am passing out of the world even humanly, though at present gradually, for though fagged I am very well, but have only to say, my salvation is nearer than when I believed. You are, so to speak, entering into it, for it is a new life. To carry your wife to a home, be she ever so devoted, is another thing from going as a preacher. This is a serious thing, I do not mean not a right thing: it may be the very best thing possible for you: I only say a serious thing—makes me think of you and pray for you as I do, that God may make it minister in much blessing to you, and even to your work. If you go to Australia and New Zealand, it may be a great thing for you. The gracious Lord guide and bless you abundantly in your soul and in your work! … The doors are open here comparatively, and even with Roman Catholics; at Vevey there was decided blessing. This is the most sick part of the work, though there are many gatherings, and some large ones, but little spiritual energy and detachment from the world. We have had some very nice young men here, and the spirit of all has been excellent, and some with very considerable gift. But what I look for is devotedness; with that, looking to the Lord, blessing will come. Our studies have been happy, I trust profitable. Their presence has cheered the neighbouring gatherings and roused them.

Peace be with you.

Ever dear brother, affectionately yours.

Nismes, February 18th, 1872.

* * * * *

Dear Miss——,—Be assured you shall have my prayers, as I am sure you will of many other saints. And as I said to——, not only then but now, it is a serious position in which you are placed, not only, as it ever is, the influence that a wife exercises on a Christian, in danger (as the apostle teaches us) of caring for the things of the world to please his wife, but the rather in the case of a workman of the Lord, and who has been blessed as such. You may be blessed to your husband if God graciously leave you together in this poor world, as strengthening and comforting and encouraging him, and praying for him in the weariness and trials which accompany the service. But do not seek to relax his energy. A wife sometimes likes to have her husband for herself, and when her husband is the Lord’s labourer, it is a great evil. I have known a wife spoil a labourer, and a husband as to herself too, in this way. A husband is bound to care for his wife, consider her, and do anything but neglect her: it is surely most evil and sad when he does. But the wife of a labourer for the Lord must put his work and labour before herself; or rather it should be herself too, and this can only be when she lives with and for the Lord. The world claims it, and officers’ wives must take their chance, so to speak, and cannot help themselves; but sometimes we grudge so much to the Lord. But a wise wife who seeks first the Lord herself, puts Him first for her husband, and does not love him the less: it is a bond; and her husband will honour and value her, and so will the Lord too.

Another danger is where a wife likes to see her husband made much of—very natural; but I have seen labourers wholly spoiled by this—creating ill-feeling in his mind, because he had not the importance she thinks he ought to have, and irritating him against others. Let her honour him—all right—and minister to his service all she can, but remember he is the Lord’s servant, and keep peacefully in her own place, not meddling with his relationship to his labour, or a flock amongst whom he may be, only helping as she may very much in it, and leaving it there. Women often see things or motives clearer than men; but if they act by insinuations or small means in these things, it is ruinous. Let them be with the Lord for themselves if their own pride is wounded (for it is their own) in their husband.

Having said these two or three words, with the privilege of an old man before whom many things, and sometimes sorrowful ones, have passed, I have only to beg you to be assured that I have done so, as I now write, really in sincere sympathy and desire of a full blessing. May He be with you! Many and rich blessings flow from Him in these channels, if we look to Him in them. Trials? Yes. God sanctions fully all these natural relationships, but sin being in the world, sorrow will follow in their track; but the gracious Lord is come where sin and sorrow had come, no doubt to raise us to far higher blessings, but not to forget us in the path of trial in which we walk down here. He could be moved with compassion when He saw the sorrow, and He has learned His lesson well, and can look to and feel for us now.

But your privilege is to live with your husband as heirs together of the grace of life; and then all will be well even in a world of sorrow; and I can only trust you may find abundant communion with him and joy, and joy together in it. Make, and may he make, the Lord the first object, the real bond; and the rest will come. And remember, a labourer’s wife (as indeed any) must be first with the Lord, and then not be curious about his labour, and all that passes; but his comfort and encouragement, his cheer in it, and sharer in his sorrows because she lives with the Lord.

Very truly, yours in Him.

You hardly expected such a line as this. However, I was led on, and beg you to consider it as a proof of interest in your happiness.

Nismes, February 18th, 1872.

* * * * *

[From the German.

Beloved Brother,—I have such a pile of letters which I must answer, that your note has remained a long time without a reply. But I looked for a moment in which to write you a couple of lines. We now have here a class of young brethren who look forward—indeed partly already so—to devote themselves to the Lord’s work, and we read the word together. There is a want of labourers in France as everywhere. The old ones gradually pass away and few replace them. But God —I believe it is He who awakes souls, and a good many desire to carry on the work. We are very happy together. Earnest and godly, they do not seek knowledge only, but the Lord and the power of His word—soul work. Two are already in the work, and young men have come without being invited. We are, I believe, more than fifteen. We have already read Romans and Mark, and are now occupied with Genesis. On Sundays they visit the surrounding gatherings. It was just here that the work in France was at its lowest. The wine trade had spoilt everything. The vicinity is all a vineyard, and a reduction of the tariff has increased this trade enormously. In Switzerland God is reviving the energy of the brethren. At St. Croix sixty have been converted, and in general the work goes on everywhere with more vigour. We hope the same for France. I do not go into the question whether all here are called of God. I leave that to their own consciences and to God above. I communicate as I am able the truth of the word to them, and I hope that the good hand of God is with us.

With regard to the Lord’s work in Germany, I deeply love the French brethren: from the first I have worked with them; our joy and our sorrow are in common. I know them all, most of them have grown up under mine eyes, and God has much blessed me here, and I have met with love and friendship in every shape. Naturally I love them well. But in my temperament and habits I am more at home with the Germans. As brethren in Christ they are entirely one. God has given me continuous and blessed work here. I was in a certain way, and earlier, here. He is a Sovereign, and sends His servants whither He will. I labour for you, dear brother, with just as much cordial love as for Switzerland and France, or England. Of late years America has claimed my time more than all. We have, thank God, received good news from there.

