Section 5

To the same.]

@Ina17 is used thirty-six times in John, without any telic sense, though much oftener with its usual meaning. There is a difference. It is not used for a past or existing fact as o{ti. There is something to be, in the thought. But a person must be very sagacious to make it telic, though they say it never entirely loses this force. Thus chapter 18:39, what is telic here? So chapter 2:25; 4:34, and others. Perhaps in some cases we may see the transition from one to another, as in chapter 5:7. But practically it is quite lost in many, as chapter 6:39, 40. A concordance will shew you the texts—these suffice as examples. The telic use is quite common, and it is needless to quote examples —I mean in John.

I do not think the two words are used indiscriminately; i{na would not be used for ‘he heard that he was’; for ‘a custom that he should,’ we have seen it is. The day or the state of things was a reason, a motive, that something should be. It is so that it should, not the fact that it was. You can examine the passages, but in the practical use of the word in these cases you cannot make it telic. Such changes in the degeneration of a language are common, and the Holy Ghost used the vessel as it was, though to His own purposes, and this is every way a great mercy.

Alford I have not here, but to all intents and purposes, John 4:34 has the force of o{ti or nothing at all. I mean it is equivalent to toV poiei'n, but your comparison of chapter 3:19, and chapter 17:3, is a proof that you may metaphysically or historically trace the passage from one to the other, but that the use of iJna in John is often equivalent to o{ti. There is a similar use of quod in low Latin—I am not sure I have the right word, but I remember the fact—it may be some word for quod. Purpose in chapter 18:39 seems to me somewhat forced: chapter 5:7, may be taken as partly telic. Chapter 2:25 may explain perhaps the passage from one to the other.

I have had good opportunities here, and the door open as it had not been. The truth has made progress in a good many; faith to act on it and take up the cross is another thing. We hope for it with some at any rate. They can hardly remain where they are, though the way people drag on, knowing all is wrong, from want of faith, is astonishing. However, the Lord will shew His own work, and there may be first last and last first. But I feel the Lord has led me here, and I am in pretty full intercourse with those exercised, among whom are more than one official minister. I wait on the Lord for the result. I found the door open in Boston, and east too.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

St. Louis.

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Beloved Brother,—You must not be discouraged as to work or Canada. There are two things: a gathering out of the remnant in these last days, and the fact of the conversion of sinners as in any day, and specially in the last. But it is difficult to make them go pari passu. This was my object when I came to Canada for six or eight weeks the last time, and the Lord blessed it in a measure. More confidence in one another was produced in some. But it is one of the difficulties of the present work, and always has been in a measure; but the evangelistic action was more apart latterly. Our part is to work in through. ——says he is alone, and has sent for brethren’s books, but to say I am out of the camp, and can trust God for fields of work, is another thing.

Affectionately yours.

St. Louis, July 22nd, 1872.

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Dearest Brother,—Your note promised a letter, and for that I waited, but it appears it is not to come, so I write without waiting any longer. I know not that I can hope now to visit the West Indies again as I gladly should. I had thought it not impossible from this on my way, but it is far, and I am old. I do not know but that England would be the best road even hence, but my interest in the work in the West Indies is undiminished, and I cannot but hope some may be stirred up to help. Oh for more devotedness and devoted ones to serve Him who has so loved us! This I earnestly desire. I was in France for two months to read with young workmen, as we old ones are moving off. The Lord is ever there, and watches over His own: still one yearns over every care being taken of them… I am most anxious brethren should be simple, as numbers increase it is increasingly difficult. If the brethren get worldly they would be of no further use. God has brought in much truth by them, but if they were worldly it would be only saying this truth too, and the world could go together, whereas they are just the things that separate, ought to do it, from the world.

Here in Canada, after a revival accompanied by a certain degree of excitement, we are in the reaction, still the work is going on, only this gives a work of care in some places, but one counts on the Lord for this as for every toil. In the States there is some progress. They are going on happily enough in the east, some added, but no great progress in numbers; in the west a good many Presbyterians, several ministers among them, teach the Lord’s coming, the presence of the Holy Ghost, that all sects are wrong, but as yet few move from their place. A few have—not of clergy yet, though one or two have been preached out. In one place there is a move, but I cannot but think when some move that the conscience of others will be stirred up. But many who now favour the truth I suppose would become opponents: to give up ease for the cross is not pleasant to the flesh.

May we ourselves, dear brother, remember that soon there is but one thing that will be a comfort to us, to have followed Christ wholly. Blessed privilege! the fashion of this world passeth away; but that is for ever, and infinite blessing. Soon we shall see Him as He is, and in the glory of which He is worthy—joy infinite it will be to our spirits. May He be with you in all your labour. But besides that, He is our portion, and I believe the Christian should walk in the constant sense of divine favour, that favour that is better than life, so that the soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, though in the dry and thirsty land where no water is.

You escape in a measure what we have to deal with here and in England—all sorts of opinions, heretical and infidel, claiming to have part in the Christian name. It is everywhere among the Protestant bodies the fashion now, at least among the clergy, to seek union at all cost. Evangelicals, Puseyites, broad church or rationalists, meet and say we must hold together. Truth is fallen in the streets, and Christ little accounted of in this respect; still the Spirit of God is working, and the word of God is spread more widely and, where the Spirit of God acts, has authority; for Christ, the blessed Lord, cannot fail His church. He does and will nourish and cherish it as a man his own flesh, so that we have nothing to fear even if we are in perilous times, but if so, thank God, in the last, The work is spreading and enlarging in all quarters, and the need of mature labourers shews itself everywhere. We must look to the Lord of the harvest; oh, I repeat, that there were devoted and earnest men! the harvest is plenty, and all that is in confusion and ruin. You are comparatively happy in a clear path, but in America, Australia, all manner of views, heresies, sects, notions, beset one’s path, and how far to be refuted, what mischief they may do, is to be thought of. I know, I believe, the Lord is sufficient, but it calls for all watchfulness and a heart that looks ever to Him.

Ever, dear brother, affectionately yours.

September 1872.

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Beloved Brother,—I hear that your——is in a very precarious state, and I seize a moment to write to you, to express what I trust you are assured of, dear brother, my unfeigned sympathy with you, and I would add, dear Mrs.——, though I have not seen her. If the soul walks with God, it is not hard, but it is submissive; and there is no softer spirit, nor one which is more susceptible of every feeling than submission; but then it takes the will out of the affections without destroying them, and that is very precious. So was it with Christ. He felt everything; His tenderness was perfect, and yet how perfect His submissiveness. How God exercises the heart by these things! It is not simply that the heart is tried by the sorrow itself (in which we can reckon on the most tender sympathy of Christ), but when the heart is thus brought into the presence of a God who is thus dealing with us, all our ways, all the interior of our heart, all His ways with and His appeals to us often in such cases rise up within. If the will is unbroken, and no clearness as to grace be known, a perplexed and anxious judgment ensues; if not this, often a humble and lowly judgment of self; for the knowledge of grace makes us lowly when it is real.

It is astonishing how much often remains as a sediment at the bottom of the heart in a man, gracious in the main of his life, which the rod of God stirs up when He thrusts it in—often underlying all the contents of the heart, yet always to be carried off by the living stream of the waters of His grace—not merely faults, but a mass of unjudged materials of every-day life, a living under the influence of what is seen, or unjudged affections of every kind. All that is not up to the measure of our spiritual height is then judged in its true character, as connected with flesh before God.

But it is not always so, nor wholly so: but it is always if there is a need be. God may visit us to bring out the sweet odour of His grace; not indeed even so without need, as the soul itself will own, for in such case it will feel the need of realising all the communion, which in its closer character was hindered by that for which God is dealing with us. But grace being fully known, and submission being there, the practical result is only in fact, and before others, a sweet odour of willing bowing before God, and even thankfulness, in the midst of sorrow: when this is real it is very sweet. He too is very present in it, and it is thus we make real progress in such exercises. It is astonishing what progress a soul sometimes makes in a time of sorrow. It has been much more with God; for indeed that alone makes us make progress. There is much more confidence, quietness, absence of the moving of the will; much more walking with, and dependence on Him, more intimacy with Him, and independence of circumstances—a great deal less between us and Him—and then all the blessedness that is in Him comes to act upon the soul and reflect in it; and oh, how sweet that is! What a difference it does make in the Christian, who, perhaps, was blameless in his walk in general previously!

I trust the Lord may spare you your——, dear brother. A first trial of this kind is always very painful: the heart has not been in it before. God comes and claims His right on our tenderest affections. This is strange work, when they have just been drawn out; but it is well—it is good. I am sure you are in His hands; and that I am sure is all a way of love, and the best that the wisdom of His love can send. If the needed work can be done without the sorrow, He will not send the sorrow. We might even dread if it be needed. His love is far better than our will. Trust Him; He may well be trusted; He has given His Son for us, and proved His love. Present your requests to Him: I do fully for you. He would have us do it, and then lean fully on His love and wisdom. If He strikes, be assured He will give more than He takes away.

Peace be with yon, dear brother.


* * * * *

My dear Sister,—I thank you and dear M. much for having thought of sending me the account of the accident to your dear babe. It is indeed a sore trial to see one who is a part of ourselves thus taken off at one blow, and unexpectedly. Still, what a difference, to have the Lord’s love to look to, and to believe one’s babe—as I surely do—the object of it. It is a consolation which changes everything because everything is changed. The knowledge of the love of God, which is come into this place of death, has brightened with the most blessed rays all its darkness; and the darkness even only serves to shew what a comfort it is to have such light. There is nothing in the heart but light —nothing can make darkness when we have it. It is a world of sorrow, and the longer we know it, and the nearer even we walk to the Lord, the better we shall know it to be such. I do not mean that none of our sorrows are chastenings: we know that they often are such to His most beloved ones, as we see in Job. By all, save Christ, there is all grace to be learned by them; and even He entered into the sorrows of others, as arising from their faults and foolishness; for His sympathies were perfect, and blessed be God, are. He suffered for righteousness, and He suffered for sin; but besides this, He entered, as taking by grace a place among the godly remnant in Israel, into all which that remnant would feel as seeing the state of Israel (of which they were actually part) under the chastening hand of God for sin. All this He felt as none else could feel. His sympathy is as perfect now, though no longer passing through the sorrows by which He gained the experience of it.

