Section 7

* * * In Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female, so that abstractedly the prayers of and communion amongst sisters is in itself as valid as amongst brethren, and if in their right place He would be in the midst of two or three sisters as of two or three brethren.

But there is an order in the house of God, as to which we have passages in scripture, shewing there is a difference. Thus the woman’s head was to be covered when under the power of the Spirit. Men were to pray everywhere: women adorned with modest apparel, etc. Women were to keep silence in the assembly. This last passage shews that an assembly composed of women is not contemplated in scripture. I do not think if three women were cast upon a desert island, or in similar circumstances, it would preclude them for ever from taking the Lord’s supper; but it is evidently an extreme and exceptional act to be resorted to only in an extreme case, and acknowledging the special character of it, and relinquishing when not compelled to do it, and done with the utmost privacy if done at all, because there is no other means possible of enjoying the privilege. As a matter of order, it would annul itself (if done, save as a resource, where it was otherwise impossible) with discipline exercised by sisters, or by some other persons outside. I do not think scripture would recognise it as an assembly, so that while I should not dispute the fact that the Lord’s supper is partaken of, except in the impossibility of doing it in any other way it would not be according to the order of God’s house. Where other means of doing it exist, it is clearly disorder, because such sisters would be doing it apart from the assembly.

[Date unknown.]

Dear Sister,—Yes, doubtless, the loss of your dear daughter will be a sorrowful blow and a great gap in your family: but in one way or another I have for a long time accustomed myself to death in Christ; and as far as Christians are concerned, to my mind it comes with smiles—in itself a terrible thing, I fully own, but now a gain. God will have us in the perfect light. For Christ, because of us, the way of life was through death. It is not necessarily so for us, because death is completely overcome; but Christ, who has overcome, is there with us, if we have to take that way to get out of evil and defilement, to enter into the light and the perfect joy of His presence. If there is something that has not been settled with God, there may be a painful moment; for the soul must respond to the joy which is prepared for us.” But in itself death is only the unclothing of that which is mortal, and the passing of the soul into the light, into the presence of Jesus. One leaves that which is defiled and in disorder; what a joy that is! Later on, the body will be found again in power and in incorruptible and immortal glory: we have but to wait a little while.

Salute with much affection all your children. I feel truly for them the loss that they are about to sustain. Your dear daughter would have been the joy of any family where she might have been found; she is going to be the joy of that of Christ, for we are entitled to say this. It is a comfort for those who are still journeying here below. God prepares us for heaven by cutting little by little the ties that still attach us, as children of Adam, to earth. Christ takes the place of everything; and thus all goes on well, and for the better. May God deign to bless to the whole family this so real sorrow of heart, in which God ever good has mingled with the bitterness of the cup so much of that which is compassionately sparing and gracious.

I send this short letter26 for your daughter; I have been afraid it might be too long; but I feel sure that through the goodness of God she will enjoy this little word, reading it at leisure and when her strength allows of it. She will think of Christ and be refreshed. May God bless you, and make you feel His goodness even in this loss.

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Dear M.,—I would have much liked to see you once down here before your departure: but He who directs all things with perfect love has ordered it otherwise. You go to heaven before me. Death is not an accident that happens without the will of God; it has no more dominion over us; the risen One holds the keys of it. How immensely blessed to know that He has won a complete and final victory over death and over all that was against us, so that there is entire deliverance! We are delivered, save as to the body, out of the scene where evil has its power, and transported where the brightness of God’s countenance ever shines in love, where there is light and love only, where God fills the scene according to the favour that He bears to Christ as the One who has glorified Him in accomplishing redemption, according to the perfections which were shewn forth through that work. There was a needs be for God to be manifested in these perfections in answer to the work of Christ; it was due that He should respond to the work of Christ in love, in glory, in the expression of the delight that He found in it. The name of His God and Father in love was unfolded in all its splendour; “Thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.” He was “raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father.” He then declares that name to His brethren, and Christ praises Him in the midst of the congregation. This is where I wanted to bring you by these remarks that might otherwise appear somewhat abstract. All this favour shines upon you: what God has been for Christ as man, because Christ glorified God as regards sin that dishonoured Him—what God has been in bringing Christ into His presence in glory—that He is for you, who are the fruit of the travail of His soul. Think of that, dear sister. Moreover, Christ has become infinitely dear to us because of what He has done for us. He gave Himself because He loved unboundedly. There is nothing in Christ that is not yours; He cannot give more than Himself, and what a gift that is!

I wrote to you, some time ago, that it is in thinking of Him —of Himself—that one has joy. You are not a joyful Christian. I understand it, I know it: there is discipline in that. Christ has not had the place that He ought to have had in your soul. You see, I hide nothing from you. But that is not all: you have not confidence enough in His grace. Own all that might be a cloud between your soul and His love. You do it I know; but the grace, the deep perfect love of Jesus, the love which is above all our faults, and gave itself for all our sins, the love which took occasion of our very weaknesses to shew its own perfection —of it you do not think enough. That love divine but also personal of the Saviour will fill your heart; Jesus will fill it; and you will then be not only in peace but joyful. I attach more importance to peace than to joy. I should wish to see you habitually in a joy more deep than demonstrative; but if Jesus is in the bottom of your heart, that Jesus who has blotted out all trace of evil in us, in whom we live before God, then your joy will be deep. May it be so. Oh! that your heart may be filled with Jesus Himself, and with His love, and with the sense of His grace. He has saved you, He has washed you, He has become your life, in order that you may enjoy God. What could you have more than Himself? You can see His goodness in the peace that He gives you and in the way in which He surrounds you with such care and affection.

For me, it is only a member of the family going a little before where the whole family will soon dwell. Anywhere else one is only en passage. Soon all will be over for us. How blessed when every trace of that which has kept us bound in some way or other to this world of misery and evil will have completely disappeared, and when we find, ourselves in that light where all is perfect! Therefore trust yourself to His love. I repeat, that He has completely overcome all that is between us and the pure light, as He has perfectly blotted out in us all that did not suit that light. How good He is! What grace! And you are going to be with Him! How blessed! Rejoice therefore, dear sister; soon we shall all be there. Yet a little labour, and all will be over in the pure glory and in love. You go before us, and in heaven you will have to wait, while the others wait and fulfil their task upon earth. God be with you. May the presence of that faithful and all good Jesus sustain you and rejoice your heart. I trust that such a long letter will not have tired you. I could say many more things yet to you: soon you will know them better than I do; it is a great cause of joy and an immense grace. Peace be unto you. I ask God to bless you and that does good to one’s heart.

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Dear Sister,—So your dear daughter is already in heaven! I thank you, dear sister, for having given me these particulars. Not only did I love her very sincerely, but I also see in her so true a picture of the work of the Spirit in connection with her whole life. When I say true, I mean that it was not feelings only, such as friends reproduce to enhance the piety of a deceased person, but just what shews a genuine work of God, such as He produces in a soul, with the real experience of that soul. That is worth much more than a few artificial flowers spread over a grave. I feel indeed that the death of your dear daughter will make a great gap in her family, for you and for all. But God disposes of all, and He does all things well. And she is going to be laid, at least her mortal remains, by her father. Well, they will be raised together. We shall not go much before one another in leaving this world; we shall all be together, blessed be God, when we are raised from the dust. With pleasure I think of that dear brother, that he will awake where there is no care and no pain. He will be near his Saviour, then his daughter with him, and then all the rest, on whom the grave has closed and who have disappeared from this troubled scene. It seems to me that there is a certain change in my way of feeling touching those who die younger perhaps than I am. There was a time when I used to say to myself, Why, it ought to be your turn, since these go. Now I have more the sense of being dead, and of seeing them file off before me to reach the Lord’s presence—young or old, what matters it? And I remain here to serve, perhaps until the Lord comes, poor in service (I own), but giving my life to it, and to it alone. Immense privilege! if one only knew how to realise it, a privilege which makes us to be strangers everywhere, and that is, on the whole, a true gain even for the time being.


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* * * Our part is simple; to hold close by the Lord, and to do His will; all else is loss, and disappears. With Him all is blessing, and for ever, only now we have to go on by faith. It is a blessed thing, too, to be strangers where He was a stranger. Soon we shall be with Him in the house where no stranger comes —all are at home there.

I think our readings in Switzerland were blessed; several of those who were at the Nimes study were at them, and enjoyed and, I believe, profited by them greatly. We were more able to enter into the word than when at Nimes. Hearers came, too, considerably to the evening lectures. The need of something surely true and solid is felt. Everywhere it is felt that religious institutions axe breaking up. In Geneva the state has abolished ordination, and names the pastors. In Neuchatel the rather larger half of the National body has left the State, all having been left by law to their own consciences. The doctrine taught, however, is as bad as elsewhere. This kind of thing is going on everywhere, and felt to be going on by those who are in these systems, but they have no faith to act, trusting God. I believe our two months’ studies have been blessed. I feared when I got to Germany, my long disuse of the language would make my fitness for service more than doubtful, but when I got into the German atmosphere, it seemed to come back naturally, and many words I had forgotten came back to command. Of course I made mistakes, but not so as to in any way hinder my intercourse with the brethren, or my speaking m the assembly, for which I was thankful.

I am very thankful for the news of your last letters. It seems to me that God has especially manifested His power in Italy. Years ago I felt I could not go there to oppose what was in presence of the poor Roman Catholics, nor could I go with what was, and I laid it up with the Lord to abide His time, and if He had anything in which He could use me, He could keep it for me. I believe it is just going on right: founding in godliness, and though seemingly small in extent, it may spread hereafter, but the basis most important in such a country, is that evil be not allowed. The gracious Lord be with you.

Dillenberg, June, 1874.

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Dearest——,—Your letter reached me in Elberfeld. I have been in Italy, Switzerland; in both through mercy the work goes on well, small in Italy… In Switzerland there is blessing. But I was there almost entirely occupied with two months’ reading with labourers, as two years ago in France, which was blessed, as was this. Here there is a good deal of blessing, in some places remarkably so, but they are strong baptists, but simple-hearted. All things are so breaking up everywhere, so much infidelity, materialism, and church dissolution, that service here in Europe has a peculiar and urgent character… But I await God’s time for any service I can hope to do in it. He alone does the work—that I know, and He will watch over His own. Indeed He is working in a remarkable way… I expect, the Lord willing, to be in America; my place even is taken, somewhat later than I thought, but I have work in England, so it is all right. The States are my object.

As to New Zealand, I wait to see the Lord’s hand; were I young, I should think pretty surely of going there, but I shall be half way between seventy and eighty before I start for that country, and a year then is a long while, specially if I have anything to finish before I depart home to be no more seen, and the Lord be not come. But I find going home a sweet and happy thought, and the Lord is there. And what more can one ask save to occupy till He come, if that is to be the yet brighter way? Find out His will and do it, and all is bright. I find His word, I mean the account of Him, just now (though all is blessed and daily clearer, and Himself daily more precious) food till we get to Him. What a smash for poor——, I do not. Know how to think of it, but we must expect nothing in this world, and all these things pass for others, and the stream flows on, and God’s work goes on, and then we shall see what is—“the first-born among many brethren.” Peace be with you… A dear sister, a faithful labourer m Syria among the women, and who helped to open the door to ——, has just died, but was faithful and blessed to the end.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Siegen, Prussia, June, 1874.

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Dear——,—Only a word in reply to your letter as to your boys. It is of importance that boys growing up, though yours are somewhat young for this, should have companions: the heart grows with the body. Also it is important that they should have exercise. The important point is that their companions should be desirable ones: if they are strongly attached to such, mere companionship for games for exercise is not of much consequence—still always to be feared. If your boys have young friends enough to give zest to their walks and excursions, and any other things that are good for bodily and even mental development, it is enough, but young ones (not exactly children) must have opportunity to let their hearts out freely. It is of all importance; and salutary companionship of all moment. It is of the last importance for parents to get this through God’s mercy into a right channel.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Elberfeld, June 25th, 1874.

Dear ——,—Intercession27 is a general term, used even of the Holy Ghost in us (Rom. 8); but priesthood (in Hebrews) is with God, for mercy and grace to help in time of need: advocacy with the Father, to restore communion when we have sinned. You could not have it for sins in Hebrews, because the worshippers once purged have no more conscience of sins. This answers your three first questions save the end of the third; Why do we fall? Because it is part of the government of God to have us responsibly exercised, though not without grace sufficient for us and strength made perfect in weakness. But if we forget our weakness and dependence, we forget the grace too, and are in the way of a fall: see Peter’s case, and the Lord did not ask he might not be sifted; he wanted it. The evil is not in the fall, really grievous as that is, but in the state it manifests. God may allow it that we may learn this.

Washing the feet is in connection with the advocacy—we have dirtied them. “Save,” in Hebrews 7:25, is securing across the difficulties and dangers on to the end, as “if the righteous scarcely [movli", difficulty, across what brings ruin if [we are] not kept, as Noah, Lot] be saved.”

“Able to succour,” as in chapter 2:18, refers not to strength, chough of course it must be there, but experimental knowledge of the opposition, difficulties, trials, which are on the road, so that He could understand, be touched with them. The priest does represent us, “appear in the presence of God for us,” but that is before God, but He also obtains for us all needed grace and help, as regards the way down here. And learning our dependence, and to trust in God’s faithfulness is a great thing; man would be independent, and has to learn his relationship to God, or rather know himself and God in it. This has its importance as well as being perfectly accepted.

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

July, 1874.

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To the same.]

* * * I apprehend that both “the righteous” and “propitiation” (1 John 2:1, 2) intimate to us the double character of perfectness—actual state, and work—of Christ, as the basis on which advocacy is carried on to restore the soul. If any man sin, there is an unchangeable and accepted righteousness in Christ, and a perfect work which has been presented to God for our sins, and indeed in view of the whole world. So that neither the ground of our acceptance nor the putting away of our sins are in question for our access to God. It is a question of restoring, not of accepting the soul—both according to God’s glory. Our place and cleanness for it are that in respect of which, and according to which, advocacy is carried on, and that positively and negatively.

“He” (chap. 1:9) must, I think, apply to God here, from verse 5 dealing with God in His nature. But you will find God and Christ wonderfully put together as one object in this epistle. See chapter 2:23-3:3, and other passages. It is abstract, as all these passages, and applies to saint and sinner. There is a difference between God’s forgiveness in the sense of non-imputation according to Romans iv., and governmental forgiveness—for us the Father’s. Matthew 6:14, 15, as referring abstractedly to a state of soul might apply to both. But the difference is very real, because justifying forgiveness (unknown in the Old Testament) is complete once and for ever, as Hebrews 9, 10—“no more conscience of sins”; whereas fatherly forgiveness one may daily need. We are not exactly called to seek it, but to confess our sins and we get it. But confession applies to our starting-point also.

The Lord be with you in your work and in your soul. I trust the Lord has blessed the word round here, and cheered up the saints too by it.

Yours affectionately in the Lord.

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Dear ——,—I have no difficulty about printing more than writing, save that it takes the character of aggression; I have always refused it myself. My objection to the Baptist action is not that they act on “their consciences as to it: I would not seek to hinder them; but they have a feverish activity and propaganda about it, which is not Christ. And clearer views so set one on Paul’s ground—that he was not sent to baptize —and sets it in the background, that we lose our intelligent place when we propagate it.28

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

London, July 1st, 1874.

* * * The first principle commonly stated is that of obedience. My answer to this is an absolute denial of obedience to ordinances in Christianity. It is a mischievous anti-christian principle, called “subject to ordinances,” and deteriorates the whole character of a person’s Christianity. As regards baptism in particular, it is perfectly certain that according to scripture it is not a matter of obedience. The proof is this; when the eunuch of Candace comes to water he asks, “What does hinder me to be baptised?” an expression, which if it were obedience, could have no place. Further, the obedience of a heathen or a Jew to a christian precept when not yet within, not yet admitted among Christians, is an absurdity contrary to the whole nature and principle of Christianity. Another case shews evidently that the notion of obedience is foreign to baptism. Peter says, “Can any man forbid water … which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Both these cases prove that it was a privilege desired or conferred, and not an act of obedience—admission amongst Christians, the act of the baptiser on behalf of the assembly, not of the baptised. The truth is there is no command of Christ to be baptised—there was to baptise, and it could not be otherwise. Christ could not as to Christianity give a command to those without. If the man is within it is by baptism, so that there can be no command to be baptised. The importance of this is that it shews that the baptist system falsifies the whole nature of baptism. Hence the apostles were not baptised. They—the twelve, not Paul—were sent to baptise, to admit into God’s house. They could not be admitted.

I am aware that Baptists plead John’s baptism, but this is too gross a confession for me to dwell on it, because John’s baptism had no reference to death and resurrection—nay, was the opposite to it, for it proposed to receive Christ, and, as far as it went, that He should not therefore die at all. Of course, in fact this was impossible, but then those who had received this baptism were as Christians baptised over again. (Cf. Acts 19)

The next principle asserted by those who insist on re-baptising, is that baptism is the public confession that a man is already dead and risen again in Christ. This is entirely contrary also to scripture. Baptism is the doing the thing in sign, the declaration that it is not yet done, as far as man has to say it, or make confession, not that it is. “Arise,” says Ananias, “and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord”; not to be baptised in testimony that thy sins are washed away. Again, “Buried with him in baptism.” (Col. 2) “So many of us as were baptised unto Jesus Christ were baptised unto his death.” And so in every case. “As many of you as have been baptised unto Christ have put on Christ.” They were not baptised because they had already done it. None but those who are in principle Roman Catholics suppose that the work is done in it, but it is the sign of dying and rising again—not of being dead and risen. No sacrament is a sign or profession of what is done, but of the doing of it.

This leads me to another point—what baptism is to the being members of Christ’s body. This is another unscriptural fallacy. Baptism has, even as a sign, nothing to do with the unity of the body. “By one Spirit are we all baptised into one body” —not by water. The baptism of the Spirit is the seal of faith, as scripture repeatedly declares. “In whom after that ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” And if this was given, as in the case of Cornelius, they were baptised afterwards to be received amongst Christians. Baptism as a sign does not go beyond death and resurrection, and hence is individual. The church does not die—has nothing to do with it: it is taken out of death in Christ, and united to a Head in heaven by the Holy Ghost; but for this Christ mutt be ascended there. He sends down the Holy Ghost and forms the church. (See the end of Eph. 1) Of this unity the Lord’s supper is the sign, not Baptism. We are all one body, “for we are all partakers of that one loaf.” But here again it is not a sign that we have eaten His flesh and drunk His blood. We do so in figure, as we are one body inasmuch as we partake.

But baptism presents the doctrine that I, a living sinner, die to sin, and arise again to be accepted in Christ’s name, as alive unto God in the power of His resurrection, of that operation of God that raised Him from the dead, that this is the only way to be received before God. Hence by it we are received into the assembly on earth—the house builded on earth for a habitation of God—not into the body. In this we are looked at in scripture as seated in heavenly places in Him the Head. Hence Paul who was sent a minister of the church to complete the word of God was not sent to baptise. He accepted of course baptism as already established in the church of God, as (some Quakers excepted) I suppose every Christian does; but he had a special revelation as to the Lord’s supper which is directly connected as a sign with the unity of the body. The twelve who, though the church existed, had not ^his mission, but had been sent forth by Christ in connection with the kingdom— though subsequently as we know empowered by the Holy Ghost after the ascension of Christ, and that the church was formed by His descent—were sent to baptise, but before the ascension though after the resurrection, and continued to receive of course into the outward public body on earth by baptism, with no examination however as to the reality of faith. But men were openly received out of heathenism or Judaism among Christians, so that it became a public profession. But this mission was not a mission for believers’ baptism as it is called. They were sent to disciple all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

I am aware that it is said, But is it not said in Mark, “He that believeth and is baptised”?—I know it is, and something more, “shall be saved.” Now I do not in the least accuse Baptists of any want of honesty in suppressing this, which gives its whole sense and character to the phrase, but I do say that it does shew that their views of baptism obscure entirely their perception of the force of scripture. Why do they not quote it all? Do they deny that I, or other Jaelievers who are not re-baptised according to their ideas, are saved? They dare not, nor do they desire to say so, but then why do they quote the passage? They cannot use it because of their views of baptism. To say that a man’s obedience is to be added to his faith for salvation, is, save for a few extreme persons, too monstrous to be received. Whereas supposing, as it has happened to me, a Jew or a heathen is really convinced that Jesus is the Christ, and feels his own sins even, but says, ‘My mother is a pious Jewess; it would kill her if I were to be baptised,’ I say to him, I cannot recognise you as saved. It is not a poor obedience to an ordinance when already a Christian which is in question here, but a shrinking from being one.

It is in this sense of saving that baptism is referred to in Peter, which, though the expression be obscure, is clear enough as to the point we are upon—“the like figure whereunto baptism doth now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”—not the form of washing, of course: it must be real. It is a matter of a good conscience by the resurrection of Christ, but baptism is the sign of this, of dying and rising again in Him, so as to be on this ground before God. Can obedience to an ordinance save us, even in figure? We are before God on the ground of death and resurrection when baptised, and received into the house to be brought up and educated in divine life. Hence Christendom, and this is to me a very serious point, is judged as Christendom, and is in point of fact, till God finally judges it, the place of the habitation of the Holy Ghost. It is said, “But if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming … the lord of that servant” etc. He stands on the same ground as to his responsibility as the one made ruler of all his goods—is spoken of as the same servant. Baptism receives into the house. There was no other method of receiving into the house, and no one could be received but on the ground of Christ’s death and resurrection.

We have seen the scriptures never speak of baptising believers, nor any one, because they are dead and risen again in baptism. The question then is, as it is receiving grace, not man’s acts or obedience, is it the mind of scripture that children should be received or not? No flesh can be presented to God, or be received, but on the ground of death and resurrection: on that scripture is clear. This is in baptism. Is it then God’s mind that they should be received into the house where the Holy Ghost is, to be brought up by Him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; or left outside in the world, where the devil is prince and god? For there is this without and within, whatever confusion exists through man. Scripture is clear—“Of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Men say this was being received by Christ on earth. The kingdom of heaven was only at hand, and was only set up when Christ left the earth. Further, the question arose, Is the Christian to put away his heathen wife and children as among the Jews, because that, profaning him, the children were profane? No: grace was at work, and the heathen was sanctified (not holy, no more than the Jew was profane; he was only profaned and the children profane), and the children of the heathen women among the Jews were not. They are to be received, and then as within to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, which while without they could not be. Hence they receive precepts: “Children, obey your parents, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.”

Two things are added: What can the children do? and, What good does it do them? The children do nothing: grace acts towards them. No one is brought nigh by doing. Baptists may think so. Scripture speaks of grace. They are consecrated to Christ and brought to God, but as ordered with the sign of death and resurrection—the more significant because they have not yet actually sinned. The good done to them is that they are brought within, into the house where the Holy Ghost dwells, to be brought up, etc. I admit there is no commandment to baptise infants, nor is there to baptise believers, and there is no commandment to be baptised at all. But the Baptist notion of baptism, and all that he grounds on it, is unscriptural. And the scripture will have infants received. They that receive them receive Christ, and of such is the kingdom of heaven, and the child of a believing parent is holy. I do not doubt for a moment that children dying are received as saved into heaven. (See Matt, 18) It is monstrous to think they cannot be received by the church on earth. It is said, Why not give them the Lord’s supper? Because that is the symbol of the unity of the body, and they are not of that till baptised by the Holy Ghost.

I can only give a sketch of the great principles which the word of God furnishes to my mind, and all on which the Baptist views are founded seem to me to be contradicted by it; and the truth of what the great house is shews the mischievous character of it, as well as the way in which individuals are directed to ordinances from Christ, and the confusion which diverts from true separation or godliness within to the reception out of Judaism or heathenism without. In this point of view it seems to me practically deplorable.

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* * * The subject you refer to is one on which I so far unwillingly engage, that it is one which I feel is to be left entirely to individual consciences. If a person has never been baptised, clearly he ought to be; if he has, he cannot be again. The mere testimony—save as any honest sacrifice of self, in which sense it may be accompanied with felt blessing— is to me null, because, were I to be baptised to-morrow, no one would say I had become a Christian; they would merely say I was become a Baptist, or, at least, as it is expressed, that I saw baptism. At the first, it was a further testimony that one put on Christ, and bowed to the grace of the gospel.

In the first place, I am quite clear that the whole system of Baptists is wrong in principle from beginning to end, and in their idea of the import of the act. They speak of obedience; now, obedience to ordinances is setting aside the whole spirit and character of the gospel and of Christianity itself. In all cases it is unscriptural. Baptism, moreover, is the act of him that baptises, not of him that is baptised. He is received by it; he bows to it as the appointed way of his reception by the church; and this is what is suited to Christianity, which is grace that seeks and admits into the place of blessing—not the voluntary act of the person coming, though he is made willing: a voluntary act of obedience being the introduction of a sinner into grace, is contrary to the whole nature and spirit of Christianity, and christian thoughts in their fundamental character. Hence there is no command to be baptised, but to go and baptise; and this marked in a very signal manner, as the twelve apostles never were baptised with christian baptism (with John’s only, which has nothing to do with the matter), because, being an act of admission, they were sent to admit. Had it been one of obedience to a command, surely they would have been the first to do it; and who was, then, to baptise them? This shews its real character most clearly.

The whole adult baptism view falls before my mind, as utterly unscriptural and ill founded—scripture, moreover, in practice, never speaking of a testimony, but of a benefit conferred: “What doth hinder me to be baptised?” (the following verse, I apprehend, is not authentic scripture, though I doubt not in such a case very right, but not the then way of dealing, however), and “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptised, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Hence the question as to children is entirely changed. It is a simple question of who is to be received. All the arguments from the mere incapacity of the infant, have no weight. It is a question of grace, and whether the infant is to be brought into the place where the Holy Ghost dwells, or left in the world where Satan governs.

But before I turn to this—the one point with me—I would notice another principle of Baptists which is wholly false—that baptism is the expression of the state in which the individual already is. This, I apprehend, is wholly unscriptural. It is an external reception, it is true; but in its meaning, it is the reception or entrance, not the expression of a previous one. The believer is dead and risen with Christ; the reality of this is, of course, by living faith; but as to the further act, “as many of you as have been baptised unto Christ have put on Christ”—not witnessed our having previously put Him on: we have been baptised (it is really unto, and so always) into His death—not because we were there before: we are “buried with him by baptism into death”—“wherein, also, we are risen with him.” Baptism signifies, undoubtedly, death and resurrection, but it is then and there, as to the meaning of the form, we die and rise again. We enter into the church by dying and rising again. We enter into the outward visible body by that ordinance, which signifies our dying and rising again.

Now, as to the reception of children, Matthew 18 seems to me to have great force. The question is, Are children to be received by Christ? Is the kingdom of such? I am aware that He is giving them as the pattern of our spirit, but there was an actual infant there of whom He was speaking; and if it were a saintly person, who was as humble as a child, there would be no sense in saying, “it was not the will of your Father that one of these little ones should perish, for their angels,” etc. That is, it is the infant. This being, I think, clear, the passage becomes remarkable—“Of such is the kingdom.” They are spoken of as in the way of perishing, but that they are not to be rejected, because, as the shepherd saves a lost sheep, Christ is come to save that which was lost. (Matt, 18:11-14.) I refer to this, as defining the character of the persons admissible into the kingdom. As to the manner of admission, all are agreed.

But there is something much more positive than this. If a Jew married a Gentile, the wife was to be sent away and the children were to be rejected as “unclean,” and not admitted into the house of God by circumcision. This question arose when one parent was converted, and instead of the Jew being relatively profaned, though still a Jew, so that his child was unclean, the heathen or Jew was relatively sanctified, so that the child was holy—not intrinsically, of course, but relatively, so that he would be received among the people—“else were your children unclean, but now are they holy.” People have talked of their being legitimate, but this has nothing to do with it: the Jewish principle brought out in Nehemiah is perfectly clear. It is said, Why then not give them the Lord’s supper? The Lord’s supper is symbolic of the unity of the body, and it is by one Spirit we are baptised into one body; hence, I apprehend, it is he who is made really partaker of the Holy Ghost who can be properly partaker of the Lord’s supper. Now, I admit that there is no command for infants to be baptised: it would suppose a moral effect. But there is none for adults— there is to the apostles, to go and baptise the nations they had brought into discipleship: and households are spoken of in scripture. We know it was the habit and thought of those sent. I am told that Christianity is the opposite of this in its nature. This is true as regards individual salvation. But I do not think introduction into “the house” the same thing as that. If one parent be converted, they are, it seems to me, entitled to that, and unjustly deprived of it, if it is refused to them. This thought was soon lost, and individual salvation connected with it and the new birth.

As regards Acts 2, I think the passage is of moment as confirming the habits of Jewish thinking; for the Gentiles were in as those “afar off,” by sovereign grace, as far as God called them. But it did inspire the hopes of the Jews, that their children would partake of the benefit, and such was their thought. It is true, they rejected, as a nation, this testimony of the Holy Ghost, but I do not think that the remnant who did receive it would have let go the privilege as regards admission to the house in which the Holy Ghost dwelt; the result would shew itself independent of ordinances, where the operation of the Holy Ghost was manifest, and the liberty and understanding He gives to members of the body there; then they would enjoy the privileges belonging to members and to the unity of the body, according to the intelligence of faith, brought up, meanwhile, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and the precepts of the house addressed to them in their place. When the call of the Gentiles came in a new shape with Paul, and the unity of the body was made the basis of his ministry, nothing was professedly changed, and he preached still the kingdom, and said to the Jews still, “unto you first”; but while having people and households baptised, he speaks less of it and attaches less importance to it: the making it a matter of obedience never crosses his thoughts. Such I believe to be the true scriptural history of this subject.

But if any one thinks that he ought to be baptised, or that he has not been, surely he ought, or he will have his conscience ill at ease about it, and that is evil, no matter what the subject is, only he would do well to search the mind of God first. Obedience to an ordinance is, I am satisfied, wrong; and there is no command for it in scripture. It is not the act of the baptised nor a public testimony. All this I believe to be most unscriptural, and in its principles unchristian, though often most honestly done.

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* * * I regret the occupation of minds with baptism, and pressing it on others as is done. It is not Christ nor the church, but ordinances; and I judge it is a very great evil, always injuring the person who is so occupied. The person who spoke to you probably had been baptised as a child, and only meant that he had not been immersed as an adult. The ground they take, I am more than ever assured from scripture, is wholly false.

As to christening, it is the word which most truly expresses what baptism is—being made, as to outward position, a Christian. This, which your baptism as an infant did, no present immersion could possibly do. There would be no public introduction to Christendom of a man born of Adam—no becoming a Christian by profession. There would be what they call obedience, which is in the teeth of scripture, and the reputation of what they call “seeing baptism,” or adopting Baptist views, which are every way false—and that is all. To a scriptural judgment you cannot be baptised now, because you have been; for I affirm, according to scripture, baptism is just christening—that is, the introduction into Christianity, and nothing else. Every other view of it is unscriptural and false. I fear much the falsifying the position and testimony of brethren by the way some press it. It is simply confounding the house and the public profession with.xthe unity of the body of Christ. The public body exists, corrupted, no doubt, but exists, and to form it again by baptism is all false; it exists by baptism: and we are called to maintain the unity of the body, of which the Lord’s supper is the sign (not baptism); to follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. A testimony by baptism I should consider a false testimony, and should take no part in. If a person never had been baptised, it is irregular, and should be remedied, and if a person falsely fancies he has not, I respect his conscience; but his making a point of it tends always to disunion, not unity; and if this testimony were practically founded on it, I should leave it as a false one. Still, I have never meddled, nor should, with those who think they have not been and ought to be baptised, nor make their ignorance a reason for troubling them, as they trouble others by what I am perfectly satisfied is only ignorance. I am as satisfied as that I am sitting here writing, that all their views of baptism are utterly false and unscriptural. I repeat, the only true sense of baptism is what is expressed in the word christening. The great point now is maintaining the unity of the body separate from evil; with this, baptism has nothing to do. It is either public Christendom or christening which we have, or the badge of a sect.

What we have to look for is not subjection to ordinances… but spiritual mindedness (not sinking, as you say, into the quiet possession of mighty truths without the power of them) and unity of those who love the Lord. Baptism, so-called, helps neither, but the contrary… I only add, that your baptism, though in the midst of confusion, was bonâ fide, the same as your child’s. I was exercised in the same way; but I felt I was introduced, and meant to be introduced in good faith, into the church as a public profession in the world, and this is what baptism is—I was christened. The state of individuals in their souls has nothing to do with it. It is not communion in the unity of the body, which is by the Holy Ghost. I admit the same confusion in mere expression of the service, not of the baptism, that there is among Baptists; but the name christening just shews the justness of the appreciation of the rite and the true purpose of those concerned in it. In this the Establishment is right; the Baptists, according to scripture, clearly wrong.

The Lord bless you and your home. Seek, dear brother, that not the freshness of a soul just out of prison, but the deep and living power of a soul in constancy of communion with God, may be found in you, and pray for me and fellow-saints that it may be so. The Lord is working remarkably here; not now, in adding outwardly, but what I think more of, giving His word power in souls.

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* * * The first thing I must do is to set the principle of baptism on its right grounds. It is not obedience: obedience to an ordinance is unchristian ground altogether. Baptists have gone so far as to allege the Lord’s words, “Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” It is inconceivable that Christians should speak so—fulfilling righteousness by ordinances! It is Galatian doctrine—a denial of the first principles of truth for a sinner. Further, if John’s baptism had been submitted to, it is nothing as regards christian baptism. The twelve at Ephesus (Acts 19) were baptised as Christians after that. But more particularly, a command there was to baptise, not to be baptised; but this was not even to baptise believers, but to disciple the nations, baptising them—a commission which supposes Jerusalem and the Jews received—a commission which St. Paul declares was not given to him, who was appointed minister of the church. Not only so, but when we read how it was administered, we find the directest evidence that it was not a matter of obedience but of according a privilege—entrance into the professed external assembly of God on the earth. “What does hinder me to be baptised?” says the officer of Candace, a question which precludes the thought of obedience, and speaks of an admission which he counted a privilege: so with Cornelius —“Can any forbid water that these should not be baptised, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Hence, the first Christians gathered by the Lord during His life on earth (the disciples) who were baptised with the Holy Ghost, were never baptised: they were sent to baptise, and did. Paul was baptised, because he was received like any other. Thus the testimony is complete from holy scripture as to its character.

Next comes the question, Into what were they received? Not into the unity of the body, for then the twelve would not have been in it, nor is there ever a hint in scripture of baptism being into the unity of the body. It is a symbol of death and resurrection (for which reason John Baptist’s baptism was nothing for Christianity as such), the admission into the assembly gathered on the earth to the name of Christ; people were baptised to (never into) something—as to Moses (not into Moses) —it is the same word: so to Christ (not into Christ), and to His death (not into, here, either); and thus were individuals held figuratively to be on the professed ground of resurrection; but this was not the unity of the body; that was a real and essential thing, and came by another kind of baptism. “For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body,” not by water. The ordinance that symbolises this is the Lord’s supper, not baptism: for we are all one body, inasmuch as “we are all partakers of that one loaf.” The baptism of the Spirit, not baptism by water, is that by which we are baptised into the unity of the body.

Further, it is alleged that these ordinances are signs of the state of him who partakes of them—not of an object of his faith. This is entirely contrary to scripture. We are baptised to Christ’s death and raised in baptism—not baptised because we are dead and risen. It is objective: what is represented in baptism? I am figuratively buried into death and rise again, not as a witness that I am. The principle is false and mischievous. “Arise and be baptised, and wash away thy sins,” not because faith has washed away. It is the outward public sign of that whereto Christ’s death and resurrection are available, a witness of that—not that the person has availed himself of them: that may or may not be true. To receive of the Lord’s supper, I do not go because I have remembered Christ’s death, or have fed upon Him, but to remember Him there.

No one can read the statements of scripture and not see these statements of the Baptists are wholly contradicted by those of scripture. It remains, then, to inquire, who may be outwardly received into the public assembly of God on earth by men; God alone Himself in Christ being He who unites to the body. Now, when I turn to scripture, I find, when children were brought to Jesus (Matt. 19:14), that His reply to His objecting disciples is, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Now, I am told that this was merely the gracious kindness of Jesus then, and does not refer to our receiving them now, or merely to personal gracious reception now. The answer is evident. The kingdom of heaven was not set up then, but only at hand. It is not, “I will build my church,” but “the kingdom of heaven,” the keys of which (not of the church) were committed to Peter—and see the consequence. In Matthew 18 (and all these chapters from 16, the Lord is shewing the principles of what was coming in after His departure) we read, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” Mark that ground on which it is laid; was it only when He was on earth? Then note the parable. (Vers. 12, 13.) “Even so it is not the will of my Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” But we may not receive them. Though the Lord does not give the sign of this privilege by the death and resurrection of Christ (though He lays that privilege on the ground of His coming to save the lost), He tells me, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” How can I receive a sinner—and the little child is a sinner—in Christ’s name, but on the ground of death and resurrection? A Baptist tells me I am to receive him to God as a heathen—without the death and resurrection of Christ—because they have perverted the sense of baptism. I receive him on the ground, “The Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” The kingdom of heaven being of such, am I not to receive him on it in Christ’s name—or if in His name, not by death and resurrection into the kingdom of heaven? But more, I am positively assured they are holy when one parent is a Christian (not intrinsically, it is the outward reception on earth which is before us), and the passage applies directly to the point in question. If a Jew married a heathen he had profaned himself, the wife was profaned, and so the children and wife were to be put away; that was law. Grace came—one parent was counted a believer, the other not: were they to separate as the Jews ought to have done? No! The unbelieving was sanctified as the Jew was profaned—not holy more than the Jew was profane—and the children were holy just as the Jew’s children were profane. What was the consequence for the Jew’s child? He could not be received into the outward privileges of Judaism by circumcision—he was profane; the child of the Christian could—it was holy. It was thus a definite decision on the point; not upsetting the very nature of Christianity by giving a commandment contained in ordinances as Baptists would and do, but giving directions as to the principles on which we are to act. I am told “that an immense system of evil is built up by it. In the first place, if the sanctity of the Lord’s supper had been maintained, which is the unity of the body, and the place of discipline, this would not have been so; but, as far as the principle goes, the great house is contemplated in scripture, and does not cease till He judges it. It is His house in which the vessels to honour are. It is not the body, but it will be judged as His house, responsible as such. I receive, then, the children of a christian parent, all, if born bonâ fide and brought into the house where the Holy Spirit dwells, to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I receive them because Christ received them, and said that the kingdom of heaven, to be set up after His death, was of such, because they are holy. The precept, “Obey your parents in the Lord,” could not be given them without. If it receive them within, baptism is appointed by the Lord for it: it is not the Lord’s body; but they cannot be received but on the ground of Christ’s death and resurrection. The Father, I know, does receive as such.

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* * * In reference to the subject about which you inquired of me, I have first to ask a question. I know that there are in Strasbourg Baptists who belong to a system well known in Switzerland, which, however, is so bad—so morally bad—that I should not think of considering this secondary subject with you, concerning which, I am, with my whole heart, ready to leave every conscience free. Now, it is very possible that these Mülhausen Baptists belong to the same system as the Strasbourgers: with people who hold such doctrines I should never speak about baptism. A brother, however, just now tells me that the Mülhausen Baptists do not belong to the Strasbourgers.

I confess I would rather treat on any other subject than this of baptism. The great evil of their system is, that they occupy themselves with ordinances instead of with the Lord, and one is obliged to do the same when speaking of it. The subject has been discussed in all its bearings amongst the brethren assembled here, among whom there were brethren who had allowed themselves to be baptised, and who had left the Baptists; and no doubt the falsity of their system has been made very evident, even for those who, in my opinion, do not see clearly. I can only touch on the main points. The first is, that the Baptists’ system places Christendom outside the responsibility of Christianity as not forming part thereof: they consider them only as Gentiles who have not been received through baptism, though those who form Christendom are, according to them, not a part of the christian system, of which the true Christians form a part. This is of great importance, because thereby the position of Christendom, and the house, involving responsibility, are destroyed. In a great house there are vessels to honour and dishonour: they are both in the same great house. To this it will be replied, Am I then not called upon to leave it? It is impossible, for one has been received into it by baptism, and through the christian belief. I am not called to leave it, but to separate from the vessels of dishonour. From this point of view, Baptists entirely falsify the position of the Christians in the latter days; moreover, their principle makes baptism the bond of the unity of the body, and through this they are Baptists—that makes them Baptists—but this very principle is quite false, and contrary to scripture. The act of baptism is not the reception into the body of Christ; one may have been baptised a thousand times, and yet not be of this body. It (baptism) is not even the symbol of it. That which makes us members of the body of Christ is the baptism of the Holy Ghost: we are, through one Spirit, all baptised into one body. Of the body, the Lord’s supper is the symbol, and the participation of it the outward confession of unity: for as it is one bread, so we, being many, are one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread (loaf). Baptism is the sign of death and resurrection (or, rather, in the participation of it); he, therefore, who rests the oneness of the body on baptism, or intends through baptism to lead into the body of Christ, is quite wrong, and this is an important point.

Then, again, they take obedience as a basis, and subject us to an ordinance as duty of obedience. The principle of being required to obey an ordinance Christianity rejects, because it make3 an act of the outer man a condition for entering into the enjoyment of the privileges of grace… Baptism is a privilege granted, which admits into the number of the faithful and into the great house. According to the Baptists’ principle, the apostles ought not to have partaken of the Lord’s supper, for they had not been baptised; nor could they have been, for there was no one to baptise them. That would evidently be an absurdity, but according to the Baptists’ system, such an inference would be necessary. Again, they pretend the sacraments to be signs and seals of things received—a principle which is false. I do not partake of the Lord’s supper as a sign that I have eaten Christ, but I eat Him there—I drink there His blood in the sign. Moreover, the word is very precise—one is buried into death through baptism; so that their doctrine in reference to these precepts is quite false.

Lastly—and this is the worst—there is the way in which they occupy souls with a legal prescription of obedience, and engage their attention with an ordinance, instead of occupying them with Christ, which gives the soul a false direction as regards its whole state. It then (without knowing it) accepts a principle which breaks down Christianity in its foundation, like him who keeps days, but in a more serious case, because they make the oneness of the body to depend on it. St. Paul was not sent to baptise. I, for my part, feel convinced that the commission to the twelve was “to make disciples of all nations,” not a body of elect converts. Now, since this has been done (be it right or wrong), and they have been baptised, they (the Baptists) will not acknowledge it, and commence to re-baptise, or, rather, encourage Christians to do so, because they despise what was done. The difficulty now lies in this, that the Baptists who are sunk into subjection to ordinances necessarily conceal from themselves the ways of God—often, no doubt, dear children of God, to whom I, with my whole heart, allow liberty of conscience, as to him who only wants to eat herbs; but really to make ignorance and conformity to law the condition of the oneness of the body is a little too strong!

In the condition in which the church is, I easily yield to it, and one can only hope to protect souls through the details and precise statements of the word of God, leaving the conscience perfectly free; but a religious union in the so-called body of Christ (of the Baptists) which would exclude the apostles is a little too absurd!

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Dear Brother,—I must repeat what I said to you, that I have not the most distant wish to persuade any one on the subject of baptism. I believe it is a rite established at the beginning; but I was not sent to baptise, nor was Paul. (1 Cor. 1:17.) It was not abrogated. The circumstances of my own baptism, though done bond fide, and in the main with right intentions, were not such as I should wish, but I do not think it can be repeated. And while Paul gets a special revelation as to the Lord’s supper (1 Cor. 11:23-26), though already long instituted and in use (he being the minister of the church and the teacher of the unity of the body), he is not sent to baptise, which was the introduction into the outer circle of public position as a Christian. What is special to brethren, so called (for the foundation of salvation, even if made clearer, must in itself be the same everywhere, where it is true), is the presence of the Holy Ghost forming the unity of the body down here, and gathering saints into this unity out of the great baptised mass. If any such have never been baptised, I apprehend they ought to be, as Quakers, grown-up Baptists’ children, etc.

What I see in baptism is admission into the professing body or house. It has nothing to do with the body of Christ; hence, if one had received the Holy Ghost, as Cornelius, he had to be professedly introduced. (Acts 10:46-48.) God not only converts souls, giving eternal life, but has established a dwelling-place consequent on redemption, where His blessings are. So with Israel. He came and dwelt there. (Exo. 29:45, 46.) So “what advantage hath the Jew? Much every way.” He had the law and the covenants and the promises, and even Christ, as concerning the flesh. Not that all were Israel which were of Israel, but these blessings were distinctively theirs (Rom. 9:1-6), not amongst the heathen. So now, the Holy Ghost and all other christian blessings are found within the christian calling—not amongst heathens, not amongst Jews, not amongst Mahometans. The gospel may be carried to them, but christian blessings are not among them as such; they are among Christians: the basis of the truth is there. The state of things may be awfully corrupted, and is so, but till God judges it (like Judaism) it remains the place where His blessings are found. Baptism is the formal admission into this—it is christening. The person is received outwardly into the habitation of God, as set up in this world. (Eph. 2:22; 1 Tim. 3:15.)

It is the act of the baptiser, not of the baptised. The latter cannot do it for himself, he is outside, and cannot receive himself in. So it is written, “He commanded them to be baptised in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10:48.) Hence there is no trace of the one hundred and twenty being baptised at all. Where was the place they were to be received into? or who was to do it? They were made the place, and in this case the body too, by the descent of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:1-4.) It is not obedience; first, like the hundred and twenty, man could not obey; he cannot baptise himself: but more, Peter says, “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptised, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” and commanded them to be baptised. It was a privilege conferred. Who could refuse to receive them, seeing God had put this seal upon them? So with the Ethiopian—“here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptised.” You are aware probably that the verse following—that is, Acts 8:37—is not genuine, and has been foisted in, though long ago, by those who thought confession of faith needed. No such confession, or examination if it was with all the heart, was ever made in the apostolic times. The Lord did take care it should be pure at first—added such as should be saved (Acts 2:47), sealing them with the Holy Ghost. Nor is baptism the sign of what we have received. People are baptised to something, not because of their having it—to (not into) Christ’s death, to Moses, to John’s baptism, buried to death, to (it is the same word) the remission of sins. Hence it is always, “Arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins” (Acts 22:16), not because the sins have been: to Christ’s death, not because they have died: “The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us… by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 3:21.) Hence, when one entered believingly, he got the blessing, as far as forgiveness went, administratively here below, and was thereupon sealed by the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2) It is not a testimony to others (though it may turn to such) as the case of the Ethiopian shews, nor is it ever spoken of as such.

When I come to the history, it is very peculiar, as if God had meant to make us feel we were in the last days in a corrupt Christendom, not founding it. The only commission to baptise is to go and discipline the Gentiles (the command from Galilee with the remnant, not from the ascended Christ), baptising them, etc. There was no command to baptise the Jews nor known believers. I do not doubt they were baptised, and accept it as an apostolic fact. But this commission was never carried out. In Galatians 2, Paul having been expressly called and sent to the Gentiles (ver. 7), “to whom now I send thee” (Acts 26:17), the apostles at Jerusalem agree that he should take up this mission, and they go to the Jews, and so it was. They had stayed at Jerusalem when the assembly was scattered (Matt. 10:23), whether rightly I do not say, only God took care that unity should be preserved by Cornelius, and Acts 15.

The subject of baptism is death, as Romans 6 shews—that is, Christ’s death and partially resurrection in Colossians 2 perhaps, but other words are added there. The person enters into the christian circle (analogous to Israel) by it (see 1 Cor. 10), where the sacramental position is carefully distinguished from personal safety.

As regards children, my object is not to argue, but to shew the nature of baptism. I believe that 1 Corinthians 7:14 especially authorises it, not to speak of Mark 10:14. (Compare Matt, 18 and Eph. 6:1.) The boundaries of the assembly of God and the world have been so broken down and both intermingled, that the fact of the Holy Ghost being in the assembly (not in the individual here), and Satan in the world, is eclipsed by the state of things; but it was not so at the beginning, and the word of God abides. The question as to children is not are they converted, but are they to be left in the devil’s dominion, or brought where the Holy Ghost dwells, to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? But assuming it to be done bonâ fide, done according to the “one faith,” I should leave every person to his own conscience. It is sometimes argued, Why not give them the Lord’s supper too? The answer is simple, It is the sign of the unity of the body, and it is by one Spirit we are baptised into that. (1 Cor. 12:13.) The Lord’s supper gives the sign of that unity, as spoken of in Ephesians 4:4, as baptism of outward position in Ephesians 4:5.

The root of the question as to baptism is, Is it the act of the baptised individually, or reception into the public assembly? On this point scripture leaves no doubt on my mind. And, is there (besides individual conversion) a place or system which God has set up on earth where He dwells, and where His blessings are placed? which He set up right at first, and has been utterly corrupted, but which has to be owned in its responsibility and character until God judges it—just as the Lord called the temple His Father’s house, though it had been made a den of thieves. (Matt. 21:12, 13.)

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Dear Dr. ——,—I feel it is a great undertaking. Strange to say, I feel less horror of infidelity than of Popery. My tendency is to despise their reasonings, which always seem to me shallow and despicable morally. Still, I admit it is all right to meet them, and seek to guard, or, if possible, deliver souls; but this is very difficult, and sovereign grace, revealing what the soul does not know before as truth, has its own power on the soul. The false principle of all human philosophy is, that the powers of the mind of man are the measure of that which he can know or acquire. This is based on the utterly false thought that he cannot be acted on; that there is no superior power capable of acting on him; that susceptibility of impressions, or receptivity, is measured by active power, which is wholly false. And if the superior power be good, that receptivity is a surer way of truth than mental power, because will does not, per se, mix itself with it. Now, this thought of philosophy is merely the pride of self-importance, which will take itself, that is, its own mind, as the measure of everything. It is a departure from the subject state which is the only right creature state—the subjecta veritas quasi materia of Cicero, which must be false as to everything above us, and absolutely of God. It makes me the superior measure of everything which is supreme, which is morally despicable folly. And this is man’s mind always now as departed from God, because he is so departed; and philosophy, which may be entertaining as to what is subject to man, or even the investigation of faculties— though here man is capable of very little [and] as always, false; for if it leaves God out, its measure is false: if it bring Him in— it is religion—the principle is wholly changed; man receives, and does not give or measure. Hence the profound truth of the Lord’s remark—for He was the truth—“Whosoever receiveth not the kingdom of God as a little child, cannot enter therein.” This is so in the very nature of things.