I hope that the Bible is useful, and will be blessed of God. I feel that the undertaking was somewhat bold in me, but for God and the brethren. It would give me pleasure to know that the translation as a whole was found correct by a competent man. But it is in God’s hands.

My cordial greeting to all brethren, and be ever assured of the cordial love of

Your attached brother in Christ.

Nismes, February 1872.

* * * * *

[From the Italian.

Dear Brother,—Now for the questions. Satan is a fallen creature, and he does not possess either omniscience or omnipotence—John 8:44, and probably, Ezekiel 28:17, where many Christians believe that Satan is represented under the figure of the king of Tyrus, and I think too they are right. However this may be, John 8:44 is a distinct testimony. But Satan has a whole multitude of demons under his authority, so much so, that in the poor Gadarene there was a legion: he is the prince of the demons.

With respect to the knowledge of thoughts, he does not know them intuitively, as God does; but he knows as a spirit full of intelligence and subtlety, who discerns with the greatest clearness the motives of the heart, and who has gained experience by the practice of many thousand years: but I believe that he understands nothing of the power of love. He was able in his malice to raise up the Chaldeans, etc., through desire of plunder, against Job; but not in any way knowing the purpose of God to bless him by this means, he did nothing but fulfil it. He did all that he could to get Christ put to death, but he only fulfilled the wonderful purpose of God for our salvation. However, when he has to do with the evil heart of man, the case is different. He can present objects to awaken lust. If we reckon ourselves to be dead, dead to sin, and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord, he is not able to tempt us, at least, the temptation remains without effect; but if the flesh is not held as dead, then he can present objects which the flesh likes, and suggest to a man the means of satisfying his lusts. Thus he put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus for a little money. But man is responsible, because without lust Satan could do nothing: he has nothing to offer to the new man, or if he offers anything, it only produces horror in the soul; the soul suffers as Christ suffered at the sight of evil in this world, or else it overcomes as Christ overcame in the wilderness. But, when the soul is not set free, he can indeed insinuate wicked thoughts, and unbelieving thoughts, and words of blasphemy, in such a way that these words and thoughts seem to proceed from the man himself. Nevertheless, if the man is truly converted, we always find that he has a sense of horror at the things that arise in his mind, and we see that they are not really his own thoughts. If he is not converted he does not distinguish between the demon and himself, as we find in the gospels. But also when he is converted, it is a proof that he has opened the door to the devil by sin, hidden sin it may be, or by negligence.

Further, Satan is the prince of this world, and its god, and he governs the world by means of the passions and lusts of men; and he is able to raise up the whole world against Christians, as he did against Christ, and so try their faith. He can seek to mingle truth and error, and thus deceive Christians if they are not spiritual; and also as the demon at Philippi did, to get Christians mixed up with the world in order to destroy the testimony of God; he can change himself into an angel of light, but “the spiritual man discerneth all things.” Satan has but little power over us, if we walk humbly, close to the Lord, following faithfully the word of God, having Christ as the only object of the heart. Satan knows well that he has been conquered; therefore it is said, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” His influence in the world is very great through the motives of the human heart, and he acts on men through each other; likewise, from the rapidity of his operations and actions, he appears to be everywhere; and then he employs a great multitude of servants who are all wicked; but in fact he is not present everywhere. Now God is really present, and if we are under the influence of the Spirit of God, and the conscience is in the presence of God, Satan has no power. “He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” However things may be with us, if we are truly the children of God he will fulfil the counsels of God with respect to us; it may be by chastisement if need be. But God knows all things, He in the most absolute sense penetrates everywhere: He orders all things—Satan’s efforts even—for our good; and if we are armed with the whole armour of God, the darts of the evil one do not reach the soul.

I do not know whether these few lines as to the devil are sufficient. The question is not a new one, but the manner of Satan’s working is not told us, but it appears in the gospel, history. I have not spoken about possession.

We have had good meetings at Nismes, and I have visited those in the Cevennes, except St. Andre, where the road was broken up by the effects of the rain. I have never had such large meetings, and such solemn ones.

I hope that the brethren of Gard have woke up a little. The Lord has wrought some conversions.

Your affectionate brother.

March, 1872

* * * * *

To the same.]

[From the Italian

It is asked, First, If the holiness of Christ is imputed as righteousness?

Second. If the distinction between our holiness in Christ and practical holiness is scriptural?

Third. If, when Christians are called holy, it is a positional holiness, or a practical holiness?

The first question is somewhat indefinite, since it speaks of the holiness of Christ, and then of righteousness without saying of Christ; so it does not appear whether you mean righteousness simply, or the righteousness of Christ. The word says always simply that righteousness is imputed, or that faith is imputed for righteousness, not the righteousness of Christ. But I will answer the substance of the question, not its form. Christ’s holiness is not imputed. The only passage that can appear to resemble this doctrine is 1 Corinthians 1:30, but imputation is not spoken of there. It is. not possible to impute redemption. It is in Christ, and through Christ, that these are according to the will of God, how is not told us. “Of him are ye”; this is the new man, whence he comes. Then Christ is made of God unto us wisdom. We do not find these things elsewhere. We do not find the true character of our wisdom, of our righteousness, of our christian holiness, or of redemption elsewhere than in Christ, and in Christ alone. When I possess Christ, I possess in Him the wisdom of God. He Himself is the wisdom of God; I do not seek wisdom elsewhere, and the wisdom of God is not to be found elsewhere. He is my righteousness before God; I am accounted righteous according to the righteousness of God by faith in Christ. If I seek for the truth, the sum total, the divine character, of holiness, I find it only in Christ: this holiness is presented to me by God in Christ. In Christ only is redemption, final redemption to enter glory.