Besides, it is only in the part which has to be broken and corrected that we suffer: a touched affection, when Christ is with us in the grief, is of infinite sweetness, though the sweetness of sorrow. It is only when the will mixes itself up with the sorrow that there is any bitterness in it, or a pain in which Christ is not. But then this is all useful and what we need. The Lord takes your dear babe to heaven (certainly he has no loss); what is the rest of God’s dealings in it with us—with one’s heart? He who has made a mother’s feelings knows what they are—knows what He has wounded, and knows why—has a purpose of love in it. There is a mass of things in the sincerest of us, of which we are not aware, which are not brought into subjection to God, which work and shew themselves unsuspected. God breaks in upon us: how many things He shews—how many cords He cuts at one blow! A whole system of affections is touched: we feel that death has its place and part in them. I never saw a family the same thing after the first death that it was before. There was a breach in the circle. What belonged to the whole body of affections and life of this world was touched, was found to be—mortal: it was struck in its very nature. The course of life went on; the wave had closed over that which had been cast into it; but death, and the affections which belong to this world, had been found to meet. But all this is well; for death is come in. Besides, we live in these things; our will lives in them; and when the will is broken, so far as it is so, it is broken for everything. We learn more to lean on what never breaks—not to lose our affections, but to have them more in connection with Christ, less with this will of our own nature; for nature must now die as well as sin. But then Christ never makes a breach, except to come in and connect the soul and heart more with Himself; and it is worth all the sorrow that ever was, and more, to learn the least atom more of His love and of Himself; and there is nothing like that, like Him; and it lasts.

But besides, there is a useful work by it in our own hearts; and so more capacity to know, and enjoy, and learn communion with Him; more capacity to delight in and understand God; to know, and to know the value of, what He delights in—more moral capacity to delight in what is excellent. We little know what high and blessed things we are called to. Oh that the saints knew it better! To be with and have common joy and communion with God! Some have much of it down here. It is opened out to them. But all that is of nature and will can have no part in this; and often the saints, though not directly dishonouring the Lord, are living in nature. Then the Lord deals with them, “turns man from his purpose, and hides pride from man.” Oh what a profitable thing it is to have that hidden from us! And how completely it is when God deals with us and brings us into His presence, whatever means He may employ, for He knows the springs of our hearts and how to touch them. But oh, what grace is this daily, constant care! “He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous.” What a God to have to do with! and all in love! And when the storm is all passed, the brightness for which He is preparing us will shine out unclouded, and it will be Himself—Him we have known in all this tender care. Yet in the brightness of His glory, the glory of God will lighten it, and the Lamb will be its light; we shaft be with the Son, with Jesus, enjoying as and with Him the brightness and divine favour which shine out on Him. And oh! how blessed the love, Jesus’ love, that has brought us there for ever with Him, in virtue of it, and now in the full blessed enjoyment of it with Himself.

I do earnestly pray that this sorrow may be blessed to you and to all your dear children, that they may see how near death is, but the Lord still nearer. Assure dear M. how truly I sympathise with him. A father’s sorrow, though of another character, is not less deep than a mother’s. You must expect that, as time passes on, the present feeling of loss will diminish, and in a certain sense pass away too. Not that the affectionate remembrance of your poor little babe will be at all gone; but its character will be changed, and your living children and daily occupations will make it less absorbing. This is natural, and in one sense right. Living duties have their place, which cannot be rightly yielded to absorbing affections. What I would earnestly recommend to you is, to profit of the moments when the impression and present effect of it is strong; to place yourself before God, and reap all the fruit of His dispensations and tender grace. It is a time when He searches and manifests His love to the heart at the same time. May you grow much by this—surely to a mother’s heart—painful occurrence.

Ever faithfully yours in Christ.

[Date unknown.]

Dearest ——,—As to the question you put: governmental wrath [on Christ] is all totally wrong. When I speak of governmental wrath, it is just in contrast with expiation; and any governmental wrath on the cross was on Israel, not on Christ at all, only He entered into it I believe. That is what they made so much fuss about. His sympathy will be with them at the end, but He suffered in going through it all in heart and spirit, that He might sympathise with them, as He suffered being tried to be able to sympathise “with us. This is what H. denied expressly—the actual suffering—or I should have withdrawn the tract for his sake and D.’s, if no more.

But no governmental wrath was on Him; whereas when He was made sin it was on Him though for us—then the cup He had to drink that we might never drink it—He, and He alone (as to us), drank the cup. In the other, He felt the sorrow for His people of their losing all according to the flesh, suffered from Gentiles, suffered from apostate Jews, as they will, and was cut off as Messiah, taking nothing. But the governmental wrath was on them, not on Him, though He entered into it, and had the sorrow and suffering of it on His heart and in His circumstances. But the cross is another thing as expiation. There it was Himself drank the cup instead of others. It was the hatred of God’s nature to sin, and His judicial action as to it on Him, to save us; though the scripture, I suppose to avoid the idea of personal displeasure, does not use the word “wrath” as to it. Yet it was the cup of God’s wrath against sin. But the absence of the word would suffice to set aside the idea of governmental wrath, which I judge all wrong. I have no difficulty as to it myself. I do not believe one drop of consolation was in Christ’s heart when He made propitiation for sin, or it would have rendered the suffering and sacrifice for sin imperfect: He drank the cup—solemn thought—of bitterness without alloy, or any relief, because He was made sin, and had to be that before God as God in holiness for us, and it was just the perfectness of this in obedience and love to His Father, its absoluteness for God’s glory, that made God and the Father find perfect complacency in it and in Him. If there had been some relief, some assuagement of the suffering, it would not have been sin before God; but because there was none, and He perfect in glorifying God in it, therefore God’s complacency was perfect in it, and the Father’s in Him as doing it. Hence, too, 1 Le says, “My Father,” but on the cross, “My God, my God,” when accomplishing the work (still “my” because He was perfect), and “my Father” and “my God” after (and ours then) and that for us too, entering into the full effect in righteousness and love, ever personally His—but now through redemption for us too. The divinity did not screen the manhood from the taste of the terrible cup, but enabled Him to drink it. He offered Himself through the eternal Spirit to God, as He cast out devils by the Spirit of God. And though God of course could not die —no more even could a human soul—yet there was no separation of the natures. Let nothing weaken our sense of the full propitiation for sin.

Of course, if I think of the Son as a divine Person, He could not die—no more, I repeat, could a human soul in fact. But if a man not having a soul was there, what is his death? Nonentity. If Christ was only as a man there, it was no more than another man there, only sinless—that is, it was nothing. The Son as a divine Person of course could not die, looked at apart; but He who was Son died and gave Himself, not as apart, but in all the infinite value of His Person and in His divine love to us. I do not say Mary was the mother of God, if I may compare them, but she was the mother of Him personally who was God, and if He was not, His birth was nothing. A person may object to saying the Son died, because he is looking at Him apart as a divine Person; but if it be denied that He being Son died, I have lost the value of His death, which is infinite, both in love and value.

Governmental wrath is all wrong. I admit perfect complacency, but complacency in His perfectly drinking the cup (forsaken of God as to the feeling of His soul) and in Him that did it; but solace by it, there is not a trace of in scripture; it would destroy its perfectness.

Ever affectionately yours.


* * * * *

To the same.]

Dearest Brother,—I am working away here, so that I have nothing very new to tell you. There is inquiry, and a good deal of it among those interested in the things of God, consciences awakened as to the state of the church and learning truth, astonishment at what is found in scripture; for work, not truth, is the American line of things, and an activity which leaves the saints and the world all mixed up together. Still the truth is working in a good many souls. I have sometimes meetings three times a day. I do not at present look much to lecturing, though I have lectured… There is, I think I have said, much inquiry, but endless opinions, and grace not bowed to, nor the word, though it is getting a hold of serious minds it never had. There are many things to encourage, many things to try, but all is a beginning, everything has to be shewn—the most elementary truths of Christianity. Man is set up, and Christians so used to it, that all God’s thoughts have to be brought in as new things. A hundred truths which would be quoted to prove other points among you, and recognised by all, have, when referred to, to be shewn from scripture, and the main point left till they were so shewn. Still truth is enjoyed by many, and many have largely gained in it. Kind love to the brethren. May much grace be on them all.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Chicago, November 7th, 1872.

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My dear Brother,—I got your letter, and was glad to hear of the dear brethren at S. I heard since you had a happy meeting, for which I thank God. I trust also ours at Guelph was useful —a spirit of brotherly union reigned.

Truth has spread in the west, but what characterises this continent is looseness as to practice and as to doctrine. I find no spiritually-minded person who is not unhappy and feeling there is no communion where he is. Scarce any are simple in the truth; and Socinians and persons who deny that men have an immortal soul are received and accepted like all the rest. The word of God has little or no authority. Organisation and work they like—outward effects that they can shew—but a life with God and the truth they hardly think of. Still the patient and gracious Lord works, and souls are brought to Him. In the country it is generally utter indifference and money-seeking; I have not seen one yet, French or English, who has not said to me, he came out without God, or had he known what he knows now, he would not have come. They come to get on in the world, and get trouble and sorrow, and their business (till God has exercised them) is to get on, not to enjoy Christ. I know those who were in communion in England who save money to buy a small piece of ground, and would not give twopence-halfpenny a week to get to the Lord’s day meeting for breaking of bread.

