Appendix Section 3

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* * * I have been writing on Colossians with much instruction to myself, so that I am reading it once again. But all one does is so imperfect as to execution. It seems “Matthew” is enjoyed by the saints. I get on enough to be dissatisfied with what I have done before, though the truth into which one has been led by these inquiries retains its value.

I trust the bonds (or peace at least) between —— and the others is consolidating. He is uncommonly amiable were he somewhat deeper; but we must, and for good, take men and the saints as God gives them to us: they are His, not ours… A real workman, a “man of God” is a great, the greatest treasure in the world…

Elberfeld, February 5th, 1855.

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Dearest Brother,— … As far as I have seen everywhere, this connection with Bethesda is united with the returning influence of the world and, through the appearance of devoted-ness at B., united to real worldliness, that is, a fair show in the flesh, universally falseness, want of openness and straightforwardness. It is a question of deliverance of souls from the deception of a system I left long ago, somewhat painted over. I have not a trace of doubt as to its character. It may be a matter of humiliation that there was not more power to stay and keep it out, but its character is clear to me as the sun at noonday. I have no more thought of walking with it than of abandoning all the principles on which grace has made me act these thirty years. But separation is a very serious thing, or rather the attempt to form a second table, as men speak; because if the Lord removes the candlestick, He does not always light up another. It is not His way; He is judging and removing it, and power is needed for lighting it up. Conscientiousness, though equally honoured of God, is not this. Great quietness and isolatedness is the path called for in such cases. I met today, in a French tract which had no reference to these matters, a principle I have always accepted, that I would never separate where I could recognise the body as on the principle of the church of God after I had left it; and the principle is an evident and plain one. I might avoid going to the place if I could do nothing better. When one has to separate, then quietness and retiredness is the path till God comes in afresh… Things always find their level, individual level, in a sifting.

I had heard of poor dear——’s death. I was not surprised he died in peace; his head was all wrong, but his heart all right, so as to make me often ashamed of myself, and that is better.

As to——, circumstances, I forget what, led me to look at it when he was at one time here. I judged the expressions very unhappy, and in themselves unjustifiable, and he was very unhappy when he saw them (before I spoke to him), so that he had lost his rest for a night or two. To accuse him of any doctrinal heresy is mere malice; unjustifiable expressions, or even ideas, are totally different from explained and justified doctrine. He is not a person who discerns and is guarded in his expressions, but who follows his ideas; but of his soundness I have no doubt—indeed found him much matured and grown, and more reason to be attached to him than ever. The simplest thing for him to say is that the expressions are not justifiable, while no false doctrine is maintained now, or ever meant to be. We had the case before with Bellett. The plainer he condemns them the more is it evident that he is in no error himself; and the Lord will honour him because he seeks thus only His glory; that is the secret of all happy walk and happiness. If he is with you, give him my kindest love.

In general there is blessing here and progress. It is a blessed thing to trust the Lord in everything, in light, and in darkness as appears. He always governs, and always according to the principles we love because they are the expression of Himself.

Affectionately yours.

Lausanne, May 29th, 1855.

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* * * It is a great mistake to think that I am less decided as to neutrals; it is quite the contrary. Neutrals, when Christ has been dishonoured, are in the worst position of all, and I think Christ has been dishonoured, I mean at Bethesda. I do not understand how any one caring for Him can think otherwise, and I believe the Lord is distinctly putting His seal on those who are faithful, and that the moral standing of those who are not is lowering every day. That is not saying that there are not a great many faults among those who have stood firm, but failure on a sound standard is a very different thing, bad as it is, from lowering the standard. —— wrote to me inviting me to Barnstaple, to come and have intercourse, more than half a year ago: I wrote word when the dishonour done to Christ was judged, till then not. I leave myself, of course, entirely open to meet any one when the Lord leads to it; but it will not, the Lord helping, be on the ground of being not decided as to neutrals. My principle is the same as ever; my experience has made me more so…

As to the withdrawal of my letter,——said it stood in the way of some as a stumbling-block; on this ground I withdrew it, and said so when I did at Bristol, as I wished no particular act of mine to be such. But that changed nothing of my principles, nor did I think anything wrong in it; the only thing which might have been left out was the statement of what I meant to do, which I made as a matter of openness with brethren. I have no doubt the Lord is working, but I believe it is in connection with firmness on these points… I do not see the poor put about half as much as the rich. … I have not the thought of an unkind feeling towards any.

August 17th, 1856.

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To the same.]

* * * Thank you very much for your kind note… In general it is a time of unequivocal blessing for the testimony of brethren, and the witness they have to give spreads beyond my hope, so that I often wonder. The brethren know I always felt they must get into the low place before they could rise. It is the truth of the church’s place. Plymouth got out of it, and the candlestick was taken away; God does not light it up as soon as He has put it out; but I am perfectly satisfied that if the brethren are content to wait on Him and abide His time, they will see His hand, and all the rest is nothing. We must be content to take the place that faith has, but I am persuaded God will own this to be His, and that is what a heart filled with Christ wants. The Lord may sift till all that are not a witness, or for a witness, are gone—so He did with Christ’s followers— but then He will make them one, and a plain one. The brethren are happy here; many new ones want perhaps building up. Give my kindest love to the brethren.

Affectionately yours in the Lord,

London, February 19th, 1858.

Dear Miss——,—Your question depends on many points in the state of the soul. The first question would be—have you ever got settled assurance of conscience before God so that that should be true of you which is said, “The worshippers once purged should have no more conscience of sins”? When we have not this, every fault mixes itself up with the question of the light in which God views us, and the question is not restoration, but recovering some sense of standing before God, which is a very different one. God is not really known in love, though we may believe generally that He is so since He has visited us in mercy. If I am not out of Egypt, that is, if I have not a clear knowledge of God as a redeeming God, and I am looking to God who defends me against His judgment by blood, my thought of Him is yet wholly imperfect, my failures give fears, not pain properly, to my spirit. The great point is then to know and believe that He has redeemed us in love, and taken us in the resurrection of Christ out of the whole state and condition I was in before; that He justifies me, not that I am justified before Him—and both are right, but the former only is liberty. When this is fully known love is never doubted, but we are brought to feel it is grieved; but it is therefore still known to be there; and hence, when the heart really looks to Him it is soon restored, though the Lord may keep it so long in suspense, as to communion, as may be necessary to probe the heart as much as needed. If you have the full assurance that God is love to you at all times, the witness of His Spirit in communion will soon be restored to you.

But there is another question. When I have not a positive sin on my conscience, I cannot properly excommunicate myself. Hence, the separating myself (as’ to profession outwardly, of course, I mean) from the unity of the body of Christ, of which the Lord’s supper is the sign, is a very serious thing; and we are not justified in doing it except on very positive ground. If I felt there had been serious neglect of God, and He was positively dealing with me seriously about my sin, I should rather stay away, but it is. a very serious thing when once one sees that it is the unity of Christ’s body; but then one ought to take up the matter very seriously indeed with one’s self. In many, the abstaining from communion is much too light a matter. On the other hand, if it be as is the case in some souls, only a distrust of God’s love, of which the enemy is taking advantage, abstaining from it would only increase the uncertainty of soul. The word of scripture is not, Let a man examine himself, whether he should eat, but, “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat.” This is the general rule; not to do it lightly—but, in judging evil, to do it. If the peace I first spoke of is not possessed, we cannot judge rightly, because restoring love is not known. The first great question for you is, Do you know really the love of God in an assured conscience (not merely attracted heart)? If so, I should say, go—but do it seriously, so as not to trifle with any evil—unless some definite dealing of God with you about evil be in hand, then you would do well to refrain till that be settled. I know not whether speaking thus generally (I could only do this, of course) will be of any avail. Look to the Lord; He will guide the meek in judgment, and such as are humble them will He teach His way; and trust His love, only truly judge yourself. If I can be of any further use I shall be happy.