Here it is needful to distinguish between the words used for holiness and sanctification in the New Testament: aJgiwsuvnh is the thing itself, the habit—once, aJgiovth", Hebrews 12:10, the holiness of God Himself—aJgiasmov" the word used in 1 Corinthians 1:30. The word in this form signifies the result worked out, the sum of what is produced in us by the Holy Ghost. Now Christ is the model, the measure, the perfection of it. Inasmuch as we possess Christ as life, we possess this holiness. The life which we possess is a perfectly holy life, and as we are in Christ God does not see sin in us. But Christ Himself, as has been said already, is the perfect expression of the character, of the perfection, of holiness in man; and although the life which is in us is a holy life, the outcome in our thoughts, in our acts, in our words, in our relation to everything is not produced in its perfection; but our desire is not to lower the standard of it, but to reach it. It is ours in Christ, not yet in practice, not yet subjectively. The new man desires that in everything his whole being should answer to the model he knows in Christ. In this life the result is not attained to, but the Christian has no other model, no other substance of sanctification for the soul but Christ Himself. Christ is for him, from God, the substance of that which he longs for; because Christ, who is his model, is his life already.

Thus the answer to the first question furnishes the reply to the second. It is true that God sees us in Christ, and He sees only the new man, when acceptance is in question: “He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel.” But scripture does not speak of our holiness in Christ. The life we have received is perfectly holy, and J do not live, but Christ lives in me. But here are two truths which must be made plain. First, if Christ is our life we are consecrated to God, set apart for Him, according to the right which He possesses through the work of redemption, and the grace that has won us for Him—wholly consecrated to Him personally. Thus we are personally sanctified, set apart for God, but as a matter of fact all our thoughts, our motives, have not Christ as their object; so that in fact we are not perfected in sanctification. In personal sanctification there is no progress, we belong wholly to Christ according to the value of His work and the claim which He has over us, and according to the holy life which is the true “I” of the heart. But, Christ being the perfect expression of this life in man, much is wanting in us in respect of this perfection, and through the operation of the Holy Ghost we become—we ought to become, at least—while looking at Christ glorified, increasingly like Christ, more holy, as regards practical holiness. We possess then the “aJgiwsuvnh” in the life of Christ in us; we do not possess the “agiasmov",” the practical result as it has been manifested in Christ; it is developed daily in communion with Christ.

The second principle which it is necessary to call attention to is this: that it is not the whole truth that we have received a new life in receiving Christ. The Christ whom we have received has been crucified, has died, and risen again; thus I reckon myself to be dead, and the old man as crucified, as not in existence, although it continues to exist. The doctrine is according to the authority and the truth of God in Colossians 3:3. “Ye are dead.” The reckoning of faith is in Romans 6:11, “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin”; the realisation is in 2 Corinthians 4:10. (Compare Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6, 7:6; Gal. 2:19, where we read, “dead to the law,” Gal. 6:14.) Thus we are dead to sin, to the law, to the world, crucified with Christ, reckoned to be dead according to the word of God, and reckoning ourselves dead. Our duty is to make good this truth, so that nothing Except the life of Christ should be manifested in our bodies, in our mortal flesh, that our whole life may be the manifestation of the life of Christ in us, and of nothing else. The connection between this truth and holiness in our relationship with God, and practical holiness, is easily understood. This is the third question already before us.

The Christian is called holy because he is set apart for God absolutely, according to the rights won by Christ in His death, and made good when he is born again, and thus set apart in a real way; and more perfectly, and with more intelligence, when he is sealed by the Holy Ghost, as cleansed by the blood of Christ. Then he is sanctified in his relationship with God, and, in fact, as to the new man; also as we have seen, the old man is held to be dead. Thus when Christians are called holy, it is indeed the expression of a relationship with God, but this relationship is formed by the gift of life, and founded on the fact that Christ has purchased them by His death. But there is no other relationship, and when a man calls himself a Christian he calls himself holy, consecrated to God, set apart from the world for God. It has likewise been the will of God that a church should be formed on the earth, and all who are introduced into the church according to the ordinance of God are accounted holy. They deceive themselves terribly if they have not life, but according to their profession they are holy; such is their relationship as to their position. But when the word says “saints,” it is of course supposed that they have been really born again, and sanctified by the Holy Ghost, the possibility of a false profession excepted. The word “saint” is therefore the name of a relationship; that is, that a man is set apart for God; but this relationship, if it is a true one, is formed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and by the word according to the order appointed by God for the external manifestation in the world of this relationship. Now it is worth while to remark, that sanctification is attributed to each of the three Persons of the Trinity: to God and to the Father, Heb. 10:10; Jude 1; it is by the blood of Christ, and by the offering up of His body, Heb. 13:12; 10:10; 29; by the Holy Ghost, 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2. This is in various aspects, naturally: there are the counsels and the will of God the Father; through the offering of Christ in order to redeem them to be sanctified; by the power of the Holy Ghost to set them apart in fact: we may add, by the word, as the means employed by the Holy Ghost. It is important to draw the reader’s attention to the use of the word “sanctification” in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Sanctification by the Holy Ghost is never spoken of there, but by the will of God, by the offering of Christ, and by His blood; because Christ died for the nation, and as many as received Jesus as the Christ were reckoned as being, as it were, a part of the nation that belonged to God according to the offering of Christ; not that it does not treat of the true value of the offering for those who believe, but the nation sanctified by the blood of the covenant is always in view, and not the operation of the Holy Ghost in the individual.

The saints then in the New Testament are accounted as having entered into a new relationship with God through the blood of Christ, set apart for God. This is the order according to God, but it is always supposed that this relationship is founded on reality, save to demonstrate its falseness; only that sanctifying by the blood of Christ is used in a more general, external way: nevertheless it is held to be real if the contrary is not demonstrated. Christians are called holy in Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2, but in chapter 10 of the latter epistle it is supposed possible that admission to this relationship may have taken place without the possession of life.

As some confusion exists with respect to progress in sanctification, I add that in the setting us apart for God by the blood and the new birth—in the entrance into the relationship (that is, sanctification of the person) there is no progress; but in the development of the life through the knowledge of Christ, and in conformity to the model revealed in Christ, the word speaks distinctly of progress. “Follow after holiness,” it is written in Hebrews 12:14. We “are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18.) “Now the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” (1 Thess. 5:23.)