But there is another point arising from your friend’s letter, ‘approaching the word of God under certain influences, such as christian education.’ Does he dream man does not undergo influences? He is always, and must be brought up, under some, and through his life they are acting—are there to act on him. Does he fancy his German associations have not acted on him? He told me these thoughts were working before. I do not doubt unbelief was. Where mind works it is always the case, for in itself it is always unbelief, because it is my mind away from God or against Him; but this is educated, nourished, pabulum supplied to it, by the questions and difficulties suggested. But a child always undergoes influences, is meant to do it; and if the influences are true and good, or, as far as they are, true and good, it is a great mercy. There are always, and even in manhood, influences—why, the very state of the atmosphere affects my mind—acting on us. They cannot give true, that is, divine faith, but they remove or anticipate obstacles, and put me, without a positive hindrance from false influences, or natural working of unbelief, in presence of revelation. My conscience and His work have to do with one another, as if God spoke there; and if He has spoken there that is a great mercy. It is not divine faith, but it puts me with right human thoughts—rather with conscience instead of thoughts—in presence of the object of faith; and conscience only (and the heart) is receptive of divine truth; not mind, because mind actively judges, and that in its nature puts God out of His place. Conscience may so far give me a right thought of God, for it holds out to me evil and good—good so far as the nature (not the rule) of the faculty goes, and that is like God. “The man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.” But the moment man begins to reason therefrom he is in error, because be cannot measure God rightly, for He is supreme, and man subject. Conscience refers to Him as above it, as under obligation mind does not, cannot. It has things subject, quasi materia, and is at once false, for God is above us, not subject, and if subject, not God. The word of God acts on conscience which is in man, and allows no reasoning—judges man, is not judged by him—must take that ground if it be God’s word, or it would not be in its place—may reason in grace, and does, for God is love, and shews Himself so, but never gives up His claim—it would not be grace or truth; but there is no rest except in conscience, for there the true relationship is established. “Come, see a man that told me all that ever I did,” gave intelligence to the woman, and that only. “Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.” The word of the Convincer of conscience has, all of it, divine authority over the soul. It is not, You have now told the truth, but, You are a prophet. So it always is.

As to your friend—mine too, if he will allow me—he speaks of the particular passage acting. He does not know yet, because it has not acted, and his will has not bowed to God. Conscience, reached with adverse will, gnashes with its teeth—does not repel the particular word, but stones the object of it. Conscience reached and will bowed, bows to God and His word—may inquire as to the details, if all be genuinely so, but believes God has spoken in men and in His Son, and bows to the revelation given. It is a state of soul, not a subject settled—a state of soul flowing from the power of the word brought home to the conscience by the Spirit of God. He says, I am receiving the Bible because of what it says, not what it says because it says it. He is a little mistaken, because there is still the power of early influences—a very gracious provision of God, as I have said; but it is another thing. My answer is, he cannot tell what the effect will be of this reception by simple faith of the revelation of God; till he has so received it, he is reasoning without knowing what the effect will be; but his reasoning is wrong, as is evident, because if he receives the Bible because of what it says, that is, as a revelation of God, he must then receive what it says because it says it, unless he make God a liar. But this reasoning I well know will not give him faith. He says it is only the particular passage which he receives which acts on him. I assume he cannot tell till he has. In fact, it is never so, because the speaker or vessel is authenticated by it. I may fairly inquire whether such or such are really His words, but He had authority in the revelation He has given and in the Christ who is revealed. I may detect an interpolation in my father’s will, but that does not destroy its authority by which I inherit his estate, once it is owned his will. And God’s providence has watched around His word, with His saving grace behind it, though man’s mischief has been there as in everything which was left to his responsibility, as everything religiously has.

To a spiritually intelligent mind, the word of God carries an authority beyond all cavils; and a poor, unintelligent man would pass over what is contrary to the mind generated by it, as evidently false, or as unable to understand it, so that he escapes what is false inserted by men in it. They shall be all taught of God; and when the conscience is reached, and the will subject, and therefore the mind silent, we have the peace which certainty gives (and uncertainty as to what is all-important is misery), and blessed growth in what God Himself has revealed for divine blessing and joy. I do not receive the Bible, that is, a revelation of God from the hands of men. I receive paper and ink. The revelation I receive from God directly—“They shall be all taught of God.” The revelation is a divinely-wrought conviction, and, I repeat, in the conscience. I know I have done what is wrong: your friend knows it of himself; he knows he is responsible to God. Where is what meets it? The Holy Ghost always produces a want when He acts—answers the want in Christ revealed in the word, but produces one always. This brought Nicodemus by night, when his mind was exactly on the same ground as the others, who got nothing. There was all the difference: thus it always is.

I hope the will of our friend is not wrong, though it may not have bowed; and hence he should be treated with all kindness and. patience. He has been mischievously set wrong in his mind. It is possible the grace of Christianity, and his need of that grace may, as acting upon another part of his soul, clear away the mists which surround it. The population of England could hardly clear away two inches of snow—the sun arises and it is gone.

Yours sincerely in the Lord.

London [1874].

* * * * *

Dearest Brother,— … When we have settled we are going Home, we have to wait here till He calls. He may keep us for service if He do not take us to rest. It is this dear Bellett would not hear of: I suppose his time was come. We are His, not our own, and it is a privilege to serve, if better to be gone. I find it a good thing to think of going, and feel my life depends on Him—not simply on age. The old Psalm version says, “Tarry thou the Lord’s leisure, be strong, and he shall stablish thy heart.” Some have to wait [as] in His hands; and as service is a privilege from Him, so the work is done by Him, but we ought to work from Himself. I have not felt any such call to work this time in London, though I have gone on—more entering into scripture latterly than ever, yet not a bit of it, directly at any rate, for use in speaking. I have been working up a little in case I go home and be no more seen. Much peace be with you.

Affectionately yours.

London, July 24th, 1874.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I was very glad to get your letter, and hear something of you, and most glad to hear you were getting on happily at ——. It is a comfort too that these converts stand fast. It is a great thing in these days, though I console myself sometimes with the thought, that the Lord looks to one out of four bringing forth fruit… The interest in the word and the desire to hear seems general, and more striking as in the midst of the infidelity and superstition which lifts up its head so boldly: but the Lord is above it all.

As to my movements: as at present, my departure would be on August 11th, at Liverpool. I may have a week before to visit on the way. I am not going to Canada, but to the States, though attached to the brethren in Canada from having early laboured among them: they are in the ordinary stream now, launched and the crew on board, proportionately a fair supply of labourers, and blessing. In the States it is really only in my last two visits that anything really American began, and the doors are very open; so, despite my age, I go out there again, though I crave quiet here a little, and a clear testimony is needed.

On the Continent we have much to be thankful for; there is generally progress, in some places a good deal, while all around is breaking up; and in parts of France where they were somewhat asleep, they are rousing up a little. The breaking up is extraordinary. In Geneva the State has abolished the ordination of pastors…

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

London, 1874.

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[Dear Brother,—I should not say, ‘is put away from the table,’29 but ‘if no longer in communion with us’; he has left you, and you cannot put him away. But I should not in the least avoid saying that we meet around the Lord’s table. I could not own sectarian tables as the Lord’s table with the light I have; but saints who may honestly think us in disorder go to it as such, and I do not doubt enjoy individual communion with the Lord.

The “Lord’s table” is used simply as a title of Christ in contrast with devils. In itself a title of authority, it has nothing whatever to do with communion: where communion is spoken of it is not used, or, that I am aware of, is Lord of an assembly a scriptural idea. He is either Lord absolutely, or of individual servants.

To call tables of Nationals, or sects, tables of devils is a simple absurdity, in defiance of plain language of scripture. I could not go to them; but what “devils” means is distinctly stated in scripture, and means nothing but the gods of the heathen, and is a reference to Deuteronomy 32:17, “they offered to devils, and not to God” to refer this to Baptists or Independents is a gross abuse. The apostle speaks of communion with devils (in idol temples) and heathen sacrifices, and nothing else, and to apply this to wrong ecclesiastical principles, where the Lord is owned as the only object, is trifling with scripture and nonsense in itself.

Saying that all professing Christians are of the church of God may be questioned. The church of God is employed in two senses—or better, two things are spoken of the assembly—one, that it is the body of Christ; of this all professors were not, so soon as false brethren crept in; it is also the habitation of God through the Spirit, the house of the living God, and in this hay, wood and stubble may be built in, and professors are of or in the house. It is not true if we speak of the body, though they take the place; it is true if we speak of the house.

As to the fifth question, I do not doubt that a Christian bolding he stands for acceptance in Christ’s imputed righteousness may be quite sound as to the nature of Christ. I have known most true and beloved saints who were muddy on the point —though I think they lose a great deal. We must not impute even true consequences of a doctrine to the persons who hold it —it may be if they saw the consequences they would give it up: we may use them to shew the doctrine false, seeing it leads to such.

As to “communion of the body of Christ,” in verse 16 it is the body of the Lord, as in the same verse the blood, but the other is closely connected with it. What the apostle is speaking of is that the priests in eating of the altar were identified with it—the heathen, of what was offered there, identified with the idol—had koinwniva not merely mevtoco", nor partook, but were morally completely associated with it, hence with demons: so Christians with Christ. But then if all were associated with the body of Christ, they were with one another, and only one body themselves. It was included in it, but verse 16 refers expressly to the body of Christ; verse 17 shews the other, our unity in one body, to be included in it.

I have only to add, dear brother, have patience and grace; a servant of the Lord must not strive. I know by my own experience how difficult it is. Without the most distant thought of an unkind feeling, we are not always gentle to all men. We have just been over all this ground here, and have had it out pretty (perhaps I might say, very) clear, and in full and happy unity. May it be so with you too. Our meeting has gone on, I trust, with real comfort in the Lord’s presence—most of the Irish labourers, and a few English, with the local brethren in the evening, but no sisters and no lectures; all which, I feel, is much more to the purpose. I have, of course, little time at such a moment, and a heavy correspondence too, but I believe I have answered all your questions. You should read the passage in 1 Corinthians 10.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.]

Belfast, August, 1871.

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* * * As to your question, it was up in——at the Tuesday labourers’ meeting, and there was a unanimous feeling in it as to the substance of the matter. Technically perhaps you cannot put a person out who has withdrawn, but this is a mere question of the form of words: he ought to be out by the judgment of the assembly as well as by his own act. In the ——case they had excommunicated him after his withdrawal. I might have said, Such a person having withdrawn under a charge of sin (where investigation was refused by him and the guilt was not proved) is out of communion till the matter be cleared up before God. If, as in this case, guardedness was not needed, as the guilt was proved, it needed but to say, Such an one having withdrawn when guilty of sin clearly proved, is out of communion, and can only be restored on fresh repentance.

It is absolutely necessary in such a case that the judgment of the assembly should be clearly pronounced, otherwise the assembly has not judged known sin to the Lord’s dishonour. Nor is that all; the person might march in without the assembly’s having any right to refuse him, as he marched out. The form of words is not to me material. What is essential to me is that he should be out by the judgment of the assembly as well as by his own act. Or the assembly is passing over sin known in its bosom. I have known many cases where a person being charged with sin has declined coming any more, but it is always dealt with. Even if they deliberately withdrew to join other churches, it has been noticed after visiting, etc., so that it was known to be deliberate. There was a time in —— of a kind of revival-working when people did not come for a long while, and it was unnoticed, but it was felt (and it was only through neglect and not being noticed in the immense number)—but it was felt that this could not be. They had never formally withdrawn.

In this case it was worse, because he withdrew on purpose to hide it, though in vain. Only he had taken counsel of others, so that modifies his act—but why did he do so? I do not see the wrong of this in the first instance, save that in these cases they are bound to see after the person, know why, and if it is deliberate, and even then give it out. Otherwise he might sin and run riot, and come back, having never been put out—why should he not? Had this been done, it would only have remained to say that it was alas! discovered it was by occasion of positive sin, which confirmed the judgment that he was outside, …

Auburn, Maine, September 7th, 1874.

* * * * *

[From the French.

Beloved Brother,—Your letter contains two questions to which I ought to have replied sooner. First, when a brother excommunicated by the assembly, and who lives elsewhere, seeks to be brought in again, it is for the assembly in the place where he seeks restoration to judge of his state at the time he seeks it. It is there naturally that that state will shew itself. But it is suitable, as you say, that the assembly in which he seeks to be re-admitted, should put itself in communication with that from which he was put out. It may know of many things that ought to be settled, and that the other is ignorant of; then too community of interest and the unity of Spirit are maintained by this means.

As to the second question; the Roman empire may be in possession of the countries you speak of, at least, of the land of the king of the south—not, as far as I believe, of the land of the king of the north; but the body of the Roman empire is found in the west of Europe. Palestine will be the centre of the conflict. There will be Gog on one side and the Beast on the other.

Salute the brethren affectionately.


* * * * *

[From the French.

Very dear Brother,—I was very glad to have tidings, and to see your name at the end of the page. I trust God is keeping you very near Himself, and that He maintains the freshness of His grace and love in your soul. We need to be constantly renewed; without that, spiritual energy does not keep up— “they shall renew their strength,” it is said, “like eagles.” And it is not progress in knowledge that effects that; although this is profitable for teaching Christians, and even for rendering, the gospel which we preach more pure: what is of moment is the keeping of oneself near God. There love mamtams itself and grows—His love in our souls, which finds its activity and comfort in exercising itself towards poor sinners and towards the saints: one seeks the glory of the Lord in them, and their own well-being. God gives you to enjoy Himself; but God reveals Himself not only as infinite blessedness in Himself—but also in the activities of His love in which He finds His delight. And when His love is shed abroad in our hearts we enjoy assuredly what He is, but this love is active towards us by His grace. Activity, unless renewing itself in communion with Him, may be sincere, but will degenerate into routine and into a habit of acting, and is even dangerous; the soul gets far from God without knowing it. But abiding in His love in Jesus and His word abiding in us, we can count on an answer to the requests we address to Him in our hearts.

Here I do not see much movement in souls: what there is does not turn away from human ways in the christian path, and presses them to activity in doctrines not scriptural. But there is not activity in the gospel among brethren. They walk very well. There is not any gift; but in general there is a good deal of movement and need in this vast country, and even conversions are not wanting. The state of the churches is scandalous indeed: pious souls groan, but where are instruments to be found to guide them in the good way? God has raised up a few, several ministers even have left their systems, but it is a drop of water in the wide sea, and there is a great effort to keep souls in the various systems while taking advantage of the light which brethren have and preaching their doctrines. They do not even conceal it. One of the most active who has visited Europe told ministers that they could not keep up with the brethren unless they read their books, but he was doing everything he could to prevent souls leaving their various systems called churches. It is a new wile of the enemy. Thank God, that does not discourage me. I have seen that God is above all that; but it is an additional difficulty. If there is activity of grace with brethren, it is another victory to carry off. He also tries to hold them by presenting a false perfection as an object to attain to, which is none at all, where Christ the precious Saviour is so terribly veiled.

I had to stop. I had a very good meeting last evening, and some strangers came to hear. I do not doubt that if a gift were exercised here in a continuous way there would be blessing. But the harvest is great and the labourers few: we know where we have to go to have them—may God give us to do it with faith! Study the Bible, dear brother, with prayer. Seek the Lord there, and not knowledge—that will come too; but the heart is well directed in seeking the Lord: the eye is single, and then the whole body is full of light. Greet affectionately all the brethren. My earnest desire is that they may be near the Lord, and the Lord very neat them—not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of their mind. Christ is all: the more one travels on down here in His ways, the more one feels it. Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Boston, September 27th, 1874.

My dear——,—One thing that you relate gave me much to think of, as indeed it has been a subject of thought pretty often for a long while, nor am I sure that I have the Lord’s mind clear upon it. I think evangelising the greatest privilege of any in respect of gifts, though I am not an evangelist, only when I can, do the work of one as, well as I can. That is not my difficulty, but what you say: that the evangelisation has enfeebled the teaching the saints. The gifts are clearly distinct, but I do not see that one should enfeeble the other. Paul assuredly evangelised, and as surely taught, and taught in evangelising: witness the Thessalonians: and if he did not look for, he certainly found, present fruit. He distinguishes being a minister of the gospel and a minister of the church, to fulfil (complete) the word of God. This is not in the Thessalonians: all is personal, not corporate. We must be with God for each, as called of Him to it; and then I do not see why power should not be for both. But a certain salvationism, instead of Christianity, I think has to say to it, which God may bless, but which carries its effect with it. Few carry in their mind, “I endure all things for the elect’s sake.” It is a general idea that God is love, and would have all men to be saved, which is blessedly true; but thus it ends in being saved, man’s safety. There is no purpose of God in it, no glory of Christ—all called upon to bow to and own Him. Hence as to the preacher’s state of mind, when he has got the person saved, and this confessed, he is content, goes no further: God’s interest in His. own is lost, which leads on to building them up. If we were with God about them, the heart would soon be drawn out in testimony to them. There is another thing—glory to Christ in His church. This I confess greatly absorbs my spirit, though I be a poor hand for this work too: but this leads us to prayer for saints, so also to testimony to them.

The evil is not earnest devotedness to evangelising—it is itself the way of blessing to an assembly, or rather God’s working in one by His presence builds up the other—it is being absorbed by it. But this affects the evangelising itself; there is less of Christ in it, more of man’s importance, and when pursued in a revival way, more of delusive work; it never gives a solid foundation to build upon. I should be most loath to weaken evangelisation: I believe God is blessing it, specially for gathering out in these last days, and it is healthful for an assembly that their hearts are engaged in it. At the very beginning it characterised brethren, and I trust still does, though it be more common now on all hands. The love exercised in it binds also saints together. But God is in a great professing body, awakening them to their state, and this has its importance also: the cry that awoke the virgins was not the gospel, ordinarily so called. Finally, the hand cannot say to the foot I have no need of you. I do not reject the joy of counting converts, but we must not lean upon it: “When ye shall have done all these things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do.” The bond of service to Christ is kept up, and that is of great importance. It is not referring the effect to our work, but our work and heart to Him.

I am sure if we were near Christ we should do both well, assuming of course that Christ has called us to it. Do not be content to put one in place of the other, but see what Christ means by it. Be with Christ about the saints when you have to say to them. Be with Christ as to both, and then see what is the result. The question in general has very long pressed upon me in connection with the spiritual activities of the day. I have never been allowed to see much fruit, and have been more blessed in bringing to peace than in awakening. There is One, thank God, who is above all, and does all: let us look to Him. The Lord be abundantly with you, and guide you both in heart and work, and keep you in much enjoyment of Himself, serving from Him as well as for Him.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

New York, November, 1874.

* * * * *

Beloved Brother,—My life is such a routine here outwardly (I hope not inwardly), that as to work, I have not much to tell you of. People come to hear, and with interest. In Brooklyn souls are making progress in the truth, and learning what it is to be a Christian. There are some young men who follow them up in grace—here less. They come, and continue to come, and I trust there is a quiet work going on, but it is at present more preparatory in the dissemination of truth. There are, I trust, two new workmen whom the Lord is raising up…

I have no doubt that evil is increasing, as we are warned of it, but I believe the getting into the truth of real Christianity —the light it brings—makes the darkness and evil more visible. Heartlessness for God is what is most striking, and the pretensions of reason and man in making a god of his imaginings. Growth in knowledge is needed. That is a return back to original truth as in the word, and the light it gives—both, in what is essential in our relationship with God. Blessed truth it is, and throws light on all that is around us! But while this is needed to walk in these times, yet assuming this, what I feel anxious about as to brethren is their being devoted, and not conformed to the world: simplicity and undistractedness of walk, and in their ways, non-conformity to the world, that the testimony may be distinct, and the effect of these truths. This, and walking in living communion with God, is what I pray for the brethren. “The word of his patience,” and we as men that wait for their Lord, is what we are to have at heart. But the Philadelphian state connects itself distinctly with Christ: “my word,” “my name,” and such He will shew that He has loved, and this is worth all the rest.

We must not forget, in the sense of the evil around us, that the Lord remains the same. What was heart infidelity before, as return to truth develops itself, becomes open and positive infidelity, and Christianity must take its relative place of positive faith: faith wrought by the Holy Ghost in the word —direct faith in it, not by education nor by the church. Any profession, merely such, will be rather the corruption and moral apostasy of ritualism—a very real thing, but which makes the church the ground of believing, for faith it is not. Direct faith in the word, that is in God, is the test of real Christianity. The church becomes a judged thing, not the ground of believing. This is a very definite position, but which allows nothing but real faith—always true, but brought out to light by growing corruption and evil. But then it is of all moment that devoted-ness and a holy walk be maintained; because men judge more by this, and as a testimony, this ever was and must be so. “He that is holy” is with “He that is true” in Christ’s character for the Philadelphian state.

One thing is needed for the workman: good courage because of the Lord, not terrified by adversaries. See Joshua 1; 2 Timothy —beginning the work, and when the evil had come in and the last days were in view. The Lord is above the evil, though He does not set it aside till judgment; and faith recognises that He is. Did He set it aside He must judge, and then the time of grace would be over… . The gracious Lord be with you. Love to the brethren.

Yours affectionately in Him.

New York, 1874.

* * * * *

Dearest Brother,—Though I have with others received accounts from New Zealand and from you, it is now a good while since I have had any direct correspondence, and I write not with any special object, but that you may know I do not forget you all. I know not whether I, shall ever get to New Zealand. Our accounts are happy thence. … I suppose Mr. —— is leaving or has left. His having been so long in the Island makes me feel the call less urgent to go there, and in many respects he would be of more use than myself. I am too much on great general principles, and deal too little with people.

I came here, though I thought I had done with these parts, because the last time I was here I found the doors opening among the Americans. The difficulty is that a diligent effort has been made to disseminate the truths we have been taught so as that people should have them, and not act on them— remain where they are. Eminent ministers preach the Lord’s coming, the ruin of the church, liberty of ministry, and avowedly from brethren’s books, and stay where they are, and there is a general deadening of conscience. Now people come, are interested, surprised at all the truth they find in scripture, but for the moment with most it ends there. This casts me on the Lord. It was so the last time out west; still the Lord called out some, and new gatherings were formed. It is His work, but the wide spread of brethren’s truths alters the character of the work. At present it is sowing time. After all, they spoil the truths where they do not act on them. Assurance of salvation has taken hold on many now. When I began it was, so to say, unknown. Still the Lord works where there is simplicity and devotedness. There is very little fixed principle as to anything here. If the brethren are devoted and unworldly, then there is a testimony, but mere knowledge of truth does not bring out, as when no one had it at all. In spite of what I said above there is progress, more than one soul has found peace since I came here, and some have been added. It is pleasant to see simple souls full of joy, and that by the Spirit, for it is eternal joy, while wise ones are ever learning…

One thing is a comfort, that Christ will cherish and nourish His own: one can count on His fidelity. It is a comfort when all is adverse. No epistle looks for courage like 2 Timothy, when all was in ruin. Paul surely had it to found, but this was when apostolic energy was gone. Nor is there a time when spiritual nearness to God is more known, where there is faith, than when all is gone wrong. But the great thing is to be near Christ, and to be constantly near Christ, where the soul is kept in peace (is not recovering it for itself), and thus in the sense of love, that then our service may flow from this dwelling with Him, and carry the stamp of it. How did Christ reveal the Father? “The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared Him.” He declared Him, and could declare Him, as in the present sense of the love of which He was the object, which He enjoyed in His bosom. He was perfect, and we are failing servants, but that is the only way of all carrying the unction of His presence.

You will be glad to hear that I received yesterday very good news of the work in Italy. In Switzerland there has been renewed blessing, and the work in Holland and Germany is blessed. So we have a great deal to be thankful for. The Spirit of God is working. The Roman Catholics in France I hear are discussing the Lord’s coming, in consequence of the disasters of the country. It is a comfort to have settled truth. Protestantism is breaking up everywhere, but peace is our portion.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

New York [1874].

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[From the French.

Beloved Brother,—We must take care not to pretend to know all that concerns the union of humanity and divinity in the Person of the Lord. This union is inscrutable. “No man knoweth the Son but the Father.” Jesus grew in wisdom. What has made some Christians fall into such grave errors is, that they have wished to distinguish and explain the condition of Christ as man. We know that He was and that He is God; we know that He became man, and the witness to His true divinity is maintained, in that state of- humiliation, by the inscrutability of the union. One may shew that certain views detract from His glory, and from the truth of His Person; but I earnestly desire that brethren should not set to work to dogmatise as to His Person: they would assuredly fall into some error. I never saw any one do it without falling into some unintentional heresy. To shew that an explanation is false, in order to preserve souls from the evil consequences of the error, and to pretend to explain the Person of the Lord, are two different things…

New York, December 10th, 1874.

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[From the French.

Dear Brother,—There is nothing surprising in your experience, in a case in which there is a tendency to fall back upon oneself, and when the conscience is really engaged in it. It does not appear, from what you tell me, that you were much exercised before being brought to believe. In such a case experience has to be passed through after conversion. In my own case, I went through deep exercise of soul before there was a trace of peace, and it was not till after six or seven years that I was delivered.

Now, when there is not at first the experience of what one is, and there is much turning in on oneself, we must pass through it and if there is carelessness Satan uses it to throw everything into uncertainty, to make us ask if we have not been deceiving ourselves, to give us the idea that we have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost (a very common experience, although the thought even is not found in the word). But it is always in such cases that one has not given up connecting the state of the soul with the question of acceptance. Now, any one who does that is under law, and he who is under law does not believe himself to be already lost. He may accept this as a truth and in relation to his guilt; but that means that we have deserved condemnation, so that we dread condemnation; and it is quite another thing from believing that we are already lost. When we connect our state with the question of acceptance, a better state would get us out of the difficulty. The law always supposes the possibility of a state which would give peace, of a “salvable” state: now such a state does not exist. If we are already lost, it is no longer a question to be resolved. Moreover, this condition may be prolonged, because if one is not in the presence of God, we do not openly and really come to the consciousness of our state; and this must be in order to have solid peace; for no state, either existing or hoped for, is the righteousness of God.

When this work is complete, we give up looking at ourselves in order to solve the question as to whether we are in the favour of God—though not in order to cultivate piety, and to walk in communion. We are accepted in the Beloved, the righteousness of God in Him: He appears in the presence of God for us; we have the consciousness of our relationship;—we cry, Abba, Father, in the same relationship with God as Christ, in divine favour. We seek to keep close to God, to our Father; we seek not to grieve the Holy Spirit; we seek to please Christ and not to displease Him; but all this according to the relationship and the favour in which we are, as “the elect of God, holy and beloved.” The affections have to do with the relationship, not our judgment as to the relationship with the affections. “Thou shalt love”—that is always law: it is not, “God so loved.” We are made perfect in love by dwelling,in Him; and “we love him”—not, we ought to love Him—“because he first loved us.” Love, for a superior, consists in a deep consciousness of His love which binds the heart to Him, and makes us feel how little (when the ‘ought’ comes in) we love Him as we ought to love Him. We feed on Christ: we judge ourselves as to all that is not pleasing to Him, we desire to be devoted to Him because we owe ourselves to Him. Save this judgment of self, and watchfulness, always necessary, we think of Him and not of ourselves: by judging ourselves, we ward off what is evil; by thinking of Him, we make progress. We have the consciousness that nothing separates us from Him, from the love of God in Him. I draw a conclusion, a just and holy one (Horn, v.), that if I am reconciled by His death I shall be saved by His life. Yea, we joy in God; and if I say too God is for me, nothing shall separate me from His love, fully manifested in Christ—that is where I am. What happiness! This is the joy now which will also be our joy for ever.

Let us exercise all diligence, all watchfulness: let us watch and pray, that we may not be deceived by the enemy; we need this. There is all the more need of it if we have been at a distance from God, in order that we may acquire renewed strength in His love. But when we have done with ourselves, as having no good in ourselves, we no longer look for it. Only we must get there; then we know that by the cross of Christ, we have done with sin in the flesh, for it has been condemned and judged there as a whole. Then we think of love and of God, instead of thinking of ourselves; we feed on the Bread which came down from heaven, we become attached to Christ, we feel that He is precious, that He is everything to our souls. But, I repeat, we are occupied with what is in Him, not with what is in ourselves. That is far better.

Peace be with you, dear brother; seek His face, and that diligently, but begin with confidence in Him; He is worthy of it. He being what He is, if you were the woman that was a sinner, you might have it.

Your affectionate brother.


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[From the French.

Beloved Brother,—I am glad, at least, that you are encouraged. To judge oneself is often necessary and useful, but if that produces distrust, it is evil; the spirit of legalism is there; the heart of God is judged according to what we find in our own—a sad way, if we desire to know Him. The law says, Love; it is a righteous demand. But the gospel, Christ Himself, says, “God so loved,” from this the new nature, and power to conquer sin, flow. The demand to love does not produce love, and the demand for holiness does not make holy. But also the fact that we have a new nature, does not give liberty—desire for holiness, no doubt, but not strength nor liberty. Redemption gives us first of all liberty, placing us before God, justified and accepted in the Beloved; the conscience is purified, and we recognise the love that is in God. Then comes up the question of the dominion of sin, and if we are not clear as to redemption, liberty in the soul is lost. This is what remains still to be settled, in part, in your soul.

You speak of having practically done with self, and of holding it for dead. But it is with this latter truth that you must begin, and that as crucified with Christ. “Ye are dead,” says God. (Col. 3) Faith recognises this truth, and the experience which precedes is but the means of bringing us to discover that we do not succeed in delivering ourselves, nor in dying. We must reckon ourselves to be dead. Experience is useful to make us feel the need of a deliverer—our own weakness. When we have made the discovery of it, we come to know that God in sending His Son, has condemned sin in the flesh. There is no acceptance of sin in the flesh. We learn that it has been condemned, but in the cross of Christ, the matter being settled by that sovereign grace; sin which tormented us has been judged: then having been judged in the cross of Christ, we have the right to hold ourselves for dead; the practical carrying out of it comes afterwards. God says, “Ye are dead”— “crucified with Christ.” I accept it, quite convinced that good does not exist in me, and I reckon it of myself that I am dead. Then, after that I bear, more or less faithfully, in my body, the dying of the Lord Jesus; but it is a consequence—an important consequence, for our communion depends on it. But it is also important to look constantly to Jesus, and to the love of the Father, because that encourages the soul. There is positive goodness in Him, strength also that He exercises on our behalf, but by looking to Him we are enlightened. It is not only that our state is ameliorated, but the grace that is in Him above all that we are, is revealed to the heart, and we know where strength is, and what the grace is on which we can count. If you are tempted, tried, look straight to Him; little by little you will become accustomed to believe in His goodness, though it be necessary to recur to it constantly; but the eye directed to Him makes Him known to the heart. Looking to Him who delivers us from ourselves, is what excludes the thought of self, and sanctifies us much more in a practical way…

Salute the brethren warmly. May God keep our dear Swiss brethren, cause them always to make progress, and detach them ever more and more from this poor world.


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[From the French.

[* * * If a child habitually neglected his father, and did not take the trouble of knowing his mind and will, it is easy to foresee that, when a difficulty presented itself, this child would not be in a position to understand what would please his parent. There are certain things that God leaves in generalities, in order that the state of soul of the individual may be proved. If, instead of the case I have supposed of a child, it were a question of a wife towards her husband, it is probable that, if she had the feelings and mind of a wife, she would not hesitate a moment as to knowing what would be agreeable to him; and this even when he had never expressed his will about the matter. Now you cannot escape this testing: nor will God allow His children to escape it. “If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

As to a convenient and comfortable means of knowing the will of God, as one might have a receipt for anything, no such thing exists—of knowing it, I would say, without reference to the state of our own soul. Another thing—we are often of too much importance in our own eyes; and we deceive ourselves in supposing some will of God in such or such a case. God perhaps has nothing to say to us thereon, the evil being altogether in the stir we give ourselves. The will of God is perhaps that we should quietly take an insignificant place. Further, we sometimes seek God’s will, desiring to know how to act in circumstances where His only will is that we should not be found in them at all; and where, if conscience were really in activity, its first effect would be to make us leave them. Our own will places us there, and we should like nevertheless to enjoy the comfort of being guided of God in a path which we ourselves have chosen. This is a very common case.

Be assured that, if we are near enough to God, we shall not be at a loss to know His will. In a long and active life it may happen, that God, in His love, does not always at once reveal His will to us, in order to make us feel our dependence, when there is perhaps in the individual a tendency to act according to his own will. Nevertheless, “if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light”; whence it is certain that, if the whole body is not full of light, the eye is not single. You will say, That is a poor consolation. I answer, It is rich consolation for those whose sole desire is to have the eye single, and to walk with God—not, so to speak, to avoid this trouble in learning His will objectively, but whose desire is to walk with God. “If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.” It is always the same principle. “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” You cannot exempt yourself from the moral law of Christianity. “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing by the knowledge of God.” The mutual connection of these things is of immense importance for the soul: the Lord must be known intimately in order to be able to walk in a way worthy of Him; and it is thus that we grow in the knowledge of God’s will. “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all intelligence, that ye may approve things that are excellent, in order that ye may be sincere and stumble not till the day of Christ.” Finally, it is written that “the spiritual man discerneth all things, yet he himself is discerned of no one.”

It is then the will of God, and a precious will, that we should only be able to discern His will according to our own spiritual state; and, in general, when we think that we are judging circumstances it is God who is judging us, judging our state: our business is to keep close to Him. God would not be good to us, if He permitted us to discover His will without that. It might be convenient just to have a director of consciences; and we should thus be spared the discovery and the chastisement of our moral condition. Thus, if you are seeking how you may discover the will of God without that, you are seeking evil; and it is what we see every day. One Christian is in doubt, in perplexity; another, more spiritual, sees as clear as. the day: he is astonished at the uncertainty of the other; he sees no difficulty, and ends by understanding that it lies only in the other’s state of soul. “He with whom these things are lacking is blind, and cannot see afar off.”

As regards circumstances, I believe that a person may be guided by them; scripture has decided that. It is what it speaks of as being “held in with bit and bridle.” “I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye”—such is the promise and privilege of him who has faith, is near enough to God to understand by a single glance from Him. God who is faithful, has given the promise to guide him thus. He warns us not to be as the horse and the mule which have no understanding of the will, thoughts, or desires of their master. They must be held in with bit and bridle. Doubtless even that is better than to stumble, fall, and run counter to Him who holds us in; but it is a sad state—and such it is to be guided by circumstances. Undoubtedly, even then, it is merciful on God’s part so to act, but very sad on ours.

Here, however, there must be a distinction drawn between judging what one has to do in certain circumstances, and being guided by them. He who allows himself to be guided by them always acts blindly as to the knowledge of the will of God: there is absolutely nothing moral in it; it is an external force that constrains. Now it is very possible that I may have no judgment beforehand as to what I should do: I know not what circumstances may arise and consequently I can make no resolution. But so soon as the circumstances are there, I judge with a full and divine conviction what is the path of God’s will, and of the Spirit’s intention and power. This requires spirituality, and abiding in communion with God. It is not to be guided by the circumstances, but to be guided by God in them, being near enough to God to be able to judge immediately what one ought to do, as soon as the circumstances are there.

As to impressions, God can suggest them, and it is certain that He does in fact suggest a thing to the mind; but, in that case, the propriety of the thing and its moral character will be clear as the sun at noon-day. In prayer God can remove from our heart certain carnal influences, which, being annulled, permit of certain other spiritual influences taking all their place in the soul; or He makes us feel the importance of some duty, which had been perhaps entirely thrown into the shade through pre-occupation caused by some desired object. This may be even between two individuals. One person may not have enough spiritual discernment to discover what is right; but the moment another shews it to him, he understands that it is the truth.

All are not engineers, but a simple waggoner knows a good road when once it is made. Thus impressions which come from God do not always remain simple impressions. But they are ordinarily clear when God produces them. I do not doubt, however, that He often makes them on our minds, when we walk with Him and listen to His voice.

When you speak of obstacles raised up by Satan, it is not said that God Himself may not have permitted these obstacles to the accomplishment of some good desire—obstacles caused by an accumulation of evil in the circumstances which surround us.

Your third question supposes that a person acts without having the knowledge of the will of God, a case that should never exist at all. The only rule that can be given is, never to act when we do not know what is the Lord’s will. The will of God ought to be the motive as well as the rule of our conduct; and until His will is in activity, there is an absence of any true motor for ours. If you act in ignorance in this respect, you are at the mercy of circumstances, God making all turn, nevertheless, to the good of His children: for this is ever the case supposed by your question. But why act when we are ignorant what His will is? Is the necessity of acting always so extremely pressing? If I do something with the full certainty that I am doing the will of God, then it is clear that an obstacle is no more than a test of my faith, and it ought not to stop me. It stops us perhaps through our lack of faith; because, if we do not walk sufficiently near to God in the sense of our nothingness, we shall always lack faith to accomplish what we have faith enough to discern. When we are doing our own will, or are negligent in our walk, God in His mercy may warn us by an obstacle which arrests us if we give heed to it, whilst “the simple pass on and are punished.” God may permit, where there is much activity and labour, that Satan should raise up obstacles, in order that we may be kept in dependence on the Lord; but God never allows Satan to act otherwise than on the flesh. If we leave the door open, if we get away from God, Satan does us harm; but otherwise his efforts are only a test for faith, to warn us of some danger or snare, or of something that would tend to exalt us in our own eyes. It is an instrument for our correction. That is, God allows Satan to trouble the mind, and make the flesh suffer outwardly, in order that the inner roan may be kept from evil. If it is a question of anything else, probably it is only our ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’ that stop us, or possibly the effects of our carelessness which has opened a door to Satan to trouble us by doubts, and apparent difficulties between God and us, because we do not see more clearly. For “he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” In a word, the question is wholly moral. If any particular question is raised which at first view we cannot decide, we shall find that often there would be no such question there at all, if our position were not false —if we had previously been in a good state of soul, and a true spirituality had kept and preserved us. Then all we have to do is to humble ourselves for the whole affair.

Now let us examine whether scripture does not present some principle suitable to direct us; and here it is evident spirituality is the essential thing—is everything. The rule that is given you is excellent, where and when it can be applied; that is, to do what Jesus would have done in such or such a circumstance. But are we often in the circumstances wherein the Lord would have been found?

In the next place, it is often useful to ask myself whence comes such a desire of mine, or such a thought of doing this or that. I have found that this alone decides more than half the difficulties that Christians may meet with. Two-thirds of those which remain are the result of our haste, and of our former sins. If a thought comes from God and not from the nesh, then we have only to address ourselves to God as to the manner and means of executing it, and we shall soon be directed. There are cases where one has need of being guided, not always without motives; as suppose, when I hesitate about a visit to make, or some such other case. A life of more fervent love, or love exercised in a more intelligent way, or set in activity in drawing near to God, will make clear the motives on one side or the other; and often, perhaps, we shall see that our part in the thing was only selfishness. Do you say, But if it is no question either of love or of obedience? then I answer, that you ought to shew me a reason for acting. For if it is nothing but your own will, you cannot make the wisdom of God bend to your will. Therein also is the source of another numerous class of difficulties that God will never solve. In these cases, He will in His grace teach obedience, and will shew us how much time we have lost in our own activity. Finally, “the meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way.”

I have communicated to you on this subject all that my mind can furnish you with at this moment. For the rest. remember only that the wisdom of God conducts us in the way of God’s will: if our own will is in activity, God cannot bend to that. That is the essential thing to discover. It is the secret of the life of Christ. I know no other principle that God can make use of, however He may pardon and cause all to turn to our good. But you inquire of me still as to His direction. He directs the new man, which has no other will than Christ. He mortifies and puts to death the old man, and in that way purifies us that we may bear fruit. “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.”… “I delight” to do it. It is the place of a porter to wait at the gate; but, in doing so, he does the will of his master. Be assured that God does more in us than we for Him; and what we do is only for Him just in so far as it is He Himself who works it in us.

I add with regard to a principle expressed above, that we are sanctified to the “obedience … of Jesus Christ.” Now He came to do the will of His Father, without which He did nothing. Thus, in the temptation in the wilderness, Satan tried to make Him act according to His own will, in things where there was not even an appearance of evil. The Father had just owned Him as His Son; Satan tempted Him, saying, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” But Jesus was a servant, and His answer consists in doing nothing, because there was wholly no will of His Father in the matter: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” As there was no word from God for the actual circumstances, Jesus did nothing. Satan could do nothing more. Although ever active to do good, He did not stir, when Mary and Martha sent to tell Him “he whom thou lovest is sick.” His Father had not sent Him there. When He goes later, the wisdom of God is thus manifested, in that a testimony to the divine power of Jesus as Son of God was rendered by the resurrection of Lazarus. So then, when the will of God is not manifested, our wisdom often consists in waiting until it should be. It is the will of God that, zealous of good works, we should do good always, but we cannot go before the time, and the work of God is done perfectly when it is He who does it.]


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* * * As a general truth30 we may surely look for guidance, and to “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” What I said as to this was, not that God should not direct us, but that, as the general principle, it was not independent of spiritual understanding; that if I were directed right, even in every act as a Roman Catholic, by their confessor, called their director, I should lose by it— it would save me being in a spiritual state myself—though, surely, a more spiritual person might help me because he was so; that God did not mean our perception of His will to be independent of our spiritual state, though He can, of course, lead any, at any given time. Psalm 32 speaks of this also. If our eye be single, our whole body shall be full of light. But this is always true; He makes everything work together for good to them that love Him. He overrules as well as rules.

I will suppose for a moment you were not led of Him in going to England—which I do not the least say, as I know nothing of it or your motives, but suppose the case: He makes you know what the world’s giving you up is; He overrules it. Supposing you had had a tide of blessing, you would not have felt this in the same way, you would have tided it over the shoals at flood. I remember saying to dear Captain W., that our giving up the world and the world giving us up, were two very different things. It is the latter tries all the elements of self-importance, which lie much deeper rooted than we are aware. There may be some little sacrifice in giving it up, but we have a sufficient motive, but what motive for being despised? it is really our glory, for Christ was, but then He must be all, and that is saying a good deal. We are poor feeble creatures without a stable centre—what would be so, has to be broken, and Christ take its place; I do not speak of failure, but what we go through. He was the despised and rejected of men. Nor does He seek insensibility to it, but superiority over it, by His being all; and that is blessed, that only lasts. It is the production in us of what is eternal joy, and capacity for it.

And, now to your special inquiry,31 more in detail. There are many points to consider. First, I believe this casting on, dependent, seeking His will spiritually, to be a privilege, though connected with the ruined state of the church. He cannot cease to guide us, or where should we be? But He may not, and does not, manifest His action with a fallen as with a fresh and nascent church. He never does so. “We see not our signs; there is no more any prophet; neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.” Yet Haggai says, “My Spirit re-maineth among you,” as when they came out of Egypt. I believe faithfulness, in such a time, special privilege. “Hast not denied my name” does not say much, but when this happens all around, it is a great deal, and great grace to be kept. You cannot be expected—“according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that by them, thou mightest war a good warfare.” You came out with a true heart to One who loved you, and seek souls for Him—All right, and great grace given to us; but there was no “separate me Barnabas and Paul,” which, though present grace must after all sustain, still was a source of strength—“by them.” I do not believe it is any loss, but it is different; and he that has the secret of Christ, while he will not limit His power, yet will know the difference and enter into it. “Thou hast a little strength”; and these were pillars when God built His temple. We find they were forbidden to go into Bithynia, sought to go into Mysia, the Spirit suffered them not; they were forbidden to preach the word in Asia, and then by a vision in a dream were led into Macedonia. Now I would not the least deny that God can by His Holy Spirit suggest to us a special place of service. I do not doubt He may; but it is not an open manifestation as that which we here read of.

I repeat, I believe it is a privilege to be thus cast on the Lord’s heart, if we only trust it; but it is a different thing, if we are cast on it, that there is imperfection in us, which affects this question: even an apostle had. to learn this. A great door was opened at Troas, “but I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother,” he leaves it. “In Macedonia my flesh had no rest; without were fightings, within were fears.” He was sorry even he had written an inspired epistle which really wrought as such with power in producing its effect, as in blessing to this day; but here there was trust. It is quite the contrary to the English translation, “causeth us to triumph” (2 Cor. 2:14); the word means, “leads us in triumph”—and the savour of Christ for life or for death, spread by him whether at Troas or Macedonia. He trusted in Him who led him where He pleased, and that by his anxieties, as by His Spirit. He could not say he was right to leave Troas, and all was distress in Macedonia; it was love to the Corinthians; and God comforts them that are cast down: that is His way. And this is the picture I got of this great and noble heart, sent, as he was, openly by the Lord Himself and the Holy Ghost. He was a man, and must learn it, and that the power was of God; and so must dear —— perhaps as cast down, but any way as led about in triumph, for it is as true of you. God is as faithful as to you, as He was as to Paul.

But there is another point, we are such little ignorant things that though we may have the spirit “of power and love and a sound mind,” not of bondage and fear, still, as I said, things have to be overruled as well as ourselves guided. In the case you suppose32 you do not find the man at home. This may have been just the right thing, that you should have shewn the purpose and desire, and yet not have seen him, nor he received the visit. It was not the ripe moment for that; it was for seeking him. I admit, were we perfect this would not be so. Again, He might have sent you on that road on purpose to meet the person on the way, and another day as good or better for the visit; perhaps he was not at home. I grant this shews imperfection, but not that there is no guidance. We should like to go always with a full, favourable wind, but this does not make a good sailor. It does tell us of weakness and imperfection, but that is something to learn, and dependence too. We cannot make a visit right without His hand.

But now take an example of where power was. Paul, apostle as he was, cannot succeed in persuading the church at Antioch to leave the Gentiles free. Where was his apostolic power? What a defeat! what a failure! He must go to Jerusalem. Now suppose he had succeeded: humanly speaking, two churches were started—one at Antioch, free; the other at Jerusalem, Jewish and circumcising Gentiles; but Jerusalem is forced by God to pronounce the Gentile free, and all goes right for the time. No doubt it was connected with imperfection and wretched ignorance of heart and prejudice; but it was divine grace and wisdom, God working in this imperfection and prejudice and overruling it, and Paul must take his place under this, like others.

We are not aware what poor creatures we are, and the wonderful grace which watches over, deals with, and uses such; and we have the treasure in an earthen vessel, “that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7.) Thus the service we have to perform, becomes also a process in ourselves, by which we have to learn ourselves, and that all is of God, and our dependence on Him. This does not hinder our seeking to grow up into increased spiritual understanding, so as to be filled with the knowledge of His will; nor does it hinder the truth that the Spirit may guide us in details as to what we should do, and where we should go. Only, while God is sovereign to do so in grace when He pleases, it does not separate this, as a general thing, from our spiritual state and singleness of eye, nor from a process in which we learn our own hearts and are weaned from self and the spirit of the world, and learn more complete dependence on God, and His gracious, tender faithfulness; only, that after all we are men and feeble creatures, and He Sovereign, and the One who is to teach us. But surely, beloved brother, we may ever look to be guided by His eye, led by His Spirit suggesting the right thing to do, and place to go to—only that our state has a great deal to do with our ascertaining it. “He that is spiritual discerneth all things.” And God is full of grace: Paul, if he could not succeed at Antioch, had a revelation to go to Jerusalem.

I know not that at this moment I have more to say to you, only that Paul (Acts 20:22) was not, I believe, bound, “in the Spirit,” but in spirit, his own. It was the overruling hand of God upon him, not the actual guidance of the Spirit of God. God so ordered it for His own divine purposes. Morally, Paul was not going for testimony, but with collections for the saints.


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* * * As a rule, reward is in the Kingdom, ten cities, etc.: in Matthew 25, ten and four talents being alike into the joy of the Lord. Fitness for heaven is not connected with progress in scripture: “He hath made us meet.” It is natural to suppose greater spirituality is more capable of enjoying; but the object is so great after all, it eclipses us, and we must remember Christ is our life, and there, all else gone. Scripture, as far as I know, never speaks of spiritual capacity, or growth in it, to enjoy more. Here surely there is such a thing. When God is all in all, there is no such thing spoken of. God may have in His eternal purpose fitted us for more or less. But, as scripture does not speak of it, I do not. Reward in the kingdom is clearly spoken of.


* * * * *

* * * It is not the first time that our beloved brother has been exercised on this subject. I once exchanged a letter with him on the subject. But where it is a process going on in the soul it is impossible, as far at least as I can say, to give counsel as to it; but many collateral questions come in. I should be greatly grieved if brethren ceased to be an evangelising set of Christians. Indeed, they would fade in their own spiritual standing, and get probably sectarian, not in theory but in practice, because the enlarging principle of love would not be there. Thank God, it is not as yet so. But grace alone can maintain the testimony. I confess I feel a sort of envy of those whom God has called to evangelise. My want of courage keeps me humble, but it would be better to be humble without it: but our part is to be where God calls us, and I trust I am ready to feed, if it be given me, the weakest of the flock, and count it a privilege. To souls getting peace and liberty, God has blessed me, but comparatively little in awakening, though He has where I have served in this way. I have said there are collateral questions. God is not always awakening souls in a marked way. It is done in a place, and ceases, though souls may be converted afterwards. An awakening may again occur through other means, another layer being reached, and by those morally nearer their state. The evangelist may have to go on elsewhere. I have known it cease and go into a neighbouring village…

At the beginning brethren were engaged, and pretty much alone, in the roughest evangelising — fairs, markets, races, regattas, and everywhere in the open air. Gatherings grew up, and the care of them became needful, though evangelising went on, and was blessed, and in a measure is in many places. Others since have occupied the field who are really their followers under God. If even contention mix itself with this—if Christ be preached we ought to rejoice. But the care of the scattered gatherings is most precious work, not altogether neglected, but the labourers are few. There is no reason why —— should not exercise this local care for a time, and there is large room for it. If God still calls him to evangelise, he will find the craving after souls forcing him out to do that work. At all times in a general way we have to do it, as Paul says to Timothy. Often those nearer the state of the unconverted are more apt for it. This may be imperfection, but so it is, and if then they go on holding to that, they grow little, and meet little the spiritual wants of these last days.

As to dear——, I should say let him, while in the kind of retreat he is in, while evangelising ever, where he can, look after these small gatherings, a thing I have greatly at heart, and visit them elsewhere; and, I repeat, if filled somewhat with their company, he will feel urged out, if God so call him, to seek souls among those without, both in nearer and more untouched places, or in large towns where there are always masses unreached. Mere evangelising does not cause to grow, though God may allow and bless it. Thank Him that He does, but see what was taught the Thessalonians at starting. But evangelising in Christendom is different from doing it in heathenism. A full salvation does give a basis for growth, but in Christendom it is necessarily separative, and hence the need of wisdom in that work, but sorry indeed should I be if it was given up. I see joy and gladness in conversions, even in heaven: it is the making a fuss about them and writing up the people I dread. But God bears with many things. Still the feebleness of work is felt afterwards. Hitherto we have got on happily here, and there is some life and progress. If younger I should look to a longer sojourn if spared; as it is, I am the Lord’s servant, desiring only His will, and when my work finishes there is its end, and He will gather His own people, in which I shall rejoice in that day. The Lord be with you and keep you near Himself, humble and serving, but having more of Him than you spend in service. I am very thankful for the blessing He gives you. We are His, and may we so walk.

Your affectionate brother in Him.

There is another point, in passing from the love of God in mercy to sinners filling the soul, and the love of God to the saints as such when we have become interested in them through the other. It requires both distinct gift and being very near Christ in consecration of heart to carry on both.

New York, February, 1875.

* * * * *

To the same.]

As to “the Christ,” there is no ground whatever for making the Christ the church. Nine-tenths of the cases where we have Christ in English, it is the Christ in Greek. Christ was not properly a name, but a title, meaning (the same as Messiah in Hebrew), in English ‘anointed’: “Jesus is the Christ”; but it very soon became a name, but the personal name is Jesus. The only place out of, I suppose, hundreds, where the Christ is used for the principle of union among saints, is 1 Corinthians 12— tantamount to ‘so it is in the case of the Christ.’ It never means properly the body, but is used for a name which brings us into relationship with Him, because the anointed One is the Head of all the anointed ones. (See John 1:33.) Hence the change in Romans 8:11, where Jesus is used as the personal name, and Christ not at all as the body, but as the Head of those who will be raised, because of Him.