Very truly yours in Christ.

The table is the place of full communion; but it is a different thing to stay away voluntarily, when one is there, and to hesitate in going at first. Seek whether you have ever had your conscience fully at peace with God, and then, daily power for communion, which is surely in Christ for you when walking in the way of God’s will.

London, February 3rd, 1859.

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* * * The common notion is that brotherly love is charity, and indeed its most perfect form: this is a mistake, as this passage (2 Pet. 1:7) shews. That brotherly love is a most sweet and precious fruit of grace, is most true—precious in the heart that is filled with it, and precious in its mutual development; but it is not charity. We are told to add to brotherly love charity. The reason is simple: if brotherly love, brethren are the object, and though when genuine and pure it surely flows from grace, it easily in us clothes itself with the character which its object gives it, and tends to limit itself to the objects with which it is occupied, and be governed by its feeling towards them. It is apt to end in its objects, and thus avoid all that might be painful to them, or mar the mutual feeling and pleasantness of intercourse, and thus make them the measure of the conduct of the Christian. In a word, where brotherly love ends in itself, as the main object, brethren become the motive and governing principle of our conduct; and our conduct as uncertain as the state of our brethren with whom we may be in contact. Hence the apostle says, “Above all these put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness”; and another apostle, “And to brotherly kindness charity.” Now charity is love; but will not this seek to exercise brotherly kindness? Undoubtedly it will, but it brings in God. “God is love.” “He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Hence it brings in a standard of what true love is, which mere brotherly kindness in itself never can. It is the bond of perfectness, for God, and God in active love is its measure. Brotherly kindness by itself has the brother for the object: charity is governed by, exists in virtue of the conscious presence of God; hence whatever is not consistent with His presence, with Himself, with His glory, cannot be borne by the heart who is filled with it. It is in the spirit of love that it thinks and works, but in the Spirit of God, by whose presence it is inwardly known and active. Love was active in Christ when He said, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers”; in Paul when he said, “I would that they were even cut off which trouble you.”

Charity, because it is God’s presence, and that we feel His presence, and look to Him in it, is intolerant of evil. In mere brotherly kindness, the brother being the object before my mind (and, if God’s presence be not felt, we do not realise it, nature coming in so easily and here in its most unsuspected and kindly shapes), I put man before God, smother up evil, keep kindness going, at any rate so far exclude and shut out God. Charity is His active presence though it will be in love to man; but it gives to God all His rights. He it is that is love, but He is never inconsistent with Himself. His love to us was shewn in what was the most solemn proof of His intolerance of evil, the cross. There is no true love apart from righteousness. If God is indifferent to evil, is not righteous, then there is no love in grace to the sinner. If He abhors evil, cannot suffer it in His presence, then His dealings with us as sinners shew the most perfect love. If I have ten children, and they go wrong, and I say, ‘Well, I am to shew love to them,’ and I take no account of their evil ways; or if some of them go wrong and I treat them as if there was no difference to my mind in their well doing or evil doing; this is not love, but carelessness as to evil. This is the kind of love looked for by unconverted man, namely, God’s being as careless as to evil as they are; but this is not divine charity which abhors the evil, but rises over it, dealing with it either in putting it away or in needed chastenings. Now if God were indifferent to evil there is no holy being to be the object of my love—nothing sanctifying. God does not own as love what admits of sin.

London, February, 1859.

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To the same.]

* * * The words, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” are often employed to hinder a sound judgment as to the plain path of right and wrong. If a person is walking in that which I know by the word of God to be wrong, I must judge that he is walking wrongly, or give up my judgment of right and wrong. I may trust he may be misled, or that difficulties and temptations may have overcome him, and consider myself lest I also be tempted, think the best I can of him; but I cannot put evil for good, nor good for evil. There can be no right motive to do what is wrong to do—a thing contrary to God’s will. There may be ignorance, want of light in the conscience, and I may and ought to take all this into account, but I cannot say that the person is not doing wrong. Woe be to me if for any personal consideration I enfeeble my own sense that a wrong path is a wrong one. The saint must be very careful not to allow any sophistry to modify his submission of heart and conscience to God’s judgment of good and evil. As regards the church of God, the scriptures plainly declare we are to “judge them that are within, but them that are without God judgeth.” This is no imputation of motives, nor habit of forming an opinion on other people’s conduct, which is an evil habit; but the duty of not allowing evil in the house of God. It is positively commanded to us not to allow it.

Again, many apply this to judging whether people are Christians; but this is founded on a fundamental mistake. It is assumed that people are supposed to be Christians unless proved to be the contrary. If the faith of the soul be a personal thing, and I value Christ, this cannot be. I am not called upon to be volunteering to pass a judgment on the point whether such or such an one is a Christian; the person who blames me for saying such an one is a Christian, is judging that he is so of course, which is quite false. The apostle says “The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” Believing this, it is a joy to believe that any one has passed from death unto life. That is not a judgment: it is the rejoicing of the heart that faith in that person has brought him into the blessed place of a child of God. It is a most horrible principle that we cannot know who are God’s children, Christ’s disciples: it destroys all godly affections. If the children of a family were told that they could not know and ought not to judge who are their brothers and sisters, what would become of family affections? The Lord has said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” How can this be if I do not know who are disciples, and towards whom this love is to be exercised? We must know each other to love each other as children of God, to “love as brethren.” He who objects to judging that such and such are God’s children objects to the love of the brethren; he is rejecting the spiritual affections on which the Lord and scripture so much insist.

There is a wrong spirit of judgment: if I occupy myself needlessly in thinking of others, and expressing an opinion of them; if in questionable cases I ascribe, even in my mind, wrong motives; nay, if I do not hope in such cases that the right motive is at bottom, I am in the spirit of judgment, and away from God. If severity of judgment on the person, when I am bound to judge he is faulty, possesses my soul, this is not the Spirit of God. But to weaken the plain, unequivocal and avowed estimate of right and wrong under the pretence of not judging; or to deny the knowledge of one another, and mutual love among the saints, under pretence that we have not a right to judge, is of the enemy, and a mere cover to a man’s conscience to avoid the conscious pressure of that judgment on himself. If I am to maintain a divine standard of right and wrong, I must judge those who do wrong to be doing so. I am not always called to occupy myself about them—then, if volunteered, the spirit of judgment comes: but if I am, I must judge according to the word of God. If I am to love the disciples of Jesus, the saints of God, “the brotherhood,” I must know who they are. If there is a disposition to distrust, or to impute motives, then the spirit of judgment is at work.

Beloved brother, I have written in haste, when just about to start and half asleep, some general principles as to judgment on others. It will be seen if this may be useful. I am starting for Switzerland for three weeks, God willing…

Yours affectionately.

London, February 25th, 1859.

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Dearest ——,—As regards the introduction of Matthew’s version into Luke (11); it is remarkable enough that it is in the Itala and not in the Vulgate. Its presence in D is thus understood. It is a practical Latin arrangement. C however has it, not latinised, but has it substantially. A, I think, fails here. Jerome doubtless corrected from Eastern copies for the Vulgate. I cannot therefore myself doubt that B etc. have it right. All seem to be agreed as to “Deliver us from the wicked one” not being there, at least Scholz, who does not accept other changes. But I think Luke, who always takes up the general present principles of the kingdom and not its dispensational arrival, would very naturally leave out a phrase which I apprehend has special reference to Satan’s power in that day. Saving out of temptation, watching and praying lest we enter, is clearly of all times: deliverance from the wicked one is when he has special power, as he has for a short time.