Still one works on, and there is a growing desire among Christians to know more of the truth. But everything has to be brought to the word—all indulge so wholly their own thoughts. I have daily meetings here, and even twice a day, besides visiting. In ——, a Presbyterian minister, by preaching what he had learned of the Lord’s coming and truths connected with it, has broken up his congregation, and some thirty or forty are going to meet, waiting on the Lord to be guided—many of them, however, ignorant of sound principles of gathering, but some very nice brethren. So one works on, only one has to look to the Lord continually, and not faint, for in this country the path is beset with difficulties. But we know we shall reap if we faint not. I do not expect to war, and not find combat and difficulties. We shall reap if we do not faint in the war. Meanwhile, dear brother, the blessed Lord remains unchangingly precious, and through mercy my heart enjoys His favour, and it is better than life. And I find it of moment in incessantly distracting questions on every scripture subject and unscriptural ideas, to seek to be with Him in love to those who raise them: one is enfeebled in the questions themselves if one’s feet are not shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

The Lord keep us very near Himself, sober-minded and subject to the word. Give my kindest love to the brethren. May the Lord’s presence keep you all in peace and happy fellowship together, and much individual intercourse with Him and self-judgment. It is the secret of strength.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Chicago, November, 1872.

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My dear Brother,—I write to reply to your question at the close of your letter, though most thankful to get your account of the work. The only difficulty with me is the question, whether the law of Canada does not require a formal divorce in these cases. If it does not, I should just leave the matter where it is. In the first place, what was done originally was before her conversion; but when the unbeliever leaves, the other party is free according to 1 Corinthians 7, and if a divorce be not required, she is free according to the law of man (if it be, there is irregularity which perhaps may be rectified). As the man had left her, she practically entered the church of God as a lone woman, and I do not occupy myself with what was before, unless sin to be repented of. When I meet her now, I meet her as one whom the law considers free; and the previous desertion left her free when deliberately done, if I take christian ground. I may regret her doing it, and do as to the manner of it. But as unconverted, I recognise nothing before unless sin: say a heathen, he may as such have had and left twenty wives, I ignore it all when he is converted. Being abandoned, she did not stand as a married woman, when she married, unless a formal divorce was required. In England the courts hold a woman free after seven years, the husband not being heard of, but there is no law to say so. I know not how it is in Canada. I question it a little unless it be known to be so. But I do not think a deserted woman would be held to perpetual celibacy where the law recognised her as free. Many questions would arise as to her conduct. Did she tell her present husband before she was married? What oath or equivalent assertion was made to get married? I suppose there is some as in civil marriage, and publishing banns. Did she say there was no impediment when, if a formal divorce was required, there was? A person in London was kept out on this ground; he had sworn or solemnly declared there was no obstacle as they went, and it was his wife’s sister, not allowed in England. But if a formal divorce is not required by law, but the woman held free ipso facto after seven years, I should say she stood as a free woman, though I may regret her path, and inquire, as I have said, as to the circumstances. If taken on profession as a Christian, she was free according to 1 Corinthians; if looked at as merely of the world, she had no husband. It was all before conversion. And legally (if divorce not required) she was free when she married, only I should look to where her conscience was in doing it. The passage in Romans [7:2, 3] does not exactly apply. The word “married” is not in the Greek at all. The woman is supposed to be in full connection with and under the authority of the husband, and then “is to another man,” that is faithless to the existing bond. Here the question is whether the existing bond was not dissolved, and an actual marriage a lawful one. I should fear if her conscience had been clear she would have spoken to brethren. But that is another question.

Things are in too moving and uncertain a state to say much of Chicago. I have plenty to hear. The brethren are getting on very happily, and several have been added. Kindest love to the brethren.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.


* * * * *

Dearest——, … We began yesterday to break bread at Springfield, Illinois, six; there may be one or two more from the country. Many more see the ruin, and that the state of things is unsoriptural, but hope still to cling together, and think they are outside the camp… In Chicago there was, in a certain circle, considerable inquiry after the truth, and many wished me to stay or return. I may do this. But one had to insist on the first principles of grace. No one will have it as a rule in the American churches. Old school Presbyterians, or some of them, have the most of it. It is otherwise resisted or unknown. The active man at Chicago, lately in England, is deep in the mud of this. In our readings, three I think know something of grace, though not clear on other things; a few found it, but it is preached nowhere, but the contrary. But not a few souls got interested in truth. At present, if they go to church they hear what upsets and bewilders them. Loose action suits itself to all this… But work in the U.S. is pilgrimage for me, and so best. Simple following the Lord is unknown; activity, organisation, mending the world, mixing with it, is all that is known, hence also the word has little authority. Still, as I have said, there is inquiry, and godly people feel the state of things. Were I younger, I might look to more constant work. The loose brethren who may come, fall in with all this, and leave it where it is. New gatherings are formed, but chiefly by those from Europe, though here all is American. I do not think of staying here, and do not know my own movements… Nature would like rest and England now, entered on my seventy-third year, but I must not return from Pamphylia for that.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Springfield, Illinois, November 21st, 1872.

Dearest Brother,—The only thing I have to notice in your letter save to agree is, where you say we are sealed18 ‘on our believing in Christ, as the One who delivered us from the old man (the old Adam standing), … from sin within, and from the world; and this He does by having died for us when He put away our sins and our having died with Him,’ etc. Now I judge from scripture that the sealing comes, or may come, consequent on our believing in Christ’s death for the remission of sins, without including our having died with Him for deliverance. This too may be the case: it was mine. But sealing comes on forgiveness; for our being looked at then as clean, the Holy Ghost can come and dwell in us. Thus Peter, “Repent and be baptised every one of you for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” So when he preached to Cornelius, who was listening with faith, the moment he comes to “shall receive remission of sins”—as he spake these words the Holy Ghost came upon them: so Romans v.—before the discussion of our not being in flesh is commenced. If we go through Romans 7 before Romans 3, as was my own case, then pardon and deliverance go together; but in these revival-preaching days, many receive the remission of their sins before they have any self-knowledge, and have, though in a modified form (not substance), to go through Romans 7 afterwards. But this is always really law; namely, what is expected from us. But there is no deliverance without self-knowledge, and the work substantially of Romans 7.

Forgiveness needs no such process. Convinced of guilt, no doubt we must be; but this supposes no knowledge of self— that is state, not acts which constitute guilt. There is no forgiveness of a nature; but where it was condemned, death came in (the cross), and so I am delivered.

As regards Rom. 6:11, and 2 Corinthians 4:10;19 one is faith as to the truth and position, the other realising it in practice: Colossians 3 gives God’s judgment, “Ye are dead”; Romans 6:11, man’s faith as to having died with Christ as to the old man on the cross—I reckon myself dead; 2 Corinthians 4:10 realises it in practice: I always bear about in my body the dying, never let the flesh from under the power of Christ’s death and cross, treating it de facto as a crucified thing that has no title to stir, though it be really there. Then God passes through circumstances which test how far it is realised; if we are faithful to verse 10, in the form of suffering for Christ, as was Paul’s case; if not, to make practically good what is wanting. And this is the gracious history of many sorrows: “He with-draweth not his eyes from the righteous.” The Lord be with you. If all be not clear, you can write to me.

Ever affectionately yours, dear brother.

* * * * *

To the same, later.]

I do not attach especial importance to the immediate moment of the sealing;20 merely if scripture ascertain it, it is always gain to know it, and I think it does this. I do not think the passages, already presented to me by others, offer any difficulty. Clearly it is because we are sons, that the Spirit is given us to cry Abba, Father, and we are sons by faith of Jesus Christ. But I do not think this passage says anything as to the moment at which, as its occasion, we receive it, but merely states the fact; nor does Ephesians 1. There it is on believing in the most general way in the direct statement, and when we come to “the gospel of your salvation,” it rather confirms it; for what was brought to them was not the subsequent glories in which they were edified, but the fact of salvation, as previously in the same chapter— “redemption through his blood the forgiveness of sins”; as “the redemption of the purchased possession” comes afterwards. The presenting of Christ’s Person as the great object of faith is all important. It is just what is wanting in modern gospel preaching

Flesh21 is used in the New Testament for our sinful nature as it works habitually through its lusts. So “flesh,” “sin in the flesh,” and “sinful flesh,” are substantially the same, though it may be in different aspects and application; “the mind of the flesh” is also used, its bent, and purpose or object. Sin has a much wider sense—”who taketh away the sin of the world,” for instance, “to put away sin.” But if we look at it in the sense of a nature and principle, it is the same as flesh. It is sin that dwelleth in me. “I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing.” Christ “was made sin”: here evidently it is not sin in us. Sinfulness is the state of the flesh and fleshly mind.

Being dead to sin is the calling and standing of every Christian. We are baptised to Christ’s death. In Colossians 3 it is said, “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” In Romans vi., faith, or the exhortation of the apostle, takes this up—reckon yourselves dead: but this is founded on knowing that our old man was crucified with Him. It is in Christ we have died; 2 Corinthians 4:10 is the proper realisation of it, verse 11, God’s dealings to test and make it good; only Paul could say, “for Jesus’ sake.”

As to baptising,22 Christ did not send me to baptise, and we are under Paul’s dispensation. All are in the dark as to baptism, and by, I believe, God’s ordering; but baptising according to Matthew is, I apprehend, in the name of the Lord Jesus. I always use the words, expressing however specially the name of the Lord Jesus in connection with it, that it may be understood to be in His name. They are unprofitable questions. The only direction you have to baptise is Matthew 28; but this was from resurrection, not from ascension, and only Gentiles. Still you have no other intimation now, no more than a command to do it. Still it must be, from the practice we have, really in Jesus’ name, and if this be expressed, all will be right. The question was raised quite in the early ages of the church. The Lord give us all more hidden life.