Your other question is more difficult to answer, as the objection is more subtle. The special object of John’s charges was those who denied the real humanity of Christ, which was done in those days. But the apostle enlarges the thought in speaking more generally of the doctrine of the Christ (2 John 9); the christian doctrine of the Messiah. Still the subject here is the person of Christ, more especially as characterising the Antichrist. (Compare 1 John 4:2, 3.) Only in neither is it “that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,” but confess “Jesus Christ come in the flesh.” But this is not all the instruction of scripture on the subject. Supposing a person denied the Holy Ghost for instance: and damnable heresies are brought in privily, and we have to see whether the doctrine of the Christ is involved in them, and this is often the case. But in 2 Timothy 2, those who were overthrowing the faith of some, only said that the resurrection was past already, and the apostle calls on the faithful to purge themselves from them. (2 Tim. 2:17-21.) It is no charity to set people at ease who are teaching or receiving what “eats as a canker.” I make a difference. With a teacher I could have nothing to do. It is the duty of positive testimony against him, “knowing such are perverted,” if his doctrine touches “the faith of God’s elect.” With those misled I can make a difference; those deliberately in it I should avoid, they support the evil and sustain it; some are merely misled, and while I had hope of recovering them, I might not wholly repulse them, but evil communications corrupt good manners; it is danger to one’s own soul to have to say to what the devil teaches, unless called upon by God to meet it. I should not dare to do so. And even with those misled, it is no kindness to go on as if nothing was the matter, when they are really led of the enemy. I do not want to set them at their ease there. As to the word “God speed,” it is associating oneself with their work. He is speaking of those “deceivers” who were “gone out into the world,” and going about with this false doctrine; and wishing him well on his journey, was associating oneself with them in it. Such I would not receive into my house. I trust I have made plain to you what I desired to say from the word. It is one of the great evils of the day to the truth. “Whom I love,” says the apostle, “in the truth” and for the truth’s sake. None urge this point more than John, whom men count as the apostle of love.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

* * * * *

Dear Brother,—We must look Moody’s work, and Pearsall Smith’s, in the face. It is one of the phases of the kingdom of God, like the revival in Ireland and Scotland some years back: the brethren went on all the same—some took part in it—nor did the work in result hinder or affect their testimony. A popular testimony such as theirs never could be deep or extend its influence (save in its general effects) in Christians many years, and in this respect it does good. One rouses Christians from their slumber, and in respect of the poor dying world; and the other, as regards the state Christians are in. In this, I doubt not, God’s hand is in it. But M.’s work, to say nothing of false doctrine in details, avowedly mixes up Christianity with the world and worldly influences, and uses them because it tells in favour of his work, and fosters worldliness and the evils of Christendom. And P. S.’s, while it recognises the deliverance of Christians from the bondage of Romans 7 to the liberty of Romans 8, which Christians greatly need (and in this respect will be useful), mixes it up with the lowest doctrines, man’s power and ability. Both do this, though I hear M. has got on. And it does not even possess the true ground of abiding peace with God. There is much evil teaching mixed with both; and man’s power for good being their basis, all is based on experience, not really on Christ’s work—and, I think, poor experience where searched out, though beyond the state of Christendom, but tending to fix them at this low point. But if the brethren are devoted and unworldly, so that there is a practical testimony, their testimony remains where it was. They have to bring in these fuller elements of truth, and truer ground of peace. And if they are possessed really in faith, the rousing of heart and conscience will open them to them. If they have nothing better, it is no matter their being dropped in God’s hand. They have; but they must possess it really, and have heart to use it for the saints of God.

P. S.’s is largely modified, and brought more to its full bearing, its real character, since even my little tract; and its true ground and meaning made clear. Its trusting to human power I have barely touched. I have not attacked it—save in one point, Christ’s personal holiness, where it is on very sad and dangerous ground—but brought out the truth, in which it is wholly defective. M., I am told, has made progress; but when I knew him he denied openly all grace in conversion, denounced it publicly when fully discussed and held, and preached at Edinburgh that none were condemned for their sins, only for not believing—a pretty common notion now, and which is a salve to the conscience. The brethren have the truth of the word largely where these have not. Some have gone on to make Christ peccable. If they are faithful practically, they will, with their little strength, have an open door. All depends, I believe, on their being in the practical power of the Spirit of God. “To him that hath shall more be given.” It is He that is holy, as well as true, that makes the promises for this time.

I am not uneasy or afraid, only if brethren are to have the testimony of God with them, they must have it, and be it, in themselves. The salt must have its savour, or what is it good for? What would be permanent in both these systems, when the impulse and energy of them is lost, would I think, tend to infidelity and evil doctrine. It is not the energy and impulse that is to be resisted, though excitement may accompany it, but this evil which is to be met by grace and energy in the truth itself. The mere excitement will soon be over, a matter to be talked of as past. But brethren have something that is permanent, and the word of God abides for ever. Only they must live it.

Yours affectionately in the Lord.

February 15th, 1875.

* * * * *

Dearest——,— … I am most thankful you had conversation on holiness and devotedness. It is for me the great point now; everything evidently breaking up, efficient testimony lies there: people look for something real. Things are hastening to this point. … I am going (D.V.) to Boston to-morrow, pushing on to Concord for a visit, but it is evident the Lord is drawing attention to the truth and the way opening up. I do not know how to give time enough to New York with calls from other, places. I think even that the power of heretical evil has sunk, through the testimony, however small, to the truth; we have more inquiry, and evil doctrine seems less rampant. The brethren have acquired the character of knowing scripture better than any one, and this I may say everywhere, so that in this respect they are sought. If they are humble and devoted, this may lead to blessing. I am not in a hurry, yet I long to see Christ’s work go on, and a people waiting for Him. The usual difficulties of faithful walk are there, still souls are added, and they are walking happily. The feeling that things are all in confusion is widespread, and it is known we are outside the worldly profession which is current.

I find the brethren the subject of discussion everywhere— attacks of course, but then they are defended by others, and this not only in books, meetings, but in worldly journals. If only the brethren are godly and devoted—this I earnestly pray for. … A notion of perfectionism accompanied by a wild looking for the Spirit, is one thing one has to contend with—merely deliverance really, with a taint of Wesleyan perfectionism, but a good deal of pretension, and some good. There can be no doubt that a testimony is so far raised up; if we look at what is visible, it is a cloud as a man’s hand; and if there is faithful devotedness others will reap. That is my great desire now. We have more to do now with inquirers than with heretics. Yesterday I had the two principal Wesleyan ministers and their chief members, and some others, all the afternoon on deliverance from sin, full acceptance, the Lord’s coming. It was on the whole a satisfactory meetmg, one of the ministers was deeply interested in the truth, and said he should return, also the chief Baptist minister. Truth spreads, that is clear, but acting it out is another thing… I am kept busy enough, but I go on I trust in patience, and the truth goes on. What fruit there may be here I know not. As yet it is in the way of propagating truth… I have been knocked up in a way to make me remember I was old, but it was just overwork and the Lord’s gracious hand, and I am better. We have a pretty steady winter, and a good deal of snow, but fine and seasonable.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Finished from Boston, February, 1875.

* * * * *

[From the French.

* * * Most Christians need to be enlightened as to salvation and their position in Christ. They confound their standing and their state. There are very few among them who understand the first verses of Hebrews 10. For my own part, I teach, but I am always learning.

If the brethren are devoted and holy in their walk, their testimony will always be acknowledged by God; if not, they will not do much. The Lord, who speaks to us now, is “He that is holy, he that is true”; there must be these two things, as well as the grace and the patience to commend them. There must be truth, and the Lord communicates it to us, but there must be holiness, otherwise the truth itself will fall into disrepute. It is the important thing for the brethren, and then devotedness.

New York, February 21th, 1875.

* * * * *

[From the French.

* * * The Saviour is indeed coming, and in that day all that has not been of Him will be vanity and nothingness; and even now it is nothing more, but faith alone perceives this. May God give you, dear brother, to live close to Him! I reject wholly the theories of Mr. R. P. S., and his false perfection; yet there is a power which keeps us close to God, so that sin does not enter, the wicked one does not touch us, the flesh is not brought into activity. The soul is then occupied with the Lord, and with what concerns Him. It is not only kept from what is corrupt in its thoughts, but from irritation and passion, from that which is not lust, but the fruit of unmortined flesh. Observe the distinction between these things in Colossians 3:5-8. Humility accompanies this condition, but we need diligence, and the word “watch.” “Watch unto prayer,” as well as “in prayer.” When one allows oneself to go after folly, after those things which belong to the old creation, the soul has no longer the divine strength which is needed to walk with Him without distraction; but, on the other hand, to walk thus is liberty and peace: it is a good atmosphere. (Phil. 4:8.)

* * * * *

* * * And now dear ——, what are we doing, living near God, waiting for His Son from heaven. What else have we to do? What else would we have done when the end comes, when we see His face? We have to work with a force sometimes secret to us, follow His word, have His motives, depend on His strength, but wait for the result (though possibly partially manifested now, cheering and rejoicing us) when Jesus shall come; and then the work will be pure and its motive pure— not fall back on us as now, that is, self be mixed with it. The brethren rejoiced when they heard of the conversion of the Gentiles, and the apostle related to the church what God had wrought. (Acts 14:27.) But for Paul’s own soul it was at Christ’s coming that he saw the fruit of his labours. And that is when we shall rejoice in them, the labourer’s crown no doubt, but Christ’s glory eternally, and their own blessedness: it is identified with divine love and His glory. In this our path is a path of faith, and this carries through the dark and difficult passes of ministry with a single eye, and makes Christ everything. We are satisfied with “I know thy works.” But we have to be manifested to God, to walk as if we were before the judgment-seat as to ourselves, and in love to others, seeking what they need from Christ, not thinking of party or sect. An exercised soul is a great thing; “herein do I exercise myself” day and night—yet well imbued with love. There I feel myself weak. Care for the saints I do, but divine love I find too feeble in my soul. I have no object but Christ, but that is another thing. See what ministry flows from. (Eph. 4) Christ has overcome Satan, and having received the promise of the Father for us as man, has made those delivered the vessels of His power and gifts for the warfare that has to be carried on. He has gone down into the lower parts of the earth, and thence far above all heavens, filling all things in the power of redemption, and so gives apostles, prophets, and the rest, for the perfecting of the saints, making them to grow up to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. “Who, we may well say, is sufficient for these things? But I must close. May grace be with you, and peace, and strengthen your hands, keeping you close to Him. Kindest love to the brethren… May the Lord keep all His saints, and hasten His coming.

Yours affectionately in Him.

Boston, February, 1875.

My dear Brother,—You will think me lost, and that I have forgotten the West, but it is not so, so I write a line to give sign of it. I have been a couple of months at New York, and there has been blessing, whether through others or myself. I was knocked up the last few days. The brethren are getting on happily. At my age I should like it to go faster, and see the fruit, but it is the Lord’s work, not mine. Here at Boston ministers and all sorts come, and the great truths of Christianity have been fully out in daily readings. The effect the Lord knows. Perfectionism has been useful in rousing Christians to the sense that there should be something better; but it is accompanied with error, and some points which have deadly mischief in them, but by weighing it all calmly it finds its level. It has been accompanied with wild exaggerations, and pretensions which its leaders disown, but which are the firuit of their principles. The truth of it is merely getting out of Romans 7 into Romans 8, but grace is little owned in it, and man made a great deal of… I often say, were I younger I should look for protracted work, if the Lord spared me in this country, but in one’s seventy-fifth year one must leave it in the Lord’s hands, as it always really is… Have you heard that the Japanese Christians have left the missionaries as being sects, and. meet together? … The missionaries, however, are seeking to form their own churches. Poor Christendom! What a sovereign mercy to be out of the camp!…

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Boston, February, 1875.

* * * * *

Dearest Brother,—As regards Colossians 1, it is long a settled thought with me that there are here two ministries. You may see two headships, two reconciliations, and two ministries; ministry in the whole creation under heaven, and ministry of the church to complete the word of God. The revelation of the mystery had been reserved till now. S. is very anxious that these ministries should not be separated, that is, the church and the gospel of salvation. They sometimes are partially, outside brethren: revivalist preaching characterises the separation. One visit I made to Canada for six weeks only was to connect the two, and they have gone pretty well since. It is a question which occupies people often. —— is greatly exercised by it, but now passing from the first into the second: ——partially from the second to the first. Few can so adapt themselves to all as to be each in its place; but where Christ is fully known, and His claims, it gives a tone to the first which leads on to the second: where it is only man’s salvation this is not the case. God may allow this to carry out and hurry on the last testimony. Blessed be His name! He is above all our weaknesses. I am not sure but that there was more union of the two at the first of the work of brethren. So many evangelists have come out since on all sides without church truth that the two have been more separated. It is one of the serious practical points of the present day; but, I repeat, God is above all this, and will accomplish His work.

Of the work here I know not what to tell you: inquiry, a good deal; several found peace; a little conscience, but an unheaved or rather unmoved mass, for it is heaving within itself, and all whose souls stir dissatisfied. I have at the least a dozen ministers, one or two several times, but, with rare exceptions, they are the farthest from spiritual wants and spiritual intelligence of any. It is especially a sowing time. I do not know that I have much ground for staying here very long: I wait to see the cloud move, probably passing by Philadelphia to see them. Thence I suppose west, by what route I know not. The Lord be with you, and keep you all in peace.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Boston [1875].

* * * * *

Dear Brother,—I trust dear ——’s little one has found through mercy strength again, but at any rate, it is all well. It is the world, for many mercies and traces of the hand that made it, and a mother’s love among the rest, but not to forget where we are. You will be glad to hear something of this. I hear that there is more interest in New York since I left it than when I was there. I suppose this includes Brooklyn. S. F., where all was in confusion, seems to be righting itself, but he who is timid with evil has had a hard time of it: it was partly the superficiality of revivalism, partly the terrible character of the place which ever tends to infect the church. But there is a lack of active labourers, and we must recollect that it is a country half as big as Europe. Moody and Sankey have given an impulsion to revival work everywhere, and I doubt not God’s hand is in it. I cannot but trust there are real conversions, but it is a very shallow work, and encourages shallowness and worldly Christianity. Besides, all things work together for good to those that love God. Conversions apart, it strengthens evil in the church, and the evil that is so sad now. I trust it may stir up brethren to more devotedness. The effect, save the conversions, is not a thing to last, save general effects. It leaves people professedly where they were, and all church work has to go on just as it did before when the excitement is over. We have more to do with perfectionism hereabouts. But R. P. S. owns in his last book, it is only passing from Romans 7 to 6:13. But I have not attacked it. This confession was the consequence of my shewing this was the real point. The movement has been useful to rouse Christians to the sense that something better was wanting than current Christianity, which is as low here as low can be, a grief to all godly people. And one has, as to R. P. S., to realise what got hold of me at first, to separate the precious and the vile. I have another tract on this movement under press; and have just published one, quite simple, on the immediate happiness of the saints at death, at the request indeed of the Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. in New York. Brethren could not do R. P. S.’s work. He must be popular to do it, and that I trust brethren never will be. But they may, if faithful and devoted, lead it into a scriptural channel, besides ever evangelising…

I am quite well through mercy, mais je commence à me fain vieux.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Boston, February 20th, 1875.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—Thank you very much for sending me the account of your dear mother, whose simple-hearted and faithful walk has now ended so brightly. At her age it is but a natural and happy entering into rest, into what is far better. Abundant thanksgivings for your brother’s conversion… We must be more than content, if the Lord says “He hath done what he could.” We, at least I, cannot say it, though I seek to serve Him. It is a comfort that He says to Philadelphia, “I know thy works”—without saying more—and, “thou hast a little strength,” so as we are kept faithful, not denying His name, and keeping the word of His patience. How very gracious of the Lord to let your mother know that your brother was converted! It changes nothing, it is true, but we should notice these ways of the Lord; He is gracious on the way as He is at the end, and it is always Himself. I think it is striking, the Lord letting Moody’s and Pearsall Smith’s work run over the world as it does. In Switzerland they are full of the latter, at least in Basle. I do not fear it: it is wakening up, as all these revivals work. God graciously allows the work to go on, that there may be this, and people called out; but it has a popularity most useful to it as service (but which it would soon lose— perhaps would never have—if they were faithful), which I certainly do not covet. The Establishment missions wrought of old somewhat similarly, and I doubt not there were many conversions, and rejoice with all my heart in it; but all beyond is worldly, and lowers the standard of Christianity. If the brethren keep it up their testimony will have its full place, besides the preaching of the gospel of the grace of God; and may it be with renewed energy! Church and remnant work, and the Christian’s place, of which they know nothing, remains where it was. A full plain gospel I have to work through with all of them—the perfectionists, as Moody’s people. They teach what ignores and denies it; but then we have only to add this, and make it plain, not oppose. For this I have a full opening, both at New York and here. In general we have cause for thankfulness here, but I should, as man, like to see things go faster, but you have to bring in a full gospel everywhere. No one has an idea of what God’s children get as their teaching. But I must close.

Boston, February 23rd, 1875.

* * * * *

Dear——,—I told——if the assemblies were not separated which lay outside, it would take place of itself, and in a more disagreeable way. I have not doubted it, but he would not listen to it, and talked of less communion, which has nothing to do with it. I should certainly leave … all not actually within London to their own responsibility… . The thing is a blunder in its present state. Croydon and Plumstead are not London—the unity of the assembly fictitious. It was all very well when they were young assemblies, and glad to get help from elder brethren, but this is no longer the case, and their own responsibility would be more in exercise. Nor would communion be the least hindered. Already they bring a note from some places. But within London the unity of the assembly ought to be preserved, or we are Congregationalists, which I assuredly am not the least disposed to be. May the gracious Lord guide you, and keep you all in peace as to it. The putting (off) such as those I have mentioned, would have been a more practical and evident step—the retaining them raise a question of principle or resistance to existing means of blessing.

The door has opened at Boston, so that if it goes on I could hardly leave it for a while; chiefly of converted persons coming to a knowledge of salvation, and grace and the Lord’s coming. All is stirred up, and it is known that we look for a knowledge of our place in Christ, which is, I may say, nowhere possessed. The effect upon old Christians is curious to see; one loose brother got clear also. In New York we had a good many conversions; here it is converted persons finding salvation, but two or three are looking out for a room, hoping to try and work in the gospel…

The perfectionists say I want people to be more perfect than they do. I said, Certainly I do. Their system denies (not wilfully) the true christian position, and thus lowers holy exercise. Its greatest evil is in connection with the Lord’s temptation, and lust not being sin. I wrote to Dr. W. as to the Moody question. We have only to leave it. God may arouse by it and convert souls, as He awakens Christians by P. S., who now says this better life is only going from Romans 7 to 6 and 8, which is just the truth, with a good deal of error into the bargain. What is needed is to carry the truth on to clearer ground without the error. As to stir, there is no mistake, God is working evidently, doubtless for the last days, for things are hastening on; we have only to hold steadily our path with increased devotedness. The truth comes clearer and stronger to me than ever I knew it… . There are many such cases as W. speaks of. We have only to act on the steady principle of receiving all saints apart from evil they know of, or what is personally false to Christ.

I think had we a good labourer there might be something of an open door at——, but we must leave the work in the hands of Him whose it is: one feels it daily more… . Revivals are on every side, but by thundering legal preaching, which I do not regret.

Yours, dear——, affectionately in the Lord.

Boston, March, 1875.

* * * * *

Dear——,—I do not alter my judgment as to the Saturday meeting. Tuesday monthly, partially supplies conference, though only on general subjects, not inter-communication of receiving or exclusion. But if these meetings, you call county meetings, do not come, why are they kept on the list? A certain obstinacy, under the idea that it ministered to communion, made the thing fictitious. At South Croydon, they only read what concerned themselves, and give letters of commendation; and the proper local responsibility of these meetings which are not London, is in several cases weakened. I do not at all want to weaken the Saturday meeting, but to make it real. For the meetings in London, it was very useful, it did maintain the consciousness of unity, difficult in such a place as London. Had there been timely pliancy in dropping off meetings outside, the thing would have pruned itself. It became unpractical, cumbersome, and fictitious. Croydon, Mitcham, and Plumstead, are not the unity of London.

In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the local gatherings must form the judgment, but if they are to walk in unity in one place—in such a place as London, where people slip about not to be known, mention of cases in all the gatherings ought to take place I have known a case where a person was known, far from the place where he sought entrance, and the brethren spared the admission of a bad person. The difficulty of a person copying beforehand is that it is on the paper before any conference. The received names might be so copied, and if even objection came from a gathering, a stroke of the pen suffices. I see no objection to brethren from suburban places coming if they wish… My objection to it is, it is not real now. Begin by not putting a quarter or a half as you say on the papers, and make it real, letting these brethren freely come if they wish. But the character of the meeting has falsified into a registry, useful in its place and way, and a reading-meeting for young men if there was time. It ceased to be a collective work of those interested in the gatherings. No discipline, I quite admit, could be exercised there, but cases might be spoken of and conferred about with the common light of brethren from the various gatherings in London. Generally the local brethren alone know the details necessarily, but many general principles of the word and correctives might come in by common counsel.

I have seen nothing in print of what you sent me, but I feel it useless to read such things. We have to give our testimony in the midst of acknowledged ruin; the more we feel it, the better. What you refer to here, is a regular plan, forming union by exchange of pulpits, but godly souls are feeling it. It raises the question, Is truth to be held to? The coming of this state of things exercised me deeply in 1827, now I work in the midst of it: “save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

The clergy are simply evil, and as such minister to evil, but our business is with positive truth, and good, a testimony as clear and full as we can, and a walk holy, devoted and unworldly. If we look to Christ’s people, the Lord will work His work as to them—and preach the gospel with earnestness while time yet remains. The testimony of the truth has certainly told on many consciences here, in the east of America.

Save a short sojourn at Philadelphia, perhaps a run to Washington, I am on my way west; but labourers, efficient ones, and patient ones, are wanting. I am told doors are open at Washington, and some good going on there.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Concord, 1875.

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Dearest——,—I think the brethren are entering into a new phase of existence, which increases danger to them, and brings greater, or at any rate more manifest, responsibility. It is not merely the justifications or excessive praise of men like ——, which good taste would let drop, though flattery be dangerous to any heart, but the now generally spread feeling (whatever effect it produces, for it is very diverse) that brethren have something which other Christians have not got. This is often refuted, hated, opposed, may be often a matter of curiosity, sometimes (and may it be increased!) of true inquiry; but it is felt. The world feels it, would use it to scorn the inconsistency of public profession. In many cases they would be sought and courted from their knowledge of scripture, their books read to have the truth without acting on it. Others., who still cling to the professing church with partial apprehensions of truth and much error, make their boast that it can be had without leaving the systems around us—nay, sometimes openly urging continuance in them: but it is felt they have what others have not. I believe they have. But what is important is, not the brethren, but the truth they have. I could state it definitely, and have ere now done it; but it is not my object here. God could set them aside, and spread His truth by others—would, I believe, though full of gracious patience, if they be not faithful. Their place is to remain in obscurity and devotedness, not to think of brethren (it is always wrong to think of ourselves save to judge ourselves) but of souls, in Christ’s name and love, and of His glory and truth only—not to press brethrenism so-called, but to deal with each soul according to its need for Christ’s sake.

But if attention is drawn, and it is, to the truth they possess through grace, their responsibility is very greatly increased. If more general and persevering devotedness is not found in them, they would be a stumbling-block against the truth. Unworldliness, non-conformity to the world, self-denial, abnegation in love to others, is what is called for, for love is the end of the charge committed out of a pure heart. Let them walk in love, in the truth, humble, lowly, unworldly, and all for Christ, as little, and content to be little, as when they began, and God will bless them. If not, their candlestick may go (and oh, what sorrow and confusion of face it would be after such grace!) as that of others. Let there be no mixing with the church-world, what are they if they do?—but grace towards it, separating, that early beacon-light to me, the precious from the vile, and they will be as God’s mouth. I repeat, let them in no wise mix with the mixture of church and world—the meaning of their existence is a testimony against that—with the earnest gospel energy to souls that Christ may have His own, but the fullest testimony of God’s free love (for God would have and delights in that), or it would be as though faithfulness chilled that— doing the work of evangelists, making full proof of their ministry, humble, lowly and devoted, and simple, because lowly in heart, separated to Christ.

As regards all the activity outside them, it is one of the signs of the times, and they should rejoice in it—if Christ were preached of contention, they should, save where they have given occasion to it by failure in themselves, which is possible: but it does not give their testimony at all. God is sovereign, and can work in love where and as He pleases, and we should rejoice in it; but there is no separation from evil, but the contrary in general. It is, as to this, just the mixture, which God is bringing out of. For a year or two, at the beginning, I preached everywhere they let me, and others have done it, but it was, after all, another thing; though the trumpet gave an uncertain sound, it resulted in bringing out, even if the gospel only were fully preached. Now the question is fully raised, and the testimony has to be clear, yet the fullest preaching of the gospel and of the assurance of salvation.

I do not believe attacks on anything to be our path, but superior and fuller truth, in grace. Peter never attacked the chief priests, but went on his own way. It is a descent from the true high ground of the truth we have of the christian position. That, and a full gospel used in- grace, should distinguish us: the testimony against evil should be in our own walk and ways. Be assured, when real, it is fully felt. Occasions may arise where truth is in question; self-defence is every way to be avoided: the Lord will answer for us if we do His will.

Union is sought now by indifference to truth, in this country avowedly so, as exchanging pulpits with infidels, and indeed openly everywhere: I say avowedly. Patiently waiting, where in present darkness it is only ignorance or error, is most necessary; but truth and holiness, love in the truth and for the truth’s sake, characterise Christ’s revelation of Himself, and His influence in the last days. God has no need of us, but He has need of a people who walk in the truth in love and holiness. I find in the Old Testament, “I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord”; and I find the same spirit in Jude, who speaks of the mixture that would bring on judgment: “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” The gospel we may, and must, rejoice in, but it only makes the testimony of brethren, outside the camp, more necessary than ever; but it must be real. May they indeed be waiting for the Lord, and as men that wait for the Lord! His love is not wanting. May we, in earnest love to Him, be waiting for Him, because we do so love Him, and be found watching!

I thought of writing to you, dear brother, not having heard of you for a long while, and my thoughts flowed on, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Now I cannot doubt the work—at least, the testimony—is going on. The way it is telling, though only as a sowing-time, and what I hear and know of Europe, have partly led me to this train of thought, for it presses just now on my mind. May the beloved brethren be found of Him in peace, and watching; devotedness maintained and increased; their whole body, soul and spirit, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ! I have just published another tract on perfectionism at Boston. Error, from Germany, is largely mixed up with active religious minds here: I have written on it, but I do not know what I shall do with it; but the subject calls for watchfulness. The brethren are getting on happily here, and with blessing, and I hope roused up and cheered, with some nice persons added in Boston. There has been some blessing outside too… Let me hear of yourself.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

If brethren fall in with the current Christianity inside the camp, they would be just another sect with certain truths.

New York, April 8th, 1375.

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Dear ——,—You will be glad to hear that at Boston the readings ended in acting on not a small number of souls, and some eight or ten are come into communion, and some doors, small as yet, but real, opened for work. ——, whom I named, is in Ohio with an uncle, where there are souls inquiring. The said uncle, being blessed through the tracts, has sent five hundred dollars (nearly a hundred pounds) for free distribution tracts. Here there are more than twenty going on happily, but save one or two emigrants, the work is yet to do. M. spoiled it, they are in two or three divisions, but annihilationists and all came to hear me. I had a growing audience; I have been down to Vineland. I leave, if not to-morrow (Thursday), Monday (D.V.), for Chicago. I have been (my brain) quite done up, seriously so, living in boarding houses, thank God, however, with a testimony; but it is dreary work. The cold has been great, and for the time, is—thick ice the day before yesterday, but I have had the kindest care here at L.’s, who is himself ill and laid by, and am very much recruited, but I had a somewhat serious warning that I am not so young as I was. But there is One who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. I look more and more for Him. What you say is sorrowful, but I felt it more, I think, forty-eight years ago, when I saw it coming on, now I take it more for granted, and look above, and then to see what has to be done. It is a sifting-time, but those that are His will be more and more weaned, and learn to look above. I should, in view of these things, humanly speaking, be glad to be back in England, but I have a toilsome look-out before me in the west, but with no distrust as to the Lord’s will, only I am grown old to do it… New Zealand remains uncertain.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Philadelphia, April, 1875.

Dear Brother,—I thought probably baptism was on the mind of——; with him it would be taking on the responsibility of a Christian, and till he fully knows grace this would be a difficulty when a man is conscientious, so one would wait, only putting the grace clearly before him. But in his case it should surely come first: it is the just order, and for the above reason not without its moral bearing. But at any rate it would be the just order. We must come into the house, naturally, before we sit down to the table in the house, though the Lord’s supper is the expression of the unity of the body, and by one Spirit we are baptised into one body, and with that baptism has nothing directly to do. Only as I said, it is the natural order, and his own soul’s state has to be considered in connection with it, not to slip in easy, though I do not think he is inclined to that.

I have been down to Vineland, where I thought all was broken up, but there are four steadily breaking bread, so that the testimony is there, and I suspect on more solid ground than ever. But it is only a testimony just born. —— walks, as does his wife, in most patient grace in trying circumstances. Whether it is that my heart sees more what ought to be I know not, but I feel more deeply daily the utter ruin Christendom lies in all round. It is a narrow path to keep from the evil— unspotted from the world, and yet in the full grace of divine love towards all. Here the work is to do, some twenty souls walking blamelessly, but no action outside. But if God opens the door there is no difficulty with Him. We are poor instruments, but Ho is able to do anything.

Your affectionate brother in Him.

To the same.]

I was near forgetting your question. Hur (rWj) means in Hebrew clean, white, white linen, particularly fine white linen (or as some, cotton). And without dogmatising where imagination may come in, I have always taken it for purity—“the righteousness of the saints”; as sustaining in the combat, it is you know the breastplate, and armour on the right hand and on the left. But if any questioned I should leave it there, though natural enough, and the thing assuredly true.

I do not doubt that the Lord will direct the activity of our brother —— into the right channel, and that it will turn to

practical usefulness in spreading the truth. I have often thought of it, though the how I do not know. Probably it will spring up gradually, and perhaps so best, but I quite trust the Lord may have this in His plans, only it must be done according to His mind to have His blessing.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Philadelphia, 1875.

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Beloved Brother,—Thus far I am arrived westward, but my movements are governed by what the Lord may give from day to day… I came out again, though old, feeling doors were open in America, and so in grace it has been. The strain of work at Boston and New York broke me down; I had to stop short for a while: I was warned I was not as at forty-five. Philadelphia set me a good deal up again. But the Lord has been with me in grace and His own sovereign mercy.

The difference of John is that it is family unity, not corporate. I do not mean by this that there is no gathering. It is of John He gave Himself “to gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad,” but it is not the body. There Christ is Head, and we are members of Him; He is the Man raised by God on high. Here (John 17), though never leaving the recipient place He has taken, He is Son, and says “us”: it is joint (“in us”), but in communion: “one in us” is a wonderful word. It is the Son, a Man indeed but not a man, once dead whom God has raised and exalted. His Person is always prominent in John. He is not dying, but going out of this world to the Father. It is “glorify thy Son,” and if glorified (for He now, being Man, receives it from the Father) it is the glory He had with the Father before the world was, with His own self. Verses 22, 23 are clearly in glory, but the two other unities are distinct; first, of the apostles only, and so, as going forth in entire unity by the Spirit—absolutely in that power one. Then, of those brought in, and there it is “in us,” communion, the power of the Spirit carrying them up as all one in this communion with the Father and the Son; but the difference of the position of Christ is the clue to the distinction of this unity and the body. The unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4) is the connecting link. The body is in connection with the risen Man; this, with the Father and the Son: in both, the unity of the Spirit is its realisation. “Ye in me, and I in you,” I have habitually used as shewing our perfectness before God, and our responsibility before men. John 17 was literally fulfilled in Acts 2:4. There, like all other things, it comes under the responsibility of man—always true in principle, however lost in practice. The former part of chapter 14 gives what was theirs on earth, the latter, what was by the Spirit, besides the few last verses…

The Lord be with you, dear brother, in your soul and in your work… As to circumstances, “heaviness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” My experience is that gatherings after the first start go through a sifting, and then take their start afresh from the ground of faith. As to those who remain behind with you,

“Be to their faults a little blind,
Be to their virtues ever kind.”

Act in grace towards them. The christian place is “overcome evil with good.”

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Chicago [1875].

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Beloved Brother, I have no happy news to give you of —— I still hope in the Lord for him, hence too I have said nothing about him. He has taken hold of the thought, that no one is ever recognised as in the place of service or as a servant, or part of the temple of God, in any sense, unless really so. Hence Judas was a saint, Balaam a saint, etc. Further, that there is a justification of saints by works, as of sinners by faith, and that if we do not actually suffer with Christ we cannot reign with Him. Hence the saints who are not thus wholly following will not be caught up, but pass through the tribulation. Casting the servant into outer darkness is this tribulation; he gets out of it again. The saints fallen asleep of old will be raised up in mortal bodies, and be sentenced in judgment to go through the great tribulation (appearing in Rev. 7), and have to die again: drawing nigh unto perdition is getting into it; and when urged that it is in contrast with believing to the saving of the soul—it means to the saving of their life; scripture thus losing all hold on the conscience. He said he did not hold so strongly on the bringing back the dead saints; but when asked if their spirits were to come out of heaven to be mortal men again in the tribulation, he said there was no proof they were in heaven. A good while ago he was resisted by the brethren, and his teaching refuted… I do not think many have received it.

The brethren here are going on well, and their number increases; many come to read and inquire, with less depth, perhaps, than at Boston. I had a terrible discussion last night with an adventist annihilationist preacher; but he was fully exposed, and several were delivered from the influence of the system. But this is wearymg work. As at Boston, I know not what the readings will give, I wait to see; but time runs on, and what about New Zealand, I know not. —— is popular, clings to brethren’s principles, he says, for I am suddenly in great vogue with a certain number, but I hold on my way, I trust just as before, knowing my own utter worthlessness, Christ and the truth being all. It is a work, as I said at Boston, of patience, but godly people ill at ease everywhere…

3ince I have been here I have been revising the hymn book, excluding and altering where old erroneous views had passed unperceived. I have no means of adding here. There is a lack of worshipping the Father in them, but I know not how that suits hymns, or hymns it, and who is to give them…

That we are in wonderful times is evident, but the Lord, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, and all that is needed for this and all times. Here I am called to trust Him, not only as to ordinary work, but as to——. He had greatly cherished the thought of a kind of heaven among brethren. But I do trust Him, and am at peace. If you had two meetings a day, to meet every mind and every question, and all the dishonest subtilty of adventists and annihilationists, from time to time, I ‘guess’ you would be sometimes tired, but if the Lord is with one He helps us on, and goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life. My letters were full of good news. Since our conference at Vevey, the work has quite revived in Switzerland, and some workmen have been added in France.

Whatever is done as to Saturday night meeting, cut off the out-lying gatherings. The whole thing was a mistake continuing them in connection with it. Let the principal brethren of the London gatherings meet—all well to keep unity in common action—while not forgetting that they are not the assembly, nor excluding from being there those who are in out-lying gatherings. I had no doubt it would come to some break up, from the course pursued, and said so. A little patience and looking to the Lord will set it on a sound and useful footing. I read, “Strengthened with all might according to his glorious power, to all patience.” What do you think of such a result of glorious power? I think a great deal of it.

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

Chicago, May, 1875.

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Dear, ——,—I did hear of your dear father’s death, and wrote a line to your mother, to express my sympathy; he was one we had known and valued for years. I have not given up the thought of going to New Zealand. It has rather increased with me. Present work is the difficulty of deciding—something of “Satan hindered me,.” I am at Chicago in a work of patience, and great patience, but we have to do the work before us. It is too long to- go into. If I do not go to N.Z. I doubt I shall go to San Francisco. I felt less need of going to N.Z., as Mr. Wigram went just when I was going, and the claims through progressing evil in Europe, and the growing infirmity of age, check the impulse to go. Younger, I should not hesitate, but it is still before me if the Lord graciously set me free here. My mind, through mercy, is as fresh as ever, and scripture seen clearer, but my body not up to fatigue as it was: no wonder at seventy-five, and no sorrow either. Work while it is called to-day is all I look for, and then rest, blessed rest. … I had heard of the blessing in Auckland, and was thankful. Bitter opposition, I am, alas! used to, and am afraid sometimes of taking too much for granted. May we be kept in entire dependence on the Lord, and with full confidence in Him; in that dependence may He guide and direct you, dear ——, in all things! It may be well you should see the old country again. There are sometimes steps in our career. May you only have one object; to follow Him wholly!

Yours affectionately in the Lord.

Chicago, 1875.

Dearest ——,—I have not much to tell you of the work here, plenty to do if a person was staying here regularly… The penury of all food for Christians here you have no idea of: the churches a simple hindrance, and worldly to an excess. The world and newspapers attribute all fresh truth to brethren as its source, and they are occupied with them. I quite feel the claim of the old country, and am anxious to get back; only the awakening I had seen here brought me back here the last time, and I was not mistaken. The Lord, I believe, led me, though I am not fit to rough it as I have done. I have also contemplated a villeggiature, but not I trust for idleness… I consider my journey to New Zealand as turning homewards, and then visiting this country on my way. I must leave it, where surely it always is, in the hands of the God of all grace, who has so graciously enabled me to serve thus far. The toil makes you see the difficulties, though He makes us look to Him in and through them: in rest you feel the sure power of His grace, without much else, but toil and rest are all with Him. In looking back I feel His grace to me has been wonderful, grace towards a poor unworthy creature—that I feel deeply—but wondrous with it. More and more, as one goes on, He is all to the soul, and beyond all our thoughts; yet we know the love that passeth knowledge. I am glad some one is going to Jamaica, I thought the door was open when I was there. Kindest love to the brethren, whom I shall rejoice to see again, if the Lord will.

Chicago, June, 1875.

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My dear Brother,—Not quite at the end till I turn round towards England again, the Lord sparing me, and holding me up. I have just made ninety-six hours of railroad without stopping, and am all well. My mind fully turns to England when I have done in these parts. Were I young, with (humanly speaking) life before me, there would be ground for staying, for the work is opening. It is in many respects on a new footing, and the question of this position and the truths of scripture as to the full position, and the walk too, of the Christian is round everywhere. But I am not young, and cannot think to carry out the work myself; and God, I trust, will raise up instruments, as He has a few. It is not His mind, I believe, to take out of weakness. In the state of the church it becomes us to take part in her sorrows.

As regards your first question, I think there is a mistake as to the position of the assembly, both in the sister and also of the brother who objected, perhaps in all. When persons break bread, they are in the only fellowship I know—owned members of the body of Christ. The moment you make another full fellowship, you make people members of your assembly, and the whole principle of meeting is falsified. The assembly has to be satisfied as to the persons, but, as so receiving to break bread, is supposed to be satisfied on the testimony of the person introducing them, who is responsible to the assembly in this respect. This, or two or three visiting, is to me the question of adequate testimony to the conscience of the assembly. At the beginning it was not so, that is, there was no such examination. Now I believe it a duty according to 2 Timothy 2. Nobody comes in but as a believer. This again makes the distinction of member of the particular assembly.

Still, I do not think a practice such as this sister’s is satisfactory. I admit fully every case must stand on its own merits, and so be dealt with. Where breaking bread is intermitted, it is all well to mention it, though this be in some cases uncalled for, where the assembly knows about it and is satisfied. But if persons break bread, they are as subject to discipline as if always there, because it is the church of God which is in question, though represented by two or three: Christ is there. If it is merely an occasional coming as a stranger, and the person not known, it is well to mention. What is not satisfactory in such cases is: first, it is accepting the person by the assembly as if he had another fellowship besides membership of Christ, which I do not recognise at all. And, secondly, I should fear there was a reluctance to take honestly the reproach of the position, the true separated position of saints, and [the wish] to be able to say to others, I do not belong to them, I only go as a believer: I only go as a believer, only I accept the position. Waiting for them to get clear is all well.

A true believer has title at the Table; but if they meet as members of Christ’s body, they are all one body, as partakers of one loaf. I do not admit them. I own their title, wait upon their want of light, but would not allow them to put me in the position of a sect (and, ‘full fellowship,’ means that), making allowance for their ignorance and waiting upon it. They do not come really to break bread with us on the ground of the unity of the body, if they think they are not one with us in coming; for if we are true and right, they are not one with the body of Christ, the only principle of meeting I know at all. I repeat, in the present state of the church we must have patience, as their minds have been moulded in church membership; but I ought not to falsify my own position, nor sanction it in the mind of another. If the person is known to all, and known to be there to break bread, all mention is needless; it is a testimony to the unity of the body: if an occasional thing, the person who introduces is responsible. I remember a case, where one growing in truth came to help sometimes in a Sunday school, and from the other side of London, and asked the brethren if he might not break bread when there—time even did not allow of him to get back to his Baptist service—and he enjoyed the communion of saints. The brethren allowed him gladly; and, if my recollection is right, his name was not given out when he came afterwards. Very soon he was amongst brethren entirely, but his fellowship was as full when he was not: and had he given occasion, he would have been refused in discipline, just as if there every Sunday.

The other question is for me a more delicate one, because it is a question of the state of the soul, as of the church, when darkness covers it. Many, many souls cry Abba, Father (that is, have the Spirit of adoption) which are clear in nothing, save that their confidence is in Christ and His work only: and as doubting is taught in the church, and a plain full gospel unknown, and even rejected by teachers, this state is the natural consequence; and it often requires spirituality to discern the real state of a soul, if really under law undelivered or legalised by teaching. Hard cold knowledge of doctrine is not what I seek. Then there is the danger of throwing back a soul just when it wants to be encouraged. Doubts brought in by conflict, when a soul can really say Abba, are not a ground of rejection, though it shews a soul not well established. But a soul exercised, but not yet resting in Christ’s work, is not in a right state for communion. So with young converts: it is far better for them to wait until they have peace, only carefully shewing it is not to reject them, but for their own good. I should not look for understanding deliverance, but being personally able to say Abba, Father. The intelligence of deliverance is the consequence of sealing. But if a man be not sealed, he is not in the christian position: “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Peace through forgiveness is, as to Christ’s work, the evidence of faith in Christ’s work, and that work received by faith is the ground of sealing: then one is delivered. But the intelligence of this is another thing. Israel, out of Egypt, was brought to God—delivered. Through Jordan they entered in, were circumcised, and ate the corn of the land. But a sealed person alone is in the true christian position; and this is founded on the sprinkling with blood—that is, faith in Christ’s work, by which we have redemption, not in the knowledge of deliverance: that is its effect.

San Francisco, August, 1875.

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My dear Brother,—Mrs. —— came in and occupied me with Springfield affairs: as regards these, I have not much more to say; you have only to go on and seek the Lord to minister blessing to you. I have no doubt it was all needed. My impression is, unless the Lord specially interpose in grace, that you will be under the discipline of having another assembly there for awhile, and then He will set you free, if indeed you walk practically with the Lord. I have no doubt some discipline was needed in the assembly, and crudities to be removed. The way of doing has been to me most painful, not merely as to S., but as to the whole work; but there it is now, and we must abide the Lord’s time. What you have all to do is to walk all closely and quietly with the Lord, and the blessing will come when the Lord has finished His work. There is a sifting government of God as well as a perfect redemption, and He is full of patience. His purpose is glory, His ways are the wilderness.

I got here quite well, and with less fatigue than I thought, but so perpetual a desert for near 1,500 miles, save the fir-trees of the Sierra Nevada, I never saw…

My best love in Christ to all the brethren; they have only to walk on, seeking the Lord’s presence.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

San Francisco, August 9th, 1875.

My dear Brother,—I know the love of the brethren will like to hear of my arrival here. I deferred answering your letter till I arrived. I visited St. Joseph after Chicago, Alton and St. Louis. Thence going on to Omaha, my host at St. Joseph being superintendent of the rail, I had every advantage to Council Bluffs, opposite Omaha. There I slept, and then had ninety-six hours in rail to San Francisco, getting out only to eat. Everything went right, through mercy, and I, taking the sleeping cars, got on perfectly well to San Francisco: but such a desert I never went through: for 200 miles a plot of corn occasionally, then a few small herds of antelopes, and then for some 1,400 miles barrenness, occasionally a solitary rabbit, but an event to see one, occasionally prairie dogs and their burrows, one wolf, not even grass, sage brush and bare ground, emigrant wagons from time to time. You rise to more than 8,000 feet, the Sierra Nevada woody mountains, some 1,400 miles square, a desert called Rocky Mountains: at Salt Lake the Mormons by irrigation have some poor crops. I stayed a week or ten days at San Francisco… There is everywhere work to do. Thence about 6,000 miles by sea to Auckland, by Honolulu, but the most favourable voyage possible, through mercy, scarcely any sea, and faster than usual, the ship very steady, so that I worked on as usual. Some little opportunity of testimony though no preaching, so that I was thankful… We stopped an hour at the Samoan Isles, where were genuine natives as you read of them: the prow of one boat was stove in, and all had to swim, perhaps (if not met) a good mile or more to shore, four or five leaping into the sea as they found the ship leaving —fine men, of a yellowish red. There are missionaries there. Mercy has accompanied us thus far, and surely will. 1 have never, since I decided to come here, had a cloud on my mind as to my coming. All has been without difficulty, and many mercies. I still doubt that I shall go on to Australia. It is a week or so farther, and their circumstances are not the same, but the Lord will graciously shew. My thought is, if spared, to return the way I came.

Peace be with you: kindest love to the brethren. May they not only hold fast, but be every day more devoted and unworldly! I feel this of all moment now. Many are seeking to introduce brethren’s truths into the systems as they are. True separateness to the Lord in the truth is what will give the testimony now, in home, life, spirit, and walk in every way. And what is there that remains but doing His will while waiting for Him?

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Auckland, September 15th, 1875.

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[From the German.

Dear Brother,—I think of——, and though I find myself in a distant land, I will not remain longer without inquiring after the state of his soul, whether the Lord, full of love, has brought him back to the faith, to acknowledge the Saviour as Lord, and his Saviour. It was quite clear to me that the enemy had deceived him through sin, and so led him into unbelief. The truth is uncomfortable for the sinful soul, and the enemy acquires power over the soul if it be unfaithful. I hope indeed that there exists the root of life in him, and then the Lord, faithful and long-suffering, will restore him.

I was old perhaps to come out; I thought of doing so three years ago, but the steamers were suspended. Then Mr. Wigram came here, and I thought I would perhaps give up the long journey. But the brethren were always expecting a visit. Besides, God had delivered them from a bad state, namely, false principles, and help and teaching were in a certain way necessary. So I came 4,000 miles by land and 6,000 miles on the ocean…

I hope, if God preserve me till then, to return to Europe in perhaps eight months. Two or three are required for the journey. This will probably be my last long journey. But it is wonderfully sweet to feel that we near home: long, often difficult and painful work (although it is a wonderful privilege to do it), and then, eternal rest with the Lord. Soon the glory: the grace of God, the word of God ever more precious, the Lord Himself—all soon, not for faith, but for sight. God be with you, beloved brother, and keep you, and all the brethren. Your attached brother in the Lord.

Do you know how the history of P. S. has ended? I believe that he is true at heart, but much occupied with himself. He has enunciated such doctrines that people would tolerate him no longer in England. God has preserved him from outward immorality. But puffed up, and accepting the truth of the two natures, mixed with his perfection, he said that one could be at the highest pitch of inward spirituality and in the depths of the flesh at the same time; and that he could place himself in circumstances of temptation without being overcome by it. This was the snare of the primitive church. They have despatched him to America, and all is left in obscurity. He told me that my tract was the only one that had affected him; the others aimed at keeping one in Romans 7. He contemplated altering his tract. He did not appear to me to be clear, but to endeavour to get rid of the points of attack. But he has expressly said in his last work, that the better life he spoke of was the transition from Romans 7 to 6, 3.

Auckland, New Zealand, 1875.

* * * * *

Dearest ——,—I was thinking of writing to you and just got your letter, and there will soon be a mail. I waited till I had been a little here, though there is not a large sphere as in England, etc. But though anxious to get back to England —for besides service there, which I feel I owe, at my time of life the besoin d’arriver is stronger than the plaisir d’aller—I have never hesitated as to being led in coming here, and the Lord has been graciously with me. At Honolulu we saw no one, were only there part of a day to discharge packages and reload. The voyage was very favourable indeed. There is a book favourable to the Church of England which gives a very adequate account of the Sandwich Islands, and the establishment of the dynasty of Kanuhawicha, and the destruction of idolatry—on the whole a very remarkable history. I did know some in the States, one now in California, interested in the truth with the work there, but it never resulted in any direct connection with it. The population is still dying out through licentiousness, but it is a civilised country like another: parts of it barren volcanoes, others tropically fertile. We passed the Navigators’ Islands, a fine race, where there are missionaries, but they are still in their savage state.

As to this place, it is a really charming country, the most of it of course very inaccessible; mountains and bush—the bush though always fine, not as our trees, always brown, which gives it a sombre hue. I have been at Auckland, Motueka, and neighbourhood, and now Nelson, a beautiful spot, quiet, clean, and orderly. The relief to my spirit after the States is very sensible, though where the Load’s work is there is joy… The deliverance of a great body of the saints is very decided, and in these parts in fact all are right and clear, unless perhaps one. I feel the Lord graciously led me here too, and I believe there is inquiry—a nice gathering: many of the others come, and I hope may get blessing. I have got Wellington, Christ-church, and Tuscarora unvisited. We had two or three shocks of earthquake while I was at Motueka, (one) enough to awake me in the night. I still purpose returning, if the Lord will, by the States, seeing them in Canada.

For the States we must look to the Lord to raise up labourers. I am thankful three brethren have gone to Canada. I have no doubt that a considerable number have been converted through Moody, but I still judge there were more outside than in. For conversions, one must be thankful they are saved, but the effect will be to make Christians worldly, and to produce, what is the pest of the United States, the substitution of work for Christ. I said fifty years ago, when I thought more, and believed perhaps less, that awakenings in Christendom were like water poured out upon the ground, fresh and clear, but after a while it made mud. I think those not exclusive were in a state prepared for this, this mixture. There is, I think, a difference as to brethren in this, that what really characterised that work, besides the stirring up devotedness, was the bringing in a mass of biblical truth long hidden, some I believe never current in the historical church. This, since I reflected on the movement, I have always felt, and as to the substance of it said so: that as the cross and justification by faith were brought out at the Reformation, so the coming of the Holy Ghost uniting us to Christ in heaven, and His coming again, were brought out now: the three positions of Christ as a Saviour—Christ on the cross, Christ at the right hand of the Father sending the Holy Ghost, Christ coming again to complete the result—and so the mystery, throwing back immense fight upon the value of the cross. But this blessed unfolding of light spreads, and if there be not devotedness in brethren they become mud like others, and that is the great question now. “To him that hath shall more be given,” otherwise it is just current truth and no more; and indeed that is what Satan is at now, to deaden devotedness among brethren while he spreads truth known at any rate among others. It produces exclusivism so-called, but exclusivism will not do the work. Christ who is all—this must be all. Activity is all right, but activity instead of Christ—and that is Moodyism and United States religion—is a most deadening and worldly-making principle. The stir gone, the worldliness remains, and the world despises it. Kindest love to all the dear brethren. I shall be glad to see them all again, and most thankful for many prayers…

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Nelson, October, 1875.