Now sanctification is used in these two ways in the New Testament, and when it speaks of sanctification and justification together, sanctification is placed first, and is used not for progressive sanctification but for the setting apart for God.

I have spoken entirely with a practical view, without considering the responsibility of those who are in the christian position without reflection. All who are baptised are responsible as to their position and ought to be really holy; they are externally set apart for God; but I am not treating here of the state of the church, but simply of the question, What is sanctification according to scripture. The children of a christian man or woman are called holy in contrast with the children of a Jew, who if the wife was from among the Gentiles was rejected as unclean and as unworthy of Jewish privileges. But these things are not the object of the present observations.

March 29th, 1872.

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My dear Brother,—I just got your note, and write a line in reply. We use words so inexactly that it is necessary to explain, not to have endless discussion.

Usually when we speak of free and can—that is, the absence of compulsion, and the presence of power are confounded. I say ‘every one can come to the meeting,’ meaning it is open to every one. I am told it is not true, for such an one has broken his leg and cannot. I take a plain case, to shew what I mean. Thus where the Lord says, “No one can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him;” it is not that God prohibits or hinders, but that man is so wicked in will and corrupt, that unless a power outside himself act on him he cannot come—he is never morally so disposed. Man is perfectly free to come now as far as God is concerned, and invited to come, yea, besought; and the precious blood of Christ there on the mercy-seat, so that moral difficulty is removed by God’s own grace as regards the holy One receiving a sinner. In this sense he is perfectly free to come. But then there is the other side, man’s own will and state. There is no will to come, but the opposite. Life was there in Christ. “Ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” “All things are ready, come to the marriage,” and “they all with one consent began to make excuse.” Man does not wish to be with God. “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” “Wherefore when I came was there no man, when I called was there none to answer.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” The crucifixion of the Lord is the proof that man would not have God, when come in mercy and relieving even every present misery—“For my love I had hatred:” “They hated me without a cause:” “Now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father.” And the Lord gives the reason. Whatever the love, and it was infinite and perfect, God is Light as well as Love, “and men loved darkness rather than light.” They reject a love that humbles their pride, as they detest a light which awakens their conscience; henceforth we find “as many as received him to them gave he right to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” It is simple nonsense to talk of freedom when applied to man’s actual condition, if he is already inclined to evil; admitting him more than free to come, invited and besought by every motive, all made ready— but which proves that he will not, and that no motive induces him. I have yet one son, says God, but that is over. To say he is not inclined to evil, is to deny all scripture and all fact; to make him free to choose he must be as yet indifferent, indifferent to—having no preference for—good and evil, which is not true, for evil lusts and self-will are there, the two great elements of sin, and if it were true would be perfectly horrible. But there is more, when he does will good, evil is present with him; how to perform that which is good he finds not. There is a law in his members bringing him into captivity to the law of sin which is in his members. No doubt, thank God, there is deliverance, deliverance in another; but deliverance is not freedom, but what is granted and effected by another, because I have learned by experience under divine teaching that I am not free and cannot free myself. Hence in Romans vi., where this question is treated in its roots, we are set free by being dead, the Adam nature crucified with Christ. ‘Then he can say, but not before, “Yield ye yourselves:” a blessed and true principle when I reckon myself dead to sin and alive to God— not in Adam, but in Jesus Christ our Lord. This is resumed in chapter 8:2, 3. “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law bf sin and death”; so that I was not free before I had Christ. And he adds, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”

Freedom is the fruit of deliverance by Christ. First, in His death the old man, sin in the flesh, is dead for faith; we are crucified with Him, and I have life in the power of .the Spirit in Christ, and then I am free. But the facts of man’s state, and the scriptural history of his responsibility, put this matter on another ground altogether: and first that history which will bring out more clearly the facts of his state. The purpose of God was always in the second Adam, not in the first. The first promise also was to the seed of the woman, not to Adam, who was not that. The seed of the woman was to destroy Satan’s power, as Adam had succumbed to it. All promises are made to Christ, Israel as a chosen people, or to Abraham and to his seed—none to man as such. But God began with responsibility first in the first Adam, and not with purpose or promise. And this responsibility was fully dealt with in every way, I mean now after the fall, without law, under law, and after the prophets by Christ’s coming in grace according to the word. “‘Having yet therefore one Son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them.” Thus man’s responsibility was fully dealt with, and the Lord says, “Now is the judgment of this world.” Stephen sums this up, saying (Acts 7), “You have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it; which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted and slain? who testified beforehand of the coming of the Just One, of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers; ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did so do ye.” And one, full of the Holy Ghost, thereon goes up into heaven, and earth’s tale is told. But it will be said, Yes, but the death of Christ has laid a new ground of responsibility. So it has, but by placing man on the ground that man is already lost, and that when we were yet without strength, Christ died for the ungodly. There is none to will, none to understand, none to answer. We cannot give divine life to ourselves, nor beget ourselves to God.