I have not much to tell you of work. Three ministers have come out since I came over here, and two small gatherings, but very weak, have been formed, and there is some earnest inquiry. Were I younger I might lay myself out more for work here. This is American work: some new gatherings round Boston, but I believe of emigrants. The native population is extremely difficult to reach; conscience has little power—activity, organisation, man. In most places grace is hardly known, and mostly opposed: a few old school Presbyterians hold it, otherwise I know none—the state of things deplorable. The teacher of the Sunday school teachers openly denies the resurrection: so one of the pastors here—everything as loose as it can be: only God is above it.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

St. Louis, November 30th, 1872.

* * * * *

[From the French.

Very dear Brother,—A fall that demands excommunication is not the commencement of evil in a Christian: the soul must have become weak in its communion, not have kept near to God. It does not depend on sincerity in these cases. Carried on by the current of work that is before him, he does not place himself sufficiently before God, does not judge himself, is not naked before God, and is occupied with the work rather than with Him; the heart is not fathomed, and he does not know himself, does not know if he is in communion with the Lord or not. If the heart were placed before Him, he would soon discover that he was not, and would seek His face. A person makes the discovery of evil, either in its root before God, or in its fruits before Satan, and if the first alternative be neglected, the second takes place sooner or later; and it is agony for the soul to have dishonoured the Lord. I hope at least that others will fear and will be on their guard.

But there is one point which in a great measure makes me write. It seems from your letter that it is the meeting of labouring brothers which has pronounced the excommunication. Now I do not at all question the Tightness of the act; but it is the assembly to which he belonged habitually, or the one where his failure had been committed which ought to have done it. That the labourers should have refused to labour in the work with him, is well, although the assembly had refused to put him out; but a meeting of labouring brothers is not the assembly, and the practical difference is this, that the conscience of the assembly is not purified. Paul compelled the assembly at Corinth to put out the incestuous man, in order that it should be truly a new lump, then afterwards he said to them, “Ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” If the assembly does not feel itself in a state to do it, that places the brothers on their own responsibility, and if they call in other experienced brothers to help, it is all right, for the body is one; but it is the assembly that cuts off in order to purify itself, and this is of all importance; it is the essential part of discipline, and it may be that the labourers were not the most suitable people for that.

I have seen this tendency a little in France, and it does not place the assemblies before God in the consciousness of their own responsibility, which is most important. I think the assembly at —— has, at least tacitly, ratified the sentence pronounced, and that our poor brother has submitted himself to it. So much the better, it is not to weaken that that I write. What he has to do is to humble himself deeply before God, and also before the brethren, that his soul may be restored. It would be the worst sign if he sought to escape the judgment pronounced on account of its form: that would take away from me any hope in his case of a speedy restoration. I write as a general caution with respect to what appears to me important. What the brethren have to do now is to seek his restoration, but I mean by that a true restoration of his soul. I believe him sincere, and that his conscience has not lost its sensibility. But there is more than that in true repentance—to be before God as to the subject of what one has done, and the dishonour done to the name of our precious Lord. Seek to lead back his soul by this way. He will understand grace better afterwards if he returns thus, and the quicker the better; the heart becomes accustomed to estrangement.

Chicago, December, 1872.

* * * * *

[From the French.

* * * I begin by taking for granted what is admitted to be a common basis of action; that is, that every assembly of Christians gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the unity of His body, from the time it acts as the body, does so on its own responsibility to the Lord: as, for instance, when it performs an act of discipline or when it carries out all other things of that nature, as it also does when it receives in the name of the Lord Jesus those who come among them to take part at His table. Each assembly, in such a case, acts on its own initiative, and in its sphere in deciding matters purely local, but which have a bearing which extends to the whole church.

The spiritual men, who addict themselves to this work and are occupied with its details, before the case is brought before the assembly so that the consciences of all may be exercised in the case, may doubtless thoroughly explore the details with much profit and godly care. But if it comes to deciding anything apart from the assembly of the saints, even in the most ordinary things, their action would cease to be the assembly’s action and it ought to be disowned.

When such local matters are thus treated by an assembly, acting in its sphere as an assembly, all the other assemblies of the saints are bound, as being in the unity of the body, to recognise what has been done by taking for granted (unless the contrary is shewn) that everything has been carried out uprightly and in the fear of God in the name of the Lord. Heaven will, I am sure, recognise and ratify that holy action, and the Lord has said that it shall be so. (Matt, 18:18.)

It has often been said and acknowledged that discipline which consists in putting away from among yourselves (1 Cor. 5:13) ought to be the last means to which we should have recourse; and only when all patience and all grace have been exhausted and when allowing the evil a longer continuance, would be nothing else but a dishonour to the name of the Lord, and would practically associate the evil with Him, and with the profession of His name. On the other hand the discipline of putting away is always done with the view of restoring the person who has been subjected to it, and never to get rid of him. So it is in God’s ways with us. God has always in view the good of the soul, its restoration in fulness of joy and communion, and He never draws back His hand so long as this result remains unattained. Discipline, as God would have it, carried out in His fear, has the same thing in view, otherwise, it is not of God.

But whilst a local assembly exists actually in a personal responsibility of its own, and while its acts, if they are of God, bind the other assemblies, as in the unity of the one body, this fact does not do away with another which is of the highest importance, and which many seem to forget, namely, that the voices of brethren in other localities have liberty equally with those of the local brethren, to make themselves heard in their midst, when discussing the affairs of a meeting of the saints, although they are not locally members of that meeting. To deny this would, indeed, be a serious denial of the unity of the body of Christ.

And more than this, the conscience and moral condition of a local assembly may be such as to betray ignorance, or at least an imperfect comprehension of what is due to the glory of Christ and to Himself. All this renders the understanding so weak that there is no longer any spiritual power for discerning good and evil. Perhaps in an assembly, also, prejudices, haste, or indeed the bent of mind, and the influence of one or of many may lead the assembly’s judgment astray, and cause it to punish unjustly and do a serious wrong to a brother.

When such is the case, it is a real blessing that spiritual and wise men from other meetings should step in and seek to awaken the conscience of the assembly, as also, if they come at the request of the gathering or of those to whom the matter is the chief difficulty at the time. In such a case their stepping in far from being looked upon as an intrusion ought to be received and acknowledged in the name of the Lord. To act in any other way would surely be to sanction independency and to deny the unity of the body of Christ.

Nevertheless, those who come in and act thus ought not to act without the rest of the assembly, but with the conscience of all.

When an assembly has rejected every remonstrance, and refuses to accept the help and the judgment of other brethren, when patience has been exhausted, an assembly which has been in communion with it is justified in annulling its wrong act, and in accepting the person who was put out if they were mistaken as to him. But when we are driven to this extremity, the difficulty has become a question of the refusal of fellowship with the assembly which has acted wrongly, and which has thus of its own accord broken its fellowship with the rest of those who act in the unity of the body. Such measures can only be taken after much care and patience, in order that the conscience of all may go along with the action as being of God.

I call attention to these subjects because there might be a tendency to set up an independence of action in each local assembly by refusing to admit the intervention of those who being in fellowship might come from other places.

But all action, as I have acknowledged from the outset, primarily belongs to the local assembly.


* * * * *

Dear——,—I am most thankful you have got to work, and it seems to me you have to be very thankful to the Lord for His leading. For my own part, I bless God when He raises up labourers, and I believe if there were more devotedness gifts would be developed. Your working at your profession so as to supply current need seems a happy path too, making it secondary only to your work for the Lord, for the time is short. Do not let it hinder you in direct work. God will bring it to you as needed, or by His own will lead you from it to what is more important, winning and leading on souls in that which is eternal. I was very glad to get the news you sent me—always thankful to hear of the work…

My own work here has been a new one, and pretty much sowing, but with the comfort of seeing plainly the Lord’s dealing. It has been among Americans proper, that is, born. Some have come in here and there, but the work in the States was essentially among settlers; my present, among real Americans, God opening the way distinctly. Some new gatherings are formed, weak, but still a testimony, and wholly of such, and I have had large readings, and some lectures in various places. It is a work of patience, and grace and a plain gospel almost unknown or denied, and every kind of notion and excessive looseness as to doctrine and practice, so that honest people look down on churches, and many godly ones stand aloof, and other than scorners will say such things as, They are played out, from the miserable means to raise money, which is the great affair. Members and wealth are what the churches covet. Still there are doors open to truth, and I have been able in various places and circumstances to bring the whole truth before ministers and people, and they interested in it. I find the great thing is holding fast by the word, alleging it as a reply to every working of man’s mind and all the fictions of theology, as well as the gainsayings of heresy. And I have felt the Lord with me, going from one strange place to another, as the Lord opened the way.

This constant going to strangers is a trial to one of my age, but they are kind and hospitable enough as far as that goes. The weather has been trying, down to twenty-five degrees below zero, but that was nothing; now a thaw and fog. All round Kentucky they have pressed my staying or returning. I suppose some younger hand must undertake it. From the state of the churches, a turning the deliverance from Romans 7 to Romans 8 into a kind of Arminian perfection, making a will-o’-the-wisp of the word, is a common snare of the enemy, and some true souls have been snared by it; one has to be ready for everything, but the word is, only we have to use it with wisdom. But if the Lord is with me all is peace and joy; and all the poverty of man’s thoughts and theology has shewn me what deep thankfulness we ought to feel for the truth of the word, and being led by it is everything. But God is working evidently, and had been even by that which was opposed to us.