Beloved Brother,—I do indeed sympathise with you as to ——, a real and profound sorrow. One can only look to the Lord to deliver him. I had heard he had got astray, but thought it was morally. See if this has been the case, for thus it often is; not having kept a good conscience, shipwreck is made of faith. The root may still be there. Modern science is rife with all this. Darwin has given up a good deal of his system as exaggerated, and those not Christians have shewn its fallacy: he admits his proof fails, geological facts giving no support to it. There is a book called “Blending Lights,” which may be of use to him, but see where his conscience is.

We have to go through P. Smith and Moody like all else. God will make everything work together for good to those that love Him. They (are) in some aspects signs of the last days; our business is to separate the precious from the vile. You will see a large increase of wickedness and of worldliness in Christianity by it, but souls converted to God. I dread the Americanising effect of it; religion and activity where Christ has little place. They are all groaning under it in America, and the revivalist standing up to confess Christ—— does not allow in his own chapel through experience of its effects. But it will have aroused many. The peace men have got by it is a kind of provisional peace. Thorough work will only be the more needed.

As to the first question—I dread questions, notions—I believe the body is redeemed, the Lord for the body and the body for the Lord, and that He holds it by His power for resurrection glory—some changed consequently without dying; but death and corruption in themselves are the effect of sin and Satan’s power. But the body is not under his power; Christ has the keys of death and hell. Its state is the fruit of his power, but it is through redemption not in his power: only redemption is not yet applied to it in its effect in power. We are waiting for the redemption of the body. But the redemption-price is paid, and the power belongs to Christ, is His, so that Satan has no title over it.

As to the Lord’s supper. They [saints in systems] may partake of it in personal communion and piety, and I doubt not do, and enjoy His grace, but they have lost the proper corporate enjoyment of it in the unity of the body…

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Nelson, October 18th, 1875.

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Beloved Brother,—I was glad to get a few lines from you, and to hear something of brethren too. I have never had a cloud on my mind as to my path, since I fixed to come, the Lord helping me, to New Zealand. As to my strength, I found it after ninety-six hours constantly in the train in that dreary wilderness, nothing the worse: the voyage rather a rest, having as a whole very fine weather, and the ship unusually easy; and were I health-hunting, I might stay in this beautiful country with pleasure. The climate is admirable here, and the locality charming. Of course I have been, through mercy, working as elsewhere.

Having been put off before, and dear W. having been here, I had doubts about coming; but as they still looked for me, I thought I should come, and all has been ordered. I do not know when I have had such earnest and attentive congregations. The word is enjoyed, so that I trust there may be blessing for all outside as well as inside … and the Lord has been graciously with me. Of course the exercises of soul in others, and in oneself, are found, and practically the same as everywhere; still it remains joyfully and thankfully true that God has wrought us for the selfsame thing, and has given us the earnest of the Spirit. On the whole, all hitherto has been encouraging, and I trust will be so yet.

I feel sometimes a little envious of those called to be evangelists—still happy that they have it—but it is good for me and keeps me low; and I know and feel that I should be willing to serve where He sets me, and rejoice to do it, because it is His will—only pray I may serve thoroughly, happy to be allowed to do it. As to all the translations, though very thankful to give the word of God to others, I feel I am only a “hewer of wood and drawer of water”—always have. It is a joy to me to have been permitted to do it, but it is the word in the soul which is the power of life. I only hope in the midst of all that is going on, the brethren may be devoted, and continue to evangelise, and increase in it, but earnestly, soberly and devotedly. I am not (though I am sure the Lord does all things well) entirely at ease as to the way Moody sets all to work. I have seen the insecure lowering of Christianity it occasions in America, and the mischief it does to souls, and partly in England; though earnest working, when called of God, and confessing Christ with all, is a great privilege. But work is made the means of getting peace, openly so, and systematically too, in the States: besides that, many in whom there is no deep work—yea, because there is not—set out to work. Yet I do not deny that where it is deep and simple, one in the freshness of grace and forgiveness can deal better with sinners than one more advanced: I do not speak of positive gifts. But the setting to work in a superficial state of soul I dread for the person. I do not doubt that M.’s setting forth the love of God more freely and fully has done good. He has got on in truth unquestionably… As to sects and the church, this question remains just where it was.

My thoughts, though I have to finish here, turn towards England, if the Lord will. Still, day by day we have to follow His will, and Christ is the same and all everywhere; and we have to work while it is day, and then be with Him in the fulness of God’s rest, when He comes—when He shall be satisfied, seeing the fruit of the travail of His soul.

Affectionately yours in Him.

Nelson, New Zealand, October 25th, 1875.

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My dear Miss ——,—I know of no books which give an account of the brethren. I looked at the account in the——, and I should desire to add, at any rate, my own way of looking at it, so as to express what has governed myself. One or two expressions might lead I think, though I understand them, to misapprehension.

The great principles which govern me are two, though both flow from one great truth, namely, that the Holy Ghost has been sent down from heaven consequent on the exaltation of the Lord Jesus to the right hand of the Father, witness of His infinite love in redemption and uniting the saints into one body. This mission, therefore, develops itself in two branches just alluded to: the presence of the Holy Ghost in the church, which He has formed in unity, and in union with its Head, Christ; and His testimony in the midst of the world—the gospel, in a word, and the church. This presence of the Holy Ghost down here, as truly sent from above as the Son was (though in a different manner, and consequent on the accomplishment and establishment before God of divine righteousness by Jesus Christ), is the key and centre of all that belongs to the christian state. Righteousness has been established before God in heaven, and perfect love shewn to the sinner on earth. Christ has made good both perfect love on God’s part towards man in his sins (for God so loved that He spared not His Son), and perfect righteousness for faith before God (for Christ is our righteousness before God). Of this the Holy Ghost is witness in the gospel (being sent down because Jesus is on high) in the whole creation under heaven. See 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20; Colossians 1:23, where Paul declares what his ministry in the gospel is.

But this gospel gathers the heavenly joint-heirs of Christ, and having gathered them from Jew and Gentile, unites them by the power of His presence into one body, and that as members of Christ in union with the Head. God had made Him “to be Head over all things to the church which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” “By one Spirit we have all been baptised into one body.” “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Hence the saint is the temple of the Holy Ghost individually (1 Cor. 6:19); and the whole body collectively. (1 Cor. 3:16.) Hence on earth they are “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph. 2:20.) “Ye are the body of Christ and members in particular.” Hence Paul is also a minister of the church “to complete the word of God.” The unity of the whole body is to be kept in the bond of peace: and if men and the influence of corruptions have scattered the members of Christ, or substituted another unity or organisation for the unity of the body, the duty is not set aside by that, whatever power we may lack to accomplish it; meanwhile the promise remains sure, wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, He is in the midst of them. They enjoy His presence as really, if not as completely, as if all the church were gathered together.

Ministry, though coming directly from God by the power of the Holy Ghost, and making him that possesses the gift of it thereby the servant of Christ (1 Cor. 12, Rom. 12, 1 Peter 4), yet is exercised by each as a member of the body, while his responsibility is to the Head—saving needed discipline exercised by the church in Christ’s name—each member filling up the service which belongs to it according to the will of Christ, and the power of the Holy Ghost working in it. It is exercised in the world by the evangelist—to say nothing here of the original work of the apostles—and in the body by pastors, teachers, and the like. The gifts which were signs to the world have disappeared, but not those by which Christ gathers and nourishes His church. He cannot cease to call and bless it. All Christians are members of the body. Sinners, by evangelists’ work or other means, may become Christians. It is the working of God’s love, founded on accomplished righteousness, in virtue of which that love can flow effectually forth to the chief of sinners, and is addressed to the whole world; and scattered saints, wherever placed, may be brought into unity by the power of the Holy Ghost working to this end by light and love. Nothing but what constitutes a person member of the body of Christ, can be the ground of union; but in union the whole will and truth of God is to be maintained in truth, holiness, and grace, according to the word arid by the power of .the Spirit. If through ignorance anything not constituting a person a known and recognised member of Christ cannot be settled, saints must forbear, and God will reveal it, while such is the ground of communion.

I believe it is of the last importance that the church should have a right hope. That hope is, the coming of the Lord to take the saints, already called, into glory with Himself, the church taking her place as the bride, the Lamb’s wife. Consequent upon this He will set aside the power of evil and establish the kingdom in power, blessing and glory. The nominal church, not members of Christ, will be spued out of His mouth: Babylon judged, as well as all power of evil set aside: full communion and glory for the church with Christ, and the judgment and then blessing of the world as. that which we ought to look for.

As to life: that eternal life which was with the Father has been manifested to us in Christ, and He is become our life. His precepts, walk and words, in which it was expressed in Him, become the rule and direction of that life in us. This is the rule, the Spirit is the power. God has given to us eternal life, and that life is in the Son; and “He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” Hence, through the Spirit, since it is in the Son, we have fellowship with the Son, and therefore with the Father. Inasmuch as this life is in Christ in the power of resurrection, we shall never fully have our place and glory till we are risen, though to depart and be with Him be far better.

The presence of the Holy Ghost, and the coming of the Lord, are the practical hinge of the true character and position of the church. The great orthodox truths I do not touch upon, as I receive them as all true Christians do. I only speak here of what has distinctively governed my course in the professing christian world. I would add, that the death and resurrection of Christ is the witness of the world being in itself wholly lost “All were dead”—and of the founding of the working of God’s love towards the lost on the ground of the righteousness established before God in Christ, the Second Adam, so that it is to a new creation we belong as Christians. But the presence of the Holy Ghost forming the unity of the body, I feel to be the centre and keystone of the whole doctrine of Christ, now exalted on high, till He comes again in glory. I have seen as to the manifestation of that unity, all ruined and scattered, and even an immense system established under its name which is not it. Hence the difficulty of obtaining the realisation of the blessings connected with it. But this difficulty has not altered the duty of the saint, nor is the love or power of the Head, nor His interest in the blessing of His saints diminished or enfeebled. And the Christian is bound, according to the grace given to him, to seek souls in the world in the testimony of God’s love and righteousness, and the unity of the body, in all patience, and the edification of all its members for the building of it up, in dependence on the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Such are the great principles of scripture on these points as I understand them. The account in the —— might lead to suppose, that the work known under the name of brethren was a mere abstraction of persons, already believers, from other bodies; whereas, in England, the greater number are converted to God from a state of worldliness, and abroad nearly all have been so.

Ever your affectionate brother,
A Servant in Christ.

[Date uncertain.]

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[From the Italian.

Here I am, dearest brother, still in New Zealand, but disposed to Bet out, but not quite yet; however, I am on the move. I have some thoughts of visiting them at Melbourne, where they think of having a conference; then returning, if God preserves me in His goodness, by the United States to Europe. I think God has called me here; I have not done much, still there have been conversions; some have been added to the meetings; the brethren have made progress in the knowledge of the word, and of principles; and in the difficulties, and some great troubles that have arisen, dreadful cases of discipline, my presence has been useful, raising the eye to Christ, so that they have been encouraged, and God has given His blessing; also some new assemblies have been formed. But where the case of discipline took place, they still need to be established in the path, and there are elements of difficulty, but the Lord is above all difficulties…

I have gone on working on Acts as time has permitted. I send a few more sheets. The history of Paul has interested me much, because in writing I gain knowledge, and the subject becomes more familiar to me. What a noble figure that of Paul, even when he was unable to do the Lord’s work; what dignity, and how he rises morally above the greatness of this world! We shall see him in heaven, but what is still better for him and for us, we shall see the Saviour who has so loved us. What joy ineffable, that of seeing Him face to face—yes, the One who has so loved us! It will be true joy to me to see all the saints perfect, according to the Lord’s heart, when He shall see of the fruit of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied. But amid all, He alone will be the object who will fill the heart: we shall be eternally satisfied, being with Him, and filled with His presence, and the fruit of His lore in the Father’s house. Grace be with you.

* * * * *

To the same.]

[From the Italian.

Here is the end of the Notes on Acts. I am not satisfied, but I hope they have been useful; as to myself, I have profited by them. It has been sweet to me, and useful, to follow the phases of the Lord’s work to the beginning. They are the history of the preaching of the gospel by Peter; then freely, and by Paul, the action of the Spirit of God, which was straitened by Judaism—the continual enemy of the truth of Christ. The more we study the history of the beginning of Christianity, the better we understand where the conflict is at all times.

Your affectionate brother.

Wellington, New Zealand, 1876.

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My dear Brother,—I now hope to come to Melbourne. They talk of some general meeting about Easter, and I hope to be over. I do not expect to go beyond Melbourne, save that if going to San Francisco, I may go to Sydney, whence the packet starts; but I must be wending my way towards England.

As regards the subject of your letter—evangelising, I should assuredly seek to serve in and promote in every way I could. And I can quite understand that an assembly, not having one gifted to preach, but desirous to reach souls in the love of them, seeks that it may be carried on, and helps those who do, and—I mean if the door be open in the place—where they are. But I do not reckon as scriptural ‘our evangelist.’ The evangelist is the Lord’s servant only, though the sympathy of brethren is most happy and desirable. It is just the old denominational plan, so—‘the assembly sought him to preach the gospel for them.’

The meeting of a few caring for the saints and serving them, is very desirable, but they cannot act as the assembly, though they may serve it in every way. This question has arisen in New Zealand. They had got into this habit; so that the conscience of the assembly as such was not exercised. It may be the means, if godly care of souls be carried on by those so meeting, of sparing the assembly many harassing details: but where the conscience of the assembly is concerned, there the matter must be before the assembly, that the conscience of the assembly may be right before God. This habit of a few judging for the assembly (nominally giving notice to gather brothers) has become pretty general in N.Z., resulting in leaving it to two or three, often to one of more active mind; but we have the matter before us, that the conscience of the assembly may be in exercise when it is called for. In putting away it is always so, though in investigating and getting the real moral bearings of the case, grave godly brethren may be most useful here too.

I have no doubt that the case at —— is a proof of the mischief of opening the door in this way because the person naturally acquires influence, and all becomes loose; but ‘our evangelist’ is itself a mere dissenting church position, and does not recognise gifts in the body, each in its own place serving the Lord according to the grace given…

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Wellington, New Zealand, February 11th, 1876.

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Dearest ——,—I have had your letter a long time on my table waiting for a seasonable [moment] to write, not as to mere time, but to give you some real news of what was going on here. It has been going on so evenly from day to day that there was little to relate. It has never been God’s way to give me much apparent present effect of work: it was good for me, I doubt not, to be kept doing it as work to Him. Besides, very often there was nothing very positive. In a few places I have had manifest blessing in evangelising, but my faith and courage are feeble in looking for present fruits; only I am willing to serve the Lord and His saints—I hope I can say to be nothing, if He is everything; and we are nothing, but if God gives one to serve, it is a wonderful mercy. I have gone on here just labouring as the opportunity served and the door was open. I have some hope that it has cheered and strengthened and refreshed them…

Patience it is while we are here, and patience must have its perfect work, that we may be perfect and complete in. all the will of God. I feel, though desiring assuredly to see the saints happy, and the prosperity of His chosen, my heart looks more to His coming and to see Himself. That will be joy, and He will tell us what He thinks of us, and I am not afraid of that, for I am sure it will be true, and infinitely full of grace. Of good in myself I have no idea; of evil I know, alas! much: but I know what He is to me, and yet it passes knowledge. Yet that is a step further on; it is knowing His4ove in itself, apart from all judgment or grace in view of service, though a word of approbation would be untold delight, but that between Himself and oneself: but His love I am sure is a source of infinite delight. One has, in working here, to lay up one’s happiness, so to speak, with Him; and I have little leisure to quietly enjoy. Still, when one gets it, it will be wondrous the joy; and one ought to get enough of it in spirit to know what it will be, and this I sometimes feel I do not enough. Well, we must east it all on Him and trust Him. To serve as well as I know how. I think I am ready, but enjoy I sometimes think I do not enough; but I am content, and, if I have to blame myself, leave all to Him…

In about a month, if all be well, I shall be off. They have a Conference at Melbourne, and then I purpose leaving by Sydney for San Francisco, and so by America and Canada for England.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Christchurch, March 2nd, 1876.

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[From the French.

Very dear Brother,—I was told of your meeting on my arrival here; also in a letter of invitation to the conference in Canada, and I have since counted the days; it would have been a happiness to see the brethren of Iowa, and you all also. But thev had arranged for a kind of little conference here, having invited the people before my arrival, so that I shall be here until the 20th of the month… and it will be impossible for me to be at Vinton. When I learnt that there was a conference there, I felt that I should not be there. But I beg you to salute the brethren very affectionately on my behalf, and. I earnestly desire for the Lord’s glory that He may bless you abundantly, and that the fruit of your intercourse and of His presence may be permanent. My heart longs that the Lord may be glorified in the walk of His own; that they may glorify Him, not only by avoiding evil, but by maintaining close communion with Him, and, separated from the world in all their ways, may be to Him for a testimony, and for a testimony that their hearts are elsewhere because their treasure is… It may be I shall never see them again. But it is well if I finish my course; our meeting will be elsewhere.

I sympathise with you, dear brother, in the loss of your children. I was told of it. It is a sorrowful blow for the heart of the parents—that one can understand, and I believe not less sensibly on the part of those who are not, according to the measure of the Spirit of Christ. He felt, in a manner a little different it is true, the death of Lazarus, more than those who took part at it. But all this belongs to that which is down here, where everything is passing and everything is changing. But He is all the time our God. He wept, but He raised. He sympathises with us, but He has introduced the power of good, of God Himself, in the midst of evil. For us, we have to wait for the result, but it is none the less sure. I in nowise doubt that all children that die are with Him; and it is there we find that which abides, that which is perfect, that which is all of Him. We wait, but He also waits to have us. We wait with longing, but He who shall come will come, and will not tarry. We have need of patience, that after having done the will of God we may inherit the effect of the promise. I trust that Mrs. ——’s heart rests in the Lord in this sorrow. It is comforting to do so; His grace is perfect…

God be with you, dear brother, and may He bless your conference. Once more, salute warmly the brethren.

Yours affectionately in Jesus.

San Francisco, June 9th.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—Thank you for writing to me about your dear A.; you judged rightly in thinking I should be interested in hearing. I was thinking of seeing her before she left this, though knowing she was declining. Most thankful I am that peace and Christ was her portion to the end: not that I doubted she leant on the Lord, but when I saw her, though she left no trace of doubt on my mind that she was His, there were moments that the full peace and liberty in Christ were clouded, though never attachment of heart to Him. I should have been glad to have seen her; but for her, oh! how far better to be at rest and with the Lord: that is joy and blessing, yet we have it in His grace here, though as yet in a very poor earthen vessel. Dear child! I so rejoice in seeing her with Him who loved her, and now has taken her where He is, and evil and sorrow cannot come. And I rejoice for you, dear brother, and Mrs. ——, that you have been given to see her peace and joy before she went. Her affections were all right with Jesus, and they have not been disappointed; and my heart goes up there where she is. It is our home and our rest… My true sympathy with Mrs. ——.

The Lord, dear brother, be with you and yours, and multiply His blessings. May He keep you near Himself in lowliness and joy of communion! It is not our rest—there remains one for God’s people—but what a reason! “it is polluted”: we belong to what is of God and is holy.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

San Francisco, June, 1876.

* * * * *

* * * The unity of the body is a turning-point with loose brethren; many brethren may not have learned it, but with the loose brethren it is a necessity to deny it. It makes an essential difference of the true position of the saints. Those loose had long been drifting there; the annihilation question brought it to a point, because some would, some would not have them. It was what brought me out and put me where I am, and made the difference of leaving the National system, not a point objected to as a dissenter, but on the positive real ground of the church of God united to the Head—the real ground of God’s assembly formed by the Holy Ghost. The doctrine of the House came out much later: but 1 Corinthians 10-12 formed the basis of the ground I came out to; Matthew 18 giving the practical feasibility of it now. All my Swiss controversies, for it was there I had them, turned on this point— the dissenters, semi-brethren, there rejecting it.

San Francisco, June, 1876.

* * * * *

Dearest Brother,—Very glad to hear from you, and to get your account of the work. Fruits you assuredly have, perhaps apparently greater than we at home. Still it is conflict everywhere, and must be till He comes, when power will put an end to it. Our part is to overcome, and that very much by patience—“strengthened with all might according to his glorious power unto all patience.” So it is “let patience have her perfect work.” The first sign of an apostle was “in all patience.” It is very striking the place it holds in scripture. What grief of spirit if the saints are not going on well, when in conflict with such as ——, or false doctrine rising up! These things are all in our path here, more perhaps than with you even. Infidelity too is sweeping over the profession amazingly. But Christians are getting forced to be such. Then the mixture of doctrine even, when men are earnest, all exercises our patience. It must have its perfect work. Still we have “much to be thankful for.

Poor P. S. broke down in his perfection personally. I do not doubt his being a saint, but he got mixed up with spiritualists, and there were charges as to morality; and his teaching that there could be a gross carnal state and a high spiritual state at the same time shocked his friends, and they broke with him. Yet I doubt not there was rousing both through him and M. in different ways. He never knew himself; and M., who has greatly got on in truth, mixed his activities with what was of the flesh, so as to injure Christians, and mix up the saint and the world: their songs are everywhere in the mouth of the drunkard. Still God has been working in His great and gracious patience.

These —— troubles I suppose may be, if the Lord permit, a hindrance to you, but He holds us in the hollow of His hand, and will turn all to His glory. There is One who opens and no man shuts, and in these last days, gloomy as circumstances may seem, He opens a door and carries on His work by, or in spite of, man. He will never leave us nor forsake us; and keeping close to Him, we can reckon on His guidance and the help of divine wisdom… The Lord be with you and keep you, dear brother.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Chicago, June 23rd, 1876.

* * * * *

* * * As to the work, dear brother, our path is through conflict. If brethren do not walk consistently, and apart from the world, they will and ought to be chastened more than others; and the worst thing for those whose hearts are in the Lord’s work, is to see the saints going on badly. I am thankful, in the main, for the news from Italy. I am not surprised at the gathering at —— going to pieces, for the foundation was a poor one… I see many bad elements at work: may the Lord keep us feeling that the Head can never fail.

June, 1876.

* * * * *

Beloved Brother,—I was most thankful to get your letter, though long delayed by my absence in New Zealand. On arriving here I found the second one, with that from dear——, apprizing me of his return to England. It was an additional motive for writing to you. It may have been quite right he should go, being trustee; but I feel a Christian engaged in the Lord’s work ought not to be in such an office—hardly any other Christian, as it may involve law suits, which they are bound to institute as responsible for their wards. The Lord will guide him in this, and I trust he may return to you, unless the Lord have other work for him. When he had just passed surgeon, he wrote to me about working: I told him the first question was, was he a surgeon that preached, or a preacher that practised by occasion. He understood it well, and has worked diligently ever since, practising when occasion offered. I do trust this trusteeship may not divert him from the Lord’s work. Trustees are easier to be had than labourers—true trustees of the Lord’s word and grace in service… I do hope and pray he may keep up to the calling he has already wrought in. Labourers that work from Christ and with Him, are not so plenty.

But you must not be discouraged, dear brother, if for a time alone. No one ever knew what it was to be alone as the blessed Lord did. It is a great comfort that some solid brethren are already with you. Besides, there is One above all; and it is a good experience. We may glory in infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon us. We fancy often that the apostles soared above human feelings: it was not so. Where the apostle [Paul] was most largely blessed, he was among them “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.” I have the habit of working alone, have always had, though cordially united with brethren. I am almost afraid sometimes there is fault in me, but I am cast on the Lord, and am more with Him—quite recognising that the Lord Himself sent them out two and two, and seeing in a measure the wisdom of it, and how it makes the work wholly the Lord’s own. Plymouth business, I believe, sealed this path on my spirit…

What a comfort to know that “grace and truth came” (not ‘were told of,’ not a rule of what man ought to be)—took place by the coming of Christ! We are in the truth and all the grace and relationship with the Father in which He stood, and which were revealed in Him. Be of good cheer, dear brother, and work away, looking to the Lord. This, as to doing, is all we have to do here; in due time we shall reap if we faint not. There is always a moment in our spiritual life when our faith must be individual and direct. In one sense it is always so, but where we are put upon it—a critical time for the soul— as Lot was, we may not be aware of all involved in it, but our condition and resolve under grace is tested. But His grace is sufficient for us, His strength made perfect in weakness… When the right time is come, God will send help to you: we must lean on Him. Sorrows on our path we must expect. It is the time of conflict, and we must expect it: only still go on, keeping in that presence which hides us from the provoking of all men. For my part, I do not doubt my object, but I feel my love very poor. But I think the Lord is working and helping on brethren, provided only they do not become worldly: if they do—are conformed to the world—what are they worth?

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

Chicago, June 21th, 1876.

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[From the French.

* * * We must bless God for that goodness which restores things after having sifted them. I have seen many an instance of this. He humbles us, makes us feel the evil; but, if there is patience, He restores. He exercises discipline towards those who have not known how to exercise it on themselves; then He blesses. Patience plays a great part in the work of God, in the individual, and in the assemblies. “Strengthened with all might, according to the power of his glory”—there is some extraordinary fruit which is to be produced—“unto all patience.” (Col. 1:11.) “The signs of an apostle were wrought … in all patience” (2 Cor. 12:12); and, “Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4.)

The work is spreading much, and in general we have reason to bless God. The door is open to us among those who are seeking the truth. This is a new phase of our spiritual life: a blessing, for many are interested in the truth as they were not formerly; a danger, for this tends to place those who do not know themselves on a pedestal, which is nothing but pride—as if they knew a great deal, and this is only folly. I we know ourselves, we understand our nothingness, and know that God does everything, and that we have nothing which we have not received. I feel myself, dear brother, nearer the eternal salvation; then one does not fail to recognise one’s nothingness, to be content that Christ should be all. Besides, this is the desire of my heart. I am, more than ever, wholly His; I do not say this in the sense of true purpose of heart, but I mean that He has entire right over me, and that He is all. All else is but vanity; everything else is passing too, everything else changes. My heart is content to serve Him, as a poor redeemed one who owes himself to Him, as long as He can use me; content that He should be fully glorified, and He will be.

July 10th, 1876.

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[From the Italian.

Dear Brother,— … We have had a very blessed conference here at Brantford in Canada. Many new souls from the south (Pennsylvania, Maryland, etc.) of the United States, who went away filled with joy, blessing God. Generally, the work is prospering and spreading, not without conflicts and difficulties; we must expect it, but God is full of goodness… I am ever more convinced that it is needful to water that which has been planted, to care for ignorant souls and those lately converted, if we desire’ that a testimony should be rendered to the Lord. May God, ever good and faithful in hearing us, take care of those who are His in Italy, and greatly extend His work in souls! … The Lord is faithful, and He nourishes and cares tenderly for His assembly, and with what patience; but labourers are few…

Your affectionate.

Hamilton, July 18th, 1876.

* * * * *

[From the German.

Dear Brother,—You will be pleased to hear something of the Lord’s work in these distant lands. But first a word as to ——: I am full of hope about him. He is open, and loves his family, and that is a good deal. Pure unbelief hardens the heart and nourishes pride, and pride is never open. But the work will begin in the conscience. If the head thinks, it is always sceptical, can be nothing else, because it is altogether unable to comprehend God. He would not be God if human understanding could measure Him. God sets the conscience in activity in its true position through faith alone: we are subject, and acknowledge God in His transcendence. I do not believe that his conscience is asleep: I do not say that it is brought into the presence of God, but I am full of hope that the grace of God will do it.

I remained some months in New Zealand, and God has, I doubt not, blessed the visit. But I feel that I have left my work unfinished, only I could not stay there longer. New assemblies have arisen, and the old ones are confirmed and increased. But there was more still to do. Now the condition of things is quite peculiar. Brother Deck, long known and loved, had, through various circumstances, fallen under the influence of Bethesda. Much blessed in England and in New Zealand in conversion, of gentle spirit and godly, he had not the courage to investigate the matter, and fled. But it followed him, and he could not escape from it. A tract by his own son opened his eyes, and shewed him where he was; not only that he had abandoned the principles of brethren and denied the unity of God’s assembly—the tract had shewn this—but that he had lost his spiritual communion with God, and entirely forgotten and lost precious truths. He has, with most faithful and subdued spirit, openly acknowledged this: it was beautiful to read. God opened many hearts, and the intelligent brethren have almost all come back, except in two localities. He is himself very happy, and there are thorough-going assemblies everywhere, and new ones have arisen, some rather numerous. There was undiscovered evil in some, and all this was brought to light and put away. Our brother is encouraged and happy. But all is not yet done. The work is spreading in Australia, and there are some rather numerous conversions… After thirty-one days at sea, by Fiji and the Sandwich Islands, and five days and nights upon the railway without leaving the carriage except for meals—and not that always—I came as far as Canada to attend a conference. It was numerously attended, and the Lord’s presence was abundantly discerned. Many fresh brethren from the United States were present, and had never experienced such blessing. There was liberty in the Bible readings and they were full of blessing. All have returned blessing and praising God, and we hope that an abiding blessing will flow from it. Not that because there is blessing there may not be conflict upon the path. We have great cause for pain, because an old brother, long blessed in Jamaica, is now disposed to embrace the doctrine of the Restorationists. Our hope is ever that he will be brought back. Those in his neighbourhood have been warned, and do not accept the doctrine at all. The truth spread in an extraordinary way in the neighbourhood, so that it is very sad. It was discovered at the right time, thank God; God is ever faithful. For long as I think, God’s guidance has been lacking.

I relate what is sad just as what is joyful, dear brother; I believe that the communication to brethren of all is strengthening, and produces more fellowship in the Lord, and much more, with hearts faithful before God—not only to send bright accounts, but to share in the whole work of the Lord, to sorrow with the sorrowing ones, to rejoice with them that rejoice, to pray for all. What I fear for brethren is, the world; gradually does it creep in, without one’s perceiving it. In general it is a time of blessing, and the work extends wonderfully. The enemy often enters by the back door, because we are occupied at the front door. There is One, His name be praised! who is ever watchful; my confidence is in Him, He nourishes and cares for His assembly as a man his own flesh. What consolation! I can say, weak as I am, He is ever more everything to my soul. What else should He be?

Hearty greetings to all the brethren! God knows if I shall see you yet again, I am not yet clear whether the work will leave me free to go to Europe, as I hoped, before the winter. There is much to do, and I am getting old, only every year affords more and more the motive for praise and thanks to God, that He gives eternity to praise Him more worthily.

Your attached brother in the Lord.

* * * * *

Dearest ——,—I hardly know when I shall get away. I thought only to visit here, the States (and then New Zealand) being my object, but, arriving, under God’s hand I doubt not, work was called for… Stray sheep, there had been no looking after; persons, too, with no hold on brethren in England, and unable to get any, are apt to come over and set up to minister here and make confusion, when labouring with their hands would be much better. However, the brethren have felt the case of a good many scattered ones, and are setting about to look after them, so I trust all will be well… Revival work had left many stranded that, save by the regular operation of grace, now will never be regathered. They may be individually.

The notion of work as pressed by Moody, etc., I believe to be a most mischievous one. That they who are called to it should work devotedly is all clear; that if any one knows to do good, and does not do it, it is sin, is equally clear. We have all to serve. But people are set to work, when they ought, as new-born babes, to be receiving milk for themselves. The consequence is that they are full of themselves, light in their way of working, and Christ’s name is dishonoured. In the States generally they have no idea of getting peace but by working, and where sincere in this case dare not stop; with the rest it is a flighty self-sufficient forwardness. The revival work with everybody has nine-tenths of it everywhere come to nothing. In one place I know where two or three hundred were added to the so-called churches; they do not know what to do with them, they are going on in such a way: and mothers, who had mourned over their children being passed by, rejoicing that they made no profession at the season of supposed blessing— just the same where brethren have had to say to it. Some, no doubt, were converted, but there is a levity in it which is not Christianity. Working is all right when it is with Christ, and serious, when a person is led of the Spirit of God to it, but setting to work is another thing. The whole tone of Christianity suffers by it. I have said to them, I have worked unceasingly forty-nine years. I was set to it as positive ministry four years before: I preached nothing but Christ, and had not peace, and had no business to be in any public ministry. The whole system is a mischievous mistake: it has in the States done immense mischief. Devotedness and unworldliness, I believe to be of the last moment, and that especially in these days. But Martha’s running to Jesus was not what Mary’s state was, who waited till she was called. God makes all things work together for good, and will this. Still we have to discern the true character of things by the Holy Ghost and the word. Christians who are not content with Christ’s approbation may throw themselves into this activity to keep things going, and it may be a trial to some to be in the shade, but Christ’s approbation is worth it all. A loose course may more easily gather those that are loose, but they are always connected with the camp, out of which God calls.

As to myself, at my age, I shall hardly return to America, and I may feel anxious to see all I ought to see before I leave. If this carries me into winter—that is, beyond October, I shall hardly, if there be no positive duty, cross the Atlantic till winter storms are over. The earnest care of souls is greatly to be looked for. In the cases I have spoken of, some might have been saved thus from wandering or worldliness. In general there is blessing and an open door: it is the care of the gathered that lacks. But the joining churches, so-called, has in no way done the work, only maintained them in the greatest inconsistency of profession.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Toronto, August 20th, 1876.

* * * * *

Dear ——,—I see I shall hardly get away before winter, I might start during the winter, but that I should hardly choose unless duty calls. I have been kept longer in Canada than I thought, for my object was the States. We have had two conferences, both blessed; in the first, out of town, more enjoyment of communion, perhaps; in the second, in Montreal, more instruction—a good many fresh souls from the States. But another thing kept me awhile: the loose gatherings which emigrants and others have formed have been nearly broken up among themselves, and several were desirous of coming into communion; and the local brethren, many of them little informed of the facts, were glad of help; and I have been occupied in two or three places with that disagreeable but useful work. Many have seen what it is all about, and are clear, and a good many have come in. I have always found that knowing the blasphemies that were really in question has dissipated the fog they had managed to produce in many minds where there was real conscientiousness. The older gatherings have been sadly neglected. This I have a little attended to also, and all this kept me, and I have not done yet. Meanwhile, conversions continue…

I shall very possibly go after some gatherings in these quarters, and by Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, Halifax, to Boston and New York, visiting Concord; but this runs past hundreds of miles, and will take some little time. But I am desirous of returning. I shall hardly return here: if seeing those I ought to see before I leave, it will hardly be before October, and then comes winter.

The Colonies, and much of the States, are a difficult field, in this, that people come out to get on—own land—in a word, the world. I am sure Christ only and His service are worth anything. All else passes away, to say the least—well, if we are not hindered by it here. What I feel anxious about as to brethren is, that they should be devoted, not conformed to this world, which has crucified the Lord of glory; but which grace has visited from on high to take us up there, giving us now our citizenship in heaven, and leading us to wait for the blessed Lord. Nor shall we be weary of the way when we see the Master’s face; nor now, if our eye is fixed on Him—sad we may be, but not weary. But there is a sad want of looking after souls—the first confiding commission of Christ—what was on His heart, “Feed my sheep.” Peace be with you. Kindest love to the brethren, whom I shall be glad to see again, the Lord favouring my journey.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Belleville, September, 1876.

* * * * *

[From the French.

Deas ——,—You have done well to count upon my interest in you. There is no loss more real, more keenly felt, than that of a beloved wife, mother of your children, the help given by God, the one dear to your heart. We are in a world of suffering and death, but “the Son of God came into it after death, and has conquered it, and takes part in all our sufferings in the path of His will. It is worth while to be cast down when there is a God “who comforteth those that are cast down.” What grace, when one thinks that tbe high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity stoops to think—and that with infinite tenderness—of all our trials and of all our infirmities; and that even His Spirit, who dwells in us in the midst of these infirmities, intercedes in us when we know not what we ought to ask! Besides, He makes all things work together for good to those who love Him. If rest were down here, it would be another thing; but it is not so. We are on a pilgrimage, and God makes us feel it in our circumstances. He detaches us from what is dearest down here; He weans us, and thus, without being aware of it, we ripen for heaven. There is a wonderful difference between a soul which is weaned and whose will has been broken and made subject, and one which, while seeking to do right, does it according to its own will. Then, dear——, God will guide you. He takes knowledge of your difficulties; I am thinking especially of your children. Only keep close to Him, consult Him; spread out before Him your difficulties and your requests; above all, dwell with Him in your soul, feeding on the Bread of life. This sustains us, fills our hearts and affections, and we go on satisfied. The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keeps the heart.

The account which you have given me of the details of the work has much interested me. I do not know, but I doubt whether this will continue. If the brethren do not continue to keep honestly outside the camp, they will not be borne with very long. However, God is acting in the present day in such a remarkable way, that it is hard to say what the consequences will be. I only hope that these dear brethren will hold themselves, spiritually and in their individual walk, outside the world-church, the camp. I have always said—the feet in the narrow path; the heart as wide as possible. If we cannot tell out all the truth which is suitable to those to whom we speak, we cannot be faithful. When Moses pitched his tabernacle outside the camp, those who sought the Lord went thither. Joshua departed not from it; Moses carried the testimony to those who were in the camp. In our spiritual and heavenly life—for Joshua is the heavenly Christ—we can by no means return to the camp; we are in the tabernacle pitched outside; we carry the testimony. But Moses went into it, caring for the interests of the people, while not being of them. We cannot mix ourselves up with evil and testify against those who are in it. But grace and patience are needful. “If thou take forth,” God said to Jeremiah (chap, 15), “the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth.” This verse acted powerfully upon my mind fifty years ago, when I began; for in a few days it will be fifty years since I left the camp.

Peace be with you, dear brother; may the Lord sustain you, and keep your dear children under the shadow of His wing.

Belleville, September 2lst.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I was very glad to get your letter, for though I was but a short time in Australia, I never lose toy interest in brethren I have seen—I trust, not in those I have not seen: and I write quite as much in the hope I shall hear again as from having much to tell you of. What I hear is in general happy. So that we have reason to be thankful, but faith might look for much more. What is wanting is care for souls when converted, and pastors—little prayed for. The idea of converting shiners absorbs the mind. We have had two conferences, one out of the town, Brantford, the other in Montreal: the first, most enjoyable communion with many new souls from the States, the second more instruction, and many from outside at the lectures; in both there was much blessing. I have been kept by all this longer in Canada than I thought. I shall hardly get to England before winter, as I suppose I must get to Boston and New York before leaving.

Detroit, 1876.

* * * * *

[From the French

Dear Sister,—I write these few lines to express to you my cordial sympathy, for I have just now heard that you have lost your dear husband. This news has moved me deeply, and how much more must it have you. I knew him a long time before you knew him; he was still quite young, in his father’s house, and I was interested in a journey which he took into Germany in search of a situation as tutor, and in which he did not succeed. God had provided a better work for him. When he returned home, there was a struggle in his soul between the call of the Lord and his duty towards his parents, who had made many sacrifices for his education. At length, during a storm on the lake of Neuchatel, which he was crossing to visit one of his sisters, being at the point of perishing, he felt he must devote himself to the work of the Lord. When he returned home he told his mother so… . Since then you have known him better than I, though our intercourse has always been full of love, and I was heartily attached to him, so that this blow from the hand of the Lord touches me deeply. The work of the Lord, too, in a field where, as far as we can see, few will be able to replace him, is apparently left without help. For the work, for yourself, we must look to the Lord. Your part now is to have entire confidence in Him, the Father of the fatherless, and the Husband of the widow. Your large family gives you the opportunity of glorifying the Lord much, because you have so many things to trust Him about. He seeks this confidence. If the heart of man loves confidence, much more does the heart of the Lord, for He is goodness itself. Commit to Me, He says, your widows and your fatherless. And not only has the Lord Jesus compassion, but circumstances awaken His pity, as in the case of the son of the widow of Nain, and when He saw the crowds who were as sheep with6ut a shepherd. Your task is great, but it is not too much for the goodness of the Lord. By this stroke He can make a comfort and support of your children themselves. But your trust must be in the Lord, for yourself and for everything.

I did not intend, dear sister, to say so much to you, being on a journey in a village in Canada, but I would not and could not receive the news of the departure of your husband without expressing how I participate in your mourning and loss. For him it is joy and peace, for you and your children it is separation from that which is most dear, but to find solitude with God. But God is sufficient for everything, and when sin brought in death, trial and mourning, the Conqueror of death and of the enemy afterwards entered, become man to participate in all and to give us a hope, which has made a gain of death itself—a perfectly certain hope, a love from which nothing can separate us.

Your brother in the Lord.

October, 1876.

* * * * *

[From the French.

Very dear Brother,—I have followed all that is going on in —— with unfailing interest; but my part in this painful story has been rather to be with God than to busy myself with men… . Unless called by God, I would not directly enter into the difficulties of assemblies; I think this is done rather too much, while it is a question of arousing the conscience of the assembly which is disturbed. I grant that an assembly may avail itself with advantage of the advice of a brother more experienced in divine things, and I fully recognise that we are all one, and that if one suffers, all suffer with him. What I fear is lest individual influence should take the place of the awakening of the conscience of the assembly. I have full confidence that this painful commotion will turn to the profit of the brethren. God’s hand will be recognised, and there will be more seriousness. Truths which have been a little neglected will come to mind, worldliness will be judged—everything by which the Holy Spirit has been grieved—dependence on the grace in which we stand will be more felt. What one has to look to is that souls do not lose their way in the conflict, and leave the Lord’s path.

I have heard that there has been a separation at——. Grace, patience, and firmness will be needed to meet it; firmness, especially in the walk of those who, I believe, left the meeting-room, and are not under the influence of ——; firmness too with regard to those who have retained the room; but expression of sorrow towards those who are led, and meekness and patience with all. It is plain that the separation is an evil, and this offence has been committed under the influence of those who were not of the assembly. Romans 16:17 clearly shews us our path in this case, and 2 Thessalonians 3:10 shews the spirit in which we should act, in order that all may be brought back, and that not one may be misled altogether, and in a permanent way. But all this, in whomsoever it may be, is not of yesterday; and there has been too much weakness, too little spirituality in general, for it to be a matter of astonishment if God should chasten. This is why those who suffer from it ought to be before Him, owning His hand; and He who has wounded will heal. The Lord did not take the cup which He had to drink for us from man, nor from Satan, but from His Father’s hand. This, in what concerns us, sweetens the bitterness and sorrow, and also makes us more humble and more serious; then we can pray for others. I have confidence in the Lord that He will restore order and peace: for some, this may not be just yet; but in order to this, those who are right must carry themselves graciously, considering that it is the hand of God, but with firmness in rejecting the schism, and making those who caused it feel that it is no light thing to have done. I have already said that this should be done with sorrow of heart, a thing far removed from haughtiness and hatred. May God Himself work by His grace in your midst…

October, 1876.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—As regards ——, I do not pretend to judge of the matter with the knowledge I have of the facts. There are many things to think of in such cases; people may be wrong, yet not wisely dealt with. Do you be calm and leave it to the Lord. He knows how to justify us where judgment is unrighteous, and shew us our wrong where we have failed; and, with Him, the rest is of very little matter. I rather object to brothers being called in to settle things. I quite recognise that we are all one, and that brethren in an assembly can seek, and have a right to, the assistance of any brother who is a man of counsel in communion with the Lord. But it must be getting the conscience of the assembly right, not settling it for them; for if the other be not done, nothing is really settled. So Paul acted. And we must have patience to separate the precious from the vile. The great thing is to get the consciences of all fully before God. There are those who did not go with those who condemned you, but you must not lean on this, but condemn yourself wherever God does not approve your way of acting. Never mind, if others have made mistakes. It is one of the chief sorrows of one’s christian life. But God is above all, and always right, and will bring out things as they ought to be, without us, and so best. It puts us in our place of nothingness—our true place. The church of God has failed; but God only the more glorified, and the Lord, in it; and so in us. Even in details, Paul could say, “I stand in doubt of you,” and then, “I have confidence in you through the Lord.” We ought to be all perfect, but we are not, and if we are, the church is not, so God cannot unfold and display all His goodness and glory in it. I know nothing more sad than the end of Acts; yet Paul could say, “This shall turn to my salvation,” and “the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” And I have always found reason to humble myself in these cases. Sorrow is a good thing, and makes God a more abundant source of joy. Of the present details, I am, of course, in considerable measure ignorant; but God makes everything work together for good to them who love Him.

If war comes on, I may be in England sooner than I thought. I have been a good while anxious to get there, though desirous of finishing here first and feeling it right; and though much longer in Canada than I thought, my visit, I believe, has not been without benefit. The Lord has been graciously with me from San Francisco to this place. May His savour be with His unworthy servant, whether it be an open door unfilled at Troas, or fightings and fears in Macedonia. I think I may say I never knew anything but sorrow as my portion, though with ceaseless mercies, but rejoice in it all, though I see, and rejoice in seeing, weakness and infirmity in myself all through, and what I now judge as fault. Take heart and be patient— “strengthened with all might according to his glorious power unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.”

Your affectionate brother
In Christ our Lord.

We have much to be thankful for in ——, though many a withered or cankered leaf of former work has fallen off.

Quebec, November 20th.

* * * * *

Dearest ——,— … The Lord has been gracious to the ——, for though some have been left aside, the mass of the brethren having been firm, the body, through the Lord’s great mercy, is preserved, and it is only a certain number who have put themselves out, and already some are coming back.—— is still on the gridiron; but the Lord is turning, though by a sore discipline, all to good. I remember him a pedlar, godly and useful; now he is a comparatively wealthy wholesale merchant, and upset; that is really his history. ——was very much blessed as an evangelist, turned to the trade in wine, and lost proportionately spiritually. It was a dreadful bane to many; they used to sell their crops to make three shillings and sixpence so called, and all was well; the tariff was lowered, they made wine, employed brethren to sell it, and it was the ruin of more than one. I trust the gracious Lord will be a repairer of breaches.

For myself, I feel more quiet here; the blessing on the work is evident, and generally the framework is getting on solid ground… My work in Canada I felt provisional; I was doing it because needed, and because thus I had to do it. Still I can look back on it with thankfulness to the Lord. I visited a quantity of gatherings where others had been working besides the chief centres which I meant to visit. They had been greatly left to themselves, and were cheered and refreshed so far… I feel thankful for my journey, though it has delayed my getting to England, and I felt in a suspended state, doing not my own purposed work all the time. My heart was towards England much, all the time in Canada: now working where I purposed working. I wait the time the Lord may give for my return. I feel a call in England, but it must not be ease or Jerusalem. May the Lord graciously guide me in everything— I say me, for He will surely make all things work together for good. There are subjects I have on my heart to treat in connection with the state of the church in general. Things are going on pretty rapidly as to the ecclesiastical state, and it is well that all the light that may lead them in the breaking up should be there. The brethren—or God I doubt not in grace working in them, has laid the basis of what should be in principle; but a more general breaking up is going on, a good deal of light gone out, and we need what shall help people generally. If brethren get worldly they will be nought, set aside, or a hindrance; and they must now care for sheep without a shepherd, and what may gather, and. be a refuge for souls when the foundations are casting down. I want to. see— both pastorally, and as to the truth—caring for souls. Activity is everywhere: this, not any direct blessing, is the effect of Moody’s work. Fifty years ago that was more in brethren’s hands—efficient lasting work they have to look to.

Boston, November 29th.

* * * * *

To the same.]

Dearest——,—My date—a rare thing—will say where I am. I felt, as I have said, on the perch in Canada, but, thank God, I get constantly fresh testimony to blessing from my visits… So that though I was going as called for, more than any previously set purpose, I am comforted by the Lord’s goodness. But I still feel, though peacefully working here, my work is more sedentary now; and then it would be in England, without precluding visits according to my ability. I have happy news from Holland.

I doubt the wisdom of making this young person ask her father’s leave, he being unconverted. If it is professedly a question of owning Christ, a person must “hate” father and mother. I know not who gave this advice. The letter seems a strange one: if it was merely a question of waiting awhile, she fully intending to do it when she had an opportunity, she might, I think, have been let in, but I do not see why she should not have been baptised. The case was not, I think, dealt wisely with. As to any busy activity of baptist brethren, we have only to let it pass: I do not believe it to be of God, but I believe it to be of God to bear with it, profitless as it may be.

Here the work is individual, no preaching does much—may help those who hear, but it is not so the work goes on: it is in reading meetings and personal intercourse, and this has gone on with blessing, and I trust is doing so… What is important for brethren is not to take the world for granted and be conformed to it. I used to say fifty years ago that God’s renewed actings in grace, revivals, in the old sense, were like fresh water poured on the ground; the next step was mud mixture: only I hoped since that the Lord might come before it happened. It was so with Christianity at the beginning; but that is the question for brethren now. The first were a testimony for separation; that brought in many. Are they so now? is the question; not speculating about Philadelphia. But I trust the Lord. But brethren’s work has spread out far and wide beyond them as an effect, and these products of it are a hindrance. At the beginning it was faith acting on the word—conscience; now it is looking to see the state and effect. But while conscious of all around us, we have to go like a horse with blinkers, looking straight forward, undistracted, an afflicted and poor people that call upon the name of the Lord. He remains the same, and the word remains the same.

Affectionately yours in Him.

Boston, December 22nd.

* * * * *

[From the Italian.

Dear Brother,—It rejoices me much to learn that the faithful Lord has turned your thoughts and your steps in the direction of brethren, or rather, as I believe, of the path appointed by God. I own fully that it is a question of obedience to the word of God, not of walking with me, or anybody else, but positively to do the will of God. At first, when I left the Episcopal church, there was no one with whom I could walk; I was led on and guided simply by the word of God. Afterwards four of us met together; I thought only of satisfying my conscience according to the word of God. The work extended, and that everywhere, and I am deeply convinced that it is a testimony which God Himself has raised up for these last days. I have been walking in this way for fifty years; I have seen weakness in myself, and mistakes, I do not doubt, in the way of walking; but I have never doubted for a moment that it is the work of God. But it is needful that each one should be convinced of this for himself by the word of God. It is a path of faith, and faith only can sustain the soul in this path; but I know that the peace, the approval of God are there; and those who walk in it by faith are made happy by them. I hope that my love for the brethren with whom I cannot walk will be always increasing. We cannot realise the blessings which belong to us if we do not comprehend all the saints in our christian affections. (Eph. 3:18.) Not to walk with them in a path that is not according to the word is not saying that one does not love them, but just the contrary. I want no more than this, that you should search the word of God in His presence, and He will certainly guide you. Glad as I should be to find you in the path which I believe to be that of God, I shall not cease to love you, even though you should condemn me: it is a delight to me to know that God has blessed you in your labours amongst these dear souls in Italy.

It was the unity of the assembly of God, of those who are united to Christ by the Holy Ghost, which forced me to leave the Anglican church, and prevented me from joining any other; and I have found in the word of God all the directions needed for walking according to the will of God, amid the ruin and confusion which surrounds us. I own then every true Christian as a member of the body of Christ, but I cannot walk with them when they do not walk according to the will of God, according to the word. May our God bless your soul, and your labours, and may He lead you in the path of Christ and of faith, the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God”! He is blessing the work in this place; many are sounding the word, and the expectation of the Lord is continually on the increase.

Your affectionate brother.