I have given the paper to M. I am not anxious about its publication. My reason is that this contemplation of Christ’s sufferings goes beyond the habits of christian thinking in general, and they get into it as a doubtful question. Were it direct truth for Christians, this would do nothing; because they ought to learn it then. But this concerns the Jewish remnant, the interpretation of the Psalms, and though thus most interesting when one gets beyond one’s own wants, and useful to avoid wrong interpretations, yet one cannot expect the mass of Christians to enter into it. I am in the fullest way confirmed in the interpretation I have given and I doubt not received, though some expressions might be misapprehended. I have since written on Psalms 40 and box., and have been in the fullest way confirmed in it.

Where I think dear —— mistaken is in attempting to get over the word ejkklhsiva and contrast it with body; this I judge is a mistake. Body, as you already know, I think is in that sense contrasted with house; but assembly is a general word which determines nothing save that there is an assembling. I have written a part of my paper on it, and now that I have finished my French translation hope to go on with it. The scriptural part is nearly done, but the Fathers only just looked at.

The doctrine in the paper on Hebrews is just the same as that in the papers on the sufferings.

There has been a little persecution in France, but very slight; and unless perhaps one brother already twice in prison, all passed, and graciously only turned to good; and what does not?

Ever, dear brother, affectionately yours.

London, March 5th, 1859.

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* * * I regard all pretence in any to priesthood, save that which can be attributed, and which in scripture is attributed to all saints, as the principle of the apostasy in its present form of development, and the denial of Christianity. Judaism had priests, because the people could not themselves go directly to God where He revealed Himself; Christianity has none between God’s people and Himself in their worship, because Christians are brought to God and have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. To set a priest to go for them as one nearer to God, is to deny the effect of Christianity. Besides, priesthood has essentially to do with intercession, or sacrifice and offerings: and in the Lord’s supper there is no sacrifice, nor is it intercession. The whole idea of priesthood on earth is to be rejected, therefore, as utterly contradictory both to Christianity and the act of breaking the bread.

But, on the other hand, it is a mistake to think we partake by breaking the bread, or that we break it. The whole force of the thing consists (as to this point) in our partaking of already broken bread. It is His body broken for us that we take and eat. We are not the breakers of His body, properly speaking. So that, I apprehend, the true partaking of the Lord’s supper is after the bread is broken. The breaking of the bread now is, of course, a necessary accident to such participation, but is no part of the communion at all. And every one acquainted with scripture on the point, knows that “blessing” means simply giving thanks, and not consecrating the bread. See 1 Corinthians 11:24 and compare Matthew 26:26, 27; Mark 14:22; and Luke 22:19. So in Luke 9:16, the miracle of the loaves and not the Eucharist, He blessed them and brake; in John 6:11, 23; Mark 8:6, 7 (also Mark6:41), the terms are united; in Matthew 14:19 He blessed, and in chapter 15:36 gave thanks. In 1 Corinthians 14:16 we find incontestable proof of what indeed the previous passages can leave no doubt on to a reasonable mind. “Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?” Blessing is blessing God, a giving of thanks. So the apostle says, in chapter 11, “the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread; and when he had given thanks,” and in 1 Corinthians 10: “the cup of blessing which we bless.” Matthew and Mark, speaking of the bread, say He blessed; and speaking of the cup, say He gave thanks. In Luke it is simply, He gave thanks. Thus, the blessing which precedes the breaking of the bread is a giving of thanks; and in this, of course, all join, as in every thanksgiving, though one may utter it. Every saint is essentially competent, though in a large congregation godly order of mind may leave it to such as may have justly earned the respect of the body; yet, as the feeling of priesthood is readily slipped into, I should think it desirable that it were not always one.

The breaking of the bread is in itself no religious act; it represents the putting of Christ to death, and, as an outward act, was consummated by wicked men. But the Lord did break it in the last supper, shewing it was a dead Christ they had to feed on; and hence he who gives thanks breaks the bread. The communion comes after and is on a broken body. The breaking is the killing of Christ, and though absolutely necessary as a figure, because His death was absolutely necessary and is the very point shewn forth, yet the act of doing it is no religious part of the thing which one has a privilege in doing. And as to pouring out the wine, it is done no doubt often, but is no part of the Lord’s supper at all. The wine is, in the institution, supposed to be already in the cup, still pointing to the great fact, that the communion refers to an already dead Saviour. The blood is out of the body—“my blood which is shed for you.” The act of pouring out would not represent death, because the body is not thus represented, and hence it is not referred to at all. The already shed blood is given thanks for or blessed, already poured out: “the cup which we bless,” etc. There is the breaking of the bread as significative of the breaking of His body; but this is preparatory to communion.

It is this consideration which shews the terrible import of the Eoman Catholic doctrine as to the Eucharist, and how Satan has taken them in their own wisdom and, so to speak, mocked them. The laity are deprived of the cup and are consoled by what is called the doctrine of concomitancy; namely, that the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus are in the bread (indeed in both species). But if the blood be in the body, and not shed and separate, there is no redemption. It is shed blood, not blood in the body, which is the power of redemption; without shedding of blood there is none. This confirms the view, taken above, that it is a body already broken, and blood already shed, of which we partake. Thus, though the bread must be broken as it was by Christ, by him who gives thanks, this is but preparatory and forms, strictly, no part of the communion; and, as representing the putting Christ to death, it is no part of the holy service itself, though needed to shew that it is of a dead Christ we partake: it is of no living, existing Christ, but of a dead Christ, and there is none such. Remark further, how this sets aside transubstantiation and consubstantiation; for no such Christ exists as that celebrated in the Eucharist. As in the Passover a slain lamb, so a dead Christ is represented there, and shed blood; but there is no dead Christ now, He is alive again for evermore. As risen with Him, we remember the sorrows and sufferings which gave us a place there. That atoning death is accomplished and passed, and sin is put away for us, and we are alive with Him for evermore.

I would just add, that the expression in 1 Corinthians 10:16 has no reference to one or to many, but to what Christians do in contrast with Jews and Gentiles. The apostle is treating the question of idolatry. Jews were partakers of the altar, Gentiles drank the cup of devils. What we (Christians) partake of is communion with the sacrifice of Christ. We are identified with the sacrifice, we cannot be with the cup of devils too.


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Dearest Brother,—Had I not known that several brethren would have been with you as a testimony of respect for your beloved departed one and sympathy with you, I should have at any rate turned my steps back to——, as they are just able to get about; and somewhat overdone by getting up to London for fresh materials for study work, and through mercy beginning very slowly to get a little strength, I feel I should do wrong in attempting the journey and retracing my steps. I have indeed a fortifying reason. I feel that by this accident in my knee the Lord has set me aside for a while from outward work, so that I felt it the Lord’s will to remain quiet; not, be assured, dear brother, from any want of sympathy with you in the—to man —terrible blow that is come upon you, when I think how truly she was attached to you, and, I knew, you to her, and of your four little ones.