I am not questioning the door being freely open and the blood on the mercy-seat, but this is the final proof that man will not come, when he can as regards God, and God has proved that no motives suffice to induce him: he must be born again wholly afresh. The history of scripture is of God’s using all means and motives, the result being, the rejection of His Son and judgment. The case of Adam was somewhat different, because lust and self-will were not yet there: man was not captive to a law of sin in his members; sin was not there, nor was deliverance required; he was with God in innocence. Clearly God put no restraint on him to leave Him and disobey: his obedience was tested; it was not a question of coming to God when already evil: the prohibition was a pure test of obedience, and the act innocent if it had not been forbidden. There was as yet no conscience in the sense of knowing the difference of good and evil for oneself; he had only to stay where he was and not disobey. There was nothing in him, nor, I need not say, in God, to hinder him; in this he was free: his fall proved that not the creature was bad, but if left to himself could not stand firm. But in this state, so far from choice, and freedom of choice being what he had to do to go right, the moment there was choice and will there was sin. Obedience simply was my place; if a question arose whether he should obey, sin was there. Choice is not obedience. The moment he felt free to choose, he had left the place of simple obedience. Think of a child who takes the ground of being free to choose whether he shall obey, even if he chooses right. I deny that morality depends on freedom of choice. Man was created in a given relationship with God; morality consisted in walking in that relationship. But that relationship was obedience. There he could have continue^ simple and happy, and not set himself free from God. This is what Christ did. He came to do God’s will, took the form of a servant. Satan in the temptation in the wilderness sought to get Him to leave this to be free and do His will, only in eating when He was hungry. What harm was there in that? It was freedom and His own will: and His answer is, that man shall live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. There was no movement in His heart or will but from or by the will of God; and that is perfection. Not a rule checking self-will, which we, alas, often need, but God’s will the motive of our action—of the action of our will. That is what is called in scripture the obedience of Christ to which we are sanctified. Man has in one sense made himself free, but it is free from God, and thus is in moral apostasy and the slave of sin. From this Christ wholly delivers, and sanctifies us to obedience, having borne the penalty of the fruits of our free will. How came I to have to choose? If I have, I have no good yet, and what is to make me choose it?

They confound too, conscience as to good and evil, with will. Man acquired this by. the fall, and it is thus exercised in a state of alienation from God in the unconverted; and will is a distinct thing. In the flesh it is enmity against God, lust and lawlessness, and, if the law comes, transgression. If even I have the Spirit of God, it lusts against it. It is expressed by the heathen in saying, I see better things and approve them, I follow the worse. There is conscience and lust governing will. If all this be so, man was perfectly at liberty as to what he might do as put to the test, but the exercise of will or choosing was just sin, obedience being his place with God. He was created in good, and had it not to choose; now he loves sin and his own will, and has to be delivered from it.

Paris, April 11th, 1872.

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My dear Brother,—The principle that responsibility depends on the power of the responsible person is false, save so far as the alleged responsible person is in his nature such as to negative the claim. A stone cannot be responsible nor even a beast, for moral conduct, because they are not in the relationship to which responsibility can attach. But obligation flows from relationship, and where the relationship exists which constitutes it, the obligation subsists: the power to fulfil it has nothing to do with it. The obligation gives a claim to the person to whom the obliged is responsible. I had put the case: A man owes me a thousand pounds; you are a spendthrift, and have not a penny; you have not power to pay really—therefore I have no claim nor you responsibility. That will not do. Romans cut off their thumbs, and could not hold a spear, to avoid military service: were they held irresponsible?

Man takes another ground of reasoning against God I know, that God put him into this place, or he was born in it, and therefore he is not responsible. This raises another point, that moral responsibility attaches to will, not to power. We do what our own consciences condemn because we like it. My child refuses to come when I call him to go with me; I am going to punish him because he would not: he pleads that he was tied or could not open the door. But I punish him because he refused as to his will to yield to the obligation: I had a knife ready to cut what bound him, a key to open the door: he by his will refused the claim. In a word, responsibility flows from the claim on us arising from the relationship in which we stand. There is not a man in Glasgow that would hold that he had no claim on a man who owed him a thousand pounds because he had no ability to pay it. It has nothing to do with responsibility. We may lightly treat God so, alas! and say, “The woman that thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat;” but he pleads his sin as his excuse. God says, “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree,” etc., therefore.

Yours affectionately in the Lord.

[Date uncertain.]

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My dear Brother,—On my arrival here from abroad I found a note from——, communicating your questions. I have not myself any great difficulty on the subject. I know not whether I shall be as clear for you; but I will try, hoping in the Lord’s help. As to bringing into Godhead, I leave it aside; I never heard of such a thing before. I do not even accept a common expression from Romanists downwards—union with God. I believe a nature is properly what makes any being what it is, as ‘angel,’ ‘man,’ ‘cow,’ or anything else. I do not think 2 Peter 1:4 the simplest and clearest passage to explain the point, because it is properly moral, or specially what characterises the Christian as such. The reason I think so is, that it speaks of “great and precious promises,” by which it is more to me what John 3 calls “born of water,” and, “ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” Still it is not separable from the other point—life-giving. But it speaks of promises, and escaping corruptions which are in the world.

This side of being born again even Romanists, and also Wesleyans, and most evangelicals admit and confine themselves to; that is, an action of the Holy Ghost by the word, by which man is morally purified. Nay, Wesleyans would say—lose it, regain it; and even those who do not go so far, still hold it as only a purifying of what is. The Wesleyans say, man had body, soul and spirit before the fall; and after the fall, body, soul and spirit corrupted, and then being born again, the corruption is removed; and hence a man may be quite perfect as man, if the corruption be wholly removed. Now I believe (not touching on perfection now) that this is, to say the least, a most defective view of the matter. I believe the Lord is a life-giving Spirit; and, operating by the Holy Ghost, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”—not the Spirit, who is God; but one is by His divine power quickened, just as that which is born of the flesh is flesh. I receive spiritually life from Christ, as I receive naturally life from Adam. In this sense Christ is my life. He is eternal life (1 John 1), and “he that hath the Son of God hath life.” It is not I, as of the flesh, but Christ lives in me. Hence, viewed abstractedly, as thus born of God—for so John views things—it is said, “he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” And this life we have in the power of Christ’s resurrection; and it is acted in by the Holy Ghost given to us because of Christ’s blood. So after His resurrection, as God breathed into Adam, Christ breathed into His disciples. Through this, it is said, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” A great accessory truth that comes in connected with this is, that Christ having died, I am counted of God (Col. 3) dead as to the flesh, and to count myself so (Rom. 6), and to realise it (2 Cor. 4), so that only the life of Christ should be manifested.