New York, March 5th, 1877.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I have had extra work with replying on the Bible to Free Church professional infidelity in Scotland. I only wish I could do it better. I have had pleasure in doing it, but wish I could do it better. Faith .in the word is the operation of God’s Spirit giving it power, and I find it—with the deepest conviction of the whole, as a whole, being of God, and stamped with this character in the most marvellous way —difficult to bring the proofs out to many minds; but it comforts and strengthens those who have eyes to see, and God can open the eyes of others. I have sent some rapid papers to ——, and have some more in hand. Meanwhile I have been writing on James for the Italians, and this I could profit by myself.

New York, 1877.

* * * * *

Dear——,—It is a long while since I wrote to you… I still think of returning to Europe when winter storms are over. The progress of infidelity and evil made me anxious to be back. Not that I delude myself by fancying I could do much; but a testimony, however feeble, is a trumpet to which the Lord answers, at least for His. But I have been sending an article to ——, who wrote to me for it, which has a little quieted my spirit in that direction; a paper written at his request in great haste, that is for immediate use, but which I hope may be so far a testimony. There are other points I see plainly coming up, hidden in general evangelicalism, but which is becoming a root of great evil. The great affair is to hold fast the simplicity that is in Christ: then all goes in clear atmosphere of life and health—if brethren are only practical and devoted, and serve. I dread too much writing, and thinking brethren are something; if they do, God will make nothing of them. Do they say all is in ruins? Well, do they take part in it as Daniel did, or do they fancy they are going to be something out of it, and so deny that it is so? The ruin is our ruin if we are identified with Christ’s glory in the world. We may, if enabled, separate the precious from the vile, and if so be blessed in faithfulness; if continuing humble, the Head can never fail those who wait on Him. I find the word ever opening up, and new light opening into those vistas which come from and reach God Himself. One does get more at home in these things as one grows old; yet we have it after all only as’ the thing revealed, not the thing itself, though through the Holy Ghost we realise what is revealed, have the witness in ourselves. Still, we wait for the thing itself, for Him who has loved us. May He be with us!

The work in New York and all around is very interesting, a great deal of inquiry and desire for the word… A great deal of the work goes on in reading meetings, though in New York they hear the gospel with interest. I hope in England this will not be neglected… Best I should be glad of, but work on till the Lord gives it to me. I had to read infidelity at Boston, but it was not new to me. But I also read two books on man’s antiquity, of the Evans and Lubbock school; but while the word of God is ever, and more and more God’s word to me, I found these books, though crack books, a total failure on the points they drive at, not to say that each upsets the other.

Kindest love to the brethren, whom I hope, the Lord helping me, to see, ere very long. We have had a long hard winter, but after a long spell of very fine weather we are again in snow.


* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I got your letter and enclosures with some thirty others, besides MSS. and books to answer. I see the Lord working through wisdom and unwisdom, to accomplish His own gracious purposes, where He is in the main honestly sought. While quite admitting that a brother may give counsel, and most usefully, I dread brethren coming to settle things, because the conscience of the assembly is not set in exercise. Paul did not go, but roused the conscience of the assembly. I have seen it in France, and not with blessing always… I look to the Lord through it all—there are other places too —and feel peaceful as to them all as trusting Him.

Do you trust the Lord as to your service as to the money? Do not seek to get money to give, but let it flow naturally, and give it under God’s guidance, in seeking His face as a responsible service. To stir up others to give is quite a distinct service. Merely referring to a particular want privately is another thing again. All right that assemblies should send to whomsoever they see in need or interested in the work. If I or any one feel disposed to give my money to you to give away for a good reason before the Lord, I am perfectly free to do it; perfect liberty as to both if done under divine guidance. Individuals are free, and so presented in scripture, and assemblies are free. There may be right motives or wrong ones for entrusting it to another to distribute. Do not seek it, though free of course to mention individual cases of need to any: but let the wisdom of love guide you in what you do receive. I have given all three ways—directly, through a brother, and as in an assembly, and I have not seen anything to shake me in any of them as yet, having scriptural reasons I think for all.

Halifax, N.S., March 21st, 1877.

* * * * *

Dearest,—I am thinking of England, though there are many places here where I shall regret to see their face no more, as is probable. But so it must be here below. But there remains a rest when all will be gathered—a blessed rest of God… As to a missionary register, I should oppose it with all my energies. As long as brethren are an afflicted and poor people they will be blessed, and serving for God’s approbation; if they begin to recount their own deeds and prowess they will sink to the level of the bodies who think of themselves, and whose accounts are really distressing and not true. They will be a sect like others, and have lost their own proper testimony. The truth they have had is spreading outside them, and the mere possession of this will not do. They must be a separate people, purified to Himself, zealous of good works. I do not want them to think themselves so. I am rather afraid of all this talking about Philadelphia. When John Newton published his account of A. B. C. Christians, one wrote to him he found himself in C. Newton replied there was one trait he had forgotten, that such an one never knew himself as such. God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble, I have no doubt the brethren have been used to bring out the testimony of God in these last days. I have always hoped and prayed the Lord might come before they failed, as everything since Adam has done. They will lose it if they are not lowly. An absence of towards three years enables one to look at it. It is not a question of particular failure, but of change of spirit; but I trust the Lord.

Halifax, March 23rd.

* * * * *

To the same.]

Dearest Brother,— … I have a letter from poor——, who is naturally in deep sorrow. We have had a similar case in Germany. For my own part, the present infidelity seems to me superficial, but we know that only God by His grace can keep the heart straight. I find when examining their arguments they are superficial—I do not say untrue: truth rests on other grounds. On the antiquity of man question there is a capital book by a man named Southall, of Virginia, thoroughly versed in their favourite subjects, and has pulled them all to pieces. I had read the principal books—Geikie, Evans, Procter, etc.— and come to the same conclusion, noting them, but Southall is master of the subject. Smith’s article, which merely copies the learned Germans, is a very poor one. Yet the state of things is very serious, but it is a break up of that which can be moved, that that which cannot be moved may remain, and the word of God abides for ever. The brethren have the place, if God gives them grace to use it, of maintaining the testimony to the truth, not by extraordinary learning, which is very rare (reading is not), but by holding the truth of God from Himself, faith, and knowing the scriptures, which are able to make wise unto salvation.

I do not like brethren from outside meddling in sorrows of gatherings to settle them. God’s way is to rouse the conscience of the gathering itself. Advice, or stirring up the conscience, they may be used in, but all settlings I have seen have done mischief, because not God’s way.

Halifax, April 2nd.

My dear. Brother,—I was most glad to hear of the dear saints in Australia. Ere this you will have had the arrival of ——, who has been blessed in England, and I trust may be out there also. I am thankful to see the spiritual energy which has at heart to go forth and serve the Lord in what is not nature and habit’s home. I am, though still hard at it, getting too old for it, but happy in the thought of drawing near home. “Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed,” a happy thought! You will be glad to hear the Lord is working here, too. At Halifax, which I visited lately, weekly, while I was there, souls were added to the assembly, and others found peace; and the doors are opening there and in New Brunswick.

There is a fresh stir among different denominations. Presbyterians, Methodists, and now Baptists, have consulted at their conventions how to hinder the progress of Plymouthism, and we have of course therewith writings against us. One cannot say the word grows mightily, but it grows. The testimony is before men’s consciences, and they take notice of it. The Lord’s coming also is much more before people’s minds; the testimony as to it spreads considerably. What I long for, and some little pray for, is that the brethren may be devoted, and a real testimony, as “men that wait for their Lord when he shall return from the wedding, that when he cometh and knocketh they may open to him immediately.” How all will appear vanity then that is not Himself and His glory! We ought to realise this more now.

I am not surprised at ——. There is really no common or middle ground between faithfulness and loose brethren. They go with the camp when they know it is all wrong. When once there is compromise all is given up: compromise with evil is admitting evil. Truth and truthfulness is always itself, and ceases to be itself when it is not that; though it should be in no haughty spirit, but in lowliness and obedience. It seems to me that, though here or there it may flourish through an individual, its day as such is over. Conversions may take place by individual action, but the testimony is gone, that is, it is getting its true place. It suffices to hinder those who are of a like spirit and are glad of a hindrance. But the testimony of God is with faithfulness. May we only be faithful! …

Infidelity has broken out in the Free Kirk of Scotland; the foundations of human systems are breaking down everywhere: the word of God abides for ever. What a thought that when the Saviour comes, He will make us sit down to meat, and gird Himself in those heavenly places, and come forth and serve us! But to be with Him and like Him too is our everlasting joy. My spirit has been wearied lately with reading these infidel papers, which they had asked me to answer; but it has only made the word, and the truth that God and the living word has given to us, more precious to me. The poverty and one-sidedness of these poor but evil reasoners is striking. But faith is of God.

Ever yours affectionately in the Lord,
and always glad to hear of the work.

To the same.]

I was very glad to hear of you all, and of the work in Australia. I am also very thankful that our dear brother—— not only has laboured, but been blessed… Not that labourers are not wanting in England, and indeed everywhere, as the Lord has told us. It must be in combat we get on. It was so with the blessed Lord Himself, perfect in all His ways, so that He gave assuredly no occasion, as we sometimes may, to the enemy— none; yet they would easily find occasions of reproach. But we have actually difficulties such as you speak of, those who preach Christ, but do not really take His yoke. I do not ask any one to join or own brethren, as they speak, but I do look to their full submission to the yoke of Christ. I have been struck lately how much the Epistle of James looks to self-will to be done with and broken, that we may be perfect and complete in all the will of God… You will be glad to hear that here the work proceeds cheeringly. There is great inquiry into the word… God is evidently working all around, and indeed in other places; the brethren are happy, and labour according to their gift: it is a happy feature of the work here. The coming of the Lord is evidently spreading, and taking effect in souls. Infidelity meanwhile raises its head… But we wait for the rest that remains. I am content to labour, most thankful to be permitted to do so, but my heart longs for it too. Here, but from the happiest cause, as at Boston, the labour is very severe, and from distances, the hours late; but it is all well…

Ever, dear brother,
Affectionately yours in the Lord.


* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I have been excessively occupied, which has delayed my writing. I hardly think I shall get west again, but there is more possibility of it than there was. I had a strong pressure on my spirit as to being in Europe, to do what I could as a testimony against the flood of infidelity that presses all around. Meanwhile, it has broken out in the Free Kirk of Scotland, so that the whole question of the authority of the Bible is in question there. I was sent to for an article for the Bible Herald, and I have sent, and am sending an article to it. It holds up the standard on divine ground, if there be no hope of convincing those already infidel. This has somewhat —though done hurriedly in the midst of constant work, perhaps overwork, at Boston—quieted my spirit in this direction. I have held up the flag, or, to use the scripture figure, blown the trumpet, and I hope, as He promised when they did so, the Lord may appear, acting in grace. I feel how utterly powerless I am, indeed, in certain respects anybody can be, because the eyes with which we see what is divine the adversaries of the truth have not got. Still the Lord can work, as He has promised, if the trumpet be blown. Whatever comes, unless the Free Kirk act decidedly, its influence is gone for all godly people…

Affectionately yours in the Lord. 1877.

* * * * *

[From the French.

Very dear Brother,—We know well the system of the Adventists in the United States… They are numerous but divided. They had announced the coming of the Lord for a day named in 1844, which has failed. The greater part are entirely removed from all the truths of Christianity: one party amongst them, more orthodox—separate in the large towns, but in small localities walking together. But all hold the darkest errors. We do not go to heaven at all: we sleep until Christ comes; then He establishes His reign in resurrection on the earth, and then only we have eternal life, which is not possessed now at all; we have only the promise of it. That is the doctrine of those who have the least departed from the truth. The others deny the immortality of the soul, and a good number amongst them almost all christian truths. A small section wish to maintain the observance of the sabbath on the seventh day of the week, but I do not think they are numerous… . The mass of Adventists is composed of the worst heretics of the country, denying at bottom all that is important in Christianity, and really infidel… I hope the brethren will avoid them… May God keep them in His goodness.

Ottawa, June 4th, 1877.

* * * * *

[From the German.

Dear Brother,— I have long delayed answering your affectionate letter, not at all from indifference, but from press of work. Three meetings as a rule daily, long journeys, together with correspondence which required attention because it concerned the state of assemblies, and that for six weeks, and also because of the infidelity which has appeared in the Free Church, articles having been sent me that I might write on the subject and offer some opposition. Finally I was quite overcome and wearied by work. I now purpose to depart for Europe on Saturday, God willing, embarking at Quebec, and if God in His unfailing goodness grant a quiet passage, I hope to obtain some rest. The position of the brethren is in some slight respects altered. There is an acknowledgment here in the United States of their acquaintance with the word such as nowhere else. They are not the less opposed to us; but they buy the books, and come in numbers to the Bible readings: they feel they must reckon with us, as they say. The Presbyterians, the Methodists, the Baptists, are minded to oppose. The first are unanimous, the ministers, as everywhere, opposing our work, and some write about it: the remainder study much what this (to them) new movement means. The godly ones are discontented with the sermons, and some, like Moody, endeavour to help by a strenuous effort of activity… But I let all these movements pass. The truth is spreading; that truth of the Holy Spirit’s presence consequent upon the Lord being glorified, for that He as Son of man, glorified God on the cross; and the coming of the Lord. These are the fundamental truths of the gospel, based upon the finished work of Christ. Our controversy is essentially with unbelievers—that I deeply feel—and with the thought that the incarnation was a union of the Lord with humanity, the human race; because, on the contrary, it is lost, and our union is with the glorified Man at God’s right hand, and thus of believers only through the Holy Ghost. The two springs are in Germany, but they are spreading in Europe and in America. But we are at the end of days. For some time the coming of the Lord has wrought in souls far and wide, and the doctrine is spreading wonderfully.

My mind is much occupied with this controversy, not that I believe I can do much to deliver unbelievers: I do not think so at all. But I hope, if God wills, by His grace, to establish the weak and troubled ones. We must follow holiness and truth, with energy and constancy; for everything and all will be tested. Many indeed celebrated ones vanish in the fight, and some thought not of are found to love the Lord. Greet all the dear brethren warmly. It may be that I shall see you yet again; God knows. All is haste, and I must spend some time in England. It will soon be three years since I was there, and it was but for a short time. Assure —— of my hearty sympathy. It is nothing if the Lord Himself do not make up for such a loss. He ploughs up the heart, but only to sow good seed. With cordial love.

Your attached brother.

June 7th, 1877.

* * * * *

Dearest——,—Your letter gave me comfort, because I see you yourself are getting into liberty. I think there are many who are not, where even it is not apparent, because there is no pressure on the conscience from without, and no exercise of it much within. But grace has set us in Christ before God. Holiness by law will not do; it is not holiness…

We had a very calm passage, for I continue my letter from Dublin, as you see. We broke bread, and——had preaching every evening but the first and second and the last, as we were approaching Lough Foyle… We went on to Liverpool, and had a telegram that dear Mrs.——was to be buried yesterday, so started the next morning. We had a peaceful and happy meeting… So goes this world, but life and death are only parts of the same passage, and life far the hardest of the two; for to die is to go to Him, to live to be present in the body, but absent from Him. Still it is a privilege to represent Him in this world; but who is sufficient for it? for, if we walk tolerably, still if the heart is not full of Christ, what issues from it is not properly from Him; there is not the spiritual intelligence of what suits—“Worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.”

There is plenty of work in America, and my heart longed to see the brethren in the west again, but it could not well be; but the Lord sees them always, and I reckon upon His grace for them. I trust I shall hear of them. The brethren here are at peace and happy, thank God. Still there ought to be more power, and loose activity is rife enough, though as to gatherings there is nothing solid among them… It is of all importance to keep a large heart, with the deep conviction that a close following of Christ ourselves can alone maintain a clear testimony, alone is faithfulness. My impression is they want being fed with Christ in England, but the personal faith which feeds on Him alone keeps the soul, and keeps it in true progress.

Do not be afraid of full grace. Be well sure that does not mar holiness; whatever deadens the conscience does, but this does not. Would a child’s sense of a mother’s love weaken its desire to please her? And as to power which we need, in grace alone it is found: then press consistency with our calling as much as you please, you cannot do better. Fellowship in the heart with Christ keeps the sense of our standing in Christ steady, and is the saving power of the heart practically in our walk. May He—oh, may He keep us near Himself!

But I must close. I expect (D.V.) to go to London the coming week, and July 9th or 10th turn north for a meeting, and to visit various gatherings; but I look for leisure for study work, when the Lord grants it me. I trust there was blessing in Canada from my last visit, but it is that that must be continually renewed to go on well: we cannot live on yesterday’s manna. My voyage has rested me a little, for I was quite knocked up, and I am at work pretty much as usual. Thankful for all the kindness received in Canada, and the Lord’s goodness to me wherever I have been, looking to His grace to occupy till He comes, and then see Himself—infinite grace!— and all perfect, and so infinite rest, God’s rest.

Ever affectionately yours, dear brother, with thanks for frequent care in love. Christ be with you.

Dublin, June 23rd.

* * * * *

Beloved Brother,—My answer has been long delayed, but I have been on the ocean, and towards the end in Canada, had three meetings a day, and could only just get through them; but I was fully interested in your account of the work. Infidelity is rampant here, and the question is daily becoming more and more, Christianity or antichristianity; and so as to the word of God. But we have only to work on. “Let thine eyes look right on,” it is written.

As to “my body which is broken for you”; as “broken” is not, I suppose, in scripture, it is well to avoid it: the bread was clearly broken, and as a sign of death I do not doubt, and the blood taken as shed; and this I think essential to the meaning of the ordinance; nor does the word therefore trouble me, because the sense is true and essential; and I think “a bone of him shall not be broken” misapplied, with you: and I should insist on the thought that it is shed blood, and that the bread should be broken, a sign that it was Christ’s death. It is being given as one in whose life, so to speak, a breach was made by death; and care must be taken in losing the word, that the sense of the thing be not lost. Criticism in divine things is dangerous ground for the soul, and resting on words where things are in question. But scripture is wiser than we are, even in language…

The Lord be with you! May He keep us single-eyed and simple, looking to Him! We shall soon find, what we know to be true, that He is all. The saints, thank God, are far more looking for Him—I do not mean merely those in communion— than they were. Holiness is closely connected with the glory He is in, and that we shall be with Him in it when He comes, everywhere in the New Testament.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

June, 1877.

* * * * *

* * * The worship that involves priesthood, though true, is not of the highest kind. It is worshipping God as such, and not the Father. The former is treated of in Hebrews, where priesthood is found, and looks for mercy and grace to help from a throne of grace. We draw near, having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus; but it is drawing nigh, more than properly worship. No doubt we worship and adore there, and cannot but do so; but drawing nigh is what characterises the Epistle to the Hebrews. Can a man draw nigh to God? Israel could not. We can in the holiest, and find mercy and grace to help in time of need.

What I said as to not needing a priest was this, that Christ does not now exercise His priesthood for our sins who go into the holiest. That priesthood in the Hebrews is not for our sins (chap. 2:17 is now finished and over), because we have no more conscience of sins, in that by one offering He has perfected us for ever. It is in respect of grace to help us in time of need. He is as Priest between us and God, in that we are looked at as feeble creatures on earth, and He appears for us in the presence of God on high. In the doctrine of Hebrews we are never in Christ, or united to Him. The word even for worshippers in the Hebrews is not the same as in John 4. It alludes to service among the Jews only, as only a shadow of good things to come, not the image.

July, 1877.

* * * * *

Dear Miss——,—Mr.——’s objection is the common one of loose brethren, but the question is elsewhere than where he has put it. What does scripture say about it? Whether men carry out successfully is a grave question for their consciences, but has nothing to do with what is right. I asked myself this question years and years ago, How if all this should fail? Well, I said it would prove I was a bad workman as far as I was concerned in it: but there it is in scripture just where it was, and that is what is to govern us. 1 Corinthians 12 clearly states this unity of the body on earth. Besides the whole teaching of scripture. But the answer as to circumstances is clear. The ground is not the wisdom of a set of individuals, but the promise that where they are gathered to His name He will be in the midst of them. And I have always found that respecting the action of an assembly primâ facie is the way of wisdom and what God owns. And Mr. —— forgets that the fact, that we are all one body, gives the title to communicate and remonstrate if called for, and in an extreme case, where evil is deliberately allowed, to disown the meeting altogether. The loose brethren have given up the truth of the unity of the body on earth and have gone back into the camp, and are mostly Independents without a regular minister, or merged in a general looseness that has spread everywhere. But this has not changed the word of God.

Yours sincerely in Him.

Leeds, July 27th, 1877.

* * * * *

Dearest——,—I was very glad to hear of——. The Lord can of course take a candlestick away, but with a little patience we will always find the Lord meet us with blessing. He only blesses. No doubt righteous judgment will come, but still as love and revealed as love, His only work is to bless. I trust all may go on there with blessing.

Here infidelity is rampant. McCosh has warned the Free Church of Scotland that it is a crisis, as I told them, which they denied, and recommends the rationalists to leave, but they are too cunning and not honest enough for that. But young men who go to study at the universities are every way in danger now. The work goes on, and doors are pretty generally open. Here we are in general getting on happily. What pressed on me as to return here (two things) I feel was of God. I have had, and still I suppose shall have, to do with infidelity; and here in London——’s persistence in trying to keep gatherings in London unity, which I warned him long ago would break down, did so while I was away; and instead of quietly letting meetings really outside drop into their own responsibility, the whole thing had to be constituted on some known basis, and before I returned they had high discussions as to what is London and what is not, and then came a not surprising thought, to make independent meetings of all. It was drifting into that. But in general there is a happy spirit among the brethren and growing confidence, and patience under the Lord’s grace, I do not doubt, will conduct us into a happier local bond than ever.

Morally and spiritually the brethren are getting on happily: only there have been a good many cases of discipline, but— what I am very thankful for—restorations… Meanwhile, thank God, positive work goes on, and there is hunger for the word. The brethren are in a new position: the world and the church’s eye is upon them. I had a letter from a politico-religious journal of Paris (the editor a serious man) to know what they are and what is their work.33 It is felt we have gospel and scripture. Now comes for me the anxiety—living up to the testimony, so that it may be a real one. What use is full doctrine, blessed as it is, if the saints walk [as if] full truth and worldliness can go together? It is worse than nothing. And as numbers increase, and men of business getting on in the world come in, it is very hard to keep it out. The Independents are generally—at any rate, their clergy—sunk in infidelity: the rest ritualist or time-serving; but the Spirit of God is working manifestly. We need labourers, but we need, above all, more looking to God.

If you are troubled by objectors as to the age of man, there is a book published at Philadelphia by Lippincott, Southall on “The Recent Origin of Man,” who has made mincemeat of the Lyells, Lubbocks, Geikies, Evans’, and company, and is thoroughly versed in the subject—a much more complete thing than your Blending Lights. I had read enough to throw them overboard, as having no solid foundation, but this man is thoroughly up in the subject, and has not left them a leg to stand on. I have been reading the German rationalists, Ewald, Bleek, and even Kuenen (Dutch), having to meet it everywhere. I find it poor and impudent, rejecting all idea of inspiration out and out, and making a system of legends and compilations each after his fancy, and even changing from edition to edition. ——has on his own leave published my (Pacific) notes on Mill, quite unfit to be published.34 I only hope they may be useful to some. If a trumpet be blown, the Lord will sometimes come in if it be His trumpet. I have gone through what is material in Kant too, and noted—a real labour from his style, but I have sifted it. I do not wonder, though he did not mean it, in its un-deifying God in Germany and deifying man: his system does it. But we must wait on Him; He only has power, and He works in grace. Prayer and supplication to Him will surely be answered. Constant dependence in the sense of our own nothingness, and in us no good thing, and Christ all, and the utmost simplicity of truth fed by the word, and that in our ministry, and we shall be happy with Him and serve Him.

I have a new tract put out on the Presence of the Holy Ghost, and the Coming of the Lord, being the practical substance of christian truth where His work is relied on. All this, with meetings every day, you may see is not idleness. In Yorkshire I had to stop at conference meetings: speaking all day for a good while, brought my head to a standstill. I am very thankful for the spirit of the brethren here, and I think they are all encouraged.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

London, 1877.

* * * * *

* * * Positive work must be looked for in order to have fruit; and for the moment, unless God shews an open door which would lead on, the part of labouring brethren seems to be to look for growth and establishment in the centres where they are at work, pursuing it earnestly and steadily, so that there may be a solid nucleus of testimony according to God. It is a great thing to follow God in His work. The apostles were forbidden to preach the word in Asia, and then only going to Ephesus, “all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord.” I do not mean that we are to give up any place, but to work patiently and fully where God is working. So Corinth, so Ephesus, so Antioch. If there is an efficient work, God Himself spreads the testimony. We must pray that the Lord raise up labourers for His harvest, and look at it as His work. God has blessed, and is even now blessing, but I think the brethren are in a critical moment. How far, as a body, they are in a state to maintain their testimony, I do not know. There ia occasion for much prayer, for the light they have received has spread out beyond them, and is held by those who do not walk with them. If their separateness and devoted-ness be made good according to Christ’s heart, they will stand; if not, I do not see what good they are. What I fear is, their thinking well of themselves; but my trust is in the Lord. That the testimony confided to brethren was the truth of God for these days I have not a shadow of a doubt. Their maintaining it requires lowly and constant application to God.

Here the testimony is distinct, and has gone on. The opposition is very strong, but that we must expect. May the Lord keep us in earnest prayer, that He may maintain a true testimony to the glory of His own blessed Son, in times which He has taught us to look upon as perilous! In all my recent journeys the Lord has blessed, and given peace and growth— I mean in America.


* * * * *

* * * We are in England, and even more in Scotland, assailed with infidelity and attacks on scripture, the Free Church being specially [prominent] in retailing German infidelity. I have been reading thus these German books. It makes me more familiar with scripture, for there is not a text they have not scrutinised. But oh, what a difference! to dwell with God, and to be treating about the thoughts and cavils of men who do not know Him, and seek to get rid of Him. It is terrible; but only makes one feel the grace that has made us know Him by, and only by, the blessed revelation of Himself. Not a trace of anything— not an atom of the beauty of grace or a moral thought! And His word shines out in itself, as superior in its nature in it all, as the sun and all the beauties it displays to pitch darkness and a trackless marsh. Thank God, the desire to seek and search the word on the other hand, in those whose hearts God has touched, goes on freely too, and pretty widely God is working. But it is as a barrier—that is, it is warfare to the end: rest is elsewhere when this poor world will be over.

I have been interested lately in noticing that the desert is no part of God’s purpose: it is of His ways. His purpose was redemption and glory in Christ, the second Man. But .in the desert the old man and new are contrasted, are denned, and we learn God and learn ourselves. If you look at Exodus 3, 6 and 15, you will find nothing of the wilderness, but of Egypt and Canaan, or Edom and Moab conflict; in Deuteronomy 8 plenty. Thence too the Lord made all His quotations in the wilderness. The Lord can take the thief straight to paradise. But then sin, the cross and the world, and the old and new man, were clearly defined and in their true colours. So we give thanks to the Father who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. But we learn the wilderness by degrees. Hence even if perfect according to our light, all our dealings in it are imperfect. But God can, even so if He pleases, work by us, but it is He that gives the increase… Peace be with you.


* * * * *

Dear Mrs. ——,—I believe Hebrews 1035 is absolute and for ever. It is a question of imputation and a purged conscience, not of sensibility to failure and confession of it, which is a state of soul connected with communion or fellowship to which 1 John 2 applies. But here the apostle says if this were not perfecting for ever, eij" toV dihnekev", Christ must often have suffered from the foundation of the world; but He was once offered to bear the sins of many. And when I go to God, even to confess failure, He is there and all the value of His blood, so that imputation is impossible. Hence in 1 John 2 we have Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation: that is the basis of advocacy. And the very ground in that part of Hebrews, that the falling into sin is fatal and final drawing back to perdition is, that there is no more sacrifice for sin. But this for such and for the believer is finished, in there being but one; but then that one for the believer must finally and for ever settle the question, or it never could be. And this is to the furthering of holiness, because what would be otherwise a question of acceptance and righteousness, is now a question of holiness and walking with God, and present divine favour and communion. But as to conscience of sins, I cannot go to God and not find Christ there, not without blood, who bore them all; so that it is impossible they can come in question as to imputation, or my conscience be burdened with them as yet unsettled between me and God. But it makes them doubly hateful as to holiness, that one in the light as God is should do them, and find even momentary pleasure in what made Christ’s agony—but if it did it cannot be imputed. Numbers 19 is applicable here; the great day of atonement was valid, or he would not have had that, and he was an Israelite. I believe it to be of great moment to true holiness to know that the worshipper once purged has no more conscience of sins: when He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down. It is absolute for the divine glory, eternal in its value and unchangeable, and wholly finished, and eij" toV dihnekev".

It is a good thing to dwell in God, and He in us, and know it by the Spirit.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

August, 1877.

* * * * *

* * * Romans 836 takes up the Christian as having died with Christ, and having the Spirit of Christ who is his life. He is in Christ (ver. 1), and Christ in him. (Ver. 10.) But the Romans, though in the second part (beginning chap. 5:12) it goes on to the full christian position in Christ, and Christ in us, never looks at the Christian but as a living man on the earth; not as risen with Christ, which introduces entirely another aspect of the condition, nor does it take up, consequently, union with Christ. It is only our standing in Him (chap, 8), and He in us our life, and justified; hence “one in us,” or members of His body, do not come into view, only it is taken for granted as truth in the hortatory part. When we speak of risen with Christ, Christ is looked at as a raised and exalted man, not as quickening Son of God, nor exactly our life, but God has raised us with Him. This is Ephesians, where men are looked at as dead in sins, and it is a new creation. Romans looks at them as responsibly living in sins, hence death is brought in, as well as removal of guilt: but resurrection is not only that the Christian is alive to God in Christ, but has the Holy Ghost, and so (according to John 14) is in Christ, and Christ in him, as to his standing before God, and state in this world. But union to the glorified Man is not the subject of Romans. Of course, if we have the Holy Ghost we are united. Colossians gives Romans doctrine, adding resurrection with Christ, only it does not go on to setting in Him above: we are risen, but on earth—hope laid for us in heaven to have our affections there. —— forgets that ‘resurrection-life’ is a term (as a short statement suitable enough) invented by Christians to express the state in which we are, not a scriptural one. In essence divine life is always the same: only that now Christ, who becomes our life, being not only a quickening Spirit, but also Himself raised from the dead, we have this life as ours according to the condition into which He is entered as man. In one aspect He quickens whom He will (John v.); in another He is raised from the dead, we are quickened together with Him; and though all this is life in divine power—Christ our life— yet the difference is important, and involves a great deal. It is not only being born, but born as dead to all that is passed as Christ was—death, sin, Satan’s power, and judgment passed, forgiveness and justification possessed. (Colossians 2:13, and so Ephesians.) It leads to, though it be not in itself, the unity of all saints in the body of Christ. Hence the connection of life with resurrection with Christ is of all importance, because it is consequent on the death of Christ, and seals on God’s part the efficacy of this work, and leads us (the question of sin, and judgment, and the power of flesh and Satan settled) into the new place or sphere to which it belongs. But the life is always essentially the same, or it could not enjoy God. But the state of that life is modified by the consciousness of that place into which it is, in all its relationships, brought—where Christ is, which affects it in all its thoughts and affections, according to the power of the Holy Ghost which is in and with it. “It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” This affects its whole state and condition, in fellowship with God and with Christ; for morally the life lives in that in which it is. “He that hath the Son hath life,” and that Son is the risen Man.

Now, as to life, this is always the state of him who is a Christian, that is, who has the Spirit. (See Rom. 837) But he may not have realised what it really means, though all be his; and in Romans 7 we get one quickened so as to delight in God’s law, but not delivered so as to have the place that belongs to one who knows the power of Christ’s resurrection, and having not the Spirit. This last state is developed in chapter 8 No one in the christian state but has this life; and all this belongs to whomsoever is quickened now; but till he is sealed with the Holy Ghost, his state and condition, as alive in Christ, is not known to him, he has not got into that state in relationship with God. It is his, no doubt, but he has not got it. Resurrection-life is life in another condition, the only one now owned by God, but not another kind of life in itself. Charcoal and diamond are exactly the same thing chemically, but they are very different actually. But the only state owned of God now is life connected with Christ risen.

By the Holy Ghost we are baptised into one body. But baptism is never “into” anything, but “unto.” In this case the difference is not very great, but it is always the object to which we are baptised. It is the object of the Holy Ghost’s baptism; but as that is in power, they become members of it, and so it is treated here [1 Cor. 12:13] as in verse 19.

As to John 14:17, it may be taken as “will,” as it is solely the question of an accent, menei' or mevnei. But I think it quite immaterial. Christ could not remain with them, this other Comforter could; Christ was with them, not in them; that other Comforter would be in them. But it does not at all mean that He was dwelling with them in Christ. He is speaking of another Comforter not come yet, and putting this in contrast with their present state. I prefer mevnei as it is, because of qewrei', ginwvskei. The Father would give them another Comforter, who could not come till Christ was gone. It is of Him, and this new state of things, the Lord is expressly speaking, as to the world, and as to the disciples. It would not be for the world (Christ had been, though rejected), because the world did not see or know Him (that is, when come). Not so the disciples—ye know Him (present), because He abides with you (in contrast with me who am going), and shall be in you (which I now cannot be). “Is in you” would not have done, as affirming not what characterised the Spirit as the new Comforter but a positive existing fact.

August, 1877.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I have nothing very especial on the points you speak of, save holding fast the great foundations that it is a new life communicated. “He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life”; only 2 Peter 1:4 is more conformity to the divine nature, as you say, though not merely attainment.

The word is the instrument as it is said, “faith cometh by hearing [ajkohv, report], and hearing [ajkohv] by the word of God.” It is hard to say how the word merely works, save that it is God’s method of the revelation of Christ, and where accompanied by the quickening power of the Spirit, it becomes thus the means of life: what is spoken as the word communicated to the soul by the Spirit becomes life. In Paul’s case it was sight, yet revealing His Son in him: indeed the words of Christ too came to his ear. The Holy Ghost gave reality in his soul to that which his senses told him of. The written—or spoken word, if true, is a revelation of that which is true of Christ, and of Christ Himself, so that while it is the divine power of the Spirit by which we are quickened, it is the revelation of Christ to the soul [which] is objectively that which quickens me, what the Spirit brings to my soul; so that it is faith, faith in the report, which is the outward means, while it is the thing contained in the word which is life, Christ. The word in itself is merely the outward means or instrument, and by itself, though all truth be in it, produces nothing (unless to leave us without excuse).

The “incorruptible” seed is clearly in contrast with corruptible, or nature. But as the living Word was the carpenter’s son, without the work of God in the soul, so the revelation of truth, and Christ, and grace in the written word too. His words were the expression of Himself, and the Spirit of God has given us what is needed for salvation and blessing, and also revealed Him as in glory. Each make us responsible to receive them; but to have life-giving power, the Holy Ghost must reveal what is in them. It is a comparison or allusion to natural birth, but there is a divine nature communicated— a new life, Christ our life, brought spiritually into the soul by the operation of the Holy Ghost, with the word which reveals them. God reveals His Son in us, and so we have life, Christ our life, and so morally and intelligently, by the word which reveals Him. God begets us; though it be by the word, we are born of the Spirit, the Son quickens us, the Spirit is the immediate power as in all God’s works, but He is pleased to do it by the revelation of Christ by the word. By the word in James, and in 1 Peter, is either meant “by” as an instrument, or what is called the instrumental dative. It is of all importance to see that a new life is communicated, that Christ becomes our life, just as we had the life of Adam in the old man, the flesh.


* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I think that brethren of, or coming to, the gathering to break bread, ought not to bring in friends with them, unless received by the gathering to break bread on such occasion as known members of the body of Christ.

There is no fixed age as to children. Grown up boys had better sit back; those under their father’s wing had better sit with them; they are as part of themselves, being under their immediate care: there is order, not disorder in this—it would be far greater otherwise. It is when under the personal care of the parents, this should be so. Girls remain longer under the eye of the mother, hence may remain with her till older. The point is their being still not independent persons, but directly under parental care. In a school a number of elder girls may very well sit together behind; and little ones who are quasi under parental care, with the mistress or governess if she breaks bread. The school as a body of grown girls, does not exactly take the place of members of a family dependent on the parents’ or a delegated authority. It is mischief and disorder to leave young children by themselves behind.

London, August 14th, 1877.

* * * * *

Dear ——,— … As to the sects’ table being the table of devils, it is simply monstrous folly: the apostle is speaking [1 Cor. 10] of idols according to the passage in Deuteronomy [32:17], I have heard an individual saying it, but only proving his own ignorance. With my light I could not own them to be the Lord’s table; but dear saints, I do not doubt for a moment, go there with delight in the Lord, and get individual blessing from Him who loves them. I think they lose much, but may enjoy Him in their souls by individual faith.

All I see in chapter 10 is that, in partaking at the Lord’s table, they are identified with the Lord as the Israelites with Jehovah and the Gentiles with their devils; and these last could not go with the other. In chapter 11 they were not eating the Lord’s supper, but their own, and so abusing shockingly what it professed to be, for which they were chastened severely. I think you would find it hard to make out peculiar church or future blessing, save that it is, besides its immediate purpose of remembering the blessed Lord, the symbol of the one body. There is in the gospels a special reference to founding, on God’s side, the new covenant in His blood, “shed for many” as well as Israel; but this is referred to in general in chapter 11…

* * * * *

To the same.]

Your principle is all wrong.38 It is not on a word I rest; but the Lord’s table is not the expression of the external thing. The one loaf is the expression of the one body: baptism is the rite connected with the external thing. The table of the Lord therefore expresses unity, association with Christ; and this is the whole ground of the apostle’s argument in 1 Corinthians 10. Now they are avowedly in division: Baptist tables where others cannot go; others, where they are not members of the church even if admitted—they are members of such a church, but not of Christ, as being there. They may individually remember piously the Lord’s death, and in that sense have the Lord’s supper; but they are avowedly, on church ground, on other ground than the unity of Christ’s body. I am fully satisfied that from Paul’s death they never were even on the true ground of salvation, and identified the body with the corrupt external thing; though till, say a.d. 240, there was no external division —at which period some separated because they received back those who had denied the Lord in Decius’ persecution.

If they are the Lord’s table, why should not I go to them? it would be pure schism.

September, 1877.

Thank you, dear brother, for the account of what you found in the A… We must pray for the saints, otherwise, if there be no bellows to blow the fire, it will die out. I am not surprised at your reception by the French brethren; I always found them cordial and affectionate, and full of thankfulness for visiting them, although I was just as glad to see them, and my heart is bound up with them as ever. These affections are like the honey on the top of Jonathan’s rod, which enlightens the eyes in the fatigues of the conflict. I believe, too, it is often useful that some one should come in not mixed up with the difficulties and trials of the locality, but who can bring in Christ with a freshness which lifts the saints above them. We have to go through the difficulties and trials of the way, and wait on the Lord as to them. We must face them, but wait upon Him for a solution when the path is not clear, patience having its perfect work. It makes us feel our dependence, and teaches us to wait on Him, and He brings out the result of His power and wisdom through (à travers) men’s perverseness, conscience being exercised, man manifested, then His grace. We must not, cannot, hurry these things, for He must deal with reality and conscience. It is a great thing to trust His love, and to walk with His secret in our hearts. We go through these things, seeing the difficulties, and perhaps in trembling, but obedient, and led of the Lord in duty. The result He brings out in due time, and more than we looked for or expected. The Lord said, “Now I go my way, and none of you asketh, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless,” etc. All this requires confidence; patience must have its perfect work, and diligence too is needed, in crying to the Lord. See even the Lord Himself all night before choosing the apostles, and with strong crying and tears in Gethsemane: perfect obedience and entire dependence. I must close. Give my kindest love to the dear brethren. I should be glad to see them; I may, if God spares my strength, but at my age it must be a little uncertain.

Yours affectionately in Christ.

London, October 24th.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—My thought has always been to connect baptism ecclesiastically with the house, one of the two characters of the assembly. (Eph. 1, 2, and elsewhere.) As a general thing, the house and the kingdom now have the same limits, though not strictly; so that I have not made any difficulty about people saying it, but the ideas are quite different. I was not aware of having connected baptism with the kingdom; I have never published anything upon it, but carefully abstained from it. Some private letters were privately printed. I have used Matthew 18 as shewing the way the Lord recognised little children as objects of divine favour, and that of such was the kingdom, and thus giving a warrant for our receiving them, as also the children being holy in 1 Corinthians; but not as speaking directly of baptism, only that was one way of so owning them. The house itself is only a figure, though a scriptural one, as where the Holy Ghost dwells. The Quakers as to formal order are not in the house, but that does not hinder the sovereign pleasure of God, as in the case of Cornelius —thereupon he was received: but baptism is only the formal and orderly entrance into the place of privilege. The hundred and twenty were never baptised at all, that scripture speaks of, and could not be.

I do not believe that 1 Corinthians 15:53 speaks of two classes. “This mortal,” speaks of the body, but as connected livingly with the soul, and corruptible as its nature when not kept alive, but in neither aspect fit for glory, where an undying and incorruptible body alone is fitting.

As to John 17 I apprehend that “I have manifested thy name” is the revelation of the Father’s name, never before known. It never was till the Lord came. Before that it was Almighty with Abraham, and Jehovah to Israel. The name of Father belonged to another world, and in Christ brought eternal life: the making known at the end [ver. 26] is something more intimate. It refers to the world not knowing the Father, to whom in righteousness the Son appeals, as man down here (He had said “Holy Father” to the disciples); and Christ had known Him, and walked perfectly according to all that He was to Him. In making known the Father’s name to them, He had associated them with the blessing contained in it. He had done it while with them on earth, and should continue to make known to them His Father’s name, as He had known it as man down here, that the love the Father had loved Him with might be in them, and He in them. And this last is the present time. He had done it (little as they understood it) while here; He does it [now] when through the Holy Ghost we can apprehend and enjoy it.

London, October 25th.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,— … I have not been sorry to be a little quiet here, working still as usual; but when I get here, it is more what is called for the priests a retreat. My own soul wants sometimes to be alone, and I always find myself more at the resources of grace when alone here: I may be very happy working elsewhere, and blessed, and very glad, as I am, to see the beloved brethren, but I find I am more in the sanctuary. I do not know that it ought to be so, but I am thankful that at least here it is so. We should find Him a sanctuary everywhere. But out, here and there, we are more in public (en scene), and I am glad to shrink back to be alone with Him, and more in His company; my work even is more directly with souls, does not distract, but the contrary. We may always be called out again to serve…


Dearest——,—I was glad to hear—— was encouraged in his work. May the Lord be with him and keep him near Himself! That is our great affair, and our spring of joy too. I always get happy when I get here, a little more alone with Him, though my work in different parts has been very happy.

The churches, so-called, are flooded with infidelity: the times are most marked: the brethren, on the whole, are getting on happily—increasing plenty, as far as that goes, but in the main godlily. In two places there is confusion, but what I dread is the world. As a body in——, they are certainly a godly set, and many with whom one can have real communion, and desiring to get on in the word. Mere Bethesda gatherings are, I think, losing any definite place, and a general looseness taking the place of it. Now that people have the idea they can meet thus, it in some respects increases the difficulty, it is so indefinite; but it may lessen it in result, everybody being on his own hook. But there is such looseness of doctrine, one has to be more than ever on the watch…

Soon, dear brother, Christ will be all fully. May He be all to us in the time of faith!

London [1877].

* * * * *

Dearest Brother,—Discipline is not merely for restoration, though it be one object. It is to keep the Table pure. It is sometimes a very delicate question to settle whether the individual is so thoroughly restored as that the conscience of the assembly is not engaged, and that specially in a recent case. An old case, where I was thoroughly convinced the person was, I should not bring up, and clearly not where it was before conversion, unless in some special circumstances… If ‘there were serious evidences’ against genuine repentance, clearly these few should not have taken it on themselves. There seems to have been effort in this case all through to conceal it—a bad sign. Bringing up evil needlessly is a bad thing, it defiles: but without—at this distance, or hearing those concerned—pretending to judge the case, I confess there seems here to have been, where the consciences of many were engaged, an effort to screen more than to purify. The assembly remains pure, as it has not been engaged in it. If it has cognisance of it, it has to decide if it be satisfied with the report of these four. If not, it must take the case up. Bringing out sin is neither grace nor purity, but slurring it over is not the way of blessing to an assembly.

I copy a letter just sent me, written to a brother at Lyons many years ago. ‘In sin is very vague. One who is disciplined for fornication is not engaged in the sin when they excommunicate him. He is always in the sin he has committed until he repents and confesses it. There lies the whole question. If there be a long time since he sinned, and the state of his soul is entirely changed, I should not bring up the sin again. The question is, has he really repented; otherwise, the time that is passed makes no difference, be it two days or two years. If the sin was committed before his conversion, his state is totally changed; if since, then it is that of which the assembly has to judge. If the assembly leaves the sin unjudged when it knows it, it makes itself responsible, and is identified with the evil doer. This 1 and 2 Corinthians shews very clearly, and it seems to me of all importance… to have a firm hand as regards this sin—love towards the sinner surely—seek his restoration; one ought to do so, and there is sometimes failure in this—but the holiness of the table of the Lord must be maintained. To separate because there is a difference of judgment is to break the unity of the body. If the assembly cannot come to any decision, it is a proof that its spiritual state is bad, and then it is well that all should humble themselves together; but if there be a determination to allow the sin (in any one), God will judge them if they separate.’…

[Date uncertain.]

* * * * *

[From the French.

* * * In meetings called for the examination of cases of discipline, I should insist formally that sisters should be excluded. If they were present, I even would not go myself. It is entirely contrary to the word of God, and as unseemly as it is unscriptural. How examine certain cases with young sisters present? It would be a shame for them to desire it. Besides, the word is plain… For my own part, I do not think it even much to be desired that all the brothers should be present. If there are a few wise brothers, who occupy themselves habitually with the good of souls, true elders given by God, and that it be not official, but according to 1 Corinthians 16:15, 16, that is better than all the brothers; it is thus more evidently not the assembly, which is not equally clear when all the brothers are there: and the danger of an assembly of brothers is, lest they should believe themselves to be the assembly to decide.

But a whole assembly cannot make investigation of facts and the character of facts: two or three must do this. When all the information has been obtained, and the matter weighed before God, they communicate the result at which they have arrived, and it is the assembly that decides: if no one says anything, the matter is decided. If a brother of weight were to make an objection, or if he had anything to communicate, or knew of any circumstance likely to throw light on the subject, they might wait, or re-investigate the matter. If it is but a trifling opposition, the assembly may easily deal with it. I have seen such a case. If it is some one upholding the evil which has been judged, he becomes himself the object of judgment. (2 Cor. 10:6.)

Two things render it necessary that the action should be that of the assembly: first, because it is there that Christ is; secondly, because it is the assembly which purges itself. (1 Cor. v.; 2 Cor. 7:11.) It is rather striking that this question should have arisen in so many places, in New Zealand, and at the other end of the world—not in England, that I know of.

October 29th, 1877.

* * * * *

[From the French.

* * * I much value the maintenance of the responsibility of assemblies, a principle which, according to my mind, is very important. One may help them, but the conscience of the assembly must act. In the case of which you speak, the exercise of discipline has been unnecessarily complicated: but the’ thing has been done, if the brothers’ meeting, having decided what ought to be done, has presented the result to the assembly, gathered as such, so that opportunity was offered for any remark. But the assembly ought to purify itself, and a meeting of brothers is not the assembly… I do not desire the least in the world that the sisters should speak; I have never seen a woman take part in the affairs of the church without doing harm. They are blessed, and very useful in their place, but that place does not belong to them.

A decision taken by a few brothers for the assembly may become a frightful tyranny, and does not purify the conscience of the assembly. All the brothers may have united for a matter of discipline, I allow; but after all, the investigation, if any is needed, is made by a few—only, a few can neither exercise the discipline, nor pronounce the excision: it would not be 1 Corinthians 5:13, nor 2 Corinthians 7:11. The object of the apostle was to awaken the conscience of the assembly. The best thing is that a few grave brothers should make themselves acquainted with the facts, assuring themselves of the assent of the brethren who have most weight in the assembly, and that then the matter, being ripe, should be brought before it; only, let there be full liberty for all the brothers, if need be, to make their observations. If nothing is said, the matter is concluded; if any grave brother has difficulties, they wait: if it is only ill-temper, the assembly judges it, and passes on; if it cannot do so, it is then the state of the assembly which demands attention. When the brothers who are acquainted with the facts have judged excision to be necessary, there remains only to present to the assembly the conclusion which has been arrived at, and if nothing is said, the thing is done. Experience has taught me to fear the rule of individuals as much as the jealousy of a radical spirit; the conscience of all must be exercised, and the business of the individual is to awaken it, as that of the Corinthians was awakened by the first epistle of Paul.

October, 1877.

* * * * *

To the same.]

[From the French.

* * * The “last trump” is but a military allusion, neither more nor less. There were three trumpets for breaking up the camp among the Romans. At the first, they folded the baggage; at the second, they fell into rank; at the third, they started all together. The trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:52 is simply that of the resurrection of the dead, not that of the change of the living. 1 Thessalonians 4 confirms the above explanation: kevleusma, a word of command, is the military word for recalling the scattered ones (it applied, in its primary sense, to those who rowed in the galleys); the archangel gives the word, then the trumpet sounds, and each takes his place.

The nearness of the Lord’s coming is of all importance, and the enemy naturally seeks to turn souls aside from it; but that will only draw the attention of those who are taught of God to it. The present expectation of the Lord is connected with all the feelings, all the duties, and all the relationships of the Christian.

London, November 2nd.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—My answer39 has been delayed by incessant occupation. The state spoken of in Romans 5:12 to the end of chapter 8 is, though founded on faith, experimental, and carefully made so; the former, save as owning guilt, is not so. The two parts are quite distinct. The Holy Ghost is given, as a general truth, on believing; but this supposes “the gospel of your salvation,” and if we look into details we shall find, as in Acts 2, that the sealing is on forgiveness—that is, the work, as well as the Person of Christ; which is confirmed by Acts 10:43. Romans 5 states the whole condition of the Christian as saved by grace up to joying in God, and there the Holy Ghost is given to us. From verse 12, we have not guilt, forgiveness, justification and grace, but “by one man’s disobedience the many are constituted sinners,” and what is taught is to reckon ourselves dead with Christ, He having died to sin once. But this does apply to our state and experience, though faith be the means: “I know that in me … dwelleth no good thing.” It is self-knowledge; and this is by the use of the law, as leading through the consciousness of lust to the knowledge of what I am, what the tree is. Hence, as a general principle, it must be experience, and this self-knowledge God would have, that there may be depth and reality in the state of the heart. The only point to remark here is that, as its principle is law (that is the reference of our standing to our state, and not to sovereign grace and Christ, whether dying for our sins, or our own being in Him), it is discussed by the apostle on the pure ground of law. But the question of forgiveness does not arise, but of sin in the flesh, disposed of in chapter 8:2, 3. But the person in chapter 7 is not looked at as sealed, but as under law, and the point is absence of power, and an evil nature to which we are captive. If, in point of fact, we have known forgiveness, and afterwards discover our weakness and the power of sin, it takes the shape of, ‘I trust I have not deceived myself; I thought I was set free and happy.’ This does arise where there has been revival preaching, and no depth of conviction, or exercise of conscience; or where the soul is suddenly made free by the gospel—without knowing itself, without having been under the law, exercised under it previously—merely that it could not answer for sins in the judgment, not its lost estate. It has to learn that under the law it cannot succeed, and gets, not forgiveness for what it has done as a child of Adam (and in this case it goes no farther than sins previously committed), but Christ, and being in Him instead of itself, a new place and standing; not a purging of the conscience as to what was previous, but a change of place before God. Now this is not known till we have discovered that we have no power; and if we have the knowledge of the forgiveness of past sins up to the time of faith, this is not the knowledge of our place in Christ, nor even of our place out of Him; for this, we must learn what is passed through in Romans 7. The Hebrews teaches us the purging of conscience, and perfecting for ever by one offering. This, though it goes further than past sins, does not give us a place in Christ, which connects our living state and our no condemnation—acceptance. This is known by the Comforter given to us (John 14), we in Christ, and Christ in us. This is not membership in the body, but our individual place before God; it is fully developed in both parts in Romans viii.