I feel what a world of sorrow it is, and how real a share you have in that sorrow; but a world where, if sin and sorrow have entered in, grace has come in after them; and now love has risen above all the sin and sorrow, and, having entered into the worst of all it could bring on us, has given us a place out of it all: into the place from which it flowed the spirit of your dear wife has entered, and is with Him who entered into all that sorrow here that He might deliver us from it all; and, if you remain in the scenes of it down here, that very love has revealed itself by coming down into them that we might have it here. Jesus was a man of sorrows, and indeed none like His. And His love is perfect sympathy as well as deliverance. Look to this, dear brother, and you will find it in your sorrow, and raising you out of it, not by destroying the feeling, but by coming into it, taking all human will out of it which causes regret and bitterness, and bringing His will into it, and Himself in love with us in it. His grace is sure, in its path does not fail; nothing escapes or happens without it. This is a great comfort—first our will, subtle as it is and meddling with the best affections, is broken and there is submission; then comes the sense of positive love. Any sense of failure even on our part, if such there be, is lost in the sense of the perfect love and ordering of God. He takes the place of the reasoning of our minds and all is peace. This is a wonderful thing, for after all even as to our ways we cannot answer Him nor account for one of a thousand. He does use all to set our hearts right, and gives softened peace like a river.

But I will not trespass on you, dear brother, with many words at this moment. Only look to Jesus, and believe in and count on the love of God towards yourself—towards her there is no difficulty, she is where all is clear—for your dear little ones and believe that He is sufficient, and wait upon Him who knows our sorrows and difficulties and trials. Be assured of my unfeigned sympathy, for indeed I feel that your loss has been very great, but I am sure my God is able to supply all your need according to His riches in glory. Peace be with you: be much with Jesus, and the God of peace shall keep your heart.

Your affectionate brother in Jesus.

July 4th, 1859.

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[From the French.

My dear Brother,—We were engaged in a conference when your letter arrived, which has delayed my answering though I had begun a letter. We have always had from time to time such readings here as they have also even more regularly in Germany, and growth of knowledge, and general unity of doctrine is through grace promoted and fellowship in labour and service. They have such regularly in Somersetshire among the labouring brethren, and if carried on under the Lord’s eye and grace I am sure they would be useful in Suffolk.

I am very well, but somewhat tired between conference, lectures, and work of all kinds. I am not so young as I was, and work almost, or quite as hard from early dawn towards midnight in my 60th year as in years past, but I feel it a little more. But I have singularly enjoyed the word in all its parts latterly, and particularly in John and now in Matthew. I think new divine light continually breaks in, and I am most happy in going peacefully onward to a sure, most blessed and divine rest, across the toil and exercises of the desert…

The Lord keep us in the way of His steps and in the abundant witness of His grace. It is a time in which the Spirit of God is evidently working in a wonderful manner, for which we have to be abundantly thankful, but I think I see signs of its being in judgment on the professing church. The Lord avert it, and prove me wrong, but I fear it is so…

Be ever content with quiet service and seek much communion and constancy with Christ in His work, and the Lord bless you in all things. He is goodness itself.

Ever your affectionate brother in Christ.

Nimes, April 3rd, 1860.

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* * * Our partaking of the divine nature is a real50 thing. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” All are born of God. Christ is become our life: He is “that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us”; and hence it can be said, “Which thing is true in him and in you.” But that “light was the light of men.” Christ was “the image of the invisible God.” This life was a true, moral, subsisting thing, which could be communicated. There is a divine power in it which contains and unfolds all things that pertain to life and godliness. It is faith which lays hold, by the power of the Spirit of God, on that which is life, that is, Christ. We are “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Christ is the Word —the expression and revelation of all that is in God; and we, in knowing Him, are renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created us. The word, as a testimony, is the seed of life when brought into the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost; because it is the revelation of Christ, and the bringing in, by that power, of Christ livingly there. It is Christ, by the word, by faith, in the power of the Holy Ghost, the operation being the operation of God. But it is by the revelation of Christ. Hence, we are said to be begotten by the incorruptible seed of the word (1 Peter 1:23); and James 1:18, “Of his own will begat he us by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.” And so it is expressed here. Grace and peace are to be multiplied, “through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us by glory and virtue, whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be made partakers of the divine nature.” It is not a law to flesh, calling them to walk rightly where man already was; but a call by glory and virtue to get on to this new place of peace in which Christ is, and that by the revelation of Him glorified, and the assurance of our portion in it. But thus, by divine power, it is livingly communicated to the soul. But this is the glory of the divine nature in a man, into which we are to be formed: but we are livingly formed by its revelation in the power of the Holy Ghost now. It is the real communication of the divine nature. Only Peter looks at it, even in its affections, desires, qualities, as under the impress of the revelation of Christ, rather than as the simple fact of life. But all scripture tells the same truth. For every nature has its own character, knowledge by which it lives and is formed, its tastes, and spirit, and objects, which make it what it is, though its existence is the first and wonderful truth.


* * * * *

* * * Two things require to be noticed in replying.51 First, the supposition of the same degree of knowledge in all is quite, as it seems to me, unfounded. Secondly, we are little aware of the immense difference of common knowledge current in the church by the presence of the Holy Ghost—that unction from the Holy One by which we know all things, which will not be then thus present with the remnant; though He will act in producing longings after deliverance and good in the hearts of the remnant, and directing their thoughts to the scriptures of truth, with an intelligence which the cravings of want alone give. Another point to be noticed is that there are wise ones, who “instruct the many in righteousness”—wise ones who understand. How many now appreciate the real calling and standing of the church of God? The godly of that day will cry to Jehovah in their distress, and the more profoundly convinced they are of their sins, the more will they understand the prophetic declarations. They are directed to the law and the testimony, all that is in the Old Testament, and all short of the church, I apprehend, in the New Testament open to them, such as Matthew and Hebrews. Certainly all concerning Christ, as revealed in prophecy, is before them. They will not understand personal forgiveness and acceptance till they see Him: the rejection of Messiah they may feel as their national guilt. How many now have not found personal acceptance with God? The repentance after seeing Him will be wholly different in nature and kind from that before; it will be under grace, and less egotistic. Psalm 8 can be only hope, with a question—shall I be there? But the thought of Messiah, as they have not pardon, will be at the utmost as in an awakened soul who has not the Spirit—the sense of a guilty nation, uncertain whether they will participate in a blessing which faith believes will come. The degree of the sense of guilt will, of course, vary.

I apprehend the Psalms are specially calculated to minister expression and direction to their feelings in that day. Isaiah 53 gives hope to the nation, not peace then to the individual. They may know from Psalm 68 that He is gone to heaven, from Psalm ex. that He is at the right hand of God. .How little the Jews understood it we learn from the Saviour’s question. (Matt. 22:43.) But though there will be individual wants, the nation, their common lot, will be more in their thoughts than personal forgiveness and peace; God’s government rather than individual salvation. And all is coloured by this. When they see Him, each will mourn apart. Some, I hardly doubt, will have seized the Old Testament instruction as to Christ—perhaps those who are killed and taken up, the saints of the high places. Yet even they will, as to their testimony, be more associated with the God of the earth than we. As regards Daniel, the wise will understand. But he does not speak of atonement, nor any passage I know but Isaiah 53; and that is for the nation as they would then understand it. I cannot doubt the guilt of a rejected Messiah will shine in on some souls as regards the nation.

The difficulty for a Christian is to enter into the state and habits of thought of those concerned in these prophecies in that day. It is clear that all the Old Testament prophecies will be before them. But the Holy Ghost, not dwelling in them to guide into all truth, they will seek in distress of soul the answer to their need and circumstances with the feelings of a people. And the wise will instruct the many. I apprehend the church, and the divine glory of the Person of Jesus, will be understood by none till they see Him—certainly not the church—and then only from without.