This is the point which my soul clings to on this subject, the real communication in receiving Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost, so as to have what I had not before—Christ become spiritually my life through the Holy Ghost acting in it in power; created again in Christ Jesus, though the flesh still be there. But I am not in it, but in Christ, and am bound and privileged to hold it dead. Of course, this does practically cleanse by and according to the word. I may not be able to explain it physiologically, but it is to me plain in scripture, and in it the saint will live eternally with God. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit”—partakes of the nature of that of which it is born. It is holy, loves; and, as in Christ as a man, obeys. In a word, it is the reproduction, as to its nature, of Christ’s life. “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” It is as new a thing as a graft in a wild tree.

As regards using Old Testament words as types, I quite agree that our imagination is to Be held in check; nor can we ever insist on such as a doctrine. But there is a passage which may assist your mind on this point (1 Cor. 10:11), where the word “ensamples” is “types” or “figures,” which gives the principle. Then we must only look to the Holy Ghost and divine guidance to use them soberly and aright.

The shade of different meaning in koinwnov" and mevtoco" is. I believe, just; but it is a question of adequate observation of its New Testament use in Greek, and any adequate proof would make me abandon it. At present, though only a shade of meaning, I believe it just. Luke 5 does not to my mind destroy this connection; koinwnoiv is really “partners” for me there, mevtocoi the fact of taking part: but I have no anxiety to insist on this; as I have said, adequate proof would make me give it up at once.

Fivsi" is moral in 2 Peter, from the force of what is said in the passage. In divine things this is everything, as holiness, love, etc.; but the point I should insist on is, that there is more than mere moral effect, though there be that—that Christ is for us a life-giving Spirit; as born of the flesh involves a like nature.

I do not know whether I have met the question as you wish; I write rapidly, having left Paris this morning, and found a mass of things on my table; but I think, if you take the passages, the life-giving and Christ being our life will be very plain, and that is what to my mind is important, though we never know what it really means till we know it as deliverance in power, the flesh being held as dead according to Romans 8:2, 3—having passed out of chapter 7 according to the doctrine of chapter 6 and the beginning of chapter 7. I shall be glad, if of any value to you, to make myself clearer if I can. “Nature” I see I take just as you do. Only God cannot communicate Godhead to us as supreme being, but the moral elements of what He is He can in giving life.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

London, April, 1872.

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Dearest Brother,—I had heard something of your wanderings and work, and rejoiced with all my heart in souls brought to God and saved. It is a wonderful word to say, and God has shewn you great grace in making you the instrument of it…

I have been myself knocked up, overstretched by excessive labour, and when I stopped, a kind of collapse, but very well, thank God, as to health. The Lord willing, I sail May 30th for Boston. This was my object, but naturally if nothing hinders I shall go to Canada. The accounts I have received are generally good, with nothing very special. The Liverpool meeting is 28th and 29th, so that that goes together very well.

I felt the Lord graciously with me on the continent. In some districts there is blessing and conversion. In others they were gone to sleep, but God I think has used the visit to rouse them somewhat, and more are at work. Switzerland has through mercy clearly got a start. There is much to thank God for there now, and in France too there has been arousing and blessing, but a lack of labourers. In the Gard, where there are I suppose a thousand brethren or more, they had, except in one or two places, sadly gone to sleep, without (save a single case) any special case of sorrow. But they are, I trust, roused up, and blessing come in: I never had such large and attentive meetings of infidels, ministers, and all sorts besides brethren. The door too is open among the Roman Catholics, they receive tracts readily, and come in numbers to funerals, and take interest, feeling the gospel as good, and what they had not had. The instrument of so disposing them is partly dislike to the priests who want to bring in Henri V., and partly the blow fallen on France. But they distinguish at once a plain gospel from sermons and prefer it. Among Protestants the upper orders prefer orthodoxy, and even have built in some places chapels to learn it, the people rather infidelity. If in the common Synod Rationalism has a decided superiority as to results, the orthodox purpose going to the Free church, which with Methodists adapt themselves to the national body, save union with the state. But all is movement.

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

London, May, 1872.

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[From the Italian.

Dear Brother,—With respect to the passage Genesis 3:15, the seed of the serpent is, I believe, the wicked, but manifested as under his influence; “Ye are of your father the devil.” I do not think that all who are born of man are called the seed of the serpent—a baby for instance, although the same nature is manifested if he lives long in this world. Christ is in a special way the seed of the woman, but all who are born of God are so. But all this history is fulfilled on earth; it is not a question of heaven, or of the judgment of the great white throne. The passages which you have quoted apply to the seed of the serpent. But if He had said, Thou shalt bruise the heads of thine enemies, this would indeed be a promise made to you. The importance of this distinction is that no promise is made to the first man; there is an object for faith where faith was found, but there exists no promise for the first Adam. The second Adam is heir of all the promises. In Christ we share in these promises. “When the second Adam shall bruise the serpent’s head, He will also judge the world of which the serpent is the prince. On the cross He did morally all that is needed in order to bruise his head, but there His own heel was wounded.

In Galatians 3:16 the apostle is speaking of Genesis 12 and 22, only it is of one special seed. The promise was made to Abraham alone, and confirmed to his seed in chapter 22. The promises of a very numerous seed are distinct; also Abraham is not joined to his seed in this promise. It should be read, “To Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed.” In chapter 15 we find the promises to his seed according to the flesh, added to the promises of the one seed. The reasoning in Galatians is that Christ alone is the seed meant in chapter 22, when the nations of the world are spoken of; and, if we are in Christ, we are then the seed of Abraham.

As to body, soul and spirit: soul and spirit are often used for the same thing, the soul in contrast to the body, the one expression or the other. But when both words are used, then the spirit is the higher part, soul being used for that which is joined to the body, and causes this to live; spirit, for the part in which man is in relation with God, inasmuch as God had breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. If there was nothing but soul, he would be no better than the beasts; but inasmuch as God, when the body was already formed, breathed into his nostrils in order that he should become alive, he is in relation with God Himself, and is eternally miserable if he is separated from God. Soul is often used for life, and for the soul, properly so-called, in the same sentence, because in the Greek language there is only one word for the two, yuchv. If a man shall lose his yuchv for the love of Jesus, he shall gain it. (Matt. 16:25, 26).’ The first time it is only life; the second it is much more. Also, “He that will save his yuchv shall lose it,” where the thing is still clearer.