We are sealed when we believe in Christ for the forgiveness of sins; but when it is only a clearing of conscience as to past sins, we have to learn afterwards, what we are, the state being vague and uncertain as to the present: the forgiveness of what is actually on the conscience is real, but goes no further. If I have learned my weakness by a legal process before, I find myself in Christ, through grace in Christ, and my whole case is clear. The church having in its ordinary gospel neither this, nor even Hebrews 9, 10, is at a loss to know what to do when sin recurs. It is absolution, looking back to baptism (Calvin), re-sprinkling with the blood of Christ—all the ignoring that “by one offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” But it is by the Holy Ghost given we know that we are in Christ; and this is in contrast with law (see 2 Cor. 3), and connected with the knowledge of God’s righteousness. The forgiveness of past sins is not being in a forgiven condition; were it not complete as to the work, Christ must often suffer: and if sealed thereon, we have to learn—in a modified form perhaps—complete forgiveness, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity” learnt after forgiveness when that is only of the past—relieving, but not purging fully, the conscience. Being sealed, we get into a wholly new standing, and conflicts where we did not succeed looked back on; for that is the true character of Romans 7—the estimate of it, “we know” (ver. 14) when we are out of it, and at liberty through the presence of the Holy Ghost, who, being present, makes us know our place in Christ, and Christ in us. But forgiveness as to the past is different from “imputes no sin.”

As a general truth then, sealing takes place when we believe —but believe the gospel as preached by Paul, “the gospel of your salvation.” Present forgiveness is a true and blessed thing; but, as at present preached, it is only administrative forgiveness, thus Jewish forgiveness, with which Christian is contrasted in Hebrews, in Romans 4, as in Acts 13, “By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Being in Christ is yet another thing, known, with other blessings, through the Holy Ghost given to us. But even forgiveness is, “Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.” Where a soul is, is a matter of spiritual discernment.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

December, 1877.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I do not like the style of the tract40 I confess; it is what we call in French a style ampoulé (I do not use a hard English word), but sets out to say wonderful things in a wonderful way. But to doubt that Christ is glorified, is to doubt the plainest passages of scripture. See John 13:31, 32; 17:5; 1 Timothy 3:16, and practically many passages, if the word glory be not used, as 1 Peter 3:22; Acts 2:33. The passage the tract alludes to is plain enough too, Ephesians 1:20-23. John 7:39 is specific in its statement: the Comforter could not come till Jesus was glorified; but He is come according to promise. John 12:16 is equally definite. I might go on citing passages in numbers, for it lies at the basis of Christianity, but it is hardly necessary after these.

It is a mistake to deny actual union with Christ. It is true that it is not a material union of flesh, but Spirit is as real, and more real than flesh, though not material. “Of his flesh and of his bones” should not be insisted on, because it is not found in the best copies. Dead and risen with Christ is the scriptural language. Union with Him in death is not exact, because real union with Him is only when He is glorified, and we have received the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the power of this union (see 2 Cor. 1:21, 22), and the reality of this union is definitely stated in 1 Corinthians 6:17. Christians may not have learned this, and then we must have patience. They lose a great deal, but God can reveal this also unto them. The other point belongs to simple faith in the plain statements of scripture, and belongs to the basis of Christianity, because the baptism of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost was dependent on it, and it is part of Christ’s glory, as the foundation of all we are entitled to. See Hebrews 2, as defining the position: He is glorified, but all things are not yet put under Him.

If you put these passages peacefully and graciously before our brother, he will doubtless see it is so, and that may lead him on to the other point, which, though plainly stated in scripture, is more connected with experimental acquaintance with that state.

Birkenhead. December 7th.

* * * Some English are now doing, what I was long alone in, in ——. It is an element which makes me thoughtful as to the Lord’s working. The English cannot bend or adapt themselves in general to those amongst whom they are, but must bend them to their ways; this is a mistake, but I see the Lord carries on His work through many defective agencies. Here in England things are going on fast: undisguised and general infidelity and heresy, man’s will working defiantly as regards God. The last days seem hastening on, and we shall find Christians more definitely separated from a world that is not christian. I sometimes feel anxious as to whether there ought not to be an open testimony in power as to all this departure from God, but God has His own way of doing His work.

* * * * *

To the same.]

We have to remember that we are in the last days, and hold fast the truth in simplicity of heart, and trusting the Lord, and looking to Him; but I believe, if faithful, they are happy times. At any rate the rest is near, and soon we shall meet Him, and see Him as He is, and that will be worth all the trouble. In general the brethren are getting on happily here, and in a good spirit. There are restless ones, who seem formed to exercise one’s patience; this is very useful, if it is there to be exercised, and not overcome. But patience must have its perfect work, and in due time we shall reap, if we faint not. How simple it is that God alone does any good; and now that the machine is out of order, few can come in with authority, and, when attempted, it only makes confusion. I do trust the brethren in the A., and all in France, will walk faithfully. The eyes of men are more on them everywhere than ever they were, and if this witness were to fail, I do not believe there could be any other as to the truth witnessed for until the Lord comes, He might set us aside, and raise up other witnesses to the same truths, but I have not a doubt that the truths are final and full ones for the saints… Paul says, “I count all things but dung, that I may win Christ;” and, alas! he had to say to the Philippians, “All seek their own.” He can awaken us to live more to Him: may He give this to us!

It is a blessed thing to serve Christ in the present course of service, though we have laid up all our happiness with Him for that day.

December, 1877.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I am always glad to hear from you, and of Australia, even if I do not answer at once, which excessive occupation sometimes hinders my doing. I am very thankful that they are happier at ——. The Lord is sufficient for all things; that we must carefully remember. It is the great thing. I am the more thankful, as it would seem to be a real work of grace, not merely what is called settling things. I think we have to remember that our part is to go in the strait and narrow path, to follow the word, and let all move on around us under God’s hand. It is quite possible there may have been faults in the path of exclusives: I think there were —fruits of weakness—myself the first. I do not doubt of our path, and that we have to follow the word in peacefulness and grace—as I have often said—the feet in the narrow path, the heart as large as we can, by grace. I dread narrowness excessively—what does not embrace the interests of all that are Christ’s. We have not to promote ‘brethrenism,’ but the interest of every soul we meet with, just where its need is. I can honestly say I never thought of ‘brethren’ with a single soul I ever met with—never—but what that soul wanted from God, as far as I was able.

I have the fullest persuasion that the testimony we have is God’s testimony for the last days—the gospel Paul preached, brought out to light—what I never suspected when I began in this city, just fifty years ago now. I sought to walk for my own conscience as the word taught me. The loose brethren are just gone back, with some bad ecclesiastical habits changed, to the camp and its principles. I do not think we should be occupied with them as such. If they had the truth brethren are built upon, they have given it up to get on with the church-world. I admit the difficulty of combining Joshua, who did not leave Moses’ tabernacle outside, and Moses, who, having established it outside, went back into the camp in testimony; but this is a question of spiritual capacity, in grace. Jeremiah 15:19 laid hold of me in starting as a guiding verse, reading the chapter as shewing the working of his soul. We have only to go on right, firm in the exclusion of evil and bad doctrine, but seeking the good of all souls, separating the precious from the vile, and being as God’s mouth, according to what is given to us. Brethren are in a new position; attention is universally drawn to them. The Spirit of God is working, the emptiness of what is had in churches is felt: it is commonly owned that they have more of scripture. This is a new, and in some respects, a dangerous position, but I pray the Lord may keep them. It is a call for faithfulness and lowliness, not to lose their nothingness—to be an afflicted and poor people, calling on the name of the Lord. This is what I earnestly pray for. What I dread is the world slipping in. What use are they if it does? Very full truth compatible with worldliness—that is a poor testimony, and cannot last. God will not allow it. The Lord keep us little in our own eyes!

As to——, dear brother, let patience have its perfect work. It is the secret of triumph according to God: “strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.” The signs of an apostle were wrought in all patience. I admit in the fullest way, the ruin of the church in the world, but this is no reason for continuing in the evil that brought it in, and into which it has led. “From such turn away” is the word. And then “follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart.” Such are the plain directions of scripture—and to put away from among ourselves the wicked person: no question of elders nor anything else: nor of the apostles’ authority to act (save to deliver to Satan), nor to make them act—which we have in his words, namely, the commandments of the Lord: and the promise, where two or three are gathered together in His name there is He in their midst. All these screenings and favourings of evil fail in spiritual honesty.

My post is regularly in London; for these countries I have a good deal to do to combat the tide of infidelity. When this reaches you, all may be changed in the state of things. Affectionately yours in the Lord.

Dublin, December 19th.

* * * * *

[From the French.

Very dear Brother,—I was delighted to receive this good news from ——. We must remember that the Lord is above all the elements which are hostile to us in the path appointed by Him, and that He even makes everything contribute to the blessing of those who love Him. Then, too, it is not always in the correction of the failures which come before us that sources of unhappiness are healed; they disappear when souls are nourished upon the riches which are in Christ. We must think of this; we must, while ourselves feeding upon Christ— and He gives us to feed on Him without stint—cause others to breathe a new atmosphere, where Christ is; and, if souls are exercised before God there, they are transformed into His likeness, so that their affections flow out even as His flowed out in this world. It is a great thing to say, and undoubtedly we find ourselves far from our Model, but in proportion as we realise Christ in our hearts we reflect Him without being aware of it. The “I” disappears as a motive principle, and the life of Christ is manifested. Real exercise of soul is necessary to produce this result: “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,” says the apostle. “Death works in us.” There are, however, these three things. “Ye are dead” (Col. 3); this is the judgment of God. “Reckon yourselves to be dead;” this is what faith does, in answer; it is liberty through the grace of the Holy Spirit. “Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus;” this is the practical carrying out of it. If we had not the two first, the third would make the monk; with the two first it makes the saint, where Christ is all.

Remember, dear brother, that it is redemption which brings us into the wilderness; death with Christ (Jordan) gives us circumcision and Canaan. The wilderness forms no part of the counsels of God; it is a very important part of His ways. In chapters 3, 6, 15 of Exodus, it is not in question. Redemption and glory, this is what is in the heart of God. Deuteronomy 8 gives us His ways. The robber went straight to paradise, fit to go there. As a general thing, we pass through the wilderness, but God has “made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” But patience must have her perfect work; then we must count upon the Lord, and commit everything to Him. He will accomplish all for His glory. It is in the wilderness and in conflict that we have “ifs”; only there is the sure faithfulness of God to keep us to the end—but, at the same time, testing and dependence. With regard to redemption and our place in Christ, there is no “if”; the one is accomplished, the other is our actual position…

I feel myself called to throw myself a little into the breach against increasing infidelity, and not, I believe, without the help and approval of God. Peace be with you.

Dublin, December 19th.

* * * * *

Dearest ——,—You will have dear —— with you before this letter reaches you, which will have relieved you for the moment, at any rate, from what presses upon you, but I fully sympathise with you. It is often my lot, and it grieves me. One can only cast oneself on the Lord, and pray to Him to develop what is wanting. It is not always a bad feeling, better than mere forwardness any way. Some people have more gift in drawing out others than others have (not of course at the meeting). But it is natural that at the first they should not feel much courage; but in looking to the Lord, He will draw this out. The work is His, and He alone can really do it. Meanwhile we have only to walk in simplicity. If opportunity is given, and we see it is only timidity in a person morally ripe, encourage them—I do not say invite, for this is another thing which does not do. It is taking the place of the leading of the Holy Ghost; and, while leaving every opportunity to others, as really desirous of their taking part, serve Christ yourself, as the Holy Ghost may lead you for the edification of all. God will develop what is right in due time…

We have only to go on quietly with the truth, taking care through grace to have our hearts large in love, without leaving the narrow path, in lowliness and weakness doing His will, and carefully avoiding anything like “us.” Let Christ be fully before us, and every right feeling will be engendered in our heart. We may be grieved for Him, but our hearts will walk as His did through the world. The brethren here are generally getting on happily, and with mutual confidence, which is a great thing. They remember you with all affection… You have to be very thankful for the Lord encouraging you and helping you on. Remember, with all evangelical earnestness, which I greatly crave, that as a remnant we are an afflicted and poor people trusting in the name of the Lord. My kindest love to——, if with you, and to all the dear brethren, though I have never seen them; not one is deemed a stranger, though never seen before. May grace and abounding mercy and peace be with you, dear brother. May He keep us both, simple, humble and devoted, Christ our all!

Dublin, December 21th.

* * * * *

Dear Mrs. ——,—I dare say you are a nervous person, and your mind upset by it, and this doctor’s word thus took possession of it. But if you had peace with God, it would give you a rest and quietness of spirit, which would greatly relieve you. Now I do not doubt that God has wrought in your soul, and therefore all is yours; but the first effect of His working is to distress and trouble us, because we cannot say that all is ours, and then look to our state and our fruit and our feelings, to know if we are His; that is, we look to the work of the Spirit in us, and so to the imperfect fruits in us, of His working, which cannot give us rest, and ought not. Jesus does not say, Find out your state, and you shall have rest, but, “Come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden,” as you are, “and I will give you rest.” Our rest comes not from our being what He wants, but His being what we want. He has made peace by the blood of the cross. That is all settled for those who believe in Him, as you do; but then, besides that, He has a tender gracious care over, and interest in us, can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. As to our conscience, He has done what purges our sins, and so our conscience. As it is written, “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,” and for this God will have nothing but Christ’s work known by faith, no feelings or fruits or anything; we believe it only, that it may be by grace. Otherwise we should have our part, and be able to boast, but then the tender loving kindness of Christ enters into all our trials and weaknesses.

Now you want to have done with looking to yourself—“In me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing”—and know that the Lord imputes nothing to you, and it is not till we submit to God’s righteousness that we get strength. You look to getting the victory in order to get peace: we must get peace to get the victory—peace already made by Christ’s work—then you will get strength; we do not find it till we see we have none. Conflict we shall still find. You may remain possibly a nervous person, but you will know that God is for you, and that changes everything. He has proved it in giving His Son, who died for us when we were mere sinners. Look simply to Him who has died for us and finished His work, for “herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us.” I do not ask you to accept anything, but to believe that God has given and accepted His Son for you. “They looked unto him and were lightened.” … Look to Him who is God’s wisdom, and He will give you rest.

Yours sincerely in the Lord.

December 21th, 1877.

* * * * *

* * * I was most glad to hear your account of——, and the dear brethren there, and parts around, and the rather as it was happy. My heart has not left the dear brethren in America, though my body has, and I am happy that you are getting on happily in your meetings… They say in England, ‘Well begun, half done’; I suspect the meeting was begun not well, not knowing what they were about, though with right and godly intentions. I have no doubt with you, as in our case in England too, our part is to pursue with patience a right path, and leave the results to God: I mean not occupied with the path of all around us, only keeping the heart and fellowship open for every child of God walking rightly, or we lose blessing ourselves. “Love to all the saints” is an element of the blessing spoken of by the apostle, and even as to intelligence —“able to comprehend with all saints”; because they are in Christ’s heart, and if not in ours, He has not His place, and self has so far excluded Him. Yet I believe faithfulness in the path we walk in is of the last importance. My old song is— the feet in the narrow path and the heart large; because it makes the eye single and banishes self. But we have great need of patience and grace of God, and heart reference to Christ, that we may have wisdom and true love in our intercourse with others. The present good of a soul (besides receiving good and communion) according to its then actual need, is what we should always seek: never mind ‘the brethren’—true brethren will do that according to the love of Christ working in them.

As to ourselves, it is what is said to Israel—“I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord”; it is true we have joys and a spring of service they cannot have then; but in the character of a remnant in the midst of a ruined dispensation, which is one side of our position, it is the spirit in which we have to walk: a clear apprehension that Christ as man has entered into a wholly new position, where Adam innocent never was, and is now glorified, all being finished as to the work, and the Holy Ghost thereon come down, so that we stand with the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, between an accomplished redemption of His procuring (and a Man in glory in virtue of it—the full work at His first coming and its results in His Person—our place in spirit), and the second coming, when we shall actually be with Him and like Him in glory. Meanwhile we are to be as men that wait for their Lord when He shall return from the wedding, that when He comes and knocks they may open to Him immediately; set down to table in heaven, and He minister to us, and serve while He is away, and then reign—both in Luke 12.

I am most thankful that the Lord has helped and blessed you elsewhere in the word. It is a joy and refreshment by the way and a cheer to the saints in their walk: most thankful too that temporally things are going on well with you. He chastens to subdue us, and blesses in His own, that is, the good time.

Here in Europe we are kept, and, as to numbers, there is constant progress, and that always enlarges the danger we are in, not to keep all knit together and think nothing of ourselves. The world, too, becomes more a snare. However, in general, thank God, they are going on well, and, I trust, growing confident in one another. In one or two places we have had trial, but in one of them the Lord seems coming in in blessing. In Holland they are getting on nicely, and it spreads in Germany much. In Switzerland there is reason to be thankful. In France, too, where there was considerable danger of mischief, the Lord has used it to come and bless them… But in England we are full in face of almost universal infidelity. Still the Lord is working, but apostasy bold and the religious world dallies with it. I have felt called, and it was on my heart in leaving America, to meet this according to what God gives me. I believe in God’s word; and how few, save a few wise, simple souls, really do! But everything is being tested. We wait for His Son from heaven, patience and devotedness our path. Soon there will be nothing but the glory. The Lord keep us in the simplicity that is in Christ!

Give my kindest love to the brethren. May the Lord be abundantly with them.


* * * * *

[From the French.

* * * The principle of which you speak in the postscript of your letter, is monasticism, where that is sincere. I gave way to it at the beginning of my conversion. I said to myself, If I fast two days, three would be better, seven better still. Then that would not do to go on, but I pursued the system long enough. It led to nothing, except the discovery of one’s own powerlessness. I took Romans 6, and wondered at it, but I understood nothing of it. One cannot put the flesh to death, except by killing oneself. It is as dead and risen with Christ that we mortify our members (the apostle will not allow that we live in these things) which are upon the earth; and, in order to do it, we must have not only life, but deliverance by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in us—we must be set free. “If ye then be risen … mortify therefore,” etc. (Col. 3) In Romans 8:3 we have the secret of it; it is that God condemned sin in the flesh, when Christ was a sacrifice for sin. He took the condemnation, but it was in death, so that there is no more condemnation, and we are dead, crucified with Him. We have not only the life (we find that in Rom 7) but the resurrection of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has delivered us. Now this is the order of the realisation of this. In Colossians 3 God declares, “Ye are dead.” In Romans 6 it is the effect through faith: “Reckon yourselves to be dead, and alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Then in 2 Corinthians 4 we find the thing put into practice: “Always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”

Some of——’s phrases do not perhaps go further than this passage; provided that we can suppose the possession of life already to be recognised, as the passage expressly supposes. But this, and the Holy Spirit, are absolutely necessary, for we bear about in the body death, in order that the life of Jesus may be manifested; therefore it must be there. Thus we find in Romans 8, “If Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin,” etc. The difference here is that the death of Christ is the efficacious cause. But to have part in it we must be quickened. The Red Sea is before, Gilgal after the, passage of the Jordan. So Romans 6:12 comes after verse 11, as Colossians 3:5 comes after 3:1. But, on the other hand, we must not use the truth that we are dead with Christ and risen with Him, to weaken 2 Corinthians 4, or Colossians 3:5. There is diligence and realisation in us, also God uses tribulations to prove or to produce this realisation. “Death works in us”: we mortify, etc., only we must have the life first and count ourselves dead with Christ: “I am crucified with Christ.” If we have understood this, we mortify, etc., having the life to be able to do it, and having understood deliverance. What precedes is only Romans 7, useful to find out that we have no strength. We are never called to die to sin, but to hold ourselves for dead because Christ died, and we, believing, are crucified with Him. We are called to mortify our members, but mortifying is the reverse of dying; it is power acting against another object.

Deliverance is not only the blood of Christ, the basis of everything, but death and resurrection. It is not the pardon of that which is produced by the old man, but the enjoyment of the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ; it is to have passed from the old man (“when we were in the flesh”) into the second Man, Christ risen (“those who are in Christ Jesus”), where the law of the Spirit of life has made me free, the foundation being that, in the death of Christ, God has condemned sin in the flesh. The element of power is the presence of the Holy Spirit. “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if Christ be in you,” etc.

I fear my letter is rather unconnected, for I am very busy, but I am anxious that we should not weaken 2 Corinthians iv., because we know Colossians 3 and Romans 6. Besides, your postscript shews that this ignorance exists. …

Dublin, January 5th. 1878.

* * * * *

[From the French.

Dear Sir,41—My reply to the letter which you were good enough to address to me has been delayed by unceasing work which has left me no leisure. I have no difficulty as to informing you what my belief is, but a public newspaper is scarcely the place where I should wish to use my pen. I believe that the christian calling is a heavenly one, that the Christian is not of the world as his Master is not of it, and that he is placed down here as an epistle of Christ to manifest the life of Jesus amongst men, whilst waiting for the Lord to come to take him to be with Himself in the glory.

As Editor of the “Francais” you will quite understand that articles written in order to inculcate such principles as these would little suit a political newspaper. Now I live only for these things—a life feebly realised I am quite ready to confess —but I live only for them. However, I will communicate to you what appears to interest you, namely, what has led me, and others with me, to take up the position in which we find ourselves as Christians.

It is well perhaps, in view of the infidelity which is spreading everywhere, to begin by saying that I hold, and I can add that we firmly hold, all the foundations of the christian faith—the divinity of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, one God, eternally blessed—the divinity and humanity of the Lord Jesus, two natures in one person—His resurrection and His glorification at the right hand of God—the presence of the Holy Ghost here below, having descended on the day of Pentecost—the return of the Lord Jesus according to His promise. We believe also that the Father in His love has sent the Son to accomplish the work of redemption and grace towards men —that the Son came, in that same love, to accomplish it, and that He has finished the work which the Father gave Him to do on earth. We believe that He has made propitiation for our sins, and that after having accomplished it, He ascended to heaven—the High Priest seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Other truths are connected with these, such as the miraculous birth of the Saviour, who was absolutely without sin—and yet others; but, you will readily understand, sir, that my object is not to give a course of lectures or a theological summary, but to make it quite clear that it is in nowise on the giving up of the great foundations of the christian faith that our position is based. Any one who would deny one or other of these fundamental truths would not be received amongst us, and any one who, being amongst us, adopted some doctrine which would undermine one or other of these same truths would be excluded, but only after all proper means to bring him back to the truth had been exhausted. For although these are dogmas, we hold them as essential to living faith and to salvation, to the spiritual and christian life of which we live as born of God.

But you wish, sir, to know not only the great truths which we hold in common with others, but also what distinguishes us from others.

Now, without in the least professing to give a course of christian doctrine in connection with the truths I have just pointed out, I am anxious, indeed I would heartily desire, to set them forth as the foundation, recognising as true Christians and members of the body of Christ all those who, by the grace of God, and by the operation of the Holy Ghost who has been given to them, truly believe these things in their souls. Converted by the grace of God, I spent six or seven years under the rod of the law, feeling that Christ was the only Saviour, but not being able to say that I possessed Him, or that I was saved by Him; fasting, praying, giving alms—always good things when done spiritually—but not possessing peace, whilst at the same time feeling that if the Son of God had Himself forgiven me, I owed myself to Him—my body, soul, and means. At length God gave me to understand that I was in Christ, united to Him by the Holy Ghost—“At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:20), which means that when the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, should have come, the. disciples would know these things. With this were connected other blessed and reassuring truths—“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1.)

The promise of the Spirit is given to all those who have part in the remission of their sins, for “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor. 6:17.) Hence Christians are temples of the Holy Ghost—“Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost who is in you.” (1 Cor. 6:19.)

I should say that at this time the word of God became for me an absolute authority as to faith and practice; not that I had doubted it previously, but it had now become such from conviction, implanted by God Himself in my heart. In this way the assurance of salvation through the work of Christ, the presence of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, by whom “having believed, ye have been sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph. 1:13, 14), salvation known and possessed, and this indwelling of the Holy Ghost giving us the assurance of it, constitute the normal state of the Christian. He is no longer of this world, save to pass through it peacefully, doing the will of God. Bought with a great price, he is to glorify God in his conduct.

This brings in the thought of the church and of its unity. For me the body of Christ was now composed of those who were united by the Holy Ghost to the Head—Christ in heaven. If we were seated in the heavenly places in Christ (“Even when we were dead in sins… hath he quickened us together with Christ—by grace ye are saved,” Eph. 2:1, 5) what were we still waiting for? For Christ to come to place us up there in fact. “I will come again” said the Lord, “and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3.) “Our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, who shall transform our body of humiliation into conformity to his body of glory.” (Phil 3:20, 21.) We have been converted “to wait for his Son from heaven.” (1 Thess. 1:9, 10.)

Hence the presence of the Holy Ghost dwelling in him, and the attitude of waiting for the Lord constitute the normal state of the Christian. But all those who possess this Spirit are, by that very fact, one body. “For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body.” (1 Cor. 12:13.) Now, this baptism took place on the day of Pentecost. “Ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:5.)

All those around me had not reached that point, at any rate they did not profess to have, and it was easy, reading Acts 2 and iv., to see how far we had got from what God had set up on the earth. Where was I to look for the church? I gave up Anglicanism as not being it. Rome, at the beginning of my conversion, had not failed to attract me. But the tenth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews had made that impossible for me: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified… Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” (Heb. 10:14, 18.)

Then again it rendered impossible the idea of a sacrificing priesthood down here between me and God; seeing that our position, as the result of the work of Christ, is that we have direct access to God in all confidence. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.” (Heb. 10:19.)

I am stating facts, sir; I am not entering into controversy: but faith in an accomplished salvation, and, later on the consciousness that I possessed it, hindered me from turning in that direction; whilst having grasped the fact of the unity of the body of Christ, the various dissenting sects no longer attracted me. As to the unity to which, as we all know, Rome pretends, I found everything in ruins. The most ancient churches did not want to have anything to say to her, nor did Protestants either, bo that the great majority of those who profess Christianity are outside her pale. On the other hand, it was not a question of seeking this unity amongst the Protestant sects. Besides, whatever their ecclesiastical position might be, most of those who call themselves Christians are of the world, just as much as a pagan might be.

Now the 12th chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians shews clearly that there is a church formed on the earth by the descent of the Holy Ghost. “For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body”; and it is evident that this is on the earth, for “Ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Cor. 12:27.) Besides, the apostle speaks of gifts of healing and of tongues, which only apply to the state of the assembly down here.

The assembly of God, then, has been formed on the earth, and ought always to have been manifested. Alas! it has not been so. In the first place, with regard to individuals, the Lord had pointed this out beforehand. “The wolf catcheth them and scattereth the sheep,” but, thank God, “No one shall catch them out of my hand,” said the same faithful Shepherd. (John 10:12, 28.)

But this is not all: the Apostle Paul, bidding farewell to the faithful of Asia, said, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock, and of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29, 30.) Jude declares that already in his time, deceitful men had crept in among the Christians, and, which is of all importance, they are marked out as being the object of the judgment of the Lord when He comes again. “Certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men.” “The Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all.” (Jude 4, 15.)

These men were corrupters within the church, but there will be those who will entirely abandon the christian faith. “Little children,” says the Apostle John, “it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us,” etc. (1 John 2:18, 19.)

But even this is not all. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2 Tim. 2:19-21.) Here is the church: it is a great house with vessels of all kinds and a call comes to the faithful man to purify himself from the vessels to dishonour. The following chapter is still more definite. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,” etc. (2 Tim. 3:1-5.) These are almost exactly the same terms as he uses when he charges the heathen with sin (Rom. 1:29-31), but he adds here, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” (2 Tim. 3:5.)

He warns us that “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse” (2 Tim. 3:12, 13); but he gives us as a safeguard the knowledge of the person from whom we have learnt those things which we believe—it is the apostle himself; with the scriptures, which can make us wise to salvation by the faith which is in Christ Jesus. He assures us that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,” etc.

Thus we have the proof that evil, having entered into the church, would continue and would not be healed. “The mystery of iniquity,” says the apostle, “doth already work: only he who now hinders will hinder until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall destroy by the brightness of his coming.” (2 Thess. 2:7, 8.) The evil which was already working in the time of the apostle was, then, to continue until the wicked one himself should be revealed. The Lord will destroy him then by His coming; and although it be not spoken of the church properly so called, the same thing is revealed to us in regard to Christendom, for we learn that tares have been sown in the place where the Lord had sown good grain. When the servants desire to pull up the tares, the Lord forbids them, saying, “Let both grow together until the harvest.” (Matt. 13:24-30.) The evil done to the kingdom of God was to remain in the field of this world until the judgment. Christ will doubtless gather the good grain into His garner, but the crop is spoiled down here. You will tell me, But the gates of hell are not to prevail against that which Christ has built. Granted, and I bless God for it with all my heart, but we must distinguish here as the word of God does. There is on the one hand the work of Christ, and on the other what is done by men and under their responsibility. The enemy will never destroy what Christ built (we speak of the church of God), nor will he prevail against the work of the Lord. Whatever be the evil that has come in—for that there are heresies and schisms we do not deny—that which Christ works has endured and will endure for ever. It is the house which we find in 1 Peter 2, the living stones coming to Christ as to the living stone, and built to be a spiritual house. I find this house also in Ephesians 2—“Ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lard.” (Eph. 2:19-21.) Here it is again the work of the Lord Himself; living stones who come, a building composed of saints, growing to be a temple which is not yet completely built.

But, in scripture, the house of God on earth is viewed in another way also. “As a wise master-builder,” says the Apostle Paul, “I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon… If any man build upon this foundation gold… wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is.” “Know ye not,” he adds, “that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Cor. 3:10-13; 16, 17.)

Here then I find the responsibility of man and the judgment of his work; the whole is called the temple of God, and the judgment of God commences there, at His house, says the Apostle Peter. Already, during the lifetime of the apostle, the time had come for that (1 Pet. 4:17), although the patience of God, acting in grace, still waited.

I recognise, therefore, the responsibility of the house of God, of the whole of Christendom. That which Christ Himself builds is one thing, and the fruit of His labours will not be lost; that which responsible man builds is another thing. At the beginning “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47.) Soon “false brethren” crept in, tares were sown, and the house was filled with all kinds of vessels, from which faithfulness was to purge itself; and with a form of godliness without power, from which the faithful one was to turn away.

This is what the word of God presents to us historically and prophetically in the New Testament: this word, addressed by the teachers to the faithful, is our resource when these perilous times should come; and, if that were necessary, the facts have borne out all that it says.

What is to be done? The word declares to us that where two or three are gathered to the name of Jesus, He will be in their midst. (Matt. 18:20.) This is what we have done. There were only four of us to do it at the first; not, I hope, in a spirit of pride or presumption, but deeply grieved at seeing the state of that which surrounded us, praying for all Christians, and recognising all those who possessed the Spirit of God, every true Christian wherever he might be found ecclesiastically, as members of the body of Christ. We were not thinking of anything else, dear sir, than of satisfying the need of our souls according to the word of God, and we had no thought that the thing would have gone any further. We have thus found the promised presence of the Lord. Salvation through Christ has been preached, when there was gift to do so. The same needs caused others to follow the same road, and thus the work has extended in a way of which we had not the remotest idea. It commenced in Dublin, to spread in the British Isles, in France, where a great number of persons, open unbelievers, were converted: in Switzerland, where the work on the Continent had commenced, in Germany, in Holland, in Denmark, where it is commencing, in Sweden, where a great religious movement is going on at this moment. The path we follow has spread to a considerable extent in the British Colonies, and more recently in the United States, in Asia, in Africa, and elsewhere. The Spirit of God acts and produces needs of soul to which the religious systems offer no answer.

In a word, this is definitely the position of those brethren who rest on the authority of the word of God. Christ is seen, in this word, as the Saviour, in three different positions:— first, as accomplishing redemption on the cross; then, as seated at the Father’s right hand, the Holy Ghost being thereupon sent down here; finally as coming back to take His own to be with Himself. These Christians believe, these things have the assurance of their salvation, having faith in the efficacy of this redemption; and finally, being sealed with the Holy Spirit, who dwells in every true Christian, they wait for the Son of God from heaven without knowing the moment of His coming. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father!” (Rom. 8:15.) We believe in the promise “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3.) Absolute faith in the efficacy of redemption; the seal of the Spirit which gives the assurance of salvation and the consciousness of being children of God; the attitude of waiting for the Lord—this is what characterises these Christians. Bought with a great price, they are bound to regard themselves as no longer belonging to themselves, but to the Lord Jesus, to please Him in everything and to live only for Him.

I do not mean to say, sir, that we all walk at the full height of the heavenly calling, but we acknowledge the obligation to do so. If any one fails openly in what becomes a Christian, in point of morality or in what concerns the faith, he is excluded. We abstain- from the pleasures and amusements of the world. If we have evening parties, it is for the purpose of studying the word and of edifying ourselves together. We do not mix in politics; we are not of the world: we do not vote. We submit to the established authorities, whatever they may be, in so far as they command nothing expressly contrary to the will of Christ. We take the Lord’s supper every Sunday, and those who have gift for it preach the gospel of salvation to sinners or teach believers. Every one is bound to seek the salvation or good of his neighbour according to the capacity which God has given him. Feeling that Christendom is corrupt, we are outside the church-world, by whatever name it is called. As to the number of those who follow this course I cannot tell you what it is: we do not number ourselves, wishing to remain in the littleness which becomes Christians. Besides, we reckon as a brother in Christ every person who has the Spirit of Christ.

I do not know that I have anything else to put before you. I am almost ashamed, six, to have given such a long explanation of the principles which govern the walk of the Christians in question. We recognise that the church is one, the body of Christ: then, too, the house of God by the Spirit.

You ask me what is the advantage of this course. Obedience to the word of God suffices to decide us. To obey Christ is the first requirement of the soul which knows itself saved by Him, and even of every soul acknowledging Him as the Son of God, who has loved us so much and has given Himself for us. But in fact, in obeying Him, in spite of weakness, faults and failures —which, on my part, I own—His presence manifests itself to the soul as an ineffable source of joy, as the earnest of a bliss where failures, blessed be His name for it, will no longer be found, and where He will be fully glorified in all believers.

You will tell me that these pages scarcely suit a newspaper. I admit it, but it is because the current of my thoughts scarcely flows in that line. I have explained to you in all simplicity what you asked me, and as well as I could. Having had to take up my work more than once owing to unavoidable interruptions, I much fear that it may contain some repetitions. Please excuse them and accept the assurance of my esteem.


* * * * *

* * * There is no telling what folly man’s mind will run to: still, soundness in faith, fundamental truth, will keep the soul from these human wanderings. I have heard of this folly once. When he says, ‘Of Jacob’s seed God made no selection, but accepted them all’: what does accepted mean? That nationally Israel is accepted for earthly things, and called so (John iii.), scripture teaches, but who told him they were accepted for heavenly things, or as righteous? This is inventing, not believing. That Jacob or Israel is elect for earth, scripture does teach; and that as a nation they will be blessed—the gifts and calling of God being without repentance—scripture teaches. But this says nothing as to their souls being saved; but the positive testimonies to the contrary are clear. (Isa. 65:9.) Read the whole chapter, which teaches positively that only a remnant shall be saved. Chapter 66 shews the same truth if there be intelligence. Romans 11, while plainly declaring their certain blessing as a nation, yet lays it in an election according to grace, and at the time of the people’s deliverance—when “all Israel shall be saved.” Daniel 12 is quite clear that an elect remnant only who are written in the book shall be delivered, and that many shall arise to shame and everlasting contempt. Zechariah 13:8, 9 is also clear as to there being only a remnant spared from the great tribulation; if the Lord had not left them a very small remnant, they would be as Sodom and Gomorrah. And note, these statements apply to the time when it is said all Israel (not all the Israelites) shall be saved. Isaiah 4 clearly teaches the same truth, that it is in a very small remnant this blessing will be effected: not all Israel, because they are not gathered to the church, but saved as a people—all that are spared.

As to the ten tribes we have the same testimony, that only a remnant will be delivered. Zechariah shews us two thirds cut off in the land—Jews. Ezekiel 20 teaches us that the rebels of the ten tribes will be purged out, and not allowed to enter into the land. And in this very place where the rebels are cut off, and not allowed to enter into the land, there it is said of all the spared ones, “There shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me,” making the teaching of scripture too plain to leave a trace of doubt. But the truth should have hindered such a delusion, because where Israel’s restoration is taught, it is not only said they were blinded, but they did not attain to the law of righteousness. The application of “mercy upon all” is an utter mis-application. What the apostle is teaching is, that as the Gentiles had no promises, and it was sovereign mercy to them, so the Jews, having not only broken the law, but rejected the promises in rejecting Christ, in whom they were, come under mercy like a Gentile, though the promises would be fulfilled. The “all” in verse 32 (Rom. 11) refers to Jews, and Gentiles in verses 30, 31. In the last you must read, “Have not believed in your mercy that they may be objects of mercy.” (See Isa. 10:20-22.) Nothing can be plainer that the deliverance is for the remnant only.

But again, the blood saved them, he says, in Egypt; but what utter darkness is this—confounding the type and the antitype. The blood of bulls and of goats could not take away sin. God was passing through to destroy the firstborn, and He did not enter into their houses: nor is there one word in the passage about saving anybody. No doubt the firstborn were not destroyed. It is never said in the antitype that He died to save all the individuals. The nation will be restored. Whatever has their deliverance at the Red Sea to do with their souls? But two were saved after all. Even with that outward salvation, in result their carcases fell in the wilderness. Aaron’s priesthood never saved a single soul, was a shadow of good things to come; and even so only carried them nationally, not individually, on his dress. And in the covenant with Abraham quoted, the promise is of the land of Canaan… . This promise though obtained through Christ, and mercy (Rom. 11), is distinguished carefully there from the promise of Christ (Gen. 12) the one seed, confirmed to the seed, Genesis 22. There is a distinction between the literal and spiritual seed (but which he confounds), and the literal will have the land, which is not personal salvation: and “they are not all Israel which are of Israel,” the apostle tells us. So that the ceasing of the distinction (which he teaches) when we come to Israel, is exactly denied by the apostle. And it is just where the apostle is insisting on the privileges of Israel that he makes the distinction which this dream denies: “They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God.” The whole ninth chapter of Romans is an elaborate argument to destroy this Jewish fallacy, yet secure the earthly promise to a spared remnant by sovereign grace. What the paper argues for, the Holy Ghost carefully shews to be folly.

The purpose of God in their fall has nothing to do with the condition of those who did fall, rejecting Christ, yea, blaspheming the Holy Ghost, so that there was no forgiveness in that or the coming age—“never forgiveness”—and on whom the Lord pronounced the damnation of hell. And what he says as to the Holy Ghost excusing them because of their ignorance is wholly false: there was a suspension of judgment through Christ’s intercession; and the Holy Ghost by Peter says, “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out”; but they did not repent, but stopped their mouths, and Stephen, summing up against them, declares that they resisted the Holy Ghost as well as incurred all other guilt under law, prophets and Christ. The spared remnant will be all righteous; all the rebels will have been cut off. If two were in one bed, the one would be taken in judgment, the other left. For God will then return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. They will be graffed in again into their own vine… Christ, and Christ only, is the true vine, and even there fruitless branches are broken off: but though, as a nation, Israel was a vine brought out of Egypt, it never was the true vine. I have no doubt that the nation will be restored, and have the promises in the land; but what has that to do with all their souls being saved—unless to turn people away from the truth?

There is only one thing more to mention, the giving up the kingdom—it is “that God may be all in all”; and the earth will be destroyed, and the elements melt with fervent heat. The making Israel priestly to slay Christ is too bad. If the words Christ spoke will judge them in the last day, they have no cloak for their sin; they have seen and have hated both Him and His Father. They were blinded in rejecting Christ, lest they should be converted, and Jehovah should heal them. “He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already”—because these believed not, would not come to Him, that they might have life. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; he that believeth not shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (See John 8:4H8.) Paul taught they were “the children of wrath even as others,” and “he is not a Jew which is one outwardly.” So Christ said they were not Abraham’s children, though outwardly so. They were not to think within themselves that Abraham was their father: and John anticipated the terrible words of Jesus—“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, How can ye escape the damnation of hell?”—“He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”

I have forgotten to notice Ezekiel 37 I deny it means any resurrection of bodies at all, and for a very plain reason, that it is explained otherwise in the passage (ver. 11), “Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost; we are cut off for our parts.” And we have a prophecy which explains it all besides, where the whole house of Israel is explained to be contrasted with the Jews, and the stick of Israel and the stick of Judah are to be united in the land, and God will take them from among the heathen, whither they be gone—He does not say, the good and believing ones; but He does say He will purify them and sanctify them, in words which, if not quoted, are referred to by the Lord in John 3, where He insists that unless born again (speaking in Israel) none should see or enter the kingdom of God. And we have already seen that in chapter 20 this prophet declares from God that He will purge out the rebels in the way, and they shall not enter the land. The whole thought is a denial of the constantly repeated declaration that a remnant should be saved, and what is worse, of the plain declarations of the word of God as to being saved or lost.


* * * * *

* * * The pastor as such fed and taught: it is directly connected with teaching (under one article in Greek, Eph. 4:11), but goes further than teaching, as not merely expounding and putting forth the word, but suiting it to souls, and caring for them in a shepherding way. An elder is an overseer, looks after them in moral oversight. It was desirable that he should be didaktikov" not a proper gift of teacher, but able to use the word in his oversight, as it of course added weight and intelligence to his inspection of their ways; but some had, some had not, this desirable qualification, for it is said “especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” What was proper to them was mature habits of family care which qualified them for the exercise of oversight in general, and subduedness of self, and order. None of these things were looked for in the pastor; it was a positive gift from Christ on high, and exercised in the whole body wherever a person was, whereas an elder was a local overseer of people. The word “elder” which seems to imply generally age enough to give weight to the position, seen also in his having a well-regulated family, but it is not the word used for an old man: married men with a well-ordered subject family they had to be.

As to a majority in discipline: I know nothing of majorities, but of Christ’s authority connected with the action of the Holy Ghost. But I do find a principle that, when obedience to the word is secured by the power of the Spirit, all disobedience may be avenged by discipline. If an individual supports positive evil, he comes under the discipline like the person who committed it; but a serious and grave difficulty in a godly man moved by the fear of God may be waited on, that it may be the act tw'n pleiovnwn (2 Cor. 2:6), of the conscience of the body, for they have to prove themselves clear in the matter. In the case of the Corinthians the evil doer stood alone, and was thoroughly humbled, and the oiJ pleivone" were all, the word of the apostle having had power in their conscience, and oiJ p. is as to sense justly represented by ‘the body at large.’ It is not pleiovnwn without the article, which in such case makes all the difference, like oiJ polloiv in Romans 5. Where there is not capacity so to act, recourse must be had to looking to the Lord, as is said in 1 Corinthians 5:2. Still now we have a plain direction what to do. Only we have to wait on the Lord where the conscience of the assembly is dull, for the principle is, “Ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” Individuals he still feared might not have personally judged themselves, but as a body they had acted on his letter, and put the person out, and he was humbled. A majority can never act as such: it is a mere human arrangement to come to a conclusion; the conscience of the assembly is not purified, but the assembly divided: nothing is done of the scriptural purpose. When the apostle speaks of Satan’s devices, he refers to the effect of self-will in a case of discipline, and a party separation from himself. The object is the conscience of the assembly being pure: a majority denies this. It is possible if evil be sanctioned wilfully by some, the rest (but it must be individual conscience, for conscience is always individual) may break with them, but the assembly is broken up. But in the order of God’s house a majority has no place at all. Men must have it, because they must decide somehow to get on. As to one disagreeing, if sustaining proved evil—a wicked person—it is disobedience to be avenged in itself; the assembly judges it: if a grave and real difficulty, or supposed, and facts in the case, the assembly would wait. The power of the Spirit of God produces unity (I can suppose an individual not being clear bowing to the general judgment) or judges all disobedience. Only we have not an apostle now, but we have the word, and the Lord to wait upon, and this suffices where He is looked to in grace. If at a loss, we must wait on Him till He shews the way; it may be the Lord is judging the state of the assembly. It is well for grave brethren to ascertain the facts to inform the conscience of the assembly.


* * * * *

Dear Mrs. ——,—There is only one question which this brother definitely puts which I consequently answer, quite disposed with Mr. W. to let him work his own result out. It seems to me inconsistent to bring up those held to be outside, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But the substance of such things is far more important than the forms, and the duty is a plain one, and the Lord will bless him in it, if he does it in truth and conscience, though I recognise baptism as an ordinance of Christ. The mischief I see, is occupying people with that which is only an ordinance. If a person has not been baptised, of course he ought to be. But it is not what the Lord is occupying souls with, but separating His saints from the evil that is around them in a vast professing mass and to wait for His Son from heaven. Baptism has been pressed, and there has been a reaction: such airs pass often over the church in its present state and pass away. No one will begin the church over again. I should not rebaptise a person sprinkled in infancy; though I do not like the form, because the intended signification in the form is lost. There is an analogy between baptism and circumcision, but such analogies must be used with intelligence, as the dispensations are different. Believers do take their place no doubt in baptism; but that is not the question, to them it is only an outwardly taking it, but whether none others (as believers’ children) are not admitted to that place. Taking their stand is an ambiguous term, as if a man be a believer fully he is dead and risen, and it is only the place which God has set up on earth that remains to take. The Baptist looks at it as an outward confession that he was already dead and risen; that is intelligible, but it is not taking a place. The ideas are wholly distinct.

But I say no more, as this occupation with the forms of Christianity (though bowing to them as such) I find has little edification and much wearying of the mind. Only of course one is the servant of others, if they have it on their minds. Our brother could not do better than wait on the Lord. My mind is clear, but I should accept him as cordially if he walk close with Christ, whatever his views may be: and with the Lord close to him he will be guided. I do not rebaptise those sprinkled as children, because if a person has been he cannot be again, though I do not like the form. The Lord give our brother peace in his spirit by His own presence.

Ever truly yours in the Lord.


* * * * *

My dear Brother,—The judgment seat of Christ has nothing to do for saints with the question of righteousness. Christ is their righteousness; and indeed judgment is not spoken of in the passage (2 Cor. 5:10), but receiving the things done in the body; this takes place, as does giving an account of ourselves to God. Further, we shall be perfectly like Christ, and not have the nature at all in which we sinned, “blameless in tlie day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The passage in 1 John 2 tells them to abide in Christ, that he, as workman, may not be ashamed. So in 2 John 3, “that we lose not those things we have wrought, but obtain a full reward.” So 1 Corinthians 3 applies to ministry. In a word, they all apply to service, not state.

Your second question42 assumes two falls of angels, of which scripture does not speak, though it be very possible. Satan is spoken of as fallen; he “abode not in the truth”—but of his angels we have no account, though we must suppose they are fallen, but not the same as those reserved in chains of darkness. These last are simply kept in chains for the judgment of the great day; nor are they ever called demons that I know of: those are active in evil. So we have “the devil and his angels:” but no further account of them.

April, 1878.

* * * * *

Beloved Brother,— … I am over here for a conference and to see the brethren. The Lord has been, I believe, with us, and they have enjoyed, and I trust profited by the studies. We had readings before and after with the principal workmen, and it was practical. Conversions have been very numerous, through free workmen as well as through brethren. Indeed, the Lord is working, and in many places. But infidelity is rampant and undisguised. My writing is now chiefly in connection with that, though some has been printed I never meant to be. I hope they may be used, that is all. I think of going into Switzerland by Frankfort and Stuttgart. My German, which I thought had pretty much withered down, when in the association of ideas in the country, left me though imperfect and rusty able to get on; and I have lectured to large congregations not as freely as six years ago, but practically to the same purpose, and I hope with fuller and more positive truth, and my intercourse with brethren was without difficulty.

The Lord is very gracious; but I am only on a journey, ever more so, to the rest I wait for, and (though desirous to labour to the end of what the Lord may have prepared for me) long for. My soul is at peace, and though I desire for others to see them and feel I am doing God’s will (they needed it), yet my heart tends to quiet and work I can do in quiet; I believe I am called to it even down here, and I shall feel happy when I turn my face towards London again. Not that I like the smoky city in itself, but it is my place of solitary labour, and, when my heart is able, of looking to the Lord. His grace, and the truth that makes it known to us, is ever more astonishing. I at least pity the poor infidels. And it so connects itself with every fibre and want too of our hearts in Christ’s becoming man, that it brings us into a place which none can know who are not in it. And yet one is nothing in it, though united to Him who is everything—and nothing is a blessed place.

The infidelity in Germany and Prussia goes to the giving up God and everything, and unbelief among them (even converted Christians) is terrible. It is partly scientific, partly impudent, partly attacks on scripture—the last by professors and clergy chiefly, though of course going wider. For us who have the things, if kept by grace on the road, it only makes us see the more how all is grace, and live them. But I must close. The Lord be with you. My love to the brethren.

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

Elberfeld, May, 1878.

* * * * *

* * * I have been here for a conference, four days, for a general meeting, but reading with the chief workmen for a week before and after—I fully trust for blessing and reception of the truth, and we were happy, and had communion. There have been a vast number of conversions all round the country on to the borders of Russia, not only through brethren, but through free preachers also. Infidelity is rampant, and so in America, but the Lord is working too.

I have been writing for the Italians on Galatians; nothing new, but truth and God’s ways more distinct, and the character of popery, not speaking of its abuses. Indeed truth is daily clearer to me, and I hope heavenly objects too. All is laid up for us there—I suppose to be more fully enjoyed, but the same joy—and that is satisfying: let us work in hope. He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings, yet all is still to come: we have it now in an earthen vessel. For some time past the weather has been so bad that the swallows have left in despair—gone in a body, not one left! But higher up it is always fine, and there our hearts have to live.


* * * * *

To the same.]

* * * I was very glad you went to Italy. There may not be a great deal to do, but these poor things want help, and if the Lord please to work, it is by working the sphere of work grows. If there were energy among some of themselves, they might spread the truth, but it is His grace and will that does the work. From ignorance and poverty generally, it is a work of patience there. We must pray to God that He may work, and send forth labourers into the harvest. The last days are rapidly coming on, or rather developing themselves. Open, impudent, infidelity is now the order of the day, and the dark desert of popery: but, on the other hand, the Lord is evidently working; He is working, too, I fondly hope, amongst the brethren. Not only there are conversions and increase, but there is increased confidence and purpose of heart, and more sense that we are called to be faithful, and that the Lord is coming. Even the abounding of infidelity presses this upon them, and in one or two places the Lord has come in to bless in difficulties… In a little while we shall be with Him for ever. For me it is a pleasant thought, and the time is near. All is bright, very bright, before us. The Lord only keep us very humble.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.