* * * * *

Dear ——,—As to John 1:16, I think you will find that ajntiv thus used signifies accumulation—one thing on another. For one blow comes another. Hence, it must be translated, “grace upon grace.” You may see passages cited in Kuinoel and Bengel on the passages. ‘Calamities on calamities.’ ajnt* ajniw'n ajnivai (Theog. V. 344): eJtevran ajnq* eJtevra" frontivda. (Chrys. de Sac.)

Further, in “denying the Lord that bought them,” the simple answer is, there is no reference to redemption at all. The ordinary word for redemption is ajpoluvtrwsi". The price for it is called ajntilutron, applied to all (1 Tim. 2:6), but ajpoluvtrwsi" is not. Redemption from under a given state is expressed by ejxagoravzw in Galatians 3:13; 4:5—deliverance from under the law. The only other two passages are in Ephesians and Colossians—“redeeming the time,” rescuing an opportunity (kairoVn) which offers, so as to profit by it for good —not making a good use of all time, as usually supposed. (Comp. Dan. 2:8.) I do not believe that ajgoravzw has ever the sense by itself of ‘redeem’: it is simply to buy. I know it is so translated in two or three passages, as Revelation 5 and 14; but it is simply “bought.”

The passage in 2 Peter 2, I am persuaded, refers to the idea of a slave bought in a market—the contrary of redeemed from a state of slavery—and who, though his Seo despovth" (not kuvrio", the Lord) has his right over him, will not own it. You may remark, that in the passage of Jude treating the same subject, despovth" is applied to God also: they deny “the only despovthn qeoVn.” The question of redemption out of a previous state does not enter into either passage; but the denial of a divinely inherent or acquired title over them. The strongest expression connected with this, and referring to all, is that which I have quoted—ajntivlutron uJpeVr pavntwn—“a ransom for all.” Nor can the well-instructed saint desire to weaken it. Christ has a title by His dying gift of Himself, not merely by creation, over all flesh. If rejected, He is rejected as the accomplisher of a redemption work, the guilt of the rejection of which lies on all who hear of it. And He has an absolute title by it over all flesh; giving, in virtue of it, eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him. But ajpoluvtrwsi"—actual redemption— is never referred to at all. But I comment as well as criticise. Lutrovw, to redeem, as well as luvtron, a ransom, or luvtrwsi", redemption, bear out the general statement above.


* * * * *

* * * The Mediator,52 Christ Jesus, has appeared. The work is done—the blood shed. But the new covenant is not yet made with the two houses of Israel and Judah. Hence, in Hebrews, it is remarkable how the apostle, writing for those who now anticipatively enjoy its spiritual privileges, constantly waives the discussion of its direct application. In fact, that is reserved for converted Israel by-and-by. There is really no difficulty. Those of the Jews, and we of the Gentiles, who now believe in Jesus, come into a distinct position as one body, but possessing all the moral blessings of the new covenant. The fulfilment of it pertains to the Jewish people in the last days, when Messiah reigns over them. Jesus died “for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” His death will avail for both purposes: the time and order of applying it is another question. In fact, we know that Israel refused the message, and hence the blessing remains in abeyance till the fulness of the Gentiles is come in. Then, and when the Redeemer shall come to Zion and out of Zion (for both are true), “all Israel shall be saved.” Of course, all the efficacious value for Israel then, as for us now, is in the blood of the Lamb. If Israel will have sacrifices, as well as an earthly temple and priesthood, they will be only commemorative signs of the one great offering of Christ. The epistle to the Hebrews excludes these for the Christian. The question of the Jew by-and-by is answered by their own prophecies.

* * * * *

My dear Brethren,— I have hitherto been engaged in visiting France and Switzerland, though it has been rapidly gone through; I am far from having completed even hurried visits. But the Lord has been most graciously with me; almost everywhere I have not had room for those who came desirous to hear, or at any rate the place was exceedingly crowded, both in France and Switzerland. Part of my work has been in settled civilized places, part in most wild and out-of-the-way places, and mountains, far from all common comforts, but in both happy and helped in the work, and especially in the wild places in evangelizing. We had the Police after us once; they took the names of those who had taken part, but except two appearing before the Mayor it had no further troublesome consequences. A soul was brought to the Lord in the meeting. There are in France upwards of 100 gatherings and 25 labourers, besides those who act in the meetings locally, as in the meetings. I do not count parts of evangelization, nor do I count the Swiss gatherings, or workmen visiting all these or most of them once.

A country nearly as big I suppose as England without “Wales, you can easily conceive takes some time, but the door is opened, so that I have sometimes hesitated whether I ought not to give up more time to it, though I have had the feeling that having long been abroad in these countries, I owed more time to England. There is besides these countries, Germany, where there are many brethren, and now some 15 meetings in Holland. In Switzerland there are between 60 and 70 gatherings. All this has grown up under my own eye. A great part of the labourers having studied the scriptures, or doing so as they can, with me, so that you may suppose it interests me duly. Yet I think I put it as distinctly as possible in the Lord’s hands, and the work without a thought of myself; but this makes it the nearer to myself and the more interesting. It does not detach me from England. I feel that they and the work and gatherings in the latter land are in the Lord, and for the Lord.

The work of evangelizing spreads in France. The weakness in some of the elder gatherings still works. Yet oh, how I should rejoice to see more living energy in those gatherings and in all. Yet patience and faith is what we have to exercise, looking ever to the Lord who can help when all seems very low. It is sweet to count upon Him; in all circumstances, and in all states we can.

I have had a slight attack in my eye, and feel I am beginning to get old for going through hardships, but I never felt so free in the gospel, or its preciousness so much, or Christ so precious. His faithfulness too is unfailing. If I were able to serve Him —as I am sure He is precious in service—it would be famous. Outwardly in quantity I could hardly do more; what I want is a deeper well of Christ in my own soul to draw from for the blessing of others. That is the point, dear brethren. I do not doubt I have Him. I know His love, but I want more undistractedness in the purpose which moment by moment occupies me, but I know that He is all, and in Him my spirit has rest. Thank —— for his kind remembrance of me. Give my kindest love to all the brethren. Peace and the Lord’s grace be with you.

Affectionately yours in Christ.

November 10th, 1860.

* * * * *

* * * The remark is right as to the ambiguity of the English,53 because ‘come* is also the participle ‘have come,’ and the natural connection is, “sinned and come short.” But it seems to me that uJsterou'ntai does not refer to exhibiting. With a genitive, and particularly in later writers, it has the sense ‘destitute of,’ ‘wanting,’ ‘failing to have.’ Now that sin has come in, we must meet the glory of God or be excluded by it. In a state of innocency man enjoyed favour, and the question of consistency with the divine glory had not been raised. Now, we say, “All have sinned, and do come short of [fail in meeting, or standing in the presence of] the glory of God.” Christ, as Son of man, has glorified God on the cross, and human nature has a place in the glory; oujk uJsterou'tai, and so we in Him.

This point of meeting the glory I believe to be an important one, and to run through the gospels. John 13 specially treats it with immense depth, though briefly. I add that h{marton, the aorist, is the historic fact, which is the ground of the present state expressed in uJsterou'ntai. We have sinned, and are outside of, away from, morally wanting in what meets and gives us a place in, the glory of God.