It is a comfort to be able to look to Him as loving the church, and confide the whole work to His faithful hand. Still we have to be hastening the coming of the day of God, urging on the salvation of the elect, and their readiness for His coming. Faith should pierce through and see the things that are not seen: things get their true value in another world, and faith when vivid sees them there. I know we are meant to walk by faith, and those moments in which things unseen are seen, and the Spirit sheds divine light on things that are, are not always there; but if vividly communicated they invigorate faith, and the word, proved on full vision, and shewing all things in that light, becomes a sure guide. Thus we walk steadily by faith.

I close. I fear there may be repetition, as I have written this at two or three times, when travelling about, and am holding three meetings a day. The Lord be with you in your work, and yet better in your soul, and keep your eyes looking straight forward. You will not regret serving Him in the end, only let it be Him, and by His grace and will that you may persevere.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Lexington, Kentucky, January 4th, 1873.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,— —— kindly let me know of the loss of your dear boy, and I write a line only to assure you and Mrs. —— of my unfeigned sympathy.

The Lord has seen good to lay His hand, dear brother, heavily upon you, but it is all in love. He would bring you close to Himself, and make this world more of a passage, and a wilderness; and such it is, for a saint who has a place in the Father’s house. “This is not your rest,” says a prophet, “because it is polluted.” What an honour! God has sanctified us to Himself, and cannot have us rest where He cannot; but the promise is left us of entering into His: but we need to be weaned from this world, to have our hearts there. He is working this with you. I have always felt that the first break in the family is more than all others. Our children are a kind of continued life to us, we live on in them. But when death first strikes a family, we find death has come in and has power where life was. It tells the tale that all here is smitten. But Christ has come in where death was, and given a life beyond it all. He calls us in gracious and tender love to live in that. He knows how to comfort—knows what death is far better than we do, because He is the resurrection and the life—has wept over it and suffered it; He will comfort you and Mrs. ——with a comfort which, if it feels for death, death cannot touch. Assure also——and all how much I feel the stroke that has fallen upon you. I trust it may be for deep blessing to them. Peace be with you.

January, 1873.

* * * * *

Beloved Brother,—I was very glad to get your letter, and though I have let a long time slip without answering it, it was not want of interest in its contents, nor failure in thinking of you, but I have a train of work which makes some letters, letters of leisure, where it is not necessity of answering, but just, on the contrary, interest in the work and in the labourer.

We go on through the toils of service, where as good in Christ it has to make its way, and make itself effectual by divine strength in the midst of evil and alienation from God, and, as to testimony, adapt itself to it. That was what was so beautiful in Christ. In heaven all is good. God is there, and only goodness and holiness, and nothing inconsistent with it. We cannot be simple, or want simplicity there, for God fills everything, and we and all are what He would have us. It is an infinite “I am” of good. But Christ was something else. He was divine good, and infinite, but good adapting itself, shewing itself infinite in being always itself, and yet adapting itself to all the wants, sorrows, miseries, sins, that were in this poor world. We get to God, get to the Father by it, because He has got to us. What a wonderful thought it is, to see Godhead emptying itself, thereby to prove itself love, as no angel could have known it—coming down as man even unto death, and to be made sin, that I might learn what God is in death, where sin had brought me; and absolute obedience in man, in what disobedience had brought us into; death, the way of life; the extreme of man in weakness—where (as to this world) it ended, the place where God is revealed and triumphant, and the power of Satan destroyed. But the Christian redeemed by this, and according to this, has to be this good, to express, walking in holiness, divine love in this world, by manifesting the life of Christ, and seeking the deliverance of souls.

What a calling! and what a privilege! But, oh, how we do shrink into self-judgment if we compare ourselves with Him! We have to do it sometimes. God (as you speak in your letter) passes us through it when needed. We know there is no good thing in us, but to know the working of evil, which we always need at the beginning, and sometimes by the way, is another thing—overwhelming sometimes, I do not mean as to doubting His love, but as occupying us with self-vileness, instead of with His blessed love and Himself. But it is really put away in Christ, and hence, when we have, in a certain sense (that is, as to the need of real uprightness of heart) adequately judged ourselves, all the flood of His grace flows in again, and we can think of Him, and not of ourselves. There are no shallows then, but they are there, and there is still the danger (until long and deeply exercised) of having to go through it again. And it is a terrible thing to think of turning the eye off Christ, and on to what is vile, for self is vile. It is this that marks the “fathers” in Christ. John has much additional to say to the “children” and “young men” when he repeats his warnings, but to the “fathers” he only says they “have known him that is from the beginning.” That was their characteristic existence. How blessed it is! Oh, that we could walk so as to keep ourselves in the love of God! It is not knowing the Father; that was the children’s place, the place of all, but Him that was “from the beginning”—Christ as manifested here.

I find the constant tendency even of work for the Lord, and an active mind, ever is to take us out of the presence of God, and nature is instantly up: I do not mean evil in the common sense, but what is not God, and the condition of my soul when God is there. There is a will and a right the heart claims (not wilfully), instead of adoring recipiency and lowliness, with confidence and trust of heart. For God present puts us in our place, and Himself in His place in our hearts; and what confidence that gives, and how self is gone in joy! Our great affair is to keep in His presence; and the diligent soul shall be made fat. He that seeks, finds. May the Lord give you and myself to labour on undistractedly. It is not, through grace, in vain in the Lord. He does not give me as (I am thankful to say) you, present encouragement—I have no doubt my fault, and His wisdom— but I am content to be anything in His hand, and thankful to be anything. A servant is to serve where he is set, and I have been a good deal (and content to be it, though my heart might desire more direct work sometimes) a “hewer of wood” and “drawer of water” to the saints, but thankful to be allowed to be anything. The Lord be abundantly with you.

Affectionately yours in Christ, etc.


* * * * *

* * * If our hearts are not close to Christ, we are apt to get weary in the way. All is a vain show around us; but that which is inside abides, and is true, being the life of Christ. All else goes! When-the heart gets hold of this fact, it becomes (as to things around) like one taken into a house to work for the day, who performs the duties well, but passes through, instead of living in the circumstances. To Israel the cloud came down, and they stayed; it lifted up, and on they went. It was all the same to them. Why? Because had they stayed when the cloud went on, they would not have had the Lord. One may be daily at the desk for fifty years, yet with Christ the desk is only the circumstance; it is doing God’s will, making manifest the savour of Christ, which is the simple and great thing. Whether I go or you go, I stay or you stay, may that one word be realised in each of us—“stedfast, immovable!” In whatever sphere, as matter of providence, we may be found, let the divine life be manifested—Christ manifested. This abides, all else changes, but the life remains and abides for ever, aye, for ever.

Not a single thing in which we have served Christ shall be forgotten. Lazy alas! we all are in service, but all shall come out that is real, and what is real is Christ in us, and this only. The appearance now may be very little—not much even in a religious view, but what is real will abide. Our hearts clinging closely to Christ, we shall sustain one another in the body of Christ. The love of Christ shall hold the whole together, Christ being everything, and we content to be nothing, helping one another, praying one for the other. I ask not the prayers of the saints, I reckon on them. The Lord keep us going on in simplicity, fulfilling as the hireling our day, till Christ shall come; and then “shall every man have praise of God” —praise of God! Be that our object, and may God knit all our hearts together thoroughly and eternally.


* * * * *

Dearest ——,—Assuredly repentance is needed, and there is no solid knowledge of the cross without it. The question for my mind is not exactly that, but how to preach it. We must have faith in the word to repent. What word? It was, with remission of sins, to be preached in Christ’s name. Christian repentance implies grace, I mean recognising grace in a measure. Repentance is for me practically—judgment of the past in the sense of grace. People may preach solely love and remission: this is not complete; there is what is defective in it. But where God works it produces repentance, but often calling for much ulterior deepening, sometimes through sorrow. But repentance may be preached legally as a preliminary, and then remission. But in this case grace is seldom fully known, because the base supposes man’s action preparing himself for it. Reaction against this has partly produced the revival preaching, where repentance is thrown into the shade. When God works He makes both meet. Repentance has to be preached, because there is God’s claim over man and man’s judgment of himself, but preached in Christ’s name, which carries grace with it. It is easy to put the just line on paper. In preaching, love to souls and living with God—and God’s love to souls, which involves necessarily His holiness—will alone give preaching its true character. I am sure, and it is evident, that conscience must be reached, or nothing is done. But that is power, and God’s power. Law itself may be used lawfully, when there is a reckless conscience, and with blessing; only grace and remission must go with it. But the cross convicts of sin, where really understood, more deeply than anything.

Yours affectionately in the Lord.

Montreal, March 14th, 1873.

* * * * *

Dear——,—I do not understand what people mean by being actually dead, seeing they are living at ——. But patience clearly is our part. It is not like a heresy: it is only an absurdity. If they hold the flesh to be really gone, then indeed it is a mischievous error. I should not have to reckon were I really dead, and the context makes it clear. “Reckon” (Rom.6:11) is the estimate I form according to faith of my condition and standing, the estimate of my faith, not a statement as to the state I am in; and this is equally true as to “alive.” But the statement here is not that I have life, but that I so account of myself. But when he adds, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies to obey it in the lusts thereof,” it is a plain testimony that it is not gone, or it would be a very poor conclusion— besides other passages, that “the flesh lusts against the Spirit,” and that “if we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves.” The “always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,” is assuredly the holding the flesh practically dead. The circumstances which tested it, delivered to death, are in the following verse.