I do not think that (Rev. 12:16) “swallowed up” ought to be taken literally, but that the providence of God will cause that the efforts of the dragon to destroy the woman (the Jewish remnant) should fail, through the action of the nations of the earth; in a manner somewhat miraculous, but providential. Those sent by the dragon and employed by him to destroy the woman are lost, as it were, in the midst of the population of the earth, and they do nothing… .

Your affectionate brother.

London, May 7th, 1872.

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My dear Brother,—I reject entirely its [“fellowship with one another”] being with God in 1 John 1:7—not merely think the other right: ajllhvlwn is mere mutuality, and God would have as much communion with us as a companion, as we have with Him, which is to be utterly rejected as irreverent and wrong. Scripture never speaks so of God—God’s having communion with us as between two equals; and ajllhvwn is thorough mutuality. It is a kind of a fochair a ceile,12 which cannot be entertained for a moment.

As regards dikaivwsi" (Rom. 4:25)—diav is translated “for,” as giving the sense best in English. The point is not there, but in dikaivwsi". Diav with an accusative is just “on account of”; but dikaivwsi" is not the thing done but the doing of it; and it is this on which it turns. If it had been “on account of our having been justified,” it would have been diaV toV dikaiwqh'nai hJma'". And this is not the case till faith comes in; hence (chap. 5:1) dikaiwqevnte" ejk pivstew". The Greek rule is that words derived from the perfect passive are the thing done, doing it, and the doer—krivma the judgment, krivsi" the judging, krithv" the judge—though all three are not always there. We have dikaivwma, dikaivwsi"; I am not aware of dikaivwth".

As to Job 19:25, I believe in Job’s mind it was a confident trust that God would then deliver him. But I cannot help thinking that the Spirit of God so ordered it as to imply a brighter and better hope, as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did, in the Lord’s hands, beyond the mind of the Jews. You may see by the italics that the passage is very obscure. I find I have translated in German as the Italian Diodati does —“And I know my Redeemer lives, and he will stand at the end upon the earth, and if after my skin, this shall be destroyed (Italian, ‘consumed’), yet I shall out of (or ‘with’) my flesh look upon God,” etc. The difference is not very material, “worms” and “body” being both in italics. In Hebrew it is simply “they have destroyed.” Verse 24 desires that his confidence in God was engraven on a rock, and the result would prove that it was right. The Redeemer is the common word for next of kin, on whom the right of redemption and avenging injuries devolved. God would be his god (Hebrew). People have thought Job’s faith could not have reached this: perhaps not, habitually. But here his soul rises up to God, and he puts life in God in contrast with the present consumption of skin and flesh, and that the power of deliverance (and will) from its perishing condition was there. He lives, he stands up above all that is dust, and while possibly looking to deliverance I doubt not the Spirit looks to a better resurrection.

As to “likeness,”13 the reference is to baptism; but oJmoiwvmati is not merely likeness as comparison. Christ “was made in the likeness of men,” according to this pattern. It is not the thing itself, but in the case of Christ’s humanity, clearly not the denial of it. If I have taken my place with Christ, I have taken it with Him dead, and consequently if it be His death it involves according to the same pattern resurrection. He takes the reality of the thing, but takes it as expressed and patterned in baptism. In Romans we are not risen with Him in baptism.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.


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My dear Brother,—14… Dr. ——’s remarks on metevcw and koinwnov"—where there is a shade of difference in two words —are merely shewing he does not seize it, which is no very great matter. Either may be used in many cases, but they are not the same. ‘Common,’ and ‘partake,’ represent them, I may say, perfectly. ‘It is common to us both,’ ‘I partake of what you have,’ are not the same, though often they may be used indifferently. But with excessive vagueness and obscurity he seems to deny the real communication of divine life. “Christ is my life”: “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Even as to the first man he is all wrong. God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” It is the very ground of our relationship and responsibility, and everlasting misery if not saved. The body was formed of dust, and man became a living soul by God’s breathing into his nostrils, not by a mere fiat of creation as in the case of the beasts. Was man ‘a mule’ by it? This is too bad.

But any denial of divine life communicated in Christ is for christian people equally mischievous. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” as “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” There is no combining of natures or lives, though they are in the same person, as soul and body are. A mule is a mixture of natures, whereas the intelligent Christian holds his flesh as always antagonist to the Spirit, “contrary the one to the other.” One comes from sinful Adam, lawless naturally, law-breaker when under it, hater of God present in love, resister of the Spirit when He dwells in us, puffing up if possible if a man goes to the third heaven—which death only cures, or rather ends, first for faith, then in fact. The Second Adam is a quickening Spirit, but the flesh is not quickened morally at all, but only in being changed or resurrection.

Of course, we partake of the divine nature in a different manner from God. And this is the import of the difference of koinwnoiv and metocoi. One is what we have together as a right, or fact, common to both; the other we get a part in—though we may become koinwnoiv by it—or, in virtue of being koinwnoiv, metevcein in anything, share in it. If I am a partaker with you it is common to us, both the position and metevcw the profits: if I having been a stranger come to have a share, metevcein, I become koinwnov". And this is sometimes important, as when the apostle declares that if people were metocoi they become koinwnov" —identified with the altar or an idol. (1 Cor. 10:18-21.)