* * * * *

* * * It is not sound doctrine so to say.54 Abstractedly everything is eternally present with God, and there is no time with Him; but, then, I cannot say ‘when’ or ‘before’ in this point of view, because there is no when or before when there is no time. And in the scriptural view, such language is wholly unwarranted; because in due time Christ died for the ungodly, “when we were yet without strength”: and “having been justified by faith,” etc. We are not justified without believing, but by faith, through faith in His blood—not without it or before it—nor hence without being at the same time born of God. “When we were dead in sins,” we were quickened together with Him, etc. “By grace are ye saved through faith.” We were by nature children of wrath, but God, who is rich in mercy, when we were dead in sins, quickened us. It is a new nature which we as persons never had before it was communicated to us, when we had only the old. To say we were eternally believers, is nonsense. In the same sense, we were eternally unbelievers, too, and eternally glorified, for all these things were before God’s mind together, without time. It is not true that Romans 4:25 means because we were justified; ‘because we were justified’ is not in the passage: dikaivwsi" cannot mean it, but ‘for justifying us’; it would have been, diaV toV dikaiwqh'nai hJma'". Hence, when the part, passive is used, faith is added; wherefore, dikaiwqevnte", “having been justified by faith.”

Ephesians 4:18 proves the contrary to what it is alleged. They were “alienated from the life of God” when they were in darkness; and then he talks of learning Christ—that is, when unbelievers, they had to learn Him: if they had, indeed, learned Him according to the truth in Him; namely, the putting off according to the former conversation the old man, and being renewed in the spirit of their mind. Now, here is a work clearly wrought in them; if they had really learned Christ, they knew what it was to put off the old man; they had it before, and put on the new, which they had not before. To say that a man is born of God when he is in sins, is false; that he is created again in Christ Jesus when he is a mere sinner, is nonsense. Scripture does not speak so. Justification is referred to faith, which I have not, assuredly, before I believe. High Calvinists have this manner of speaking. If they merely mean, that all was in God’s thoughts and purposes, it is all right. But scripture never speaks as they do, but puts a man as a creature, who belongs to time, into time, and deals morally with him. If it be said, that the life which we get existed eternally, for it was Christ who is our life, it is all well. But it is not ours till we have Christ, and before that we are children of wrath; at least, so says the scripture. The work may be all viewed mentally in Him, when the power wrought; but if it be referred to the saints, so that it is only their knowledge of it which is now given, it is untrue and mischievous, because God purifies the heart by faith, as well as justifies us. Scripture says, “what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,” etc.; not to the elect. It had been only wrought in believers. I do not know whether it is held that faith is eternal.

* * * No doubt, pwvrwsi",55 being the active form of nouns, like dikaivwsi", may seem to raise a question; but if adequately considered, the difficulty disappears. For pwvrwsi" has the simple sense of a callous place, as one might say, ‘it is a hardening of the skin,’ though the form ‘hardening’ be active, because it was a gradual act, while it is now a state. So nevkrwsi" is applied to Sarah’s womb; and again, we are to carry about the nevkrwsi" of the Lord Jesus. But this is, I apprehend, in no way the case with justifying, or dikaivwsi". Diav always means “on account of:” the question is, does it here signify previous to, or after, the resurrection of Christ? People often cite the verse, as if it meant that Christ was raised on account of our having been already justified before He rose. This, I am convinced, would require some such phrase as diaV toV dikaiwqh'nai hJma'", which essentially differs from that which Paul employs. In the present case, there would be no process like that pwvrwsi", or nevkrwsi" (which words express a state as result), but a state existing by the simple act of another, a relationship in virtue of an act done. This, the active form, does not, I believe, express; an effect to be produced it can express. The great doctrinal mischief of the alleged rendering, ‘because of,’ is, that it excludes faith from justifying, which is Calvinism, or ultra-Calvinism, but wholly unscriptural.

* * * * *

My dear Sister,—I was right in reading the postscript of your sister’s letter, for, as I supposed, it shews much more of the state of her mind than all the rest. She has her mind bent on a place of ministry; and I do feel that, blest as she has been, she is on the brink of a precipice, though, as yet, she may not have fallen into it. I do not question that women had gifts. It is evident; the scripture is quite plain. So that all the passages brought to prove this, prove only what is fully admitted, before the real question is touched. Further, that women laboured in the Lord, that is also true, as I doubt not many have most sweetly, even in these days; and for my own part I should most entirely rejoice in it. But that is not the question. The question is about the assemblies of God: and these the word of God is as plain as possibly can be, to forbid it positively. In 1 Corinthians 11 after giving directions for the modesty of the manner of a woman’s praying or prophesying, he goes on to speak of their coming together in verse 17: the previous part having nothing to do with an assembly, the directions for which commence with verse 17. He continues on through chapter 14 the question of assemblies, having treated of gifts in themselves, and compared with charity (chap, xiii.) as necessary to the subject, and resumes fully in verse 23 the assembly; and having spoken of “all assemblies of the saints” —God being the author of peace in them—He says positively, “Let your women keep silence in the assemblies, for it is not permitted unto them to speak.” In 1 Timothy 2 the apostle says, “I will therefore that men pray everywhere. … In like manner also that women adorn themselves… . Let the women learn in silence with all subjection: but I suffer not a woman to teach … but to be in silence.” Now if the gifts were denied to have been given to women, passages may be produced which plainly shew they had them, and overthrow such denial; but there is nothing whatever to modify these rules. Only two or three prophets were to speak in the assembly; there might be twenty that had gifts in it, but the order of the assembly was such for men: for women it was to hold their tongues. The possession of a gift by a man did not warrant their breaking the rule laid down by the apostle, whose directions were of authority; nor did the possession of a gift by a woman warrant her breaking the rule as to woman. There being neither male nor female in Christ Jesus has nothing to do with gifts in assemblies, but their unity in life and privileges in Christ. No question of expediency can warrant departure from scripture regulations, and departure from them will soon end in sorrow and confusion.

My advice to your sister is, that it is she herself that is setting aside one passage by another: because I admit all her passages recognise the gifts in women and their labour. But as man’s exercise of gift was regulated (the spirit of the prophets being subject to the prophets), so also was woman’s, and differently: they were not to speak at all in the assemblies, nor to teach. You should urge upon your sister these passages, and that she is going positively contrary to the word of God; and I say to you, I do really think she is in a very dangerous path. Very faithfully yours, dear Miss——, in the Lord.

[Date unknown.

* * * * *

* * * The scripture is plain,56 that it is forbidden to a woman even to ask questions. It is not seemly for angels or men. If any strangers are allowed to come in who wish it, I should consider it a public assembly; but if it be an individual meeting for any beyond the saints, then it has a private character, and I think the woman’s place is as in any other private assembly: only that in divine things, and in christian women, modesty and a retiring spirit is of great price with God. If it be a regular meeting of the assembly, the woman’s part is surely to be silent. In a private meeting, it is merely a question of the modesty that becomes them. We are called to peace.


* * * Remember you are young at the work, and carry it on much before God. Seek to be emptied of self, and see only the Lord and souls in it: you know, if any real work is done He does it. Be much with God: do not suppose I say this to discourage you. If there is one desire upon my heart, after the blessing itself, it is that God would give and encourage true labourers to go between Him and souls: but this is what it must be, or surely we have nothing to bring, nor (if not much with Him) any power, if we know the truth. He is to be revealed, and He alone can do this; but when much with Him we always learn, and oh! to what profit, our own nothingness.


* * * * *

* * * Baptism has nothing to do with the church57 properly speaking; that is, viewed as the body of Christ. It is by one Spirit we are baptised into one body. Baptism does not, in figure, carry faith further than resurrection. For the body we must have the ascension of the Head, and the consequent sending down of the Holy Ghost to form it: of that the Lord’s supper is the sacramental sign. Baptism is therefore individual, and is as a figure the bringing out of the individual from the flesh and his old life in Adam by death into a new individual position in life (but on the earth) in resurrection. Two great truths seem to me to accompany this: the revelation of the Persons of the Godhead, for the Father sent the Son, and the Son and the Father too have sent down the Spirit who reveals them. The revelation is a revelation of God. If thus born of God, even this truth enters into all my relationship. God is my Father; in Christ risen I have the form and power of sonship; and it is in the Holy Ghost the spirit of adoption is. It is, however, mainly the revelation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost which is in question. The other great truth brought out in Christianity is, that Jesus Christ (that glorious Man) is Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ. This, while closely connected with the glory of His Person in the name Jesus, is the anointed man, the Christ.