They should explain what they mean by being actually dead, for to me it has no meaning at all. If it is merely that the motions of sin are not in activity, that may be the case. But if they think that the flesh is changed, and that sin is not there, they deceive themselves, and it always leads to self-confidence and self-esteem—one of the most mischievous fruits of the flesh. The Christian purifies himself, but does not reckon himself pure. The reckoning applies to the estimate of the two natures: do I say I am alive, I mean alive to God as born of the Spirit, if he refers to flesh, he does not own it as life, but reckons it dead. Besides it is seldom—never in words—said that the flesh is dead, but that I am. It is once said the body is dead because of sin, while actually it is not so, or our old man is crucified with Him, which actually it was not. If they say, “I am dead” is actually so, they are clearly talking nonsense. Exaggerated truth is always error, and leads to the denial of the real truth, and ceases necessarily to be experimental, for what is not true cannot be true in me.

I could not give my lecture again, for though the great truths are clear in my mind, what I actually said was what I was given at the moment.

Yours affectionately in Christ.

Boston, March 19th, 1873.

My dear Brother,—I quite agree with you as to kneeling, and do so unless standing up, so as to be heard when praying myself, and so do the brethren who are not used to American churches; indeed, all at prayer meetings. When close packed, it is sometimes more difficult, but my spirit goes wholly with you in it. I was myself the beginning of what the world calla Plymouth brethren, though we began in Dublin. The name Plymouth arose from the earliest publications which attracted attention issuing thence, and was so far harmless, as no human name was attached to them; one cannot help the world giving some. The great question is, what the word of God says… We do not meet on the ground of churches, but of the unity of the body of Christ, and membership of that one body. Membership of a church I do not find in scripture, nor a number of separate assemblies in one place (though as to mere locality they may be several, and meet in private houses, as at Jerusalem, but still be one assembly), and discipline in the church affects the standing of the person externally in the whole church of God. The great truth I find in scripture on this point is that the coming down of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost formed believers into one body, members of Christ, the Head in heaven. God’s assembly in each place represented this unity, undivided from all the rest, in that place. (See 1 Cor.—address of the Epistle.) The vital truth is the personal presence of the Holy Ghost, baptising into one body united to the Head. There is another character of the church, the habitation of God through the Spirit. The corruption of the dark ages has made the realisation of this more difficult, but has not altered the truth of the word. We have the promise which first led me to meet, that wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, He is in their midst, only it must be in the unity of the body.

Let me recur to a point I touched on when speaking with you. I do not doubt the Spirit of God is graciously working and rousing saints to the consciousness that something more earnest, more true, more what Christianity was at first, is to be looked for. In this feeling more undivided holiness of heart and life is justly looked for. Where this desire is not accompanied by the divinely given knowledge of the hopeless character of the flesh, illusion and consequent weakness accompanies the effort after it, or thought of receiving it. There is another work, another truth besides forgiveness, the consciousness that we have died in or with Christ (not merely that He has died for our sins) and in this the neck of self is broken. I know I am in Christ, and Christ in me: Christ is my place with God, not Adam: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” This is received in grace, and to me, then, to live is Christ; and I reckon myself dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is not simply being born of God, but, through the anointing of the Holy Ghost consequent on redemption, the consciousness of being in Christ and Christ in me—the state of Romans 8 in contrast with the state in chapter 7, which is a renewed but undelivered man still under the law. Now I ought always to walk and have every thought in the Spirit, and only so, but that does not change the nature of the flesh. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh”; but that does not change the lusts of the flesh. It lusts against the Spirit, “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”; its mind is enmity against God. I have ever the right to reckon myself dead; to have no thought but what comes from the Spirit. But as the flesh is lawless without law; breaks the law, is not subject to it, when law is there; rejects Christ when God is present in grace; so, even in him who has the Spirit, it lusts against it, and if a man has been in the third heaven, would, if not kept down, puff him up about it. I have no need to watch against it, if it be not always an evil thing. When this is lost, the truth of a new life from Christ is lost with it. It is not the old Adam reformed, which is our life, but the last Adam, Christ, is our life; and, He having died for us, we have a right to treat the flesh as dead—but that, because it is evil and unchanged in its nature, as what we have received in grace is pure and holy in itself, and I am to manifest only this, the life of Jesus in my mortal body: for this I must always bear about the cross. I will not go further, dear brother: I regretted missing you, but all is well. As I did, I write these few lines, and shall be glad to hear from you. Peace be with you, and the gracious and constant help of the blessed Lord.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Boston [date uncertain].

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Beloved ——,— … The Lord is working in the States, blessed be His name! That is evident. At——, though it was individual, yet continually fresh souls were coming in seeking the truth. But you have to wait on souls, so many deceived with emptiness and evil have run off into vain doctrines with which Satan lies in wait for them. One of the most interesting I had, began as a regular Thomasite, and is now thirsting after truth. Here I have chiefly to do with these unhappy Adventists. Though patience is needed, it is a place where the work is interesting, and our visit has encouraged dear——. I am content (of course I am) with the Lord’s will—blessed that He deigns to think of me—in not going by San Francisco to New Zealand; I have not quite given up New Zealand, but have no plan. I have work, and some chamber work to do in England.

As to the West Indies, Barbadoes goes on with considerable blessing: Demerara, a number in communion, I suppose over three hundred in four places, but rather dead. I thought Jamaica afforded a wide field when I was there, and the doors were open, it seemed to me. There are some three hundred in communion in five or six gatherings. Are you going there because you will find no evil? Eh! That you may give up. You must not fancy that others do not see the evils, nor that they do not feel them. But people may sink under them, instead of rising over them, through Him who is power in good. I do not want the evil neglected. I fear as to the world, habits of acquiescing in it coming in; but, my dear brother, if we live near enough to Christ we live for the church, not from it. It is, as I have often said, not by what we find, but by what we bring, that we can serve in Christianity. It is as much a question of trusting in the Lord as legalism. Living in the good with Him, you carry it in with you into the service and circumstances of the church. One sees when good comes. Now the Lord is working in the States—now evidently, all feel it—awakening souls to seek something better, and to feel that there are those who soberly seek, and in some respects have found in the word and sought in their walk something real. I am as anxious as can be that the brethren should walk faithfully. I see, and have seen, what has caused me deep sorrow. Alas! I have seen it in myself, where it should be deepest of all, but seeking, I can say, to walk with Him. I trust the Lord. You must not want the support of the walking well of the church. It is the greatest comfort, but you must be for Christ whatever the church needs. And that you can be by walking in the place which He would have you in, and looking to Him. for strength. I feel fully the comfort of quiet for communion, but we must think of others. If God calls you to local work, stick to it: remain more in a place. Do not let your natural spirits form your judgment as to what is around; you are not an augur, to learn what is going on by looking in the liver! Remember that Christ loves the church, nourishes and cherishes it as a man his own flesh. Adapt yourself in grace to people. Grace goes a great way where resistance to wilful evil is not called for. Would you in such state of things as Corinth have said to the people, Christ will confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ? “God is faithful, by whom ye were called,” etc. Yet they were in such a state that Paul would not go there; but why? To spare them. And if we are poor things compared with the devoted apostle, so much the more reason for serving in lowliness. You must watch lest self should put in its claim in such feelings: it always does, and does not say who it is, when we do not lean peacefully on Christ and trust in Him. It may come in in a worse way, but there is never much good in it. And there is this danger in its taking the form of judgment of evil, that it seems righteousness and jealousy for Christ. Only remember He governs God’s house. I would not—God forbid—weaken the jealousy. Quite the contrary. But let it not produce mistrust—mistrust in Christ’s grace. “Only be strong and of a good courage”—be so, said God (Joshua 1:9), “only be so,” say the people, and then… And see Isaiah 51:12, 13.

Here I have felt it has been a good time. There is a little gathering, many loose from all, but pretty loose with it—one of the difficulties in the States.

Affectionately yours.

Concord, 1873.

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[From the Italian.

* * * The work of God is going on in the United States; the conviction is extending that we possess something that they do not possess. Preachers, elders, etc., have come to Boston for the daily Bible readings. They acknowledge also that we understand the scriptures better than they do; they often oppose, but often defend, so that in some aspects brethren are entering on a new phase of work. Our whole work remains always the same, to present Christ and the truth, accomplished salvation, and His coming; but this makes the responsibility of brethren still greater. God is opening doors; but His power alone can work upon hearts, to make them walk with Christ, and give up the way of this world. But the movement in every way is remarkable. The Lord is about to come.

New York, April, 1873.

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My dear Brother,— … The question you put as to receiving is to me always a delicate one. The point is to conciliate sound discipline, and being wholly outside the camp, which is of increasing importance, and avoiding being a sect, which I should as anxiously do. Receiving all members of Christ’s body is not a sect clearly, and that is the principle on which I unite, but they must walk orderly and be under discipline, and not pretend to impose conditions on the church of God. If therefore they came claiming as a condition liberty to go elsewhere, I could not allow it because I know it is wrong, and the church of God cannot allow what is wrong. If it was ignorance, and they came bonâ fide in the spirit of unity, to that which is the symbol of unity, I should not reject them, because they had not in fact broken [with it], but I could not accept what made us part of the camp, nor any sort of claim to go to both, to be inside and outside. This is equally pretentious and dishonest… But I receive a person who comes in simplicity, with a good conscience, for the sake of spiritual communion, though they may not yet see clearly ecclesiastically; but the assembly is bound to exercise discipline as to them, and know their walk and purity of heart in coming whenever they do. They cannot come in and out just as they please, because the conscience of the assembly is engaged in the matter, and its duty to God, and to Him at whose Table they are. Looseness in this is more fatal than ever now. If a person practically says I will come to take a place in the body of Christ when I like, and go into sects and evil when I like for convenience or pleasure, that is not a pure heart. It is making their own will the rule of God’s assembly, and subjecting the assembly to it, and that cannot be—is clearly wrong. May the Lord’s grace and gracious keeping be with you all.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.