The important point is to see that divine life is really communicated, that I receive what I had not before. I should not exactly quote 2 Peter for it, because he is speaking of promises by which we get it, and nature is, as you say, more character thus used than life; but it involves the other, and the two cannot be separated. We are “born of water and of the Spirit.” We are cleansed by the word, but that is inseparably connected with being born of the Spirit. You could not say, ‘That which is born of water is water.’ There is a washing of water by the word. But “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”…

How any one could think of partaking of the divine nature in the same manner as God is beyond my ken. Nobody ever heard of such a thing. Pantheism is Atheism as to any true personal God—at any rate, the moment I have anything else but Himself alone, as in Brahminism…

No doubt God was not changed, when the Word became flesh, but there was real union and He ejkevnwse seautovn; and Christ could speak of being abandoned of God, and could pray to God. God was manifest withal in the flesh. This is different from us of course, but to deny that divine life is communicated is a most fatal error. 2 Peter 1:4 is more morally; but as God breathed into man’s nostrils, so “the Spirit is life because of righteousness,” and “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free.” Christ is my life: we are begotten of God, born of God. It is not a mere change produced, though there be such change, but the communication of life, and because He lives we shall live also. He is eternal life, and “God has given to us eternal life, and that life is in his Son”: “He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

Nature is used more as characteristic of a being: the nature of a horse, of a man, and so even of God, as we say. It is his nature, meaning inbred character, only it is inherent in the being as such, not acquired; hence the proverb, “use is second nature.” No nature as such is changeable—hence the lines:

“Was never man in this wild chase,
That changed his nature with his place,
And left himself behind.”

I only refer to these as shewing the force of the words. God is in a far higher sense unchangeable. But I may practically have a new nature, because I can, through grace, receive a new life, and so have the nature of that life.

You could not say in 2 Peter 1:4 mevtocoi. It would be becoming partakers in sense, whereas they have been placed in the position of koinwnoiv, and mevtocoi would really give ground for what—— charges us with, that we were to share the divine nature as such. We are koinwnoiv, have in common with God what morally belongs to His nature, as holiness, love, etc., we are light in the Lord. It is as mevtocoi that we are de facto koinwnoiv.

Koinwnoiv has the force that we have it in common, and so refers here to the moral character of it. It is a holy character, a loving one, righteous, and bo on. If I said mevrtoco", it would be that the divine nature as such being there I came to have a share in it (e[cw metav). But when I say common to me with God, it naturally refers to what it is. Through these promises we have it in common, but that is moral: if I said become mevtoco" I get a share of the divine nature itself.

As to John 1715 I think it is what characterises and belongs to true knowledge of these names. Almighty, Jehovah, Father (Sending the Son), Most High, are the names God takes in relationship with us. The first involves care and power; the second, faithfulness to promises, going on with what He had said— patriarchs and Jews—but neither eternal life: the Father sending the Son does. He is eternal life manifested to us, and received, is it. Hence the true knowledge of the Father as sending the Son is really the possession of eternal life. Hence He says, “Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent,” because as so sent, He is “that eternal life which was with the Father,” and the grace that brings it, is in His being sent. So at least I understand it.

London, May, 1872.

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To the same.]

My dear Brother,— … I forgot perhaps to say in my former letter, that i{na in John must not be taken as i{na in other books. I will not say it is never telic, as they call it—“in order that”—but it is constantly used for o{ti, and has no force of purpose. There is thus no consequence in it, i{na in John not having the force of “in order that.”

The aujthV in your interpretation—“this [is life eternal]”— would refer to nothing at all. The knowledge of the Father and the Son is identical with, and the form of eternal life in our minds (spiritual apprehension in the soul). The Father sent the Son that we might live through Him. The Son of God was manifested in this, and when hearing Christ’s word we believe on Him that sent Him, we have everlasting life. (John 5) 1 John 1 shews that Christ is eternal life; but as God begets us by the word, it is in believing on Him as thus sent and the Son, that we have eternal life, having received Him. We are “all children [sons] of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” It is thus I do receive Christ who is eternal life, and having the Son I have the Father also.

The divine nature16 gives more the character of the divine life in us. I have no doubt the ancient saints were quickened by the Son; they were born of God, or could not have entered into the kingdom. But life and incorruptibility were brought to light by the gospel. Eternal life is twice mentioned in the Old Testament —Psalm 133 and Daniel 12—but both refer to the millennium; and the heirs being under age differed nothing from servants, though lords of all. It never came out as revealed eternal life till He who was eternal life was there. But they were quickened that they might live to God.

Boston, June, 1872.

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11 This system formed no part of Paul’s mission and service, though he left it as he found it.

12 [Irish idiom, for companionship on equal terms.]

13 [What is meant by “the likeness of His death”?]

14 “With reference to 2 Peter 1:4 (gevnhsqe qeiva" koinwnoiV fuvsew") ‘partakers of the divine nature’:—

1. What is the force of koinwnov"—is it more than ‘partaking’ in the sense of metevcw?

2. If so, how are we made koinwnoiv of the divine nature?

3. Is it that we ‘partake of the divine nature in a different manner from God,’ and so ‘enjoy the benefit of all the excellency of the divine nature without becoming uncreated or unchangeable,’ or sharing any of the attributes which God claims as essential to Himself?

4. Is there nothing between that position and the thought which has been advanced, that because ‘the divine nature is sui generis, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, and therefore essentially different from the nature of all created beings, it must in some way be modified by a union with humanity, as the nature of a horse is modified in the mule, by union with that of the ass?

7. Does 2 Peter 1:4 mean that we are made partakers of the divine nature as such? Or does ‘nature’ here mean rather the moral characteristics which, when made His children, we share in common with God?”

15 “In John 17:3, is it right to Bay, on the ground of the use of i{na, ‘this is eternal life in order that they might know thee,’ etc.

Is i{na used in order to lay stress upon the purpose, instead of using o{ti to point merely to the fact?

In John 3:19, o{ti is used. Why is it i{na in chapter 17:3, if the form is similar?

Is Alford’s note on the use of i{na in John 4:34 right?” [@Ina is not equal to o{ti. The latter would imply what was true (but not here expressed), that the absolute doing, etc., was His food: as it now stands it implies that it was His food to carry onward to completion that work.]

16 “Is eternal life distinguished or to be kept distinct from the divine nature? Could we say that the patriarchs, etc., had the divine nature, but not eternal life?”