This revelation of the Godhead and of the Lordship of Christ forms the basis and substance of Christianity itself as a profession, along with the subjective truth that flesh—fully proved already—can have nothing to say to it. I must enter by death into this new sphere, into relationship with God, and, as risen, become the servant of Christ, as Lord. Hence, in Ephesians 4, we have one body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism. The first is the full heavenly and essential thing in connection with Christ; the second, the profession upon earth in connection with the Lordship of Christ. Hence, also Paul, who saw Christ only in heavenly glory, and to whom the ministry and revelation of the church was committed, was not sent to baptise; and in Matthew, where the commission referred to was given, we have not the ascension at all. Here Jerusalem is gone, and Christ is associated with the remnant in Galilee already around Him, and they were to disciple the nations. This does not connect itself directly with the millennium, but with the ministration of the gospel of the kingdom, which precedes it, and does go out into all nations before the end comes—the end of the age. The millennium is brought in by the coming back of the Lord in glory from heaven. This precedes it. Hence in Matthew He says, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age;” that is, the age which precedes the coming of Messiah in glory to set up the kingdom publicly. Hence, I do not see why this mission should not go on when the church is gone up. It does not directly contemplate the church, but so neither does baptism ever: it does profess Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and the Lordship of Christ, when He is not yet revealed from heaven.

Baptism, therefore, is the public testimony of reception by death and resurrection. That is, now Christ is rejected, we have the public witness that flesh has no place with God; that life is in the Son and given of God—that it is on the ground consequently of the revelation of God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (the Father who has given this life in sending Jesus, in whom it is, and the Spirit’s witness of it because He is truth)— all this is on earth, as the Apostle John’s witness always is; and that, walking in this world, we own and are subject to Jesus as the Lord.

The formula I only so far attach importance to as being the expression of the truth. If one were bonâ fide baptised in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according to the present Lordship of Christ, I should consider them baptised, though the words were not used. Though, in saying that, I think the maintenance and holding fast a form of sound words has its place and importance: and I need not say we have none better than those of scripture, of the Lord Himself and His apostles I only mean, if they were not used, but the person bonâ fide baptised in the acknowledgment of the thing, it would be real baptism. For my own part, I always use both. And I believe every one rightly baptised is baptised to the Lord Jesus, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He is given up to Christ, once dead, but now risen, and Lord, through death and resurrection—to Him as Lord, but according to the revelation contained in those words, “Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” We do it when He is not manifested as such before the world. We do it through the knowledge of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that is God so revealed. They are not baptised to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We join the risen Christ as Lord by baptism: we are baptised to Him; but it is in the confession of this wonderful and complete revelation of God in grace, and in truth, too, through Him, but by the Holy Ghost, who is truth. Of course this involves the acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ; and thus we are baptised in His name. It is the thing we are to look to, not the mere formula.


* * * * *

* * * That the saints are caught away before vengeance58 bursts upon professors is quite certain, because it is when Christ appears that He executes vengeance. (2 Thess. 1:8-10 and a multitude of passages.) Now when Christ appears, we appear with Him. (Col. 3:4.) Matthew 13:41, 43 only proves that, when the wicked are judged, the righteous shine forth; but they had been previously gathered into the garner, in order to do so. In verse 49 the judgment severs the wicked from among the just. This is not the rapture. Judgment leaves the just where they were; one is taken and the other left, as in Matthew 24. In this last case the sphere is narrower, but the principle is the same. It is well to remark that the explanation does not refer to the same event as the parable explained, but gives further particulars. This is a general rule of interpretation. The public visible judgment of God explains what has to be understood when it is not visible. Privilege is a matter of faith.

As regards suffering and death for His name, it is a privilege compared with those left on earth; but it is only in this case for righteousness and the prophetic knowledge of the name of Jesus, for “the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.” They did not confess and know Him as Son of God, as the members of the church did. When forced by growing wickedness, through grace they would not deny divine hopes, and they will have their reward. They would have done better to have owned Him in peace, when not so forced; but God is wise and perfect in all things.

The tares are declared to be taken in hand before the wheat is gathered into the garner; but, as we have seen, when the tares are burnt, the wheat is already in the garner and then shines forth. As regards the unparalleled tribulation in Matthew xxiv., and the passages from which that is taken, it is exclusively Jewish. There is no passage to prove there is such a tribulation but those which prove it is Jewish. As to the more general tribulation mentioned in Revelation 3, it is only mentioned to declare that the saints shall be kept from that hour. Then, again, a countless multitude come out of the great tribulation in Revelation 7. Revelation 19:14 and Colossians 3:4, of course, agree with and confirm all other scriptures on the subject. These only go, however, to prove distinctly that the saints are with Christ before He appears; but not how long they have been so.

‘Some of the saints’ is vague. It speaks as if they were one common category. The day will not take any by surprise that go to heaven. They will be gone before the day which comes at Christ’s appearing. But there is a difference. The saints who have fallen asleep, and those belonging to the church alive, will be caught up to meet Christ in the air when He descends then from His Father’s throne. But neither 1 Peter 4:17, 18 nor 1 Corinthians 3 applies to this. One applies to labourers even in the apostle’s days; the other to the contrast between the righteous and the ungodly. Those who are not manifested as members of Christ when He receives the church to Himself will either remain on earth as God’s people during the millennium, or if killed, as we have seen, have part in the kingdom on high. 1 Corinthians 15:51 applies, as is there seen, to the manifested members of the church of God. Matthew 24:22 has nothing to do with the matter. It is the sparing the Jewish saints or remnant, saving flesh, in the time of their peculiar trouble. When Christ appears, all the saints, conformed to His risen image, will appear with Him in glory. He will “be glorified in his saints and admired in all them that believe, in that day.” He will also come attended with all His holy angels. It is evident that He can come with only those who are with Him. The people spared on earth, when He comes and judges, do not come with Him.


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* * * I see no reason to doubt that all saints59 who have died will be raised up when Christ comes and changes us—the living that remain to the moment of His presence—and both shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. “They that are Christ’s,” in 1 Corinthians 15:23, seem to me a category put in an expressly large style so as to embrace the saints before the church as well as such as compose it. Compare Hebrews 11 And this is confirmed by the special communication which begins at 1 Corinthians 15:51: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” Here there is a secret beyond the Old Testament which revealed no more than the resurrection, and the coming with the Lord in the day of His appearing. (Job. 19, Zech. 14) But the apostle was inspired to add both the manner of raising the dead saints and especially the change of us the living, then found here below, who shall all be alike changed, and, according to 1 Thessalonians 4, caught up to meet the Lord above. Hence in this latter scripture, “put to sleep through Jesus,” may be said of dead Christians (the occasion of the need of comfort to the living, ver. 13), while the next verse speaks with greater comprehensiveness of those fallen asleep in general. Again, “the dead in Christ” need not be restrained to those since redemption; it is in contrast with the dead in Adam, or after a merely natural sort.

There is nothing said of raising saints from the dead under the seventh trumpet, though I do not object to the conclusion that, as it is the winding up of God’s appeals to the world and the introduction of the world-kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, so it announces the judicial recompense in broad terms up to the end. The time of award to His “servants the prophets, and to the saints,” etc., does not fix it as the moment of their resurrection—they may well have been raised before. At any rate, nothing of the kind can be built on a passage which is silent as to that for which it is alleged.