* * * * *

[From the French.

* * * As one advances in age, Christ becomes all; always all in principle, He becomes it more in the habits of the soul. The apostle does not say ‘I believe’ but “I know whom I have believed,” a sweet word that discloses the certainty and the realisation of what Christ is in the soul. There is a calmness in heavenly things which is not found elsewhere, even in the activity of love, most blessed as it is. Things are hurrying headlong in the world. Infidelity in England displays a boldness to which we have not been accustomed. In America it is the same thing, but the word, the promise, and heaven remain as they were, and we are a little nearer. I wait for the Lord, but as long as there is something for me to do, I am here for His work. I have a deeper feeling than ever of what we are, and of the times in which we live. The struggle against infidelity pre-occupies me, but I go on my way as always, as far as my strength permits me.

For my part I believe that we scarcely know what Paul was. We have the same salvation, the same Saviour, the same grace, and for the end the same glory, namely, to be like Christ—but to bear always in his body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that shews a life of continual abnegation and of devotedness. He was separated from the Jews and the Gentiles to be connected with the glorified Christ, the alone source, and point of departure of his whole life; but whilst he was in the body he had always the sentence of death in himself. Death wrought in him, and life wrought thus from him in others. This is saying a great deal, but he was an elect vessel, and the Lord shewed him how many things he must suffer for His name. There is this true and deep consolation for you and me and for all who are His, that, be as it may, He will be perfectly glorified in us all according to the counsels of God. For me, I know it well, it will be His grace that will be glorified, and I shall be satisfied with it… God knows by what road He is leading His own; one thing is certain, it is that Jesus will rejoice in the travail of His soul, and will be fully satisfied with it; and He will not be satisfied, His love will not, without seeing His own in the most perfect blessedness near Him. If His love is satisfied, we may well be. We shall enter into the rest of God, where His love, His fixed purpose, His character, will be fully glorified in all that surrounds Him, and “He shall rest in his love,” as He works now according to that love. For the rest, I believe that we shall rejoice more in the fact, that Christ is fully glorified, than in our own glory.

Zurich, June 7th.

* * * * *

[From the French.

Dear——,—I had already heard of your fall, but I did not know the details, nor did I know that you had been restored… Having been restored by the assembly, I receive you as pardoned by God, and as His child, recognised by Him as belonging to the assembly just as any other brother—as myself —for we are all pardoned sinners. But, as a personal matter, I may tell you what I think. You never knew your, heart to the bottom, you never were really delivered. When this is the case, there is always too much confidence in oneself. Then your activity, and the acceptance of your labours by others, have hidden from you the inward state of your soul; and this very activity has had the effect of making your conscience ever less sensitive to the evil which was in the heart. God, in His sovereign and faithful grace and in His mercy, did not allow this to go further. I do not at all think that you were wanting in sincerity; but activity, when one is not in the presence of God, when the heart does not judge itself, has always a tendency to harden. You will be much happier now that all is known; and God has permitted that all should be known by men also, because there was in your case a tendency to have a good opinion of yourself. For He is faithful in all His ways, and we are, save as in grace, only miserable creatures who are worth nothing.

Your place at present, dear ——, is to be quiet; not to be so would even rather be a proof that you were not thoroughly humbled. Submission to your position and to this painful change in your relations with others will be, on the contrary (supposing of course the sincerity of this state of mind), a proof that you realise your position with God. This does not mean that God may not give you, later on, to be occupied in His service, either where you are now or elsewhere, when time has made all feel that you are a changed man, and confidence has been restored. For the moment, your own heart is what must concern you. Just read in Numbers 19—those who had touched sin, even in the Lord’s service, were unclean until the evening; and, what is so striking, if any one died suddenly in the tent, everything was made unclean. This is not to shew that sin is unavoidable, but that, whatever might be its source, it is intolerable to God; although this was accompanied by a revelation as to the means of purification from it. Keep quiet, then, and thus all will be made more clear; and by not being in too great a hurry the path will be ever clearer to yourself, your soul being ever nearer God.

Zurich, June 7th.

* * * * *

To the same.]

[From the French.

* * * It often happens, when God is exercising a soul, that He revives it a little; then it falls back again into a dejected state: just as a man who is in danger of drowning rises to the surface and takes breath, without which he would perish, and then sinks again, for he is not yet on firm ground where he can breathe naturally. So God gives the soul what revives it and it falls back again, until the work is thoroughly done. When the soul is really delivered, it does not think of its condition, save to judge itself when that is necessary—a very important thing in its place. When the prodigal son found his father, he had not to think whether he would be received or not, nor about his condition, nor whether he was deceiving himself in thinking that he was on the right road. On the way, such questions might well arise; but, once with the father, he had only to think of what the father really was for him, and the way of the father’s acting shewed this: so we hear no more of the prodigal son, but of the father, and of what he did.

Those who speak of the sixth and tenth chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews certainly are not delivered; only in these cases they have, in general, exposed themselves to Satan in a positive way. I do not believe that when people have really got out of Romans 7 they get back into it. One may have truly received forgiveness of sins and had joy; but self is not known, and it is necessary to know oneself to be delivered. People are often deceived on this point. The joy was well-founded, but it was not deliverance: this joy flows from the forgiveness of sins and not from deliverance from sin. The Epistle to the Romans up to the eleventh verse of chapter 5 speaks of the former; from the twelfth verse of chapter 5 to the end of chapter 8, of the latter.

Having spoken of the joy of forgiveness which you experienced, after having acknowledged everything, God permitted the depression that you might know that there was another work to be done. You are easily elated, and you have lived rather too much on feeling. Now, you must experience what the presence of God means. It is not that your joy was not real and true, but there is another work to be done. Even if some are hard towards you, God uses it for your good. I do not question your sincerity nor your salvation; but God would have us not only say, “We must all be manifested before the judgment seat of Christ,” but add, “I am manifested to God.” Be much before Him.

I repeat that I do not believe that a person gets back again into the experience of Romans 7 when he has got out of it; but you are only getting into it. I do not at all desire that you should doubt your salvation. It may be that the shield of faith falls after one has got out of Romans 7; it is not then a question to be resolved—it is almost despair. But the difference between the condition of Romans 7 and christian liberty is, that in the former case the person has drawn the conclusion from what he is to what God will be, in the latter, having a real experimental knowledge of himself, and having learned, consciously, that in us good does not exist, we understand—first, that we depend upon what God is; and then that, being dead to sin, fully condemned in the death of Christ, we are in Him before God; then, Christ being in us, we hold ourselves for dead, and the power of the Spirit of life enables us to realise this. (Cf. Col. 3:3; Rom. 6:6-11, and 2 Cor. 4:10.) You are not yet there, but God is working in you to bring you there. The outward humiliation was needful for you, and you must remember that. But in every case, the inward work must be done. The conflict will go on to the end, though there may be much more rest towards the end: but, until we are delivered, sin has dominion over us; when we are, Christ is our strength. Constant dependence and watchfulness are necessary; we must watch and pray lest we enter into temptation; but then, instead of sin having dominion over us, the strength of the Lord is there.

May God keep you close to Himself! Do not shrink from it, if He probes your heart; He does it to do you good at the end. It is His infinite grace when, in spite of everything, He continues to occupy Himself constantly about us.

Yours affectionately in Christ.

Zurich, June 11th, 1878.

* * * * *

Dear ——,—I have heard of dear——’s death, but no particulars. The brethren at——will feel it much, and that out of love to him, for for some time he had little part in the work, but the Lord will help them on. What is of Him lasts, and they begin to find the fruit of this. He does not at once light up the candle He has put out or removed, but He works always faithfully. —— says that he had conflict towards the end. No doubt there was a Why, but it may be there was honey in the sacrifice, he was so kind and loving a man; but God has always His own ways and always in love and right. If all is judged according to His mind—but that is saying much, and He alone knows when it is—then all is peace. But His nature is eternal and does not change, and we must be so dealt with that that nature is satisfied and enjoyed, but always in perfect love. And our path here so little realises His presence, when we take in the holiness of His nature, that though full of tenderness—and it is not surprising, if there be the least self-satisfaction or carelessness, that—His hand takes the matter up. This is what we learn in Job. One thing is a rest and comfort, that your dear brother is in rest where nothing is wanting and nothing to grieve, though he must wait for a glorified body: yet that is the world of God’s purpose, this, of experience and exercise.

I am here for a short time, or in the neighbourhood; have been at Elberfeld, Barmen, Frankfort, Stuttgart, and had, I trust, a profitable time in all. My German, though of course incorrect when it was hurried conversation and questions, stood me in good stead for all practical purposes, and in lectures, etc., I had little difficulty. Here, as a good many Methodists have lately come in, we are on somewhat more elementary ground. The presence of the Holy Ghost come down from heaven has been everywhere before us, for which I am thankful, and in more than one place, the Lord’s coming. Though there is a great deal to do there is much to thank God for, and I am thankful to have been able to come, and I trust there has been profit to the brethren, and the truth helped on. I hope to go (D.V.) to Lausanne in about ten days, where they have a conference. I have had meetings every day (when not two or three) except when on the rail.

Zurich, June, 1878.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I desire with all my heart that the Lord may accompany with His full blessing your being all together. You know I never was happy about L.’s step, and I am sure whoever undoes what is wrong will find the blessing of it. I pray the Lord that the blessing may be complete, and all old questions and feelings be forgotten in the sense of the Lord’s presence and grace.

You will still find, I doubt not, the difficulties of the way— indeed, we are left here for that, though they are often our own fault. The salvation is complete; the thief could go straight to Paradise, as Christ’s companion; but in general we have to go through the wilderness: the wilderness is no part of the purpose of God, but of His ways it is. His purpose is redemption and glory, but we have to learn ourselves (Deut. viii.) in the wilderness, and it is a great though a humbling gain. But He has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; our conversation is in heaven, whence we look for Him who shall change our vile bodies. We grow by what we have been brought into in Christ, not by the mere sense of deliverance…

The Lord is extending the work much in the States, and that down South too: I am very thankful for it. I know not, at my age, that I shall be able to return, as I gladly should, but He can ever, and will, work. Infidelity holds its head high, but the Spirit of God is working sensibly, too, in many places…

Yverdon [1878].

* * * * *

* * * The brethren will give you an account of our meetings here; I suppose they met a want, as the brethren came in large numbers. Many important subjects were scripturally searched into; the presence and sealing of the Holy Ghost, the church, the coming of the Lord in its connection with the whole christian position. Romans, Colossians, and Ephesians had all their place in our research into scripture—the last we went through rapidly at the end… . How good to be nothing before God! In the first place it is true, and then God is all, and what a God we have! Remember that in the path of His will there is deliverance and communion with Him.

* * * * *

Dear Mrs. ——, —— has kindly written to me to let me know that your dear husband is gone. I could not be surprised seeing how ill he was, and the blow is mixed with many mercies; yet one whom one has long known and loved cannot but leave a felt blank when taken away, and if it is so for me, how much more for you. It was through him that I first found my way to the eastern States, and his long devotedness in the work leaves a light on his path which the breaking down of his mind at the end does not dim. It was the mercy of the Lord, too, to give him the bright Saturday morning before he went— mercy for those around, for his happiness was not in doubt. The same gracious Lord will sustain and keep you who has sustained you through the long and trying illness of him who is gone.

Geneva, July 8th.

To the same.]

* * * Thank you very much for the notes as to dear Mr. ——. I was very glad to get the more detailed account of his later hours: first, because it clearly shews where his heart was; and, secondly, because it is in itself very instructive. It must be a comfort to you to have so clear a testimony as to Christ being all to him, though of that I never doubted; still there is instruction and warning for all to keep close by the Lord while all seems straight. His state of mind brought it all out with more excitement, but the same thing would have been there substantially, if he had been ever so quiet. And now the mental feebleness is all past for ever: our minds, though in many things the expression of the inner man, yet after all are only the shell, not the kernel, and pass with this poor body as such; and Christ is all in the simplicity of eternal blessing. And there our dear brother is now till he has a glorious body to suit what he has to enjoy: then all will be perfect, like Him, seeing Him as He is.

The Lord, dear Mrs.——, will, I doubt not, order your steps, and prepare your way before you.

Yours sincerely in the Lord.

Andelfingen, Canton Zürich, 1878.

* * * * *

Dear Brethren,—I see nothing at all to hinder brethren, who find themselves together for bathing, breaking bread together, provided it be done in a spirit of unity with the meetings they belong to. In the case of a resident Christian walking uprightly in the truth, calling “on the name of the Lord out of a pure heart,” he has the same title as if he desired to walk permanently with brethren. There is nothing to hinder; but it would be happy (specially if those at the bathing-place were young brethren) that the matter be communicated to the meeting they belong to, that the thing may be done seriously and with christian care. In the former case it is to preserve confidence and unity, in the latter for right christian care. The true character of the gathering is preserved, that is, two or three gathered together in Christ’s name; but it is important that it should be done in unity with those already gathered. Full liberty, but liberty in hearty unity, is what we have to seek, and subjection of individual will to the action of the Holy Ghost in the whole.

As to your second question,43 it is practically answered. Provided it be done in a spirit of unity, I see nothing to hinder. It might be on purpose to act against the assembly when the single absent brother did not walk well: this would be clearly wrong; and what I say always supposes that all are walking godlily and in grace.

As to the third question,44 it is always desirable that they should do it in unity with those united in the place nearest, or whence they come. No one can hinder their doing it, but it is not done happily or godlily when it is not done in communion with those with whom they are already in communion.

As to the last,45 the grace of God and the application of the word to the conscience can alone hinder the exercise of self-will.

Berne, July 30th.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—Exaggerations are always dangerous and, where imagination is at work, deceive to people’s cost; but the subject is a serious one. ‘Dead to nature’ is not a scriptural expression; so we must see what people mean and what scripture says. But deadness to the world and all the flesh is after, is what is wanting among Christians.

As regards natural relationships, they are very carefully maintained in scripture. The matter stands thus: God established certain relationships, “from the beginning it was not so” (divorce)—“he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.” Sin has come in and spoiled all. A new power has come in which, while fully recognising them as of God, and using them as images of the highest spiritual relationships with Christ and the Father, has nothing to do with them —is above and out of them. In general those who say much about them and being dead to nature, do so because they are not. Paul lives alone, and as a rule says, “let every man have his own wife.” The speaking against it is of Satan. The Lord had considered the lilies and how God had clothed them: seeking these things as an object is another matter. Adam was to dress and keep the garden when he had no sin; but we need to have our affections on things above by a new power, and need a single eye to it to keep us above the power of what is corrupted; “all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” They even who had wives must “be as though they had none,” for “the time is a constrained one.” Nature is of God, but its corruption is not; and it is corrupted, under the bondage of corruption—and that is the difficulty. But ‘dead to nature’ is legality: to seek it as it is, is not of the Spirit, though He has given us all things richly to enjoy. My body is of the old creation; my life, as born of God, of the new; and we are left for spiritual exercises in this very way. Nor is the matter therefore so simply spoken of, as some would humanly: it is meant to be a holy exercise, and those who do not spare the body may be satisfying the flesh. The apostle speaks for spiritual power and for order, every man has his own gift; but it is a gift. He wills that men marry as a rule, but tells them the married man cares for the things of the world, that they will have trouble in the flesh, but he spares them.

We have died with Christ; our life is hid with Him in God: He is our life. We have been crucified with Christ, yet live, but not we, but Christ lives in us; and this life fives by the faith of the Son of God. But you will find that when applied, it is always in view of certain objects which turn the heart from Christ. “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh,” etc., “is not of the Father.” We are dead “to sin,” “to the rudiments of the world.” You will further find that these are distinguished, and that the highest christian state does not contemplate this at all. In the Epistle to the Romans the Christian is looked at as a man alive in this world, as we are, but justified, and Christ our life. Here we get “dead to sin,” Christ having died to it, and “our old man is crucified with Christ that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin, for he that is dead is justified from sin” (not sins)—you cannot accuse a man of sin in the flesh if he is dead. Colossians goes further: “ye have died”; and here they are risen also, and so are looked at as risen men on the earth: they are dead to the rudiments of the world, are not alive in the world subject to ordinances. So we are dead “to the law by the body of Christ,” in Romans: it is also said, “if Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin.” But dead to nature is, in all that we are said to be dead to, quite unknown to scripture in word or thought. It falsifies the idea of the bearing of death there.

But none of these is the highest measure taken in scripture. These think of sin, though of death to it, but never of our living in it. Colossians goes a step further, and on to ground which is fully developed in Ephesians. When man’s highest condition in this respect is spoken of, he has not died to anything: he is viewed as dead in trespasses and sins, and then as a new creation—a creation after God. It is just mentioned Colossians 2:13. This is fully developed in Ephesians 2; and here note, Christ is not viewed as life-giving, but as raised when a dead man, He having descended in grace to where we were, and in an effectual work for us, so that we rise with Him and into the same place. This is referred to in 2 Corinthians 5:14, 17, and in the remarkable summary in John 5:24. All this stands on a different ground from being quickened and having died: we have changed our place and position, are created anew. But if dying is to be brought in and dwelt on, people are really in general under law, and do not count themselves dead; and if they talk of dying to nature, which scripture does not, they will soon find to their cost that nature is not dead.

I should earnestly press being dead, crucified with Christ; Christ and nothing else our life—not of the world as Christ is not of the world—that the Spirit of God be the source of all our thoughts and desires, to live Christ. Death to sin we have, to the world, our old man crucified with Christ; and if Christ be in us, the body dead because of sin. So all that is in the world, the lusts and pride, is not of the Father. But neglecting of the body may be being “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind”; and dead to nature does not enter into the sphere of scriptural thought. Who is dead to it? And what is he dead to? Is the new man dead? The question would be, Is nature dead? and that they will soon find out it is not. They should not eat nor drink: now, they should not do this save to the glory of God, and with prayer and thanksgiving—have no motive but Christ in anything, the body of sin being destroyed.

What is specially wanted now is undivided devotedness. I dread anything that would weaken that. But dead to nature, in word or thought, scripture does not know; and in the highest character of Christianity, dead to anything does not come in at all, but a new nature in relationship with the Father and with Christ, and in Him, sitting in heavenly places. If I talk much of being dead to nature, I am occupied with it. I write briefly and in a hurry, but you will find, I believe, the principles of scripture here.

Yours affectionately in the Lord.

August, 16th.

My dear Brother,—I regret much that this article46 has been put in, but I do not believe any attack was intended against the atonement. He speaks of scripture giving no uncertain sound as to that. It would indeed destroy all the foundation we have to rest in. ——some time ago now, brought this idea out, but with no thought of enfeebling the atonement, but merely the use of the word “wrath.” In my last edition of the Sufferings, I have referred to this, saying I did not change the word lest it should weaken the sense of the thing, but that scripture was wiser than we were. And I was content then to accept it as a fact, and in one publication [Bible Witness and Review, vol. ii. 389] avoided, I think, the use of it without making any remark: as if it was not in scripture, I was sure it was wiser than we—but I have used it in preaching—and felt that if so it was to avoid the application of it to His Person: never as to what He did or suffered in atonement. In these days above all it is necessary to hold this fast. But I have some thought that Psalm 88 warrants the word itself. It is not found in the New Testament. —— had no such thought, I am assured, as that wrath was not due to us, but only objected to the use of the word as applied to Christ—not to the substitution of Christ in atonement for us as bearing our sins and drinking the cup and being made a curse: but though, if not in scripture, we do well to speak with scripture, yet I fear in these cases with many they dislike the word because they dislike the thing. I do not believe it is the case here; but there is danger for others. Psalm 102 hardly reaches the case, but it seems to me Psalm 88 does.

I first heard it used really to deny the truth of propitiation. ——quoted then Psalm 102, but dropped the word to shew he denied the thing. This was long ago in Canada, and made me on the watch as to giving up the word. We cannot be too jealous as to true propitiation and atonement now. I have had one side of this point with Waldenstrom.

* * * * *

To the same.]

* * * I agree with you that people are quite free to use human words to express their apprehension of what is in scripture, as Trinity, etc., and feel that, in general, rejecting the word is rejecting the thing:47 ‘the judgment of sin’ is quite as objectionable, and if I have used it it has generally been with qualifying words… I do not propose at present taking any step: when a word comes into controversy it is then well to use what scripture uses, and ascertain what the person really means. The addition of the word ‘or atonement’48 is what would trouble me most in it; for if scripture avoids the word, it would be that it might not be supposed that He was personally so. But I do not think that the author’s intention was to deny what we mean by atonement. It is regrettable that the word propitiation, at least, was not used. But I regret the article greatly. The Lord is above it all, but I am conscious Satan is making a great set at brethren just now. But it is a mercy it is all out.

Affectionately yours in the Lord.

September 11th.

My dear Brother,— I regret much the article in question… There never was a time when the true real, atoning sufferings, the reality of His bearing our sins, making propitiation, drinking the cup, being made a curse for us, and all that wrath lying upon us involved, was more necessary to insist on than now. It is loosened in England and is upsetting the work in Sweden. I should take care to give no handle, by any word I used, to cavillers, but should insist on maintaining the blessed Lord’s drinking that dreadful cup when forsaken of God. Indeed it is for this I have been attacked, as distinguishing that as something more than the act of dying—though that were true, too, and till He had taken its sting out by drinking the cup, involved it all. In the plain sense of simple Christians convinced of sin, they know that He took on Him what lay on them; and Psalm 88 authorises the word wrath itself.

Scripture is wiser even in its expressions than we are; but to hold fast the real truth of atoning sufferings and bearing sins is vital. But I do not think they meant to weaken this. Only there remains the question how far a deep conviction of sin has made the need felt, for that is often at the bottom of these things.

September 16th.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—The complete putting away of sin will not be complete till the new heavens and the new earth, but the work is finished absolutely in virtue of which that result is produced. It is in John 1:29 the sin of the world, not of believers; but these know that the work is done. You must not confound this with the bearing of our sins, so that believers know they are all put away and themselves perfected for ever as to their conscience. You will find these things distinguished in Hebrews 9.

John 15 is clearly not union with Christ, as understood of Christians united by the Holy Ghost to a glorified Christ. For Christ was not glorified, was not the Head of the body, and the Holy Ghost had not yet come, nor could till He was glorified. “Now ye are clean” should be “ye are already clean,” and the unfruitful branches were to be broken off. Our church union with Christ is in heavenly places, and could not exist till Christ was there; the teaching of Ephesians 1 makes this definitely certain, and “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” So that true union with Christ could not be before Christ was glorified: redemption was not yet accomplished. The disciples were united to Christ as a teacher and as disciples (Judas was), and those who in John 6 left Him. But this has nothing to do with real union. He who thinks it has, does not yet know what true christian union is. We cannot be members of His body till He has the place of Head. Furthermore, His express testimony is, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone.” John 15 refers to the vine brought out of Egypt, which was not the true one— Christ on earth was, but branches fruit-bearing. Pruning has nothing to do with membership of His body in heavenly places. If they mean such a union—more than connection in disciple-ship which might go further, as in the eleven in whom Christ knew life was (not the Holy Ghost)—I repeat, they do not know what christian union is.

London, September 26th.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I was very glad to hear from you, and thankful that you and our old brother were mercifully preserved. The Lord is evidently carrying on the work in——. May His name be praised! I trust He is gathering His people for the last days, indeed all seems hastening. May the Lord keep our hearts fixed on Him, and may our thought of circumstances and of all circumstances centre in Himself: He lasts through the scene, and beyond it.

I have read——’s letter … he is a little on the independent path as to his work, but so are many, and rightly, so as they walk in fellowship of heart: I mean as serving the Lord directly. But we have to go through all these things with the Lord, and He is sufficient, only patience must have its perfect work. What I dread for brethren is the world; it is for me a serious question in England now. As numbers multiply, the tendency is always that way: but we are told to “be careful for nothing,” and to “rejoice in the Lord alway”; and if we are near Him, we can, “Nothing separates us from His love. I am, I need not say, most thankful that the Lord is working… In many cases patience, specially with the imperfect working and wisdom and power in work, is the true remedy. God makes all things work together for good to those that love Him, and it is often wonderful how, when those who are forward in activity are jostling each other, God builds up and strengthens the simple-hearted by His own grace, that nothing hinders. The Lord be with you, dear brother, and keep you happy in Him, lowly, and looking to Him who is our joy and peace, and that for ever…

November, 1878.

* * * * *

To the same.]

* * * I do not expect a very speedy healing of this matter, but God can do it and when He pleases. Too often a healing of a humbling state of things is sought more than the state of soul which has given occasion to it. Now this affair at —— found souls needing renewal, and if we do not wait God’s doing (though obeying every positive direction of the word), we have to await the effect of not doing it. There is but One that can bring the light that judges conscience into the soul: on Him we can count. I do not think there is one that has a more profound sense of the ruin of everything than myself, but there is One that is never ruined, and as able to be what is needed for the church now as at the beginning, and as faithful. “Bring thy son hither” is in the same sentence with, “How long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?” We cannot hasten God; He, when He is working, will have things real. The Lord graciously be with you, and keep us all.

Affectionately yours in Him.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—First as to your scriptures—Hebrews 1:2 and Genesis 1:26 have quite a different force. Hebrews 1:2 signifies that He was the express image, as the wax from a seal, of the spiritual being of God; something like (with the difference of speaking of the Father, which implies, when revealed, actual grace in exercise) “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”

I should not, perhaps, have thought of taking Genesis 1:26 as a direct proof of immortality; but it seems to me to involve it pretty conclusively. You never could think of a poor dying annual as made in the likeness and image of God. The truth itself is as plain as possible. A threat of death to one who would die at any rate would be an unintelligible thing. “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” could not be said to a creature that would die at any rate. And so the apostle understood it, that is the Spirit of God. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin”: “as by man came death.”

I have always found it difficult to be precise as to Genesis 1:26. Man was made to be the centre of a vast system placed under him, of its affections and reverence as one having dominion. There was the absence of evil. No angel was a centre and a head. Then there was a reflective [counterpart] of being and headship which no animal has. Everything down here was in relationship with him, and referred to him. No angel has this at all. It is fully developed in the second Man, of whom Adam was consequently the image. (Rom. 5:14.) This was of course only in subjection to God, and so in His image. Likeness goes something further. It is put first with Seth; and image is left out by James. Image also represents, but is not necessarily like: the image of a god is not necessarily like him,, though it must in some way represent Mm; though perfect likeness makes it an image—as we say, he is the very image of his father. I think there is, or rather was, as according to his created condition, a certain moral and mental likeness to God. He not only represents Him on earth, but thinks for others, refers to and delights in what God is—not the knowledge of good and evil in himself, but delight in what is good—has his moral place amongst those who do. This is likeness, not image; there is reflection, delight, love of goodness, beauty. I remember, when I was unconverted, the sense of beauty in creation made me feel I must have to say to God. Eating and drinking was, no doubt, as really a created state, but it was a brute’s state, and had not in mind to do with God. Hence we say, when the reflective sense of good is lost, a man is brutalised—which is not a question of conversion: then God is known in holiness.

Have you seen the account in The Christian of the missionaries refusing to allow the converted Japanese to meet as one body, with threats of various kinds?—a frightful testimony to what the clergy are… The Lord be with you in your soul and in your work. We have to labour from and by Christ whatever elements we meet with, and become all things to all men if by any means we can save some.

[Date uncertain.]

* * * * *

Dear——,—God is working in a special manner in connection with these last days, and I have net a doubt that the truth brethren have is what, as in the word of God, He has brought out for them—a return in whatever feebleness to the original calling. Only may they be faithful and detached from the world! That they have truth is felt everywhere, perhaps opposed, but felt. Only may we be kept humble and faithful and devoted, not of the world!

But the conflicts of the last days are here developing themselves with a rapidity which is pressing on the spirits of most, and even turning the thoughts of many towards us. The Germans have it that we are the only orthodox left in England. There it is pretty nearly true, at any rate; but apostasy is rampant here, and Christians in the different systems do not know which way to turn. Our path is simple, but one has to see how God will graciously let a full testimony reach those who are beset by bold-faced infidelity. But Christ is faithful, and sets an open door to those who have little strength. I felt all this pressing on me when leaving America. I feel it difficult to see how to carry on direct work, and yet be free from it to bear needed testimony. We can only do what God gives us to do. It is a solemn feelings that we are actually in the last days. But Christ’s and the Father’s love are the same in all days, and He keeps us secretly in His presence from the provoking of all men.


* * * * *

* * * Infidelity is increasing. What was infidelity of heart is now open, but it presages the Lord’s coming—the falling away first. I think that coming is far more before souls, even where you would not expect it. It seems to have diffused itself, wherever the word has reached. The shape it has taken in my mind is, how it connects itself with every thought and relationship of the Christian in scripture. I never treat it now as a point of knowledge but as a part of Christianity. That, and the presence of the Holy Ghost who dwells in us, form the actual state and standing of the Christian, as redemption is the basis and foundation.

Have you remarked how, in Acts 2, the Lord received the Holy Ghost anew for others when exalted? This is the starting-point of Christianity—was historically and is actually: Man in a wholly new position, consequent on redemption perfectly accomplished, and thence the Holy Ghost come down to connect us with it. This gives the full character of Christianity— a glorified Man in heaven, and the Holy Ghost come down to earth (that is to believers, for the world cannot receive Him) while we wait for Him from heaven to take us actually there. We belong to a new creation, but have the treasure of it in a body that belongs to the old. But the basis of all this is the Man in glory, Son of God, and the sending down of the Holy Ghost received by Him in that position. As to the earthly part of it, see 1 Peter 1:10-13. The Holy Ghost had wrought in creation, in the fathers, in judges, in the prophets; but His coming was consequent on Man being in glory, Son of God, past sin (as borne), death, Satan’s power, judgment—having in that glorified God in a way which brought Him as a Man into glory by God’s righteousness; and He is therefore ours. It is of deep interest in connection with this—what is said in John 1:33.

The Lord keep you, dear——, keep us both lowly, serving, and single-eyed till He come to take us where God Himself will rest, because all will be fully according to His own heart —the fruit of His purpose and will, and where Christ will be fully glorified.

Yours affectionately in Him.

November, 1878.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—First your questions. Ezekiel’s temple is not the temple built by the Jews in unbelief. It is all by divine measurement, directions given how the prince is to come in when all is in order, connected with the permanent division of the land in its proper place in connection with the city, and from that day the city is to be called, “The Lord is there.” It is possible that they try and imitate it in unbelief; but their temple will be destroyed, their service there is rejected. (Isa. 66) Still, even so, there will be a temple then. (Ver. 6.) And here I would remark, that the house under all circumstances is accounted one and the same house. In Haggai it should be “the latter glory of this house,” not “latter house”; literally, “the glory of this house shall be greater, the latter than the former.” See Psalm I24 for the ruin of theirs. I know of no prophetic scriptures referring to Herod’s temple. It is said he built it over the then temple, leaving the Ezra one and its service going on till all was finished, but it was always the Bame house. Neither Ezra’s nor Herod’s were subjects of prophecy that I know of. Daniel 9:24 takes in the whole period, but does not take in the temple. Zechariah 4 identifies Ezra’s temple with the end.

There were clearly two cleansings of the temple: the one in John 2 was before the Lord entered on His public ministry, for John was not yet cast into prison. (John 3:24. Compare Mark 1:14, 15.) The second was when He went up the last time to Jerusalem to be crucified, and had ridden into Jerusalem as Messiah.

We were all thankful to hear of you, and I bless the Lord with all my heart that He has led you by a right way. “If one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with” him; besides it is pleasant in these last days to see the gracious Lord working in the grace that none can hinder. He is doing so everywhere: in Germany and Russia, in Sweden and Norway; in the States, too, His work is spreading. There is considerable blessing, and to see this in the midst of corruption and infidelity is a great relief of heart, and subject of praise to Him. It seems to point out the speedy coming of the Lord. It is not that I look for any signs; I await His coming with desire; but He says, “How is it that ye do not discern this time?” At any rate, our hearts ought to be waiting for Him with longing desire, though with patience—for we have need of it that after we have done the will of God we should inherit the promises— and meanwhile never be weary in well-doing.

I feel it of all importance that we should evangelise. I quite recognise the difference of gifts, and we cannot appropriate what is not given; still there is a love to souls, the love of Christ constraining us, which is an important element in our own state. I feel it as to myself. I do not doubt I fail in everything, but in a certain sense my heart is filled with the desire of the blessing of the church, of Christ’s glory in it, for that I could spend myself with His grace; but love to sinners’ souls — I could not say I have none, and I anxiously evangelise when I can; but it does not press on my spirit like the other; yet I constantly see that a meeting goes on well when the love of souls is there. The same Christ does both. The Lord be abundantly with you, and give you grace, and courage, and wisdom, for it is all His. The great point is to be nearer Him in heart than even the work, and then we do the work from Him, and in some measure as He would.

London, November 4th, 1878.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—There is no doubt but Edom is the special object of judgment in the last days; but the passages you quote refer to the time when Israel will be in their land, and the Lord has come down to judgment. Though Ezekiel 35 refers directly to the time of the Babylonish captivity, when Edom who was rival of Jacob rejoiced cruelly in the desolation of Jerusalem. Though it go on to the final desolation of Mount Seir, Isaiah 63 is clearly Christ’s personal coming. Isaiah 34 is equally entirely at the end. You can look at Psalm 83 for the conspiracy that leads to this final judgment. Genesis 36 is merely the original historical condition of Esau. That Russia’s possession of Togarmah, or north-eastern Asia Minor, will help her on to Palestine I do not doubt, and I suppose that is doing now, though I do not see the newspapers, and do not know how they have settled it…

I have no doubt the Lord is leading you in the right way; He always does, He may stop us if we go our own, but He makes all things work together for good to them that love Him. I have no doubt your lying aside a while for your family will be a blessing, and mature you in your own soul for work. Do not lose sight of work, however. Wait patiently till God opens the way, but keep it in view. It is all right you should support your family. It is God’s way, too, to set people aside after their first start, that self-confidence may die down. Thus Moses was forty years. On his first start he had to run away. Paul was three years also, after his first testimony, before he entered on his work as sent. Not that God did not approve the first earnest testimony, In both cases He did, but we see how Moses, at any rate, carried much of the flesh with him into it, and then afterwards was afraid to go on; but, after all, when he was before Pharaoh there was neither: he stood in God’s name and power. We must get to know ourselves and that we have no strength; for in the end of Romans 7 is learning that we have no strength. So in 2 Corinthians 12, Paul has to learn his own weakness that the power of Christ may rest upon him: and this conscious weakness only casts itself on the Lord. When Paul went to Corinth it was thus it began, “I was with you in weakness and fear and in much trembling”; but the Lord had a great people there. Thus we must learn, and then leaning on the Lord we can with more maturity, and more experimentally, deal with souls…

The Lord be with you and keep you near Himself! Diligence in your business is all right, but do not let it get between your soul and God. If you are not as bright with Him, and more and more so, search out why, and look to Him, for He giveth more grace.

Kind love to the brethren. I was very glad to hear of them.


* * * * *

Dear——,—Though my days go so quietly by that I have little to tell, and my work is one which gives little room for anything in the shape of news, I write a line to give some account of myself and keep up my intercourse with brethren. I am hard at work with the translation. I feel I have the Lord with me, and that I had His will in coming here, and that is always a great comfort—comfort in present service, and comfort as to that which elsewhere you have to leave to God. I know well we have all to leave to Him always and everywhere, and that He alone does all that is good; but the heart can do so when we are in the path of His will.

The question raised as to ——, is the pressing one as to brethren now—Christ being all, and the spirit of the world getting in amongst brethren. I believe God is working; for particular difficulties, such as this, though they may be humbling, have ever been in the church. In speaking of —— also, I speak only of the principle that has come up in connection with him, not at all personally. I dread the world for us all, and everything that would grieve the Spirit of God. God can continue to bless, though in others there may be what undermines: and I trust Him—whom else should we? And His love and grace never fail. Were we alone in the world, His grace would be sufficient, and blessed be His name, perpetual company. I know all is of His grace, but I feel the things that are not seen daily nearer, and confidence in Christ suffices for the things through which we pass. I was noticing awhile back how perfect the words, “Rejoice in the Lord always”—there is the positive portion. “Be careful for nothing” then, as to all that is down here; and in laying our burdens on His throne and heart, it is peace—for He is not troubled and knows the end from the beginning—the peace of God keeps our hearts. What a sanctuary to have in going through! …

The Lord be with you and all His beloved people. I often think what joy to see them all exactly what Christ would have them, so that He too should be satisfied!

Pau, 1879.

* * * * *

* * * These things we must leave to God, not in the sense of because we cannot help it, but as bowing to His sovereign will and wisdom, and trusting to His sure and constant love, and looking to Him with subduedness and confidence.

There are in Philippians two passages close together which have often been a great comfort to me. “Rejoice in the Lord always” and “Be careful for nothing.” What sweeping words, leaving us without excuse for not being happy! For “nothing” takes in everything, and “always” leaves no time out, only it must be “in the Lord.” Christ suffices for all, “to be full and to be hungry.” And it is not to blame for care, but to make “our requests” known, and God’s peace (for He is not shaken by or uncertain as to what comes) will keep our hearts.


* * * * *

Dear ——,—Some one has sent me ——’s tracts from the Voice. There is a great deal of truth as to the new position and new creation, which I fully accept and insist on where it can be. But it is fresh truth poured in and poured out, not matured in the soul. I know what it is, and we have all to learn it. It is delighting in the wondrous fresh truth, but it is not Christ. In this respect I do not think he knows himself. It is a more subtle self, delighting in having done with self, not Christ taking the place of self. All through, it is Christ “in all,” but not “Christ all.” It is striking how this runs through every page. This easily accounts for the effect in others. Now realising the life of Christ as dead to the world is of all possible moment, but this is by Christ being all, not by the life of Christ in us being all. He looks for the ‘sense of power,’ but it is when we are weak we are strong. I think his view of the way Christ is presented in Luke very defective. I do not mean anything unorthodox. When self has become practically nothing and Christ experimentally all, the truth he has learned may become a most useful weapon of ministry. When we are young in the truth, it fills the mind always more surfeitingly; and to a mind like his where there is considerable treasury of thought, the danger is greater. It is not knowing we are nothing, but being it, which is the point. More of the power of life in Christ we do need and need greatly, at least as far as I am concerned. Truth he has seized very considerably, but I do not find Christ everywhere and what He is—we dead and Christ our life there, and the new sphere we belong to. These are details which have struck me, but they are of no importance now: they run in general into the great point I have noticed. I do not think he understands the wilderness or that he has gone through it; perhaps there is more. Nor do I think he is clear on the connection of Colossians and Ephesians; but all this is by the bye. They were brought to God Himself at Sinai.

January, 1879.

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Beloved Brother,— … I have no wish to enter into any controversy with you on baptism. What I dread in it is a sectarian tendency. Another truth that it always hinders or wholly blots, out is the house of God; that is, a place where God’s blessings and presence are found—for Israel, Jehovah and the oracles of God, without the question whether all profited by them—for us, the Spirit and the word. “What advantage then hath the Jew? … much every way.” Till God judges it, it retains its character, as the temple was the Father’s house though a den of thieves. I only notice, on your remark, that Leviticus 12 was the purifying of the woman, not of the child; the child, at least if a male, was purified by circumcision before the woman, and that was the sign that she had a husband of blood. The children, being clean, have a title to be presented; but the assembly cannot receive flesh but through the sign of the death and so the resurrection of Christ. So that, glad as I am that Baptists present their children to God with a true heart, I could not assist at it, as ignoring the necessity of Christ’s death—the only way, now man’s sin and God’s glory are known, of presenting man to God. Faith, you well know, goes that way, but faith has no other way of presenting the children to be received; flesh cannot go. The law is the same, but till Christ was rejected, man did not stand on the ground of being lost; he was tested, and then it was “Having yet therefore one son,” and “now they have both seen and hated.” The corn of wheat we know must fall into the ground and die, or it abides alone. Always true, it became the basis of divine dealings in revelation, when Christ the Son of God was rejected. But I have no wish even to persuade any one on these points. The church is in ruins; and while this is a striking proof of the state of things, yet it is to life, to Christ, and departing from iniquity, that those who are in the truth have to direct their labours. Nobody will find me contending for it. I should have been a Baptist if scripture had not been there, but probably a close one, and then utterly dissatisfied. I see the twelve sent to baptise, but not Paul. It is an external but beautiful ceremony which all received evidently underwent, though there was no commandment to baptise Jews. But enough of this. If the King’s peace be not broken I leave all liberty as to views as to it.

I am not much troubled at——’s losing her pupils, though it is very well she should be occupied and occupy others; but she will rest, and God give her pupils if it be good. He makes all things work together for those who love Him. I read “Rejoice in the Lord alway.” “Be careful for nothing:” “in everything give thanks.” That brings us to heaven where He is, and keeps our hearts on earth where He is not—but cares in [everything] for, and enters into in condescending grace, making everything work together for good to those who love Him. She must use her leisure to be more with Him, learn herself better, besides all the positive good He will graciously do her. A little leisure enables us often to see all things quietly with Christ’s eye. I can sympathise with her, but I had rather have Christ’s care than my own wishes a thousand times, though of course we may be tried by it. Dear Wigram is not at present getting on, save towards the end and the rest. It is a solemn time and has been to me lately especially so, but Christ is the same and never loses a bit of His power, nor of His care for us. I have enjoyed nearness of communion with Him, poor thing that I am, far more than ever, with a deep sense of His immutable faithfulness, and that we can count upon Him. Soon we shall have rest. The Lord is working wonderfully everywhere in converting grace, but He allows the power of the enemy to come out. Peace be with you. We shall see each other elsewhere.

Ever affectionately yours in the blessed One.

Pau, January 19th.

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Beloved Brother,—I was very glad to hear from you, and always am, from the beloved brethren who are at the work, though in my constant but so similar work one day with another, I may have nothing very interesting to answer. At this moment I am occupied in a special way, translating the Old Testament into French. I feel I am at the Lord’s work, so that I am through grace very happy. I preach and lecture naturally too, but have less active service. But I can tell you something of the brethren. And, in general, thank God, the account is happy. I think the brethren were in a critical state, but I believe the Lord has been working in grace. In several places where there was trial, blessing seems to be springing up. I do not think we have all arrived, even at what our poor hearts could desire; but if He is at work the heart can rejoice, and look for more blessing. I feared the world for them; and, on the one side, incapacity to meet cases of discipline, which left all in disorder; and, on another, loss of spiritual power so that the testimony was weakened, and therewith some setting up a claim of high attainment without knowing themselves. But God is ever faithful, and when He works none can hinder: some were inclined to settle things, and things are never settled till souls are. I have not interfered, for what was wanting was the Lord’s working, and as to ministry—what would raise the whole tone was, as far as God enabled me, what was really the profitable thing. Where I chiefly was we were, thank God, getting on very happily and unitedly, and there was a good deal of attendance of persons seeking the grace and truth that is in Christ. It is a great thing to trust God and look to Him; it carries you through everything. But the brethren still want stirring up to more spiritual life, which One only can give. God’s truth for these last days they have, though of course there is always need of fresh apprehensions of scripture to feed and lead on the soul. But what I look for for all of them is a heart devoted to God, to Christ who suffered for us here below—the blessed One we wait to see.

I have been struck lately with the difference of Paul’s writings and John’s, or rather with how little Paul speaks of the Father. The way in which John presents God to us, and Paul us to God, had been before our minds, but I had not applied it particularly to this point; and I had been occupied with the Father’s revelation of Himself lately, and how far hymns could be addressed to Him, and then I found that Paul puts us clearly in liberty before Him—the Lord be praised for it!—giving the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father, but never Him distinctly before us. John does both in the gospel and epistle: it is Himself—known through Christ and by the Spirit; but it is “the Father himself loveth you.” This is another thought and relationship; and the difference is very practical for our state and affections.

As you have been long away, I add what we have had before us: how the apostle, in Romans, gives us man, still a living man on earth, but Christ his life and justified, having the Holy Ghost so as to know his position. Then the exhortation is to give ourselves up a living sacrifice to God as transformed. Colossians—we are risen with Christ, not only a new life but a new state, “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” but not there—life (not the Holy Ghost) but it is a hope in heaven, and the exhortation is that we may seek the things which are above where Christ sits—say, like Christ the forty days before the ascension. In Ephesians we are sitting in heavenly places in Him, and the Holy Ghost in us. Hence the exhortation is to come out and shew the character of God as revealed in Christ. (Eph. 4, 5) Then there is another difference: Christ is only seen as raised from the dead, and we not as dead in Him, and having had to die and rise again, but as wholly dead in sins, and then a new creation: hence God’s counsels. The Colossians only just touches this, and does not of course take us to heaven. The wilderness makes no part of the counsels of God, but of His ways with us. We are completely brought to God by redemption—so after the Bed Sea at Sinai. Then come exercises of every kind, whether in or out of Canaan, in the World or in heavenly places. The true knowledge of the Father is in the affections, in relationship. It is goodness, love—not in the kind of sympathetic exercises and experiences into which Christ is entered for us; we may be in them, and the Father’s love known—but it is in another—love of experience and more absolute. Hymns, you will find, do not run on this theme.

I write all this as you are comparatively alone. The Lord be with you and your work. Greet the dear brethren, though I do not know them.

Pau, January 22nd.

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Dearest-----,— … My trust has been in the Lord, and I think, though it be but the dawn, He has come in in mercy. It seems to me the brethren did not see what was really in question, not at Hyde only, but in the whole question of their testimony. I should not even say this, but that I believe, as I said, God has stepped in. I see His hand, and all I have done has been to leave it to Him, only looking where there has been much too much human activity.

Our work, thank God, goes on well. I feel anxious as to the details of perfectness, at least they require much attention. But I feel the Lord with me, and am well (a couple of days quite otherwise). My difficulty is, being here, the brethren desire to see me, as I should them, and how to do both is not so easy. “Rejoice in the Lord always,” and “Be careful for nothing”; that is our path.

January 23rd.

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[* * * I am surprised at the clearness in my own mind of the question of responsibility, which lies at the root of Calvinism and Arminianism. Responsibility there must and ought always to be; but in respect of acceptance, the first man was the responsible man, and his story ended at the cross, though each has to learn it personally. Our standing is in the Second, who charged Himself indeed with our failures in responsibility (Himself perfect in every trial in it), but laid the ground of perfect acceptance before God: lost on the ground of the first, we are before God on the ground of the finished work of the second Adam—not a child of Adam, as to our place, but a child of God, “the righteousness of God in him.” Before the cross, and up to it, responsibility developed; after it, righteousness revealed, and the original purpose of God, which was in the second Adam, could then be brought out. This opens out what was purely of God, which we have mainly in Ephesians, though elsewhere; and conduct is the display of the divine nature as in Christ. This last is a blessed part of it. The study of what He is is surely the food of the soul. His Person, His work, may carry us deeper in the apprehension of what God is, for it was met and glorified there, and we worship and praise; but with Him we can walk, and know, and learn that none so gracious as He. What will it not be to see Him as He is! I find imperfection in a language a help to seeing how far all is real and realised in the heart. It cannot flow through in accustomed words. I must close…]

Elberfeld, 1869.

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[From the Italian.

Dear Brethren,—The question treated of in your letter is not a new one; it is too of great importance. But there is a fundamental error in your reasoning, as if faith in a human testimony, with respect to temporal things, was the same thing as faith that receives the word of God in the heart. There is no enmity in the heart against temporal things, but “the mind of the flesh is enmity against God.” You say that man if he wished could believe; but he never wishes, because the object of faith is hateful to him; and, further, if he believed with this natural faith only, it would be worth nothing. Many believed in Jesus (John 2:23, 24), but Jesus had no confidence in this faith. You forget that the one who believes with a true faith has everlasting life. (John 3:36.) See 1 John 5:15. Likewise, they are not born of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but they are born of God. And therefore it is said (Gal. 3:26), “Ye are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Now this true faith, the fruit of the operation of the Holy Ghost, has not been found in any man. It is said (Isa. 1:2), “Wherefore when I came was there no man?” John the Baptist says (John 3:32), “And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth: and no man receiveth his testimony;” also the Lord Himself says (chap. 3:11), “We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen, and ye receive not our witness.” That it is the work of God is clear according to the word (James 1:18), “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.” In Galatians we read (1:15), “When it pleased God … to reveal his Son in me.” God gives us eternal life. “He that hath the Son hath life,” says the apostle John. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit”—an entirely new thing in man. Christ Himself is our life, and we have not this life before receiving Christ. The testimony, then, is clear and certain that we are children of God through faith, and born, not of the will of man, but of God.

You say that he has faith—‘may it not be that he opens his hand to receive?’ But hearts are not so disposed; they will not open the hand. Everything is done, as far as the heart is concerned, when it is disposed to receive Christ. He complains that when He came there was no man. You acknowledge that he has salvation, but, if a man is disposed to open his hand, conversion comes from the will of man. You say that as soon as a man believes we find that God renews his mind. But, if he believes, it is already renewed, since Christ is precious to him, while before he saw no beauty in Him that he should desire Him; already he knows that he is a sinner, and needs a Saviour, and he has found Him if he believes. Observe that Jesus says, “You will not come.” I believe fully that they are responsible for it; but where do you find, You will? The word of God expressly says, No. “There is none that seeketh after God.” He came to seek them, thank God, but when He came He was rejected; He was not received save by those who are born of God. This is said by the Spirit in Isaiah 1., by John the Baptist, by the Lord, and by the apostle John. Now certainly God does not hinder any one from coming, but such is the disposition of the heart of man that he will not. This is why the work of God is necessary, and why it is said, “No man can come unto me except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” Perhaps you will say, Every one is drawn. No, because the one who is drawn comes, and Jesus will raise him up at the last day: he is saved, see John 6:39. Therefore it is said (ver. 37), “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The Lord then expressly says what you say He does not say, “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” and He repeats (ver. 65), “Therefore said I unto you that no man can come unto me except it were given unto him of my Father.” Also it is written, “But ye do not believe, because ye are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice… and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”

Now as to the passage in Ephesians 2, it is very simple. What is said of the neuter is this: the adversaries of this truth say that tou'to (“that”) cannot agree with “faith,” because the latter is feminine; but in the same way it cannot agree with “grace” (cavri") because it is feminine. Then they say, It is true, but it agrees with the whole thing, salvation; but this has no sense. “By grace ye are saved through faith, and that (this salvation) not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Certainly salvation by grace is not of ourselves, otherwise it would not be grace—impossible to suppose that grace is of myself, so that in this case “and that” has no meaning. But it may well be supposed that faith is of ourselves, as you say; therefore when he has said that it is by faith he adds, “and that, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” In short, by true faith we have life; we are children of God; but this is so because we are born of the Spirit, who works in us, and produces faith when we are begotten of God by His own will. To be begotten of God is by His operation, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit; but seeing that it is by the word, and by means of faith (the Spirit gives to the word the divine power which produces life, as the incorruptible seed of the living God enduring for ever), the word of God becomes the revelation of His Son in us, and Christ thus received is our life.

I do not believe, dear brethren, what you say of Adam in innocence, but I do not seek controversy. I have sought to lay bare the truth, as I find it in the scriptures. I would desire to draw your attention to one single thing: you say that Adam was able to discern good and evil, but the word says expressly that this came in by his fall. May God our Father in Christ instruct us in all the truth.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

February, 1879.