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[My dear Brother,—Thanks for your note. I shall of course read the correspondence the brethren send me, and thank them for doing so; and, the Lord willing, will write when I have read it. It is evident I ought to say nothing fully till then. But allow me to remark, that your note does not quite estimate the state of the case. Suppose we excommunicate a person here, and you receive him at S., it is evident you have denied us here as a body gathered in Christ’s name, and acting by His authority; for that is what discipline hangs upon. Further, the unity of the body is denied wholly. It is clear, if I have a part as faithful to Christ in excluding a person here, I cannot have one in another place in breaking bread with him there. Brethren united in the name of the Lord are not infallible, and remonstrance may be all right, but if a person is to be received in one place who is rejected in another, it is evident there is an end to unity and common action. I do not say that excommunication is the whole case; I only reply to the statement you make as to differing in judgment. If rejecting be anything, it is the church of God rejecting by the Lord’s authority some evil person from the church—for his good perhaps. If another set of Christians receive him, it is clear that they do not own the other body as acting under the Lord’s authority, nor their having acted as a church where the Holy Ghost is. In the truth of the case, if I am to speak of the case, you have rejected and cut off all the brethren in L. as an assembly. How could I hold with the rejection of a person here and his reception at S.? When deliberately done, it is evidently impossible. If I am out of communion with him here, and in communion with him there, the unity of the body is gone. And where is the authority of the Lord? not in both. Your act is distinctively a condemnation of the whole body in 50 as not acting under the Lord’s authority, and in a point which affects the communion of every person in it. The thing is plain enough—have you considered it?

Affectionately yours in Christ.

No persons, for example, who had been put out, or who had deliberately separated themselves from ——, would have been received here. They would have been separated from the unity of the body there, if we received you there as representing it, and would not be in that unity here.

London, December, 1863.

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To the same.]

My dear Brother,—I have received your letter, but not the pamphlet, which I shall carefully read when I shall have the opportunity. In my former letter I could only speak of general principles, as I had not the correspondence. I can still only refer to the contents of your letter, as I have not the pamphlet, which is not so easily forwarded as a letter. But your letter itself involves so many important principles that I answer in certain respects, though I have not the correspondence. I must avow to you that it does not furnish me much hope of any issue. I am sometimes surprised at the little apprehension brethren have of the bearing of their acts. You ask, Is it a bond of discipline that holds the body together? I answer, in practice undoubtedly. The unity of the body is in itself immutable. It is divinely maintained and for ever. But the manifested unity of the body here below is maintained by discipline, and cannot be without, though in secret it be God’s power which does so by its efficacious working. What has created Nationalism, that is, the dispersion of saints in a crowd of worldly professors, but the absence of discipline—of maintaining by it the sanctity of the Lord’s table? But, to come more directly to the shape in which this question applies to you; suppose you let in deliberately the Mormons, how can other assemblies walk with you? Are you to impose the reception of wickedness on all the church of God? Suppose you deliberately admit fornicators, are we to continue in unity? You will say, You have no right to suppose such things. I have a perfect right to judge a principle by plain strong cases, but I have chosen one here which has been publicly insisted on by a meeting standing on the principle you have adopted. Suppose you receive blasphemers and heretics, are we to remain united with you?

It is anxiously insisted on, in a tract published by Yapp, that no assembly can be defiled by receiving evil, but only the individuals who accept it. But your letters, as does that tract, make independent churches, each acting for itself. If this be the case, the unity which constituted the whole being of the brethren is wholly given up; that for which I left the Establishment is wholly gone. All this I reject wholly and absolutely. The circumstances I do not pretend to know, for I was in America; but if I have rightly gathered them,… you have judged the conduct of brethren in L. without having heard what they have to say. I understood the breach arose between you and —— by reason of your reception of——. With the main facts of his case I am acquainted, for I took part in what passed. And now allow me to put the case as it stands as to him; I put it merely as a principle. He (or any one else) is rejected in L. The assembly in L. have weighed (and I with them) the case, and count him either as excommunicated or in schism. I put the two cases, for I only speak of the principle. I take part in this act, and hold him to be outside the church of God on earth, being outside (in either case) what represents it in L. I am bound by scripture to count him so. I come to ——: there he breaks bread, and is—in what? Not in the church of God on earth, for he is out of it in L., and there are not two churches on earth, cannot be, so as to be in one and out of another. How can I refuse to eat with him in L., and break bread with him in——, have one conscience for L. and another for——; believe the Spirit judges one way at L., another way at——1 It is confusion and disorder…

But your letter apprises me that you have already taken the ground of neutrality; but neutrality between Christ and evil is worse than anything. “He that is not for me is against me,” says Christ. The evil at B. is the most unprincipled admission of blasphemers against Christ, the coldest contempt of Him I ever came across. All their efforts to excuse and hide it only make the matter worse. All who do not abhor the whole system and all connection with it are entangled and defiled. It is, I am satisfied, a mere net of Satan (though many Christians may be entangled in it). Every question of churches and of unity disappears before the question of B. It is a question of Christ. Faith governed my path as to it, but I have seen its fruits in America, the West Indies, France, Switzerland, and, in a measure, in India. I have seen it the spring and support everywhere of unprincipledness and evil, and all who were under its influence turned from uprightness and truth. I have found persons unknown to each other, and strangers to our conflicts in England, unite in testimony that they could get nothing honest from those who were connected with it, or who did not openly reject it all. Wherever the difficulty has been, persons going on badly, and in the flesh, were induced to fall in with it or follow in the line on which you have entered.

But before I go further on this point, allow me to recur to your letter. You say, Your arguments are without force if the acts of the L. brethren are not in accordance with the Lord’s will; they could not in that case be by His authority; and this it is which has been the question with us. Who is the judge of whether these acts were so or not? This only means that you at——consider yourselves competent to judge the brethren in L., though you were not there to know what passed, nor, allow me to think, have not in any way been fully informed of what took place. You must forgive me if I think this somewhat questionable. You will say, Are our consciences to be bound by the action of the brethren in L.? I answer, primâ facie, certainly, or there can be and is no common action. I admit remonstrances—and if it comes to an absolute necessity through deliberate wrong—breaking with a gathering, but slighting the judgment of another body in ordinary cases is denying its being competent to decide for Christ and with Christ, and asserting your own competency to judge it without being acquainted with what passed. You say, We have our own responsibilities to the Lord; others cannot measure them. What are you doing as to L.? You have set aside the judgment of L. as null and nought before the Lord. You do not say the individuals have not the Spirit, but you have rejected their corporate action. How can the two bodies get on together? You receive a person because he is in communion in L., that is, you own the body as a competent witness of Christ’s mind, without saying it is infallible. You own the body, its acts; you wish to be in communion with it; you must then recognise its other acts. I recognise the full liberty in you, as having also the Spirit as a part of Christ’s body, led to act by it, in remonstrating or enlightening, but not to disown it on your own authority, and then to pretend to own it still, and speak of being in communion with it.

But what you say as to Bethesda, though only, as I have said, what I expected, shews your position far more clearly. You must not deceive yourselves, dear brother; where Christ is in question there is no middle ground. You have separated yourselves from the brethren in the course you have taken; you think yourselves wiser than they. I have seen these pretensions elsewhere: I know their result. It is in vain to say you do not. If you did not, you would not act differently from them. You cannot remain alone, though you have really taken the position of an independent church. But the question is largely before the saints now, Is union founded on truth or not? The scripture tells me it is. You have abandoned that ground with the pretension to keep it better than others. You are not the first. I do not trust you to do so. You have given up your testimony against evil, but pretend to keep it out. I do not trust your pretension to do so. Here I must speak plainly, because it is not brethren but Christ who is in question. I see the worst and most ruinous effects springing up daily from what I judged in principle sixteen years ago. In this path you will soon be the active supporters of indifference to Christ’s glory, and covering and excusing the dishonour done to His name. I can easily suppose you will not believe me in this. I only answer, if you continue in it you shall see. I can only say I have seen enough to be content to be burned, with God’s grace, rather than enter into it. I am quite aware too these will count what I say as to B. a spirit of party and so forth. I let them say it; the Lord will judge all that, but I know for myself what I say, and why I say it…

I regret and mourn that you should think it a human rule to break with those who receive and countenance blasphemers, and seek to hush and cover it all up. To me what you call a human rule is the first obligation which rests on me as a Christian. Wisdom in discipline all may call in question; fidelity to Christ is at the root of all our conduct. Your letter produces the effect in me of your having become an independent church—so called. Of course I have no such principles, but what you say as to B. is the first step, and in fact, save God’s gracious hand, the whole way to the coldest contempt of Christ I ever came across…God will judge who has been faithful to Him, —— or those it condemns. Where that road leads I have no doubt. Satan is making a great effort at present to shake brethren as to these points, but this only makes me more firm.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.]

Pan, February 19th, 1864.

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Beloved Brother,—The ground taken by your dear son ——, is not I think a happy one. And what I mean is this. It is not exercise of conscience for himself, but reasoning for others; and finding in defect of argument, or supposed defect, the ground of putting them in the wrong, and even shewing that on their own principles they ought to go further. This is argument, not conscience and thought for Christ’s glory. Supposing it proves that they ought to go further, and that they are inconsistent, let them go further. It has nothing to do with its being right or not, but whether A. B. is consistent or not.