Nor is there the least warrant to connect “the seventh trumpet” with “the last trump” of 1 Corinthians 15, nor even with the “great sound of a trumpet” in Matthew 24:“The seventh” is of course the closing one of the Apocalyptic series and of the general course of the book up to the kingdom. “The last trump” of 1 Corinthians 15 means simply the final summons when the heavenly saints leave their earthly sojourn to join the Lord—a figure, like others in the chapter, taken from familiar military matters. The trumpet in the gospel is rather connected with the divine call to gather Israel from all lands according to the prophets. There is no doubt that when this point is reached all the departments of the kingdom, heavenly and earthly, will be occupied and displayed by Christ, the risen saints, and the people of God, nor will it cease till every creature, even of the lost, bows and confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Daniel and Job will be there, of course, among the rest.

The scripture which is most to the point (of proving saint? raised just before the millennial kingdom begins) is Revelation 20:4; but I see no reason to doubt that the first class already enthroned includes the Old Testament saints with the church, while the two classes particularly described and then raised in addition to the foregoing are only the Apocalyptic confessors. This then gives no countenance to the view, that the Old Testament saints are reserved till then. The sufferers at the end of this age are specified as then made to live and reign with Christ: else they might seem to have lost all as regards the kingdom. No others are said to be raised at that time.

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* * * The sacrifices60 spoken of in the first chapters of Leviticus present to us, 1-3, the intrinsic value and character of the sacrifice and self-offering of Christ, as estimated in communion. In chapter 4-6 7, the case is put, “if a soul sin;” that is, it is to meet the positive need of a soul, its positive sin, of whatever character; and he is, or they are, if it be all the people, forgiven. Atonement or forgiveness is not spoken of in the sacrifice for the high priest. The statement may be carried on, as all intercourse is interrupted for the people, to verse 20; if not, it is an exceptional case. In Leviticus 16 it seems to me more the establishment of relationship with God; or, more accurately, the ground of relationship. We do not hear of forgiveness. Sin is put away; the character of God is made good and glorified, and the sins all borne away—unclean-ness removed, so that things are clean. The priest goes in within the veil, so as to give God the ground of a relationship with the people by blood when sin was there, and the tabernacle was sprinkled so as to be suited for God’s dwelling, and then all the sins carried away into a land not inhabited. Thus God could be with the people. Personal, individual forgiveness was made good by the sin and trespass offerings. This double character was partly connected with the imperfect character of the sacrifices which required repetition, and the veil not being rent. But we acquire thus the knowledge of the double aspect of the work; relationship sinless, righteous relationship—and forgiveness.

This subject is treated in Hebrews 9, 10, where the day of atonement having been stated, as in chapter 9, as once for all—leading God’s people to look for Christ, for whom He will come apart from all sin, because He has put it away for them —chapter 10 applies it, and shews that the yearly sacrifices (Lev. 16) served as continual remembrance of sins, that they were not put away: that Christ has offered Himself, setting aside through the body prepared for Him, all the sacrifices of Leviticus of every kind, in the work that He did as accomplishing the imperfect figure of Leviticus 16, because, by that work which He wrought to reconcile us to God, He bore and put away all sin for those that believe on Him, so that there is no more sacrifice for sin. The general statement of chapter 9:12-14, takes up the day of atonement and the red heifer, and shews the purging of the conscience by Christ. This is opened out in application in chapter 10.

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* * * The question61 is a mistake. The prophets are not considered as a distinct body of persons at all. It is not oiJ profhvtai, but such. In verse 31 it is stated, “You may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.” “Let the prophets speak” is a false translation; so is “the spirit of the prophets.” It should be, “the spirits of prophets.” Hence the whole question falls to the ground. The passage is the same as if the apostle should say, ‘(As to) prophets, let two or three persons speak and the rest judge. If there be a revelation to another person sitting by, let the first hold his peace. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets (that is, he can control himself, and stop, if another has anything to say). For God is not the author of confusion (two or. three speaking at once), but of order, as in all assemblies of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the assemblies, for it is not permitted to them to speak.’ To all others, it is permitted, if the Spirit gives them anything.

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50 ‘What is meant by being “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), and how and when is this effected? Does any scripture speak of it?’

51 ‘On the supposition of a Jewish remnant, distinct from the church of God now in process of formation, and the object of God’s dealing after we have been caught up, and before we appear with Christ in glory, how far will they all know Jesus? Will they enter into His sufferings, or His glory in heaven? How far will they apprehend the teaching of such Psalms as 8; 68; 80; 110; or of such prophecies as Isaiah 53; Daniel 9; Micah 5; Zechariah 12?’

52 ‘What are the views entertained about the new covenant with Israel and Judah? (Heb. 8:10.) Is it not made? If not yet, when and how is it to be ratified? The blood of bulls and goats is clearly unavailing to purge the conscience. (Heb. 10)’

53 Romans 3:23 interpreted to mean “have come short” instead of “do come short”: the tense contributing to make the meaning clear; namely, all have failed to exhibit the glory of God, rather than all fail to obtain it.

54 ‘Is it sound doctrine: that believers were justified, quickened, raised, etc., in and with Christ, when He died and rose again; that is, that they were justified before they were born, and that faith merely gives the knowledge of it?’

55 ‘I believe there is no sufficient reason to doubt that Romans 4:25 means that Christ was raised “for our justification.” I hare heard it argued, however, that diaV thVn pwvrwtin, in Ephesians 4:18, which beyond question means “because of,” and not for “the hardness,” etc., sets aside the reasoning grounded on the form of the word dikaivwsi". What think you?’

56 ‘What is the woman’s part at religious meetings?’

57 ‘Is the instruction in Matthew 28:19, to baptise “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” the formula of baptism for the Church? If it is, how is it we have no mention of the use of this formula in the Acts, but have repeated mention of believers being “baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus”? (Acts 8:16; 19:5.) Is being baptised “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost” and being baptised “in the name of the Lord” one and the same thing? If not, what is the difference; and which are we to observe?’

58 ‘Whether the saints will be caught away ere vengeance bursts upon the professors. If so, how is Matthew 13:41, 43, 49 to be explained? And is it not a matter for joy when they are called upon to suffer unto death for His name?

‘Or will the saints be suffered, except those fallen asleep, to go through all the tribulation, and then delivered and blessed, after the tares have been taken in hand, at the revelation of Christ? If so, how are Revelation 19:14 and Colossians 3:4 to be explained?

‘Or will some of the saints be taken before the others, one class being abundantly, the other scarcely, saved; one receiving a reward, the other saved so as by fire; one consisting of those who will open to Him immediately, and the other of those whom that day will more or less take by surprise ? See, too, Revelation 3:10. If so, how are 1 Corinthians 15:51, Matthew 24:22, and generally those passages which declare that Christ will come with all His saints—how are such to be explained?

59 ‘When will the Old Testament saints be raised? Are they included in “they that are Christ’s at his coming,” and raised when the Church is caught up; or are they only raised on the sounding of the seventh trump (Rev. 11:15-18), that being the final one of this dispensation, thus in keeping with the word to Daniel (chap. 12:13) and that which Job says (chap. 19:25-27)? Was not this expecting Him on the earth, as in the Millennium?’

60 ‘What is the difference of the offerings of sweet savour, those for sin, etc., and those of atonement day?’

61 ‘1 Corinthians 14:29. Does “the other” mean the rest of the prophets?’