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Dear ——,— … On the whole one can trust in the goodness of God, but the matter will call for long patience, and the leaders of brethren seem above all, to go astray. Still I think God is working… Waiting on Him, courage, and patience are what are called for. There is a loss of moral sense among brethren, which tends to destroy confidence, and then an action which refers to the whole body, by an individual of his own authority. I love independence, but then an individual should not act in what affects all, unless they can pretend to a commission from Christ, that is, apostolic authority: and it does not succeed, but raises distrust, and what is called radicalism…

Humiliation is the place of all, for dishonour has been done to Christ. But there is a moral loosening which is the alarming part of the case. Still trusting the Lord and seeking the blessing of all is our path.

Pau, February 26.

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My dear Brother,—I do not occupy myself with putting in articles into the different journals: I fear there are too many, and though, I doubt not, often useful, I doubt a little if they have the freshness of the first, when truth was first blooming out, or the maturity which a good many years might seem calculated to produce. But on the point you write about [2 Cor. 6:14] I cannot hesitate a moment in stating what I feel.

Neither the warnings nor the motives confine themselves to worship, nor even have they any particular application that I can see. Chapter 6:1 is as large as can be. The principles of verses 14-17 are as general and absolute as possible. Christ has no accord with Belial anywhere, nor the temple of God with idols. God does not walk in our midst only in worship. I am not to touch unclean things everywhere, not in worship merely: I am not to touch it anywhere, because we form the temple of the living God. Being yoked is not worship: it is everything that brings us to community of thought and moral judgment. It is a question of receiving—being owned as—sons and daughters, not of worship. I do not see a trace of any application to worship in the passage, but of everything which puts two to pull together where moral principles are concerned. “Perfecting holiness in the fear of God” is the conclusion.

What is above all to be dreaded as to the saints now, is relaxation of their principles in a worldly way. Evident immorality would be at once judged, as anything gross perhaps in worldliness, but it is this tendency to loosen the absoluteness and universality of Christ as a motive which tends to eat out the spiritual life. You are quite at liberty to use this as a testimony which I would make as strong as I possibly could against any such unholy and condemned yoke. The passage applies to marriage, to partnerships, because it applies to everything where people have to walk together on some common principle, and the Christian is to bring in Christ as his one and only motive for everything. An unbeliever cannot do this, for he has not the motive, and it is impossible they can act together. The Old Testament49 applies so far as that general principles of what God delights in, what pleases Him, are brought to light in it.


* * * * *

My dear Brother,— I must tell you that I have never adequately read the articles in the Voice, to give you an exact answer, and in what I have there is such thorough obscurity in the important passages that it is not easy to lay fast hold of their import; they are the statements of one who has never thoroughly digested and realised his own thoughts. It is only last week that I read the larger number of them. These I had at least a month ago; they had been sent to me anonymously. But I would not delay answering a letter so kindly written, and give you what is now with some distinctness on my mind. Further inquiry may enable me to speak with more detail. But there is another point I must refer to. If the effect in all those under the teaching is substantially the same, though it would be unjust to charge all the particular statements on the teacher, we are as much concerned before God with the result in souls, even the weakest dear to Him, as in the particular ideas of the teacher. It is something which produces that effect. Now I always found the effect produced by this teaching to be, not Christ before the soul, but itself. They had got something wonderfully new and beautiful, what was not heavenly (that was common) but divine; and where Christ was spoken of, it was not Christ Himself, but Christ in them, conscious power of His life in them. This was chiefly with women: men were more usually unhappy because they had not this gold tried in the fire. The effect on others, ‘convicted Laodiceans’—for all were in Laodicea (a name nearer the truth than they thought), was that they were rich and increased in goods; others were to go down to Bethany too; they supped with Christ. I cannot say this seemed to me of God. It was themselves and Stradbally, not Christ.

It was only here that I read the first three of the articles, the Pauline Epistles; and I shall now tell you what I find answering to the effect in souls, and often expressed by them, though sometimes obscurely, in them and the articles, Colossians being the principal alleged basis. Christ being our life (which no Christian, of course, objects to), we are livingly in Him, but He as man is in God, so we are in God. Our life is in God— not hid in Christ there, but we alive in God—so as all the fulness of the Godhead is in Him, and we are complete in Him, we are entered into this place, into this fulness which is in Him: connected with this is that we are not merely justified, but actually and livingly God’s righteousness, we are it, we livingly. Now I have heard of this being stated much more crudely, and some of the statements in the articles are very obscure, but if they mean anything they mean that all is in the condition and state in which Christ is Himself; as He is, so are we. There is no mediatorial Christ. Now scripture never speaks of Christ in God. When Christ speaks distinctly as man, He says, “my God”; and so the Holy Ghost; “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ,” etc. And I have always remarked that when we are placed in the same glory and acceptance—as we are, or shall be—what belongs to His Person is always carefully secured. Here we are put together. You would never find Christ saying to His disciples, “Our Father”—a rightly formed christian mind would be deeply shocked at it—though He says, “My Father and your Father.” As an inference man would say, we can thus say “our”—not one taught of God. And this is what those who have received this teaching are come to, not these words, but this evil thing. It is such a connection with Christ in life, who is a man in God, that we are there too, only in heaven, dead not merely to sin but to nature; and, as far as I have found, it is always justified by such inference. A mediatorial Christ is lost by union. There is another point which I have not mastered, though it is in what I read connected with this—righteousness in incorruptibility; of this, therefore, I cannot speak. But what I have stated is the real substance and root of the doctrine, and is wholly false—not of God, though it may seem elevating and high. The very barrier that scripture has carefully put when speaking of our privileges, you have overstepped; and hence souls have got, not Christ all, but an exalted self.

Since this question has come before me, I will look through such of the articles as I can command. I never saw them until I came here. I have spoken plainly, because Christ and souls are in question, but I have not a trace of ungracious feeling. What would rouse souls to more devotedness would always be welcome to me, but we are sanctified by the truth. I write at once that I may meet the letter graciously sent me, but I will (D.V.) look further into the articles, though I have very little time; and if called for, as far as I judge, write again.

* * * * *

To the same.]

* * * That there is a wholly new creation of which the blessed Lord is Head; that there all is new; that in the moral sense the cross closed the history of the first man, and that all is new, the Second Man not mingled with the first; that we now reckon ourselves dead, and alive to God in Him, not in Adam; that forgiveness is not all; that justification in this character is not all, it applies to our responsibilities as belonging to the former estate, while there is a wholly new position of acceptance ending in glory, in our present estate in Christ—is not what is in question. How far it is realised is a question with individual souls. That everything may be turned into mere doctrine, is alas! true; and I may add, that the cross and the glory answer to one another.

But there is more than this in your teaching: not mere careless expressions, or mistaken ones, to which we are all liable, but a formal systematic doctrine, not so clearly brought out in your printed papers, but which has taken possession of those taught by you, and is insisted on as something new and transcendently precious and beautiful—and is something new, and wholly and mischievously false—and runs through all your papers, though not so broadly stated as by those who are adepts in it, still quite clearly to one who can judge in such a case; not union with Christ, not being in Him, and He in us, but, He being in God, such an identification with Christ as makes us to be actual divine righteousness, as so identified with Him; He in God in the glory, but we partakers actually ourselves of divine righteousness and incorruptibility, which sustains us wholly above nature.

‘He is in the region of life hid with Christ in God; he enjoys the state and breathes the breath of the new creation.’ (Voice, vol. 11, p. 218.) ‘We behold the righteousness of God subsist in a living Person for our hearts; He is there—He in whom we have become God’s righteousness… Righteousness is dwelling in life of new creation.’ (P. 221.) See also pages 224, 163. ‘Not only life, which might be said of the Old Testament saints, but incorruptibility—the power of divine righteousness which sustains in the new creation place.’ (P. 73.) ‘We, having become God’s righteousness in Christ, can bring forth fruit unto God, fruit unto holiness.’ (P. 74.) ‘As truly and really as we were constituted sinners, so are we truly and really constituted righteous as in Him who has become, in resurrection, the power of God to us. Christ Himself, risen in victor-strength, is to be known in the saint as really as he felt the terrible power of evil in his Adam-state. There is actual positive righteousness, not only justification by faith. It is established in the cross, and in virtue of the work done there it flows down with glory in its train, and lifts Man out of death, and sets Him to be its own channel from and in glory. That Man, crucified in weakness, is exhibited as God’s Son in power, according to the Spirit of holiness.’ (P. 313.) Then in page 314: Having received ‘the gift of righteousness,’ … the believer ‘enjoys life in righteousness.’ All this is error. Resurrection is not looked at in scripture as victor-strength in man, but as a divine act towards man; though Christ, as being God, could do it. You make it a new kind of power in man: that we are partakers of this power, the source being in Christ on high, and that this being in us in life is righteousness. This is the system which, starting from the truth that Christ is our life, has falsified the whole position of the Christian and of Christ.

But I continue (p. 361), ‘The new man is in Him (Jesus) created after God in righteousness and true holiness, righteousness as in power and place in God, to sustain us in light and glory where He is.’ ‘Thus we see our side of the new man as a throne of grace; and God’s side the fountain of life and righteousness.’ What follows I do not receive. How is the new man a “throne of grace”? That—“throne of grace”— is Hebrews’ doctrine, but I do not enter on it here. But by this system what Christ is is falsified: He is a man in God. Righteousness, divine righteousness, is falsified: it is an actual thing in us, not Christ made it to us, or we in Him, but we made it through His being livingly in us: our place is falsified too; as He is, so are we, in present moral elevation: resurrection is falsified, as an intrinsic power in Christ as Man—life out of death consequent on death to sin, and so reproduced in us in conscious power through Him—not the act of God; and made life out of death to sin and self, not out of death in sins, or with Him as risen consequent on His death, as scripture does; so that the new creation is falsified too. All this exalts man in himself, while professing to do the contrary; but I continue (p. 332): ‘We are seen in Him in heaven … consequently we are in conflict with the devil and his host there.’ This is all a mistake: He, Christ, at the right hand of God, is not the place of conflict. ‘Co-quickened with Him in the same righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).’ (P. 333.) There is no such statement or thought in scripture; it is the system of divine righteousness in actuality in us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says nothing about quickening or co-quickening with Him. So in page 332, ‘justified by faith’ is accompanied by no hint of Christ’s work. Scripture says, “delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification; therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God.” This you leave out and add, ‘enjoying the justification of life—the power of righteousness actually known in the vessel on earth.’ Nor is ‘the power of righteousness,’ that I can think of, a scriptural expression or thought, and at any rate not as the ground of peace before God. It makes our state the ground, not the work of Christ, nor His acceptance before God. Press our realising life and divine things in power—excellent—but this alters the basis of our relationship with God. The expression even of “justification of life” is quite in connection with another thought, and spoken of where all is made carefully to depend on one Man’s obedience; so that the apostle has to guard against misuse of it in what follows by unfolding the new life; and in the passage itself the present effect of life is left out. In page 335 there is the same neglect of attention to scripture through following our own ideas: we get ‘the living power of Him who subsists in divine righteousness.’ ‘To find Him, know Him,’ etc. Now it is the power of God, and Christ is looked at exclusively as a raised man by God, and we with Him, and set in Him in heavenly places. There is no power spoken of in Christ, or in us. The whole of what is said on Ephesians 1:13 is a falsification of the sense of the passage; as on chapter 2 (p. 337): of all you find in it, there is not a trace, not even as an object sought; it is by grace we have been saved, for God’s glory in the ages to come: nor is even the second prayer truly stated. (P. 338.)

In page 361 the connection of the thought is false. In Colossians we have not the new creation (though one verse runs close to it), but that which you always confound with it, that is, death and resurrection: death, on which you make the new creation depend, referring wholly to the old (the new creation being, as said, on the ground of death in sins, not to sin). Hence in Colossians we have only “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” But again we have definitely as to us, not merely Christ even, this falsifying the whole state and condition: ‘The new man is in Him created after God in righteousness and true holiness, righteousness as in power and place in God to sustain us in fight and glory where He is.’ Is the new man created in Christ in God to sustain us in light and glory where He is? Such a wilderness of error (forgive me what may seem a hard word, but such is the effect of leaving scripture, and following one’s thoughts) it would be hard to find, but it is the very essence and summing up of all your system. Thus (p. 362) ‘we come like the day spring from on high … and hear the message to us, Give, etc.’

I reject entirely your interpretation of Laodicea, but do not enter but on the main point. The truth is, I find passage after passage applied by mere imagination, which, when scripture is compared, is a rope of sand. But it is no object with me to criticise the articles but the system, which puts conscious power in me as divine righteousness, in the place of Christ sitting at the right hand of God and God’s own act in putting Him there.

A few more quotations to shew that it is a settled system. (P. 162) ‘I find the Living One there in all the intrinsic power of divine righteousness,’ etc., and the grace and blessing is made to depend on the soul’s having found nature’s wine exhausted: that is, we must be perfectly emptied of self before we receive the life and grace. How? This is constantly and systematically found. It is ‘life out of death,’ but how first dead? So (p. 166) in John 6 ‘it is through death this life is reached.’ Whose? It is said there, “ye have no life in you”: it is said then again of the burnt-offering that no part was eaten; it was all burnt to God: this was characteristic of it. Christ’s death is confounded with ours under the plea of Leviticus 1:5, 7, 8. All through I find the efficacy of Christ’s death lost in our dying. In Romans (p. 312) ‘the opening verses of chapter 1 give us the key to the character of the epistle’: there is not a word in them of Christ’s work or sacrifice, with which the whole doctrinal part of the epistle is occupied: page 313 I have already quoted.

What follows (p. 167-8) there is no sort of ground for, but I leave it; nor for all this comment on Lazarus. It is again life out of death. But Christ Himself was not yet that, nor had Lazarus anything to do with incorruptibility. It is again attributing to a moral process in man what was personal power in Christ, before or after His death, and here only marked by its not being to incorruptibility, as Lazarus brought back to this mortal sphere. It is (p. 170) ‘life in power (Col. 3:1) as knowing our place in Christ in God;’ again connecting Christ and ourselves, not in place by grace, but in life in power. It is (p. 171) ‘in the power of resurrection and incorruptibility … Lazarus must be sitting at table with the life.’ (P. 173.) I only ask whose death—what is the ‘life out of death’ they receive? In page 177 ‘God’s righteousness revealed in heaven for us, and in us below.’ How is righteousness ‘established in the cross’? In John 16 it is by His going to His Father, and the world seeing Him no more.

I know not that I need add any more. I have gone through a year’s articles which were under my hand out here. I add one or two from Colossians. (Vol. 12:9.) ‘The new man put on as the life in actual fact, we are co-quickened with Him now… The whole energy of hidden life in God is now acting in the power of righteousness in glory. And because it is the condition of soul,’ etc. (P. 10.) ‘That is, all is put off that hinders us from rising up in the firmament of His power.’ (P. 11.) ‘He who is the channel of love is God, and Man in God. This is the first-born out of death;’ and what follows. (P. 12.) ‘Hidden life—the risen and exalted One who breathed a new atmosphere in John 20:22 sustains the inner man in incorruption.’ ‘Life hid in God’ (p. 14), ‘a sphere of profession where we receive the power of glory’ (p. 15); so page 16. I have quoted so many passages to shew that it is not rash expressions but a regular system, in which the man in God as risen, life out of death, is divine righteousness according to glory and incorruptibility. All gives way to this; redemption and Christ’s work are really lost in the work in us. Now it will be said, One ought not to oppose the power of a new life in us. I quite agree. It is greatly needed. But it is just what I feel sorrowful in these papers that a handle is given to refuse deeply needed truths, because they are identified with fatal errors and notions which scripture does not support, and which totally displace grave and important truths, a teaching which, as I said to ——, puts Christ in Himself out, that we may have a fancied power of Christ in us. I recognise fully man’s history is morally ended on the cross, that Christ risen from the dead is the beginning and head of a new position of man in which Adam innocent was not; but I cannot substitute this for redemption, nor give up Christ my righteousness before God for a fancied divine righteousness in me. I have lost Christ in Himself in your teaching. Your remarks, I think, are constantly fancies; what you say of the end of Romans 5 seems to me all wrong; what you say of priesthood is quite out of the way; but all this I leave save as bearing on the principle that runs through all. I admit forgiveness is not all; we are also in a new position, Christ being our life, and we, for faith, dead and risen. I see some allusions to wild German theories, perhaps English ones, but that I leave too. The quotations which I have made characterise the principle I object to; but it runs all through the articles, and, I judge, takes a ground scripture carefully guards against. Christ in His own perfectness objectively is gone, and thereby what judges self. I may add, I have a, whole collection of poems and I know not what, but I have preferred using what is printed and published, which may deceive a young mind but not, I think, one experimentally versed in the word, and his own heart, and to whom Christ is all. I recognise fully the necessity of pressing life and the new creation; but it is looking at Christ Himself objectively, which subjectively changes us into His image. We, beholding the glory of the Lord with unveiled face, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.

It seems to me, dear brother, that for the moment it would be happier for you not to teach at all. You will forgive me for saying that your own case is a proof how little this extraordinary elevation gives real knowledge of self. The effect of your teaching, as I have seen it, is three-fold. Where a person did not know what freedom (Rom. 8) was, nor belonging to the new creation, it has been used to set them free, only imbibing mischief with it: with wild, specially female imaginations, it has puffed them up with mystic imaginations: with sober, God-fearing consciences it threw them back under law, because they had not ‘the gold,’ and would labour to buy it. I have seen all such, but all with self instead of Christ in some shape: in some, Colossians 2:9, 10 used to prove that as the fulness of God was in Christ, and we complete in Him, we were livingly in that fulness; and this confirmed, by Ephesians 3:19, corrected from the Greek, and by 1 John 4:17—all as the present fact of our state. All this shewed that your articles shewed the root, not the fruit of the system. I have only sought to shew what that root is, and sufficiently to shew it is a regular system which dims an objective Christ, and, as I said, a mediatorial one—not merely careless expressions. I have only to beg you to believe that all I have written is in sincere christian affection, not weakened but strengthened by having to look into it. May I add, that you have to learn to have less confidence in yourself, and to be less occupied with yourself, and what passes in your own mind; more with Christ Himself in Himself. He reads scripture, it has been said, well, qui non affert sed refert sensum. Our part now is to separate the precious from the vile. I have no doubt that your sincere desire is that you and others should walk in that ‘higher life’ which knows Christ only as its object: but, not knowing yourself, it became what you warn others against—a doctrine; and, not being dead, Satan found opportunity to mix your own imaginations with it, and introduce what tended to sap the reality of truth.

Ever your affectionate brother in Christ.

Pau, 1879.

Dear ——,— … I think our part is patience. It can never affect our conduct. I am as free as ever I was to do God’s will. And God has always the last word; the exercise may be good for brethren. I am satisfied their testimony is God’s, and I can count on Him for it. I went in substance through the sorrow of it before I left London. Much as I love the brethren, my happiness has always been from God, not from them. I have been a lonely bird, though constantly with many. I am quite quiet and happy; we are to be careful for nothing. I said nothing; it would have only troubled others…

The Lord is infallible in His faithfulness, and on that we can surely count. We must remember, too, that we have committed to Him our happiness for that day: here, it is our cross. Not that I am unhappy: I do not wish to be insensible to all this, but I am happier every way than I was—to His glory. I cannot do the work I did, but I have His work to do as long as He gives it to me. I trust our conference was really useful, and certainly greatly enjoyed… Courage and perseverance—the Lord is there, and neither wearies nor fails in faithfulness. It is a state of things to look in the face, and look to Him about, and do one’s duty in details as they arise, and fearlessly. The Lord fails not, nor is discouraged; “there is no searching of his understanding.” I dare say it may turn out to more blessing of brethren than ever. I believe they wanted shaking…

March 6th.

* * * * *

Dearest Brother,—I do not expect any large impression to be made on Kome or Roman Catholicism. God has given her time to repent, and she has not repented; but there are precious souls to be gathered out. The agent against popery at present is infidelity, but God is working to gather His own; and how plain it is, that when He opens, none shuts: look at all Europe and everywhere. Here at Pau, a considerable number of Roman Catholics have been converted, and there is a considerable tendency in France towards Protestantism, mixed with liberalism. All this we must leave, and hold fast by Christ. There is a difficulty which I have felt in Ireland: Roman Catholics receiving the truth, and anxious to break with Romanism, but one could not say they were Christians, yet they needed some recognition, some religious place. At —— they have formed what they call a parish, a kind of Catechumenal, and thus take them in hand. It is a great thing, in the weak state all is in, to have them out of the hands and power of the priests, and open to receive instruction from the word. If one can bring to the Lord some of those dear to Him—it is already a great thing.

I feel daily more that what we have in grace is a wholly new thing from beginning to end, a new creation, the second Man, a new life, divine righteousness; yet we must deal with souls according to their responsibility on the old ground. The cross meets both the old responsibility, and is an absolute close to the old thing, and the basis of all into which Christ enters as the second Man, the last Adam. We have only to follow and serve, forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forward to the things which are before. In a little we shall reap if we faint not… I close. Let us remember Him who suffered for us.

Pau, March 8th.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—As to the main point on which you wrote to me, I have not an instant’s doubt, nor any desire to hold back my judgment—on the contrary. I recognise, as every consistent Christian does, that the Christian is to be subject to the powers that be. But to make the law of any land the rule or ground of spiritual judgment, is to deny the authority of the word and Spirit. “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Supposing I was bound by law to send my children to a school where infidelity was taught, do you think I am to do it? Suppose all meetings to break bread are forbidden, am I to give them up? You will say, But there it is confessing Christ; but he who confesses Christ must obey His word, and if that word tells people not to separate, I am setting aside Christ’s authority in doing it.

Supposing two persons were perfectly married according to English law, living in England, Protestants from childhood, are bonâ fide married in church by banns, or elsewhere, but by legal connection belonging to a Roman Catholic country, and are within prohibited degrees which go to being godfather and godmother to the same child: if they go to their own country (legally in this country, too) their marriage is not accounted such; it is concubinage: are they to separate because of popish law? They cannot be married then at all: they have been married in England, and it goes for nothing, and the same as to every country. Again, put the case in this country. A person marries, and his marriage fully recognised for years: he commits some crime which involves infamy; his marriage is dissolved and annulled. Is he to hold his wife as not his wife, and the woman be free to marry some one else?

But in principle, to make human laws the measure of christian right and wrong is in my judgment a total subversion of Christ’s and the word’s authority. There may be extreme cases, but if the principle be true it is true everywhere… You cannot make a bonâ fide marriage before God vary with the law of the land. A Swiss is married with his wife a sister: it is legal. In this country it is null (if they belong to this country): is the marriage different in itself as entered into before God? There were three kinds of marriages in pagan Rome. Suppose Christians married before the church of God: is it not clear that the church would recognise them as married before God, and, if unfaithful, treat it as adultery? The marriage of parties before God does not depend on the State recognising it. The truth is, that while I should look for a Christian bowing to the powers that be more than most, I do not understand a Christian taking civil law as a rule or standard for christian obligation in any way or in any respect. I obey. Why? Because the word of Christ tells me to do so; but I know of no other rule, no other ultimate authority for one born again. I know no rule but God’s will expressed by Himself. Any other principle seems to me to be a fatal one. The question, and the sole question, is, Does the word of God pronounce it valid? I should hold a marriage before the church of God, if according to God’s word in itself, valid before the church of God… I think it a very alarming principle to make human law in any way the source and measure of Christian obligation.

Unless naturalised abroad, so that England is formally given up as their domicile, no Swiss marriage could annul an English law, and, at best, it is conniving at low subterfuge, such as would make me distrust a Christian who had recourse to it.

Pau, 1879.

* * * * *

To the same.]

* * * The recklessness with which these cases have been dealt with is frightful, and their bearing on other brethren. The basing the decision on the law of the land is alike folly, and the relinquishment of their position as Christians. The practical question of continuing fellowship with England has already been raised abroad as to this question.

March 10th.

* * * * *

* * * I think the passage should be borne in mind, “What God hath joined together let not man put asunder.” A suggestion was made to me which I think well- worthy of consideration, that where there exists on the consciences of brethren a doubt as to the present fact of their being man and wife before God, but have been married and such in their own thought, they should come before the assembly and declare that they hold themselves such before God, and have ever done so, and beg the assembly to take knowledge of and recognise their declaration. They would thereafter be married before God at any rate; supposing, of course, that there is nothing wrong in it before Him—that it is not a divinely forbidden case. This would make the consciences of all clear. The law, of course, leaves them necessarily where they were.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—In many countries these marriages are legal. In others (such nonsense is the idea of law!) the pope’s dispensation, easily obtained for a little money, makes it legal; otherwise, if the two parties have been godfather and godmother to the same child the marriage is absolutely illegal. In France the emperor’s permission was necessary. In these countries (it was only in one I was spoken to about it when it happened to come up) they would receive persons as married where English brethren would not (English law is no business of theirs) and the mutual recognition of discipline, and the unity involved in it, is gone. I go to Switzerland or Holland or other places (I have not inquired into what other countries—save that in Prussia, as in most States of America, they can dissolve a marriage when they like, let them be ever so legally married, it is the law of the land) and break bread with a person; I come to England and there he is excommunicated. That is what I meant—if they were rejected they might not know how to get on.

The Swiss marriage is this. A man goes to Geneva, buys a house (kept for the purpose) and is domiciliated in the Canton consequently, married the next day, sells it back the day after to go through the same farce with another. And this makes his marriage valid in the sight of God! In Neuchatel the house is rented for a year, and the local taxes paid, and this to elude the law of England; and then his marriage is holy, which is unholy by that law! God has joined them together, but not without buying the house! If a married couple in Prussia (in communion) separated because they could not agree (this is the law) and married other parties, the law recognises thereafter the last marriage only. Is the church to be governed by it?

But all I meant was that the question has been raised in a country where such marriages [with a deceased wife’s sister] are recognised—if England rejected them and they received them, what would have to be done? Brethren must do what is right, and leave the consequences to God. I am wholly disposed to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, but in the things of God—what God’s will is. The Lord keep you all in peace. Your affectionate brother in Christ.

They cannot be re-married—it is confessing they were never married at all. Nor would anything now make it a bit more legal if they do not quite give up England absolutely. But, in any case, I resist as wickedness making the law of the land the rule of christian judgment.

Pau, March 17th.

* * * * *

Dear——,— … They tell me you have been quite ill with people’s going on, and I had seen that you were discouraged. This is all wrong; the blessed Lord is just as full of love and as faithful as ever. This was my confidence before leaving London, for there mainly it was that my spirit passed through all the evil that has been going on, though partly here too; then I trusted in the dark, and simply on Him, and that stayed my soul. Now light seems to rise up in the darkness; the actings of God are manifest, have been, I think, for some time, though a deep-rooted evil is not cleared away all at once. But the Lord is, I think, evidently at work. His means are not His result, and we sometimes stop at them, but I believe He is working and will bring all out according to what is needed. His ways are “in the sea,” but always “in the sanctuary.” I believe and know that the testimony given to what are called brethren, is God’s testimony, and He will not give it up. They might be deprived of it, but I do not think He will even do that: He is full of goodness. I have long felt that their existence was in question, and all the talk about Philadelphia and the rest, as if they were it, a proof that they were getting Laodicean. Well, they are getting sifted—sorrowful, no doubt, but a great mercy, and it will be great good to them; they will be more serious, more humble. Even their actual state is, of the two, more hopeful than I had been as to it; but God’s testimony I leave, as I always left it, with Him. But I believe He is working for good; and if the evil has to be manifested before it is healed, it is so better, though of course sorrow in passing, and God is every way merciful and we are all poor things.

But I must go to my work… We have got on pretty well with our work, though the French is a strait waistcoat. We have done through to the end of Samuel, the Psalms, and are at Jeremiah. I have besides done alone, Isaiah, Job, Daniel, Ezra, Esther, and all the minor prophets except Malachi, and two or three verses of Zechariah, so that two-thirds are done— of course, it will be looked over, and is being done so, copied etc., by the keen eye, for detail, of W. J. L., now in Spain or Minorca for a fortnight, as he had caught us up.

April, 1879.

My dear Brother,— … I have now to say how unfeignedly I sympathise with you in the sore trial which has fallen upon you, for it is a sore one; but the hand of God never deals but in concert with His heart of infinite love towards us. It must be a subject of prayer to Him who lends a ready ear to our sorrows. And even if He sees good to allow sorrow to arise— yea, to send it—it is from a hand which never mistakes, nor fails in answering to a heart whose love is perfect. No doubt it is a testing, but a blessed word, “I will bless the Lord at all times.” And Christ has gone through every sorrow, that we may know that He enters into it, and with such tender grace. How blessed it will be to see Him as He is! If this were our rest it would be sad; but it is not, and sometimes we may have need that He should make us feel it. But there remains a rest for the people of God. We belong to that—to the new creation; but He has come down into the old, that we may know that He does not leave us alone in it, and He is our portion in both. But I must close. My kind remembrance to Mrs. —— and all your family, and assure her of how true a part I take in this affliction. I trust she bows to God’s ever gracious hand in it.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Pan, April 24th.

* * * * *

Dearest Brother,—I was, as ever, glad to hear of you and your work. Our work goes on, thank God, steadily, and over four-fifths is done. I have felt the pressure of what is going on in England, while at this work, but have been able to look up: what a blessing! God is working there, but I fear a good many will fall in the sifting, and the thoughts and state of heart be revealed. However, there is always a divine way for him who waits on God—cannot but be—and a wilderness where there is no way, gives in grace His way, and nothing else, and that is a great mercy; but it is very painful when many you have walked with turn out unfaithful. It is a sad world! It makes heaven sweeter because there is not, and cannot be, any evil in that which will be around one. But Christ, as manifested here, was good in the midst of evil: that we shall have only in memory in heaven; only He who is it, the Manna of the desert, will be kept up for Canaan’s knowledge and joy. He is it now in spirit. Faithfulness is known where faithfulness is needed. It is in darkness down here that light rises up for the righteous. What so dark as Christ’s death? Yet all depends on it even for Him as Man. I see frequently in the New Testament it is when He sees the power of evil, and bows, that all the prospects of His glory open upon Him.

I have some hope of getting, in about a month or so, to Ardeche and up the mountains, but as all is in God’s hands and will, so it depends on the progress we make in translating, partly on their haymaking being over (here all is unusually late), and partly on an old man’s strength…

Pau, April.

* * * * *

* * * I was very glad to hear of and from you and of your work, the rather as it is not very likely that I shall get to America again, though in fine weather it is rather a rest; but I am now in my seventy-ninth year. You will be interested to hear, as you find the opposition of the clergy, and especially to the Lord’s coming, that in Constantinople they have preached against that and breaking of bread, and that this has set the Armenians much on the inquiry as to both. I have no enmity, thank God, against any; but this character of opposition we must expect to meet. But there is One who “openeth, and no man shutteth,” and sets before the saints in the last days an open door, even if we have but little strength… I do not speak of it now, when I do, as a point to be proved, but as a part of christian truth, as much as the atonement, though not like it the foundation of grace: but they were converted to wait for His Son from heaven. In that congress (at New York) as far as I know of it, the presence of the Holy Ghost was, says ——, wholly left out. But these are the two truths brought out in these days, throwing much light on the truth of the first coming. They have been consciously my theme these fifty years and more. They started me in my path of service; the assurance of salvation came with them, and the christian character, as of the new creation, “like unto men that wait for their Lord.” When man entered into the glory of God consequent on accomplished redemption, the Holy Ghost came down, till He comes to take us up. This connects the hope and the power of life and heavenly calling with accomplished redemption: Christ, Man at the right hand of God, is the central point. What set me free in 1827 is still the theme on which my soul dwells, with, I trust, much deeper sense of its importance— something much nearer to me, but the same truths. And blessed truths they are; and the hope, what a hope!

We have to seek, amidst all that is passing around us, to minister positive truth and blessing, Christ and what is eternal; and for that we must live of Him, and with Him too, and not much mind what passes around us, save as God brings it before our eyes. It is Christ—the positive good—the world wants, and saints too. Thus in the congress at New York there was the positive good of bringing the coming of the Lord publicly forward; but there were all sorts of heretics there, and persons deliberately hindering the truth in seeking to connect it with the world and the camp—avowing it, if the account is to be believed—leaving out the essential point of the presence of the Holy Ghost. Let us be content to be little and despised, but give out the full truth. The present great truth, redemption being known, is the presence of the Holy Ghost, what made it expedient Christ should leave the disciples; the future truth— in present hope—the coming of the Lord for the saints, and then in His own rights over the world; to sinners—as plain and complete a gospel as possible, and the time is short. Meanwhile we have to watch, to walk in love and self-judgment in patience, to be enough with Christ to bring a love which is above the evil into the midst of the evil in holiness. That is what Christ was, and that we have to seek to be. I do not doubt, dear brother, God enables you to do it better than me, but I dwell on it as that which passes through my mind as that which we need.

England has tried me more than any one will ever know but One; but it has been good for me, and I have felt that we are to rejoice in the Lord alway, and to be careful for nothing, and to count on Him who never fails, and He has not failed. How could He? I have unclouded confidence in His faithfulness to the end. With all this the Lord is working everywhere; and we have to think of what is of praise and is lovely and of good report, and find the God of peace with us.

In general, the work has made considerable progress in the United States. But all over the World the Spirit of God is working, and it awakes the bright hope that the blessed Lord is soon coming. The Lord be with you, dear brother, and with yours, and sustain you by His own presence in your work!

Ever affectionately yours in the Lord.

Pau, 1879.

* * * * *

Dearest Brother,—This is all part of the Lord’s will and ways with us. I have long felt the state of things and, I think, seen—not to the bottom of them, but at least—what was at work; and God is working I have no doubt. I did nothing till something positive was done, and as —— wrote to me, went fully into it with him. I wrote little, because I object on principle to much meddling of those not directly engaged by being present, and because things are in such a state (though it is ever true) that we have to take heed that every word and every act be of God, and we must be near Him, and lowly to know it.

What makes me write now is to recall to you, though you know it, that you must be careful to keep in charity. The heart may revolt at what is dishonest, but “the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God”; but those who are God’s children we ought to think of as such, and we shall yearn over them for their good. This does not give indecision, but makes us see more clearly what we have to deal with as from God. I feel I have to watch myself in these conflicts. I have more than once asked myself—not in this case—how should I feel in meeting such or such an one at the door of heaven. All I know will be perfect then, but it tests us now. We ought to be able to pray for each one, though in view of the whole state of things—not falsifying the state of things; but what characterises good in God as towards us, is that His good is above evil. We have to keep near Him that it may be so, but then it (His presence) sustains us through all… Walk in patience, doing only what God gives you to do. He is, I doubt not, working, and He does things much better than we can. But in patience, and letting God act, be as decided in conscience as possible, for I doubt not Satan is doing his best—nor can I say any one has deceived me in the part they have taken (many I did not know)—to destroy, by morally undermining, the testimony of God. Walk in peace; but one must be before God to do it.

I am somewhat overcharged with work—not of the Lord, what He gives we can do—but well again, for I have been very unwell. But it is an additional reason for not much communication. But I believe quietness is a great point now.

Pau. 1879.

* * * * *

[From the Italian.

Dear Brother,—I am much pleased with the article on free will; I do not find that there is much to add to it. All depends on the depth of the conviction that we have of our sinful condition; and security and joy depend on it likewise. Lost and saved answer the one to the other: our condition in the old man, and our condition in Christ. But in the reasoning of Arminians there is a totally false principle, namely, that our responsibility depends on our power. If I have lent £100,000 to any one, and he has squandered it all, certainly he is not able to pay, but has his responsibility come to an end with his ability? Certainly not. Responsibility depends on the right of the person who has lent it to him, not on the ability of the one who has wrongfully wasted the money. If man can make use of his free will, it must be either to keep the law, or to receive Christ. Salvation is not by the law: if righteousness had come, or could come by the law, Christ has died in vain. But it is said expressly that the flesh “is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” The conscience indeed owns that the law is righteous and good: to be subject to it, and to keep it, is quite another thing. Even if “to will is present” the man is a slave, and the doing does not follow. But the will is not there: the approval of the conscience, as has been already said, but not the will; the latter desires to be independent of God. Does the law accept such a disposition? Free—yes, from God’s side; but man desires to be free, that is to be able to do his own will. But this is not obedience. The law requires obedience; “The mind of the flesh is enmity against God.” A heathen could say, Video meliora proboque; deteriora sequor (‘I see and approve the good; I follow the evil’). All men have a conscience, the knowledge of good and evil, since the fall; they know how to distinguish, but that says nothing as to the will; so that since the law demands obedience, and the flesh cannot be subject, to receive the law is in fact an impossibility—not that God hinders him, as I have already said, but because man does not wish it. Further, the law forbids lust, but fallen man has lust in his flesh; and it is in this way that the apostle knew sin. Man must lose his nature before being disposed to obey the law: it is therefore necessary to be born again. Now man cannot give himself divine and eternal life. Why then the law? In order that the offence might abound; by the law sin becomes “exceeding sinful”; “the law worketh” the righteous “wrath” of God against us—not the fear of God in us; it does not give a new life, and that which we have is enmity against God. Man in the flesh cannot receive the law into his heart.

Is it true, then, that he can receive Christ? Here all is grace. We have already quoted the passages. Those have received Him who were “born, not … of the will of man, but of God.” If the mind of the flesh is enmity against God, then the more God is manifested the greater the enmity will be. Likewise the presence of God in Christ shewed this; “They have both seen and hated both me and my Father.” He came, and there was none to receive Him; He testified, and there was none to receive His testimony. Man in the flesh cannot see beauty in Christ, any more than keep the law. Can the flesh receive Christ—find its pleasure in the Son of God? Then it is no longer the flesh; it has the mind of the Father Himself. If there is anything there but the flesh, then the man is already born of God, since that which is born of the flesh is flesh. If the flesh can find its pleasure in Christ, the flesh possesses the most excellent thing that is to be found, not only upon earth, but in heaven itself; it finds its pleasure where the Father finds His: it would not be necessary to be born of God; the most excellent thing that he possesses now, through grace, as a Christian, he possessed already before receiving life, in receiving Christ. The certainty of salvation is gone at the same time: if salvation is the fruit of my own will, it depends upon it; if it can be thus easily produced, it cannot be said, “Because I live, ye shall live also.”

I do not send this as an article. If there are thoughts of which you can make use, do so, but I think your article is sufficient… It is said that faith is but the hand that receives salvation, but what disposes us to offer the hand? It is the grace that works in us. I rejoice greatly at the good news of Italy.

Pau, May 9th.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—The doctrine you refer to50 is widely spread enough. Zwingle held it: all the Wesleyans hold it, and most of the national professors of Christianity. But it is founded on a want of depth and truth in the foundations, denying that we are all lost. The best answer is the very plain statements in the Epistle to the Romans, though these are confirmed by many others. But there is always a want of conviction of sin in these cases: man is not lost, not dead in trespasses and sins, and that is, I am not; for if I have deserved condemnation, it is no difficulty to think we all have. Hence grace, sin, the Lord’s death, all lose their import and value; and the real way of meeting it morally is to deal with the conscience of the individual. ‘So to live that he might be saved’ at once shews ignorance of the ways of God in grace— in fact of the gospel, as regards Christ’s work. ‘Right convictions and good practice’ is not gospel. Is he born again? Acts 17:27 does not say a word of the Spirit’s acting, and chapter 10:35 says simply that he who is such and such is accepted; it was merely that blessing was not confined to the Jews, as is evident if the passage be read. Romans 2:7, etc., which is the strongest passage, supposes the truth of glory and resurrection known. If I found a Gentile so walking, he is as much saved as a Jew. But it is declared that every mouth is stopped, and all the world guilty before God, that “there is none righteous, no, not one.” The condemnation of the heathen is (Rom. 1:18-3:19) put upon a ground which negatives the idea of such an universal operation of the Spirit. They are, says the apostle, without excuse, on the double ground of having given up glorifying God when they knew Him, and the testimony of creation, adding conscience: a reasoning perfectly futile, and without sense, if there was the other ground of condemnation, namely, that they have resisted the Holy Ghost. They that “have sinned without law shall also perish without law.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God,” in me, as well as in any other one of the nations. People confound the ground of responsibility with sovereign grace in saving. Genesis6:3 refers merely to the patience of God in Noah’s time.

Men are not saved by grace, if they are as thus stated; because, as the Spirit works alike on all (or the argument is nothing worth), the whole of salvation depends on man’s acceptance of and acting on it. As I said at the beginning, our whole state, as scripture puts it, is denied. (See 2 Cor. 5:14, where the apostle draws the conclusion from grace. Compare Eph. 2:5.) I do not believe the Gentiles more lost than I was myself. But “there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” but the name of Jesus Christ. Romans 10:13, 15 is positive as to the means. Judgment and condemnation is according to the means we have. What brings, by sovereign goodness, salvation to the lost is another thing. But, as I said, does he think himself lost? That is the real question. The source of thousands of opinions is the want of this, of conscience being before God; where it is not, the mind can have a thousand thoughts, all alike to no purpose. But I must close.


* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I do not know that there need be much difference of thought in the statements51 you make. The argument is the à fortiori argumentwhich the Holy Ghost always uses—rather, the way He always reasons downward from what God is and has done. Besides, there is the contrast here of our state: when we were enemies He reconciled us, being reconciled He is not going to reject us then. His life does save us then along the pathway, but to the full result of salvation. His death, a thing outside us in grace, reconciled us to God; then in living actual power He secures our salvation. We have to be kept by God’s power along the desert road and against the snares of the enemy. He ever lives for us as He once died for us, but then it results in the final salvation. To have us saved to the end in glory, He must keep us along the way, hence I say I do not know that the difference is very great.

* * * * *

My dear Brother,—I have received your letter. The desire of your heart, to walk with the risen Christ, I have not doubted…

I do not know that I shall serve the Lord by saying a great deal. We are poor creatures, and if there be anything right and good, it is through Him, though, thank God, connected with life in us. The word is everything to us as means; Christ lived by it;, gave up His spirit as soon as all was finished— that the things concerning Him had an end. “How, then, shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” “They knew not the scriptures, that he must rise again from the dead.” They are the mind of God Himself, expressed in a way suited to men. Christ was what He said, and what He said was what He was. Men will be judged by His words. Quite true, we need a new nature (itself by the word) and divine teaching to understand it; but what we understand is divine too. All the Holy Ghost reveals to us is ours. But all that is ours, as of God, must be revealed. I say this, that we may feel that all that is really of God in our minds is of the word; the rest nothing, or worse.

I think you will yet see more as to the righteousness of God, when what it is to De in Christ is more unfolded to your soul. The righteousness of God is simply God’s righteousness, a quality or attribute of His. We are made the righteousness of God in Him, because Christ would not see of the fruit of the travail of His soul, if He had us not thus with Him. But the display of God’s righteousness is in His going to the Father, with the judicial part, that the world having rejected Him will see Him no more—that is, come as Saviour.

Where I see the soul delivered is when, having adequately learned, for it is experimental, that it has no strength at all, and there is no good in it, it is wholly off the ground of its Adam responsibility before God, and any responsibility connected with its acceptance; and has passed by personal, divine teaching, wholly off that ground, while fully recognising that responsibility, but finding itself lost on that ground, and passes by redemption into a wholly new place, that of the Second man, now risen from the dead, and that livingly, with the Holy Ghost to give it its power. This is the basis, for He is now glorified also. This involves our being dead with Him, but it is not in its highest form connected with that or resurrection with that blessed One. In Ephesians it has no place: we are dead in sins there, and sovereign grace has taken and put us into Christ in heavenly places, as it took Him from death and set Him there. Preliminary experience of death and resurrection with Christ is not directly connected with this; to occupy it, I do not doubt, we must go through it, but this is the discovery of no strength; the manner of it is made perfect in weakness. And everything, on to the new heavens and new earth, is based on that, and the blessed putting away of sin out of God’s sight, when He shall have His rest.

I have no wish, dear brother, to weaken your testimony to our being in a risen and glorified Christ; I believe it every way needed. But the first testimony of all is to live there. Though all Christ said was Himself, yet His life was the faithful and true witness. I am quite ready to believe you do so more than myself. But still His words must be the spring of our thoughts; we must live by them. Our responsibility now is to shew out Christ, who is in us, though His presence is associated with love in us according to the love wherewith He, the blessed One, was loved. God will teach you, only we must receive, and what we get from the word must still be given us… The Lord be with you… Here, with a weary head, I have written a long letter, when, in starting, I scarcely thought to say a word. I have no doubt the gracious Lord will lead you into all the truth.

Your affectionate brother in Christ.

Pau, June.

[End Of Vol. 2.]

26 The following letter.

27 ‘What is the difference between advocacy and intercession? What is intercession or priesthood for? has it anything to do with our sin? Is priesthood to keep us from falling into sin? if so, why do we fall? Is washing our feet as in John 13 an act of priesthood or advocacy? When it says in Hebrews 7:25 “he is able to save them to the uttermost,” what is the sense in which the word save is used there? Does it mean he is able to save us from falls during our wilderness path? Also in chapter 2:18, How does the Lord succour us?’

28 [The following letters on this subject, the dates of which are unknown, are inserted here, with the above intimation of the writer’s judgment as to the use of them.]

29 ‘Is it well or scriptural to say that we put away from the Lord’s table? For example, “So-and-so has joined the Baptists, and is put away from the Lord’s table.” Does such a mode of expression give sufficient place to the worship of other Christians in this day of brokenness, or would it be time-serving to avoid saying, the Table around which we meet is the only Lord’s table?

‘Is the name of “Lord” that of authority only, or can it be used in reference to communion? And does the Lord’s table imply communion, or does it mean the Table over which the Lord’s authority is set?

‘Could it be said that other christian tables are the tables of devils, or has the passage in 1 Corinthians 10 no reference to Christendom as it now is?

‘Is it right to say that all professing Christians are of the church of God (not the body)?

‘Could a Christian holding that he stands for acceptance before God in Christ’s imputed righteousness, be orthodox as to the nature of Christ’s Person, or must he necessarily hold the consequences of such doctrine, so far as they relate to Christ being under divine wrath throughout His lifetime on earth?

‘When it says “communion of the body of Christ,” is the body of the Lord spoken of, or is the corporate body of believers intended?’

30 ‘What was it you meant by the sentence (see page 315), God will not be a mere director?’

31 “Might we not purpose as Paul, in Acts 19:21, in the spirit (after prayer) to go here or there, and do this or that?”

32 ‘I supposed I was led after prayer to purpose visiting a certain person, or persons, and on the way came across an anxious soul, and was much perplexed whether to stay with that one, or go on with my purposed visit to the other: again, that if I go, and find the person away, am I to think I was not guided?’

33 For reply see page 431.

34 [“Collected Writings,” vol. xxxii., p. 80, etc.]

35 ‘As to the application of the truth of “no more conscience of sins”—would it be right to apply it in the case supposed in 1 John 2:1, that is, of the believer’s sinning, when Hebrews does not suppose such a case, but assumes a walk if in weakness or need, yet consistent with our christian deliverance, and treats sin after Christ is known as hopeless apostasy? Is it then still true to say that, if a believer sins, there is no more conscience of sins?’

36 Romans 7, 8—Does every one that receives life, or is born again, receive resurrection-life? I mean is there such a thing in this dispensation as being born again without having resurrection-life communicated by the Holy Ghost? When we say, That soul has life, do we mean resurrection-life, as in John 20:22? If so, then every one who has life is “in Christ” according to Romans 8:2, and John 17:21, “that they may be one in us “(Father and Son). Then would the reception of the Spirit, consequent upon believing, and the knowledge of forgiveness, unite us to the glorified Man at God’s right hand: the first, in John 20, receiving life from Christ as a divine power, and the second the Holy Spirit uniting us to Christ as man?

‘Would it be right to say that an individual was baptised into the body? Is 1 Corinthians 12:13 true only of Pentecost?

‘In John 14:17, “He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Is “he dwelleth” future? or does it mean that the Spirit dwelt with them in the Person of Christ, but that at Pentecost He should be in them? As it reads in our English version, one would understand, ‘He dwelleth with you now, but by-and-by He shall be in you, at some future time.’

37 So Christ, after His resurrection, breathed on them, as God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life; but this is not the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.

38 ‘Why cannot you say the Lord’s table is to be found in denominations? … The Lord’s table seems to me to be an external privilege; and as such connected with the profession of Christianity.’

39 ‘When does sealing take place in the soul’s history, and in what relation does it stand, if any, to experience (Rom. 7) and deliverance (Rom. 8)?

‘Where, as to time, in the history of the soul, does Romans 7 come in? For if antecedent to sealing, peace, and hope of glory, it makes experience a condition precedent to being sealed. If, on the other hand, the experience of Romans 7 follows Romans 5:1, 2, and Ephesians 1:13, you have a soul who is sealed with the Holy Ghost (and this I thought was power) finding out that he has no power at all, and longing for deliverance.

‘“Having believed ye were sealed” (Eph. 1:13); is it necessary for anything to come in between these two, or does not sealing rather follow immediately the reception of God’s testimony as to Christ’s work?’

40 [Entitle “Ephesians 5:30.”]

41 To one of the Editors of the “Francais” a Catholic newspaper. In a letter J. N. D. says, “I have given him in all simplicity what he asked for. He avowed himself a Catholic and devoted to Catholicism. His letter was simple and honest: I replied to him as a Christian.”

42 ‘The sons of God, Genesis 6:2, are, I presume, fallen angels; but how is it that wicked spirits are spoken of as in the heavenlies, also on earth, the Lord frequently casting out demons, while Jude and Peter speak of them as in chains.; were there two falls of angelic beings at two different times?’

43 ‘If there be a resident brother or sister in fellowship at the place, but no breaking of bread, can the Table be spread at any time that another brother in fellowship may happen to be there for a limited time, and then discontinued until another similar occasion?’

44 ‘In the case of several in fellowship removing to another town where there is no gathering; or where several may be converted and brought out of the denominations; should they begin breaking bread at once, and of their own accord, or announce their intention and seek the fellowship of the surrounding gatherings before doing so?’

45 ‘If the practice of beginning to break bread in their case is right according to your judgment, in what way would scripture enable us to guard against the danger of its being accompanied with self-will, etc.?’

46 [On the non-use in the New Testament of the word “wrath,” as applied to the Lord Jesus.]

47 “Why object to speak of ‘wrath’ and yet feel no hesitation in speaking of Christ’s ‘bearing the judgment of sin’—the one as accurate or unscriptural as the other?”

48 “Either personally or in atonement.”

49 ‘Has the word in Deuteronomy 7:2, 3; Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 29:11; Ezra 10 any bearing on the subject?’

50 “It has been said that ‘God is love: He does not leave the poor heathen without divine aid in their darkness. Though the Holy Ghost may not be in them as an indwelling Spirit, yet as external, He deals with the conscience of every human being; in the case of a heathen, aiding him towards right convictions and good practice, and helping him so to live that he may be saved, and this, though he may never have heard the name of Christ, and knows not the true God in Christ. Such texts as Acts 17:27; 10:35; Romans 2:7; Genesis 6:3, corroborate this view.’ How does scripture meet this serious question?”

51 ‘Whether does Romans 5:10, “We shall be saved by his life,” refer to our pathway down here, namely, our being preserved and sustained in our life in the body in this world; or, go much beyond this in its extent as the proof and basis of our salvation.’