In many cases I judge they are inconsistent. Dear Bellett, who was thoroughly decided as to not admitting them, after sore trial of heart, was, from extreme kindliness of nature, and perhaps other mere human motives connected with his own personal character, in some cases inconsistent in this way, and felt on his death-bed it was wrong. I should make a difference between misleaders and misled. For the Lord’s table’s sake, they must not have a false flag, false to Christ. But in my personal conduct, though I could not have communion with them in religious things, as members of the same body, true christian kindness would seek to make them feel their false position. Yet I should make a great difference between such and those who, untrue to Christ, sought to pervert. “Of some have compassion … and others save with fear”: I see Satan’s work, and would fain deliver. Satan’s instruments are a horror to me, though even they may be delivered. If there is bonâ fide ignorance of facts—not wilful, (for some refuse to know, to save the trouble of having their consciences exercised—and they are not true to Christ) but bonâ fide ignorance, their conscience is not bad. If they had been connected in ignorance with leavened meetings, I should inquire and see if they were so in principle. If so, they are also false to Christ, they accept Christ and Belial going together; if they say no (if that is so, I should not walk with them on any account) I should not refuse them, only warning them that we knew things were so, and could not have communion with gatherings which were thus loose, and if they went back after warning, the case would be altered. What I look for is an honest and pure heart in the matter. Ignorance, when they have never had to say to Bethesda and her followers, is sufficient to preclude all further question: but ignorance alleged, when they have been counted with such gatherings, is saying that they do not know on what principle they were gathered, which may be, but which is strange; and at any rate they imbibe the spirit and tone of looseness, which is exactly opposite to all the scriptural directions for the last days.

All that is said of “ad infinitum” is merely the repetition of what we have too often heard, and has no real sense the moment the Church is known to be one. The question is, Does the person come from a place which has identified itself with the refusal to judge evil? It little matters to me how many steps a person is from the first who had the typhus fever in the country; five or fifty is all alike, if a man has got it. Evil is judged as evil wherever it is, and the argument is simply a denial of the church, and the unity of the body. If a gathering accepts fellowship with these one or fifty who have refused to maintain the glory of Christ, it is contaminated as such. —— would have left Bethesda; would he have gone to Bath or Dublin, in communion with B., and receiving persons from it, yea, because they were of it, and whose members went there? This was the real case we had. Where there was intercommunion, there was moral identity, cases of bonâ fide ignorance excepted. They have turned to independency to avoid the evident consequence themselves, as I stated to you; they have found the evil, and are now willing to exclude heresies; but I hear nothing of unity, so that there is no guarantee for security as to what others do, so that gatherings can be owned. If they are honest and faithful in this, the reason for excluding persons belonging to them might fail, but the gathering itself denies unity, and its responsibility as to connection with other gatherings, nor is there honest confession. They would not be bound by a discipline common to all; each person would have to be received by brethren individually; only belonging to a gathering thus faithful would not of itself be the ground of exclusion, their connection with others remaining to be inquired into. Only where they have been in communion with B. and those associated with it, one has alike a right and a duty to ask if they have given it up. If they refuse to say, they are not honest, and have not done so. They maintain this unholy liberty to do evil, and have not judged the evil in themselves. A person may be an active seducer from want of faithfulness as to Christ, or mislead; but the thing in question is Christ and principle. The making a difference between misleaders and mislead, has nothing to do with its not being a question of Christ and principle.

All this reasoning I find very sad. It tastes of B., and those who sustain it. In this country (Canada) we have acted on the principle of refusing those belonging to bodies who allowed heresies, having nothing to do with B., but denying the immortality of the soul; and the results have been blessing, and the state of things around us every way confirmed us in the need of faithfulness. I shall own no gathering once in connection with B. and its supporters, which had not given it up, nothing more simple; they are indeed formally inside the camp. I have already spoken of cases of ignorance, but if a person deliberately chose to continue in connection with loose principles, I could not own him; he has not a pure heart in his worship; it is a mercy to himself that he should learn it. It soon comes distinctly out, if there is faithfulness.

One of the most striking things in my late labour in the Western States has been, that everywhere by being faithful and holding to the Word, persons esteemed and active in union prayer meetings and the like, have professed themselves infidels, Sociniaus, deniers of the immortality of the soul, of the inspiration of the word of God, and the like. They were strange and trying scenes, but useful; but I felt I had the immense comfort of having only to bring forward scripture. It had not got so far in the loose gatherings everywhere, but it had got very far indeed; only many have been frightened, but those of the loose gatherings who came to this country are in full fellowship with this state of things, lead the meetings, etc. They have gone back into the camp just when the saints are called out of it. I know one of the nicest of them boasting that he had succeeded in contaminating a young saint, so that now he could not be received among us: the latter is now grown worldly and flourishing in the religious world. I seek to be separated to Christ from current evil, they will not. I never heard an argument on that side which was not for more or less tolerating evil. When forced they would leave it where it discredited then, but retain as much liberty as they could under the plea of charity: such a person’s conscience is not purged, he cannot but defile others if allowed.

A passage that gave me a clue on my first starting, was in that wonderful chapter, Jeremiah 15. “If thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return to thee, but return not thou unto them.” Take the epistles or chapters which refer to the last days, and see if in all, separation from evil be not what is pressed. Patience and grace are required, but no acceptance of evil. It is Christ, it is principle, it is faithfulness and obedience, which are in question: and we have acted on it in other cases than B. It is the great question: Is the church of God to confess and hold, to maintain the truth with Him that is holy, Him that is true? and then, whether there is one body formed upon the earth?

If a person comes from a gathering which has been connected with B., I am entitled and bound to ask him, Has it broken with it? If not, have you broken with it? If the person says no, I ask, How comes that? He may be ignorant, though it is very rare. I should say, We cannot walk with that gathering because it is unfaithful. If he says he prefers going with it as it is; he judges himself, he is unclean. If he says, I know nothing of the facts, I would tell him what was the principle of action, and sufficient of the facts to shew the application of the principle. If he honestly says, If the facts are so, I would not walk with them a moment, I am in a very great measure relieved. If he say, If it be so, I will not walk with them any more, I should be content. If he say, I had rather wait and inquire, one has only so to leave it. If he refuse to hear the facts or be informed, he has a bad conscience; he prefers walking loosely to taking a little trouble for Christ’s glory; his heart is unsound, as a man who would refuse to be examined by a priest for leprosy; he condemns himself. All this requires patience and toil of heart, but the grace of Christ is sufficient for us, and grace and quiet firmness as to evil, will meet its sure reward. A work of Satan has been going on, alleging that evil doctrine was no matter: people have been mixed up with it; I must know if they are clean where they have been, or I am accepting the evil as no matter. I do not expect to carry on the work of the Lord without Satan trying to throw difficulties in the way, but I do count on the blessed Lord’s faithfulness to be with us, and difficulties are a gain if that be the effect.

I accept the principle of grace fully, but grace which is not holiness is not God’s grace, and holiness is by truth. “Sanctify them by thy truth.” Thus saith “he that is holy, he that is true.” As regards ‘attached to life,’23 I know not if you have seen my second edition. I attach no value to the expression if I could find a better. The doctrine contained in it is vital. All He had taken on Him was attached to His life in that sense, that in laying it down the sin He bore in it was gone for ever; all He bore for us was gone in laying down that life. This is of all importance. C. objected to it. I said, Give me a better expression and I will readily accept it. He said, ‘Attached to His Person.’ I said, I do not believe you mean any harm, but that is an awful heresy, for His Person never changed, and He has it now. He admitted it would not do. I have found no better than that the sin which He took for us on Himself was gone with the life to which it attached. I do not myself believe it was really opposed on account of Christ, and when used to clear Newton, I being as bad, I said, Put us both out then. Do not at the expense of Christ use the heresy of one to defend another. And I added, Allow me to say if a servant is accused by another of stealing, and he says, I will prove you are as bad, I know he who retorts thus is a thief, and I will see about the other.

No tract has been more blessed. First, it recalled the heart to the sufferings of the blessed Lord; and secondly, N——’s statements had made people afraid of thinking that Christ suffered at all, to their great loss. And it restored the equilibrium, and quieted the spirits of saints. I would have withdrawn it for the sake of the two brethren who opposed, but that the truth of Christ’s suffering was denied. As to the connection of those sufferings with the Jews, I was no way surprised they should not understand it.

I still hope to see you, and have been informing myself as to ways of getting to New Zealand. It is easier, I believe, hence than from England.

Ever affectionately yours.


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17 “Is there any rule for distinguishing the occasions of its use for o{ti?”

18 “Having thus got life, we are afterwards sealed with the Spirit (Gal. 4:6); but according to Ephesians 1:13, this cannot be until we have believed in the gospel of our salvation, which I suppose would be,” etc., as above.

19 ‘How do you distinguish fully between Romans 6:11, and 2 Corinthians 4:10? the former what faith reckons us, and the latter practically carrying out death and resurrection. But suppose I give way to the flesh or sin… am I out of the former as well as the latter?’

20 ‘My difficulty arose from Ephesians 1, where the sealing follows the reference by the apostle to the gospel of their salvation. If he there makes the sealing consequent upon the reception of the gospel of their salvation, it is clear that it is upon the reception of more than the knowledge of forgiveness of sins, as salvation would, I suppose, include in result our complete deliverance… The “whom” would refer to Christ; but the gospel of your salvation being referred to seemed to convey more than merely faith in His Person or in Himself. Now in Galatians 4 the gift of the Spirit to us seems to be in virtue of our sonship, into which position we are brought by faith in Christ personally.’

21 ‘How would you distinguish the flesh in us from sin in us; are they one and the same thing? In Romans 8:3, “sin in the flesh,” “likeness of flesh of sin”—to what flesh is reference made?’

‘In Romans 6:11, can I be said to be only dead to sin while I am so reckoning myself?’

22 [Query: ‘As to the formula to be used in baptising? Some use Matthew 28:19; others baptise in the name of the Lord Jesus; another uses both the Matthew formula, and adding the name of the Lord Jesus.

23 [See “A man in Christ.” Collected Writings, vol. vii., p. 368.]